We have always had a difficult time when we speak of the living God. Most people, including the most ardent believers, treat this as a non-problem. This reveals a profound lack of understanding biblically and historically. The ancient Jews did not even speak the "revealed" name of God. So how do we, living in the time of Christ who is still with us by the Spirit he poured out on us all, properly speak of God?
I suggest that we should speak of God relationally. By this I mean that we should speak of God as the Source and energy/dynamic of relationality. In reading Genesis again during the first week of 2012 I was struck by this in the entire book. The Creator is a relational being who made us in his image. We were brought into being, that is into a relationship with God and creation, when the Source of all Being "breathed the breath of life into us" (Genesis 2:7). Trace this point throughout the entire Old Testament and you will see that it remains true.
If God, who is the Source of all life and relationship, is perfectly revealed in Jesus Christ then he embodies this relationality in his incarnation. He is embodied, divine/human relationality. Jesus is the human expression of God ("logos") enacted among us and accommodated to a particular time, culture and context. This is why we must come to know the human/divine Jesus if we are to know God in deep friendship/relationship/relationality.
This kind of theology helps explain why Jesus said things like "the father and I are one" (John 10:30). In the words of Peter Traben Haas, in his amazing book which I discovered on New Year's Day, The God Who is Here (2011):
If Jesus Christ is the embodied demonstration of Divine relationality enacted among us in human form, then the Spirit is the non-embodied continuation of Christ's relationality to and within us for the purpose of reawakening us to our role in embodying the reality of the Divine relationality.
Peter Haas adds that if this is true the church is a community of embodied members of the household of God living in a relationship brought about by the Holy Spirit. Jesus' demonstration of love is the real key to understanding everything he taught and thus everything we need to know in order to live relationally; e.g. John 13;34-35. By the Spirit we participate in the Divine loving presence of the Triune God. In the Bible this life is called "union" with Christ (Romans 8:9-11) and "sharing in the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4). We make far too little of this when we teach Christian faith as propositions and constructs in our minds that do not actually transform us internally by the Spirit. Our propositions might be correct but we miss the point and thus name God by words that do not actually help us know God.
By this understanding God, through Christ and by the Holy Spirit, is all in all. Amen.
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