Friday, October 27, 2017

Hands Of The Living God

"It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."  - Hebrews 10:31

Our view of gods, and their power, is little better than the days of the beginnings of Christianity.

To be fair, some people do not believe in a god at all, let alone the God of the Bible.  To a great many others, they believe in some sort of spiritual being, but likewise not God as He is understood in Christianity.  A third group believes in gods or spirits - not necessarily a single one but a pantheon of deities or spirits the dwell within the world, to work good or ill.

These beings' power?  Depends on your conception.  To many, I suspect, their impression is that of Marvel's Thor or D.C.s Wonder Woman: beings that wield incredible power and have amazing abilities but are human like ourselves, possessed of emotions like jealousy and rage, who either seek to defend humanity or destroy it but - ultimately - are not really all that different from it.  To others they are the kami of Shinto or the amorphous being that some define as "God":  a sort of nebulous type, mostly benevolent, with perhaps some ability to do harm to those who do wrong to others.

The Bible's God is quite different, of course.

It refers to God as The Living God, The Only God, The Existent God.  To the Christians of the 1st Century (and the Jews before them) this was stark comparison to the gods around them.  In Isaiah God speaks of those who craft idols and then worship them, who take a tree and use part of it to cook and the other part as the representation of a deity to worship.  These gods, to the Christians, were dead.

But a living God?  And the hands of a living God? A Christian of the 1st Century would have been well aware of what hands could do:  help, hurt, plant, create, kill, destroy.  Hands are the tools of the mind, one of the modes whereby thought and emotion is giving action.

It would be indeed be a fearful thing if, after a life of believing otherwise or even actively disbelieving in any sort of deity or power, to wake up into a Reality that could be scarcely imagined or dreamed of this side of death, to find that so much of what one thought wrong or wrongly was a piece of tissue paper to be torn apart by winds from a Throne dimly seen until then.

The horror - the sheer, stark, unbelievable horror - to fall into the hands of an Omnipotent, Omnipresent God. Having rejected the hand of rescue and salvation, one can only imagine such hands clenched in holy wrath.


  1. Definitely a fearsome thing.

  2. If anyone has never read it, I highly recommend Jonathan Edwards' Sinners in the hands of an Angry God. Terrifying.


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