Wednesday, May 9, 2012

bigger than the universe

The house that I am to build will be great, for our God is greater than all gods. But who is able to build him a house, since heaven, even highest heaven, cannot contain him? Who am I to build a house for him, except as a place to make offerings before him?
2 Chronicles 2:5-6

Solomon's work defined Israel's history. He built the first temple of God in Jerusalem. Archeologist's designations reflect this as important, as those specializing in Middle Eastern archeology still use this temple as a benchmark by designating events with the term "First Temple Period". It was a momentous occasion for Israel to build this temple. And Solomon's words to Hiram, king of Tyre, show us just how seriously he took this task.

The letter to Hiram was a trade negotiation. Solomon was generous in sending food and trade goods to Lebanon. In exchange, Hiram agreed to ship the finest Lebanese cedar for the temple's interior and to provide skilled workers for the stonework and construction of the temple. The finest craftsman in wood in all the Middle East was from Tyre. He would render his services in the work of the temple on behalf of Tyre to fulfill Solomon's request.

There is awesome theology in this diplomatic request. Solomon admits that his call is difficult. This temple would have to be great because God is great. But that physical grandeur of the temple would still be a far cry from displaying God's glory. The temple could not house God. Solomon acknowledged that nothing in all the universe could contain Him. God is bigger than the universe. The temple could only serve as a locus for mankind to worship this great God.

Solomon's theology is true. But it is an affront to the naturalistic worldview so pervasive today. Current thinkers would scoff at the thought of anything existing beyond our universe or above it. But Solomon's work and the biblical worldview both required that God be the transcendent being that He is. otherwise it frankly made little sense to go to all the trouble to build a place to worship Him.

I worship a God that is bigger than the universe. And I find that awe-inspiring. The universe is after all a REALLY BIG place. Modern physicists and astronomers are just beginning to understand the speck of it that is our home galaxy, the Milky Way. And God is beyond even the millions of galaxies our most scientifically advanced telescopes can peer into. This vast universe is just one of God's thoughts. That is why I am compelled to accept that God must be worshiped.

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