“I believe in prophecy.
Some folks see things not everybody can see.
And, once in a while, they pass the secret along to you and me.
And I believe in miracles.
Something sacred burning in every bush and tree.
We can all learn to sing the songs the angels sing.
Yeah, I believe in God, and God ain't me.”
- From God Is God by Steve Earle
Steve Earle as a theologian might take a leap of faith for some but on God Is God he is making a prevalent theological comment that speaks into the current Christian climate. Earle has touched on Biblical themes before particularly on Jerusalem an eschatological song from an album of the same name. God Is God was first recorded by Joan Baez on her Earle produced album Day After Tomorrow but Earle has now put it on his own T-Bone Burnett produced I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive.
The message is pretty simple. Earle believes in God but God isn’t him, God isn’t us, God is God! It is a declaration of the sovereignty of God. It gives God back his transcendence and mystery. As Isaiah put it, “I live in a high and holy place...” God is beyond us. He is beyond our mortal thinking and morality. He is set apart and the only true Lord over all that is. Into recent arguments in Christendom over Rob Bell’s book Love Wins and the back lash and back biting, which has done nothing for the already tawdry PR of the Christian faith, Earle’s song brings perspective. We are all looking through a glass darkly as Paul put it in 1 Corinthians. Yes, this Sovereign God has revealed Himself to his creatures, in Scriptures and the incarnation of Jesus, but we are still a million miles from a full understanding of Sovereignty.
Yes perhaps Earle opens God up even wider than the Biblical revelation does but it doesn’t prevent the truth contained in the title God is God. All we can do is fall back into the arms...