Uncertain Faith

Finding the courgage to live with uncertainity

Defining God

Butch Rogers

15 Dec, 2015

 As a seeker I’m pursuing God, and the God I’m pursuing is bigger than the god that is too often wrongly defined in my mind.   In his book Nine Essential Things I’ve Learned About Life, Rabbi Harold Kushner writes, “God is not a person like us, who lives in the sky.  God is real, but real in a very different way than you and I are real.  If we have a picture of God as a man, does that mean that God is a man and not a woman, and that men are more similar to God than women are?  If God in your picture is old, should you worry that God might not understand the problems that you face as a young person?  If God in your picture has white skin, should someone with black or brown skin feel that he or she is less close to God than white-skinned, blue eyed children?"  He points out that, "Because our minds can only work in concrete terms, because it’s hard to think about something abstract, we inevitably think of God the way we think of people, even as we try to remind ourselves that that is not accurate."

Kushner says, "To picture God is to define Him, and to define Him is to limit Him.  That's what definition does:  it includes some things and rules everything else out.  To presume to define God comes across as saying that we know everything there is to know about God.  I would rather have us believe and say that the effort to understand what God can mean in our lives is an ongoing, never-ending one.  It should teach us to approach that idea of God in a spirit of humility"

For me, Kushner's words help to confirm that the endeavor of seeking God is not stagnant but dynamic and even uncertain.