“The symbol of God functions.” How you picture God directly affects how you live your life. I am adapting an essay I wrote in my theology class into a five part series… my 5 fundamental attributes of God. I’ve tried to make it a bit simpler for laymen but still… its hard to separate Christian theology from at least a few big, nasty words. Here goes…
God is knowable in creation.
Since God is Trinitarian and relational, God is knowable in creation. In radical, vulnerable love, God gave His name to Moses—YHWH, or “I AM WHO I AM”. While this accentuates His mystery, the fact remains, God gave Moses His name. He is the relational God. Such Divine self-disclosure belongs exclusively to the Christian biblical tradition.
God’s desire is for right relationship with His children that is rooted, (just as in His Triune-Self), in love. Love is a deeply personal term, reserved strictly for relationships that encompass the emotional as well as intellectual capacity of distinct individuals. Thus, love cannot be relegated upon the radically other, mysterious unknown-it must be someone knowable.
Since God is the holy, radical other, any description of God is deeply analogical and inadequate. However, symbols such as “Father”, “Mother” or “King” must be retained because titles such as “Holy Other” and “Divine” or even strictly using “God” forfeit the loving relationality we have with God. Thus, Jesus referred to God as “Abba” and “Father”. He reserved the title “My God” to a single use in an echoing of a Jewish psalm to express His deep sorrow from the Cross. The ultimate testimony to God’s knowability is the revelation of God in the Person of Christ Jesus—fully God and fully man. While God has not left Himself without a witness across the Earth, (Rom. 2.15) it is foremost through the Holy Scriptures and especially the Gospels that God’s own Person is revealed. (Eph. 3.4-6) The danger is to “understand” God and put Him in a box. We must therefore be careful to maintain the tension between a dominating understanding of God and a humble knowing of God.