The World as God’s Body


Sermon #28 (27th May 2018 at Essex Church / Kensington Unitarians)

This is the last of four services in our month on ‘Earth and the Natural World’. Today I’m going to ever-so-briefly introduce you to the work of the eco-feminist theologian Sallie McFague and an idea that was particularly important in her work: That’s the idea of seeing ‘The World as God’s Body’ (the theology otherwise known as Panentheism).

Back in the 1980s Sallie McFague wrote an influential book called ‘Models of God’. In this book (and several others) she argues that all the language that we use about God is symbolic, or metaphorical. All of it. No single image, symbol, story, metaphor or model of God should be taken as literally or exclusively true. God is, after all, beyond all human concepts… but nevertheless, throughout the ages, all over the world, we humans have generally felt the need to say something rather than nothing about whatever-it-is we intuit to be the underlying ultimate reality of all-that-is – about the meaning of our baffling, sometimes brutal, often beautiful existence – and so throughout history we have used varied images, symbols, stories, metaphors and models to point towards something vital… which we know is all-but-ungraspable with words: That which some call ‘God’.

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