The God I Want?
theologian and author N. T. Wright. He records his thoughts after seeing a
provocative title, THE GOD I WANT, in a second-hand bookshop.
THE GOD I WANT?
The God I Want? Left to myself, the god I want is a god who will give me what
I want. He—or more likely it—will be a projection of my desires. At the
grosser level, this will lead me to one of the more obvious pagan gods or
goddesses, who offer their devotees money, or sex or power (as Marx, Freud
and Nietzsche pointed out). All idols started out life as the god somebody
At a more sophisticated level, the god I want will be a god who lives up to
my intellectual expectations: a god of whom I can approve rationally,
judiciously, after due consideration and weighing up of theological
probabilities. I want this god because he, or it, will underwrite my
intellectual arrogance. He will boost my sense of being a refined modern
thinker. The net result is that I become god; and this god I’ve made becomes
my puppet. Nobody falls down on their face before the god they wanted. Nobody
trembles at the word of a homemade god. Nobody goes out with fire in their
belly to heal the sick, to clothe the naked, to teach the ignorant, to feed
the hungry, because of the god they wanted. They are more likely to stay at
home with their feet up.
. . . Can such a god really be God?
— N. T. Wright, FOR ALL GOD’S WORTH: TRUE WORSHIP AND THE CALLING OF THE
CHURCH. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997, p. 23. ISBN 0-8028-4319-0
[The prophet Isaiah had something to say about the difference between
Israel’s God and the homemade gods of the idol makers. If you can, take five
minutes to read Isaiah 44 with particular attention to the difference between
a god that we form and the God who says, "I have formed you."]
Have a great week,
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary