Back in March of this year (2012), I posted this question on my blog: “How Would You Describe God?” I didn’t get a single response. Now there’s always the possibility that no one read the posting, but I tend to believe it’s more that people find it difficult to answer the question.
Following is an excerpt from the last chapter of my book, “Things I Never Learned in Sunday School:”
With all that God means to Christians, when you ask them to describe their God, few have a ready answer. They may tell you what God means to them personally, they may quote scriptures about God, or they may use the aforementioned adjectives (omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent) – but to actually put into words who or what God is seems to be a near impossible task. Some have gone so far as to say it is impossible for the finite mind of humans to define God. Perhaps part of the problem is that within Christianity there are actually three Gods, although believers will argue the three are simply different aspects of one God (more on this later).
Interestingly, non-Christians seem to be able to answer the question quite readily. One person I asked said God is an all-loving, all-powerful being who created everything there is. Another gave a more esoteric description by saying that God means “existence.” And someone defined God as the Truth that is unfathomable. An online website provided the very abstract definition of God as the “Transcendental Signifier.”
One individual supplied me with this profound definition: “A massive energy source that can transfer its energy, storing it into living things and allowing us to use it to function and transfer that energy into new beings as well. (Energy cannot be created or destroyed. So the energy we have in us was transferred from a previously existing energy source, not simply created.)”
Paul Tillich, a Christian existentialist philosopher, used the term “Ground of Being” to describe God. In his opinion, humans need something to overcome our existential angst, i.e., our fear of death. We need something “out there” to save us, to help us overcome the dread of our demise. To Tillich, God is this “Ground of Being,” the agent that helps us deal with our finitude.
An online dictionary defines God this way: “A being of supernatural powers or attributes, believed in and worshiped by a people, especially a male deity thought to control some part of nature or reality.”
A few other definitions I came across are: God is love, God is nature, God is the infinite potentiality that underlies all matter and energy, God is the force behind the creation of the universe and the laws of nature.
Atheists (and secular humanists) often define God as nothing more than superstition, but more often they ask the question: “Can a thing which does not exist be defined?”
The basic truth is this: People may say they believe in God, but most have no clear idea exactly who or what that “God” is. One person summed it up by asking God this question: “Do any of us actually know what you are all about? We worship, revere, and pray to you but have absolutely no clue about you – who you are, where you came from, why you are, where you are, what you are … or if you even exist.”
If you would like to know more about the identity of “God,” I encourage you to read my book. In it, you will find information not only about God, but you will also learn the history behind several popular, but incorrect, Christian beliefs (e.g., Satan, Hell, Armageddon, the Antichrist). It’s currently in eBook format but should be in paperback very soon.