Each of us has an image of God. In our lives and in our communities, we have created God in our image. And we continually recreate that God as a reflection of both our experience and of our need.
We have many names for God – gracious Father, Father God, Abba, Daddy, precious Savior, Jesus Son of Mary, Redeemer, Comforter, Emmanuel, Adonai, Lord – but our words for God represent nothing more than “our conceptions of the divine nature” (Gregory of Nyssa). They do “not convey the meaning of that nature.” Our names for God are human constructions, even if they are revealed in scripture.
Why, then, do we name God?
The issue of naming is an issue of control. Consider the formula “to pray in Jesus’ name,” a formula that simply gets it wrong. To pray in Jesus name must always be a prayer of humility, must never be a prayer of control.
What, then, is spiritual maturity?
It is a willingness to let God be God.
Our names for God are human constructions