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Naming God in Times of Disaster

David Alexander 亞牧師
Tainan Theological College and Seminary, April 2010

I: INTRODUCTION
The name we use when talking to or about someone says something about the
relationship we have with that person and the context in which we are talking about him or
her. For example, if one refers to the TTCS Director of General Services 台南神學院的總務
長 as “Big Brother Ong” 王哥,or “Hui-chiong Bok-su 輝彰牧師, or “Ong Bok-su” 王牧師
or Chong-bu tiun 總務長, though we are talking with or about the same person, the very term
we choose to use informs all involved in the conversation about its context.
When speaking to or about God, what do the names we choose and use say about our
relationships to God and to our situation?
Historical Excursus
The Name of God Controversy in Chinese Protestant Christianity
In the same way that the Bible is not an English, German, Tamil or Swahili book, it is not
a Chinese one. And though Christianity has its American, European, Indian and African
forms, all of these, like all of the Bibles used in the locations where these “Christianities” are
found, are translations of something originally Palestinian and soon thereafter Greek and
Roman.
The initial contacts of Christianity with Chinese culture are dated to Nestorian missions
from Persia in the 7th Century CE. The record of this church’s presence in China is
archaeological. Nothing of it as an organization survived. Roman Catholic missions to China
began in the late 16th Century CE along with Portuguese imperialist expansion into the area
now known as Macau. When Catholics translated the Bible into Chinese, they chose to use the
term Tianzu (天主) “Lord of Heaven” as the preferred title for God.
Protestant mission outreach to China began in the early 19th Century CE. Unwilling to
use a Bible translated by their European religious rivals, whom many considered to be in error
on most, if not all, things, the Protestants engaged in their own translation work, and were
compelled to find a suitable term or set of terms by which to refer to God. Unsurprisingly,
they chose a term different from what the Roman Catholics used.
In China, Shang-ti (上帝, Siong-te in Taiwanese) is a collective name for gods, perhaps
representing one supreme god or overlord. Ti were worshipped as deified ancestors of the
Shang dynasty, and the Shang rulers worshipped Shang-ti—but the absence of a plural form
makes it uncertain whether Shang-ti was one or many. He or they had overarching functions
of control (e.g. over natural phenomena and plagues). In later history Shang-ti or Tian (天
“Heaven” ) became semi-monotheistic; the worship of him was primarily an imperial cult
confined to the royal houses and their supporters—the Confucian official class.1
As well as the official sacrificial rituals, the Chinese people could also pray to Shang Ti.
1
John Bowker. "Shang-ti." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. 1997.
1
This is recorded in the Confucian Five Classics, some of the oldest written texts in ancient
China. According to these texts, Shang Ti is a good god, and like the Hebrew God, punishes
evil and rewards goodness. Shang-ti in later times was often referred to, in abbreviation, as Ti
(帝 Lord). But Ti was also commonly used in later history to refer to an emperor; his origin is
divine because his First Ancestor is Shang Ti. Some Protestant missionaries adopted Shang Ti
as the name of God.
Robert Morrison, who spearheaded Western Protestant missionary work in China in the
th
19 Century, gave his preference to Shen (神), the generic name for the "gods" of the modern
Chinese. He did this hoping to convince the Chinese "that their ideas of Shen were
erroneous." Morrison defined shen as “a deity, genii or daemons” and paid homage to Shang
Ti (上帝)by defining Him as “God” and even “Supreme God.” William Milne, who helped
Morrison on his translation of the Bible, chose to use the term Shang Ti for God. But some
missionaries, finding the name Shang Ti being used in idol worship, rejected it as a term for
God in the Scriptures.
So the term used commonly in the Bibles used by some groups of Protestants is Shen
(神). It appeals to groups who are not committed to interpreting Shang Ti as a historical or
spiritual equivalent to the "God Most High" of the Bible. The issue has remained
controversial for over a century and Protestant organizations have published two versions of
the Bible, using the two different words.
Scope
This article will delve into common practice in the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan
(PCT), making use of the Liturgy and the 2009 Hymnbook. It will also explore common
Biblical names and titles from Hebrew and Greek. Following that a tool for deriving new
names will be introduced and used. The conclusion will deal with names to use or to avoid
using in disaster relief situations.
Limitations
Common practice in the PCT will be derived from three prescribed orders for Lord’s Day
worship, the Communion Liturgy, the Infant Baptism Liturgy, the Adult Baptism Liturgy and
the Confirmation liturgy. This is an artificial limitation, (7 liturgies) but it is a set and
prescribed standard. Though the contemporary use of names and terms used when talking to
or about God may be broader than this sample, those presented in the liturgy are, at least,
countable.
Methodological Considerations
A: Sources of Data
Because seven liturgies were chosen, all following materials will also be in sets of seven.
The data set from the 2009 Hymnbook will be taken from hymns written in the Hoklo
language. Though there are many aboriginal hymns in the book, they are presented in
translation, so the set is restricted. Further, since there are 155 such hymns in the book, the
data set will be restricted to 7 hymns (in parallel to 7 liturgies). They will be selected by
random drawing, one from those numbered 1-99, another from those numbered 100-199, and
2
so forth up to a single hymn selected from those numbered 600-649. This sample is neither
ideal nor comprehensive, but hopefully is sufficiently randomized so as to yield a usable
result.
The tool for deriving new names for God will be presented, and seven “new names” will
be created randomly, a procedure guaranteed to be random because those making the names
will be drawn from a group of people illiterate in the Chinese language in which the tool is
presented.
B: Interpretative Tool
The iron law of oligarchy, first formulated in 1911 by the German Robert Michels, posits
that any organization, no matter from what ideals it has emerged or what lofty goals it serves,
will eventually become an oligarchy, led by a small coterie of those who are experienced and
able to move things along. These persons will lead the organization in ways that serve their
personal interests.2 Michels was a left-leaning political scientist. He observed that leadership
in the socialist parties of Europe of his time was just as concentrated and enduring as in their
parallel conservative parties. He argued that for any group to survive and expand, a small
group of leaders must emerge to exercise power in the name of the group, principally by the
control of resources.
Through the use of those resources and for the sake of doing things decently and inorder
with them, leaders create administrative bureaucracies, forge policies that impose order on the
group, and create an ideology that justifies the power of the controlling leadership cadre.
These actions are absolutely necessary to ensure the long-term survival of the group
especially when faced with the inevitable internal divisions and external opposition. They are
not "bad" or "good", they are simply necessary if the group is to survive into the next
generation. A corollary to the law states: "All other things being equal, no bureaucrat is going
to vote to have his position in the hierarchy eliminated." Even when the leaders are sincere,
honest, hard working members of the clergy, they are human.
In the 1950’s sociologists of religion conducted research on conditions affecting the
power of ministers in churches that vest formal authority within congregations. These
revealed sharp divisions between the formal and informal power structures with power
formally being invested within congregations but actually lying within the hands of ministers
and of denominational bodies.3 The iron law of oligarchy provided a means useful in
accounting for these findings.

