2012 Statement on the Nature of God


God is the ultimate mystery of the universe, the name we give, without any claim of certainty or finality, to the postulated Source of our wonder and awe at Creation.  We say Creation to suggest that God is greater than the universe, that the observable universe is not “everything that exists” or self-existent, that the origin of the universe is related in some way to the existence and activity of God.  We are open to the possibility that the universe exists within God.  The subject of God is unfathomable (אֵין חֵקֶר, Psa. 145:3, cf. Job 5:9, 11:7), beyond our full comprehension.


We say ‘God is One’: that like the observable universe, the intangible God is (thought to be) a unity, that the essence of God is singular and incomparable, that there is no limitation to God in terms of time, space, or any mode of existence, and that there is no limit to God in terms of providence, sovereignty, or any mode of presence.  The statement ‘God is One’ denies any form of cosmic pluralism: this God has no rivals or opposites, this God has no companions or equals.  “To whom will you compare me?  Or who is my equal?  says the Holy One.” (Isa. 40:25)  “Acknowledge today and take to your heart that the Everlasting One is God in heaven above and on earth below.  There is no other.” (Deut. 4:39)  To deny the existence of a plurality of gods is not a matter of intolerance toward other religious systems, as monotheism has been accused of intolerance, but more of coherence: whatever you may believe about deity, your god(s) and my god are ultimately related to the One, and all concepts of the One fall short of full comprehension.


The Oneness of God does not fit into the usual categories.  For example, God is neither personal nor impersonal, but a synthesis of these we will call transpersonal.  God is not your personal God, not a magical source of favors or guarantees.  All of Creation is the scope of God’s concern.  God is not an extension of ourselves, not to be described in anthropomorphic terms.  But neither is God an object of observation, an Other, nor a force or energy without ‘living’ presence, an It.  God is a transpersonal being to whom we may ascribe personal terminology such as Father, King, or Shepherd while recognizing the limitations of these familiar terms.  We ascribe human terms to God (due to the limitations of our knowledge), we do not imagine or describe God by these terms.


© 2012, Charles F, Hudson