Monday, August 30, 2010

God From the Machine

By Gerald Cowan

The expression Deus ex machina (literally - God from a machine) is a literary device. When an author was not able to bring his work to proper resolution some cliche, magic, or divine pronouncement was used. Of course it is artificial and improper. God is often called upon today when people cannot resolve conflicts or sort out the affairs of their lives. That too is artificial and improper. The mistakes made in human relationships with God fall into two categories, both common failures.

(1) Expecting too much of God. Believe it or not, some things are not possible for God to do, because He has set limitations upon himself. Here are a few errors in this category:
* Somebody up there likes me.
* God will save us all, somehow.
* God will always be there for us.
(2) Expecting too little of God. Ours is not an age of great faith. Doubt, fear, self-sufficiency, etc. lead one to expect and receive very little from God. Here are a few errors in this category:
*Want to feel independent.
* Do not want to burden God.
*Do not believe God will do anything.
*Do not believe that God actually can do anything.

We need to stop making these mistakes. The remedy is simple: Let man be man (limited in knowledge, ability, and time); let God be God (all knowing, all powerful, never changing, and absolutely eternal.

Man should use his mind to know and trust God. Man should use his abilities to obey and serve God. When man knows, trusts, and obeys God he will have a sure and certain hope for his life in the future and for eternity.

- Gerald Cowan preaches for the Dongola church of Christ in Dongola, IL. He may be contacted at

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