2
寡頭鐵律(Iron law of oligarchy)是一項政治學和社會學理論,1911 年由羅伯特·米契爾斯提出,研
究政黨和人群組織都會提及。羅伯特·米契爾斯以觀察歐洲各社會主義政黨(尤其是德國社會黨)的黨內生
態,提出下列幾項觀點:
• 組織不論多民主,最後決定都只在少數幾個人手中。
• 組織越大,核心離群眾越遠。
• 領導人產生方法越不民主。
• 領導人越來越執著權力。
• 領導階層生活方式布爾喬亞化,和一般民眾脫鉤。
. 領導階層思想行為保守化
3
Steven F. Cohn, Ministerial Power And The Iron Law Of Oligarchy: A Deviant Case Analysis. Review of
Religious Research, Vol. 35, No. 2 ( December, 1993 )
3
As an interpretative tool applied to the liturgy and hymnody of the Presbyterian
Church in Taiwan, the Iron Law of Oligarchy does not expose a small group holding the reins
of power in its own hands, but does show language that affirms the exercise of power at every
turn. This is especially true in published liturgies. An argument can be made that these are
images derived from scripture, and therefore are the proper ones for employment in
ecclesiastical practice. However, the scriptures provide an alternative set of images from
which the liturgy could be drawn, should those writing, approving and publishing liturgies
care to access them.

II: COMMON PRACTICE IN THE LITURGY OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
IN TAIWAN
A: Presentation of Data
These counts were taken from the first 7 liturgies of the PCT found in Church Worship
and Sacraments with the Confessions: Mandarin Edition. Tainan: Ren Kuang, 1978.
Term # of Occurences
Lord 65
Siong-te 42
Lord Jesus Christ 38
Holy spirit 22
Ia-ho-hoa (Transliteration of Jehovah) 17
Jesus Christ 12
Lord Jesus 12
Almighty Siong-te 11
Christ 11
Father 7
Son 6
Holy Son 5
Holy Father 4
Heavenly Father 4
Most Holy 3
Christ Jesus 2
Merciful Father 2
Father in Heaven 2
Almighty father 2
Almighty Father Siong-te 2
Head of the Church 2
Great King 2
Table 1 Aggregated Data, Names of God in PCT Liturgies
(Disagregated counts can be found in Appendices 1 & 2)

28 further titles each occurred once: Eternal Father; Holy Spirit Siong-te; Only God;
Most Loving, Most Merciful Father; Most Holy Gracious Father; Almighty Gracious Father
Siong-te; Omnipotent Most Merciful Father; Most Merciful Father; Lord Christ; Eternally
Praised Lord; Omnipotent Siong-te; Father Who Has All Things; Three-in-One Siong-te;
Most Holy Omnipotent Siong-te; Most Holy Eternal Siong-te; Lord Creator of Heaven and
Earth; Siong-te Who Hears Our Prayers; Peace Giving Siong-te; Great Shepherd of the Sheep;
Resurrected From the Dead Siong-te; Eternal Almighty Siong-te; Siong-te of Peace; Almighty
Loving Father Siong-te; Beloved Heavenly Father; Creator Ia-ho-hoa; Saving Lord; Almighty
Heavenly Father; Beloved Lord
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There are 301 references which address or describe God in the 7 sample liturgies.
B: Summary of Data
Most used terms: Lord (over 20%); Siong-te (14%); Lord Jesus Christ (12%); Holy
Spirit (6% ) Ia-ho-hoa (5%) Jesus Christ (4%) Lord Jesus (4%). When the title “Lord” is used
individually or in combination with other terms, it appears 118 times. When the title “Father”
is used alone or in combination with other terms, it appears 26 times. When the words or
terms “head”, “great”, “almighty”, “most”, “omnipotent”, “Ia-ho-hoa”, and “Siong-te” are
used alone or in combination with other terms, they appear 91 times.
C: Interpretation of Data
The liturgy of the PCT appears to reflect a bias towards lordship and power as the
primary aspects of the God who is upheld within the community and for the people of Taiwan.
The title “Lord” is used in more than one third of all instances. Other titles implying power
and superiority are common. “Mercy” as an attribute of God is mentioned only four times,
and in one of these it is paired with omnipotence (not mutually exclusive, but an instance of
cognitive dissonance nonetheless). “Gracious”, likewise, is mentioned, but only twice, and
one of these is paired with “almighty”. When peace is mentioned it is always paired with the
supreme lordship aspect of Siong-te. God is not the peace giver, he (sic) is the supreme lord
who makes or gives peace, presumably by force (a “pax divina” similar to the pax Romana).
The weight of these liturgies falls on the side of power. God is upheld to worshippers as
the powerful one, the one in charge, the leader, the one to whom we, as creatures, owe
homage.
III: COMMON USE IN TAIWANESE HYMNODY
A: Presentation of Data
The randomized sample blindly taken yielded the following 7 hymns, all of which were
originally written in Taiwanese (Hoklo)

