Is God Likable?

This is something Jim Burrs addresses with candor and grace here and here. It’s a tough question, an honest one, not a very Sunday-School question: Is this One we profess allegiance to a good sort of god? Is this god we hold in our hearts worthy of a passing respect, and–still more–worship? It is precisely when we take this question seriously that our faith deepens, and our “relationship with God” (so commonly bandied about in evangelical subculture) becomes genuinely relational.


The question is often posed by skeptics and atheists, but what would it look like if it came from the heart of faith and biblical literacy? My guess is it would look alot like Jack Miles’ masterful (and Pulitzer-winning) two-volume series, God: A Biography and Christ: A Crisis in the Life of God. They’re uber-challenging, and way more substantiative than many casual critiques of faith or Scripture that–by contrast to Miles–seem rather caricatured. To me Miles is the ultimate ‘frenemy’ of Christian faith as-it-exists – his reconstructive narrative should be required reading for any 21st century person of faith.

This was originally posted October 21, 20017.

6 Responses to Is God Likable?

  1. brotherjohnny October 21, 2007 at 5:04 am #

    Sure, I like Him.

  2. Peter K Bell October 21, 2007 at 5:12 pm #

    He likes you, too!

  3. Gunnar October 29, 2007 at 4:24 am #

    I intentionally bypassed the suggested links to this question, (although I am sure they are awesome) just to share how I began answering this question a few years back. I would go around, chatting it up with Jesus throughout my day, saying things back and forth, such as “I love you Jesus, I love you Jesus…” all the while registering, at times feeling like it was great leaps of faith that ‘He loved me.’ Well, the word love started bugging me, because I would so often hear it used by people who would kind of go, “Ya, well, God seems to be mad at me, but yes, I concede, I know He loves me…etc.” They may not have said it in those exact words, but, to me, that certainly seems to be the way they seemed to mean it.
    So, I started changing my thing, and now I often ponder, and confess with my mouth, how much I ‘like’ Jesus and His ways. Even when I don’t understand them, or they seem to be hurting, I will repeat it until I get a smile or some joy thing going on, often reflecting on past things I did not understand, (broken or lost relationships, medical trauma…you name it) and how out of it, God has always seemed to do something outstandingly wonderful and great.
    Yes, I hope I love Him, but I get a kick out of pressing beyond the lame simplicity I applied to that word, and no matter what life throws my way, I have been stretching to ‘like God’ and ‘be happily-crazed over his methods and practices’ in my life, despite my lack of understanding and ability to always comprehend them.
    I’ve found this works great for me.
    So is he a good God? I don’t answer that question so much, as I know I like Him.

  4. jim October 29, 2007 at 5:58 am #

    Mike… I’m definitely going to check out that book by Miles, thanks for the tip – my interest is definitely tweaked! – and thanks also for the kind “nod” on your blog about some of my posts.

  5. joseph December 17, 2011 at 1:40 pm #

    nice… but..

  6. Leanne Hunt December 28, 2011 at 2:04 pm #

    I seem to think this is a question of, “Is my image of God likeable?”, which is to say, “Am I capable of liking what I don’t fully understand?” We begin to know God by hearsay, then by faith in His love and constancy, then by direct experience of life’s difficulties. It is at this point that we doubt and wonder if what we have heard is true, or if what we are experiencing is normal. This brings us face-to-face with our own need for assurance and our own capacity – or lack thereof – to provide it.

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