Christian God

Who or what is God ?

Christian faith teaches that we may encounter and know God in three different ways. Each of these are experiences of the same God and each of them are overwhelmingly an experience of love.

God as Father

Using the metaphor 'Father', Christian teaching seeks to characterize the experience of God as an unseen, un-nameable but loving and creative presence, which was there from the beginning, and is powerful and authoritative.

For those fortunate enough to have experienced loving parents, this is a powerful image. 'Mother' may also be a meaningful term for some.

God as Son

With the metaphor of 'Father' comes that of 'Son', as the Christian faith teaches us that God was and is to be found as a tangible, human presence in Jesus. This is God appearing in a form we can recognise and understand. As such Jesus showed us how to find God at work in ourselves and in the human beings around us. He taught us what God's world order looks like and to actively desire and work for it. 

God's willingness to show himself to us in this way, and to share many of the darkest experiences we as humans have in our lives, is seen as an overwhelming sign of his love, and also a sign that God can be found in the smallest and weakest people and things.

God as Holy Spirit

Christian faith teaches us we may encounter God as Spirit - a guiding, peace-bringing presence who we discover at work among us. This may be the God we experience in simple acts of uncomplicated generosity, or when people are reconciled and make peace, when communities jointly and respectfully arrive at a difficult decision together.

It may also be the God we find in moments of spirituality, be that exuberant elation or intense stillness. In the biblical accounts of the Early Church, it was the Holy Spirit which brought unity, joy and confidence to Jesus' followers, together with the desire to spread the good news.

Some Christian prayers refer to the 'grace' of the Holy Spirit. The experience of being on the receiving end of an unexpected act of generosity which has no ulterior motive may be an experience of that grace, the love of God the Holy Spirit mediated though the love of others.

 

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