Term # of Occurrences
Lord 16
Siong-te 8
Lamb 3
Heavenly Father 2
Lord Jesus 2
Saving Lord 2
Saving Lord Jesus 1
Jesus 1
Holy Son of Siong-te 1
Father Siong-te 1
Almighty Heavenly Father 1
Table 2: Aggregated Data, Summary of Names of God in 7 Randomly Selected PCT Hymns

B: Summary of Data
The seven hymns yielded only 38 references to God. The validity of the sample is thus
suspect, and perhaps the survey should be re-conducted with a larger number of hymns.
Leaving that aside for the moment, what these 38 occurrences reveal is that the term “Lord”,
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either standing alone or in combination with some other term, if found in more than half of
the occurrences (21 out of 38) and “Siong-te” by itself or in combination with other terms is
found in more than a quarter (10 our of 38) occurrences.
C: Interpretation of Data
The sample is smaller than that from the liturgy, but it seems congruent with it. The title
most often used is “Lord” and it is closely followed by “Siong-te”, carrying the connotation of
supremacy. That Taiwanese (or, in two cases, foreigners writing in Taiwanese) should choose
the idioms of power and supremacy to speak of God implies that in the society there is a
structural bias towards the powerful, a bias that carries over into the church and her poets.

IV: OVERVIEW OF TERMS OF ADDRESS AND DESCRIPTION OF GOD IN
SCRIPTURE, PLUS A DISCOURSE ON FEMININE IMAGES OF GOD
THEREIN
A: Presentation of Data
Terms for God:
(1) Elohim: The plural form of EL, meaning “strong one.” It is used of false gods, but when
used of the true God, it is a plural of majesty and intimates the trinity. It is especially used
of God’s sovereignty, creative work,and mighty work for Israel and in relation to God’s
sovereignty in Isaiah 54:5; Jeremiah 32:27; Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 45:18; Deuteronomy 5:23;
8:15; and Psalm 68:7.
Compounds of El:
• El Shaddai:“God Almighty.” The derivation is uncertain. Some think it stresses God’s
loving supply and comfort; others Gods’ power as the Almighty one standing on a
mountain and who corrects and chastens as in Genesis 17:1; 28:3; 35:11; Exodus 6:31;
and Psalm 91:1, 2).
• El Elyon: “The Most High God.” Stresses God’s strength, sovereignty, and supremacy
in Genesis 14:19; Psalm 9:2; and Daniel 7:18, 22, 25.
• El Olam: “The Everlasting God.” Emphasizes God’s unchangeableness and connected
with inexhaustibility in Genesis 16:13.
(2) Yahweh (YHWH): Comes from a verb which means “to exist, be.” This, plus its usage,
shows that this name stresses God as the independent and self-existent God of revelation
and redemption. See Genesis 4:3; and Exodus 6:3 .
Compounds of Yahweh: Strictly speaking, these compounds are designations or titles which
reveal additional facts about God’s character.
• Yahweh Jireh (Yireh): “The Lord will provide.” Stresses God’s provision for the
people of God in Genesis 22:14.
• Yahweh Nissi: “The Lord is my Banner.” Stresses that God is our rallying point and
our means of victory; the one who fights for the people in Exodus 17:15.
• Yahweh Shalom: “The Lord is Peace.” Points to the Lord as the means of our peace
and rest in Judges. 6:24.
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Yahweh Sabbaoth: “The Lord of Hosts.” A military figure portraying the Lord as the
commander of the armies of heaven found in 1 Sam. 1:3; 17:45.
• Yahweh Maccaddeshcem: “The Lord your Sanctifier.” Portrays the Lord as our means
of sanctification or as the one who sets believers apart for holy purposes in Exodus
31:13.
• Yahweh Ro’i: “The Lord my Shepherd.” Portrays the Lord as the Shepherd who cares
for people as a shepherd cares for sheep in Psalm 23:1.
• Yahweh Tsidkenu: “The Lord our Righteousness.” Portrays the Lord as the means of
our righteousness in Jeremiah 23:6.
• Yahweh Shammah: “The Lord is there.” Portrays the Lord’s personal presence in the
millennial kingdom IN Ezekiel 48:35.
• Yahweh Elohim Israel: “The Lord, the God of Israel.” Identifies Yahweh as the God
of Israel in contrast to the false gods of the nations in Judges 5:3 and Isaiah 17:6.
(3) Adonai: Like Elohim, is a plural of majesty. The singular form means “master, owner.”
Stresses the human relationship to God as master, authority, and provider in Genesis 18:2
and 40:1, I Samuel 1:15, Exodus 21:1-6 and Joshua 5:14
(4) Theos: Greek word translated “God.” The gender of the noun is masculine. It is the
primary name used for God used in the New Testament. Its use teaches: (1) God is
masculine (2) He is the only true God (Matthew 23:9; Romans 3:30); (3) He is unique
(1 Timothy 1:17; John 17:3; Revelation 15:4; 16:27); (4) He is transcendent
(Acts 17:24; Hebrews 3:4; Revelation 10:6); (5) He is the Savior (John 3:16; 1 Timothy
1:1; 2:3; 4:10). This name is used of Christ as God in John 1:1, 18; 20:28; 1 John 5:20;
Titus 2:13; Romans 9:5; Hebrews 1:8; and 2 Peter 1:1.
(5) Kurios: Greek word translated “Lord.” Stresses authority and supremacy. While it can
mean sir (John 4:11), owner (Luke 19:33), master (Colossians 3:22), or even refer to idols
(1 Corinthians 8:5) or husbands (1 Peter 3:6), it is used mostly as the equivalent of Yahweh
of the Old Testament. It too is used of Jesus Christ meaning (1) Rabbi or Sir (Matthew 8:6);
it also carries the meaning of God or Deity (John 20:28; Acts 2:36; Romans 10:9;
Philippians 2:11).
(6) Despotes: Greek word translated “Master.” Carries the idea of ownership while kurios
stressed supreme authority (Luke 2:29; Acts 4:24; Revelation 6:10; 2 Peter 2:1; Jude 4).
(7) Father:A distinctive New Testament revelation is that through faith in Christ, God
becomes our personal Father. Father is used of God in the Old Testament only 15 times
while it is used of God 245 times in the New Testament. As a name of God, it stresses
God’s loving care, provision, discipline, and the way we are to address God in prayer
(Matthew 7:11; James 1:17; Hebrews 12:5-11; John 15:16; 16:23; Ephesians 2:18; 3:15; 1
Thessalonians 3:11).4
A Short Discourse on Feminine Images of God in the Scriptures

