God Without Borders

Let us invoke Him as the inexpressible God, incomprehensible, invisible, and unknowable. Let us avow that He surpasses all power of human speech, that He eludes the grasp of every mortal intelligence, that the angels cannot penetrate Him, nor the seraphim see Him in full clarity, nor the cherubim fully understand Him. For He is invisible to the principalities and powers, the virtues of all creatures without exception, only the Son and the Holy Spirit know Him.” ~~St. John Chrysostom

The bible is full of images of God, and these are worthwhile I believe. We are definitional creatures. New experiences are compared and contrasted from previous ones, and thus we define the new.

But although we must in some sense do this to even talk about the Creator, we must keep always in mind that we are making poor substitutes for the reality of God.

Worse than defining God, we are prone to, based upon our definitions, speak for God. We are prone to decide what God would do, believes, would say. We take it upon ourselves to act for God. This is wrong, most of the time. It is most wrong when it results from our interpretation of written works expressing other people’s definitions of God.

If we believe that God is love, that creation is good, that it was intentional and was designed, then we can be guided by the inner light within us all. Does our belief, desire, proposed action comport with a loving God?

Thich Nhat Hanh has said that the death penalty is “a sign of weakness, an expression of our fear and inability to know what to do to help the situation. Killing a person does not help him or us. ”

The deliberate act of killing cannot come from a heart open to God’s grace. It comes only from the heart that has been taken hostage by fear and pain. We know this the moment we contemplate the issue.

It has been said that when you cannot decide between two choices, your inner feelings will guide you. Toss a coin, and when you see which side has turned upward, seek how you feel. Are you mildly unhappy or the opposite. This will tell you your heart’s desire. And heart’s desire is God’s desire. If we have to defend, explain or otherwise prove our choice, it is probably wrong.

God guides us to right action if only we listen. He does this in ways we cannot define, describe, or understand. God is too wonderful for us to define. We can only trust in his loving hand, drawing us along.



6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Thomas Bryner
    Mar 13, 2011 @ 16:18:17

    The local Catholic church prays for “the troops” every Sunday. I can’t fathom why they have a problem with courts killing people yet think it’s laudable when soldiers do it.


    • Sherry
      Mar 14, 2011 @ 13:35:37

      I think the official posiiton of the Vatican is against capital punishment. JPII suggested that there were no extenuating circumstances that he could discern that would allow for it’s continuation. Most prisons are secure enough…and that was the prime issue…were some people too dangerous to be allowed to live.


  2. Daniel Lieurance
    Mar 14, 2011 @ 09:20:11

    Sherry did you write this or another? Are the words “right action” yours or another.


    • Sherry
      Mar 14, 2011 @ 13:41:53

      Indeed I did…and I think that the words are mine. But I read so much, I could have subconsciously picked it up from someone…Blessings.


  3. Tim
    Mar 14, 2011 @ 19:53:33

    Sherry, what you describe here is (I think) what Karen Armstrong and many others call “the ineffable”–the inability to describe concretely what we know to be real of God without tangible proof. We must, I suppose, cross that line and conceive God in human terms so we can personally reach for when faith falters. Yet, as you point out, we must take care not to mistake our feeble attempts to define God as license to predict or confine God. That is the point behind the edict against idols; physical depictions of any god would lead to attempts to portray God in finite form. Knowing how we are, we would eventually standardize the image and lose the ineffable nature of God–the infinite, supreme, incomprehensible Being that resists definition. (This is what happened when we decided what Jesus looked like and lost sight of The Christ.)

    When I hear people speak for God, predict how God will respond, etc., I pity them, because it suggests they’ve not yet come to know God, Who cannot be boxed in, spoken for, analyzed, or anticipated. In my own life, at least, I’ve found crossing the line to try to envision God reveals how limited I am. As soon as I get there, I scramble back to the other side, where God is so much greater than anything I can dream up. That’s the God I love and serve–the God I need.

    Thank you for this–you’ve drawn us into some very deep water here, which we surely need to explore with greater thought and prayer.



    • Sherry
      Mar 15, 2011 @ 14:41:24

      I so agree Tim, we need things to hang on to, but not cling to I guess. We have to have some frame of reference, without accepting that as defining.

      And I too am saddened when people decide what God wants, since it all too frequently just happens to be what they want. Seems a bit too convenient. I usually know what God wants by how much I struggle to argue that he doesn’t…lol..


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