Have a serious question for my readers today. Feel free to answer from wherever you may notice your own mind going as you follow along here.
Is it more important to believe in God’s existence or in God’s essence?
And a follow-up to boot: can one deny the existence of God and still affirm the essence of God?
Oh, I know. Some of you will have a mind’s eye that has already turned green and set to go with this, while others will have already turned red and slammed on the brakes. Either way is fine. As is that yellow light that tells you to proceed with caution.
So here’s where I’m coming from. Quite literally, I’ve been praying this early morning. (You may or may not believe in prayer. Makes no difference to me.) In my prayer I was expressing to God my sense of global doom as triggered by the American election of 11/8/2016. I noted its comparison to my sense of global doom ahead of the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the impending crisis I then knew in my own mind would follow that gigantic blunder.
So I’m asking God this morning if, as in the ancient days of the Hebrew prophets of Judah and Israel, there was any oracle or message that could come at all close to being accurate enough for me to share with other people today. I often regard myself, some of you may having already suspected, as some lowly and even reluctant prophet who may or may not be gifted in that area by God’s Spirit. I’m never quite certain which it is.
Now you may not believe in prophetic oracles, whether old or new, and that’s okay. But in my prayer letter this morning, these are the words I wrote that did speak an actual answer to my question. I will leave it up to you individually whether you deny or affirm the actual oracle. Either way will serve to answer my earlier stated questions and invite your own comment.
“I, the Lord your God, do not care who gets the credit or blame. I’m the opposite of a selfish and jealous Donald Trump. I have never been a jealous God. I only care that love wins out over fear. If the American people cannot trust in me, that’s fine. Americans can experience good consequences without trusting in God. Or even without trusting in my Son, Jesus. Rather, they and the whole world will have good consequences if Americans choose to trust in love.
If Americans will permit themselves to doubt their fears and to instead trust in love, to doubt their ancient and outworn myth of redemptive violence and to instead trust in enemy-love for their redemption, then I don’t care that my name is even mentioned at all. You see, it’s not about me.
I, the Lord your God, don’t need your praise or crave your compliments. I sent Jesus so you could see first-hand, in concrete example instead of abstract theory, the good and redemptive consequences of enemy-love alongside the bad and destructive consequences of enemy-violence. Most people who first followed Jesus got that message. Most who claim to follow him today have long ago lost the plot and now are some distance past even being clueless about my message.
So forget it. Don’t worry about it. It’s not even about Christianity. It’s about humanity. It’s about human survival with blessing on earth as it is in heaven. It’s about the choice to trust in love instead of fear. And right now America is headed toward a self-fulfilling doom for having chosen to trust in fear instead of love.
America can still turn things around for herself and for the whole world that depends so much upon her. Or America can remain on this present course and receive a self-fulfilling prophecy of hell on earth that will be of her own making.
Either America will trust in love or it will continue to trust in fear. I, your God, am fearless. I am all about love. Trust in love and you will have trusted in my very essence even if you have doubted my very existence. If necessary for your sake, America, just leave my name out of this. I’m fine even with people denying my existence, so long as they rightly trust in my essence which is love. Choose enemy-love, instead of enemy-fear and armed conflict as you do now, and you can still bring about a very different self-fulfilling prophecy. You will have then finally trusted in my true essence and, with that truth, will finally receive your own freedom.”