Monday, October 27, 2008

God = ?

The word “God” means so many different things to people...

Of course, the English word “God” would have been unrecognizable to ancient Hebrews and Greeks. Early English speaking Christians searched for a word that would express what the Hebrew scriptures meant by the words “Yahweh” or “Elohim”. They chose the word “God”. Unfortunately, we use the same word to refer to any deity of any religion. That means that the word “God” does not communicate the same thing to everyone.

Socrates always insisted that the first order of business in any discussion is to define the terms to be used. We don’t want to upset Socrates, so lets stop and define the word “God”.

First, Christians believe that God has a personality. He is not like a borderless mist, some undefined, impersonal force of nature. God has a personality. We can know Him, communicate with Him, even have a relationship with Him.

Once we begin to believe that God has a personality then we are likely to ask, “what is His personality like?”

The Bible says that the essence of His personality is a quality called “holiness”. Being holy certainly means that He doesn't lie. He doesn't cheat. He doesn't go back on His word. But even more importantly, the Hebrew word kadosh, which we translate “holy,” means “other.” When we say that God is Holy we are saying that He is not like us or like anything else that we can or could ever know. He is beyond comprehension. He is “awe-inspiring”.

The only thing we can know about God are those things which He has revealed to us. However, even those things are sometimes difficult to grasp, as we have seen. Then, beyond all the we do know about God, there is infinitely more that we do not know. Realizing this keeps us from trying to make Him into our image. It stretches us toward Him rather than trying to bring Him down to our level. When we reject the idea that God is “beyond finding out,” we make a mental or physical image and call that image, “god.”

The Bible calls that process idolatry. It is strictly forbidden by scripture. The problem is, we all have idols; we must always be working to destroy them. We never get to know the real God if we keep admiring the substitutes we have made!

Yet once again we return to worship. We cannot figure God out, but we can worship Him, “in the beauty of holiness”. Jesus tells us (in Matthew 6:9) that we should begin our prayer by recognizing this aspect of God’s character, by saying, “Our Father which art in Heaven, hallowed (Holy) be Thy Name!”

1 comment:

~*Miss Kelly J...*~ said...
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