Russell and Duenes

The “Big Man Upstairs” is burning with anger against you

with 4 comments

I heard someone mention the “Big Man Upstairs” euphemism yesterday and it really began to bother me, even more than it usually does.  It isn’t really an issue of theology that bothers me, but rather a carefree attitude about who God is and how we are to respond to Him.  I find it interesting that people in our lives who command a certain type of respect, say the President of the U.S., is still called “Mr. President” after he leaves office- even if he was an immoral person or terrible president.  We don’t call Jimmy Carter “That peanut farmer from down south” or Bill Clinton “That whore-monger who is using the city of Harlem for his own political gain” when we are trying to discuss their credibility as a former president.  If I was hired by Microsoft and happened to meet Bill Gates face to face, I don’t think I would call him “Billy” or “the Gatester.”  I wouldn’t call Desmond Tutu “That smiling dude in Africa” or Mother Teresa “That leathery lady in the white coat and hood.”  We revere people like them and treat them with due respect and honor.

Frankly, it is not just a horribly ill-conceived and offensive comment to refer to God in this way, but rather irrational to boot.  God is not just “Big.” He is infinite.  He isn’t just “upstairs.” He is everywhere.  He isn’t just some Jabba the Hut figure who happens to be kind, benevolent and organize our weather patterns.  He is the most glorious and holy entity that can ever exist for all eternity. God is righteously burning in anger against our flippant attitudes toward His nature and being.  We mock the God of the Universe when we think of Him as some old man in the sky.  He isn’t your kindly grandfather.  He isn’t your Genie.  He isn’t some important guy we have to talk to once in a while.  This scorns God and shames us.  Jonathan Edwards once said of mockers: “They are now the objects of that very same anger and wrath of God that is expressed in the torments of hell: and the reason why they don’t go down to hell at each moment, is not because God, in whose power they are, is not then very angry with them; as angry as he is with many of those miserable creatures that he is now tormenting in hell, and do there feel and bear the fierceness of his wrath. Yea, God is a great deal more angry with great numbers that are now on earth, yea, doubtless with many that are now in this congregation, that it may be are at ease and quiet, than he is with many of those who are now in the flames of hell.”



Written by Michael Duenes

June 10, 2010 at 3:37 pm

4 Responses

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  1. Hey Hudson, what do you think of what Mike said about God being angry?
    4-year-old Hudson’s reply, “No, He nice.”
    [apology to those readers who don’t know the inside joke expressed above]

    Duke Dillard

    June 10, 2010 at 11:59 pm

  2. Reading Tozer’s Knowledge of the Holy right now: he agrees with you. And that was 60 years ago, I wonder what he would have to say today.

    Andy M.

    June 11, 2010 at 11:25 am

  3. Jonathan Edwards said God was madder at the people sitting in his church than He was at the people in hell?

    How could Edwards possibly know something like that? Did God tell him?

    Statements like that attributed to Edwards make me not respect the guy too much.


    June 11, 2010 at 3:57 pm

  4. Bates – One thing we know for sure, Jonathan Edwards knew the Scriptures inside out and upside down. That doesn’t mean he’s right, but he certainly wasn’t just taking a stab in the dark. Second, Edwards said that God was a great deal madder at some of those in his congregation who are at ease. And I’m going to venture that his thinking is thus: Those in Edwards’ congregation, and many others on earth at the time, are well versed in the Scriptures and know the gospel and what God requires of them. Thus, they are in known rebellion against God’s word, whereas many in hell were not. And then I think Edwards’ mind would go to a Scripture such as Luke 12:47-48 – “That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” And that’s how Edwards surmises that God is more angry with members of his congregation than with some who are in hell.

    I think this to be a sound conclusion, and so my respect for Edwards remains in tact.



    June 12, 2010 at 10:24 am

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