Who is God?

I have been bantering about on a few blogs here and there and this question remains for me these days:

“Who is God?”

Honestly, do we really know God all that well? In Christian circles there is this sense that ‘we’ do…this total surety of the idea of who and what God is…but if God shows up as a burning bush it might shock your idea of who God is…maybe God is meant to be mysterious?

God is a Spirit…this much I have come to realize.

What does that mean? God is not a man nor a woman – but can empathize with both. God is not going to function according to our whims – we are innately self-centered and we wouldn’t take someonee else’s total advice for our lives – because of their limitations on knowing us. God must know more than us – and not limited to self-centredness.

God is unknown. We know some things and have hints and pathways – sure we do. But in the end – God is not limited to some book or letter because we think we can make God into our image – according to our rules. God is imageless.

What you think know about God will change in the next, 10, 20, or 30 years and it isn’t God changing.

39 thoughts on “Who is God?

  1. God is unknown.. we get glimpses and can only use imperfect metaphors to describe it. even Jesus had to resort to metaphor, allegory, and illustration when talking about God and even these were no where near all encompassing.

    i can’t stand when people say “God does not change.” like when? how? what do you mean? this answer is too vague for me (the master of vagueness ;-)) God change’s God’s mind all the time.. like with Sodom, the golden calf, the prophets, and even Jesus calling the syro-phoencian woman a “Dog” and then correcting himself. God changes… God is influenced just as we are influenced by God. that’s a relationship, that’s a feedback loop. What does NOT change about God is God’s grace and love for us.

    good Lennon quote!

  2. I guess I feel like you Luke – we know some things – have some guidance – but we are not books – we are real and living people in real and living situations – from Saskatchewan to Pennsylvania. As we are real and living – our relationship with this Spirit must also be…no book can encapsulate that.

    I guess I don’t know God all that well – I know God in pieces and slivers. The God I thought I knew so well – I was shocked to learn is likely way more complex than my God box I created. Thank God!

    I must admit – I don’t know God all that well – I am glad to admit that…I know a lot of stuff from the bible but I don’t know God that well in this present and real life of mine…and this means there is a lot more available to me. That is good enough for me.

  3. things are complex and nuanced and despite 27 years of searching and questioning… i’m still at square one. well, maybe square two, ages 0-5 might have been square one.. but who’s to say 😉

    there are some out there, i’ve learn, who see themselves as far more developed that we simplitons… good for them. they get extra prayers from me, cause they’re gonna need it. ugh.. and that sounds just like what they would say.. i think i’m gonna stop reading other blogs for a little bit and stick to the friends and canon.

    so here i am, entertain me! 😉

    hope things are well with you Jay.

  4. If you want to see God, to know God…look at Jesus.

    This is how God has chosen to reveal Himself to us.

    Is there more to know about God? Plenty! Way more than we could ever know or comprehend.

    But God has chosen that we know Him in the person of Christ Jesus and that will have to be good enough for now.

  5. We could always get a really reflective look on our face, and say with great serenity … “God is.” Pause. “Enough said.”

    We must make sure we’re meditating when we say this, as well.

    And then we come down from our mountain, and realize we need more than just a noun and a verb.

    I also think that we don’t ever want to be in a position where we’re 100% sure we know who/what God is. If we’re that certain, then how can we be in a position to be corrected? We’ll always be judging everything by our certainty, and thus possibly miss who God really is.

  6. “there are some out there, i’ve learn, who see themselves as far more developed that we simplitons” (Luke)

    This isn’t the reason I said this (although what you say is also true) – I said it because I think at the heart of my supposed ‘relationship’ with God – I really know very little about God…as much as I have studied and bantered about this Spirit. What I do know is what keeps me attached to this Spirit and I like to be acquainted with this Spirit – in whatever capacity it is we exist in (relationship?). All I know is what I know of God now – is changing – because I have to live in the present (and I feel great!).

