Our Creator - The Master of Illusion?
When we hear the term “master of illusion” there are diverse concepts that come to mind. We might think of magicians like Penn & Teller. Artists such as M.C. Escher and Salvador Dali who are known as masters of illusion and deception. In many ways “deception” and “illusion” are much the same. There is a group widely known in media for their exploits of telephone company infrastructure and internet based hacking known as MOD, masters of deception.
Some might refer to groups they disagree with as masters of deception. Baptists will refer to circles such as Jehovah’s Witnesses as a source of deception while the JW’s could say the same thing about their critics.
Deception has some interesting synonyms: cheating, duplicity, double-dealing, fraud, cheating, trickery, chicanery, deviousness, slyness, wiliness, guile, bluff, lying, pretense, treachery. These are not terms we would ever use to describe a loving father - much less our God and the sustainer of the universe.
Yet, when we think of great magicians and artists,
our image of deception
carries a pleasurable and amusing nuance.
Synonyms such as: astonished, thunderstruck, speechless, at a loss for words, dumbstruck, flabbergasted, and blown away. My hope is that you will gain an understanding of this beautiful facet of our loving and merciful Creator with these terms - amazed and bowled over - as we begin to see some of the illusions He’s used and continues to use everyday.
A GOD OF CONFUSION?
Many will argue that God is not a God of confusion while citing 1 Corinthians 14:33 which reads: For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the assemblies of believers. (ESV) This word “confusion” is not translated in many texts, nor the literal versions. It should be “disorder.” More importantly this passage is not a description of God’s attributes, it is counsel regarding the codification and organization of the believers time together in fellowship.
In fact, the greatest event in history that promoted confusion was most likely the circumstances surrounding the Tower of Babel recorded in Genesis 11. God ordained an amazing miracle known as “the confusion of the languages.”
While it was certainly perplexing to everyone there, it was perfectly orchestrated by the same God who gave each and every individual present that day the inclination to build the great tower.
So yes, our God is a God of confusion - but the muddled mess is in perfect order. Actually, this is just one aspect of why we can think of our Creator as a master of illusion. What we perceive as chaos or uncertainty in reality is impeccable arrangement.
GIVE ADAM AN OSCAR
Among those “masters of deception” we admire, such as magicians and artists, there’s another field of art we esteem. That goes to actors.
Have you ever watched young children caught up in a puppet show? Five and six year old children know that puppets are manipulated by a marionettist, but they allow themselves to get caught up in the story.
When we sit down to watch a movie we give the screenwriter and actors permission to deceive us for a couple of hours.
This is not limited to the stage or the big screen. It’s actually occurring all around us all the time. Whether we realize it or not, we’re the star of our own story, written long before we were born. The truth is, everyone before us had to play their role flawlessly, or we would have never been born.
For centuries we have blamed Adam for the fall of mankind. You know the story of the garden, the creation of Adam and Eve, the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the serpent, the fruit - and the entrance of sin.
While Adam was indeed the one who introduced sin into all of humanity, sending out this “gene of sin” to all his descendants, he was simply performing his role without flaw. He played it so well, we’ve blamed him for thousands of years for introducing death and sin into the world.
In a real sense - Adam was “set up.”
At what point do you think God lost control?
Who designed the garden?
Who placed the trees and fruit in the garden?
Who set the rule to not eat from the tree?
Who designed Adam and Eve and gave them the propensity to do what they did?
We know who set them up.
It was our magnificent, loving, all powerful and merciful Creator.
The first couple performed without flaw to every condition their Creator set before them.
So, should we “blame” Adam & Eve for the introduction of sin into the world?
Well, yes. But we should get our heads out of the sand and realize that our Creator wrote the script, designed the set, and meticulously formulated the actors. Not once was our omnipotent God surprised. If Adam and Eve had an audience - they would have received a standing ovation for their perfect performances. Adam’s free will has been a grand delusion for thousands of years.
It should be noted that in Exodus 21:33 we are told that the one who digs a hole is responsible for the results of that hole. With that biblical understanding, perhaps it
is appropriate to assimilate the fact that God dug the hole - and we fell in. However, our falling in is imperative to our appreciation for His getting us out of the “hole” - not with our efforts, but fully on His own!
THE MASTER OF ILLUSION
How does all this lead us to the idea of deception or illusion?
It’s essential to understand that God is love! 1 John 4:8.
This is not an attribute.
His essence is love and ALL God's attributes in which
we understand our Creator
proceed from His love.
Some things about God are obvious while many are mysteriously tucked away. When we watch a beautiful sunset, admire a newborn baby, or ponder the images from the Hubble telescope - we can easily become overwhelmed with awe. Yet some of His ways and methods seem obscure and they will remain unseen to most in this lifetime.
For example: Adam’s free will. It seems that we, as well as Adam, have free will. Yet, God designed Adam’s brain, his propensities, his environment, including Eve.
Everything Adam knew and experienced
was the result of his Creator.
In fact, this was true of his children and their children and their children's children. We must ask ourselves: At what point did God give up His sovereignty and turn over His creation to His creatures and their “free will”?
Consider this: If God is omnipotent (all powerful) and omniscient (all seeing and all knowing) can anything happen that is outside His knowledge or His ability to stop it? The obvious answer is “no way” - yet we insist on this notion of free will. Sure, we sense free will, but it’s an illusion.
This is where we begin to see how our creator and sustainer is the true Master of Illusion.
Harry Houdini, David Blaine and Salvador Dali don’t come close to how well our Creator has mystified mankind. The illusion of man’s autonomy or the notion that we are the masters of our own destinies is a well orchestrated apparition created by the Master Himself.
While we don’t see artists of illusion as malicious or uncaring, we definitely should be cautious of perceiving this mystifying aspect of God as anything other than a part of His perfect plan to bring all His creation to a place in which He will do what He has determined to do . . .
The one thing our Creator delights to do.
"He delights to display His mercy."
So, my answer is “Yes” - our Creator is the great Master of Illusion, and what an amazing and loving artist He is.