I have a wild imagination, which is why the main characters in BIW told me how their stories would unfold, and not the other way around. Sure, I established their place and time and fixed certain facts about their lives, but they determined how their stories would go to a large degree. Luke and River are true to their character… but they’re not cliches. People are frustrating enough not to fit conveniently into carefully constructed boxes. People always surprise me. For better or worse. They surprise me.
I have a wild imagination, which is why I imagine that people who follow me do so for one of three reasons. The first are people who think I’m sincere and interesting. Bottom-line is, they care to know how my story unfolds. The second group consists of former-friends/acquaintances who watch me like rubber-neck drivers witnessing a near-fatal crash. They can’t look away... even though they want to. And the 3rd group is made of of addicts of political content. They think I might spill the beans on some secret-knowledge about the FBI or the Clinton oligarchy. (Okay, there is a 4th group. FBI agents who watch me for the same reason.)
But these people all exist in my imagination, kind of like Luke and River. Because people don’t fit neatly into my boxes, I’m sure.
Some people say that God is a product of our imagination. I think that’s like saying water gives glass its shape. That's silly. Water takes the shape of its container, even if you can’t see the glass that holds it.
No. I think we are the products of God’s imagination. And just like Luke and River, we determine a lot about our lives. Sure we are fixed in time and place but we determine how our story unfolds.
The ancient Genesis text tells us about a conversation God had with his-selves before time began. “God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over... every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth." (Ha, Ha! The King James is funny… don’t be a creepy-creeper that creepeth upon the earth. Okay, back on topic.) The text tells us that God created us and put a god-like stamp on our being, giving us the capacity for “dominion.” We are made in his likeness. But we are not God, which is why we are imperfect. That’s a nice way of saying humans chose evil along with good.
I think it’s interesting that the scriptures tell us God regretted making us, precisely because of our sin. (Was God surprised by us? Genesis 6:6) Have you ever been so disappointed in your kids that you regretted making them? If so, no shame. Even God…
The story continues saying, God wanted to annihilate his creation. We seemed to be an artistic expression gone terribly wrong. He almost did annihilate us (Noah). But after killing off most humans God regretted his actions again. He regretted destroying something so wonderful. Something that reflected the wonders of God Himself - the source of all things beyond the galaxies of many universes. There seemed to be no easy fix.
What I love about Christianity is that it’s the story of God becoming the solution to a problem that vexed even God. Only He could fix it.
The story of Jesus is that God humbled Himself and took human form, participating in his own creation. He showed us how to be human and paved the way to a judging yet loving Father who couldn’t seem to let us go, despite our insignificant place in the universe and despite our capacity for deep evil. The way that the Father has loved us might make us stand in awe of each other. How valuable we must be. But mostly we might stand in awe of God. How loving he must be to join us in the suffering of earth.
God is more than love. He is holy. And you are not. So, it would take a God-like-solution to stand in his presence with any confidence, right? But I’ll concede that people make God in their image, too. Humans across the globe imagine a lot about this unseen God.
I imagine that God is very simple even though humans make complex religions out of him. If you’ll allow me one last reference to my sacred text, the book of Romans says,
“For what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”
Sitting with a mountain-top view of lush landscape on a crystal-clear morning has the power to make even the most committed atheist question how, without God, this delicate and perfectly balanced ecosystem could come into existence in the context of the hostile and vast environment of inner and outer space. The likelihood is so close to zero that it might as well be.
Indeed, what can be known about God has been made plain.
We are the product of a great imagination!