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Book Review: None Like Him

Updated: Nov 17, 2021

What makes God, God? When we seek to know the character of God, do we even know what we are looking for? To be fair, it’s hard to wrap our heads around the fact that God is infinite, without limits. Our limited minds can’t quite apprehend the infiniteness of many of His character traits. In her book, None Like Him, Jen Wilkin does an incredible job of revealing 1) what we can search for in scripture in regards to God’s incommunicable attributes, 2) why it is good that we do not and can not have these same characteristics, and 3) how we should live in response. i.e. Learning about God’s character convicts us to ask a critical question: “How should the knowledge that God is ‘ ‘ change the way I live?”

As I reflected on how I may rival God’s incommunicable attributes, I contemplated how this rivalry applied specifically to stewardship of my body and my own self-reliance. The list below contains the incommunicable attributes of God, how one could rival God’s character, and a question to consider in relation to body image and physical health.

Infinite - We must learn to reflect the character of God rather than rival it, by bearing His image instead of aspiring to become God” (Wilkin 23). Are you trying to look like Jesus or what the world wants you to look like?

Incomprehensible - “This does not mean that he is unknowable, but that God is unable to be fully known,” but it is to our joy to grow in discovering more about him to the extent that he can be sufficiently known (Wilkin 33-34). We are fully known by God, to the extent that he counts the hairs on our head. God sees all of us and yet, we still try to present the best, most “put together” version of ourselves to the world by trying to conceal all our flaws and failures. Do you try to be incomprehensible by hiding your true self and imperfections from the world or do you allow yourself to be fully known by God and present your authentic self to the world?

Self-Existent - “Derived and contingent. Utterly dependent. That’s us. Without origin, the source of all life. Utterly independent. That’s God. We humans must confess, ‘I am because he is.’ Only God can say, ‘I AM WHO I AM’” (Wilkin 46). Do you try to take credit for your uniqueness or boast about yourself instead of giving credit to God as Creator and giver of all things? (1 Corinthians 4:7)

Self-sufficient - God doesn’t need or depend on anyone or anything, while we are limited to full dependence on God & others. Our self-reliance leads to avoidance of prayer and control over stewardship of our bodies because we think we can do it on our own which only ends in disappointment. When we don’t rely on God to steward our bodies, we become exhausted, proud, deceptive to our community, and evasive to accountability (Wilkin 63-64). Do you self-rely on diets, a consistent workout routine, or worldly health ‘truths’, instead of relying on God?

Eternal - God is not limited by time; we however, are quite limited by time and rival God’s eternal attribute when we wish to change the timing of our circumstances: “we sinfully anticipate the future… seeing a future life stage as an escape from the present one is” (Wilkin 76). We think life will be better when our body looks better. We obsess over reaching that lowest number on the scale one day instead of enjoying the body God has given you today. We also let the past have power over us, taking form as sinful nostalgia, holding onto our body in a past life, dwelling on the “better days” which results in perpetual discontentment in our present circumstances (Wilkin 74). Do you wish to have unlimited power over time or are you content to be limited to the present, making the most of the time God has given you now in your current body?

Immutable - God is unchanging, while for us humans, “the only certainty is change itself” (Wilkin 86). Our bodies change constantly - that is certain. But while our bodies have limits and will grow, shrink, bloom and decay, thank goodness for a God who is constant, immutable in his forgiveness of our sins, salvation, and promise for eternal life with Him. Do you put more energy into manipulating your body changes instead of anchoring yourself to the steadfast unchanging character of God?

Omnipresent - “A body is a set of limits...” our bodies tether us to one location while God is everywhere at once (Wilkin 94). In the extremely fast-paced society we live in, we are in constant motion to do everything and be everywhere. But we must let God alone be in the business of omnipresence and rest in our limited abilities. Do you push, strain, and exhaust your body by trying to be all places at once, or do you rest, trusting that God has you where he wants you?

