Can anyone explain the nature of God and Heaven?

An agnostic friend of mine recently asked me where God is. She said, ‘I know he has a gender and apparently an age and he lives in Heaven, but where is that? How can God have these human characteristics? Is it even possible for God to be a being or Heaven to be a place?’

I’m a pretty new, wet-behind-the-ears Catholic, and I have no idea what the Church’s official position on this matter is. My gut instinct is that God can’t be described in human terms; however, I just read something that said not to think of it as describing God in human terms, but that we’ve been describing ourselves in Godly terms. After all, we were created in His image! :slight_smile:

Just asking for the official take on the nature of God and Heaven, and your personal opinions too, of course.

God has no gender, although he chooses to reveal himself to us humans in a male context. However, there is no “female” God, so the concept of a “male” God without a “female” God makes no sense - what would make the male God a male?

God has no age. God is eternal. He existed for an eternity before the universe began (the “big bang,” if you will) and he will exist for an eternity after the last star has died out. Time and space are finite (they have a beginning and an end); only God is infinite.

God is not “in heaven.” Heaven is a place created for us, not for him. God is everywhere (including heaven). God is infinite - he exists in every place that exists. If you see an empty (or full) beer can, you can be assured that God exists within that can every much as he exists in any 12-ounce space (or 12-trillion ounce space) in heaven (actually, I doubt the concept of space applies to heaven, but I’m just making a point).

We humans are created in the image and likeness of God. This means that we are like God, not that God is like us. For example, a small twig of a small branch of an oak tree is created in the image of tree itself (and the evolving science/mathematics of fractals will confirm this, as well as the much older and less exciting field of biology), but nobody would confuse the twig with the tree.

“What God is in nature and essence, no man has yet discovered.” -Gregory of Nyssa? the Theologian? the Great?

As finite beings, we can’t directly relate to infinite things. The concept of God, itself is a matter of grace, allowing or drawing us to look a little higher than we can on our own. But every way in which we attempt to conceive of and describe this “something” is inherently flawed-and limited by our own finiteness. So we’re compelled to use finite, material human terms and concepts to describe something infinite and non-material-we have no choice.

Kind of off topic but this conversation brings to mind the necessity of faith. God’s nature cannot be fathomed by human intellect or imagination but only by faith. We cannot grasp the enormity of God by intellectual effort, but may only accept the revelation of His nature by faith.

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