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Why does everyone speak or write of God as a person?


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Initial post: 19 Jul 2012 18:35:43 BDT
L17RVE says:
God as a person seems a very limiting perspective. Everyone seems to think that God acts, or doesn't, as a human being, but I think of God as being the 'fabric' of everything that is, underpinning all ways of being, thinking and behaving. Everyone knows that acting with love, consideration and respect for all life is the ideal and creates the best way forward. If they choose to do the reverse, then other people or things will obviously suffer as a result.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Jul 2012 19:14:46 BDT
K. Hoyles says:
Interesting point li7rve, but what do we make of the the fact that God (apparently) made us in his own image, if he is not acting as a human being? As we are sinful, are we a reflection of God, or a mistake?

Posted on 19 Jul 2012 21:19:22 BDT
Liz says:
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In reply to an earlier post on 19 Jul 2012 21:44:07 BDT
K. Hoyles says:
If we were made by God, could he not have made us sinless? If he made us with free will, then he must have known we would sin, as he is omniscient. If he made us without free will then we would not have sinned. So God had a choice - make us with free will or not. How could we have developed our free will, and chosen to disobey, without his intention?

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Jul 2012 22:22:19 BDT
DB says:
K Hoyles

Which would you prefer, someone who chooses of their own free will to find out about you, and love you for what you are.
Or, someone who loves you because they have been given no other choice?

Posted on 19 Jul 2012 22:23:27 BDT
Last edited by the author on 19 Jul 2012 22:25:05 BDT
People,

Chapter XXIV.-Why God Permits Evil.

"But you will meet me by saying, Even if it has come to this through freedom of will, was the Creator ignorant that those whom He created would fall away into evil? He ought therefore not to have created those who, He foresaw, would deviate from the path of righteousness. Now we tell those who ask such questions, that the purpose of assertions of the sort made by us is to show why the wickedness of those who as yet were not, did not prevail over the goodness of the Creator. For if, wishing to fill up the number and measure of His creation, He had been afraid of the wickedness of those who were to be, and like one who could find no other way of remedy and cure, except only this, that He should refrain from His purpose of creating, lest the wickedness of those who were to be should be ascribed to Him; what else would this show but unworthy suffering and unseemly feebleness on the part of the Creator, who should so fear the actings of those who as yet were not, that He refrained from His purposed creation ?

From The Recognitions of Clement.

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf08.vi.iii.vi.xxiv.html

Posted on 19 Jul 2012 22:34:48 BDT
Andrew Daley says:
The bible says God is love, light, power, spirit and other things. It says God is female in certain chapters and it also says God is undefinable and incomprehensible. So you can legitametly believe many different things about God if you take the Bible literally. I personally think believing God is a physical person in the sky or space somewhere is stupid, but to say 'there is no God' is equally as stupid, but that's just my opinion.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Jul 2012 22:37:51 BDT
Perhaps because we think of him as a 'person'. He has personality. He doesn't act as a human being, but human being is different from personhood.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Jul 2012 04:55:56 BDT
Last edited by the author on 20 Jul 2012 05:02:40 BDT
K. Hoyles says:
'Which would you prefer, someone who chooses of their own free will to find out about you, and love you for what you are.
Or, someone who loves you because they have been given no other choice?'

Either would do. Are they both not unconditional?

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Jul 2012 05:00:03 BDT
K. Hoyles says:
Hi TKg, I would be interested in your opinion, although the Recognitions of Clement are undoubtably fascinating, I'm sure your thoughts on the subject would be welcomed also.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Jul 2012 11:02:16 BDT
AJ Murray says:
Liz,

-"God is spirit..."

Bare assertion.

-"...He is not a human being like us, but He does have a personality."

Personalities are correlated to persons - so if you assert that God has one, he becomes a person. Its called anthropomorphisation.

-"In the very beginning of the world, God made everything...<snip>"

You know you're not supposed to take that stuff literally, right?

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Jul 2012 11:06:45 BDT
Mornin' AJ,

Doin' a "King Canute", today?

Pointless but fun, nonetheless.

Hugh.

Posted on 20 Jul 2012 11:37:52 BDT
Huck Flynn says:
because he was created in Man's image

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Jul 2012 12:28:48 BDT
G. Proctor says:
>>>God as a person seems a very limiting perspective. Everyone seems to think that God acts, or doesn't, as a human being, but I think of God as being the 'fabric' of everything that is, underpinning all ways of being, thinking and behaving.

Why not just stop thinking of God at all? We already have a name for everything that is. It's called the universe. There's no need to add some intangible quality for no reason.

