Our Best Speech about God is Nonsense

Jason Micheli —  July 13, 2014 — Leave a comment

Untitled10I’ve become convinced that its important for the Church to inoculate our young people with a healthy dose of catechesis before we ship them off to college, just enough so that when they first hear about Nietzsche or really study Darwin they won’t freak out and presume that what the Church taught them in 6th grade confirmation is the only wisdom the Church has to offer.

Knowing most folks won’t read long boring books,  I’ve been working on writing a catechism, a distillation of the faith into concise questions and answers with brief supporting scriptures that could be the starting point for a conversation.

You can find the previous posts here.

Here are questions 12-14

I. The Father:

12. How are we to picture God?

We should not think of God as a god, as a powerful being ‘up there’ in sky within the universe. God is the Creator of the entire universe and all that is in it.

Nor should we think of God as literally possessing the characteristics our language makes necessary. Thus, we may speak of God as Father or Mother, but God is not male or female.

13. How should we speak of God?

With deep humility, realizing that even our best speech is nonsense when applied to God and, as sinners, we’re prone to project our feelings and wills upon God.

We should speak of God always realizing our words fit God like a baby’s clothes fit on a grown-up. Our language for God is approximate without being at all adequate.

For this reason, the best way to speak of God is to begin by saying what God is not (an approach called the via negativa):

God is not hate, for example. Or, God is not a man with a beard.

When we arrive at a negative statement which we know is false (eg, ‘God is not Love’) then we know we’ve hit upon something true of God.

14. Can we find God in nature?

Yes.

And no.

Because God is the Cause of all existence and continually holds all things in their existence, every tiny mundane thing in creation is a sacrament of God’s love and grace- and should be celebrated joyfully as a sacrament.

However, the fullness of God is found in Jesus Christ and someone as counter-intuitive as Jesus can never be apprehended naturally.

Realization of God-in-Jesus requires revelation.

Jason Micheli

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