God the symmetrical…


The other day we Michaela and William were having a discussion about people’s faces- I think they had been drawing faces at school. William was rather astonished that his friend had eyes that were not level- one was higher than the other. His face was not symmetrical.

Michaela suggested to him that everyone’s face was different, and no-one was perfectly symmetrical, and so Will chewed on this for a while and said

“…apart from God’s face. His must be symmetrical.”

Michaela did not know how to respond, and so made a few comments about us being made in the image of God. She later recounted the story to me with a bemused expression on her face.

This kind of left me thinking.

There is something appealing about being able to sketch a predictable, perfect shape out of our knowledge and understandings of God.

For generations people of faith have been trying to do just this. We look at our scriptures and listen to our prophets and from these glimpses of the divine, we fill out a version of God that we cast in concrete and endlessly reproduce.

The image that came into mind when thinking about the concept of a symmetrical God was one of those paper chains that you make by folding paper and cutting it to make a connected chain.


Is it possible that this metaphor works as a way of understanding the process of theological explorations for who God is?

We take the source material- fold it according to our particular perspective, and then make careful symmetrical cuts according to our own understanding- ensuring the inclusion of acceptable texts and that when displayed, all is orderly and connected.

The great age of modernity, with its enlightened gifts of rational systematic analysis, needed a symmetrical God more than most. We needed solid propositional concepts, measured, tested and cross referenced against scripture, which is given unassailable status as Holy, inerrant, the very Words of God.

Increasingly, the modern theological edifices, in all their apparent certainty, are being re-examined by this new generation- in many ways that is what the ’emerging church conversation’ has been all about.

And many of us are no longer interested in Symmetry- at least not as a first priority.

Who says that symmetry is perfect anyway?

1 thought on “God the symmetrical…

  1. Chris

    Interesting thought!

    I think we like symmetry because we like balance

    I like cutting out paper snowflakes

    Because you never know how they will turn out

    The success of them strung in a row , however brings out a childlike joy

    I Like the picture too- a snowflake in the sky?


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