4
http://bible.org/article/names-god
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Biblical names and terms for God evidence the hierarchical milieu from which the
literature emerged. These are often “male”. Nevertheless, female “images for God” (drawn
from women’s biological and cultural activity) are common.
(1) God is likened to a mother who bears and cares for children:
a. a woman in labor in Isaiah 42:14 whose forceful breath is an image of divine
power . Here God is threatening to come against Israel in power, a power likened
to the forceful air expelled from the lungs of a woman who is in the final throes
of labor. Calvin misunderstood Isaiah’s intent and construed this as an image of
maternal tenderness!
b. a mother suckling her children in Numbers 11:12
c. a mother who does not forget the child she nurses in Isaiah 49:14-15
d. a mother who comforts her children in Isaiah 66:12-13)
e. a mother who births and protects Israel in Isaiah 46:3-4. In contrast to idol
worshippers who carry their gods on cattle, God carries Israel in the womb. The
message to the people is two-fold: it demonstrates God’s superiority over other
gods, and reiterates the divine promise to support and redeem. In short, God’s
maternal bond of compassion and maternal power to protect guarantee Israel’s
salvation.
f. a mother who gave birth to the Israelites in Deuteronomy. 32:18. “You were
unmindful of the Rock that bore you; you forgot the God who gave you birth.”
g. a mother who calls, teaches, holds, heals and feeds her young in Hosea 11:1-4.
This poem is in the first person, where in Hebrew there is no distinction between
male and female forms; the speaker can be either male or female. The series of
activities are those that a mother would be likely to do: "it was I who taught
Ephraim to walk, I took them up in my arms, but they did not know that I healed
them. I was to them like those who lift infants [suckling children] to their cheeks
[OR: who ease the yoke on their jaws]; I bent down to them and fed them."
Given the context, it is possible that Hosea is indirectly presenting Yahweh as the
mother over against the fertility goddess mother figure of the Canaanite religion
that he is challenging. The images belong in pairs. Israel is presented as a wife in
chapter 2 and as a son in chapter 11, that is, as female and male in tandem. It may
be that Hosea is making the point that Yahweh alone is God by presenting
Yahweh as the husband in chapter 2 and as the mother in chapter 11.
(2) God is likened to one who does the things women do culturally
a. God as a seamstress making clothes for Israel to wear (Nehemiah 9:21).
b. God as a midwife attending a birth (Psalm 22:9-10a, 71:6; Isaiah 66:9)
(midwife was a role only for women in ancient Israel).
c. God as a woman working leaven into bread (Luke 13:18-21). This feminine
image is equivalent to the image of God as masculine in the preceding parable of
the mustard seed.
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d. God as a woman seeking a lost coin (Luke 15:8-10).This feminine image is
equivalent to the image of God as masculine in the preceding parable of the
shepherd seeking a lost sheep. Both Luke 13 and 15 contain paired masculine and
feminine images for God, drawn from activities of Galilean peasants.
(3): Additional examples of the divine feminine.
a. Female bird imagery. Yahweh is described by an analogy to the action of a
female bird protecting her young (Psalm 17:8, 36:7, 57:1, 91:1, 4; Isaiah 31:5;
Deuteronomy 32:11-12).
1. The eagle: Deuteronomy 32:11-12: "As an eagle stirreth up her nest,
fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them,
beareth them on her wings: so the Lord alone did lead Jacob ...." (KJV).
The female eagle, both larger and stronger than the male, does the bulk
of the incubation of the eggs as well as the hunting. She is the one who
bears the eaglets on her wings when it is time for them to leave the
nest. In a sudden movement, she swoops down to force them to fly
alone, but always stays near enough to swoop back under them when
they become too weary to fly on their own. It is a powerful image of
God nurturing and supporting us when we are weak, yet always
encouraging us to grow and mature. Cf. Exodus 19:4, "I bore you on
eagles’ wings and brought you to myself," and Job 39:27-30.
2. The hen: Matthew 23:37 (parallel in Luke 13:34): "O Jerusalem,
Jerusalem! How often would I have gathered your children together as
a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not." In his
lament over Jerusalem, Jesus employs feminine imagery. Whereas the
magnificent eagle is associated with light, sun, height, mobility and
exteriority, the lowly hen is "associated with the shadows and darkness
of the henhouse, and with depth and stillness and interiority beneath the
mothering wings.5 Each image illuminates a different, important aspect
of God’s relation to us.
b. God as Mother Bear in Hosea 13:8 is a fierce image associated with the
profound attachment of the mother to her cubs. God’s rage against those who
withhold gratitude is that of a bear "robbed of her cubs."
c. God as Holy Spirit (in Hebrew, feminine; in Greek, neuter) is often associated
with women’s functions: the birthing process (John 3:5; cf. John 1:13, 1 John
4:7b, 5:1, 4, 18), consoling, comforting, an eschatological groaning in travail
of childbirth, emotional warmth, and inspiration. Some ancient church
traditions refer to the Holy Spirit in feminine terms (the Syriac church used the
feminine pronoun for the Holy Spirit until ca. 400 C.E.; a 14th c. fresco
depicting the Trinity at a church near Munich, Germany images the Holy Spirit
5
"Virginia Ramey Mollenkott, The Divine Feminine [Crossroad, 1987], 93).
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as feminine).6
B: Summary of Data
In names of, addresses to and references to God, the Bible provides a set of images that
partake of a phenomenon, the feminine, that is not considered power related in most human
societies. The liturgy of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan, sadly, ignores these images.
C: Interpretation of Data
Though the development of monotheism testified to in the biblical book of Genesis was
an enormous advance of human beings in the direction of abstract thought, it occurred in a
social setting that strengthened and affirmed patriarchy. The process of symbol-making
marginalized women. The Book of Genesis defined women as creatures essentially different
from males, predefined their sexuality as good only when exercised within the boundaries of
patriarchal dominance, and excluded women from being able to represent the divine principle.
The weight of Biblical narrative is heavily on the side of a covenant mediated through men.7
The iron law would interpret this as being evidence that males took the leadership, then
formed things (the scriptures) in a way to keep them in leading positions and any (female)
competitors out.
V: THE NEW NAMES FOR GOD MATRIX 27,000 IMAGES FOR GOD
A: Presentation of the Data
The matrix is an extract and translation of portions of an English language tool created by
Peter R. Bankson as 15 million Images for God, in 1996 and later expanded to 25 million
images for God which can be found at: http://www.seekerschurch.org/index.php?
Itemid=76&id=172&option=com_content&task=view
To use the tool, one selects a single term from each of the three columns, then uses these to
construct a name for or description of God.
1 2 3
原住民的 活潑的 弓箭手
犯愁人的 輕快的 藝術家
混沌的 美麗的 建造家
小朋友的 奔放的 木匠
團體的 嫗的 鷹
創作的 慶祝的 工程師
地球的 挑戰的 農夫
世界的 機靈的 火焰
屬永恆的 安慰的 噴泉
忠實人的 同情的 朋友
朽人的 意境的 姥姥
福音的 跳舞的 老奶奶
無助人的 摟抱的 醫療家
餓人的 賜給力量的 庭長
萬國萬族萬民的 啟發的 愛好者
老人的 永遠的 母親
流亡人的 絕妙的 奧祕
病人的 極好的 製陶工人

