Friday, February 15, 2008

Who/What Is God?

A question post today:

How do you define God?

What characteristics of God are the most appealing/comforting to you?

What characteristics of God are the most off-putting or disturbing to you?


Tony Arnold said...

I don't feel I could possibly address such a complex being as God and my understanding of Him, even withing these 3 questions by any intelligent manner in bullet list on a blog post.

You may find others would struggle with the same problem. You might not get too many takers on this one Phil.

Can you do it? Or just bait us all with opened ended questions that will get us blog skewered? :-)

Justin said...

I was gonna say the same thing Tony. I can't define God outside of God is.

Phil said...

Would it be better if I "limited" it to how God is presented in the Bible?

john alan turner said...

I'm going to defer to Anselm b/c he was smarter than I am. He said God is "that than which a greater cannot be thought."

How's that for a Friday afternoon?

Brent said...

Looking at history, God has had many different definitions. Gods have always been defined based on how people understand the way the world works.

In ancient biblical times (say, 100-1100 B.C.E.) the God of the Hebrews was understood in very much the same ways as the gods of the surrounding nations - controls wars, weather, fertility, health, famine, etc.

If one looks at any of the gods of any culture or time, we see that gods controlled any aspect of life that was deemed important.

God is a metaphor which mankind has created in order to answer important (and often unanswerable) questions in life. God/gods have served a purpose in the lives of men for centuries. God/gods give structure and order to societies. However, God has been "literalized" and defined by a few individuals as a means of substantiating their own power. This has led to dogmatic and fundamentalistic religion.

So, anyone can define God. However, just as they do so someone else comes afterward and redefines him/her/it. It is how it has always been done and will continue to be until we give up this quest.

Tony Arnold said...

I like the Anselm quote.

Yeah, what he said...

judy thomas said...

God is God and I am not!

Jeffrey said...

Brent, i like your thoughts a lot! very open, inclusive, and thought provoking.

As for me, currently I see "God" as Life. It is the "deep feeling" of what we have come to call our "heart", which often times stands in direct contrast to our reason and logic (so shall we call our rational Satan?).

the "characteristics" of God, to me, are peace, acceptance, Love, and freedom.

Keith Brenton said...

I love God because He is love.

I fear God because He is righteous.

I misunderstand God because He is Spirit.

I connect with God because He is, through His Son, truth/reality that I can perceive.

I am grateful to God because He is providential.

I am giving toward others because, through His Son, He gave up everything for me.

I am forgiving to others because He is forgiving toward me.

I am confessional with God because He judges justly.

I am surrounded by God because He is creative.

I am indwelt by God because He wants to be close to my heart.

I feel distant from God because He transcends the universe.

I feel close to God because He is as close as a prayer.

God is Trinity. God is One.

Because He is, I am.

But only He - Father, Son, Spirit - is the Great I AM.

Jim said...

I'd prefer to look at this as God defines me rather than the other way around.

Brian said...

How comfortable are you with calling God "She"?

Phil said...

Brian, I actually think personal pronouns fail when trying to describe God.

Thomas+ said...

I only know God through Jesus of Nazareth. Everything else is commentary.

Brian said...

Phil, of course you are right about personal pronouns inability to describe God. I was being slightly perverse:)

Unfortunately, we Christians tend to love reducing God to something/someone within our own sphere of understanding. Since understanding God is akin to a 2D character like Homer Simpson understanding the 3D world we live in.

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