otherness, flip-flopping our metaphors, and thinking about eternity

I need to ramble. My thoughts are mumbled and I’m distracted by myself. I’m doing the pre-work for a paper I’m writing and I keep getting stuck in a few thought-loops. It kind of reminds me of my senior year at Bethel when I took a computer programming class (don’t laugh) and we used a mainframe computer (I think that’s the correct term) and you could write a really simply program that would pretty much shut everyone else out of the system as it spun in binary circles. 

One of the things I see in Scripture is that God is so entirely not us. I wrote recently–with a Sharpie in big block letters across a sheet of notebook paper– “the OTHERNESS of GOD” and then followed it with the declaration that “the God of the Bible is clearly not made in the image of humanity.”  I know people do try to make God into their own image of Him, but God as He reveals Himself in His Word is so far beyond, it’s ridiculous.  So, there is that.

i never metaphor i didn't likeI love metaphors and similes. I often don’t understand something (a process, an idea) until I see the metaphor. Time and again, I find metaphors to help me understand God. Scripture is full of them. The prophets acted them out so people who think more like me wouldn’t miss the point of their rants. Humanity is created in the image of God–we are intended to be walking, talking, serving, loving similes of God.

BUT, while there are all sorts of things in the realm of His creation that are like Him and that give us a glimpse of Him, God is not like any one or any thing. I think that whenever we say “God is like _________” our theology is bad. I say that knowing that we do it all the time.

screenshotWhole books have been written on the topic and I bet I’d like the books and find them helpful even if I couldn’t embrace all the authors had to say. In fact the Bible (if the translation is accurate) includes declarations about God being like things and I do embrace all the Bible has to say —though I do not understand it all, yet.

So, this is falling apart faster than I can type (which really isn’t that fast, but I digress).

I think what I mean is that no matter how the metaphor/simile is constructed that has God on one side of the comparison or the other, God is so far beyond, so much other, that we risk inappropriately confining God to the proverbial box if we aren’t careful. Maybe I’m being too picky.

And then I go to the next thought, and I wonder if it is the same kind of flip-flopping that got Eve to try the fruit.



One thought on “otherness, flip-flopping our metaphors, and thinking about eternity

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