by Abbey Kneale
“Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.” Psalms 62:1-2; 5-6
Is God really there? Who is God anyway? What is God? The passage says, “Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” This describes a physical human man who will give comfort and support. We assign gender to God; a being without a body. I grew up believing this. My take-away from Sunday School amounted to: God is just a larger-than-life, all-knowing Sky Daddy, whose Middle Eastern-born son was white. God looks down at Earth and hops from cloud to cloud all day. Needless to say, I don’t believe that anymore.
But now the question becomes this: If God is not a human man, what or who do we believe God is? Beliefs vary. Some believe God is a man, a father figure. Some believe God is a woman. Some believe that God is a mysterious space being that roams the cosmos and vibes on space rocks.
In the struggle to define God, we get so caught up in trying to finish the sentence of who God is that we forget that we’ve already said the definition. We have “God is a man” or “God is a woman” or “God is…God is. God just is. It’s complicated, but it’s not. Bear with me.
God’s name is Yahweh. Which translates to ‘I am’. God’s name means that God just is. We ignore that and try to assign God to a human role. A human body with a human mind. Why do we do that? Probably comfort. To help our minds wrap around the idea of an all-encompassing being who knows us all by name.
“But Abbey, the Bible says that God is the Father and the Son, therefore God is a man.” The Bible was written by a bunch of humans who were, like we are, struggling to make sense of the enigma that is God. Therefore assigning God the human concept of gender. Which, for God, doesn’t exist.
“But Abbey, God created Adam and Eve who are man and woman. Not only does this imply that there are only two genders but that God assigned them to be male and female.” I encourage you to keep in mind that biological sex is different than the human-made concept of gender.
“But ABBEY, Jesus refers to God multiple times as his ‘father’ so God HAS to be a man.” Remember again, that Jesus was a human, trying to explain to other humans, the concept of God. For a lot of us, thinking of God as a father is easy to comprehend. Which is fine, but not all true.
And the list continues. But, perhaps instead of worrying about how God is just like us, we could spend more time seeking God as is and listen. The metaphor of refuge and rock are way more assuring than assigning maleness. Maybe it’s time for some new metaphors, but in the meantime and always, God is.