This piece is a part of the series 30 Words In 30 Days.
Where do we begin when it comes to God? The story tells us that he was before time began. The story tells us that in the beginning there was nothing but God and formlessness and the deep, dark abyss. The word for formless found in Genesis 1v2 can also be translated unreality. In other words, God was there before reality as we know it came into being. And so, where do we begin? We can only begin at some point held within the confines of reality, of our reality. This means that when we begin to talk about, write about, or speculate about God, we are firmly entrenched in the world of conjecture. What we have is our best guess. God is the grandest of the great mysteries.
Where do they end, our thoughts and musings about God? What are the limits of our theology? In Revelation 1v8, John has a vision of God’s self proclamation, I am the Alpha and the Omega, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty. He is. Present and alive and active, moving and making and breathing life into people and places and things. He was. We’ve already established that. He always was, he’s always been, since before time began ticking. He is to come. And again, the mystery welcomes us in with open arms. There is more coming. God has always been, God is right now, and there’s still more of him to come. We know to the very cores of our beings that things are not as they should be and so this is very good news. God is to come. He’ll make things right, heal the brokenness, and mend the torn up pieces of our tattered world.
Where do we begin and end? How are we to engage the idea of God, much less God himself? Within the bounds of our frail understanding, what are we to do with the limitless expanse of God’s reality? How will we know that we’re not constantly falling short? We won’t. We’ll never know. But thank God, his love is not predicated on our knowing or understanding or the exactitude of our hypothesizing. In the film Calvary, Brendan Gleeson’s character Father James reminds us that, God is great and the limits of his mercy have not been set. And so again, I ask, where do we begin and end? We begin and end at a place held safely within the limits of God’s mercy, which have not yet been set. There’s room for us here. There’s room for all of our questions and curiosity. There’s room for you and everyone you know.