Concepts of God: A Response

Submitted March 2016

Watch the following video and use the following questions to respond:

What types of sources are used to support the message about God?

How does the presenter seek to communicate what God is like, and how accurate are the attempts?

How does the concept of God portrayed in the video clip compare to the description you wrote earlier?

The woman speaking uses stories from the (Babylonian) Talmud and the Midrash, both Jewish holy books, to support her argument. She also references the prayer book a lot. I don’t recall her mentioning the Bible at all, which would seem to be something of an oversight. She also uses conversation with small children as support for her argument.

The first argument the woman tries to communicate is that God can be described in words, images, and comparisons to bugs. However, she then resorts to using the superlatives which we most commonly use to attempt to explain God, therefore undermining her own point, and then further doing so by relating a story from the Talmud which concludes that God is not explainable, and that we can experience only a fraction of His –ness to realise that we can’t comprehend or explain Him.

The presenter seems to indicate at several places that God is changeable – or at least that we can manipulate Him and our perception of Him. She says that we refer to Him differently depending on our needs, which isn’t entirely untrue but is phrased in a way which makes it seem we’re actually changing God himself. She also implies that we are able to get God to use our own failed understanding of Him to work in the world and change that. She’s very big on changing things.

The woman’s concept of God compares to my description in that we both use a lesser-to-greater comparison argument. While I describe God in terms of how He is not like us, she describes Him in terms of how He is like other aspects of His creation. Many of the other concepts we have of Him are similar; that He is love, that He judges, that He parents us to our own benefit, and that He grants forgiveness.

If found it very interesting to see that the woman seems still to be waiting for – and fearing – judgement. This is interesting to me because it shows how our views of God are different. For me as a Christian, I believe that God has already judged – and paid the price we should have. We no longer have to fear His judgement (although we should still expect His discipline) we need only concern ourselves with His warmth, love, and forgiveness.

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