Would it surprise you if I said God is not religious? Do you think he is? Would you describe God as someone who is mostly interested in giving people rules to live by? Would you define a relationship with God as being blessed when you obey and punished when you disobey? In other words, do you believe God is religious in that he is all about rule-keeping? What does the Bible actually say on this topic?
Let’s start with Genesis, the first book of the Bible, where we see God’s purpose in creating mankind. Genesis 2:7 explains who God is and his motivations: “Then the Lord God formed a man out of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being.”
As we dig into this verse, we see that it reveals a fantastic love story between God and mankind. Use your imagination for a moment and become that first man. Your gender doesn’t matter; just pretend you are Adam when God created him.
Visualize how God has just taken dirt from the ground and formed every cell of your body into a perfect being. Your skin, your eyes, your ears, your hair, your arm, your legs, your face are all perfect. He is looking over you, admiring his creation. But you aren’t fully human yet. You’re lying there motionless. One more ingredient is needed to make you a real person.
God leans over your lifeless body and gently blows the “breath of life” into your nostrils.
The word breath here doesn’t mean “oxygen” but “spirit.” It means God blew the Holy Spirit into you as he was creating your human spirit. And the word life means “lives,” plural. This seems to be a clear reference to the entire Trinity entering you to live in you. As they do, you come alive and begin to breathe. Then you open your eyes, and the first thing you see is God looking at you with love.
The last part of Genesis 2:7 says you became a living being. The word being means “soul,” which is your mind, emotions, and will. Your soul has also come alive. With God living in you, only now are you fully human. You are the person he had in mind long before he created you. You are the human prototype for every human to be born after you. A human was originally designed to live in a relationship with God by God indwelling him or her. That is what makes us fully human.
What do you learn about God from this verse? You learn he is your Creator. You were his idea. You exist because he wanted you to be here. That immediately gives you a great sense of value. You also realize God has intended to unite himself with you from the beginning of time. He wanted to be your source of life. He wanted to be close to you. Why? Because the God who is love created you to live loved in the depths of your being.
Let me put it this way: God brought you into this world because he wanted to live in union with you. He wanted to have intimacy with you. Maybe you’ve heard intimacy means “In to me you see.” This means he wanted to enjoy you, and he wanted you to enjoy him.
God did not create you because he needed someone to love him. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have been fully satisfied with the love and intimacy they’ve shared together long before you and I came along. But if he didn’t need us, then why did he create us?
I hope the answer I am about to share with you blows your mind and removes any sense that God is religious.
God was so full of love that he wanted to share it with another creature with whom he could unite. He wanted to share himself with you! You’ve been invited into the fellowship of the Trinity!
This is why mankind began. This is what God is like. Just as with Adam, God created you to have a relationship with him and to live with purpose. In Adam’s case, God knew he would enjoy naming the animals and taking care of the garden of Eden. Then, after all that was started, God gave Adam only one rule, in Genesis 2:16–17:
And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
Consider the importance of these verses and put yourself in Adam’s place. God didn’t create you and then give you a bunch of religious rules to force you to worship him and love him. God gave you himself and only one rule that was intended for your good. If God were religious by nature, then he would have written down the Ten Commandments immediately and given them to everyone. But you didn’t need them because his desire from the beginning was to live in you! He wanted to be your life source and to love you from within.
Do you see now that God is not religious? We’ll discuss the purpose of the Ten Commandments later in this book, but it will all relate back to our beginning days before sin entered the world.
Of course, Adam and Eve blew it for all of us when they ate from that tree. Their sin was passed on to us when we were born. But God’s intent has been to live inside of every human being who came after Adam and Eve. Even better, in the midst of our sin, God loved you and me so much that he sent his Son, Jesus Christ, for two reasons.
First, so Jesus could be exalted before all creation. Second, so God could live in you, which he has always wanted to do. His plan to live within you has never changed. He has always wanted to love you and for you to love him. Contrary to what you may have heard or felt, you can’t make God stop loving you, because he is not religious.
If you have believed God is religious, we can help you get deprogrammed from that legalistic view and reprogrammed with a grace view. You can attend our Advanced Discipleship Training online from anywhere in the world or in our Charlotte office. Here’s the details.