What I Believe About God

GOD

So after a long conversation via IM today with my charming brother-in-law Brian (warning: his site contains extensive cursing), I decided to write a post about what I believe about God.

I’ll follow it up in a few days about what I DON’T believe about God.

But let’s get the positives first.  :)

1. I believe in God. First things first, I believe there is a God.  While I think there are strong reasonable arguments for the existence of God, ultimately my belief in God has very little to do with reason.  (In other words, I think my belief in God is REASONABLE, but reason is not the SOURCE of my belief.)  Instead, the source of my belief is subjective personal experience with the Divine and intense spiritual longings that tell me it is so.  I understand this might not be satisfying to skeptics.  I don’t care. I believe for me, not them.

2. I believe in One God. In other words, I’m a monotheist.

3. I believe God is the Creator and Ruler of the Universe. Still, I think there is NO conflict between science and religion.  I believe what we discover about science reveals more about God’s methods of creation and governance of the natural world as opposed to providing “proof” He doesn’t exist.  The two need not be incompatible.

4. I believe in a personal God. I believe in a God who knows us INDIVIDUALLY and is concerned with us PERSONALLY.

5. I believe in a loving God. More than just a personal God, I believe in a God who loves us.  This is because I have felt God’s love transform me.

6. I believe God is Good. Beyond the fact that God is personal and loving, I believe in a God who is All Good.

7. I believe God is Eternal, All-Knowing, All-Powerful, Perfect, and Glorious. I don’t know exactly what all that means, but I believe it nonetheless.

8. I believe God is incomprehensible. As an extension of #7, I believe that the fact that I don’t know exactly what it all means is kind of the point.  I think if a person could comprehend God, He wouldn’t be much of a God.

9. I believe Jesus Christ is God. I’m a Christian, and believe that Jesus was in fact God, who condescended to take upon Himself our sins and sorrows.  I think the idea that a perfect, all-knowing, all powerful God would descend from glory to suffer with us is the most beautiful idea I’ve ever heard.

10. I believe that God wants to make us into something much more than we are. I don’t know exactly what the end result will look like, or even have the slightest clue what it entails, but I believe it’s gonna be good.

So those are the basics for me.  What about you?  What do you believe about God?

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About Katie L

Thirtysomething wife, mother, writer, runner, believer, and lover of good food and bad movies.

Posted on September 29, 2009, in Thoughts on God and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Do you think it’s worth pointing out that for Mormons the term “God” is flexible. After all, in some scriptural instances God means God the Father (like when Joseph Smith prayed in the grove or when Christ was baptized) and in other it refers to Christ (like when the world was created). In some sections of the New Testament and Book of Mormon the two meanings of God are used interchangeably and it is a little confusing–but since they are completely unified in purpose, it’s not such a big deal.

    Just asking.

  2. Other thought: how come you don’t mention the concept of the godhead? (maybe that’s in your next post.) I think I understand your reasons for doing so, but this post seems a little heavy on mainstream Christian rhetoric–which isn’t bad. But, as Mormons, we ARE different, and that’s okay.

    Other question: why no corporeality? God, including Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, has a body of flesh and blood. A resurrected, immortal, eternal body, but a body all the same.

  3. All-good is problematic. Does God define Good or does Good define God?Is there an external standard of Good that God meets? If so, what is it and where does it come from? What does it mean to be All-Good as opposed to Very Good or merely Good? Could God be Evil if he wanted to?

  4. Laura, I’d be interested to hear you expand on this idea that to Mormons, God is a flexible concept. I agree that at times Jesus is referred to as God and the Father referred to as God. Would you say that because of the LDS view of their separateness that the term “God” refers more to the Godhead as a whole than the members individually? Or is it simply that God is an open term that can be appropriately applied in a number of places?

    For what it’s worth, I didn’t get into the concept of the godhead or corporeality of God because I’m still sorting out those issues in my own mind and heart. What I’ve listed in my post above are things I can say I believe for sure–some other details about God have not yet been made clear to me.

    This is something I’ve been pondering quite a bit for the past several months, so that I’ve gotten this far is pretty exciting for me. ;)

    Kullervo, heh. Good question. Indeed it is problematic. After all, if God is Good because He follows some Universal Law, then wouldn’t that make the Law the highest standard of goodness? And if that’s so, perhaps we should worship it instead of God. (I mean, if the Law can hold God accountable, then it seems to have more authority than God…right?)

    On the other hand, if God Himself is the author or definition of good, then how do we verify His goodness? Couldn’t He just call good evil and evil good and get away with it? I don’t know the answer to this. All I can say at this point is that whatever good is, I believe God is it…and I’m not entirely sure how He arrived at His goodness.

  5. I think your list is very good.

    I myself would put the corporeal nature of God in with your #8 — I don’t know what that means, I don’t know how it came about and I’m not sure of its significance in the way that I live my life (except to the extent that it’s at the very least symbolic of God having the innate ability to understand us). To be honest, I believe it only because that’s what the Church teaches, and I have no evidence to the contrary, so there it is.

    As to the Godhead, the LDS perspective of three persons fully united in purpose, so united I can still call myself a monotheist, makes the most sense to me and (in my view) is the most consistent with Biblical teaching. It’s still a mystery to some extent (but not as much a mystery as it would be if I accepted the traditional Christian view).

    I also would expand on #10 a bit to say that what God wants to make us into is something like He is. I don’t know exactly what that means either, but you’re right, it’s going to be very good.

