Tuesday, August 3

Writing About God's Attributes

It's a lot more difficult than it looks. First of all, whenever I start one of these attributes of God posts, I think, "Who do you think you are, writing about God?" I suppose that's because I usually write about what I know, and since that's how I tend to do things, it seems really arrogant to write about what God is like, as if it's a subject to tackle like other subjects can be tackled. God is not tackled; he can't be tackled. When I keep in mind that I'm not tackling, but just trying to pull off little pieces to examine--to know some tiny part of the whole, but never the whole, and not even near to the whole--I can at least move past my initial reluctance to even venture out on the field.

But it still isn't easy. Even when I think I see one of those tiny little pieces clearly, I can't find the right words to describe what I think I see. That might be because there aren't words to describe it. When I think of examples from something we do know to use, they never work properly. Doing the post on God's eternity, I thought about using that common example of a story board or movie stills that is often given to describe how God sees events in time all at once. But of course, that's not quite how it is. Does God see all events at once, as if they sit somewhere separate from him and he views them, or does he create each moment in history? Does he know them only because he views them, or because he "upholds them by the word of his power" in exactly the same way he created the world by the word of his power? Does the story board example, then, explain a bit of truth to us, or does it distort it? Is the piece of truth it is getting at so small, that it actually obscures rather than illumines?

So most of what I write in the process of producing each post is eventually discarded as being not quite right, and even the words left on the page after I stew over them are left knowing that they are not quite right, but they are the best I can do without disintegrating into a puddle of confusion. This also means that if you read a post once, and come back later and look at it, and think to yourself, "Huh? I don't remember reading that!", you're memory is most likely correct, and I've been back and redone something or other, because the stewing process seems to go on long after the initial post is posted. But since in this case, I'm writing to understand just a little bit of something, and not writing because I've already come to understand something, I figure that's okay.

And then there is the caution I have against speaking where we cannot speak. I am constantly wondering if a particular statement can be supported by scripture--if it is what scriptural statements about God are trying to communicate to us--or if it just something seems right to me. So I write sentences and paragraphs, and then discard them, because while I think they might be true, or even think they are most likely true, I don't know them with the sort of certainly that warrents putting them in my post.

Anyway, I started writing that post on God's eternity at 7:30 this morning. (We're just talking about writing here, I'd done research earlier.) I finished and posted after noon. I drank one cup of coffee and maybe made a couple bathroom jaunts. Otherwise, I was either typing or staring at the screen. And when I was done I felt like I'd been wrung through the wringer. Or maybe more like I was a little piece of canvas that'd been stretched to fit a frame it was much too small for.

Why am I posting this? I'm not entirely sure, but I guess mostly its to let you know that any additions, discussion, etc. are welcome. Any better ways you have to describe things, I'm interested in. I'm only learning, and I've very aware of that when I'm producing those posts.

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