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Who Do We Say God Is?

I have begun to work on a project for myself where I take a dive into my theology. If you do not know, theology is basically our understandings and beliefs about God, informed by scripture, tradition, experience and reason. So, theology has work that goes into it, you cannot just say something and make it true. And theology can grow and change over time as we grow in faith and understanding.

So in my dive into theology, I am starting with the simple (yet probably most complex) question. Who do I say God is? This will be the foundation on how the rest of my theology comes into focus. I had a professor once ask my class to fill in the blank on the following statement, "If God isn't __________, then that's not God." Another simple question, right? Well, my initial response was that If God isn't Justice, then that's not God" and I have been thinking about this a lot since then. The more common answer would be LOVE as the the essence of God, and the more I think about it, I think that I actually would agree that Love should be the word in the blank (at least for me).

So why did I change my mind? Well, as I was thinking about God, I realized that I found justice to not be as expansive as it could be. Now, I guess the definition the way I was working with the term might mean that it could still fit, and I think it does, but I believe that justice comes from Love. Think about this, if God did not have love for creation, why would God bring justice? If God were not love, why would God become human and suffer in the world with us? At the core of the story of the Bible, we can see love at work. Sure, there are times in the Old Testament that we might find some struggle in seeing Love in action, but I would argue that if you look at the overall narrative of scripture, we can see love at the center.

Now, this brings up an interesting thought, one that I want to challenge you with. If we are to say that God is Love, can we say God does bad things to creation? How often do we give empty platitudes of "it was God's will" when in reality it was the nature of the world that was at work? We often don't want to challenge ourselves to think that humanity has agency in our world and instead put everything on God (at least when things are bad). So I am going to challenge you to think about who do YOU say God is? After you answer that, maybe by using the fill in the blank from earlier, then you can think about what that really means for the world. What does it mean for the Good News of Jesus? It's complicated and we should do the work of trying to understand and not just casting it off of ourselves.

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