“My Lord and my God!” exclaims Thomas after he is shown incontrovertible proof by the risen Lord Jesus. He had you remember refused to believe until he saw with his own eyes the nail prints and the scar in Jesus’ side. I am amazed at Jesus’ gentle rebuke which though contains strong encouragement to all of us who have not seen Him as Thomas did (see John 20:24-29).
Lord or God – isn’t that the same?
Why did He exclaim, “My Lord and my God”? Doesn’t the latter imply the former? Isn’t it true that if He is God then He is Lord too? Not necessarily as bible history tragically shows. Every low point in bible history among the people of God can be closely related to God being God, not Lord.
The phrase ‘Lord God” (Lord with small caps in most English translations) first appears in Genesis 2. Coming as it does on the back of the first creation account where God is referred to only as God, translated from the Hebrew word, ‘Elohim’. However in the second creation account starting with Genesis 2:4, God is specifically referred to as “Lord God”. This we are told is the translation of the Hebrew word Yahweh and it is a word that “underlines the personal and relational nature of God”. This revelation of God as a relational and personal God comes in this second creation narrative and will always be the barometer of how mankind will flourish or perish.
Perishing with God
Eve with Adam by her side listens to the insidious accusations of the serpent when he plants a seed of doubt in her mind saying, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1.ESV). In his craftiness he deceives her and she in turn responding to the allurement of divine disclosure gives in saying, ” “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” (Genesis 3:2-3. ESV). Notice the vital omission in this narrative. Neither for the tempter nor the tempted is God, the Lord God. He is just God – out there, powerful but distant. Not “Lord God” the One who breathed His very breath and made Adam and then loving crafted Eve from a small bone in his side. Not the Lord God personal and relational.
Lord God – yes it’s a big deal
The plot is lost the moment the” Lord God” is reduced to “God”. This reductionist mentality is at the root of the first and every subsequent sin. That is why the heart of sin is to have “turned aside” (Romans 3:12) and straying sheep where “each of us has turned to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6, NIV). However Christ died so that we may be brought near by his death (Ephesians 2:13). His separation ensured our grafting into the family of God. His death guaranteed our life. His obedience secured our freedom. This freedom and life in the family of God must be enjoyed responsibly – with the clarity and commitment to God as the Lord God. For only this clarity and commitment will ensure that we are children of God, not children of Adam and Eve. Christ takes us out of the family of Adam and places us in His family. Let’s live as children of God, loving and obeying God as the Lord of our life.
Yes, it’s a big deal. There is a huge difference between God and the Lord God. It’s the difference between sin and sacrifice. Between disobedience and mission. It’s not the same. Ask Adam or Thomas.