Logical Gal – 2 meanings for ‘God’

17 Feb

Everyone worships the same God, right?

I never knew that there were TWO different questions about God? (see link to an essay at the bottom of this post – the author goes into more details).

People often toss out the question: Do you believe in God?

Before we respond (to ANY question!), we need clarification.  Unless we know what the intent of the questioner is, there’s no point in answering.  As Ravi Zacharias says, ” Intent precedes content

So back to the 2 questions about God – you know how much I love distinctions.  Well, here is one that I NEVER considered (which makes it all the more fun!)

Question # 1:  WHAT is God?

New to me was the idea that ‘God’ is a title or an office, a position like King, President or CEO.

Question # 2:  WHO is God? 

Who is the being that fills the office of God?  Here is where we think about the specific qualities of attributes of the one filling that role. Asking WHO implies that the answer is a person; so he has a name.

For instance, we often here that Muslims, Jews and Christians all worship the same God.  Is that true?

I now see how useful this 2-question tool can be to think through that issue.  Most people would probably agree on the WHAT question, for all 3 religions are mono-theistic.

But when it comes to WHO fills that role, then each of us has a very different answer.

For Jews, it is Yahweh – a one- substance, one-person supernatural creator and sustainer.  The concept of Jesus as an equal member of a triune God is NOT part of their doctrine.

For Muslims, it’s Allah – (and  yes, they happen to use the same term for his role and his name ). They also do not believe that Jesus is God’s son who died on the cross to save sinners.

For Christians, it’s a Person who is one substance or essence, but has 3 different persons. He goes by many names depending on which attribute is being emphasized. (id est – Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit, Prince of Peace, Good Shepherd, Lion of Judah…….and so)

What is the take away from this distinction between WHO and WHAT?

Namely:  the more tools in our kitbag, (i.e the more questions we have at our disposal), then the clearer our thinking can be.  This world is a complicated place.  One of the keys to living well with the other 7 billion inhabitants is to understand their particular concerns as well as the issues that affect all of us.  We need logical minds to listen well and to communicate clearly.  Seeking distinctions in order to ask more precise questions is a skill worth practicing.

Sorting out what and who God is – good essay

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