“Somebody up there likes me.” You’ve had a good day. Something happened in your favor. You felt lucky, maybe even blessed gracefully beyond what you deserve. You feel the compulsion to tilt your head to the sky, or even just point, and declare half-heartedly that some divinity in the sky just might be looking down at you with pleasure, and this explains your circumstances. Is that not profane?
If you are a deist, agnostic, or otherwise seeking or non-seeking individual, muttering such a thing is understandable: You’re venturing to make a comment about your possible relationship to whatever divine being created or otherwise is in some control of the universe. To you, it’s just a little joke. But if you are a Christian, you should know better:
- Saying “somebody up there likes me” takes God’s identity in vain. You might wonder how. After all, we’re not saying the name of God. We aren’t even using the word “God.” While you are not taking God’s name and muttering it, you are taking his identity lightly and using it as a punch line.”Thou shalt not take the Lord’s name in vain,” being one of the ten commandments, points to the importance of mentioning God with reverence. It’s difficult to be reverent to God while referring to him as “somebody up there.”
- Saying “somebody up there likes me” lightly assumes that God favors you. Peter eventually came to realize “how true it is that God does not show favoritism.” (1 Peter 10:34—NIV). God may bless us because he is pleased with us, but scripture does not tell us that the Father is going to just merely “like” us and toss us us some good fortune just because.This phrase diminishes the relationship we have with God and his will to bless beings made in his image down to a casual, tentative, nameless fondness that manifests itself in a few fleeting moments of good fortune.
- Saying “somebody up there likes me” suggests that knowing the creator of the universe through blessings trumps knowing him through his Word. Scripture is heavy with indications of how God works, how he causes it to “rain on the just and the unjust” (Matt 5:45). Plenty of people have plenty of good things happen to them despite the fact that the God who revealed himself in scripture must be terribly displeased with them.We should not hint at a God who is mostly apathetic, except when it comes to ourselves.
Calculating your blessings is not a faithful measure of how much your Father “likes” you, but rather a faithful reminder of how much he loves you. He has chosen to bless us out of his love, his mercy, his glory. He has no favorites. When we attribute our blessings and good fortune to the possibility of a mere deity who happens to like us in particular, and not even bother to identify him—not to mention praise him—does that sound Christian, or pagan? Somebody up there loves you. And that “somebody” is the one who made you. Let us never take that for granted.