The Triple-O G….Jealous?
Ok, it’s been forever and 3 months, and now I finally decided to post a blog! Yay! (No confetti)
In case you’re pondering…triple-O G is omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient God!
So I was thinking (as I normally do, since the forever and 3 months), about the cliché sayings of the religious who proclaim to know God based on what they’ve heard and read, rather than their experience with Him. One thought that came across was how God is considered a “jealous God”. I figured, before I get started into challenging this, I’d go seek an answer from a religious source to explain this before I analyze, deduce, induce and begin the experimental phase of discovering an answer for myself; despite the fact that I KNOW that God has no reason to be jealous of His creation unless He truly desires just because He can. I pulled an answer from Sue Bohlin, a bible teacher and conference teacher. http://www.probe.org/site/c.fdKEIMNsEoG/b.5345915/k.44F4/If_Jealousy_Is_a_Sin_Why_Is_God_a_Jealous_God.htm
If jealousy is a sin, then why does God say He is a jealous God?
She replies: Great question. Not understanding this distinction was Oprah’s point of departure from orthodox Christianity, when she heard that God is a jealous God, and her reaction was, “What? God is jealous of me?”
There is a difference between holy jealousy and sinful jealousy. Holy jealousy means that one is appropriately possessive of something that belongs to him or her. For example, I am not willing to share my husband’s heart or body with any other woman because he is mine. I’m happy to share his gifts and energies with the body of Christ and the larger world, and I even love to see that happen, but I want his heart and soul to be exclusively mine. That is a kind of holy and entirely appropriate jealousy.
Sinful jealousy is the desire to have something that doesn’t belong to us; another word is envy. When we want something God has not given to us, such as other people’s fame, or material goods, or a job, or favor, or a spouse, that is a sin. Sometimes we see this in a jealous person who wants all the attentions of their loved one to be directed to themselves. I have seen people who fly into a rage when they learn that their spouse or significant other has talked on the phone with anyone, or had any kind of conversation with a third person. Such a jealous person desires to have a level of exclusivity that doesn’t belong to them.
God exhibits holy jealousy because our love and adoration rightfully belong to Him; He is jealous with a holy jealousy when we love and worship false gods in idolatry. His kind of jealousy is not sinful because we belong to Him and He created our hearts to belong to Him as well.
Now, don’t get this misconstrued, I definitely understand her point. She’s done a fair job of “defending God’s righteousness” by a) not quoting scriptures to support her answer, and b) by implementing an absurd double standard in the definition of jealousy, and c) not defining jealousy. No need for the scriptures, Exodus has loads of examples. Hmmm, maybe my comment was a projection of my own jealousy; like, how fair is it that I’m sinning when I’m jealous (meaning: under a condition [emotion]) that someone possesses what I lack yet yearn, while God is excused as being Himself when He’s jealous? I do understand Sue’s translation, though. According to her (or rather, biblical description/doctrine) God’s jealousy is justified because He deserves recognition for all gifts that He gives. Strangely enough, it’s jealousy out of love. This isn’t a question of justification, though. All emotions are justified. It’s a matter of control. As a parent, I don’t own my child, nor am I obligated to him. I love him because that’s who I am. If he calls someone else daddy, however, I think I would be jealous in this case. So, I guess I would be entitled to “holy jealousy” in this case. If I truly love him, it won’t matter right? Because I can’t change his mind; however, I can change the way I feel about it. And I’m sure God can do the same thing. Maybe it’s my radical way of thinking that’s making me confused on the matter; or maybe I’m not confused (shrugs) anyway, let’s observe how the dictionary defines jealousy.
1. Resentment against a rival, a person enjoying success or advantage, etc., or against another’s success or advantage itself.
2. Mental uneasiness from suspicion or fear of rivalry, unfaithfulness, etc., as in love or aims.
3. Vigilance in maintaining or guarding something. Jealousy is viewed as a condition that disposes symptoms as a result of behavior patterns.
I highlighted the words in bold to paint a picture in the human sense. These definitions imply that there is a “threat” or “present danger” that hinders the “jealous entity” from existing, evolving, being, or achieving. I don’t like how jealousy is used in this context with God because it infers that God can be threatened. So, the question that surfaces from underneath this sea of confusion: in spite of who, where, and what He is, what reason does God have to be jealous of anything?!
