What is 'God' a metaphor for?

I’ve heard many people use the term ‘God’ and heard it used in many different contexts. Even though Christians wouldn’t admit it, it’s obviously just a metaphor. Given the wide spectrum of contexts in which I’ve heard the term used and the evasiveness of Christians when asked what God is, the closest thing I can come to which it appears to be a metaphor for is “all the things science has yet to explain”.

I think maybe that you have it backwards. God is a word and a concept.

Is God a metaphor or is god the Something that the metaphor points to? Or are they one and the same?

If God is just a word and a concept and not a real thing, then why do Christians talk as if God is a real being which exists in the physical world and has both omniscient and omnipotent powers?

What I was actually saying in here is just that the word god points to something, describes something else, just as all words are tools to describe and point to something else.

Because they believe that god is a real being and who knows, maybe they are right, but they cannot actually know that they are right. They can just rest on their beliefs which are a comfort to them and also because every label I think that is given to a god allows them the capability of standing on their two feet so to speak with a crutch or crutches. The more we humans can attribute to a god, the safer we are.

As opposed to …I mean Negative Capability, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts without any irritable reaching after fact & reason…John Keats. No crutches here, none needed.

Some need their absolutes and to believe, unable to question and others do not need to question, they are able to simply intuit and to stand within negative capability.

I personally figure that if there is a god, labels simply do great injustice to this Something, box it in, so to speak. It therefore remains absolute and fixed and is unable to become…to flow into becoming, evolving with us. Like everything else in our lives, we do not allow it to breath, to grow, we have to possess and hang onto it.

It’s not a metaphor (a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them).
It’s an allegory (the representation of abstract ideas or principles by characters, figures, or events in narrative, dramatic, or pictorial form).

A metaphor is, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.”
And allegory is, “Chocolate is the love for which life is lived.”

Metaphor: “Jesus is my life preserver!”
Allegory: “Jesus is love”

Metaphor: “God is unto this world as man is to an ant’s dream.”
Allegory: “God is all that is good.”

And as an allegory, it’s somewhat more obvious what it’s an allegory for; whatever is being attributed to it.

Allegories work backwards from how you read them.
Object <= attribute.

Metaphors work forwards:
Object => description.

So if you want to know what God is a symbol for from Christians.
Simply ask them, “What is God?”

The Stumps,

Hi, Stumps. He’s actually been doing this and apparently getting nowhere. I don’t know, maybe Mutcer has his own thoughts and inner awareness about a god, and he is justing waiting for someone to leap into his heart with them.

There have been so many explanation given for what and who god is in here.I wonder why they are not satisfactory.

I don’t know, Stumps, as far as the metaphor, I think it works the other way around…description = object.

A life preserve to me is my god.

God is unto this world as man is to an ant’s dream." A man within an ant’s dream…is this god within the world. No? :slight_smile: Or have i simply transposed it?

God = cop-out for the unexplained grandeur of the universe.

Because they are here and not in person.
Because no answer fits his sensation of reality.

I’m referring to easy ways to spot these things in literature or when people are speaking.
Metaphor’s tend to work so that you apply the Object to the Description, while Allegories tend to work that you apply the (most often) attributes to the Object.

No idea…it’s just old classic pat statement from my gone youth.
My take on it has always been, assuming ant’s dream, that an ant is able to tangibly grasp man while in it’s dream just as easily as man can grasp God.
Scope and dimension are blocking the means.

I have and I usually get a response along the lines of “the creator of all”. I then go on by asking one of a number of things, among which is, "when you say that, is ‘God’ just a word used in lieu of the things about how the world came into existence that we don’t understand?, or is God an actual, real thing. At this point most of them simply suggest I read the Bible and that all the answers are in there. But if the Bible were a good book for answering basic questions about Christianity, then why doesn’t it have a FAQ?

I have noticed that if I preface my queries about God by making it clear that there are lots of things about Christianity that don’t seem possible in this physical world or aren’t logically possible, then they seem to be more open.

Christianity proper would classify both as true.
It is a real thing, God, and it is how the world came into existence in manner we don’t understand.


Forward of the conversation, explaining the purpose. People need to know where the conversation is going on such matters before it starts.
Otherwise, they can easily feel threatened and not hold a very open conversation at all.

Best place to find the answer to this is… in their bible. :smiley:

“He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”
~~I John 4:8

“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”
~~I John 4:16

Metaphor? Allegory?

Metaphor: 1.) A figure of speech in which a term or phrase is applied to something to which it is not literally applicable in order to suggest a resemblance. 2.) Something used, or regarded as being used, to represent something else; emblem; symbol.

Allegory: 1.) A representation of an abstract or spiritual meaning through concrete or material forms; figurative treatment of one subject under the guise of another. 2.) A symbolical narrative. 3.) Emblem.

