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Using Words to Describe God

Here I continue with a few more words one might use to describe God.  For the rest of the series, see “Images of God”

Everlasting/Eternal – These two words appear together on the list I am working from but I don’t see them quite the same when it comes to describing God.  Everlasting tells us that God is without end.  God certainly will never cease to exist but God is also without a beginning.  God is without a beginning or an end.  God is eternal.  In Revelation 21:6 we hear God say “I am the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end.”  (Note alpha and omega are also on the list).  The letter “alpha” is the first letter of the Greek alphabet and “omega” is the last.  God existed before all else and is our creator.  God will never cease to exist.  God is eternal.

Infant Jesus – We celebrate the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day when he emerged into our human world (having become human at his conception in Mary’s womb nine months before) as a little infant.  I think it is a powerful image to imagine Jesus as a little baby but I have to admit it is not an image I think of often except at Christmas.  Why?  Simply because the physical image of Jesus that I normally think of is of him as a man in his thirties with a beard hanging on the Cross, crucified for our sins.  I think of this image for two reasons.  First, for Catholics, it is probably the image we most often see of Jesus.  Secondly, because the image of the Cross is not an image of defeat and despair.  It is an image of Jesus’ perfect love for us.  It is an image that leads to hope.

Risen Jesus – The image of the infant Jesus symbolizes the beginning of earthly life.  The image of the Risen Jesus is an image that shows us the eternal life that we all desire.  The Risen Jesus appeared to the disciples so that they would understand; understand why the tomb was empty and to show us that we will all share in the Resurrection if we but follow his will.  The Risen Jesus is an image of hope, hope that flows from knowing that life does not end in earthly death.


Fr. Jeff

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