>>>Everyone knows that acting with love, consideration and respect for all life is the ideal and creates the best way forward.

For society, yes. For an individual, however, selfishness is beneficial.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Jul 2012 12:55:18 BDT
G. Proctor says:
>>>God is absolutely sinless and perfect, and He can't allow sin in His presence.

Ignoring the fact that all this is just your interpretation of a myth in a book, I love the implications of this. How far away from God do you have to be before he can tolerate the sin? Does it obey an inverse square law? Is it even possible for God to escape sin if he's omnipresent?

How long can God tolerate sin for? After all, he had to take the time to curse Adam and Eve after they had sinned, so obviously he CAN tolerate sin for a short time. How long is this time? Can we measure it?

Why did God allow Adam and Eve continue to have children, thus increasing (exponentially!) the amount of sin in the world? He cursed Eve to have painful childbirths (strange thing for a sinless perfect god to do), but wouldn't a better solution have been to simply remove her reproductive ability entirely? (I mean, he could still have given her footsores or something if he really insisted on the whole curse thing.) That way, the sin ends right there, nobody else has to suffer because they'll never be born, and God doesn't even have to murder anyone. Instead, he decides to multiply this thing that he apparently can't tolerate.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Jul 2012 13:08:31 BDT
L17RVE says:
We only think God made us in his own image because that is what we have been told to believe. As God cannot be pictured in any single way, I think so many of the images suggested in the Bible are there to enable us to get a feel of what/who God is. We shouldn't take things so literally. There are many facets to the 'face' of God.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Jul 2012 17:45:57 BDT
K. Hoyles says:
L17RVE - 'We only think God made us in his own image because that is what we have been told to believe.' 'We shouldn't take things so literally. There are many facets to the 'face' of God.'
This is very confused. And contradictory. You have either been told that we were made in god's image, (who told you?) and you believe it, or you do not take any of the explanations literally, and do not believe it. Or you believe that god could be anything, but not sure what. I would hate to live with that kind of woolly uncertainty about my beliefs.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Jul 2012 23:41:33 BDT
L17RVE says:
K Hoyles - Sorry if I didn't express myself as well as I might have done, but you seem to be offering three interpretations which were unintended. Perhaps I should have said 'people' or 'Christians' believe that human beings are made in the image of God because that is what the church teaches. This is a well-known teaching as shown by responses from some of the other contributors, but I think this statement is taken too literally and that it is a figure of speech, a sort of short-hand as an aid to understanding what is actually inexplicable. I think that the word 'God' represents much more than the human race.
G. Proctor also seems to think that 'the universe' is a good descrption of all that is, but to me this only represents the physical and neglects the spirit and the more intangible (his/her word) aspects of existence.

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Jul 2012 18:12:45 BDT
K. Hoyles says:
L17RVE - Thank you for your reply. I think I understand that there are many aspects of christianity, which is the crux of why there is so much confusion and contradiction within the faith. One important aspect of this confusion are the multitude of interpretations and re-interpretations of the bible. At one end of the scale are the christian fundamentalists, who take everything within it quite literally. I suspect you are somewhere in the middle, correct me if I'm wrong, whereby you are happy to accept god as a spiritual guide in your life, and don't take anything in the bible literally.
You use the word 'inexplicable' to describe your understanding of what god is. I understand that the 'spiritual' aspect of your belief is important to you. What I find difficult to grasp is why you cannot live a 'spiritual' life without a god figure.
I do not have the gift of faith, and never have. What a christian would call 'unbelief', I would disagree and say I have a strong belief. The world around us is incredible enough without the extra burden that faith seems to impose on us mere mortals. 'Spirituality' can and should be found, surely, in the way we live our lives. If these rules were laid down 2,000 years ago by a charismatic preacher, god or whoever, then I might be prepared to accept and live by those rules. But the truth is, people were living normal lives a long time before this, worshipping other gods, etc. We have always agreed that murder and theft are wrong since the dawn of time, so why do we still hang on to ancient and odd superstitions which seem to do more harm than good within society?
'It is odd that modern men, who are aware of what science has done in the way of bringing new knowledge and altering the conditions of social life, should still be willing to accept the authority of texts embodying the outlook of very ancient and very ignorant pastoral or agricultural tribes.' Bertrand Russell.

Posted on 23 Jul 2012 10:14:05 BDT
People,

Concerning Wisdom, Mind, Reason, Truth, faith.

SECTION I.

