You may (or may not) have noticed that I have added no new posts lately using the alphabet to come up with names for God. The letter N turned out to be my nemesis in that regard. I knew there would be letters that just wouldn’t work, but I didn’t expect N to be one of them.
Of course, I might have remembered that when we play word games (during long car trips, for instance), we often get stuck on the letter N. If the category is animals, we come up with newt and nuthatch, but after that we get stuck. For food, there are nuts and noodles, and neapolitan ice cream and nonpareils if you count desserts, but not much more. Place names, at least, are easier – there are lots of places starting with “New” or “North.”
There are some interesting words starting with the letter N. Do you know what nosology is? No, it’s not the study of the nose, it’s the study of diseases. (Nasology is the study of the nose.) And nostology is the study of senility. Nephology is the study of clouds. Nebulaphobia is the fear of fog, and nyctophobia is the fear of the night or darkness.
But I noticed no names for God in that list. There is the word numinous: of, like or pertaining to a deity; suffused with religious awe. But usually it is used of religious experiences, not of God Himself. I suppose I could use noble, or never-ending. But I still don’t have a noun to go with one of those adjectives.
My first thought was nonpareil. As a candy, it is “a small, flat chocolate drop covered with white pellets of sugar” – and my husband’s favorite snack at movies, especially if made of with dark chocolate rather than milk chocolate. But its basic meaning is “thing of unequalled excellence; paragon” (apparently whoever named it thinks its the best candy around).
Certainly God is of unequalled excellence. But the very meaning of the word made it hard to match an adjective to it. To qualify the word with an adjective would suggest that there are other kinds of nonpareils, and God is one particular kind of nonpareil. Which of course goes against the idea of the word, that He is unequalled.
I finally decided that, having gotten halfway through the alphabet, I would take a break. At some point I’ll come back to it. But not now.