Don’t Worry About Whether You’ve Put God In A Box But Rather Whether You’re In His “Box” ++
For years I’ve fretted when I’ve heard someone make the accusation that someone is, “…putting God in a box.” This is one of those problematic things because it’s intertwined with truth. It is possible, for example, for us to exalt man while at the same time dethroning God. And to the extent that we do that, we are putting God into a human box. I’ll discuss this in more depth later, but for now, let’s consider the fact that God actually is in a box. Furthermore, He made the box.
When we speak of a box, what we’re really talking about are limitations. And when we place limitations on God, it might well be said that we are putting Him into a box. But there are limitations concerning God that we ought to consider; some involving us and others involving Him.
One of the sides of the box that God exists in is, we might say, a moral side. God can’t sin. Now that’s not to say that He can do anything we like and because He’s God, it’s not sin. That’s not what I’m saying at all, and when you hear these sorts of things about Jesus, they should be considered as heresy. What I am saying is that God cannot act in a way that contradicts His nature. That’s one side of the box that He made.
Another side of the box might be considered a logical one. You’ll hear the question, can God create a rock so big that He can’t move it? It’s a trick question designed to prove that it is impossible for God to be without limitations. But God actually is limited by His own logic. He can’t, for example, make a square circle.
There is another side which is based on epistemology. These limitations, however, are more about us than Him. We were given five senses and it’s through these senses that we experience and interpret our world. God affirms this when He tells us that our thoughts and ways are not like His thoughts and ways. So our understanding of God is necessarily limited, and as such epistemology becomes one side of the box as far as we are concerned. How does the finite grasp the infinite? How does what we know compare to what God knows? What words exist that can describe to us, in any meaningful way, those things for which we are not equipped to comprehend? And since we cannot speak of things that we have no way of grasping, it creates a third side to the box.
Another side of this box, it might be said, is God’s law. And like the epistemological side, it involves us more than God. God forbids creating for ourselves a God that is not. We are not given license to create another God under the guise of “all things are possible with God”. We are forbidden to create a god that is more to our liking, or to superimpose onto the one true God revealed to us by scripture any old thing that suits our fancy. In the great falling away that you will be living through, there is a tendency to subject God to the moral whims of our culture, and then to judge Him according to those whims, or to release Him from a supposed box so that we can make the claim for Him that he now has subjected Himself to those whims. This would be severe hubris, not to mention dangerous.
In the final analysis, no matter what our ideas about God are, whether they’re heretical or not, they will always be confined by limitations. Someone might say, God would never send anyone to Hell. But to say such a thing is to put God in a box, on the outside of which is the possibility of Him doing just that. That would be putting God in a box also. Or someone might say that there are many roads to God. That would be limiting God by not allowing that He has provided only one way. It would be another box.
So the real question is not whether or not we put God in a box, or even whether or not God exists in a box of sorts. The real question concerns our knowledge of God. We must continually ask, is what we think we know about God true? And how do we know if it’s true? We can look at the Pharisees as an example. What they thought was true about God wasn’t. We should look at their lives as an example of how not to be. But to not be like them doesn’t mean that we should run into the ditch on the other side of the road. Truth is still truth, and any deviation from truth is a lie no matter how constrained or liberating it feels to us. So what to do?
I submit to you that we are all subject to God’s grace. If we are not deceived, it is only by His grace that we are not. The moment any of us thinks that we have an opportunity for boasting, we should fret. So ultimately, dear children, I’d say to you to not worry so much about whether you have put God in a box, but rather, if you must worry, worry about whether or not you’re in His box. With all of the deception that is now plaguing the Western Civilization in which you are steeped, I’d say that that’s plenty enough to worry about. And, also, I admonish you to pray dear children, as I pray for you and myself also. Pray that by His grace, you will walk a path lighted by His Word and that you will not stray to the left or to the right. You ought to pray for revelation and a heart that can hear the truth, even when that truth hurts. And always keep in the forefront of your thinking that it is only by His grace that you will spend your lives free from deception.