    “But God has chosen that we know Him in the person of Christ Jesus and that will have to be good enough for now.” (Steve)

    What am I trying to say here…those are books/letters and they are guides and nothing more. Like a map cannot give us the real experience of seeing the land firsthand – same with the letters and books. And although Jesus was revelatory (like the prophets before him/wisdom writers also) – he spoke in allusive language – and left the elaboration on us (no specifics). There is no list of how to love your neighbor – nor of how to love your spouse…these things we figure out.

    The problem with the gospels and letters is they do not reveal to us who Jesus totally is – it’s a 3 year stretch basically – of a person that lived 33 years. We are left to imagine what this Jesus was like – and as much as we can piece together – that is all we can go by on this person Jesus. Which I don’t mind – because what matters is my actions in the present tense – not what Jesus does or is doing – God wants me to live my life (I don’t need to worry about His).

    “I also think that we don’t ever want to be in a position where we’re 100% sure we know who/what God is. If we’re that certain, then how can we be in a position to be corrected?” (OSS)

    I agree…there is a degree of humility in admitting to knowing that my whole lot I think I know is really just a speck of dirt of knowledge compared to what I could know about God (which I sure as I am alive – do not). Is it just me – or am I the only one that likes the mystery and this God set-up?

    ***On a personal note – my wife and I have reconciled for about a month now and are doing awesome…some bumps here and there to work through…but it awoke me from my slumber and I love in a much greater capacity…emotionally alive and living in the present…each day is a gift and that gift is not to be wasted. This situation more than anything else made me re-examine this God – and I realize the complexities involved in defining God. This worked out a lot different than I thought – better than I could of even prayed…and yet I hurt to death at points…now I exult in companionship and love in new awakenings…is there a God? Something happened.

  7. I think the idea of “knowing G-d” is like trying to know yourself. You learn about yourself through personal experience and the experience of others. The thing is though, you dont truly know or see all of yourself, its impossible. I dont know or see all the inner workings of my body, I trust when there is something wrong someone else will go and see and repair it. I am tied to others to help myself. Just as they are with me. So my experience of G-d is connected to what I can see and touch and feel. And this would be my world, so in essence G-d is all around us and in us. Hows that one go again?

    Luke 17:21

    Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

    And within you, and Luke and Doug and Yael and so on …………………….

    Good on you and Stacy, heres hoping you continue to fight……………and makeup 😉

  8. Yep. I believe that as soon as you think you have God all figured out, when you get God in that box, what you really are left with is a Golden Calf, an image of God. When that image becomes to important, you borderline on idolatry. We have to keep in mind that there is always going to be mystery to God, that we are always going to be learning more about God, that we will never have God all figured out. I think the important thing is seeking after that knowledge.

  9. Jason,
    I can’t imagine anything more uninteresting than life without mystery. If there is nothing left to explore, nothing left to know, I might as well cease to exist and be done with all this. Perhaps if God was a block of wood we could honestly say we know God, but even then I’d have my doubts. What would we know about being blocks of wood?

    As you may have guessed, I have returned from my blog vacation. Nothing new with that, I’ve done it a number of times now. I think it does my soul good to drop out of sight but after awhile I start to wonder what everyone is talking about again and soon I’m right back in the thick of it all.

    John,
    Thanks for the mention. I truly appreciate the acknowledgment more than you’ll probably ever understand.

  10. Yay!!! Yael is back!!!

    I was talking with my wife last night and for some reason we got onto the whole blogging thing – and your name came up…probably because when we go to Greece one of our flights goes through Minneapolis. However, I commented on how much I have learned from you about my faith and yours – and how great of a learning process this has all been for me…heck we even created a lil community from it (that’s how alive it was)…including the canon – John, Doug, and Luke.

    Good to have you back – you know us ignorant Christians need a dose of reality – and I find a refresher in your Judaism!

