The God Beyond God

The God Beyond God December 27, 2013

A variety of traditions, including Christian mysticism and modern existentialist theology, have spoken of the “God beyond God.” This is the very ancient idea that, beyond any sort of anthropomorphic deity that we may think of and tell stories about, there must be an even greater reality that transcends our ability to comprehend and describe. For many atheists, that question is often pushed aside or that ultimate reality is said to simply be the laws of physics. For ancient Gnostics, the anthropomorphic god is viewed as a real but inferior deity who created the physical cosmos. For mystics, the anthropomorphic depictions are linguistic symbolic pointers to the one God who transcends description.

That's perhaps a strange reflection to offer on the basis of the cartoon below by Kristian Nygård that Terry Firma shared. But it illustrates an important theological point somewhat nicely, in a humorous fashion. Often human beings become confident that they have gotten to the God beyond God, and that now they are thinking about that reality and able to conceive and describe the ultimate. That is, in fact, just another expression of our fallible and limited human perspective, a major element of which is such hubris. Humble acknowledgment of our limitations and lack of understanding is much more challenging to achieve.


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