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The Problem With Traditional God Language And Image

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Traditionally, God is known to be infinite, intangible, and eternal. The traditional beliefs about God make it difficult to define God or even have an explicit religious language to describe him. Religious language theories show how religious literature can be meaningful and, at the same time, meaningless. It is clear that using traditional religious style, it is almost impossible to define who God is; thereby, people use analogy, symbolism, and via negative to talk about God in human terms. Via negative is the language of referring to God as who he is not.

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Analogy uses human qualities as a way to measure God’s divine abilities. The use of symbolism reveals the truth behind religious stories. The problem with all these traditional sacred languages is that they are not accurate in describing God. This paper will analyze in detail the God-language and images used to describe God and Compare three theologies that talk about God’s language and images. Although the definition of who God is varies traditionally, the central concept of God’s communication and representation originated from the Christianity and Judaism doctrine.



God’s language refers to statements that describe God. A Jewish philosopher called Maimonides believed that God could only ascribe to adverse attributes. It is because he thought that God was straightforward, thereby could not be attributed to any critical characteristic. According to him, statements about God g taken negatively. For example, a statement that God lives g viewed negatively to depict that God lacks vitality. Logical positivists argue that religious language should be meaningless since it is impossible to verify.

The analogy of games is known to bring meaning to religious language. As the way games have their own rules that determine what can e has done, and what cannot get done in the game, it is the same way religious language has laws that determine what is and what is not useful in the literature. Judeo Christian affirms that divinity is one. Theologians claim that when defining divinity, one ought to use the term God/ess as a way of combining both masculine and feminine forms of the word deity.

Debate on whether God is he or she exists. Liberal people have fear when referring God to as she. It is a result of Judeo Christian’s emotional hostility of the male ego towards the nature of God. The idea about the male image of God originated from patriarchal monotheism to religions where Goddess was the dominant divine image, or the Goddess was paired with a masculine image to depict divinity.

Goddess of the ancient days

From archaeological findings, one of the old human images of the divine was a female. A male cult image did not accompany the female image. Its name was mother Goddess cult image. A second ancient cult was Shaman, discovered from the paintings of age cave. It was a male cult image. The old photographs discovered along the Mediterranean, India, and western Europe gave a clue on how early people pictured their source of power, life, and on which they relied.

The features of the ancient Goddess focused on breasts, buttocks, and extended belly. Face, hands, and legs g. The Goddess represented an impersonalized image of the mysterious powers of productiveness. The pregnant female was a metaphor to depict control of life for people who depend on the skills of the earth to fold food. The root of the human image of the divine and its great womb is where all things such as the earth, sky, plants and animals, human beings, and other items got generated.

The traditional view of the female Goddess as the primal matrix has never faded from people’s religious imaginations despite the introduction of the male monotheism. Babylonia and Sumer continued using the feminine image of the divine in their urban civilization, but this time they paired it with a male deity. The God and the Goddess represented the food gathering era of direct dependency on natural powers. In the new era, the emerging elite own both land and labor of slaves, and they control society through law, taxation, and irrigation.

Both male and female cooperate in the new system of urban civilization and agriculture. The image of the divine is in from the characteristics of the ruling class; While God and Goddess an in the image of the sovereignty power. In the ancient Near Eastern world, a myth arose that focused on proving that women are the primary divine power upon which male as God depends. The myth talks of God who died and rose, and later rescued by marriage with the Goddess. pThe God is said to be defeated by powers of death.

Goddess rescued him from the powers of death and underground by Goddess, then she later exalted her husband to a divine status above her and sat him on the throne. The second myth emerged in summer but developed in Babylon. The old Goddess got defeated by the new God and Goddess of the urban civilization world. Tiam was the name of the ancient Goddess, and Marduk was the champion warrior of the new God and Goddess. The old Goddess represents the powers of chaos, while the new God and Goddess represented the power of order.

The new God and Goddess later defeated the old God. Tiam is the womb that gave forth all beings, God, and humans.The male monotheism is said to have originated from nomadic societies who viewed God as the sky father. It is because such cultures lacked the female gardening role. However, such beliefs are not absorbed in Judae Christian culture. The male monotheism depicts the social hierarchy of patriarchal rules through religious systems. It was not the case when the images of God and Goddess got paired.

God got modeled after the patriarchal ruling class is seen as comprising of the male, and God adopted them as His sons. The ruling class who are mainly men act as representatives of God while their wives were symbolically dependant class. Wives, children, and servants represent those ruled over by the ruling class. The symbolic hierarchy of God-male female dictates that women are no longer in direct touch with God. They are connected to God by man. This type of authority g illustrated in the old testament.

Challenges with traditional God-language/image

In the old era, people did not understand who God was, and that is the reason they never had a definite explanation of who God was. Their definition of God relied on assumptions, unlike in recent days. Again, people have different believes towards God, thereby making it almost impossible for human beings to describe God uniformly. The different understandings of who God is from different languages bring confusion to people who wish to understand God. Theologians argue that God is indescribable and cannot get described in any language.

The little that we define him using God’s language is just to express our appreciation towards him and not to describe him adequately. The holy book says that we do not know what we ought to say, but the Spirit intercedes for us with groaning that words cannot express. In some communities, they have more than one God. Some individuals have their own God whom they worship. God is said to be invisible; thereby, no one can describe his real image.

As the holy book a record, no one has seen God, but we believe that He exists. All the images and the history of paintings that describe how God looks like mislead Christians. In other words, God’s image is indescribable. Theologians often argue that if God created man, then no human language is enough to describe him, but if man created God, then human language is sufficient in describing God. The same applies to God’s image. If God created human beings, then no representation can describe him, but if human beings created God, then human beings can easily explain how God looks.

Traditional God’s language and the image are limited and misguiding to some extent. The traditional religious word to describe God keeps on changing to a degree people do not know, which is the accurate description of God. Additionally, the conventional God-image keeps on changing; thereby, people cannot tell precisely who God is and how he looks. The traditional God-language/image presents God as an unstable being. In the holy book, God is referred to like the same yesterday today and forever. Meaning, God never changes. All attributes raised towards God need equivocally interpretation, univocally, and analogously.

Traditional God-language/image claims that religious language is unverifiable, and as a result, people should shun from describing God or generally talking about God. The problem is since God exists and people believe that there is the power associated with him, then it is to describe him. If God is infinite, then words used to describe predictable beings cannot represent God. For example, if God is a loving God, we cannot describe Him to be as warm as the president of the United States. The problem is the religious language generated by the diverse doctrines that have emerged.


Traditional God’s language/ image is a reflection of how the current era describes God. Just as it was in the traditional religious language, people were unable to describe God due to a lack of better human communication; in the new era, God is still indescribable. No words can describe the invisible God. People do not understand who God is and how he looks. All the images and the discovery paintings about God get based on assumptions and not the true definition of God.

Just as it was in the traditional God-language/image that God got described as a male deity, it is the same way in the new era. People describe God as a male because he is said to be the ruler of all the earth. Everything on the planet is like a servant to Him. Going forward, theologians should find a standard way to describe God to erase the confusion that people have towards God.

10 Jun 2021

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