Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Most Fundamental Understanding

Everything is Relational.  Everything is Theological.  So Everything is Relationally Theological.

Before going on any further in a blog, I realized that it is rather crucial for me to explain what is probably my most fundamental belief of God and us, and well, everything really.

God is Relational
     God is relational, meaning that God exists and functions relationally always; it is His nature, His heart-pulse.  Whether it is relationship to Himself or to creation, this is what most fundamentally defines Him.  Nothing else makes sense without this understanding.  For instance, calling God holy is confusing without understanding that He (and everything) is first and foremost relational, because holiness is relational. As John Wesley said, "There is no holiness that is not social."  Holiness, whether defined as being loving or defined as being worthy or perfect, or even other-than is something that does not make sense without a relational basis.  Trying to understand God's motivation for interacting with humanity, the way He saves us, His eternal purposes, His character, the reasons He is worthy, is insensible without understanding God as relational.  Every dimension of holiness is about relationship/relation.  Even God in His preexistent splendor maintained holiness via His relationship with Himself in Triune glory. God's inherent Triune nature is evidence that God is quite fundamentally relational.

So We Are Relational
     So what does that make us, those who are made in His image?  And what does that make creation, when its creator is a relationally-obsessed Being?  It makes everything about us relational too and everything about creation relational too.  And though we are fundamentally relational in general, we are gloriously most relational with respect to God, meaning that everything we are and do is actually subsumed in relationship with Him, whether we realize it or not. If you get that everything is relational because God is relational, you're on the right track.

Everything is Theological
     But then you must add to this that everything is theological.  God is the Alpha and the Omega (Rev. 1:8, 21:6), the source of everything and the end of everything.  All things were made for Him, through Him, and to Him (Rom. 11:36).  By Him all thing exist and in Him everything has its movement and being (Heb. 2:10, Acts 17:28). Creation lives to praise Him and cries over what makes Him cry (Isa. 55:12, Psalm 19, Rom 8:19-22). Everything is about Him, whether we realize it or not, though one day everyone will (Rom. 14:11, Phil. 2:11).

So Everything is Relationally Theological
     When you add these two realities together (that God and therefore everything is relational and that everything is about God), you get the truth that everything is about relating to God. I mean this most literally.  From the big to the small.  Look at all anthropology, sociology, and hamartiology (nature of sin).  The reason you get angry at your roommate when he turns the light on while you're asleep is actually about a way that you are currently relating to God.  The reason you like certain colors is actually about a way that you know (or don't know) God.  The reason you struggle with that addiction is not because of some arbitrarily existent desire inside of you that you 'just can't seem to stop.'  It is about something substantive and relational in your being that does not know some part of God. The reason you are able to be full of delight and love (righteously) for a person is because of something you are experiencing or know of God.  The reason you enjoy your job or feel stressed in it is because of something about God that you do know or don't know.  The reason certain people are attracted to certain people is actually about how we are relating to God.  The reason cultures develop with certain norms is about a corporate acceptance or rejection of a truth about God. Everything in these categories is actually about relating to God. If you want a fun challenge, read through the New Testament and see how clear it is that sin flows out of not being in right relationship with God (meaning how each sin is inherent disconnection with a specific part of God) and righteousness flows out of loving God as He is and fearing Him as He is (meaning righteousness is inherent right connection with God).

     Even if we move to 'grander' more obviously philosophical topics, such as cosmology (the reason all things exist/the nature of the beginning) or eschatology (the end/purpose of all things), the same absolute truth remains.  It's all about God desiring to relate to us and whether or not we are doing so in a variety of specific ways.  In the more 'obviously religious' topics of soteriology (how humans are saved), missiology (the purpose of God's people in this age), ecclsiology (nature of the church), or theology (the study of God), the same is blindingly true: it is all about relation to God, to knowing this Father, Friend, Lord, Lover, King, Savior, Brother.

Do You See it This Way Really?
     To some this might seem absurd and to some this might seem obvious, but whatever camp you are in, I would challenge you to see how often you don't perceive your life this way.  How often you think things are some way 'just because they are that way' or how often do you talk to a friend about a problem in their life, maybe even a problem they have with you, without knowing that the reason those emotions are there has something to do with they way they view and are relating to God.  How often do you work to change something in your life by your own force of will, by just trying not to do it, instead of by understanding how that problem is actually flowing out of a lack of knowing God and therefore seeking to know and be with God in that way you lack!  How often do you see a problem in society, big or small, and attribute it to something other than a specific lack of a relation to God?  How often do you view salvation as the waving of a magic wand over your life instead of as relation with a Person?  How often do you view your purpose in life as task-oriented instead of love-oriented?  How often do you view the church as a machine instead of a Bride?  How often do you view eternity as vague and ethereal instead of fabulously real in everlasting, tangible relationship?  And mostly, what are your thoughts of God?  What is He like?  Who is He?


  1. This is like taking a deep breath of fresh air, or drinking hot chocolate wrapped in a blanket. =)

  2. Hahaha. Amanda Morris, you are a delightful person.