The TV show Supernatural, now in its fourteenth season, has a cult following. The show follows the adventures of two brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester, as they fight supernatural forces of all varieties. The show’s enduring popularity says something about our culture—namely, that the supernatural is still of interest to people. Despite what voices in the New Atheist movement say, many people still think that there is much more to this world than simply matter. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that people are thinking correct thoughts about the supernatural.
In this scene, Sam and Dean meet God (or “Chuck” as he is called).
God According to Chuck
This scene illustrates how many people view God. He’s like Chuck. God just wants to be known as a normal guy. He doesn’t necessarily want to be Lord. He’s just there to lend a helping hand.
The scene also expresses how many people feel let down by God. At one point Sam remarks, “I prayed, but I don’t know if they got lost in the spam. . .?” We often wonder, Is God really listening? Is he really out there? Dean asks where God was when all the bad things were happening. He says, “You were, I don’t know, writing books, going to fan conventions. Were you even aware or did you just tune it out?” It’s a question many of us ask, Does God really care? Is he too busy basking in his worshippers’ praise to care about my needs?
Perhaps what is most interesting is that in the show, God is not necessarily the most powerful or wise being in the universe. Chuck remarks to Dean, “I was so sure if I kept stepping in, teaching, punishing, these beautiful creatures that I created would grow up. But it only stayed the same.” Chuck was so sure, but things didn’t work out like he thought.
Chuck is often portrayed in the show as fumbling, surprised, and unsure of what to do. He gets stressed out. He learns things. He makes errors. In fact, he even acknowledges at one point that he isn’t a very good writer. In another episode, he confesses to Lucifer (his supposed son) that he hated himself and took it out on Lucifer. Chuck hasn’t really been a great father.
All of this amounts to a God who is loving, like a nice grandfather in the sky who lends a helping hand when he’s not busy with other things. He is powerful and wise (though not absolutely), but it has taken a long time for him to become wise and he’s still not perfect. He’s not necessarily in absolute control of the world either. His rule is in constant threat and he needs the help of others to maintain control. While it’s good that people are thinking about God, it’s clear that our ideas about God are pretty muddled.
God According to Scripture
What we think about God is crucial for what we think about everything else. As A. W. Tozer put it, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”¹ It’s important to think right thoughts about God, because we will become like whatever we worship. You often hear people saying things like “My God would never judge anyone for their choices,” or “My God just accepts everybody as they are.” The trouble is that we have made God in our image, and when we make God in our image instead of allowing God to form us into his, our god ends up looking a lot like us.
Scripture reveals a God who is all-powerful (Jeremiah 32:17) and all-knowing (Romans 11:33). He does not learn along with the world. He knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). Scripture also reveals a God who is not distant. Although God’s relationship with man was broken in the fall (Genesis 3), he did not abandon humanity. His presence came to dwell with Israel (who was to be a light to the nations) in the tabernacle and then the temple. In the New Testament, God’s presence comes to dwell with us in Jesus (John 1:14); and now, God has left his presence through his Holy Spirit in the witness of the church (John 14:16-20). God never left. His rule is never in jeopardy. In fact, Satan can do only what God allows him to do (Job 1:12). Although sin and darkness seem to rule the day, God remains the king of this world, and he will one day set things right.
We have yet to say anything about God’s lovingkindness, faithfulness, justice, goodness, grace, or mercy. But this isn’t the place for an exposition on the character and nature of God. Knowing God is a lifetime pursuit. However, this quick review shows that God and Chuck are really two very different beings.
This Article Corresponds To:
- Understanding the Faith, chapter 4.1: “God is ‘Back’” & 4.5: “The Attributes of God”
- Understanding the Faith curriculum, unit 4, pp. 88, 92–96
- Understanding the Times, chapter 8.9: “Special Revelation”
- Understanding the Times curriculum, unit 8, pp. 192–193
Possible Discussion Starters:
- What do you think God is like? How does what you think compare to Scripture?
- Why is it important to have a right understanding of God?
- How does your understanding of God affect the way you live?
- “What is God?” – D. A. Carson
- Video: “Holiness” – The Bible Project
- “Divine Affections and Aversions” – Kevin Bywater
- “Gandalf, Job, and the Indignant Love of God” – Derek Rishmawy
- Knowledge of the Holy – A. W. Tozer
- Knowing God – J. I. Packer
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- A. W. Tozer, Knowledge of the Holy (New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 1961), 1.