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  • Writer's pictureAllison Wilcox

Image of God

As I watched,

thrones were set in place,

and an Ancient One took his throne,

his clothing was white as snow,

and the hair of his head like pure wool;

his throne was fiery flames,

and its wheels were burning fire.

A stream of fire issued

and flowed out from his presence.

A thousand thousands served him,

and ten thousand times ten thousand stood attending him.

The court sat in judgment,

and the books were opened.

As I watched in the night visions,

I saw one like a human being coming with the clouds of heaven. And he came to the Ancient One and was presented before him. To him was given dominion and glory and kingship, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not pass away, and his kingship is one that shall never be destroyed. ~ Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14

Chances are at some point in your life your image of God was like the one that Daniel gives here - an old man with a white beard sitting on a throne.

That that image has stayed with us has had a huge impact on faith and life and theology over time.

It has made it hard to let go of some of the patriarchal traditions of the church, such as keeping women from the pulpit.

But in scripture there are other images of God besides this old man on a throne image.

In many places, God is compared to a mother: a mother bear, a mother eagle, a mother hen, a nursing mother, a mother in labor,

In Genesis, God tells Abraham that God's name is El Shaddai - which some scholars believe comes from the root word for "breast." - making God the "many breasted one." Or the nurturing one.

There are all kinds of images and pictures we might have of God, and sometimes the best we can do is to know what God isn't.

Because whatever image we have of God, will never be complete.

You O Lord are One. You are the most high. You are more than I can ever imagine. Amen

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