Omniscient - While God is all-knowing, he has “placed limits on how much knowledge the human race can explore” and “how much knowledge any one human can consume and use” (Wilkin 111). In the era of internet and social media, we often ignore healthy boundaries for what we feed our brains, leading to “information overload.” Among the many negative effects of this pressure on our brains, one of the most devastating is that information overload kills empathy (Wilkin 112). Consider all the research you can do around nutrition, the healthiest superfoods, the various types of workouts, the most intricate of yoga poses or complex power lifts. In consuming all this information, do you start worrying more about your body and neglect serving the bodies around you? In scrolling through instagram of all the perfectly-bodied influencers, do you not lose empathy for those women as human beings? As Calley Sivils calls out in her article, Satan Lies in the Mirror, we essentially “shop” other women when we envy and covet their body parts that we wish we had, and “we objectify our sisters and fellow women by reducing them down to nothing but a combination of physical characteristics to be envied and picked out piece by piece. This fierce envy is certainly not loving others before ourselves, and it is most certainly not declaring God sovereign and most glorious.” Let us evaluate the information we are ingesting and ask ourselves, “Will this information make me more like Christ? Will this information allow me to better serve and love others?” (Wilkin 118). Do you overload your brain with too much information that makes you distracted or stressed, or do you rest in God’s omniscience, trusting that because God knows all, you don’t have to?

Omnipotent - While it is good that God is all-powerful and that we sinful human beings are not (thank goodness), we attempt to overrule God’s omnipotence by pursuing worldly power. Instead of humbly surrendering to the power of our good and Almighty God, one way that we seek to have power over our circumstances or people is by making ourselves more beautiful, more fit, or healthier for the purpose of our own glory. We may feel more powerful or in control, but this will lead only to devastation and failure. However, in surrendering the pursuit of external beauty to grow in internal beauty, we learn to “trust that he is able to work all things for our good” (Wilkin 135). Do you try to use power over your body to achieve what you want or do you surrender to your all-powerful God? (may I remind you, this is the God who defeated sin and death)

Sovereign - I love control. I love the comfort of feeling in control over any situation and all my plans coming to fruition. One way I’ve tried to rival the sovereignty of God is through attempting to control my body instead of stewarding my body for God, leading to idolatry over my image. In his mercy, God brought me low and humbled me, teaching me that it’s not good for me to be in control and that I can’t do anything without allowing Him to lead my life. This rivalry against God over control of our bodies can also take the “form of obsessive concern with diet or exercise, eating disorders, excessive fear about illness or germs, hypochondria, fear of aging, or just garden variety vanity” (Wilkin 145). Do you seek grace for your sins in stewarding your body, ultimately surrendering control entirely to your rightfully sovereign king, or do you only trust yourself to control your body?

Conclusion - Psalm 139

None Like Him concludes with Jen’s conviction around the meaning of Psalm 139, specifically verse 14: “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made,” which is commonly referenced to women struggling with body image. Jen explains that women have missed the mark on applying this verse and that “our primary problem as Christian women is not that we lack self-worth, not that we lack a sense of significance. It’s that we lack awe” (154). Even when we try harder to eat healthier or work out more, whether we see results or not, we still fail at appreciating or loving our bodies. But it’s not about us, it’s about God. It’s about letting our bodies point us back to God, seeing them as a faint reflection of his incredible character and being in awe of Him.

I would highly recommend this book to all women. Jen does a fantastic job of capturing a glimpse of the infinite and perfect character of God, revealing all the more reason to worship Him! She reminds us that it’s not about us, but about the one who made us, loves us unconditionally, and saves us eternally. If you want to learn more about God’s character and fall more in love with Him, this book is for you!

Sivils, Calley. Satan Lies in the Mirror: Seeing Beauty in God’s “Mistakes.” 10 April 2021.

Wilkin, Jen. None Like Him. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2016. Print.

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