God is a black & white thinker. No, that’s not all He is, but does think in black & white. Why is this important? Because black & white thinking is a characteristic of Moral Operators.
I thought it would be good to expand on this topic a little by answering the question, “How is God a black and white thinker?” Now if you’ve just started with this blog, let me give you a brief overview. Black & White Thinking is not about thinking racially. Black & white thinking is looking at things as either/or, right/wrong, good/bad, black/white. It is perceiving something and judging it in the extremes as ALL RIGHT or ALL WRONG, ALL GOOD or ALL BAD. There is no middle ground or gray area. No room to move around and justify. It is either/or.
In His Word, God reveals Himself to us so that we may know Him, His character, His affections, and His thoughts, including His black & white thinking. Created in His image, humanity reflects God, but of course, our reflection is tainted by sin. With the addition of our pride, we reflect Him less and less, yet there remains more than enough for us to reflect Him well. One area many reflect God is in black and white thinking.
Our black and white thinking God expresses himself in this manner throughout the Scriptures. While there may be numerous areas where God reveals himself as black and white, the most obvious areas include truth, obedience, sin, and salvation.
Truth, or more specifically, absolute truth, is either/or. It is either wholly true or entirely false. Humanity has a way of making truth gray, and it started with the Serpent in the Garden only giving half truths to Eve (Gen 3). So, we’ve copied the serpent and now have half-truths. white lies, partial truths and outright lies. Truth, for the Christian, is defined by God and His Son, Jesus, who states that he is the truth (Jn 14:6). There are mathematical truths, scientific truths, legal truths, and moral truths, most of which comes directly from the Author of truth. We can arrive at truths subjectively or objectively, but truth be told, truth itself is an either/or construct. Truth is black or white.
Most of us have heard the expression, “All In.” As this phrase is spoken, a person is stating they are 100% committed to achieving the goal. When it comes to obedience to His Word, God wants us to be “All In.” There are many examples throughout scriptures where God sought complete obedience from His people. His people either obeyed completely or disobeyed by not following God’s instructions fully. Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating the fruit (Gen 3). Lot’s wife disobeyed God and turned into a pillar of salt (Gen 19). Saul mostly obeyed God, but he didn’t kill the choice livestock or king like he was tasked (I Sam 15) by God. The Israelites continually disobeyed God and were often defeated and enslaved by other nations. There are numerous examples where God sought complete obedience from His people, but the people either completely obeyed or disobeyed, or they mostly obeyed but made excuses to not completely obey. Incomplete obedience in God’e eyes is disobedience. Obedience is ALL or NOTHING.
Additionally, God is black and white in his plan of sin and salvation. God, in His holiness, created a set of laws or standards for His people to follow. He gave the Ten Commandments to Moses, and listed a number of written laws in the Old Testament to protect His people and set them apart from other nations. Strict obedience to these laws were essential in practice, yet were impossible to accomplish. If, by faith, these laws were kept perfectly, the person would remain with God for eternity. If not, they would be eternally separated from God. ALL or NOTHING. Heaven is only accessible for the righteous. Since “All have sinned” (Rom 8:28) and none are righteous (Rom 3:10), Heaven is inaccessible to us on our own.
God, in His wisdom, knew we could never be fully obedient to the law or righteous enough on our own. In love, He sent His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus was completely obedient to the law and fulfilled the law (Matt 5:17) no one could. Through faith in Jesus Christ, our sins were placed on Christ on the cross, and his righteousness has been placed on us. Therefore, God’s wrath for our sins fell upon Christ, and He declares believers in Jesus Christ as righteous.
Since Jesus was the only one who met God’s standard, faith in Christ is the only path of salvation (Acts 4:12). It is not Jesus plus our good works, or Jesus plus other prophets or gods. It is Jesus alone. In other words, ALL Jesus, or NO Jesus. There is no compromise or gray area when it comes to salvation.
It’s worth noting what God desires of us as well. From the Old Testament to the new, God provided a mission statement for us which explained His number one desire: to “love the Lord with ALL your heart, ALL your soul, ALL your strength, and ALL your mind” (Deut 6:4-7, Mt 22:37-40, etc.). God wants us to respond to Him by being “All in.”
While God is black and white in His thinking, especially in the areas or truth, salvation, sin, obedience, and judgment, He is also relational. This means that God is not ALL or ONLY black and white. Equally important are His Relational qualities which include His love, compassion, and grace as demonstrated through Christ. In fact, God’s relational qualities are also seen in the plan of salvation. The reason God sent His Son to die for us is because of his compassion and his deep, overwhelming love (Jn 3:16) and affection for us. Often, our pride and self-centeredness hinder our understanding and ability to grasp the necessary relational side of God or incorporate this into our lives and relationships. Yet as we humble ourselves and cooperate with the Holy Spirit’s work in us, and as we receive His love, we can become more like Christ, who demonstrated an equal balance of truth (black and white) and grace (relational).
The Black & White Thinking Christian is my newest resource for helping Black & White Thinkers (BWT) grow in life, relationships, and in Christ. If you are a BWT, or have a BWT in your life, this is a great resource for personal growth and understanding. You can find this soon on Amazon.com.
Written by : Fred Jacoby
Fred Jacoby is the Founder and Director of Foundations Christian Counseling Services, located in Northeast, PA., and currently serves as the Pastor of Counseling at Cornerstone Community Church in Kresgeville, PA
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