How we know that God doesn't speak to us through emotions

The issue isn't whether God CAN speak to us through emotions. He's God. He can do anything He wants. The issue is that, first, He hasn't promised to, and secondly, that since He is not the Author of confusion, it's a pretty safe bet that He won't!

God has simply not promised to speak to us authoritatively anywhere but in the Word. If we look for Him to speak to us through our emotions we are putting our emotions on the same level of authority as His Word. Since our emotions are, by definition, how WE react neurochemically to what happens in our lives, that amounts to equating to putting our own, often unacknowledged wishes and desires on the same level as the Bible!

Our emotions are fickle, unreliable, and everything God and His Word are not. And we just aren't up to the task of stepping into God' shoes and investing our own desires and inclinations with divine authority.

 Obviously, God wants us to respond to others with kindness and compassion. But we don't need our emotions to tell us that; the Word does. What He wants us to do in any given situation is best judged by applying the Word with our intellects, not through our emotions, which are our voice and not His. This the Achilles heal of all charismatic and Pentecostal theology. If God subjectively "tells" us to do something then that instruction is on exactly the same level of authority as Holy Scripture itself. However charismatics and Pentecostals try to fudge this point, if God really does speak to you directly He speaks with His own authority, and that's exactly the same authority the Gospels and Paul's epistles speak with. The form of the communication is irrelevant; its authority comes from that of the Communicator.

But in fact, when somebody says "God told me," what he or she is really saying (whether he or she realizes it or not) is "This is what I want to do, and I've convinced myself that it's an order from God by virtue of the very fact that I want to do it!"  But emotion is nothing but a reaction to the chemical activity in our nervous systems at any given moment. If we look for messages from God in our emotions- or in chicken entrails, or tea leaves, or any other medium God hasn't promised to use to communicate with us- we very quickly going to start getting "messages" which God never sent. In fact, the messages we attribute to God are going to be what we want, not what He tells us.

 A person with OCD who regards emotion as a source of messages from God is going to be tied in such spiritual knots as defy description. In fact, that's true of anybody. God doesn't care whether you wear the blue or the red dress despite the fact that you get all warm and fuzzy when you look at the blue one. But if a person with OCD looks to something as uncertain and subjective and fickle and unreliable as the emotions rather than to the firmness and unchanging clarity of the Word, the result is going to be especially ugly. Compulsions are going to become divine commands, and obsessions are going to be missions from God.

God speaks to us clearly, reliably and unambiguously in His Word. It will not lie to us. But our emotions and subjective impressions both can and do.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thoughts on the Unpardonable Sin

Bingo!