Sunday, November 7, 2010

Who is God?

Every week young people gather in our home. We share a meal, life and spirituality.  A few weeks ago we invested a whole night on the topic “Who is God”.  There is so much that can be said theologically and philosophically, but I wanted to concentrate on the relational aspect of who God is.  I’ve been hounded to share my notes on this night.  So here they are:
So where do we start in trying to figure out who God is? 
  • You can look to yourself.  (What are your thoughts on God?)
  • You can ask others their opinions.  (Text and ask someone right now)
  • You can look to other sources (I recommend that we look at the bible)

Many of you have tried opening the bible and reading from page one and expressed that it doesn’t help your understanding of God.  It doesn’t seem to be about him but about creation VS evolution.  I don’t think that is the point here.  God didn’t actually give us a scientific text book, but in fact he gave us a poem. If it were written more scientifically it would probably sound like this: 

It doesn’t really answer questions about how the creation happened, but rather gives us a reflection of the one creating it. 

Poetry is about the soul, not the mind.  It is about art, not science (although science is not opposed to faith in God, but for the moment we are talking about wanting to know who God is, (a creator) not his techniques in doing it.  We miss this a lot because our English bibles do not capture the Hebrew poetry very well so I want to try an experiment with you.

 We moved outdoors and while I recited a poem inspired from Genesis I worked on an art project surrounded by our group.

 In the beginning. God.
Before the time of sky or sod.

He hovered over his blank canvas
Ready to end the eternal blackness

Light erupted at his word
The first thing from him was purity and brightness stirred

What comes to mind when you think of light and how does that relate to God?

                The space was made to hold
                A planet he would now enfold

                Water was made with pathos
                And thus ended the chaos

The most popular creation tale when this was written was called the Enma Elish. The story involves the salt water god and the Fresh water god in a battle that ended up in the creation of armies of animals and men to serve them in their wars.  It was chaos.  Here God shows us that he is beyond chaos and separates the waters with just his words.  He is someone we can trust with our problems.  What does it mean to you that God is in control?

                The sound of his voice echoed grand
                And out of the water rose the land

                But far from God to keep things bland
                He had far more elaborate plans

                He is the father of all living things
                From the fish that swim to the birds that sing

Here God reveals that he is not just a master of things, such as planets and stars, but of life itself.  What implications does this have for our “life”?

                The sun stars and moon were set in space
                To mark the time on this place

                It was at this point that God revealed
                He reason to make all the grass and field

                He molded a human to carry his name
                A prince of creation you could say

We were not an afterthought, or a byproduct of random chance, but deliberately thought about.  He set the stage to begin the relationship of love with us.  Does it mean anything that the author of this poem wrote it about you?

So there we have the poem of God declaring that:
·         He is light
Hence he wants us to be like lights in the darkness of our world
·         He can be trusted
He wants us to trust him but also be people that can be trusted with people’s problems
·         He is a life giver
He created and wants us to be creative bring out life in our surroundings
·         He is a king
He has passed on his authority to us as princes of the universe.  He proves this last point the fact that he had people name the animals.  Naming is a sign of authority.  Parents name their kids, cities name streets – unless we have authority we can’t name anything.  God grants that to us. 

(I then left the group to name my artwork while I went inside to wash my hands.  I had prearranged with one of the students that while I was away he would take the cans of spray paint and destroy my painting.  He did and the rest of the group were angry, upset and seemed to want to physically retaliate to him.  I played dumb and pretended I didn’t know what had happened.  I was sad.  Then the people in the group started to talk about how this was a fitting picture of what had happened with God and the earth.  How people basically did the same thing.  Then there in my front lawn I talked about the message of despair we brought upon ourselves and the message of hope that God would one day restore his creation and the broken relationships with us.)

There you have it – The creation story taught through poetry and art.


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