Throughout the ages, people from all manner of backgrounds have experienced God and meditated on this great mystery, the experience of the presence of God in our lives. These reflections on God and His interaction with us form the basis for theology, and the strongest and most central of these theological conclusions have been recognized as the official teachings of the Church. These teachings keep us focused on God as He truly is, without straying into error. Over several weeks, and continuing our Domestic Church series, we will examine some of these core teachings, particularly from an Eastern Christian perspective.
First, we must have a proper understanding of God. In our culture, it has become common to think of God as a bearded old man watching us from a cloud. Erroneous images of God are culturally reinforced by art like Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam” or even popular television programs and books. However, God as He experiences Himself is completely unknowable to us, as He is beyond all intellectual capacity we might possess. He is the ultimate perfection of all that his holy, true, good, and beautiful, the source of all that is, but as He is beyond existence itself and beyond our experience, we ultimately cannot know how God is, only that He is.
However, in His great love, God has revealed Himself to us. We can catch “glimpses” of God through creation and through sharing in His life. God revealed Himself first to the people of Israel, nurturing and protecting them so that one day He could reveal Himself in the flesh and in doing so reveal Himself to all people.
This revelation was realized at the moment when the Second Person of the Trinity entered the world and history as Jesus Christ (John 3:16). Christ reveals to us God as the lover of mankind, our Lord who “tramples death down by death” and restores life to the dead. He is the King of Glory, the means by which the human can participate in the divine.
In what ways have we experienced God in our personal lives? Where have we encountered God throughout our days?