Cogitation III: The I Am

From a relational perspective being immaterial must be a little tough for God, humanly speaking that is. How do you even prove you exist! To prove he exists, God has had to resort to the same device used by scientists in detecting dark matter in space. Space is mostly dark so scientists watch out for gravitational effects on visible matter. God has sometimes had to rely on such a device to prove his existence to man. The Bible says nature testifies of his power. Psalm 19:2. To get man’s attention in the Old Testament God resorted to showy, outlandish use of sign language. He would part the sea, arrive in a convoy of thunder and lightning – the equivalence of strobe lights and sirens, turn water into blood. We call them miracles.

The relationship between man and God shouldn’t ordinarily be a difficult thing, after all man is immaterial, just like God. The Bible says God is a spirit and man is a spirit. John 4:24, 1 Thessalonians 5:23. Man can relate to God “spiritually” because that’s the protocol for immaterial relationship. “Spiritual” just means extra dimensional. In order to function in a material world God has had to take on materiality. It’s why Jesus had to have a body. He donned a temporary suit for thirty three and half years to function in this realm. Hebrews 10:5. Then he upgraded the suit at resurrection. Version 2.0. You can’t function in this realm without a body suit. Once you lose your body suit you have to depart. Your time is over. We call that departure event “death.” What we’re told in scriptures is that our body suit became bio-degradable as a result of what theology calls “original sin.” That’s the citation for criminal violation by the source code of all humanity, the first Adam.
According to the Bible our body is not us. Truth is, our body is just a space suit – a very advanced space suit; though in present format of highly degraded quality. We are actually in space. If you exist on the moon going to earth will be called space travel. Just the same way we call going to the moon space travel. Our species is in space. When you step back and you consider the body you’ll discover it’s essentially a propulsion, relational, propagation and energy system for our realm. When we eat we process energy for the body. We generate waste product like all energy systems. Unfortunately man became more oriented towards his body and less aware of “himself” as a result of sin. The hardly mentioned effect of the fall of man is psychological recalibration. Because of material focus and limitation man can’t figure out an immaterial God, though he somehow knows on the inside of him God exists. Even those who deny the existence of God unwittingly acknowledge his existence by arguing against his existence. Why contend a non-existent fact?! And so the relationship between man and God after the fall has to be a difficult one. We’re literally blind as it were relying on only material evidence as proof of existence. We’re spiritually deaf as well. But the frustration has to be more with God. How does a spiritual entity communicate with someone who is spiritually blind and deaf, and who has no spiritual haptic feedback. It a slow frustrating process. Jesus HAD to come in material form. Which explains why Jesus kept saying, “If you’ve seen me you’ve seen the Father.” John 14:9. And when immaterial insights dawned on his disciples he quickly pointed out the spiritual mechanism – all because of man’s material fixation. When Peter declared him a political figure – “the Christ” or “anointed one,” Jesus told him, “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you.” Matthew 16:17.
Jesus made it plain he was going somewhere – “I go unto my Father.” John 14:12. We know from his comments there’s an extra dimensional political entity with the title, “Father.” And then he told us this “Father” will send the “Holy Spirit” to us as mentor. John 14:26. We can’t see this Spirit materially or hear him physically. The Spirit communicates using a different language protocol – light technology. It’s why things “dawn” on us, why we “see” things, have “revelation.” You “see” the Spirit’s instruction and understanding dawns on you. That “understanding” is then converted into a human language format that seems like audio, as if someone spoke to you. The Spirit’s instructions are mainly encrypted. The ability to converse with the Spirit in that protocol is DNA enabled: “As many as are led by the Spirit are the sons of God.” Romans 8:14. And so we do know from the words of Jesus that there is another governmental entity called the Holy Spirit. John 14:26. His jurisdictional ambit now includes certain segments of humanity.
The reality of man as a spirit functioning in a material world necessarily means multiplication will be very complicated stuff. Every child has to be born with the space suit we call the “body,” or he won’t survive. Man produces that space suit. It’s genetic material. But God creates the spirit and energises the new entity. It’s kind of programmed. That was what Prophet Isaiah was trying to convey when he wrote: “Thus saith God the Lord… he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein.” Isaiah 42:5 KJV. It’s also what Elihu, the friend of calamity struck millionaire, Job was trying to convey when he said, “For the Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” Job 33:4 NLT. It is because of the immateriality of God that our conception of God is nebulous. Ask the average person what God looks like and he’ll be stumped. And for good measure. God knew it’s going to be hard to define him. When Moses asked for definition he simply told him, “I am.” That kind of definition creates consternation. What was Moses supposed to tell the Israelites – “‘I am’ sent me!”? “Then Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the people of Israel and I tell them, ‘The God of your fathers sent me to you’; and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ What do I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I-AM-WHO-I-AM. Tell the People of Israel, ‘I-AM sent me to you.’” Exodus 3:13‭-‬14 MSG. In other words, God needs no introduction or definition. He’s cognizable. But think about it, you introduce yourself as the putative leader of a liberation movement and when asked who is backing you, you say someone called, “I am!” Very funny. Only God wasn’t joking or trying to be cryptic. In his original plan he would never have needed introduction to man. Man was supposed to be in the know. The knowledge just is. “I am who I am.” ‬‬‬
Till today God expects man to just know him. And the truth is, we all just know him. No one knows how we know about God. We all just know. But the really uncomfortable truth for the religious mind is, God has always had a problem with how to introduce himself. What name can containerise the excessive dimensions of such a personage? It’s why he didn’t bother to introduce himself in Genesis. The scriptures just begin with, “In the beginning, God…” Which is ironic considering the fact he’s a timeless entity introducing himself through time – “In the beginning…” And so the first statement in Genesis is full of paradoxes – a timeless entity introducing himself through time; a dimensionless entity introducing himself with space – “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…” Genesis 1:1. God is a paradox. He’s always had a problem defining himself to man. He told Moses: “This is what you’re to say to the Israelites, ‘God, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob sent me to you.’ This has always been my name, and this is how I always will be known.” Exodus 3:15 MSG.
