Return to Content
Read Our Devotional
Opportunities to be Published
The Home for Christian Writers! Matthew 6:33
ENCOURAGE AUTHOR BY COMMENTING
Add to Favorites
God Is Condescending
God is condescending.
It's true. However, the problem is not that God is condescending, but that most people have no idea what condescending really means, nor why it should be a good thing that God has such an attitude.
If you were paying attention during high school English class (I sure wasn't; I had to go back and do research for this part of the blog), you know that there are actually two definitions for every word. One is the denotation, which is what the word actually means. The other is the connotation, which is the way the word is usually used in popular conversation. Condescension has a pretty bad connotation; it's usually used to refer to someone who thinks they're better than you are, and talks down to you as if coming down to your level is a major chore for them.
The denotation, however, is quite different. The word itself merely means "to come down [descend] together." The prefix "con-" means "together with." Maybe you've seen the word "conurbation," which is where two urban areas come together. If not, I bet you've heard of "conjoined" twins, which come out of the womb joined together. Other languages preserve the idea even better, including Spanish, in which "con" is a stand-alone word that means "with." Think "chili con carne," chili with meat, or perhaps chips "con queso," with cheese.
Then there is the root word, "descend," to come down to someone else's level. Condescension gets humans into trouble because we believe, or claim to believe, that all people are equal; no one starts at a higher level than anyone else, and thus has no reason nor cause for thinking that they have to descend to another person's level. There is no person better than another, no person who deserves a higher status or special treatment. If I were to assume that I am better than someone else, and speak to them as if they were lower than me, that would be offensive. I pretend that I have to come down onto their level in order to even have a conversation with them.
But if you split the word up and look at its parts, "to descend with," you actually get a pretty good idea of what God's interaction with humanity is all about. While it might be offensive for me to act as if I was in any way superior to my fellow humans, it would be silly for God to pretend that he was not superior to us in every single way. Descending to our level is the only way he could possibly have a relationship with us at all. There is certainly no way that we humans, imperfect as we are, could otherwise ascend to his level. Unless God comes down to our level, we're stuck with this gigantic gap between God's holy perfection and our miserable imperfection.
Yet the whole beauty of God, and the amazing thing about Christianity, is that he doesn't make us ascend to his level. The whole Bible is an example of him condescending to us. For starters, he had to explain himself in human language, to pack the infinite majesty of the Trinity into pathetically inadequate words. Then, he undertook relationships with humans, who continually let him down and failed to grasp what he was doing. Then, he adopted Israel as his chosen people, only to watch them rebel against him time and again. He told people what to do and then allowed them to negotiate with them. He told King Hezekiah, "You're about to die," and then relented when Hezekiah repented and prayed for mercy. In so many ways, he came down to our level, interacting with us in ways that helped us understand who he is and what he is about.
Then came the ultimate condescension: Jesus, part of the Trinity, coming to earth himself. One of his titles was Emmanuel, "God with us." Is there any plainer evidence that God is condescending? Is there anything more he could possibly have done than leave heaven and come down, in every literal and metaphorical sense, to experience thirty-three years of human life and then the agony of physical death? Jesus' life, death, and resurrection are the events that frame the entirety of man's interaction with God. We owe it all to his condescension.
Where would we be if God were not condescending? What would happen if, as some deists believe, God created the world and then sat back to watch the show without intervening? What about if, as in Hinduism, there were millions of gods who were too busy fighting each other to help us? Or what if, as in Greek mythology, God regarded humans merely as pawns in a galactic game, moving us where he pleased on a whim? No, we are blessed beyond comprehension that, although he is entitled to do whatever he wants to do (he is God, after all), he has chosen to come down to our level, to explain himself to us in our own language, to forgive us our sins so that we can approach him with boldness and ask for his richest blessings.
We are precious to God. We may be weak and prone to failure, but he loves us with a love that is impossible to describe or measure. He created us, built us from nothing, and he wants us to understand the depth and breadth of his love. It's so strong that it covers over everything we've ever done wrong - if only we'll repent and ask his forgiveness. He has said that, in spite of how many times we've broken his laws and offended him, he's willing to completely cleanse us, heal our brokenness, give us peace and comfort, and pour out on us the best that life has to offer. He has condescended in every way imaginable.
Without that, we would have no hope. We would serve a God who is distant and unknowable rather than a God who, because he has come down to us, made himself known to us, and even set up shop in our hearts. This is the truth of God.
Aren't you glad that he is condescending?
PLEASE ENCOURAGE AUTHOR BELOW
LEAVE COMMENT ON ARTICLE
Reader Count & Comments
10 Sep 2009
Yes I am glad He is, excellent explanation of condescending, and its true meaning.
Gay L Hall
10 Sep 2009
Amen Jim and AMEN! Love the way you put it into His Words, to reveal its true meaning! God Bless You!
This article has been read
Read more articles by
or search for other articles by topic below.
Search for articles on: (e.g. creation; holiness etc.)
Read more by clicking on a link:
Main Site Articles
Most Read Articles
Highly Acclaimed Challenge Articles
New Release Christian Books for Free for a Simple Review
NEW - Surprise Me With an Article - Click here for a random URL
God is Not Against You - He Came on an All Out Rescue Mission to Save You
...in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them... 2 Cor 5:19
Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Acts 13:38
LEARN & TRUST JESUS HERE
The opinions expressed by authors do not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
FaithWriters offers Christian reading material for Christian readers. We offer Christian articles, Christian fiction, Christian non-fiction, Christian Bible studies, Christian poems, Christian articles for sale, free use Christian articles, Christian living articles, New Covenant Christian Bible Studies, Christian magazine articles and new Christian articles. We write for Jesus about God, the Bible, salvation, prayer and the word of God.
Link To Us
Become A Member