In fact, it’s probably a necessary question. It stems, I think, from a fundamental logic problem. Can God change? Does God change?
If it is possible for God to change even one tiny bit, even one atom – whatever a God atom is – in a billion years, then it seems to me the crack is wide open for all sorts of shifts. Little slips and big quakes and even an occasional cataclysm.
The Psalmist in 77 can only see God in the rearview mirror of the Ford Fairlaine of life. “Surely you’ve done some rockin’ good stuff God, but I have no idea where you’re hanging out these days. Not here for sure. Been a long time since we’ve seen you on this blue highway.”
So what’s up when God goes AWOL?
Maybe it’s impossible. Just our perception of things. Maybe God actually can’t change. That’s a real Phillip K. Dick mind warp. The problem of omnipotence being that you can’t stop being omnipotent. Ouch. Does that mean a missing God has always been missing? Always unattainable? If God can’t change, then God can’t change in relationship to me. My relationship right now must pretty much be what it was and what it will be. Forever and ever. Amen.
Or maybe God was never there to begin with. Reports of divine existence having been greatly exaggerated.
Or maybe God is mutable. Maybe God – if God has a mind – changes it on well-formed human arguments and supplications. If Abraham convinces God to make some ethical adjustments – is he smarter than God? Did he know what God needed to know before God knew it? Or maybe God just changes accidentally. Not on purpose. Can God knock over a lamp on the way to the fridge at midnight?
Or maybe God’s seeming mutability is just a party trick. God pretends to be mean to the people in Sodom and Gomorrah and Abraham plays his role and it makes a great story. Free will takes a bashing, but it all works out in the end. If you like salt and brimstone.
Frankly, none of it makes any sense to me at all.
So I’ve got to side with the psalmist on this one. I’ve heard some great stories about what God has done. Even so, I look around the world and I don’t see much God in it.
All I have is faith. And not so much of that.
My picture of the week to accompany Psalm 77 is an abandoned church in the New Mexico high desert. It looks like God’s house, but it’s only a house of ghosts.