I have a tight schedule so I might need to be more brief with these next chapters. In this chapter looms the appearance of Young’s god, who appears as a woman. I struggled with my view on this. Could God appear as a woman? Would God appear as a woman? Is it wrong to cast God as a woman? It all came down to four things: 1) the note in chapter 5; 2) Philip’s request in John 14:8; 3) impossible sight of the Father; and, 4) the second commandment in Leviticus 10:1-3.
First, Young writes that Mack tells his friend Willie, “I guess part of me would like to believe that God would care enough about me to send a note”. Then later he laments to himself, “To think that I hoped God might actually care enough to send me a note!” The best we can say here for Mack is that maybe he’s an unbeliever acting like an unbeliever. The words I quoted are some of the most ungrateful words I can think of. God, who has sent His very Son Jesus, who has given Him over to suffering, who has punished His own Son for the sins of a rebellious people, this mere man Mack compares such evident love to the arrival of a note. And the disgust inherent in Mack’s ingratitude gives us insight into the other two things.
Second, John 14:8-9 reads, “Philip said to Him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, “Show us the Father”?’” Jesus is obviously offended that Philip would want to see the Father because the Father is in Jesus. If you see Jesus you have seen the Father. This should have been enough for Young. If any revelation was actually needed beyond comforting Mack with his Bible then only Jesus should have showed. Instead we have the blasphemous creation of papa and the lesser-spirit. Jesus would have been equally disappointed if Young had asked Him to show us the Father.
Third, not only is there no need to see the Father but it is impossible. Consider Exodus 33:20, John 6:46, and 1 John 4:12 on this subject. We can see that death would result from seeing God, who Jesus specifies as the Father and John confirms still that no one had seen Him. Jesus was incarnated to be seen, in part. The Father’s holiness is not shielded like that of the Son. Mack would have died in the presence of the Father or Young has stolen the holiness of the Father so Mack could tolerate it.
Fourth, the second commandment reads, “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth” (Exodus 20:4). An interesting application of this occurs in Leviticus 10:1-3 which reads,
Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them. And fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD. Then Moses said to Aaron, “It is what the LORD spoke, saying,
‘By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy,
And before all the people I will be honored.’”
So Aaron, therefore, kept silent.
Nadab and Abihu die because they have worshiped the Lord by altering/perverting what He described as proper worship. The second commandment is against this, against worship of God by altering/perverting the forms of worship He has given – idolatry. This is what Young is doing – attaching an incarnation (and gender) to the Father and the Holy Spirit which God has not done or authorized or commanded or permitted.
So for these four reasons we begin our discovery of a false trinity in The Shack: 1) an insult to Jesus’ work; 2) an insult to Jesus’ deity; 3) a less-holy father; and, 4) creating idols by adding humanity to the Father and Holy Spirit (which Young shows here and tells us of it later).