What’s in a Word?

Subtitle: God’s Dream

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55.8-9)

O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord? (Romans 11.33-34a)


The word “God”, I think, is, at best (thus, at worst), only a word. And, as a word, thus, a symbol, always pointing beyond itself to a reality ineffable, which the word grants the chance of conceiving and conveying.

The problem?

The meaning of “God” always rests within the province (the mind and meaning) of the speaker; which means that no two people ever (can) mean precisely the same thing by “God.”

So, it is that history’s pages have and do run red with the fiery temperaments and the spilt blood of all who have fought o’er their understandings of who and what God is.

(Tho’, if honesty and humility were the character of our arguments, then all of us would have to confess our misunderstandings. For if God is God, then God is holy, “Other”, thus, wholly incomprehensible.)

It may be too much to hope (to think wishfully, wistfully) that we humans might, one day, be bound by the grace of readiness that, paradoxically, frees us to see in “the other” (all those different thinkers and believers) the kinship of our common Creator.

Yet never is it too much for me to hope (to trust in the One I call “God”) that this – our love for our commonality exceeds our hatred of our individuality – is God’s dream for us.

© PRA 2021

#allwordsaresymbols #godsdream #acceptingtheother #godisaword #humanhubris #humancommonalityversusindividuality

2 thoughts on “What’s in a Word?

  1. Thank you for this Paul! I pray none of us give up hope that ONE DAY we will embrace our commonality and learn to see and experience God in one another. We can’t let hate win over love.



    1. Amen! May it — that we not allow hate to win! — be so!



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