  11. “If Christianity (or Christians) are ignorant, and Judaism is reality…then why not just become a Jew?” (Steve)

    Good point Steve. I will answer in 3 parts:

    (a) Christians are ignorant of what Judaism actually does teach – this is no hidden secret. I think Christianity tries to stay true to what is in the book (in this case the OT) – however things have changed over time and interpretations and use have also. As Christians, we tend to think our views of those scriptures are accurate – when in fact they are not (in most cases) – we have not adapted nor made any of those changes. I think it is the error of pride and prejudice now – we have a long Christian history that cannot be wrong – so Judaism is the one in error…

    I can admit I was (and am) in the same boat here when it comes to Judaism – I know very little because in Christian circles we are not taught much concerning the OT (the Tanakh) – and what we do know is limited mainly to atonement and fulfillment of prophecy…these are the focuses. Yet in studying Judaism my Christian faith has become more fulfilled – when I see Judaism interpreted it’s way (not ours).

    (b) I am not a Jewish person – I am a First Nations person that is happy with his spirituality – which is really at the core based on the gospels (and letters)…which are based on Judaic teachings. One might say I am a borrower from their faith by virtue of being a Christ-ian (which is also a term that came from Judaism – messiah – and we are coined it because of our sole focus on that ideology as our core).

    I find the interpretations of Judaism add light to the teachings of Christianity and help them to shine more – not to dim (and I am thankful for that). I also find the focuses in Judaism a lot more diverse than what Christianity is used to – also more ‘here and now’ based — and I think in our faith we have removed some of that from our faith realities…and created a faith that is based in duality – church and home. Faith is not like that at all in the scriptures…faith is your life (which is ‘here and now’).

    The focus of Judaism on the ‘solids’ (which is what I will call it) of religion is also something we in Christianity need to re-look at according to our scriptures. I see a Jesus that also focused on those ‘solids’. By solids I mean the things that are tangible and obvious – not something we cannot see, smell, touch, taste, or hear (human reality). I find Christianity focuses a lot on ‘sense’ because they think it is more spiritual – but it isn’t and this was not the focus of Jesus’ message either. Jesus was ‘solid’ – in that what he taught we could do and see the outcome.

    (c) Christianity is the faith that is for the Gentiles – this is my personal opinion. It is a Gentile friendly version of Judaism – without a lot of core ingredients of Judaism – but holds many of the moral values and stories that can be shared. I don’t mind that – because I am not a Jewish person – I am a Gentile and proud of it! But I also have a strong affinity to Judaic interpretations because they make the most sense to me when I read Jewish writers – and this is plain logic. If you want to read First Nations teachings/myths – get the First Nations perspective for a more detailed experience. So, I turn to Judaism for answers to Christianity – cause if these were Jewish writers I will see the influence.

    So that’s why I love Judaism but I remain a Christ-ian (which is the same as calling someone a Messian-ic).

  12. Yep, Steve, you don’t have to worry. I’m not into friendship evangelism nor seeking converts. My friends are just my friends. We learn from each other without feeling any need to become each other. So far as I know, of all the people who have talked with me about Judaism, only one ever converted and she was already on her way before we ever met. People who want to convert talk to rabbis, not me. I’m only a wannabe!

    Jason, you’re coming through the airport here? How long is your layover? I live five minutes from the airport. Even if there is no time to meet each other perhaps you could give me a call? I’ll email you my phone number.

  13. Pingback: They Always Crack! « Therapy

  14. We know some things and have hints and pathways

    Yes. I can name 10 emphatic hints and one pathway, but we can never stop learning about God. When we do, we start to put God in a box. God does give us a spiritual image of Himself which from our vantage point is more than enough for us to continue to be drawn in till the day we die.

    Not sure where that exchange came out of between Steve and Yael.

  15. As a First Nations person, G-d as I have seen in stories and have heard, is an integral part of this creation. G-d is in relationship with humans, but it doesn’t end there, G-d is relationship with animals, planets, comic systems, earthy cycles, etc…

    G-d doesn’t have a hierarchy of communication. G-d doesn’t speak to humans first and then animals and plants. Imagine you could be on the moon and were looking at the earth. What would stick out? Water and land, but realistically, not one human would stick out. Not one plant, not one animal, do you see my point? G- d is interested in it all and all of it equally. That is the believe that I have learned from being First Nations.

