Tuesday, 19 November 2013

God is not MAN

'God is not MAN said in a loud voice.' Karl Barth

'The divine word at the beginning forbids that the Divine be likened to any of the things known by men, since every concept which comes from some comprehensible image by approximate understanding and by guessing at the divine nature constitutes an idol of God and does not proclaim God.' Gregory of Nyssa

The danger with so much of our theology (trying to put into words who God is) is that it simply becomes an expression of anthropology (putting into words who we are).

So all we end up doing is projecting an image of ourselves onto our understanding and expression of God. We are narcissists after all, so it is a natural habit of a post-modern society like ours to do. We like to look 'inwards' - much like a Jedi who has to 'search yourself for the truth' - and then from there frame our theology.

One of the big problems of this, aside from the obvious idolatry, is that we become obsessed with right belief and
correct doctrine. Now I'm not saying theology does not matter, quite the opposite. What I am saying is that our theology needs to be rooted in God's own self, known in relationship not right thinking. Too often we're 21st Century Gnostics.

When God is simply MAN said in a loud voice then this 'god' is merely a projection of our own nature, conviction and beliefs. When this happens correct doctrine becomes foundational and sacred because what we believe about God is actually what we believe about ourselves. And if someone challenges our beliefs it feels as though they are challenging our very selves. This can be confusing, disorientating and troubling.

But it is also liberating.

We can begin to see God for God's true self and have our entire way of thinking transformed from God as a self-projection to God as Word made flesh, as the One who has revealed Himself so that we do not have to scratch around in the dirt any longer trying to draw a picture of God from the dust of the ground.

Relationship with God, communion with Him in the eternal Divine dance is the telos (goal, purpose) of all humanity. This is not some abstract set of doctrine or rules, rather it is an entering into Love itself. Living in this Love, albeit in a provisional way right now, enables us to begin to cease our self-projection understanding of God, to stop likening Him to that which we think we know from nature and to stop shouting MAN as though this is who God is.

It is to marvel at the Mystery.

It is to find peace in contemplation.

It is to look up from the dust and see Jesus.

So we need to focus once again on the greatest commandments to love God and love each other. In the intimacy of relationship with God we learn what it means to love others with an unconditional sacrificial type love. In the reality of this love of others we discover ever more the reality and intimacy of the Divine Love.

Relationships not 'right thinking'.

Out of such relationship our theology is challenged, changed and transformed. It is deepened and layered. It is centred on the God who is Father, Son and Spirit, eternally the One who is Relationship.

So we pray 'breathe on us O Breath of God that we may share in the Divine nature, enter into Your eternal dance and love others from the depths of love that You have lavished upon us. We worship you eternal Trinity. Amen'

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