Thursday, June 19, 2014

Guess What? God Is Not Frankenstein

    "Soon after my arrival in the hovel, I discovered some papers in the pocket of the dress which I had taken from your laboratory. At first I had neglected them; but now that I was able to decipher the characters in which they were written, I began to study them with diligence. It was your journal of the four months that preceded my creation. You minutely described in these papers every step you took in the progress of your work; this history was mingled with accounts of domestic occurrences. You, doubtless, recollect these papers. Here they are. Everything is related in them which bears reference to my accursed origin; the whole detail of that series of disgusting circumstances which produced it is set in view; the minutest description of my odious and loathsome person is given, in language which painted your own horrors and rendered mine indelible. I sickened as I read. `Hateful day when I received life!' I exclaimed in agony. `Accursed creator! Why did you form a monster so hideous that even you turned from me in disgust?'" - Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
    Don't kill me for suggesting this. But.
    I think we often view God as Frankenstein.

Not God.
    If you're not familiar with Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (which differs significantly from the movies), here's a brief summary: a university student named Victor Frankenstein becomes obsessed with chemistry (can't say that I blame him, tee-hee), and eventually uses his scientific knowledge to search for the means to recreate life. So he creates a creature (who is not named Frankenstein) and successfully animates him. But ... Frankenstein is revolted by this Being who is nothing like he envisioned, so Frankenstein abandons him. The creature, unfortunately, then plots to destroy the life of Victor Frankenstein, and the plot continues from there.
    And yeah, that's how we often view often God: as Victor Frankenstein.
    Oh, I know. All Christians acknowledge that God came down as Man to save us. He didn't abandon us. That's true, and beautiful (come to think of it, can beauty and truth exist without the other? Ahem, back to the subject).
    But other messages pervade:
    God can't stand to be around our sin.
    God hates us.
    God will condemn us to hell because, due to the various effects of sin, we cannot understand or even hear the gospel.
    Et cetera. 
    And so God becomes like Frankenstein, Someone Who repulsed by His own creation. Someone Who seeks to abandon us to sin and hell because we're hurting and too angry at the EVIL that surrounds us to understand Him. Even though He allowed this enormous, intricate, stunning, and often incredibly painful story to occur in the first place.
    This is not okay.
    The Gospel has to be good news. Sure, our understanding of good is dimmed, but nearly everyone has some basic understanding (slapping a person across the face is bad, embracing a hurting friend is good, for example).
    God hating us? I don't think anyone thinks that's good news. Just picture yourself as the hated person. You can only surmise that God's hatred is good if you're not the hated one, which is quite selfish, frankly.
    Seriously, if God hates us, why wouldn't he just say: "Oh good, you're trapped in sin! Now go fry."
    As for the idea that God can't stand to be around our sin? Um, well, as a Christian, I believe Jesus was God...and He lived with us...and the Holy Spirit still lives in us...sooooo.
    I do believe sin pains Him, wounds Him - because He actually cares about us, because He longs for nothing less than the restoration of all creation.
    And then there's hell. I'd ask you: is eternal hell good, especially if that person has been too encumbered by circumstances beyond their control to know God?
     I'm no theologian, but I have to believe something good happens in the end, despite the darkness that surrounds us. Fortunately, you're not the judge of what that good is, and neither am I.
     God is not Frankenstein.
     God is Good.
In fact, God's even better than chocolate cupcakes. Wow.


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