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God is Not a Person

By Patrick Washington / Published on Monday, 20 Nov 2017 06:03 AM / No Comments

When most people think of God, they think of an old gray-headed man sitting on some clouds somewhere. All of us can remember paintings, pictures and even cartoons that depict God in that manner. That image has been handed down to us through centuries of tradition. Because of its familiarity, to conceive God in any other way is almost considered blasphemous to many of the faithful. The idea of a personal God has given comfort to many throughout the millennia and there is nothing wrong with holding to such beautiful imagery.

However, there is a perspective concerning God that is quite philosophical and more intellectual to adopt. Let us first acknowledge that there is no sure way to prove that there is a God. The concept of God cannot be scientifically proven. All proofs for and against God are not scientific and all fall under the purview of theology. Science cannot prove or disprove God and even the best of theology is nothing but a theory.

What we do know is that we live in a wondrous universe, a universe that has been around for billions of years (although many fundamentalists would say thousands of years). For some reason, the universe is here. For some reason, we are here. For some reason, all of this is still standing.

There is some mysterious and unexplainable power that must have created this universe. That same mysterious and unexplainable power must be presently sustaining the universe. We can also conclude that the same mysterious and unexplainable power existed before the universe as well. For many, that mysterious and unexplainable power is none other than God. Instead of being some gray-headed man sitting on a cloud, God is the impersonal and invisible force that holds everything together.

The impersonality of God is expanded on by also stating that God is incorporeal meaning that God has no physical attributes. God has no head, no arms, no legs and no other bodily extremities. Any Bible passage depicting God as having such is nothing but anthropomorphism and should not be taken in the literal sense.

Therefore, God has no organs, or, what is the same. He is not corporeal. His actions are accomplished by His essence, not by any organ…. – (Moses Maimonides)

Maimonides is explaining that God has no physicality at all. That extends the idea that God being totally nonphysical does not need one physical location but for all things to exist, He must be everywhere. God is not a person like you and I are but the sustaining power that causes everything else to be. Philosopher Paul Tillich stated that God is the “ground of all being.”

Moreover, the pronouns “He” and “She” are definitely inadequate to refer to God. Because God is neither anatomically male nor female, the more logical pronoun would be “It.” However, we might still use “He” out of reverence and out of a habit of course. Just imagine saying, “It will make a way somehow” instead of saying, “He will make a way somehow.” The language would just be clunky, to say the least.

Although, there are many customs and habits that we have in referring and thinking of God and many of them may not be logical. Of course, we know that faith does not have to be logical and there is something beneficial about keeping the mystery of God. To betray the mystery and picture God as some person like us diminishes the fact that there is something greater than humanity. There is a greater power, mysterious and unexplainable, that existed before everything, created everything, and currently holds everything together.

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Patrick Washington

Patrick N. Washington is a resident and native of Central Virginia. He has been engaged in political activism since he was a teenager. Patrick is the former vice-chair of the Petersburg Republican Committee. He presently serves as secretary of the Hopewell Republican Committee and as vice-chair of the Hopewell Electoral Board. He is also an ordained minister and has presided over the Enlightenment Synagogue since 2012.