There once was an old mystical box, discovered by three wise philosophers while they walked on their pilgrimage. This box, they could see from its exterior as it sat on the ground untouched, was ancient and much worn in appearance. As the three of them sat down around it, with the box in the middle of the three, they began to converse about what was contained within the box. Each of them had their own idea about what was inside. The first one judged that it must hold a great treasure inside. For certain, as large as the old wooden box was, there must be all sorts of riches there for them to divide and to enjoy for the rest of their lives. The second one decided that it must contain ancient knowledge, perhaps recorded on scrolls or tomes of some sort. Knowledge, the wise man asserted to the other two, was the greatest treasure of all, and surely a box of this grandeur would be reserved for only the most special sort of revelation for only the wisest of men.
“Nay,” said the third, “There is nothing in the box.” With such assertion did he make this statement, the other two began to lose hope in their own assessments, of which they were so convicted only moments before. Discussing it a little while longer, it was decided with certainty that the box, which lay still untouched between them, must absolutely be empty, And with that, the three wise men rose, set their eyes on the path ahead, and left the box laying where it was found.
I am sure I do not need to elaborate on the extent of the “wisdom” these men possessed. Who knows what treasure might have been shared, had they only decided to open the box and look for themselves what lay inside. We instantly recognize the foolishness of such a story. But how often do we treat the packaging of the word, “God,” in just the same manner, and consider ourselves wise for having even pondered the meaning of the word.
Many thousands of “wise” men have conjectured that God is this or God is that. And many more millions, indeed billions, have taken their word for it and walked on, leaving the work to those who assert the loudest. And they walk, leaving the Great Treasure behind, untouched. Not many people today will shy away from talking about God, but the real question is, what do they mean when they say the word, “God.” Post-modern thought, which for the most part denies absolutes, will tell you that God is whatever you wish to make it. And believe me, when you start asking the right questions, the variety of answers you get will astound you.
It amazes me how many times someone mentions God, and people take that word at face value, as if everyone agrees what’s in the box without question. No one (or at least not many) stops and says, “Wait a minute, what do you mean by that word, ‘God?'” The reality is, that God exists apart from you or I, and so He is what He IS, regardless of what you or I say He is.
The challenge for us today is to ignore those who assert they know who or what God is, realize that God is something that mankind simply does not have the pleasure or the right to invent, and no matter WHAT He is, God is within His own right to simply BE, without any input or help from us to Be it. We may either recognize it or not. We may worship him or not. We may hate him or not. But what we do not have the pleasure of, is inventing Him. He already is, regardless of what we say He is.
So then, the real questions start to evolve from there. Is He a sentient personality? Can He be known? Can He or Does He interact with mankind? Is He a He at all? Is He a They? Whatever the answer to these sort of questions, the answers are not at all determined by us. They must remain questions, until someone claims authority outside of himself which would grant him or her knowledge of the Creator that goes beyond what the rest of us know. Then the question must inevitably come, “What evidence of your knowledge can you bring to the table which proves you’re not a lunatic?” And that’s when the fun begins.