When We Talk About God

In 2011, Rob Bell wrote a book entitled Love Wins. In this book (I have not yet read it) Bell discusses hell and the afterlife and asks the question, “Would a loving God send people to eternal torment forever?” Due to his views on this topic the evangelical Christian community all but wrote him off.  Prior to his writing of this book, Bell was lauded, oft quoted, and his teaching resources were regular utilized.


There is no one on earth that I would agree with, all viewpoints, on all topics, completely.  The same with Rob Bell, I do not agree with all of his viewpoints, however, there are many that I do agree with.  His explanations and descriptive writing can provide additional insight and clarity into the spiritual things of God.

I recently read his book, What We Talk About When We Talk About God. I grew up in a religious culture that felt the need to provide an explanation for all things spiritual, including the existence of God.  However, some things cannot be scientifically or physically explained. After all, if God and the existence of God and soul could be tangibly proven or explained, would God really be God? God and faith are matters of the soul, the soul exists, but cannot be physically or scientifically pointed to. There are other ways of knowing than those of the intellect. Bell succinctly describes this in his book.

“When we talk about God, then, we’re talking about something very real and yet beyond our conventional means of analysis and description.”

Bell explains,


“Because often people have a hard time believing there’s a God because we can’t see God, we don’t have hard evidence for the existence of God, and we don’t have any proof we can study or analyze or evaluate in any scientific, tangible way.

The twist on all of this is that we all agree you exist. You, your elbows and pancreas and sternum are tangible and able to be measured and evaluated in very straightforward ways, but your soul? That’s a bit more difficult to capture. Let alone measure or study.

And yet we all agree that there’s more to you than your physical body.

It’s been said that the soul is naked of all things that bear names.

A bit like God, because when I’m talking about God, I’m talking about a reality known, felt, and experienced, but one that cannot be located in any specific physical space in any tangible way.”

There is no word in the English language to describe this, however, the German language does have a word for this.  The word grenzbegrifflich means, that which is very real but is beyond analysis and description.  This is a word that would be used to confront “those things that you absolutely, positively know to be true but would be hard-pressed to produce evidence for if asked.” Such as, “explaining how that particular song moves you or articulating why you fell in love with that person.”


Watch a full length presentation by Rob Bell on this topic –>  https://youtu.be/xNo6ZyiglAY?t=15m18s


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