Image of God

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Images of God

When you say the word God different images will enter each person’s mind. We know that we cannot totally understand who God is and explain him with our feeble human language, but the “desire for God is written in the human heart” which calls us to continue to try (CCC 27). We as Christians see God as a mystery not to be solved but to be beheld. God is not to be figured out but we are to sit “face to face with the Incomprehensible” and to construct our belief in based on faith (Rahner 2). When I think about my image of God the initial image that comes to my mind is that of the Good Shepherd, while this is an image that has been with me from a very young age, as I have grown older the depth and richness of my understanding has grown.

My initial understanding of God came to me through the person of Jesus. This is a uniquely Christian perspective because Jesus is not just a prophet, for Christians “God is communicated in the very person of Christ” (McBrien 1). The image of the Good Shepherd in the Gospel of John Jesus tells us he is “the Good Shepherd, I know mine and mine know me” (10:14). The comfort of this image, of a shepherd who knows his flock who would lay down his life for the sheep was my initial entry point into a relationship with God.

This initial image of the good shepherd then led me to the parable of the ninety-nine sheep. Would not a shepherd who knows all the names of his sheep go and find the lost and welcome them back with open arms, even carrying them on his shoulders. This image of unconditional love was for me as a young Catholic the entry point to my relationship with God. I desired to run to a God who would forgive and seek me when I was lost. A God who would love me regardless of my failings.

As I came to know God more I have found that the image of the Good Shepherd has become even more personal for me especially in my study of the Old Testament and understanding the cultural importance of a name for the Jewish...
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