Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Fear of a Holy God

I love this quote from R.C. Sproul's The Holiness of God. He's referencing Mark 4:35-41.

“Freud said we invent a God who has power over the earthquake, flood and disease. God is personal. We can talk to Him. We can try to bargain with Him. We can plead with Him to save us from the destructive forces of nature. We are not able to plead with earthquakes, negotiate with floods or bargain with cancer. So, the theory goes, we invent God to help us deal with these scary things.

“What is significant about this scriptural story is that the disciples’ fear increased after the threat of the storm was removed (Mark 4: 39-40). The storm had made them afraid. Jesus’ action to still the tempest made them more afraid. In the power of Christ they met something more frightening than they had ever met in nature. They were in the presence of the holy. We wonder what Freud would have said about that. Why would the disciples invent a God whose holiness was more terrifying than the forces of nature that provoked them to invent a god in the first place? We can understand it if people invented an unholy god, a god who brought only comfort. But why a god more scary than the earthquake, flood or disease? It is one thing to fall victim to the flood or to fall prey to cancer; it is another thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

R.C. Sproul – The Holiness of God

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