Last week I shared a small bit of a new book I'm writing in a post called, "Awareness." It's the earliest recollection I have of being aware of God. Here's an edited and related post written a couple years ago of some thoughts on God's limitlessness. Hope you enjoy the read!
I remember my dad bringing me out to view a lunar eclipse. We gathered with some neighbors late at night, way past my bedtime. I was about four years old. It is my earliest remembrance of childhood and God. As we awaited the eclipse in the moonlit night, my dad explained how the universe, the stars and galaxies, had no known end. He was a mechanical engineering student at the time, so his viewpoint was scientific rather than theological.
It would be almost six decades later before he came to know God personally, yet that night, he unwittingly put the fear of God in me. Not like a preacher might, but because he spoke of the universe being limitless.
The idea of the universe having no end-point scared me. It made me feel small. Of course—I was! Not just as a child, but as one human within the vastness of the universe. Even the lunar eclipse declared God's power and majesty to me that night. But did I fully understand what was taking place? Not hardly! Did I really understand the limitlessness of deep stellar space? Of course not. Yet I did have a sense that God was much greater than the universe, even though my dad hadn't spoken of God.
I still don't grasp the limitlessness of the universe, or of eternity, nor God. Isn't that the point of faith? Obviously, if I (or anyone else) could fully comprehend God's eternal nature and existence, then God would be no greater than my mind or understanding. This is how an atheist is limited—he doesn't see beyond himself. Seeing beyond ourselves is a requirement of faith (Heb 11:6).
The night of that lunar eclipse I began to see beyond myself. This was a beginning point of faith for me. In the Psalms it says, "The heavens declare the glory of God" (Psalm 19:1). Somehow, through my dad's words, God began to reveal Himself to me. My first sense of God was His limitlessness.
This must be the reason I have a strong reaction towards the restrictiveness of religion, legalism, and dogmatism. Each one tends to quantify and objectify God's eternal nature. Each puts limits on He who is limitless.
We all tend to put limits on God whether we realize it or not. Man has a propensity for putting a fence around God—some form of limitation. Why? The simple answer is it makes God manageable for us, and in some self-deluded manner puts us in control. Now don't get me wrong, I like control and limits just like the next person! It's a way to cope when life is spinning out of control. But I don't see this as a good nor helpful thing where God is concerned.
The apostle Peter speaks to "God's chosen people" in the opening of his first epistle (1 Peter 1:1). He speaks of God knowing them long ago, and choosing them to lead godly lives. Many want to explain how God has set certain limits on people and life. Yet, Peter strongly encourages believers to see how God has removed limitations and constraints on their lives. He exhorts them to cast off the limitations of life in this world through the power of God's limitless favor and power, and to persevere in their faith.
We may see the word chosen and interpret it's meaning as special. God spoke strongly to His chosen people, Israel, that this was a wrong view of the word chosen. The same holds true for those of us within the church.
One group of believers sees this as a restriction upon who is included, while another group sees it as a limitation of God's favor extended. Either way it is a restriction man is imposing based on a limited understanding of God.
Nearly six decades later, I still marvel with childlike faith in God's limitlessness. I've come to see it in a much simpler light. Daily I see how important it is to live by faith—an utter confidence in God who is limitless. The universe may seem endless, but it's finite to Him who created it and me.
Asking the following questions from time to time, even daily, can be of great value. How do I impose limitations on God? How am I living under the constraints of this world, rather than the limitlessness of God's favor?