6
Dr. Margo G. Houts, Professor of Religion and Theology, Calvin College
http://clubs.calvin.edu/chimes/970418/o1041897.htm
7
Gerda Lerner, The Creation of Patriarchy, Oxford, OUP, 1986, p. 198.
10
學生的 忠實的 河
受苦的人的 包涵的 江
今天的 產量多的 根源
明天的 燦的 尋找者
真理的 柔和的 本源
不受愛的人的 親切的 火花塞
普世的 療效的 水泉
智慧的 隱的 彫刻家
女人的 醞釀成熟的 紡織者
青年人的 有創造力的 編織者
原住民的 堅持的 子宮
犯愁人的 難抑制的 活水的泉源
B: Summary of the Data
7 Randomized combinations (the selections were made from the above chart by persons
illiterate in Chinese)
病人的機靈的火花塞 intelligent sparkplug of the ailing
朽人的嫗的木匠 old woman woodworker of the hopeless
老人的嫗的製陶工人 old woman potter of the elderly
屬永恆的嫗的母親 eternal aged mother
忠實人的極好的火花塞 most excellent sparkplug of the loyal
屬永恆的絕妙的水泉 eternal exquisite fountain
忠實人的賜給力量的製陶工人 strengthening potter of the loyal

C: Interpretation of the Data
Three of the images are feminine: “Old woman” (used twice) and “mother”. Two images
are mechanical: “sparkplug”, and three are artisanal “woodworker” and “potter” (used twice).
The tool is not truly random, for whoever designs it chooses the terms that go into it. By
numerically overwhelming power-related terms with alternatives, the statistical occurrence
when names are randomly assembled can be reduced, and even when names are deliberately
constructed the plethora of alternatives will permit those persons using the matrix to choose
other terms. The original matrix which yields up to 25 million distinctive possibilities is
sufficient for most situations. Use of the tool is not intended to by random choice of persons
illiterate in the language of the matrix’s presentation. In fact, literacy would aid users in
crafting such terms of address as are put into use liturgically and in private devotional life to
fit the situations and contexts of their lives and uses.

VI: APPLICATION OF THIS STUDY TO POST-DISASTER MINISTRY IN TAIWAN
Suggested terms for God to avoid, and some to use, in selected concrete contexts.
In the Context of Natural Disasters
Suggestions here are drawn from the full 25 million images of God list found in appendix
four rather than from the more limited sample given in chapter V. All that would be necessary
for the suggestions given below to fit into the matrix of Chapter V is some additional
translation work.