    And I don’t think I could have worded #9 better. Ultimately, that’s what being a Christian is all about.

  6. I believe God is good, but it’s a certain type of good. To use an old philosophical problem, if you could end world hunger by killing one unwilling, innocent person, would you do it? God would. He’s that type of good.

    Or another one. Slicing open a man’s stomach is bad. Slicing open a man’s stomach so that you can remove his appendix because he has appendicitis is good. However, if you did not know what surgery was, you would think that the surgery was a bad thing. God is the surgeon. Sometimes we don’t get why He’s doing what He’s doing because we’re fixated on the slicing; we aren’t seeing the surgery that’s underway.

    Katie, I’m looking over your list, and I can’t find anything I disagree with, only things I would add to it. Other things I believe about God:

    A) I do not believe God the Father or God the Spirit have an exclusive gender; both male and female were created in the image of God. God the Son had a gender in His human nature by necessity, but not in His divine nature.

    B) I believe God is dangerous. People often complain that the God of the Old Testament is unloving, harsh and cruel while the God of the New Testament is merciful and kind, but I disagree. Reading the Old Testament puts me in awe of God. Reading about the Passover in Exodus gives me chills every time. It makes me understand the phrase “Fear God,” and at the same time, knowing that this being who does not have to show regard for my life loves me and wants to be in a relationship with me puts me even more in awe. I really don’t want the doting, benign grandpa God that people seem to focus on so much in our day and age, I want a God who’s kind of like… Batman! He’s good, but He’ll kick a little ass when He has to. (That is an extremely loose analogy. In fact, you probably should not think about it too hard. I certainly didn’t.)

    C) If I had to choose one song whose lyrics describe how I feel about my relationship and journey with God, it would be “Wilderness” by the O. C. Supertones. (YouTube it if you want to hear it.)

    There are probably many other things I could add, but I have to get to bed. Love the post, Katie.

  7. On the other hand, if God Himself is the author or definition of good, then how do we verify His goodness? Couldn’t He just call good evil and evil good and get away with it? I don’t know the answer to this. All I can say at this point is that whatever good is, I believe God is it…and I’m not entirely sure how He arrived at His goodness.

    Maybe that’s kind of the point of having faith though–if you believe that God is Good–then you have faith that what God does is good. Analogy: if I believe that my parents do what is best for me, then even if I don’t understand and don’t agree with their decisions, I can trust that I may not understand. (Note: the ‘me’ in this situation is a lot younger than the me in real life, and with different parents.)

    Regarding #7–I don’t know if I believe that, myself, and I don’t know that I need to. God certainly is longer-living than me, knows more, has more power, closer to perfect, etc., than me. I guess, I don’t know if God is done and stagnant. It kind of makes me question the point of having people, if God cannot grow and learn from descending among us, helping us with suffering, etc. It brings the ultimate question of ‘what’s the point?’ Why did God create the world, if He cannot grow and develop and learn. Perhaps eternal increase would be nice.

    8, 9, and 10 I would agree with. And I am with Jack that God is dangerous–although I might not have picked that word on my own. I feel like that fits in well with God being incomprehensible, though.

    Thanks for this post. It’s good for me to think about what I do and don’t believe in, and a nice list helps. :)

  8. I think your list is very good.

    Hee. Eric, how would you define good?

  9. Jack, why do you believe that God is that kind of good?

  10. Oops, hit submit before I was done. And Jack, what then defines good? I get why He is that kind of good; I don’t know that I understand why that is the definition of Good.

  11. I think your list is very good.

    Hee. Eric, how would you define good?

    In this context, “good” means I mostly agree with it and that it generally includes what I think is most important.

    In the context of what “good” means in relationship to God, I suppose I see “God = good” as sort of axiomatic (and certainly John told us that “God = love.” Certainly it’s possible to devise a philosophical system where that isn’t the case, but I have seen no need to do so.

    Regarding #7–I don’t know if I believe that, myself, and I don’t know that I need to. God certainly is longer-living than me, knows more, has more power, closer to perfect, etc., than me. I guess, I don’t know if God is done and stagnant. It kind of makes me question the point of having people, if God cannot grow and learn from descending among us, helping us with suffering, etc. It brings the ultimate question of ‘what’s the point?’

    I don’t see what you say and the concept of God being perfect (and all that stuff) as being mutually exclusive.

  12. Regarding #7–I don’t know if I believe that, myself, and I don’t know that I need to. God certainly is longer-living than me, knows more, has more power, closer to perfect, etc., than me.

    The problem with a God who isn’t eternal, all-knowing, all-powerful, and completely perfect is that it leaves room for God to be in error…and for me to be “righter” than God. That makes me uncomfortable.

    I guess, I don’t know if God is done and stagnant. It kind of makes me question the point of having people, if God cannot grow and learn from descending among us, helping us with suffering, etc. It brings the ultimate question of ‘what’s the point?’

    Perhaps God doesn’t learn and grow in the sense that WE learn and grow, but there is some appeal to the Mormon concept of God adding *glory* (whatever that is) to His head. So God’s glory is ever-expanding, but His knowledge and perfection are already perfect and all-encompassing.

    Maybe?

    I hope to post “What I Don’t Believe About God” sometime this week.

  1. Pingback: What I Don’t Believe About God « Standing, Sitting, Lying Down

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