May 16, 2008

The Name of God

Filed under: Faith Matters — Pastor Tim @ 4:12 pm

“…baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”  Matthew 28:19b

The first name ascribed to God in the Bible is YHWH, a Hebrew word meaning “I AM WHO I AM” (See Exodus 3).  I understand that to be an UN-name.  That is, this name is proclaiming that there is no name by which the utterly free God can be trapped.

In the New Testament, we get a new formula for the name of God: “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”  This has caused all sorts of anguish through the generations, as outsiders have accused Christians of having three different gods.  It has also caused all sorts of creative attempts at explanation:  Ice, Water, and Steam all bear the same chemical form and hence are one, though they occur in three distinct ways; A clock in a tower has different faces on each side, but one and the same set of workings on the inside; If you poke your finger into the pointy end of a peeled banana, it breaks into three long, but relatively equal parts, though it is still one banana; etc.  Many explanations are provided to help folks to uplift this formula as God’s name.

But I wonder even our most creative explanations don’t miss the possibility that God (and the Church) are still playing the same game started in Exodus - namely, that God is simply too mysterious to be be trapped within any name.

So on Trinity Sunday, maybe we ought not get hung up on questions of the logic behind this identity.  Perhaps, instead, we can celebrate the One who is present around and under and in each and every one of us creatures who have been shaped in that divine and mysterious image.

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. | TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

XHTML ( You can use these tags): <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> .