Wednesday, August 15, 2012

God is. And maybe that’s all

By Crystal St. Marie Lewis
R3 Contributor

“I AM what I AM…” (Exodus 3:14)

“I AM.” And that’s all?

God’s self-description seemed terribly incomplete to me when I read it in my Bible for the first time. In fact, I remember being fascinated that Moses didn’t ask for more details. If I had been Moses, I would likely have retorted: “YOU ARE what? What does that even mean?”

It wasn’t until several years into my spiritual journey that, for reasons I don’t remember, I spoke these words in second person and realized what they meant. Rather than “I AM,” I quietly whispered to myself: “God is.”

“God is.” Two simple words– A complete sentence that captures God’s existence, and God’s eternality… and God’s transcendence, and God’s ability to be a multitude of things to a multitude of people… Two words upon which God would later build an identity that could only be fully understood in light of experience. Only experience would give the Israelites the conviction to say “God is– the creator” and “God is– the provider” and “God is– present with us.”

I’ve come to understand that this is the way the relationship with God unfolds for a lot of people. God begins as the One who exists (or who is), whether we acknowledge such an existence or not. Before we even knew of a divine being, God was… and God will be long after we’re gone.

The God who is reveals himself to humankind experientially, and through those experiences, we develop language to explain our understanding of God’s character. Many of us feel loved when we encounter God, so we say that “God is love.” Others feel overwhelmed when encountering God, and consequently say that “God is powerful.”
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