GABRIEL Only two of the many messengers of God (Hebrew malak, Greek angelos meaning messenger) are named. The archangel or chief angel is Michael (Daniel 10:13, 21, 12:1, Jude 9) who is particularly involved in warring against opposing forces. Gabriel (Hebrew "God is my strength, my man") seems to be charged with interpreting visions and giving "wisdom and understanding" (Daniel 8:16, 9:21-22). . After explaining what was about to happen, he introduced himself to Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist. "I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news" (Luke 1:19). He also had the task of explaining to Mary that by the power of the Holy Spirit she would conceive the Messiah while she was still a virgin, and he would be called the Son of God (Luke 1:26-38). These days we hear of many Muslims being persuaded by a dream or angelic visitation that Jesus is indeed the Son of God. We might guess that Gabriel continues to be involved in this kind of interpretation for those who do not have the opportunity to read the Bible or hear Christian preaching.

GALATIA Other letters of Paul are addressed to the one church in each city. Galatians is addressed jointly to "the churches of Galatia" (1:2). They probably included Antioch in Pisidia (Acts 13:14) and Iconium (14:1) with the nearby towns of Lystra and Derbe (14:6-8, 20-21). These were all in the Province of Galatia on the main Roman road from Ephesus across what is now central Turkey to Tarsus and Antioch in Syria. The letter to the Galatians was probably written (c. 48 AD) after the first missionary journey, and before the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15). Soon after Paul had moved on from working among them the Galatian churches fell under influence of legalists (probably connected with the PHARISEES of Jerusalem). They tried to live by their own will power and human effort (Galatians 3:1-5, 5:1) instead of the freedom and power of the Spirit (see Romans 8:4-9). Paul said that false teachers would also arise in the church of Ephesus after his departure (Acts 20:29-30), as also happened in the church of Colossae (Colossians 2:16-23).

GALATIAN Churches When Paul and Barnabas were driven out from ANTIOCH in Pisidia (Acts 13:50) they moved 80 miles (130 km) on the main road east to Iconium. But they had left a church in Antioch, and on the way back from planting three other churches in Galatia "they appointed elders for them in each church, with prayer and fasting entrusted them to the Lord in whom they had come to believe" (14:1, 21-23, compare the appointment of elders in Titus 1:5). Paul apparently revisited these churches as he crossed Turkey on his second journey (Acts 15:36, 41) and again during the third journey (Acts 19:1).

GAMBLING There is a range of activities from BINGO, buying LOTTERY tickets, going to a horse race, attending a CASINO on a holiday visit, to compulsive gambling which ends with the ruin of all that a family owns. On the one hand we must avoid condemning activities, which may not be disastrous. But we must also identify the line where gambling becomes the service of the god of luck (see IDOLATRY). At that point gambling has become incompatible with faith in God.

GANDHI, Mahatma (1869-1948). Born Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, he became a civil rights lawyer in South Africa. He returned to India (1915) and engaged in a thirty year struggle to free his country from British rule. He developed NON-VIOLENCE as a method which he called satyagraha (holding of the truth). Beginning with the Salt March (1930), he persuaded more and more Indian people to join him in civil disobedience against overwhelming British military power. Faced with thousands of gentle unarmed men and women, army officers felt unable to mow them down. As a result of the "Quit India" non-violent campaign of 1942, India and Pakistan both became independent countries in 1947. Gandhi was assassinated the next year for being soft in his dealings with Pakistan, and for his championing of the rights of the untouchables against the caste system. He is usually called Mahatma (Great Soul) for his work as the architect of India's independence.

GARDEN  They say it is impossible to love gardening and be an atheist at the same time. The Bible locates the origin of humans in a garden (Genesis 2:15). Jesus' life and death struggle was in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:32-36, John 18:1), and he promised a criminal being crucified with him "Today you will be with me in the garden" (Paradise is a Persian word meaning an enclosed garden, Luke 23:43). Heaven is pictured as a city built around a watered garden with twelve kinds of fruit "for the healing of the nations" (Revelation 22:2). In preparation for that we can picture the church in each city as the Lord's garden with clumps of each kind of flower (people of different denominations worshiping in different ways in all sorts of locations). The flowers of our world are sufficient proof that God is not interested in regimented uniformity.

