Physical survival depends on how well we manage and compete for finite resources, a zero sum situation in which there’s only so much oil in the ground, and our share always comes out of someone else’s. Winners and losers. So we can be forgiven for embedding a scarcity mentality so deeply in our psyches that we pin it on God as well—keeping us forever fearful and defended, the opposite of the vulnerable connection love requires.
Our concept of God is all-important. It orders our view of life and relationship, meaning, purpose, identity. It regulates our fear. Or not. Jesus knows this and works hard to draw his people away from the anthropomorphic images of God as Ab—father in Hebrew that carries images of the fierce tribal leader presented in early Hebrew scripture and the legal judge presented by the Pharisees and other first century contemporaries.
The names we use for God mirror our concepts of God, so instead of Ab, Jesus used Abba, which adds a feminine ending, a unity of transcendent father and immanent mother, a balance of power and intimacy with whom we can both be in awe and in love. Then in his model prayer, Jesus uses another name: “Our Father who art in heaven,” in Aramaic: abwoon d’bashmaya. In abwoon, AB, strong leader of the house, is joined with WN, the security of life that continues, presenting a genderless cosmic parent who causes the flow of birthing, creation. The D and B prefixes in d’bashmaya show God not living in heaven but identified with heaven as the visible face of God’s inner essence…the heavens, the universe, show us who our Father is.
Science tells us there are up to 2 trillion galaxies in the observable universe with up to 700 billion stars in even a small galaxy like our Milky Way. Most stars have planets, if like Earth, contain up to a trillion species with billions or trillions of life forms each. The universe tells us our God is insanely extravagant, abundant beyond belief. No scarcity. No zero sum. God is an inexhaustible, overflowing love of life. Can’t diminish it; can’t earn it. Admission is free and every seat is front row center.
Once we experience that, we know there is nothing to fear.