Saturday, July 30, 2011

How Do I Know That I Am Not God?

At first, the question itself seems beyond ludicrous. How do I know I am not God... well, I'm just not. It is self-evident, is it not? Well... for purposes of discussion, let's say that it is not self-evident. Let us imagine that I just woke up from a seemingly infinitely long nap and honestly do not know whether I am God or not.

The obvious responses come forth first and easiest...
  • My essence is trapped in a mortal body with health problems.
  • I honestly do not know how I will prevent myself from being homeless when my unemployment benefits run out this fall.
  • I have applied to nearly one THOUSAND jobs since being laid off in Fall 2009; who in their right mind wouldn't hire God?
  • I have a contradictory needs which I cannot reconcile.

These things must prove that I am mortal and therefore not God, right? But wait just a minute: Jesus was a mortal man while, in a beautifully quantum way, also being God. Jesus may have lived a "perfect life" but He was born into an imperfect world with pain & suffering, He ministered in an imperfect world with pain & suffering, and after His death and resurrection the world He left behind is still imperfect and full of pain & suffering.

So, I must look deeper to figure out whether I am God.

Many people point to how Jesus forgave people unconditionally and point out to me that I must not be God because nobody can really do that. Really? Well, let me ask you this: what do Casey Anthony, Alec Baldwin, Chris Brown, Adolf Hitler, Glenn Beck, Rick Santorum, Karl Rove, Jeffrey Dahmer, Osama binLaden, and Pontius Pilate all have in common? Simply, if each of them showed up at my church asking for me to minister to them, I would do so without hesitation. Without judgment.

So, such a deep capacity to forgive and not sit in judgment over another person, regardless of who the person is and what they have done... such a "Godly manner" as this... well, I do have that. So, we still do not know if I am God or not.

Let us look into Scripture for guidance. I cannot fly; when I tried to walk on water, I sank; I cannot make rocks into food; and I cannot magically heal people. Ah-HAH! That must be it. That must prove I am not God, right? It's obvious from the earthly life of Jesus, as recorded in the New Testament, that the Son could do all these things. But wait... there's a problem... Jesus never did these things to show off. And we're now at the Gospel record of Satan's temptations of Jesus.

Okay, this is now rather disturbing. I don't think that I am God. Why, then, am I seemingly unable to prove that I am not God?

It comes down to this: people ask me for answers to some Big and Scary Questions and the Holy Spirit replies to them through me. The Spirit tells people where the answers are; often, the Spirit directs my eyes to Biblically-based answers, often with great chapter-and-verse specificity or with real-world-based aphorisms...
  • Check out Psalm 111.
  • This is Book-of-Job stuff.
  • Galatians trumps Leviticus.
  • Galatians Galatians Galatians!
  • Sola fide. More with the text of Galatians!
  • Stop fighting a battle that Jesus won 2000 years ago.
  • There are now only 2 Commandments. Not 613, 10, or 7. Just 2.
  • BREATHE: in with Jesus, out with Satan.
  • Get out of the f'ing way and let God do His work.
  • More God, less you.
  • Don't tempt God.
  • Stop living in the shadows.
  • Tell the truth. Repeatedly. Fully. Loudly. ALL OF IT.
  • "I'm no theologian but I do know that God is a power bigger than mom & dad combined, and YOU. OWE. HIM. BIG." [-Lisa Simpson to Bart when Bart's prayer for snow to cancel school is seemingly answered]

I write about those issues in this blog. I counsel people when they ask me for help. They claim to understand my responses. They thank me, genuinely, for helping. They pretend to pay attention to me. Then, sure as shit, they ask me the same questions again. And again. I answer them again, saying the exact same things that I said the first time... twentieth time... fiftieth time... and yet, still, they keep asking me the same questions.

Thankfully, God is still speaking.

God doesn't tire of repeating His lessons over and over until His children learn. This we know to be true; the Bible shows us this over and over. And this, in the end, is how I can prove that I am not God. God doesn't get tired. Philip, a called disciple who wishes nothing more than to serve God and share the Good News of Salvation in Jesus, does get tired. I am so tired of these battles. These never-ending battles. And yet... God commands me to continue. Keep preaching the Good News. Keep helping His children.

On 17 November 2008, God worked a miracle on my behalf in front of my own two mortal eyes. It was made abundantly clear to me that this miracle came with precisely one condition: service. I am His now, I belong to Him and I will serve Him unconditionally for the rest of my life. God said it, I believe it, that settles it. I get it. But... can I ask just one favor, one tiny little request? Could I please see at least one of my parishioners receive Your guidance and fully incorporate it, fully sign on to it, and know the peace I know in Your loving Arms?

Lather, rinse, repeat.


  1. How do you know that you aren't a piece of God that is experiencing this world?

    And, I may not be one of your parishioners, per se, but I do listen to your advice and value it.

    I remind you of this story:

    Heh…a big ol' pagan quoting bible verses at you! ha! Well, at least I think this is the right one…but, it's a matter of faith, I think. Some people will have it up front, and some people need a spiritual 2x4 applied to their heads rather liberally…but I think that if you have faith that, somewhere, somehow, someone will have faith in you and know that you are speaking truth, then you've done your job, even if it's frustrating…

    also, even if you have to repeat yourself, you've still planted a seed in their brain that could get them through their darkest hour. And it could be that hope that keeps them going when you're not there...

  2. Oh how I love my Gina. You're absolutely right, of course. ;)

    It's just funny... this whole new chapter in my life is just funny beyond my comprehension. So many "higher thoughts" buzzing through me, over me, under me. Lord!