Where Do We Start with God?
How do we know what God is like?
Our experience of God
- In our praying
- As we encounter God’s work in Creation
- Other people’s experience of God
- What the Scriptures say about God
- What the Church says about God
Although all these ways of knowing God are important, the last two are particularly important. Our experience of God may be mistaken! We might not listen or pay attention well enough, or we may misunderstand things.
The Scriptures are important because lots of people have recognised that they speak accurately about God – if you know how to understand them properly.
The Church is important because it too reflects what many people think to be true about God. The Church is more certain about some things than others, and recognises that it can get things wrong sometimes.
What are some of the pictures of God we see in the Scriptures?
There are all kinds of different pictures of God to be found in the Scriptures, some we might expect, but some are quite surprising.
Some images of God:
Creator (Genesis); a burning bush (Exodus); jealous (Deuteronomy); love (Psalms); a rock (Psalms); a shield (Psalms); One God (Isaiah); Merciful (Nehemiah); Judge (Ezekiel); a quiet whisper (1 Kings); Father (Matthew); King (Revelation); Mother (Isaiah); Shepherd (Psalms); living (Hebrews); gwith us (Isaiah); spirit (John); faithful (1 Corinthians); light (1 John).
Perhaps the most important image of God in the Scriptures is Jesus!
What are some of the pictures of God that the Church gives us?
The Church developed from the Scriptures the image of God as a Trinity. God is Father, Son (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit. But at the same time still One God.
The Church has also continued to use the ideas about God we find in the Scriptures – though different ideas are popular at different times. A good way of seeing what ideas about God have been popular is to look at pictures and sculptures made by Christians (e.g. in Churches).
Whatever image or idea we have of what God is like it is imperfect. God is always beyond our understanding!
Think of one image of God you have seen in a Church you have been to, what was it?
Find an image/idea of God somewhere in the Bible (there are lots to choose from). Write below what it is and where you found it.
Which image/idea of God do you like best?
Which image/idea of God do you like least?
Write Seven interesting things you know about the Universe!
*Credit for the inspiration and style of this course must be given to Fr Nic Cheeseman, to whom I am most indebted.