School's Out For Summer?

Metaphor is the use of a common experience as a comparison to communicate our point.  This can be very positive and is used extensively by the Bible writers to communicate who God is and what he is like.  It is also used to teach us what we are like.  When the Bible says God is like a Father it is using the common experience of parenthood to convey a meaning for God.  When it says we are his bride it is using the metaphor of marriage.  Metaphor can be a very effective way of communicating if you have the experience to support it.  The metaphor of marriage may not be effective if you have only known marriage to be painful, sad, or maybe even violent.

Another problem with metaphor can be relevancy.  Metaphors that work will often change over time.  We should continually be looking for metaphors to come to a better understanding of God.  Howevery, our common experience can be so different than the reality of God that to use the metaphor will require a backward approach.  By this I mean that we will need to deconstruct our common experience as a way of seeing who God is not and then coming to see how the reality of God transforms the metaphor.  Most of us share the common experience of school, teaching, and learning.  Using this as a metaphor to understand God requires us to ask whether that experience taught us about who He is, or who He isn't.  Is school out for summer?