Putting God in a Box

We live and work in the tangible world, meaning that we tend to understand better those things that we can see, feel, touch and experience in person. It is especially so with those things that have a physical presence. We have a strong need to understand nearly everything that we experience. We have a little more trouble with the intangible. With the intangible, our minds wander and imagine things that we can in no way know for sure. That said, we develop our ideas on things in our lives based upon our experiences. And then we take those experiences and put them neatly away in our minds.

I once saw a humorous video about how the minds of women work compared to the minds of men. It described how in the mind of a woman everything is connected and constantly moves from one thing to another. Men’s minds on the other hand work very differently. The video explains a man’s mind as being very compartmentalized, as if it is full of boxes. Each box only holds one thing and none of the boxes can overlap or touch one another. This rationale explains how it becomes very easy for the men in our lives to become confused when we disagree with them. To them whatever we are discussing is only about X, but to us women our discussion is not only about X, but the rest of the alphabet included. I find this concept about men having “boxes” in their mind very fascinating.

Now, back to the subject of our experiences, each and everyone of us also tend to take all those experiences that we understand, and those that we don’t understand, and put them into boxes – men and women alike. I know that I like to have things neat and orderly. I also like to feel that I am in control of situations and things. For a typical “type A” personality this idea of not being able to understand something of great importance is a hinderance to me. I want to know it and once I know it, I put that information in my mind (and hopefully remember it).

But God is something else. He has certain attributes that make it hard for us to understand. That’s because, we are not God. We cannot fully understand God. His nature is supreme. He is perfect; we are imperfect. He is all-seeing; we have limited vision. He is all-knowing; we have limited knowledge. He is all-powerful; we have limited power. He is pure; we are impure. I could go on and on, but I think that you get the picture.

Knowing this, then why do we try to put God in a box? Why do we think that we can totally know God’s mind and nature, when it is truly unfathomable? On this side of Heaven, we may never know why God chooses to do some of the things that He does, nor we may not know why God lets some things happen. If we choose to follow God, then we must choose to accept that we in our finite minds will never be able to understand God’s infinite wisdom and nature. So what do we do with that? Well, I think that’s where faith comes into the picture. We must walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).

And in walking with God, we need by faith to accept God’s ways. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.” Isaiah 55: 8-9. We simply cannot put God in a box and try to understand with a finite mind what God in his infinite wisdom is doing. We need to rely on the fact that God has a bigger picture in mind. We can however ask God to give us wisdom and understanding (James 1:5). And, after that, we can only trust that God works out all things for good and His purposes will prevail (Romans 8:28 and Job 42:2).

So, I would like to repeat this thought – we cannot put God in a box, He’s much more complex than that, and when we to try to put Him in a box, it truly does us a real disservice.

P.S.: If you would like a chuckle and want to see this humorous video about how men’s minds differ from women’s minds here’s the link: https://youtu.be/0BxckAMaTDc

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