What are false God images?

What are God images?

God images are totally different. My God image is my emotional and subjective experience of God, who I feel God to be in the moment, in my bones. My God image is how my emotions, how my heart interprets God subjectively, and that interpretation of God may or may not correspond to my God concept (or reality) at any given moment. God images are often latent and unconscious. Research indicates that God images are initially shaped by the relationship with one’s parents, and that God images are heavily influenced by psychological factors. God images are always formed experientially, and they flow from relational experiences and how we construe and make sense of those experiences when we are very young. You don’t choose a God image; it is initially formed into you. And you can’t will a God image away, it’s not subject to the sheer force of your will. But you can create conditions which change your God images.

The reason other people are so important in the development of your image of God as a God of love is because your relationship with God is one of faith. None of us can physically see, touch, or hear God. So if your faith is to have relevance to your day-to-day experience of life, you need people you can physically interact with to represent and express God’s love to you. 60

What are false God images?

False god images are:

  1. Inadequate – they don’t meet your needs.
  2. Destructive – they take the Real God off the throne of your heart. 
  3. Lethal – they deceive us into thinking this is really God. 

“So man created God in his own image, in the image of man he created Him” (see Genesis 1:27). 

There is a sad truth in the rewriting of this creation account. 

We have a natural tendency to project unto God the unloving characteristics of people we look up to. We imagine God will treat us as others do.

Emotionally, we think God relates to us in the same way as our parents. 

Negative God images are often rooted in our emotional hurts and the destructive patterns of relating to people that we carry with us from our past. 

We end up subconsciously projecting onto God the negative characteristics of the people who hurt us: parents, relatives, friends, teachers, and others you’ve looked up to. 

We build an implicit religion around every god image.

Element of truth in each god image.

“Parental hangover” 

Q. What’s your reaction to the idea that we “create” God in our own image, seeing Him as like ourselves or others? Is this inevitable?

Q. Is your image of what God is like most like your image of your father, mother, yourself, or someone else? Who has been most influential in helping you develop a biblically accurate image of God? Who has hindered you in this?

Other ways to have distorted God images:

  • Misinterpreting Scripture: Example: Picking one scripture and missing the context.  
  • Church Teachings & Pastors: Example: Hellfire and brimstone preaching. 
  • When bad things happen to good people.

Bad God Images

  • Most prevalent sin against 1st commandment = defaulting to negative God images & living as if they were actually true.
  • When you act on it – that’s when it’s morally problematic – giving it to this deistic god image
  • Acting as if God was dis-interested & far away – you worshipped Him as if though he was a distant & uncaring God.
  • The more we give in to our negative heretical God images – the more they colour our God concepts – and we are headed for blasphemy…

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