GARDENER A gardener looks at things differently from the flowers in the garden. A clump of Irises or Phlox is interested in its own glory. They each want to increase their territory. The gardener cares about the glory of the garden as a whole. The flowers could easily argue about faith in the gardener. Who needs a creator? There is an evolution of species and the survival of the fittest. But who are the fittest? Are Irises fitter than Roses? Without a gardener the survival of the fittest can only produce a wilderness. In a wilderness there are no weeds. But Roses and beds of red Tulips cannot survive without a gardener. You need a creator to produce Kew Gardens. This is why faith in God as the heavenly Gardener makes a big difference in the way I perceive the world and my life in it. As an Iris I don't have to complain that Roses have thorns (see DENOMINATIONS). Nor do I need to feel inferior because no one bends down to enjoy my perfume. The art is to learn the Gardener's language. Clumps of color should live harmoniously each in their own place. And if some plant begins interfering with others they are called weeds. Mary sang "He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty" (Luke 1:52-53). Which means that she viewed this world as a tended garden, not a wilderness or jungle.

GATES Jesus said "On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades (Hebrew sheol or death) will not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18). And Bishop J.E.Fison explained that "Against a static church, unwilling to obey the guidance of the Holy Spirit, no 'gates' of any sort are needed to oppose its movement, for it does not move. But against a church that is on the move, inspired by the Pentecostal spirit, neither 'the gates of hell' nor any other gates can prevail" (Fire upon Earth, 1958, p.79). So it is good to look around the world in prayer and see where churches are on the move. If the congregation we belong to is not moving, we ask the Holy Spirit to inspire one and another to help us forward. If we are on the move, we can expect all hell to break loose. But we know in advance, as in any battle, that there will be casualties, but Satan cannot prevail.

GAY The term HOMOSEXUALITY was coined a hundred years ago by a Hungarian psychologist, but there is no such word in the Bible. In our day men who prefer sexual intimacy with men usually call themselves Gay. Old Testament Jewish judges were given a list of seven sexual sins for which the death penalty could be assigned (Leviticus 20:10-16). In each case a conviction required two male witnesses who had observed the act of sexual penetration. Between men what was forbidden was the penetration of the male anus (buggery) of slaves and young men, and to humiliate captured enemies. In Romans 1:26-27 Paul seems to have the above Leviticus text in mind, and his argument is that behaviour that deserved capital punishment in the OT had become accepted and very common among Greeks and Romans. Among men the penetration of the anus of slaves, and young students by their teachers, caused tearing and other terrible consequences. The two or three other references to so-called homosexual behaviour in the NT obviously refer to same-sex prostitution, where men were paid to act out the active or passive role as part of what went on in the temples. None of these texts can be used to condemn the choice of two men to share a home and life together.

GAYA Just over twenty years ago our world was offered a new model for its existence as a self-regulating living being. "The entire range of living matter on Earth, from whales to viruses, and from oaks to algae, could be regarded as a living entity capable of manipulating the Earth's atmosphere to suit its overall needs and endowed with faculties and powers far beyond its constituent parts (James Lovelock, Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth, Oxford University Press, 1979, p.8). This theory is one way of explaining the otherwise improbable survival of life on earth for millions of years. If we use this explanatory model, we could say that God the Creator built into his design of the "Big Bang" the emergence and preservation of our world as a place for humans to learn to love him and one another (THEISM). Or an ATHEIST can view the Big Bang as an event which resulted in the eventual formation by chance mutations of this earth as a living being. Many have adopted this second alternative to view Mother Earth as the supreme reality of life. A modern variant (PANENTHEISM) is set out in Matthew Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance, San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1988). Logically such a model has no room for the RESURRECTION of the body.

GAZA This ancient city (50 miles south-west of Jerusalem on the Mediterranean coast) marked the southern border of the CANAANITES(Genesis 10:19). The children of Israel under Joshua were unable to retain it against the invading PHILISTINES (Joshua 10:41, 11:22). Samson visited a prostitute there, and that was where he was imprisoned and had his eyes gouged out. When he was renewed in the Spirit he summoned the strength to pull down the temple of Dagon, killing himself and the hundreds of Philistines who had gathered to mock him (Judges 16:1, 21-22, 28-31). Gaza marked the southern limit of Solomon's kingdom (1 Kings 4:24). Later the city was rebuked for engaging in the slave trade (Amos 1:6). PHILIP, the Evangelist was sent down the road to Gaza, and he baptized the Treasurer of Ethiopia (Acts 8:26-39). He did not enter the city, but he planted churches up to the coast to CAESAREA. The church eventually founded in Gaza about 380 AD did not survive the Muslim occupation under the advancing Arab army three hundred years later. In our day Gaza is the center of Arab opposition to the State of Israel.

