seeing God in metaphors

questlivingGodQuest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God
by Elizabeth A. Johnson
248 pages
Bloomsbury Academic
Amazon paperback price: $16.44, Kindle: $15.62

I read this some months back. While much of the book is theology and somewhat dense, Johnson has some marvelous points about how God is ultimately unknowable and can only be accessed in image and metaphor. She says:

All fruitful metaphors have sufficiently complex grids of meaning at the literal level to allow for extension of thought beyond immediate linkages. That is why God can be seen as a king, rock, mother, savior, gardener, lover, father, liberator, midwife, judge, helper, friend, mother bear, fresh water, fire, thunder, and so on.

And this:

If human beings were capable of expressing the fullness of God in one straight-as-an-arrow name, the proliferation of names, images, and concepts observable throughout the history of religions would make no sense at all. But there is no one such name. Rather, in jubilation and praise, lamentation and mourning, thanksgiving and petition, crying out and the final falling into silence, human beings name God with a symphony of  notes.

I find this very helpful.

2 Comments on “seeing God in metaphors”

  1. Tahoe Mom says:

    “. . . human beings name God with a symphony of notes.” ~ posted along with “All The Bells in Paradise” – very nice juxtaposition!

    • Tahoe Mom, thank you for that. I see my blog in a linear manner, Monday through Friday, and don’t wrap around Friday to Monday, so I hadn’t caught that. It is a nice synchronicity isn’t it? Thanks for noticing.

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