Why would God care about us?September 3, 2008 — Deacon Duncan
Over at Answer the Skeptic, they’ve got an article entitled “If God is so great, why would He care about us?” Here’s their answer:
Rather than saying God is too great to care about us little humans, I’d say God is great precisely because he cares about us little humans. For the essence of God’s greatness is love, and love between unequals is greater than a love between equals. A story of a prince who willingly sacrifices his whole kingdom out of love for a peasant girl demonstrates a greater love than a story of a prince who marries the daughter of a king. In this light, the story of God caring about us little humans, to the point of becoming one of us and dying for us, despite the fact that we didn’t deserve it, must be seen as the greatest love story ever told. Calvary reveals the greatest, most beautiful, most loving conception of God humans have ever dreamed of.
It’s not a bad answer, except except that the question shouldn’t even need to be asked. If God cared for us enough to show up in real life and interact with us in tangible ways that demonstrated His love for us, then the skeptic would have no need to wonder why we should believe that God cares for us little guys. God’s actions would speak louder than men’s words, and would make men’s words unnecessary.
Unfortunately, “the story of God caring” is precisely that: a story. This “loving” God whose greatness is revealed by His love and compassion for us little guys is a God who sounds really great, but who only shows up in stories that men tell. He does not show up in real life to actually interact with us in any of the tangible ways that genuine love would seek, which is why those who want to tell us how great He is end up referring to the stories that men tell about Him in His absence.
This problem seems to have bothered the author just slightly, enough to make him try to argue that there is something miraculous about the story itself.
I don’t believe humans dreamed this story up. It’s beyond what we are capable of dreaming.
This is nonsense. If anything, humans are particularly talented at thinking up stories in which Very Important Persons are preoccupied with concern for the person(s) telling the story. To say that men are incapable of imagining themselves as the focus of God’s love and attention is like saying that men are incapable of being egocentric and/or having an inflated sense of their own importance and centrality to the grand scheme of things.
Nor are the elements of the Christian story particularly unique, appearing in many earlier legends of gods caring for humans, and making sacrifices on man’s behalf, and even dying and rising from the dead. Some would even go so far as to suggest that the similarity between elements of the Christian story and prior pagan myths is, well, less than coincidental. But either way, there’s nothing so remarkable about the story itself to make it anything like “beyond what we are capable of dreaming.”
Dreams are one thing; reality is something else. While it’s nice to dream about having an intimate relationship with Someone Very Important, if that Someone never shows up in real life to actually participate in the intimate relationship you dream about, you’re only fantasizing. You’d be better off grabbing a copy of Playboy, because then at least you’d know you were fantasizing, and wouldn’t have to order your life around trying to obey what you imagine must be the demands of your “lover.” Genuine love shows up to spend time with you, in real life. If the “lover” you admire only shows up in spiritually titillating stories, it ain’t the real thing.