What’s Your Conception of God?

It’s hard to discuss things fruitfully when you don’t know what you’re talking about.

I’m not speaking here of out-and-out ignorance, of people pontificating on subjects of which they know little (although there’s plenty of that going around, and I’m sure it was ever thus, and that I’ve contributed to it in my time). I’m speaking of something more subtle: of two people in dialog using the same words but meaning different things by them. Such hidden disagreements can generate quite a lot of heat and confusion, with very little light, and often both disputants go away affirmed in their disdain for the other.

One word which is particularly fraught in this regard is the little word “God”. I was pondering this, yesterday, and found that I’m curious what my readers mean by the word. When you think of God, what is that you’re thinking of? What makes God God? What does it mean to be God?

You can answer in the comments, but there are some ground rules. First, anyone can play. If you’re an atheist and say you don’t believe in God, I’m curious to know how you define the God you don’t believe in. However, this is a poll, not an advocacy session. I want to hear what you believe, not why you believe it, or why you think others should believe as you do. Please avoid replying to other folk’s comments, except to ask for clarification. And finally, be polite. If a comment is rude, dismissive, or not on point I will delete it ruthlessly. I’m trying to gather grist for the mill, here, not start a free-for-all.

photo credit: storyvillegirl via photopin cc

About willduquette
  • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

    For me- that which orders the universe. I’m a firm believer, even though I can’t seem to find very much evidence for my belief beyond the fact that the universe is indeed wonderfully and sometimes mysteriously, ordered.

  • Gladys

    God is not a name but rather the definition of The most High, most Holy, most Divine, most Love which I depend totally as my creator to be alive during my exile on earth and hopefully with Him eternally.

  • http://www.thewinedarksea.com/ Melanie B

    I’m tempted to be glib: What matters most is not my conception of God, but his conception of me.
    I’m also not sure I can write a real answer without writing a novel because for me my conception of God is really a love story and to do Him justice requires telling that story. God is love, God is a trinity, a family of persons who exist in a relationship of love. God makes himself known to me as one who loves me and wants me to love him. The story of God’s love for the people he made and his desire for them to know him and love him… that’s really the only story that matters.
    God makes himself known to all people in all times and all places: in the beauty of his creation, in the longing of our hearts, the longing we have for love, for wholeness, for beauty, for goodness, for truth, for something we can’t even put into words. God makes himself known in a special way through his prophets who announce his love for mankind to a chosen people, Israel. Over and over again God tells Israel that he wants Israel to be his chosen bride, his chosen people to make him known to the ends of the earth. And over and over again Israel messed up, but always God came back again and again. Finally God himself became one of us, to prove his love. He became one of us and we killed him and somehow that act was at once the worst tragedy in history and the most amazing awesome glorious thing ever because in that moment we receive the power to become one with God to become fully part of the love story he wants to write for us.
    Most of all God makes himself known to me in his Word and in the sacraments of his Church. I can know God myself, directly, intimately because he speaks to me directly through his Word, which isn’t just dead words on a page, but a living, breathing, person. And through the sacraments, baptism in which I become one with him, confirmation in which I am strengthened by his Spirit, in confession where he heals all my wounds, anointing in which he strengthens my failing body and soul, marriage in which he blesses me with a family where I can learn daily how to die to myself and live for others to become more and more like him, and finally in the Eucharist in which he comes to me physically, body, blood, soul and divinity he comes to dwell in me.
    See, a novel. And all of it imperfect and flawed because he is not fully knowable. But the best I can do right now.

  • Will Duquette

    Thanks for your answers! I’m going to reflect on them, and I’ll have something to say, possibly this coming Monday, possibly later (I’m going to be off on a business trip next week).

  • LFCasey

    God is Creator, Father, Mother, the everything that was there before time. I usually think of God in a cosmic sense. Like Moses, we can never be fully exposed to God’s presence without being affected. His face was radiant after exposure.