A couple weeks ago, my sister sent me this email:
Hi Pauline. At a women’s retreat in June, we had to try to find words (preferably alliterative pairs) describing the Lord for each letter in the theme of the retreat. But I think it could be fun to try the entire alphabet. So, for example, L could be Loving Lord. But there are more subtle ones, based on scripture; I found quite a few in the Psalms. For example, Foe Finder (based on Ps. 21:8). So I thought, Pauline might enjoy finding phrases, whenever you feel like thinking them up or hunting them down in the Bible.
Of course she was right – I promptly started trying to think of alliterative pairs for each letter of the alphabet. I remember doing something similar at a Wednesday night Bible study over twenty years ago, when we were learning about the attributes of God. But that time we only tried to come up with one word for each letter of the alphabet, not two. It’s easy enough to say that God is Zealous. But I have yet to come up with a noun starting with Z that applies to God. (I’m not going to even try X.)
Some letters were pretty easy. I came up with multiple ideas for F, G, P, and S. Others are more challenging, especially as I’m trying to find a Bible passage to go with each one, preferably using some form of both words. For A, the closest I could come was Almighty Alpha-and-Omega, from Revelation 1:8 (“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”)
But since I’m trying to find words starting with letters of the English alphabet, using a word that is actually a letter of the Greek alphabet, and is part of a phrase rather than a single word, didn’t satisfy me. If I want to say that God has been from the beginning and will be to the “end” (not that eternity has an end, or a beginning, for that matter), I’d rather use a perfectly good word like Eternal. (Which is what I’m trying to use for E, but I’m still working on that one…)
I can say God is an Architect (Hebrews 11:10), or Author (Acts 3:15), but neither of those passages offers an adjective to pair with it, not even one that doesn’t start with A but has a synonym I could use that starts with A. One idea I came up with was Absolute Authority. While I’m sure I can’t find a verse that uses those words (I’ve tried), the idea is certainly there in many passages.
But in the end I decided the one I like best is Awesome Artist. I have at least one other that speaks of God’s creative power, but there the focus is on bringing everything into existence. With Artist, I think of the incredible beauty we see throughout the universe. From the microscopic size (have you ever thought of bacteria as beautiful?) to the astronomic (NASA has a great Astronomy Picture of the Day archive), creation is filled with colors, patterns, and an endless variety of designs that leave us gaping in awe.
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
Some of the most awesome photographs of nature that I have seen can be viewed at this blog. I don’t know the source of his pictures (in the pages showing animals, he mentions having received them in emails), so it may be that some have copyright protection and should not be used without permission. (Certainly if I were capable of taking such spectacular shots I would like to get credit for them.)
But I also found a large index of nature photos that are in the public domain at the National Park Service website. Here are some from the Rocky Mountain National Park.
I generally look for nature photos that do not include people. But when you think about it, we’re part of His creation too – the only part made in His own image. We certainly don’t act like the pinnacle of creation a great deal of the time, but people are in some ways His most beautiful creation. I don’t mean the facial features or hair or body shape, but what is on the inside.
So I’ve included also a photo of some young people, taken at Yosemite National Park. God is certainly an Awesome Artist!