COME then, if you please, let us sing the good and eternal Life, both as wise, and as wisdom's self; yea, rather, as sustaining all wisdom, and being superior to all wisdom and understanding. For, not only is Almighty God superfull of wisdom, and of His understanding there is no number, but He is fixed above all reason and mind and wisdom. And, when the truly divine man, the common sun of us, and of our leader, had thought this out, in a sense above nature, he says, "the foolishness of God is wiser than men," (meaning) not only that all human intelligence is a sort of error, when tried by the stability and durability of the Divine and most perfect conceptions, but that it is even usual with the theologians to deny, with respect to God, things of privation, in an opposite sense. Thus, the Oracles declare, the All-luminous Light, invisible, and Him, Who is often sung, and of many names, to be unutterable and without name, and Him, Who is present to all, and is found of all, to be incomprehensible and past finding out. In this very way, even now, the Divine Apostle is said to have celebrated as "foolishness of God," that which appears unexpected and absurd in it, (but) which leads to the truth which is unutterable and before all reason. But, as I elsewhere said, by taking the things above us, in a sense familiar to ourselves, and by being entangled by what is congenial to sensible perceptions, and by comparing things Divine with our own conditions, we are led astray through following the Divine and mystical reason after a mere appearance. We ought to know that our mind has the power for thought, through which it views things intellectual, but that the union through which it is brought into contact with things beyond itself surpasses the nature of the mind. We must then contemplate things Divine, after this Union, not after ourselves, but by our whole selves, standing out of our whole selves, and becoming wholly of God. For it is better to be of God, and not of ourselves. For thus things Divine will, be given to those who become dear to God. Celebrating then, in a superlative sense, this, the irrational and mindless and foolish Wisdom, we affirm that It is Cause of all mind and reason, and all wisdom and understanding; and of It is every counsel, and from It every knowledge and understanding; and in It all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden. For, agreeably to the things already spoken, the super-wise, and all-wise Cause is a mainstay even of the self-existing Wisdom, both the universal and the individual.

From Dionysius the Areopagite, The Divine Names.

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/pearse/morefathers/files/areopagite_03_divine_names.htm#c7

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Jul 2012 13:02:45 BDT
L17RVE says:
Thomas - Clement and Dionysius are all very well, but who can understand all that in five minutes. It's hardly plain English and just goes to show how difficult it is to describe what is meant by the word 'God' in words that everyone can understand, hence the idea of personification I started with. But I still don't think one has to resort to thinking about God in those terms.

Posted on 23 Jul 2012 13:15:44 BDT
L17RVE,

--Thomas - Clement and Dionysius are all very well, but who can understand all that in five minutes. It's hardly plain English and just goes to show how difficult it is to describe what is meant by the word 'God' in words that everyone can understand, hence the idea of personification I started with. But I still don't think one has to resort to thinking about God in those terms.--

I think what I posted showed the depth of thinking in God. I'm not in error because of other people's ignorance.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Jul 2012 13:17:26 BDT
L17RVE says:
K Hoyles - I don't think I have a God-figure in my life as I don't think of God as a person. You shouldn't make assumptions about what people believe or don't believe. In fact, I think I am probably nearer your own stance than you think. However, having been introduced to Christianity from birth, it is hard to turn one's back on all it stands for, as there is much that is useful within it. However, having achieved a Dip in Theology in middle age, I, at my present fairly great age, am no longer willing to take everything I am told or read at the drop of a hat. Nor do I feel it necessary to quote ancient historians to know what I believe, as you say, in this modern scientific age.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Jul 2012 13:23:50 BDT
Last edited by the author on 23 Jul 2012 13:24:49 BDT
L17RVE says:
Thomas - I wouldn't dream of saying you're in error. In fact you're obviously very erudite being able to quote such theologians. I just think we have moved on a bit from their day and by taking new discoveries into the equation, are now educated enough to be able to form our own opinions without depending on ancient texts.

Posted on 23 Jul 2012 13:41:31 BDT
L17RVE,

--Thomas - I wouldn't dream of saying you're in error. In fact you're obviously very erudite being able to quote such theologians. I just think we have moved on a bit from their day and by taking new discoveries into the equation, are now educated enough to be able to form our own opinions without depending on ancient texts.--

God doesn't change. Is there new opinion about God which was not thought of in ancient times ?

People not using the ancient texts shows how far they have strayed from the knowledge and wisdom of God and wandered in vanity of their own thoughts.
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Discussion in:  religion discussion forum
Participants:  14
Total posts:  30
Initial post:  19 Jul 2012
Latest post:  27 Jul 2012

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