How Relational Is Your God?

We are relational beings.  Some would say the reason for this is purely evolutionary in that it increases one’s chance of survival.  True as that may be, there is a much deeper reason for our relational nature, namely, that we were created in the image of a relational God.

The Creator of everything seen and unseen is a relational God.  The school of thought referred to as “Deism” would have us believe that upon finishing creation God simply stepped away from it, leaving it to operate completely on its own apart from any further intervention or interaction on His part.  Thankfully, this is not at all the picture that Scripture paints for us.

Scripture offers us a picture of a God who is highly relational.  One who has existed in relationship for eternity.  This picture of an eternally relational God comes to a crescendo in the New Testament but is hinted at throughout the Old.

At the very beginning, in Genesis 1, we find a God who exists and operates within relationship.  Verse 26 lets us eavesdrop on a conversation within God’s divine community, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.'”

One of the most beautiful statements about the nature of God came from the Apostle John’s pen, “God is love” (1 John 4:8).  Not that God is loving, though He certainly is, but that God is love.  Love is central to the nature of God.

One of the things about love is that it cannot exist outside of the context of a relationship.  Love without a relationship is as nonsensical as directions without a destination.

Not only does Genesis 1 reveal that God existed in relationship before man came along, but that He intended to invite man into that relationship.

Even the way in which He created man was intimate.  Each time He created something in Genesis 1 he simply spoke it into existence, “Let there be ______.”  However, when we read the account of man’s creation we find something much more intimate.

Genesis 2:7 says that God “formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils…”

The Hebrew word used for “form” here is yatsar which carries with it the connotation of something being squeezed similar to the way a potter “forms” pottery.  So, here we get a picture of God getting His hands dirty, picking up the dirt and squeezing it in His hands as He made man.  That’s an intimate picture.

Next, we have Him breathing into man’s nostrils.  This is very up close and personal, I’d say.  Certainly, the Omnipotent One who spoke light into existence didn’t need to bend down and breathe into Adam’s nostrils.  But this is how He chose to do it.

Once man is created, we don’t see God step out of the picture and become “the man upstairs.”  We see Him dwelling with man in relationship.  We find Him walking among him in the garden, conversing with him as a father with his child.

The eternally relational God created mankind for relationship and He still walks and talks with His people.

Worship leaders, we have the awesome privilege of ushering His children into intimacy with Him whenever we lead worship.  Many of His people live as “practical deists.”  They don’t live with the sense of God’s “ever-presence” in their lives.  How can we call people to live in the reality that He is ever with us, ever moving, ever speaking, ever listening, ever loving…?

Well, we can proclaim it.  We can lead songs that reflect it.  We can pray it.  We can create space for people to experience it.  And probably most effective of all, we can live it.

We are highly relational beings created in the image of a highly relational God.