More Words to Describe God

A couple of days ago I started to write about words that people might use to describe God.  I started with tyrant, policeman, and stern judge.  Today, I would like to reflect on some positive words.

All Powerful One – Without a doubt, God is all-powerful.  There is nothing that is possible to do that God cannot do.  So, the term “all powerful one” is an appropriate description of God.  Yet, I must add that it is not a complete description of God.  One who is all powerful might be a tyrant but God is not.  In addition to being all powerful, God is also all knowing and totally compassionate.  God never acts for his own interest but for the good of his people.

All Seeing One – God is present everywhere.  Therefore, God sees and knows everything that goes on.  God is the only one who sees everything and this gives him a wisdom that we do not have.  When it seems that God doesn’t answer our prayers, I think that, sometimes it is because God does see everything and knows that something we think would be good for us, isn’t.  The fact that God is “all seeing” is part of why we can part our trust in him.”

Transcendent One – To be transcendent is to be beyond the ordinary.  God is certainly not “ordinary.”  God is not of this (physical) world as we know it.  God exists beyond this world of ours.  So, God is certainly transcendent but I don’t think I would ordinarily use the term transcendent one to describe God.  Nothing wrong with the term but I guess when I think of ‘transcendence” it just doesn’t describe who God is to me.  Is it possible to be “transcendent” without being God?

Supreme Being – God is certainly the supreme being.  No one is above God.  God is all powerful and all knowing.  No one else has the same power or knowledge as God.  It is important to note that God is not simply the supreme being because he is more powerful than us or because he knows more than us.  God is not simply greatly than us.  Again, God is all knowing and powerful.  This is part of God’s transcendence.  God exists in a whole different way of being.  This is part of the problem of talking about God.  We try to use human words to describe God that don’t really capture it.  (For more on this check out my paper, “Why Isn’t God Red?  How Do We Talk About God.”


Fr. Jeff

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