Who is God? This is a question that plagues nearly everyone during their life. We ask not only who or what God is, but if our perception of him has changed over the course of history? Or could god be just an idea, a divine presence that is deep seeded in our brains?
Morgan Freeman will be tackling these questions and more in the new episode of The Story of God with Morgan Freeman this Sunday, April 17 at 9/8c. But with so much to cover in such a big question, we wanted to get the discussion started sooner and asked several faith-based bloggers from Patheos.com to weigh in on this important question. Read on to hear their thoughts, and be sure to click over to their blogs to explore further.
Chris Williams of Chrisicisims calls the Who is God question “the driving question of humanity. It’s the reason religions exist. It defines our lives. And it’s the hardest question I’ve ever had to write about.” By examining scripture, he states, “God is the one who takes the initiative. Most religions are lifelong searches for God; in Christianity, God comes to us.”
Farouk Peru from Person Al-Islam notes that knowing God “is an internal knowledge”. Farouk believes we need to “build our own relationship with God because God can only be known as deeply as our souls would permit.” Once we “get over our selves to get to God, we get to a special place the Quran calls ‘souls in tranquility’ (Chapter 89 Verses 27-30). These are the only souls where God calls them His servants in intimate language and calls them to the garden of fulfillment.”
Get the Discussion Guide:
Paul Asay of Watching God states, “Whatever our concept of God is, it may ultimately tell us more about us than about God.” He dives deeper into this idea by saying, “My concept of God is shaped a great deal by my environment, my upbringing, my weaknesses and my strengths. And even if none of that stuff was getting in the way, our concept of God is handicapped by our own mortal natures. Most of us only imperfectly understand ourselves. How could we hope to understand the Creator of the Universe?”
Kyle Roberts of Unsystematic Theology says, “The weightiness of the challenge Freeman has set for himself comes to an apex in this one. The master story-teller still manages to give us a multifaceted, comparative picture of the way that many people across the globe conceive of the divine.” Kyle writes about the monotheism of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, pointing out that for Christianity, “God is one but also three. Granted, Father, Son, and Spirit are not–in orthodox theology–like three branches sprouting from a single tree-trunk.”
Padma Kuppa of Seeking Shanti believes “Pluralism is the answer.” She tells the story of one of the key temples in Varanasi, the Kasi Viswanath temple, which is also home to the Gyanvapi mosque. “It is this ancient, inclusive and inherent pluralism of Hinduism that gives me the answer to ‘Who is God?’ – an idea, a practice, a place of peace, that allows for houses of worship from two different religions to live side by side, for several hundred years.”
Kate O’Hare from Pax Culturati digs into how the Catechism and the Scriptures portray God. She says, “In the West, we’ve become so accustomed to the Biblical narratives, they’re so interwoven into the very fabric of our culture and literature — whether you’re a believer or not — that we take them almost for granted. We are like fish who don’t know they’re wet, swimming in a sea of quotes, aphorisms, poetry, characters and ideas born in the Word.”
Watch Related: Who Is God?
National Geographic Channel went to 22 countries around the world to find out who people think God is.
Nancy Rockwell of The Bite in the Apple calls the question “a bass note rhythm in the midst of life, a note that becomes insistent in times when our need to know is great.” By examining the different faiths through the eyes of the series, she says “my heart turns to an ancient Celtic prayer: ‘Thou are the joy of all joyous things, Thou art the light of the beam of the sun…Thou art the loveliness of all lovely desires.’’”
Lori Erickson from Holy Rover notes some of the places she’d go to find God. “I’d go first to the nursery of a hospital, for that’s where I’ve seen the face of God most clearly… And I’d go to the bedside of a dying person, too. Not one experiencing a hard or premature death, or one that comes after the long twilight of dementia. But I’d try to find one of those wise, aged people who’ve had a good run of it and who face death filled with gratitude for what they’ve been privileged to experience. Being in their presence confers a blessing as potent as any I’ve received from a religious leader.”
Thanks to each of the bloggers for joining in the discussion! We’ll be back each Friday to share thoughts from these bloggers as they tackle a variety of topics explored on The Story of God with Morgan Freeman.
The Story of God with Morgan Freeman “Who is God?” airs Sunday at 9/8c. Check it out and start your own conversation with the help of our Who is God? discussion guide.