"God created man in his image, and man, being a gentleman, returned the compliment.

"
Mark Twain
Prepared by: Richard G. Pazcoguin

OUR HUMAN LIMITATION: St. Thomas Aquinas said: “There is nothing is the mind that is not first in the senses.”

1 JOHN 4:12 says: “No one has ever seen God…” God is a Spirit. God is a Mystery. A spirit cannot be perceived by the senses. A mystery transcends all human experience.

Language is a product of human experience. For us humans to be able to speak of God, we have to speak of Him in terms of what our senses can perceive. For example, when we say “God is a Shepherd”, what we actually mean is “God is like a Shepherd”.
Hence, when we speak of God, we only do so ANALOGOUSLY. With analogies, we associate God with images that are within our human experience. For

Our IMAGES OF GOD are products of ANTHROPOMORPHISM. (anthropos – man; morphe- form) Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human qualities to God. We portray God as having a human body or having human emotions etc.

The following slides contain some of the common IMAGES OF GOD. Some of these may even be your own. Reflect on each image and try to point out the strengths and weaknesses of each in terms of their power of developing a sound perception of GOD.

GOD IS AN ARTIST “The splendor I bestowed on you perfected your beauty…” Ezekiel 16:14 GOD IS A BODYGUARD “For the Lord is your security, he will keep your foot from being caught in a trap.” Proverbs 3:26 GOD IS A BROTHER “Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother…” Matthew 12:50

GOD IS A CLOWN “Cheer up Zion, don’t be afraid, for the Lord has come to live among you…” Zephaniah 3:16 GOD IS IN THE CLOUDS “I am going to come to you in a thick cloud…” Exodus 19:9 GOD IS A CONDUCTOR “The Lord himself will guide you.” Micah 2:13

GOD IS A COUNSELOR “These will be his royal titles: Wonderful Counselor…” Isaiah 9:6 GOD IS A DESIGNER “God has made everything beautiful for its own time.” Ecclesiastes 1:11 GOD IS A DOCTOR “So will it be when the Lord begins to heal his people and cure the wounds he gave them” Isaiah 30:26

GOD IS A FATHER “…how much more will your Heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.” Matthew 7:11 GOD IS A FRIEND “Now you are my friends since I have told you everything the Father has told me…” John 15:15 GOD IS LIKE THE WIND “God’s ways are hard to discern like the pathways of the wind.” Ecclesiastes 11:5

GOD IS A GHOST “For God is a Spirit…” John4:24 GOD IS THE TRANSCENDENT ONE “The Lord looks down from heaven upon the human race…” Psalm 14:2 GOD IS A JUDGE “God is a judge who is perfectly fair; he is angry with the wicked every day.” Psalm 7:11

GOD IS A KING “The Lord is King forever and ever…’ Psalm 10:16 GOD IS A KNOW-ALL “The Lord knows people’s thoughts, that they are all worthless…” Psalm GOD94:11MACHO MAN IS A “Use your strong right arm to save us, and rescue your beloved people.” Psalm 60:5

GOD IS A MOTHER “Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child she bore in her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you.” Isaiah 49:15 GOD IS ON A MOUNTAIN “I cried out to the Lord , and he answered me from his holy mountain…” Psalm 3:4 GOD IS A POLICEMAN “We have sinned. Punish us as you see fit, only rescue us today from our enemies.” Judges 10:15

GOD IS A PREACHER “Pay attention to him and obey all his instructions.” Exodus 23:21 GOD IS A SPY “There is a God who knows all your deeds.” 1 Samuel2:3 GOD IS A SHEPHERD “The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want.” Ps 23:1

GOD IS A TEACHER “Teach me how to live, o Lord..” Psalm 27:11 GOD IS A WIZARD “His great works are too marvelous to understand; he performs miracles without number.” Job 9:10 GOD IS ONE OF US “He will be called ‘Emmanuel’ (which means God is with us)” Isaiah 7:14

•Images of God are spontaneous, unreflected attitudes that influence our responses to God. •Images of God are not the same as ideas about God. Ideas may be abstract. An image is concrete. It is a combination of thoughts and feelings. •Our Images of God may not be the same as our doctrinal affirmation about God. One may profess that God is good, but in his mind may actually think of God as a cruel

• Images are “signs”. They point towards a greater reality. They are models of the reality. They are not the reality itself. • Images have both strengths and limitations. While they can convey truths, they can also deceive. • Forming an imaginative picture of God can be misleading. • An “We are constantly tempted to and distorted.our image may be manipulated make God into
own image, to divinize our narrowness and selfimportance and then call it the will of God.”

Gerard

Hughes onetheless, we cannot do away with images. They’re all we’ve go

• Our images of God have a powerful impact on our attitudes and behaviors even without our conscious awareness. • Our images of God profoundly impact our spiritual well-being. A distorted image of God results in a distorted relationship with Him. • Our images of God are closely related to our images of ourselves.

The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want, there is nothing I shall want. The Lord is my shepherd In verdant pastures, he gives me repose Beside restful waters he leads me He refreshes my soul. Even though I walk in the valley of darkness I fear no evil, you’re at my side With your rod and your staff That give me courage. Only goodness and kindness follow me All the days of my life, all my days And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord For the years to come.

“For we know only in part, and we prophecy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to my childish ways. For now, we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully 1 Corinthians 13:9-12 known.”

THEOLOGY FOR TEACHERS Fr. Ian Knox SEEING GOD IN NEW WAYS: RECOVERY FROM DISTORTED IMAGES OF GOD By: Juanita R. Ryan http://www.nacronline.com/dox/library/images.shtml OUR IMAGES OF GOD An article in STEPS Magazine http://www.sentex.net

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