I read a recent interview with Harold Bloom. If you don’t know who he is, that’s Ok. Quick summary- Yale professor, literary critic, author of 40+ books, super smart. Anyway, when he was asked if he believed in God, this was his answer:
I’m not an atheist. My attitude toward Yahweh is that I don’t like him and I don’t trust him and I wish he would go away.
When he identifies himself to Moses, he says, ehyeh asher ehyeh, punning on his own name of Yahweh. It means something close to “I will be what I will be.” Which in effect means “I will be present whenever I choose to be present,” which has the horrible corollary “And I will be absent wherever and whenever I choose to be absent.”
Yikes! This guy would be an absolute kill-joy at a teenage Christian retreat.
I do respect that he articulates his anger at God well and with clarity. I can’t personally remember a time that I hated God. When I was much younger, I didn’t trust God. The uncertainty of life felt as if I was playing a game in the dark, and I didn’t know the rules. In addition, I was pretty sure I was losing. Teenage cynicism and melodramatic angst set aside, I lived my life checking around corners for God. I think that I stopped distrusting God as I saw His hand in the rearview mirror of my journey. God’s mercy and grace looks great when you see what happened but not so much when you are watching what is happening as it happens..
It probably feels to Bloom that God shows up or does not show up in a random and potentially injurious way. Does he hate God, or does he hate not having more control? I don’t hate God for me not having more control, I just want more control. My brother Tim used to say, “I know that God has a plan, I just wish He didn’t keep so many secrets.”
Even in Bloom’s cynicism, he acknowledges God and His will. I think he gets stuck like me and many others with the fact that we cannot control God. It’s also very possible that Bloom missed the idea that God always has been, is now and will always be. He kinda trips over the “I am” v. “I will be.” God living out of time makes the turn of phrase a bit irrelevant. However, that’s a different discussion for a different post.