Defining God

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The opening sentence of the Tao Te Ching says something simple yet very profound.

The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named is not the eternal name

What LaoTzu, the ancient Chinese sage, was referencing is the fact that as soon as we begin to describe the Divine, we are limited by our language and thus we fall short of an adequate explanation.

Recently a major media source in the U.S. gave its readers a challenge.  They asked them to define God.  This task initially seemed simple enough, however, there was a catch.  To describe God they could only use one word.

The top 10 results looked like this:

10. Omnipotent (all-powerful)

9. Fiction

8. Non-existent

7. Almighty

6. Imaginary

5. Amazing

4. Creator

3. Awesome

2. Everything

And the most popular response:   LOVE

There is an ancient legend in Christianity surrounding the youngest of Jesus’ disciples, John.

St. Jerome, in his commentary on Galatians, tells a story of John in his extreme old age.  Church leaders would carry him to the gathering place on Sunday and place him before the faithful.  No doubt the crowd would be hanging on his every word since he was the last living disciple of Jesus.  As John would open his mouth all he would say is, “Little children, love one another” over and over again.

Finally, when some grew tired of hearing this same mantra they would ask him why this is all he shares.

“Because”, he replied, “it is the Lord’s command, and if this only is done, it is enough.”

 

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