My own personal stance against religious hypocrisy - both my own, and any others who seek to hurt people in the name of God.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Way I Understand God's Names

I had meant to only post here on Sundays. However, I am reading a book, The Faith Club, by Ranya Idliby, Suzanne Oliver, and Priscilla Warner, and some of the things they had to deal with before they could complete their work are striking chords with me.

One is the charge that Christians do not worship a single God. We talk about The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit as if these were three separate Gods, or pieces of God. We use inaccurate analogies, such as a three-stand rope. With every effort to explain our monotheist view we only encourage others to believe we're talking about three different beings.

So, despite being highly uneducated compared to most, I will attempt at demonstrating how we can say Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and still be talking about God. One God.

In keeping with the Christian tendency to use silly analogies, let me use a familiar name to most. Barach Obama.

Barach Obama is a single person. Yet he has different names. Not titles. Names. How so?

Should we of the American Public address him face-to-face, we would call him Mr. President. Whatever else we might say about him when not addressing him personally, when we do talk to him we would say, "Mr. President."

He is still Barach Obama. A single person.

Michelle Obama, and the president's close friends and family, most likely call him, Barach. I certainly can't see his wife calling him, "Mr. President." Perhaps in public, at a function, but in private he is Barach.

He is still Barach Obama. Mr. President. A single person.

The president's children call him Dad, Daddy, Father, or something of the like, I'm sure. Again, at a function they may use his formal title. But at home, together, he is Daddy.

He is still Barach Obama. Mr. President. Barach. A single person.

So it is with God.

Our names for God do not reference different gods. Neither do they reference "parts of God". They identify God acting in one of his many capacities.

The Father

God created everything. How he went about it is still up for speculation. That he did it, should not be. (For some it is, and for others they are convinced he had nothing to do with it - because they don't even believe he exists. Different issue.) God is also in charge of everything. How he administers things is also something which can be debated. That he is in charge, should not be.

God is holy. He is in charge. He is Creator. He is Master. However you wish to view it, there is no one of greater importance than God. When addressing God in this capacity, Christians use the term, "Father." We (Christians) believe that God granted humanity this term of affection by means of what he did in forgiving us.

The Son

We (Christians) believe that God personally indwelt a physical human being called Jesus. There was no other spirit than his own in that body. His purpose in doing this was to offer himself as the sacrifice for humanity's sins. That being done, justice was satisfied and he could welcome all of humanity back into his arms.

When we speak of God paying for our sins, we speak of God acting as The Son. He is still God. Just as "Barach" is still "Mr. President."

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is how we (Christians) think of God when he addresses us personally. This is done on a spiritual level we cannot fully comprehend. We know God convicts us of sin when we go wrong. We know God comforts our hearts when we are grieved. We know God inspires us to works, both great and small. It is God's activity in our personal lives which we refer to as "The Holy Spirit."

But God is still God. There is only one God. Sometimes he touches our hearts to guide us, or comfort us. He has taken it upon himself to pay for humanity's sins in order that humanity may abide with him forever. He is majestic and in charge. He is all of these things, and much, much more. If we wanted to, we could probably come up with a hundred names for God.

But there would still only be God. One God. With many names.

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