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God Is... Spirit

By Nick (My Experience As...)

Worshiping that which we cannot know

Back in the day I was very much into arguing.  I know, people are shocked and surprised at this admission but it is true.  Ok maybe I would be better off saying I was even more into debate than I currently am.  Over the course of a year or so I got into several online debates with a Mormon who was both rude and insulting. This is not to say all members of LDS (I did learn that many of them don’t like the term Mormon but the abbreviation LDS, for Later Day Saint, is less offensive) are rude or insulting, but this guy was.  It started on an old blog of mine, and moved to other blogs I participated in.

A key LDS belief is that God is a corporeal being so this guy often mocked the Christian belief that God is Spirit.  At one point he took a picture of his “Bubba Keg” and said he trapped our God in it since clearly God’s spirit has no mass or volume.

This argument doesn’t follow for many reasons, but at the very heart is a complete misunderstanding of what “spirit” really is.  Most people seem to assume it is some kind of ethereal energy, something like sentient electricity. This is an error in classification based on the assumption that “spirit” is something related to this natural order.

The basic mentality is that this Universe is made of matter and energy so spirit must be a kind of matter or energy.  Of course this is a misunderstanding of matter at the outset.  The Universe is actually made of various kinds of energy. We know from nuclear physics that matter can be turned into energy and theoretically energy can be converted to matter.  The problem is, God is eternal and so predates energy.

This isn’t to say that there is no power in God, He is omnipotent, and there is no limit to His power. There is a difference in power and energy within this context though.  His existence and will brought about energy as we know it.

If there was no “energy” prior to creation, then how did God exist? Well, he is separate from creation as “Spirit.”

Having a hard time grasping this? Yeah, me to, but there are some things we can do.

Jesus says that true worshipers will worship God in spirit and in truth. This is because we are more than this physical body. We have the breath of God in us; we have a part of our being that is spirit, not part of this universe.  We can relate to God through that part of us.  This is how we can “feel” His presence when we seek him. This allows us to “hear” His voice and “follow” His ways.  The closer we are the stronger this is.  Much like a magnet might magnetize steel and cause the steel to react; God does in our lives as well.

In fact, the magnet is probably the simplest way to explain this to children. At some point the simple explanations falls through, but try this experiment.  Get a needle, cork, bowl, water, and magnet.  Talk to your kids about how God can be felt because He put something in us that lets us know His will. While talking to them about that stroke the magnet on the needle. Explain to them how the more time we spend with God, the stronger we feel him. After making several passes with the magnet on the needle, put it in the piece of cork and float it in the water. You just made a compass. Talk about how the needle now lines up with the North Pole even though it is a long ways away because the needle was close to the magnet and become more like the magnet, now the needle can follow the bigger magnet and help guide others. 

That’s how God can work in our lives when we worship Him in spirit and in truth.  We may not notice the changes right away, but we will respond to Him more quickly and clearly over time and begin aligning to Him and pointing others to Him.

In the end we can’t fully comprehend “spirit” because it is beyond us, but since there is a spirit within us we can respond to God, who is spirit.

Nick is a husband and father to four children all of whom he loves dearly. He is also a youth pastor to over 50 students, a great writer and a whiz with computers. He has a fabulous blog where he shares his Experience as a Husband, Father, Youth Pastor, Geek and Jesus Freak. Be sure to go check it out.

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Reader Comments (2)

Awesome Bro'...I love the way you explained this!

The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Romans 8:16

April 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJay Cookingham

Great post, Nick. I grew up in a heavily populated LDS area. So there were a lot of these types of discussions around. Honestly, I think it's a good thing when there are differing views brought to the conversation. We learn a lot about each other, and for me at least, it strengthens belief in the one true God.

This is a good example of why I want my children to learn about other religions as they grow up. I want them to know and understand them so they can be more effective at explaining why they believe what they believe.

God tells us to always be ready to explain our faith and why we believe. But sometimes I think it's hard to make others understand, because there are some things you just have to experience. There are times when God reveals himself to you and it brings an understanding that you just can't explain to another person. It's where faith steps in. And faith can only live inside you when your heart is open to the Truth.

April 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGinny (MAD21)

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