I’m not a sci-fi fanboy by any stretch, but I love a good story and I don’t hesitate to admit that includes lots of science fiction. Right now my wife and I are almost done with Stargate SG-1, which has lots of religious themes tied in. At this point in the story, the enemy is an advanced race of people claiming to be gods and demanding worship. They have great demonstrations of power, a book of origins, promises of blessings for believers and destruction for unbelievers.
Hits a little close to home sometimes.
Why do we worship God? Is it because we don’t want to get smoted? Is it because of His power? Is He asking a little much that everyone praise Him or face eternal damnation? Because from a certain perspective this could smell really fishy.
Psalms does emphasize God’s power, absolutely. An impotent god is not worthy of worship. It’s like the old married bachelor; once you find out he’s married you realize the label “bachelor” doesn’t fly. A powerless god is no god at all.
But the Bible doesn’t stop there. God is powerful, yes, and how He uses His power shows His character. This is a God of second chances. And fiftieth chances. He’s a God who holds back when it comes time to punish wrongdoers. He’s a God who does not forget those who love Him. He’s one who brings order from chaos, healing from sickness, life from death. God is good, faithful, merciful, kind.
He is worthy because of His goodness, but also because we are His. Maybe if God hadn’t created us, we might not owe Him so much. If He did not sustain us, maybe He’d have to work harder for our attention. But if He’s our creator and sustainer, isn’t His creation just a teensy bit obligated to give Him His due? His patience is mind-boggling.
Ultimately, God—hypothetically ANY god—is God in virtue of who He is, not what He does. What you do testifies to who you are, but it doesn’t determine it.
If you start from the premise that God created everything, sustains everything, had a relationship with our first parents, constantly intervenes in human affairs, revealed Himself time and again, and even became one of us to die for our sins so that we might live then how could you do anything but worship? Failure to worship would indeed be a crime. Even though He is wholly “other,” He is not a foreigner. He is not imposing something from without. We are not in neutral territory even if He does allow us the freedom to choose.
Of course I know people have their reasons for not believing. Often very good reasons. But this is the Christian account, this is why it makes sense to us. And once you meet Him and get to know His heart, you realize He asks very, very little for all He gives.