August 11, 2011

Definitions of God

I'm currently reading Speaking Christian, the latest book by Marcus Borg.  Today I read the chapter where he talks about "God," and specifically the various definitions and meanings of the word "God." 

Before reading further, ask yourself: What is my definition of "God?"

Borg and I agree that one reason a lot of people have a problem believing in God is because of the definitions that are commonly used to define God.  In his book, Borg cites these examples:

Oxford American: “Without an article: In Christianity and other monotheistic religions the creator and ruler of the universe and source of all moral authority; the supreme being.”

Random House Websters: “The creator and ruler of the universe; Supreme Being. One of several immortal powers, esp. one with male attributes, presiding over some portion of worldly affairs.”

American Heritage: “A perfect being conceived as the creator of the universe, and worshiped in monotheistic religions; the force, effect, or a manifestation or aspect of this being; a being of supernatural powers or attributes, believed in and worshiped by a people, esp. a male deity.”

In sermons, I've shared my own definition of God, which is a little different.  I've said that God is the "lifeforce or life-energy which binds all of creation."  I've quoted (as Borg does) Acts 17:28, which says that God is "the one in whom we live and move and have our being.”  These definitions define God as being more "in here" rather than "out there."  The "out there" definitions seem more common in society today, and yet I think they also present a God who people find hard to believe in.

What definitions of God are problematic for you?  What definitions do you prefer?

1 comment:

Nancy said...

Wow - Danny. I so agree with your definition and the problems with the definition that Borg puts out. But then, I am a fan of both you and Borg.