Letting God be God. (1) God as Mystery.

Letting God be God. (1) God as Mystery.


Gerald W. Hughes S.J.  "God of Surprises.
Gerald W. Hughes S.J. “God of Surprises.


“God is Mystery”

“In turning to God we must first acknowledge that whatever and however he is, he is mystery. We can never, with our finite minds, adequately grasp who he is. If you are searching for a clear and precise notion of who God is, you will not find him in reading this book. And if ever you do find a neat and clear definition, you may be sure that it is false. God is mystery: but that does not mean he is totally unintelligible. We can come to know a mystery and grow in knowledge of it, but the more we enter into the mystery of God, or more accurately, the more the mystery of God takes hold on us, the more we realize that he is mystery.

"God" is a beckoning word.
“God” is a beckoning word.

The truth about God, that he is mystery, is of fundamental importance. Being fundamental, any religion which ignores this truth will certainly lead us astray. We may construct a most elaborate and ingenious religious system, but if it is not  grounded in this basic truth that God is mystery, then  our elaborate system becomes an elaborate form of idolatry. We are constantly tempted to make God in our own image and likeness. We want to control and domesticate him, giving him perhaps a position of great honour in our hearts, home and country, but we remain in control. God is uncontrollable, beyond anything we can think of or imagine. ‘God’, I once heard someone say, ‘is a beckoning word.’ He calls us out of ourselves and beyond ourselves, he is our God of surprises, “always creating anew.”
“In speaking of our relationship to God and to Christ we have to make use of analogies, but no analogy is ever adequate. We speak of ‘Christ living in our hearts’ and ‘making his home in us’, and such analogies are useful, but it is more true to say, ‘We must live in the heart of God, we must make our home in Christ,’a heart which is always greater than anything we can think or imagine, a home that embraces the whole Universe.”  (From :  Gerald W. Hughes SJ, God of Surprises, Darton, Longman and Todd, London, 1985, pp.  31 and 161)