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So, hubby and I had a deep discussion at bedtime last night, and he brought up humanity's tendency to create God in our own image. We consider what we think God should do in a particular situation -- what we would want God to do -- and we assume that, well, clearly that's what a good God would do. Because of course, we have a handle on what is good and what is not. Mm-hmm.
For instance, we of the Western first-world grade-on-the-curve mindset want to believe that a good God would never send someone to hell who was really trying to do the right thing. He would never condemn someone who got close to the truth but didn't quite get the whole thing right. That wouldn't be fair! That wouldn't be good.
However, there are other cultures in this vast tapestry of humanity who believe that a good God would never allow a wrong to go unpunished. That would be unjust. True goodness must require a commitment to absolute holiness and righteousness. Mercy and forgiveness lower the standard, making holiness something less than holiness -- in fact, making it not holy at all. That wouldn't be right of God. It wouldn't be good.
Ah, yes. We egocentric, myopic little snits -- we have a handle on what is good. Mm-hmm.
Ever wonder why God gave us a Bible? Why, if the Holy Spirit lives inside us and "guides us into all truth", we needed a written word? It's because we're egocentric, myopic little snits. Despite all the problems with translation and interpretation and what not, we need an external source of truth if we're to have any hope of getting at the truth. We cannot decide who God is by applying our definition of good. We come up with a definition of good by examining who God is.
And a definition of love. And of holiness. Truth exists outside of ourselves, and it is truth whether or not we like what it is. Maturity is a commitment to live by what is true, rather than to create "truth" in our own image.