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Earthquake: Avoid terms that suggest the power of God in and over nature, lest God’s
goodness be questioned. Stay away from “Omnipotent” and “Almighty”. Instead, use terms
like “gentle, healing, mother of the sick” OR “Resilient, saving welder of tomorrow” OR
“Ingenious, comforting breath of life’ that draw on images of healing and recovery care of
people who have met disaster to point towards the future.
Typhoon or Tsunami: Avoid reference to Jesus who calmed the waves and winds or to
the Holy Spirit who hovered over the water at creation. Use terms like “Artful, sustaining
mechanic of new beginnings” OR Faithful, soaring eagle of Innovation” OR Merciful
mourning savior of the cosmos” that draw images on the saving and renewal.
Landslide: Avoid “mountain of the Lord” or “Sinai” references. Lean in the direction of
things like “Resilient, redeeming harbinger of hope” OR “Firm embracing source of blessing”
OR “Wise, weeping, womb of mystery” that draw on emotions of hope, happiness and
wonder to turn minds towards the One who cares for them in all situations.
Flood: Avoid water images and anything about drowning. Use terms that draw on images
of care, comfort and healing to encourage hope. Images like “Compassionate, comforting
healer of nature” OR “Sensitive, soothing friend of the forgotten” OR Faithful, lifegiving,
Heart of Good News”. .
In the Context of Social Disasters
Riot: Avoid images of wildness, like “flamboyant”, “gleeful”, “irrepressible” or “radical”
and draw on things like “careful”, “wise”, and mentions of the kinds of human crafts that
create and build (weaver, welder, sculptor, brewer, etc.)
General Economic Collapse: Avoid any mention of extravagance. Emphasize care.
Local loss of employment due to an industry moving away: Avoid playful images and
make use of those, like “groaning” and “suffering” that lean towards God’s presence with
suffering people as they suffer. Though God’s providence may be a doctrine of comfort at
times like this, people may not feel “provided for” and may, therefore, need something more
along the lines of being suffered “with” than watched “over”.
Crop Failure: Avoid terms like: “boundless, fabulous, fruitful, gleeful, provident, wild,
wonderful, devouring, fertilizing, invigorating, root, seed, branch.” Use things like:
“tenacious, insistent, hidden, delivering, pondering, questioning, searching, suffering, farmer,
lover, mother, worker.”
In the Context of Political Disasters
Terrorist Attack: Avoid “wild” and “unpredictable” and focus on something like
“compassionate judging healer of exiles”.
National humiliation by a foreign power: Avoid references to triumph and sovereignty,
and favour those leaning towards tenaciousness and protection. .
Stolen election: Avoid “unpredictable” or “playful”. Use themes of justice, resilience
and recovery.
In the Context of Individual Disasters
Sexual Abuse of a woman or girl by a male relative: Avoid Father imagery and
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references to the God’s embrace. Use mother images and references to healing. Mention of
how God groans over and mourns about sinfulness, and suffers with the suffering, walking
patiently with them in the direction of healing, might be of use.
Death of a child: Avoid judgment images. Stay away from “lifegiving” images. Use,
cradling, caring, loving, comforting, mourning, groaning, suffering and hope. If life is
mentioned, use “new life”.
Death of a spouse: Avoid judgment, especially in connection with eternity. Use terms of
faithfulness, soothing and companionship. .

VII: CONCLUSION
We need guidance, not just in our living or, if we are called upon to be church leaders, in
our preaching, but also in our praying. At times when imagination is most needed, we fall
into cliché. Because the terms have been used too much, they lose their value to the hearer.
Biblical terms and images are valuable, but because they have been heard again and again,
they cease to carry much meaning unless thought about deeply.
The result is that we fail to serve ourselves or the people who are in need of our
leadership in worship and liturgical actions. The tool presented here for devising “new”
images of God, none of them really new, just new to the hearers, is designed to shock
participants out of complacent acquiescence to terminology which is not merely “tried and
true”, but “tired and true.” The terms which can be crafted to meet the context and situation
are, hopefully, of greater use in ministry situations of real life.

APPENDIX 1
Names of God in PCT Liturgy by page (disagragated)
From Church Worship and Sacraments with the Confessions: Mandarin Edition. Tainan:
Ren Kuang, 1978)

Order ONE for Lord’s Day Worship (pages 1-5)
Page 1 Siong-te (2 times), Ia-ho-hoa (4 times)
Page 2, Eternal father, Lord Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit Siong-te, Christ (2 times), Holy Father,
Holy Son, Holy Spirit, Only God, Almighty God, Lord (4 times), Most Holy, most
loving, most merciful Father” “Most Holy gracious father” Lord Jesus Christ,
Page 3 Almighty God, Lord Jesus Christ, Siong-te (4 times) , Lord, Ia-ho-hoa (2 times)
Holy Spirit,
Page 4: Siong-te (3 times), Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Lord, Lord Jesus Christ, Christ Jesus,
Page 5: Almighty Gracious Father God, Lord Christ Jesus, Almighty God, Lord Jesus Christ,
Siong-te, Holy Spirit
Order TWO for Lord’s Day Worship (Pages 6-11)
Page 6: Ia-ho-hoa (3 times) Most Holy eternal Siong-te, Lord Christ Jesus, Omnipotent most
merciful Father, Lord (4 times) Lord Jesus Christ, Most merciful Father, Lord Christ,
13
Page 7: Almighty God, Lord Jesus, Holy Father, Holy Son, Holy Spirit, Ia-ho-hoa (2 times),
Lord(2 times), Siong-te
Page 8: Lord, almighty god, Lord (7 times) Eternally Praised Lord, Omnipotent Siong-te,
Father who has all things, Lord Jesus Christ (2 times), Holy Father, Holy Son, Holy
spirit, Three in One God.
Page 9: Most Holy Omniscient Siong-te, Lord (5 times), Lord Jesus Christ (2 times)
Page 10: Lord (6 times) , Almighty Siong-te, Siong-te, Lord Jesus Christ(3 times),
Page 11: Almighty Siong-te(2 times) , Lord (4 times), Jesus Christ, Lord Jesus Christ (2
times), Siong-te (2 times), Christ Jesus, Holy Son, Holy Father, Holy spirit

