Lightning-Round Theology: What is God?!

I am partial to the explanation of what God is as given by 1 John. It is simple and it is powerful: God is love.

This means that those who love are those who participate in God, those who are conduits for God’s activity, and those who, as John writes, know God.


IMG_0066Humans expressing the love-that-is-God comes in many different forms. It is the love that we have for our own lives, of a parent to child, friend to friend, lover to beloved, healer to the sick, those within a community, or for the beauty of the world. In each expression of love, built on respect, intimacy, and thriving, we cultivate the piece of ourselves that is God.

Rarely is it ever pure—if it would be, I don’t think we could handle it. The mystics from all over the world were consumed by getting just a bit closer than we are able to, and so we try to grasp and manipulate our love, afraid that it will break out against us, like God at Mount Sinai.

Tillich writes that God is the ground of being, the very being-ness of being. In this way, the ‘is-ness’ of our world is love. And, there are times when this breaks out against us, in revelation, in epiphany, in any astounding or terrible moment.

[As a part of my Practice of Ministry Course, we are asked to write lightning-round answers to the most difficult questions. This is my answer to the first one, “What do you mean by God?” The purpose is to generate conversation, so I appreciate comments and discussion. The featured photo is one from Lake Superior near Split Rock Lighthouse; the other is near a landfill in Hopkins where I used to live. I thought they were appropriately ‘infinite’.]

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