The phrase “God is love”, which defines the term ‘God’ and is indisputably in the Holy Bible, qualifies as both a Metaphor and an Allegory, based on the definitions of the two words. For convenience, I’ve placed the qualifying definitions (of ‘metaphor’ and ‘allegory’) in bold font.

Kind Regards,
~Moral Jeff

You could be right. Maybe.

The Christians could also be right. Maybe.

How do you know? Because the things you see with your own eyes don’t explain a being that is not to be understood by any human capacity?

shrug You’ll find out someday, eh?

If you’re correct that God is love, then why do Christians proclaim that love is a being, answers prayers, has infallible foreknowledge, can do anything and is both omniscient & omnipotent. I was taught that love is a feeling or emotion and not some being with knowledge and power. Can you reconcile?

It makes little to sense me, too. But, once you think about it, answering prayers and disapproving of your sex life is something that love is capable of doing, so maybe God isn’t really a being after all. Perhaps the Christians are really stating that ‘love’ is the most powerful force in natural life?

Who knows? Haha.

~Moral Jeff

“God” is a Metaphor of your Mind.

To some everyone is their own god. To others, God is that great spiritual thing where good stuff comes from (not referring to acid), and to the majority of people in the “God” business, God is an all powerful, all knowing, eternal, perfect, male creator who has created us with specific intent and watches over us via any of the millions of esoteric rituals we have developed over the years.

But “God” as a metaphor is interesting. Initially given that god is usually not thought of or used as a metaphor and that it’s difficult to use as a metaphor, i tend to want to throw the questiona way… But if we’re talking about someone with total control over something i can eek some meaning.

From within a closed system the controlling individual would appear godlike in that since they have all available power, they are all powerful, omnipotent. In life we might say there are Gods of many realms…

I think there’s also something to said for those times when things just go really wrong, and you start begging the night sky or the bathroom wall or the crazy redhead with the whip, cough, to just help you out in this one situation and then you’ll change. Never again, you’ll say, have said…

What part of ourselves are we speaking to in those moments? Our guilt or conscience? Our desires for a comfortable life?

We call it god and appeal to the unknown. it’s a gamble.

Perhaps it’s a source of justification for lifes problems. If the pressure of a certain situation is too much it would be nice to have the thought in the back of your mind that God is working everything out. Sort of like a mental shield which serves to alleviate and potentially explain (convolutedly of course) the pangs of the mortal coil, those whips and scorns…

When it comes down to it, God is what you want it to be…

This is certainly true.

The statement "Tell me who your God is, and I will tell you who you are - really works. It cannot fail. :smiley:

I think ‘god’ represent perfect, ideal, absolute parental figure worthy of total blind trust for many people, especially in their subconscious desire/hope is concerned.

I feel that most people are expressing their (subconscious) desire/preference/hope/fear when they talk, whether it’s a casual talk or more or less rational one.
It’s rare to see someone expressing purely rational/logical analysis or purely descriptive picture of different perspectives.
Most people are (knowingly or not) almost always talking about what they like/dislike, what they want, desire, hope, and fear.

As far as ‘god’ goes, in the case of monotheistic religion, it can be used for showing their hope that they are the chosen people and thus they are somehow better, authority, right, stronger, etc, which is the mirror image of their fear that they are inferior and victim, at the mercy of others.
But at the deeper level, I think it represent absolute and absolutely dependable entity.
It’s probably similar to the biological programing of new born chicks. They would follow anything they see when they got out of their eggs, without any doubt. In other words, they have absolute trust on whatever they see first.
We humans, in our deeper level, want something we can trust absolutely, without any doubt.
And some people express it (through religious mental conditioning and caging) as ‘god’.
Others may see absolutely trustworthy figure in ‘spiritual guide’ (or guru, master, whatever).
In the absence of these, some may try to see ‘universe’, ‘physical world’, ‘scientific theory’ or even ‘science’ and ‘scientist(s)’ as something absolutely trustworthy, while others would place blind trust upon ideologies and/or leader of the ideology or even philosophy, like Marx, Mao, Nieztche, and so on.

In short, if one finds s/he can place some degree of absolute (and usually blind) trust, it becomes their ‘god’, so to say.
That’s why the male or female partner may become other partner’s ‘god(esse)’ when one falls in love.

Maybe we can see ‘god’ and some other expressions as the metaphor/symbol of ‘trust/faith’.
But usually, it’s misplaced upon fictional/imaginary figure or misplaced upon not so trustworthy entities.
Either way, the trustworthiness is way over estimated.

I absolutely love his words here. It’s like trying to squeeze the whole ocean into a tiny cup (the word god).

Look at that picture. It doesn’t seem right somehow, does it now? So much is missing from it - such loneliness in there.
One picture may be worth a thousand words, but one word does not even BEGIN to explain the whole of [size=200]IT.[/size] Nor will it EVER.