The other day, I was looking through some Hubble space telescope pictures in preparation for teaching at Emmaus. Here are four samples, but you can see more of this at Hubble’s web site.
(Click if you want a bigger view…)
I started looking through these pictures after reading a chapter in Dallas Willard’s book, The Divine Conspiracy. The title of the chapter is “What Jesus Knew: Our God-Bathed World.” In it, Willard explores the idea that God is infinitely joyous.
He talks about how the beauty of the earth around us stirs us to a great sense of awe and peace. But as beautiful as this planet is, it is a mere fraction of what God has available for his constant enjoyment!
Consider Psalm 68:32-33, where the psalmist says that God “rides upon the highest heavens, which are from ancient times.” I envision the Creator of the universe “riding” around and enjoying these highest heavens, full of satisfaction and joy.
Does this image of God startle you? Have you ever thought that God is an infinitely joyous and happy being? If we read the Gospels carefully, we’ll see that Jesus’ teachings do not allow us to view God as “a morose and miserable monarch, a frustrated and petty parent, or a policeman on the prowl.”*
Perhaps the reason that we are so resistant to seek to know God is that our picture of God is shallow and inaccurate. No one could stay motivated to follow a miserable God. Only a God of unbridled happiness could attract us to a life of meaningful growth and transformation.