Critique of Chapter 3-Spirit & Gender Language: How Far Can Analogy Go?

In my last entry, I noted how feminist theologian Elizabeth Johnson offered different and useful ways of discussing the role of the Spirit, as Cole pointed out. Cole moved forward from Johnson with a discussion about the words we use to talk about God (Cole, p.80), and how they have traditionally been inadequate in describing God. He also cited perspectives from Aquinas, Feinberg and Alston in discussing ways our words work-and don’t work-when we talk about God. If God has no body, his “actions” are unlike actions we undertake, for example). The discussion left me wondering where analogy ended and truth became compromised.


There are certain limits we have a humans. We can understand only so far before we stop understanding. Maybe when we talk about God we quickly find language inadequate because the topic is vast. Did the Bible writers stick to describing God as they did because that is the best any of us could do? Probably. We’re all limited to the words we use. We learn more, and our words grow to accommodate that learning. The same must be true of God, but I’m comfortable with the notion that there are large parts of God I may never understand until He opens my mind and heart beyond what I can currently apprehend.






One response to “Critique of Chapter 3-Spirit & Gender Language: How Far Can Analogy Go?

  1. Thanks for speaking your heart. I too believe in what I call a “Greater God.” I believe that for God to actually be supernatural, God must exist beyond our understanding, beyond gender, race, form and, though as a poet who dwells in metaphor I find it unsettling, even beyond comparison. Most of us struggle with the “negative capability” required to accept such uncertainty. Such is faith!

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