Language about God
Expansive Images of God
"What is the right way to speak about God? This is a question of unsurpassed importance, for speech to and about the mystery that surrounds human lives and the universe itself is a key activity of a community of faith. In that speech the symbol of God functions as the primary symbol of the whole religious system, the ultimate point of reference for understanding experience, life, and the world. Hence the way in which a faith community shapes language about God implicitly represents what it takes to be the highest good, the profoundest truth, the most appealing beauty. Such speaking, in turn, powerfully molds the corporate identity of the community and directs its praxis."
Elizabeth A. Johnson, She Who Is (New York: Crossroad), 1992, pp. 3–4
||Num 11:12-13, Deut 32:18, Job 38:28-29, Ps 131:2, Isa 42:14, Isa 46:3-4, Isa 49:15, Isa 66:9, Hos 11:3-4, Jn 16:21, Rom 8:22, I Pet 2:2-3|
Jn 10:11,14; Ps 23
|Lk 15:8–10, Ps 123:2|
|Mt 13:33, Lk 13:20-21|
|Deut 32:11-12, Ex 19:4|
|Mt 23:37; Ruth 2:12, Ps 57:1, Ps 61:4, Lk 13:34, Ps 17:8|
||Deut 4:24, Acts 2:3|
|Acts 2:2, Jn 3:8|
||Is 17:10, Deut 32:18|
|Jn 8:12; Isa 60:2-3|
|Lk 11:49, I Cor 1:24|
|Jer 18:1-11, Job 10:8-9|
The Nicene Creed
God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God; Lord and Giver of Life
The Apostles Creed
Maker of heaven and earth
The Scots Confession
Eternal, infinite, immeasurable, incomprehensible, omnipotent, invisible; Messiah
The Heidelberg Catechism
Faithful Savior; merciful, gracious, righteous; Mediator, Advocate, Judge
The Second Helvetic Confession
God is One, God is Three; Just Judge and Avenger, Only Savior, True Awaited Messiah, Living God, Author of the Sacraments
The Westminster Confession
Infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body parts, or passions, immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute . . . most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering; Christ the Mediator
The Evangelical Catechism
One God is Spirit, Life, Light, and Love
The Theological Declaration of Barmen
Jesus Christ—the One Word of God
The UCC Statement of Faith
God calls the worlds into being, creates humankind in the divine image, and sets before us the ways of life and death.
"He who has promised us heavenly food has nourished us on milk, having recourse to a mother's tenderness. For just as a mother, suckling her infant, transfers from her flesh the very same food which otherwise would be unsuited to a babe (the little one actually receives what he would have received at table but the food conveyed through the flesh is adapted to the child), so our Lord, in order to convert His wisdom into milk for our benefit, came to us clothed in flesh."
"But you too, good Jesus, are you not also a mother? Are you not a mother who like a hen gathers her chicks beneath her wings? And you, my soul dead in yourself, run under the wings of Jesus your mother and lament your griefs under his feathers. Ask that your wounds may be healed and that, comforted, you may live again. Christ, my mother, you gather your chickens under your wings; this dead chicken of yours puts himself under those wings . . .Warm your chicken, give life to your dead one, justify your sinner."
—Anselm of Canterbury, Prayers and Meditations
"To those infants who seek the Word, the Father's loving breasts supply milk."
—Clement of Alexandria,The Instructor
"God his father and the Holy Spirit his Mother."
—Aphrahat, The Orthodox Way
In Revelations of Divine Love, Julian of Norwich spoke of Jesus as the mother who gives us birth in the agonies of the cross and who nurses us at the breast in Holy Communion.