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Does God have a sense of humor?

Question: I really enjoy the list of attributes of God you provided. I have looked at other websites and see the same attributes. My issue with some people is that I have heard from them in the past that God hasa sense of humour. I have checked everywhere and so far have not found Scripture to support this statement. People often say to me that God created humour --so their conclusion is that God has a sense of humour. I am getting a little upset with this reasoning. Just because I can see things that are humourous does not mean that this is what God is, one of his attributes. If this line of reasoning is what people are basing their statement on that God has a sense of humour then god is also a drunkard, because He invented rye wheat that alcohol is made from, and people get drunk from it. Just exchange the word humour for alcohol and the actions that go with each and this logic works. ANYWAYS, thanks for the list of attributes you provided. If I am wrong and God does have a sense of humour, then please by all means contact me right away with the Bible verse and I will change my view. And if HE does have a sense of humour then I will enjoy your new revised, updated list of attributes, [See *note at end of answer] the new list that contains the Biblical evidence hence the verse to support it.

We are glad that you have enjoyed a list of attributes of God that you found on our site. Since you do not specify what list of attributes you found, I assume that you mean the book/study by Bob Deffinbaugh-- Let Me See Thy Glory - A Study Of The Attributes of God.

You ask an interesting question, and apparently have thought about it quite a bit-- and even been frustrated by the way people have dealt with the issue.

The word “humor” does not exist in the Bible (whether you use KJV, or the NET Bible, or probably any other version). However, as someone would of course say, the Bible does not use the word Trinity but the concept most definitely exists. So that would not be enough for us to rule out the concept of humor either in the Bible, or in God’s character. So the question that then arises is what is humor? What do we mean by this concept that we are trying to see if it is part of the attributes of God?

Merriam-Webster gives a number of definitions, but the ones that seem to more closely relate are as follows:

2 b: characteristic or habitual disposition or bent : temperament<of cheerful humor>

a: that quality which appeals to a sense of the ludicrous or absurdly incongruous

b: the mental faculty of discovering, expressing, or appreciating the ludicrous or absurdly incongruous

c: something that is or is designed to be comical or amusing

(Taken from Merriam-Webster: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/humor)

So to determine if God has this then it would be required to see from Scripture if His actions and portrayal fits the definition of what we mean by “humor.”

According to 2 b above, does God have characteristic or habitual dispositions or bents? Since God is unchanging (Heb. 13:8), I think it would be fair to say that He does indeed have characteristic and habitual dispositions. He is the only one with the perfect “humors” or dispositions. God is Love...gracious....compassionate....yet of course that is in full congruity with the rest of His attributes at the same time.

According to 3 a, b, and c, the question seems to be does God either discover, express, or appreciate things that are ludicrous, absurdly incongruous, or things that are designed to be comical or amusing?

Psalms 2:4, Psalms 37:13, and Psalms 59:8 seem to indicate God finding “humor” in the incongruity and ludicrousness of those who resist him-- as He laughs at them.

Luke 6:21, and Luke 6:25 show God promising laughter to those who weep now, and weeping to those who laugh now. It does not mention whether He will do either-- but He definitely intends and designs to make these people laugh.

Another way of looking at this would be to ask whether God designs things to be comical or amusing. In Scripture, written by God, there are many things that I find humorous. Did God design them to be that way? I see the irony and sad humor of the ridiculousness of man opposing God. Apparently He too laughs at it, so it would seem that this was intended to be noted and found, in a way, humorous. Likewise, we are told in Ecclesiastes 3:4 that there is a time to weep and a time to laugh. It would therefore seem that God did design things in life and in His Word to be found humorous-- if He intends for us to laugh. I find Saul’s story about him being in the cave taking a “break” while David is farther back in the cave quite humorous. It is ironic, absurdly incongruous-- here is Saul trying to hunt David down...and he takes a break by himself in the one place David is hiding and unknowingly puts himself at David’s mercy. I think this irony and humor is intended to be seen: God’s plan works out despite the best machinations of man. God makes men who oppose His plan look ridiculous in His timing and way.

My conclusion therefore is that God does design things intentionally with humor and has promised to do so in the future for those who endure the agonies of this life (with faith in Him) when He wipes away their tears. Of course this is all done in full congruity with His goodness, holiness, justice, love, anger, and all the other attributes that He possesses.

According to the definition of humor above, if one designs things to be seen as ludicrous, incongruous, amusing, or comical then one has humor. One might not like this way of drawing conclusions, but it is part of the definition that is standard-ly meant by “humor.” Therefore God could not design things to be humorous without having a “sense of humor.” If one designs them to be that way then one must have some appreciation for them (or one would not design them-- particularly in a being who is perfectly good). Since God created a perfect creation that He called good, and since He will restore things to perfection in eternity (Rev. 21:4-5), and since in that restoration He intends to have their be enjoyment and laughter (1 Peter 4:13, Luke 6:21), then He definitely appreciates and designs things to be amusing and enjoyed. This does not however encompass or need to encompass everything that is found by others to be humorous (here I am particularly thinking of anything that might be sinful). 

The joking statement that if God designed me then He must have a sense of humor may only be partially accurate though. For God did not design me to be ludicrous or incongruous....He designed me to bring Him glory. However, on the other side, in bringing Him glory, God did design me to have joy in Him, to give thanks, to laugh, to find amusement, pleasure, delight, and enjoyment in Him and His creation (1 Chron. 16:27, 33; Rom. 15:13; Ps. 1:2; Phil. 4:4, 8, etc.). This of course has been mutilated by sin and may be expressed in corrupted, perverted ways that He did not intend. That kind of humor He of course would never sanction.

As far as the comparison to wheat rye and alcohol the comparison does not quite stand up under consideration. God created wheat rye from which some men make alcohol which in turn is abused sinfully by some people. This is an example of man taking what was created for good and perverting it. God may have created humor, but that does mean He condones perverted humor. That too would be an example of perverting it. God created men and women and for them to have intimate relations with each other within marriage. This too is often perverted and those perversions are not what God intended. Interestingly, in this last case having created sexuality does not imply God has it. However, what it was designed to reflect God does indeed have: the unity within the mystery of the Trinity and within God’s relationship to the church. So it is possible and probable that God does not have humor in the sense that we might commonly understand it, but rather has it perfectly expressed what our humor dimly conveys, and what His having created it in us points out.

All that being said, perhaps the bigger issue that could bother one with this issue is seeing people find humor or enjoyment in things that we should not or in a way that we should not. We should not find amusement and pleasure in sinful things. We may note the incongruity or ludicrousness of the actions of men and find a sad humor in the futility of opposition to God. However we should not find a vicarious kind of humor in things and through that participate in them mentally or thereby give our approval to them.

When I graduated from High School my father gave an address to those assembled. One of the things that he shared, and that was intended to be a helpful charge to me, was that I needed to learn to have fun. I needed to learn more carefully the joy God intended for us to have in Him through life. I was a serious young man and at times perhaps more so than Scripture warranted. My father was in no way advocating that I lose the serious side of things, but rather to not be afraid to enjoy in the right ways other people, creation, and God. Having a wise perspective on when is the time to laugh and when to weep and when to love and hate will no doubt be a life-long battle of discernment. May God give us wisdom and grace in this, and may we faithfully apply all that He has given us so that we faithfully represent Him and bring Him Glory. May we enjoy God and His creation as He intended. May we find laughter, joy, thankfulness, and humor in what He finds it in and what He intended for us to find it in.

Note: We do not generally change our author’s articles, so this has been created as a question-answer resources instead.

 

Related Topics: Character of God