Malphanx vs. God

[Note: This post contains references to The Inventor’s Slave.  If you have an aversion to spoilers, you may want to consider reading the book first.]

Would you want to be at the mercy of someone like Malphanx?

I didn’t think so.  After all, if you had to work for him, this is what it would be like:

  • He would demand you surrender your whole life to him, but he wouldn’t value or protect you in return.
  • He would constantly remind you that he’s the boss and you’re not.
  • He would find cruel ways to punish you for thinking for yourself, because you’re not allowed to have your own opinions or ideas about anything, and you’re certainly not allowed to question his decisions or his rules.
  • He would abuse you and then justify it with his knowledge of the world.
  • He would order you to do dangerous things without caring what they’d cost you.
  • He would give you impossible commands but not provide you with the resources you needed to complete them.
  • He would punish you when you failed, even though there was no way you could have succeeded with the cards all stacked against you.
  • He would blame you when his plans didn’t work out, and, because you’d gotten used to how he treated you, you’d eventually believe his failures really were your fault.
  • His idea of comforting you would be reminding you of how dark, terrible, and bleak the world was, and no matter how hard you tried to do your best, you would always fall short and he would always be right.
  • On the rare occasion that you would screw up the nerve to ask him for something, he would either punish you for your insolence or give you what you asked for – in some terrible, twisted way that made you wish you’d never brought your needs to him.
  • Then, finally, when you fail to achieve his unreasonable demands and he makes you suffer for it, he will tell you that your failure and your death are due to your own flaws and weaknesses, not his epic violence or impossibly unattainable standards.

Unfortunately, a lot of people are under the impression that God is just like Malphanx.

Read that list again.  Have you ever met anyone whose words or actions have reflected a belief that God treats them like that?

I’ve encountered this idea of God a lot over the years, but the place where it’s most prevalent is the church.

I’ve known so many Christians who believe that God is someone to be feared because He’s all about punishing people who can’t live up to His high standards.  They’re afraid of failure because they believe they have to do everything on their own strength.  They believe that God is a hard master, even to the point of being criminal, but they won’t admit it because they think they’re not “allowed” to voice their true opinions to Him.

But I want you to know:

God is nothing like Malphanx.

God has compassion on all that He has made.  He knows His standards are too high for us.  That’s why He sent His Son to die for us.  He made a sacrifice that we could never make so that we could share in the rewards of something impossible for us to accomplish.

He never calls us to do things without also equipping us.  He always provides the resources we need to do the things He asks of us.  He is our Comforter, closer than a brother.  He is the only one who won’t abandon us when things get rough.  He knows our deepest desires and is the author of our best qualities.  He delights in delighting us.

Some people might tell you that God is indeed like Malphanx, that all the items of that list apply to Him.  But that isn’t God.  That’s the spirit of religion, which opposes God, and is seeking to keep people from Him.  There is only One Way to true Life, and that’s through Jesus Christ.  Don’t let the spirit of religion trick you into living a life of hopeless slavery when you could have the freedom of eternal life.

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