In other words God defined himself by association – “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.” Exodus 3:15. But before the family of Abraham his definition was a difficult philosophical concept – “I AM.” But what is more interesting is that God imagines his confidence is supposed to rub off on us. The more real he is to you the more this confidence is supposed to rub off on you. We call that confidence “faith.” This is what he told Moses: “Now be on your way. Gather the leaders of Israel. Tell them, ‘God, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, appeared to me, saying, “I’ve looked into what’s being done to you in Egypt and I’ve determined to get you out of the affliction of Egypt and take you to the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, a land brimming over with milk and honey.” “Believe me, they will listen to you. Then you and the leaders of Israel will go to the king of Egypt and say to him: ‘God, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness where we will worship God — our God.’” Exodus 3:16‭-‬18 MSG. ‬Imagine going to Stalin in those days, or any other notable tyrant and saying that to him. Pharaoh was a tyrant and world power. Moses was in no position to bargain with Pharaoh. How?! And yet he went confidently. All he had was a staff of office – a shepherd’s staff representing the Great Shepherd of Israel. He had come to gather his flock. Our confidence must come from God. The confidence of God must rub off on us. Exodus 3:16-18. That’s faith. In quietness and confidence lies your strength. Isaiah 30:15. The unnameable God has a knack for coming through in impossible situations. When God defines himself “I am…” he gives us the latitude of filling in the blank spaces. When he undertook the “I am…” exercise himself, filling in the blank spaces, he came up with, “I am THAT I am.” When God says “I am THAT ‘I am’” he’s referencing his reputational asset and antecedence. He’s saying in effect, “Don’t you know me?” I am that dude who parted the Red Sea. I am that guy who destroyed Pharaoh.” He’s saying, “I am that God you’ve been hearing about. I am THAT I am!” It’s why David wrote, “Your name, O Lord endures forever, your fame, O Lord, is known to every generation.” Psalm 135:13.‬‬
Later God came up with, “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” That blank space allows for variables. God allows us to define him. What an honour! God will be to you what you imagine him to be. Your definition of God is determined by your personal knowledge, expectations and experience. If what you know God to be is “Deliverer,” he will be deliverer to you. If what you know God to be is “Healer,” he will be healer to you. Your understanding defines God for you. It’s why some can relate to God as very particular about “head covering” and against jewellery, and some don’t. The same God dispenses mercy to all. The same grace covers all. How we see God is how God relates to us. God left clues all over scriptures to help us fill in those blank spaces. In Genesis for example he introduced himself as a genius. He’s the creative intelligence who did all the conception and ran all the computational algorithms of creation. In Exodus we see the liberator and commander-in-chief who destroyed the military might of Egypt. This after destroying her economic base. Egypt never recovered, till today. She ceased to be world power. It’s how God ended up with all sorts of names given him by Israelites – “El Elyon” means “God most high”; “El Roi” is “The God who sees”; “El Shaddai” is “Almighty God.” “Yahweh Jireh” is “The God that will provide”; “Yahweh Nissi” is “The Lord is my banner”; “Jehovah Rapha” is “The Lord who heals you”; “Yahweh Shalom” is “The Lord is peace.” The Israelites filled in the “I Am…” blank spaces.
What is God to you? Who is God to you? God is creative, extremely intelligent… so intelligent he IS intelligence; he’s not ashamed of his friends, is extremely loyal… God is kind and considerate, very confident, even bashful; he roots for the underdog, is unimaginably powerful; he’s a brilliant writer, a conceptual artist… God is all these plus more. For such a multidimensional, multitalented, multi expressionist entity the only definition that can work is, “I am.” “I am” is kind of quaint, and just succinct. And no one could have come up with such literary abbreviation than the “I am” himself. Brilliant! Just brilliant!
If you’ll like to receive Jesus into your life please pray this prayer: “Father I acknowledge that I am a sinner, that Jesus died for me, that you raised him from the dead. Father please forgive me. I accept Jesus today as my Lord and my Saviour. Amen.”
© Leke Alder |