Friday, April 03, 2009

"God sees Jesus, not you"--and a question

Recently I went to church and the preacher repeated a line that I've heard before. He said that God doesn't see us when he looks at us, but rather, "he" sees Jesus. The preacher made this clear by calling out the names of a couple audience members (whom i didn't know) and saying "So when God sees you ______, "he" doesn't see you, but rather he sees Jesus"

This seems in line with something Mark Driscoll said

You have been told that God is a loving, gracious, merciful, kind, compassionate, wonderful, and good sky fairy who runs a day care in the sky and has a bucket of suckers for everyone because we're all good people. That is a lie... God looks down and says 'I hate you, you are my enemy, and I will crush you,' and we say that is deserved, right and just, and then God says 'Because of Jesus I will love you and forgive you.' This is a miracle.

I don't really do the God thing so much anymore, so at one level I guess it doesn't matter. But I can't really see having much of a relationship with a god like this. I want the people I'm in relationship with to see *me*, not to pretend they like me by casting some sort of facade over me. In fact that's one of the points of relationship. If I were to do the god thing, I'd choose a god who wanted to see me.


Is this a sort of ... main or major tenet of ... "orthodox Christianity"? I mean do the Catholics belief this thing? My sense is that it's "reformed".

Do most of the people in the congregation I was at recently actually believe this? Feel like "God" is some angry fellow whose wrath must be propitiated by the death of his son, and then "he" can only look at them with a Jesus mask on them? Surely not? Maybe so? Maybe I should ask some of them.


Joe said...

I can't comment about RC thought, but it strikes me this attitude derives from the doctrines of original sin and penal substitution.

The problem being that they make little sense if you stop and think about them.

Mind you, the effect of Calvinism must be pretty strong, what will all the Total Depravity and everything.

Anyway. I'm with you, as a rhetorical device is sounds plausible, but in practice is a load of humbug. Even if we consider the biblical record, I don't see much evidence that individuals are considered to be anything other than individuals.

Megs said...

don't worry sweetheart. the people saying that are just being silly billies! i much rather the perspective of somebody i know, who, on a seawall in montevideo uruguay, when asked 'why would god love me?' replied 'because he made you, silly!'

jadeejf said...

I guess I never thought of it as a mask, so much as Jesus shining through the rough spots. I guess in my overactive imagination, I imagine me- all the good and fun and interesting parts of me intact and visible to God, and then the areas where I am truly, honestly not a very nice person- the sins that are almost boring in their non-uniqueness- I imagine those pieces as where Christ shines through. Like bright lights spilling out of a statue illuminated from the inside. Only a living, breathing statue with all its quirkiness and red hair ;) A mask doesn't sound particularly appealing, though, I agree, and those who take it that way... well, why would God create us as individuals if he just wanted carbon copies? Boooring ;P

Benjamin Ady said...


I like your metaphor a lot better. Reminded me of Leonard Cohen's anthem.

Helen said...

I think that view originated with the Protestant Reformation, so it's probably not part of Catholicism.

In Genesis 1 God said everything he made was good, except men and women, who were made in his image and who were very good.

It's interesting that the view you wrote about completely discounts what Genesis 1 says about humans.

byron smith said...

Yes, this view is a fairly late innovation and not widely shared outside particular strands of Protestantism.

God sees each of us as we are. And loves us.