Unnamable

When I first noticed that English translations of the Old Testament/Hebrew Scriptures printed LORD with all capital letters at times it was explained to me that it was because the name of the LORD should not be uttered.  I didn’t know if it was magic or majesty, superstition or sacredness that made it so.  Wherever the four letters that make up the name of the LORD are found in a Hebrew text, they are never pronounced.  When translating those letters LORD or the manufactured name Jehovah is written out.

The translation of the Hebrew texts into Greek simply used a word that is translated as “The Being”.  It is a simple translation of the meaning of the word that God gave Moses to describe who it was that spoke to him.

There is a difference between being unnamable and indescribable.  I think the two concepts have been mixed up in our theology.

If we are to talk about or even think about something we need to give it some kind of label.  The label does not create or confine the thing labeled.  It simply allows us think about it.  As Shakespeare said, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

Our problem is that when we have put a label on something or someone we think we fully understand them.  When we have made a statement about God we think we have comprehended who God is.  That thinking is wrong.

There are many times when words fail us.  There are mysteries we can never fully comprehend, much less describe fully.  The BEING, LORD, Jehovah, etc., belongs in this category.  Let it remain so.

If we think we must understand something before we can have faith, then we lose our ability to grow.  We find more delight and wonder in life when we open ourselves to the mysteries that are all around us.  This includes the divine Being and all who bear the image of the divine.

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