Order THREE for Lord’s Day Worship (pages 11-15)
Page 11: Siong-te (2 times), Ia-ho-hoa,
Page 12: Ia-ho-hoa (3 times), Most Holy, Most Good, Merciful Father, Lord (2 times), Lord
Jesus Christ (2 times), Most Holy, Most Loving Father,
Page 13: Father in Heaven( 2 times), Lord Jesus, Lord Jesus Christ, Siong-te (2 times)
Page 14: Siong-te (5 times), Almighty Father, Lord Creator of heaven and Earth, Lord Jesus
Christ (2 times), Holy Spirit (3 times), Almighty father Siong-te, Father, Son, Siong-te
who hears our prayers, Jesus Christ,
Page 15: Almighty Siong-te, Merciful Father, Lord, Lord Jesus Christ (2 times), Siong-te,
Holy Spirit

Lords Supper Liturgy (pages 19-21)
Page 19: Lord Jesus Christ (2 times), Lord Jesus(2 times), Lord (2 times),
Page 20: Lord, Siong-te( 2 times), Lord Jesus (4 times), Christ,
Page 21: Christ, Lord, Lord Jesus Christ (2 times), Almighty Father Siong-te, Beloved
Heavenly Father, Peace giving Siong-te, Great Shepherd of the sheep, Lord Jesus,
Resurrected from the Dead Siong-te, Jesus Christ,

Infant Baptism Liturgy (pages 22-24)
Page 22: Ia-ho-hoa, Lord Jesus Christ, Father, Son, Holy spirit, Jesus (3 times), Siong-te (3
times), Christ
Page 23: Siong-te (3 times),Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ (2 times), Holy Spirit (2 times),
Christ (2 times), Lord, Father, Son,
Page 24: Eternal almighty siong-te, Father, Siong-te, Almighty Father Suiong-te, Holy Son,
Lord Jesus,

Adult Baptism Liturgy (pages 24-26)
Page 24, Ia-ho-hoa, Jesus Christ (2 times) , Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Holy Spirit,
Page 25: Lord, Siong-te, Jesus Christ(3 times), Holy Spirit (3 times), Christ, Siong-te (3
times), Heavenly Father, Father, Son
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Page 26: The Siong-te of Peace, Lord Jesus Christ, Head of the Church, The Great King, Lord
Jesus Christ (2 times), Christ (2 times), Lord (2 times), almighty loving Father God,
Holy Spirit, Beloved Heavenly Father, Heavenly Father,

Confirmation Liturgy (pages 27-29)
Page 27 Creator Ia-ho-hoa, Lord (3 times), Lord Jesus Christ (2 times), Siong-te (4 times),
Father in Heaven, Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, Saving Lord, Holy spirit,
Page 28: Jesus Christ, Siong-te, Head of the church, Great King, Lord Jesus Christ, Lord,
Almighty Heavenly Father, Christ, Lord Jesus,
Page 29: Beloved Lord, Holy spirit, Lord Jesus.

APPENDIX 2
Names of God in PCT Liturgy Aggregated by Individual Liturgical Setting
Order 1 for Lord’s Day Worship
Term # of Occurrences
Siong-te 10
Ia-ho-hoa (transliteration of Jehovah) 6
Lord Jesus Christ 6
Lord 6
Holy spirit 4
Almighty God 3
Christ 2
Eternal Father 1
Holy Spirit Siong-te 1
Holy Father 1
Holy Son 1
Only God 1
Most Holy 1
Most loving, most merciful Father 1
Most holy gracious father 1
Father 1
Son 1
Christ
TermJesus 1
# of Occurrences
Almighty Gracious
Lord Father Siong-te 1
33
Lord Jesus Christ 14 Order 2 for Lord’s Day
Almighty Siong-te 7 Worship
Ia-ho-hoa (transliteration of Jehovah) 5
Holy Father 3
Holy son 3
Holy Spirit 3
Siong-te 3
Jesus Christ 2
Christ Jesus 1
Omnipotent Most Merciful Father 1
Most Merciful Father 1
Lord Christ 1
Lord Jesus 1
Eternally Praised Lord 1
Omnipotent Siong-te 1
15
Father who has all things 1
Three in One Siong-te 1
Most Holy Omnipotent Siong-te 1
Most Holy Eternal Siong-te 1
OOrder 3 for Lord’s Day Worship
Term # of Occurrences
Siong-te 10
Lord Jesus Christ 7
Holy Spirit 4
Ia-ho-hoa (transliteration of Jehovah) 4
Lord 3
Most Holy 2
Merciful Father 2
Most Good 1
Most loving Father 1
Father in Heaven 1
Lord Jesus 1
Almighty Father 1
Lord Creator of heaven and Earth 1
Almighty Father Siong-te 1
Father 1
Son 1
Siong-te who hears our prayers 1
Jesus Christ 1
Almighty Siong-te 1
Order for Celebration of Holy Communion
Term # of Occurrences
Lord Jesus 7
Lord Jesus Christ 4
Lord 4
Siong-te 2
Christ 2
Almighty Father Siong-te 1
Peace Giving siong-te 1
Great Shepherd of the Sheep 1
Resurrected from the Dead Siong-te 1
Jesus Christ 1

