Is God the Universe? God Vocabulary Deconstructed

Growing up I had a very specific understanding of who God was, which I learned mostly during my years as a Catholic school student. After graduating college and going on my own spiritual quest, I started to find a lot of other words that seemed to be used as synonyms for God. Everything from Universe and Spirit to All that Is and Love. It was quite confusing. And I found myself feeling almost disrespectful if I thought about using another term. These days, I find my students straddling two worlds — as I was back then — when it comes to their understanding of God and which vocabulary is acceptable or not. Do I use God? Do I use Universe? Most of them end up just using “God-slash-Universe” (God/Universe), in hopes of playing it safe.

The reason I feel this is an important conversation is because we should feel comfortable in our own spiritual relationship with the source that created us. We shouldn’t feel like we need to walk on egg shelves when it comes to addressing this power. If we can feel completely at ease, we can then begin to form a deeper relationship.

For me, I started to use other words to describe God as my understanding of what that was grew. And the truth is God is so grand that the concept could never be described in words. Using words like God, Universe, Yahweh, and so on would actually never be enough to truly capture the enormous essence of this source.

The most important thing is that we create a clear understanding of who God is to us. People will tell you what God is— both the traditionalist and the New Agey types. But only we know what God is for ourselves. And that starts with a genuine relationship. From there, you can call it whatever you want without feeling disrespectful or afraid, because you’ll learn that each of our relationships with God is our own. They are intimate in the way we know a parent, a child, a lover… So whatever words we want to use will be meaningful in our own personal relationship with God.

For today’s Spiritual Action Item, I would love for you to start journaling your own picture of what God is to you. Set the intention to find your own clear understanding or at least begin to try, because as we grow spiritually so will our understanding.

Leave your comments below. I’d love to hear your thoughts. And let’s be respectful of everyone’s views here, please.

Thank you always for inspiring me. Stay on your spiritual path, and if you ever find yourself wandering off, know I’ll be here every Monday.