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Is God a Person? (again)

February 8, 2018

Within days of writing my essay with this title, published in their weekly email this essay by Lauren Van Ham. It articulates beautifully her answer to the same question,” Is God a Person?”

“In my theology, ‘Yes, and . . .’

“The universe began its intricate, gigantic, and truly awesome expansion 13.7 billion years ago. Humans arrived on the scene a mere 5 million years ago. Therefore, God is and has been many things, including humanity. Everything that exists now, or has existed in this span of time, originated within that first spark of Divinity. Each being I encounter is a manifestation of God – my neighbor across the street, the rows of earth teeming with vegetables, the flight attendant, the feral cats living near the bike path, the sea lions sunning themselves outside the aquarium, and on and on. All life forms hold particular intelligences and dimensions. Humans carry will and the ability to reason. Spiritual disciplines help us to both appreciate our abilities, as well as to take responsibility for the power and privilege they grant.

“To reduce God to only being a person seems woefully short-sighted. God is life, and life perpetually pulsates around us, whether or not we sit in witness to each inhale and exhale. And then, God is in the negative spaces, too: the night sky following sunset, the patches of canvas that haven’t received paint, and the nano-second of “no-thingness” before one cell descends, becoming a root, and the other ascends, becoming a shoot. Perhaps, before anything else, God is possibility. Within possibility there can be creativity and there can be destruction. As carriers of God, we have been given the humbling task of discernment; of moving through the world not simply as entitled takers, but as deep listeners, responding wisely and with love to the needs and shifts of life’s unfolding.

“So, yes, God is a person, manifesting as possibility in every human everywhere, and God is so, so much more.”      (Lauren Van Ham)

Loren Bullock
February 8, 2018

Lauren Van Ham, ordained as an interfaith chaplain, is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon and The Chaplaincy Institute in Berkeley, California  She tends a private spiritual directions practice and serves as Dean of The Chaplaincy Institute.

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