  16. “Jason, you’re coming through the airport here? How long is your layover? I live five minutes from the airport. Even if there is no time to meet each other perhaps you could give me a call? I’ll email you my phone number.” (Yael)

    I am coming through that airport twice! Once on the way out (very early) on June 30th and once on the way back – July 25th (in the aft sometime). Sure, send me the number via e-mail and I will give you a call while I am waiting in the airport – and I’ll let u know what the dealio is on the trip and life. This is my first trip via air – into new parts of America – into Int’l waters…kind of hyped – kind of anxious.

  17. Oh the layover is quite short Yael – on the way there it’s like just over an hour – on the way back even shorter – I guess they want to hurry us out of Minneapolis…but either way – I now that I am making these flights maybe some weekend the wife and I can come visit for a little trip of some sort? Just an idea.

  18. I know what God isn’t…

    “Why don’t you go f*ck yourself?” (Steve)

    Steve, dude, you have to be able to take someone else with a grain of salt. I know you and Yael do not see eye 2 eye – for quite some time now this has been the case – but there is no need for that type of retaliatory (I know she called you an ass) language.

    But at some point Steve you have to admit it is childish (or at the least elementary my dear Watson) to get into some name calling extravaganza (I know there was no name – just a bitter tasting comment). I think as Christians we should be able to get along with whoever and whomever – as long as that’s what we see in our God. Just asking you to consider the language and the insults thing…unless it is a joke than I could care less.

    Now for me to go on a swearing tangent….:)…..

  19. Jason,

    She called me as ass…without provocation from me, by the way.

    And not wanting to take anymore crap from her, I told her what I thought of her.

    If you look at her comment to me, she wasn’t joking.

    I’m already over it. I was over it two minutes after I told her to blank herself.

    She’s had it in for me ever since I made some staunch defenses of Jesus (a long time ago)

    I don’t care that she isn’t a Christian. Not at all. But she seems to have a problem with me.

    I always try and treat people the way I want to be treated, but enough is enough.

  20. I had just returned from the hospital to see a friend of mine who is dying.

    Not to make excuses, but otherewise I might have just said “go pound sand”…or something.

  21. That’s all somewhat true Steve – I agree – but if I acted that way to some atheists or decoverts that flippantly bash me over small things – then what’s really being gained – for them or for my own personal life? I think we have to take this stuff with some grain of salt – as Christians shouldn;t some of this be expected?

    But maybe you are right – maybe an insult for an insult will offer the best prescription?

  22. Jason,

    Good points and well taken.

    I’m not out to convert her, or anything like that. And I ought be more worried about others (not causing them to stumble)…but hey…I’m a full blown sinner who screws up now and then!

    Thanks much, Jason!

    – Steve

  23. Jason,
    That would be great if you and your wife could come visit for a weekend sometime. John and Denise are supposed to stop by sometime next fall/winter; so I’m thinking wouldn’t it be fun if you guys could come then as well. But, either way works for me.

    You can come to synagogue with me and see for yourself what I’m always talking about and meet my world famous Rabbi! Then you can start talking with him about your conversion 😉

    Talk to you later. I’m checking out until Saturday night.

  24. “John and Denise are supposed to stop by sometime next fall/winter” (Yael)

    Fall/Winter of 2009 or 2010? I wouldn’t mind getting a good view of the synagogue and the Jewish life up close – plus to meet some of the people that all blog together would be kinda fun…I must let u know I am a lot younger than most of you (like 34 next week) – but I look younger than that even…but sounds like a plan (maybe for the future).

  25. I must let u know I am a lot younger than most of you (like 34 next week(Jason)

    Thats ok man, my wife says I act too young, most of the time anyway. 😉

    Im hoping to go to Vikings game in 0ct/nov. 2009.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s