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Order for Celebration of Infant Baptism
Term # of Occurrences
Siong-te 8
Father 3
Holy Spirit 3
Christ 3
Jesus 3
Son 2
Ia-ho-hoa (transliteration of Jehovah) 1
Lord Jesus Christ 1
Heavenly Father 1
Jesus Christ 1
Lord 1
Eternal almighty siong-te 1
Almighty Father 1
Holy Son 1
Lord Jesus 1
Order for celebration of Adult Baptism
Term # of Occurrences
Holy Spirit 6
Jesus Christ 5
Lord 4
Siong-te 4
Lord Jesus Christ 3
Christ 3
Heavenly Father 2
Father 2
Son 2
Ia-ho-hoa (transliteration of Jehovah) 1
The siong-te of Peace 1
Head of the Church 1
The great king 1
Almighty Loving Father God 1
Beloved Heavenly Father 1
Order for Confirmation
Term # 0f Occurrences
Siong-te 5
Lord 4
Lord Jesus Christ 3
Lord Jesus 2
Holy Spirit 2
Jesus Christ 2
Father in Heaven 1
Heavenly Father 1
Creator Ia-ho-hoa (transliteration of Jehovah) 1
Saving Lord 1
Head of the Church 1
Great King 1
Almighty Heavenly Father 1
Christ 1
Beloved Lord 1

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APPENDIX THREE
Names of God in 7 PCT Hymns (by hymn name and # in 2009 Hymnal)
53 One Evening So Quiet written by Ko Chun-beng in 1982
Term # of Occurrences
Lord Jesus 2
Father Siong-te 1
188 In the Holy Scriptures written by Hugh A MacMillan (a Canadian) for the 1936 hymnal
Term # of Occurrences
Lord 5
Siong-te 1
Holy Son of Siong-te 1
Heavenly Father 1
231 O Sing a New Song to the Lord written by Iu* Su-iong for the 1964 hymnal
Term # of Occurrences
Siong-te 4
Lord 1
368 On the Night of His Betrayal written by Campbell Moody (British) around 1926
Term # of Occurrences
Siong-te 2
Saving Lord Jesus 1
Saving Lord 1
Jesus 1
447 Almighty Father, Source of All written by Iu* su-iong for the 1964 hymnal
Term # of Occurrences
Lord 4
Saving Lord 1
Almighty Heavenly Father 1
511 Light and Salt You Called Your Friends written by Te* Ji-giok in 1967
Term # of Occurrences
Lord 5
Heavenly Father 1
639 The Saints Saw on the Heavenly Throne written by Tan Khoe-chun for the 1964 hymnal
Term # of Occurrences
Lamb 3
Siong-te 1
Lord 1

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APPENDIX FOUR 25 million images of God

Active Eternal Ingenuous Radical

Agile Exquisite Insistent Relentless

Amazing Fabulous Intimate Resilient

Ancient Faithful Irrepressible Sensitive

Artful Fiery Joyful Sensuous

Beautiful Firm Kind Silent

Bold Flamboyant Lively Strong

Boundless Fruitful Luminous Sturdy

Bright Gentle Magnificent Tenacious

Careful Gleeful Masterful Tender

Clever Glorious Merciful Triumphant

Close Gracious Omnipotent Unpredictable

Compassionate Great Persistent Unknowable

Constant Hardy Playful Warm

Creative Holy Powerful Wild

Dark Hopeful Precious Wise

Eager Hidden Provident Wonderful

Erotic Ingenious Radiant

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Laughing Baker Parent

Leading Blacksmith Potter

Affirming Leaping Breath Plumber

Beaming Liberating Breeder Prophet

Blessing Lifegiving Brewer River

Brooding Limping Builder Ruler

Budding Loving Carpenter Root

Building Mourning Center Savior

Caressing Nourishing Champion Sculptor

Celebrating Nurturing Counselor Seamstress

Challenging Penetrating Creator Seed

Comforting Pondering Craftsman Seeker

Consuming Protecting Dawn Soul

Cradling Pulsating Doctor Source

Creating Pursuing Eagle Sovereign

Dancing Questioning Elder Sparkplug

Delivering Redeeming Engineer Spinner

Devouring Rejuvenating Farmer Spirit

Discerning Roaring Father Spring

Embracing Saving Fire Surgeon

Empowering Searching Fountain Teacher

Enabling Singing Friend Tinker

Encompassing Smiling Harbinger Weaver

Enlightening Soaring Healer Welder

Enlivening Soothing Heart Wellspring

Feasting Suffering Leader Womb

Fertilizing Sustaining Light Worker

Forgiving Swelling Lion

Freeing Uplifting Loom

Fulfilling Wailing Lord

Gestating Weeping Lover Of Age

Giving Willing Maker Of All

Groaning Winnowing Mark Of Blessing

Hammering Mechanic Of Celebration

Harmonizing Mentor Of Children

Healing Messenger Of Christmas

Hoping Archer Mixer Of The Cosmos

Incubating Architect Mother Of Community

Invigorating Artist Mystery Of Creation

Judging Author Ocean Of Desire

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Of The Disabled Of Happiness Of Love Of Redemption

Of The Earth Of The Helpless Of The Meek Of Resurrection

Of Easter Of Hope Of Mercy Of Salvation

Of Everything Of The Hopeless Of Mystery Of Self Control

Of Every Thought Of Hosts Of Nations Of The Sick

Of Eternity Of The Hungry Of Nature Of Spring

Of Exiles Of Incarnation Of New Beginnings Of The Stuff Of Life

Of Faith Of Innovation Of New Life Of Tomorrow

Of The Faithful Of Inspiration Of Outcasts Of Truth

Of Forgiveness Of Intention Of Passion Of The Universe

Of The Forgotten Of Joy Of Patience Of Winter

Of Gentleness Of Justice Of Peace Of Wisdom

Of Good News Of Kindness Of The Poor Of Youth

Of Goodness Of Learning Of Prayer

Of Grace Of Life Of Purification

Of Growth Of The Little Ones Of Reality

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