Most folks tend to think of God as the biggest, strongest, all-around best being of us all. But the “of us all” is a problem. God isn’t one of us. There isn’t a hierarchy of beings that starts with atoms and moves up through worms, foxes, chimpanzees and human beings with god at the top of the pyramid. God isn’t another being like us, regardless of how wonderful and powerful we make him. God isn’t part of our pyramid. God is, instead, the reason that everything that we know exists. “So what,” you might ask.
One reason for rejecting the idea that God is in any way one of us lies in the great danger we face of giving God human weaknesses and prejudices. For instance, think how we turn God into someone we must bargain with, trading prayers and good works for things we want. Think of how we make God vengeful and petty. We do this even though we say that God loves everyone completely and perfectly.
Though it is natural to create God in our image, the great religions of the world have fought against it. Judaism has forbidden the word God to be spoken or an image of him made. Islam forbids images of God. Buddhism teaches that God is beyond our ability to know. Christian Tradition has been inconsistent on the matter though it has a deep philosophical tradition of God’s incomprehensibility.
St. Thomas Aquinas spoke of God as Pure Being, though not being as we experience it. St. Paul wrote that God is Love, though not the imperfect love that we give and receive even on our best days.
Who is God? Thomas and Paul were serious when they said God is Being and Love. It’s difficult to wrap our minds around that. But it’s worth the effort. It beats thinking of God as our Uncle Harry – super-sized!