Now, yes, I understand that He desires what best for us in spite of our own interest. Maybe what I don’t agree with, in the nature of the relationship, is God giving me options that He doesn’t desire me to choose. It’s very misleading. He plays the bad guy and the good guy? But, aye, versatility has its benefits though. I feel that the more rational (and by rational, I mean convenient) thing to do is disperse of all the worst options from my path. But that would be unloving, and a form of injustice, right? Furthermore, it would be impossible because “the best option” cannot exist in the absence of the worst option. If all He presented were the best options, then essentially I wouldn’t have a “choice” – free will would be nonexistent, because there’s only one available choice – the best choice. To expound on the character of God in this case, this occurrence would negate His righteousness/fairness. Fairness is synonymous to justice and balance, which exist to reveal the full spectrum of life’s structure. So, conclusively, this web of complexity means that there is a system in place to show off His awesomeness for our enjoyment (and His). We admire Him, He admires us, and everyone is smiling in harmony in the midst of that which is not ahem…best for us.
And, yes, giving praise and worship (for the non-religious – credit, acknowledgement, and respect) to material things, false gods (ahem… idols, for the non-religious), and people as the source of life (joy/happiness/etc), is a form of disrespect to the design (nature and order of the universe) and the Architect that is God. The question posed here is a rational one: why do I pay homage to God for my (our) success/progression/evolution in this perfect design called life? The “direction” of praise and worship is similar to annotating work citations in a dissertation. No idea is original, and nothing here is owned, but borrowed and shared. When you borrow something, you say “thank you”, because without the lender, you wouldn’t have been able to create, obtain, evolve, or progress. Plagiarism is not welcome in the academic community because it’s dishonest and ineffective to the betterment of the collective conscious. Well, idolatry works the same way. So, realistically, we give honor for honor that was given; ok… realistically you give honor as a statement of who you are – but aye, the choice is yours, and I’m not judging because we can all co-exist. This is a simple matter of recognition and awareness of this complex machine that is God and the universe. Now, another question bubbles from underneath this vast sea of mystery: why would God be jealous for NOT receiving recognition?
Jealousy is jealousy. As stated before, it is a condition; jealousy is not an action. It is an emotion; a feeling. Why is jealousy a sin when you’re simply feeling discomfort at the sight of something unfavorable? Some believe that anger is a sin. Yet the Old Testaments depicts God as vengeful and angry. But that’s justified, you say? So is my anger. It’s only fair. But, I won’t get into that because the point is….having an emotion is NOT a sin. Why? You are experiencing a truth about who you are in relation to something outside of yourself. How you act on this feeling, will be a statement of your heart.
Jealousy is also a product of an egotistical mindset. The mind of an ego is ambitious and possesses insatiable desires that it’s willing to use any means to appease; even if it means at the harm of others. Hence, the ego has enemies, because the ego recognizes itself as lacking in relation to an individual that is in possession of that which gives it power. Life, to the ego, is about winning, attention, possessing, controlling, owning and dominating. The ego is self centered, competitive, and believes the world should submit to its power. The ego is uncompromising, disavows the concept of sharing, and it despises neglect and rejection, unless it happens to others.
The pro in this type of spirit… you have the world, the con…you warrant some bad karmic experiences in the process. Hyper-vigilance is not fun, and when you PERCEIVE everyone to be your enemy, there’s a lack of trust, which builds insecurity and fear.
However, Mrs. Bohlin’s proclaims that when God is jealous, it does not reflect the previous, mentioned, but rather that God is “exempt” from the emotional tidal waves that come along with it. I’m not so worried about the sinfulness of jealousy at this point, but rather the experience. Does God get emotional when things don’t flow accordingly? Personally, I think not. I can’t imagine an all-powerful, free loving, confident, just, and all-knowing God going:
“(In 2000 decibel Wolverine voice) AAAAARGH! Come on!!! You’re gonna give props to the wooden donkey for this season’s harvest!!?? AAAAAAAAARRRRGH!! And you’re gonna give thanks to the copper statue with an oblong-shaped head and three horns for a child that I gave you? OOOOOH WEEEE! You really don’t know, do ya? You reaaaaally don’t know!! If I didn’t have so much compassion and understanding…ugh! You’d be gone! Like poof!! (cue cosmic storm in far away galaxy)
One who wants for nothing will choose not to be jealous because consciously he/she knows that nothing is owned, everything is borrowed, and he/she can experience whatever he/she chooses at will, without harm to others.
So through all the blasé, rhetoric, and relevant, the final question that’s left after combating with the few, the proud, the Marin….wait, no wrong quip. The few, the profound, and mysteriously perplexing inquiries is: would God get emotional (because that’s what jealousy is) when He understands why His creations would behave in the manner that they do?
I’ll say this much….He can, but that doesn’t mean He will. My experience hasn’t shown Him to be jealous except through me (since we are one). What does your experience with Him tell you?