GEHENNA To the south of the old walls of Jerusalem was the Valley of Hinnom (Hebrew ge hinnom) which was transliterated Gehenna (wrongly translated "hell" in the KJV, RSV, and NRSV). It was the rubbish dump for the city of Jerusalem. It was continually burning from the cinders thrown on to it, and when it rained it was crawling with maggots (Mark 9:47-48). Lepers camped around it to pick up scraps to eat. Being thrown on to that rotting, stinking, burning garbage was the worst fate people could imagine. That is why Gehenna was used metaphorically of being trashed, making shipwreck of one's life. Jesus warned that murderous anger, heart adultery, or child abuse, would end in Gehenna disaster (Matthew 5:22, 28-30, 18:6-9, Mark 9:43-46). When Jesus spoke of the Pharisees being "sentenced" to Gehenna it did not mean they would burn in hell for ever (there is no reference to eternal damnation anywhere in the Old Testament). But he did mean that the Pharisee system would be trashed in the fall of Jerusalem in that generation (Matthew 23:33, 36). Gehenna therefore refers to bad consequences in this life. It never means hell in an eternal sense. Eternal lostness is pictured as choosing eternal darkness as opposed to the light of the Son of God (John 3:19-21).

GENEALOGY Among Jews the family genealogy was supremely important. This is suggested by the prominence given in the Bible to genealogical lists. We are for example given the original genealogy of the Arabs descended from Hagar and Keturah (Genesis 25). Arabs belong to a different line from the children of Israel, but they also have a continuing place in God's purpose. (Genesis 17:20, 21:18. Arabs descended from Esau are listed in 36:9-43). Jewish Old Testament priests had to prove their direct descent from the line of Aaron. (Exodus 6:16-25, 40:12-15). Early genealogies show how important this was for the royal line of David. (Genesis 46:8-12, Numbers 26:19-22, Ruth 4:18-22). The first eight chapters of 1 Chronicles show how the process of genealogical listing continued to be important. This is why Matthew's Gospel begins with Joseph's lineage. And when Joseph accepted Jesus as his son (Matthew 1:20), and listed him as such in the Bethlehem census list (Luke 2:1-7), the eternal Son of God was given the legal right to be undisputed heir of the royal line of David. If his enemies could have denied this, they would have had an easy proof that he was not the Messiah.

GENEROSITY In his Proverbs Solomon noted that "Those who are kind reward themselves, but the cruel do themselves harm" (Proverbs 11:17). A generous person is kind because he or she feels for others. "Those who despise their neighbors are sinners, but happy are those who are kind to the poor" (14:21, 31, see POOR). "Some give freely, yet grow all the richer; others withhold and only suffer want. A generous person will be enriched, and one who gives water will get water" (Proverbs 11:24-25). The reason for this strange paradox is that "Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord" (19:17, 22:9). But how do we change our heart from being mean to being generous. It certainly cannot be achieved by making rules. Generosity is one of the of the FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT (Galatians 5:22).

GENOCIDE Before moving towards the promised land Moses was told "Take care not to make covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you are going, or it will become a snare among you" (Exodus 34:12). But just before Moses died he went much further and ordered a total genocide of the people in the land of Canaan. "You must not let anything that breathes remain alive. You shall annihilate them - the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites." And the reason given was "so that they may not teach you to do all the abhorrent things that they do for their gods" (Deuteronomy 20:16-18, Joshua 8:26, 10:38-40). In actual fact it seems it was only the nations that opposed Joshua who were totally exterminated. The rest were dispossessed (see Joshua 11:16-20, 23:11-13, Judges 1:27). This was standard practice among the nations of the ancient world (as in Isaiah 15-23). In more recent history the Spanish wiped out many Indian tribes in South America, as did the settlers in Australia, the United States, and Canada. There is an inevitable process of stronger nations expanding their territory, and others being marginalized. It could be that as he grew older, and saw how easily his people fell into abominable idolatry, Moses made political decisions for his people in the name of the LORD. Politicians to this day imagine they have the mind of God.

GIFTS of the Spirit see HOLY SPIRIT, Gifts; BODY, Church members

GITA The Bhagavad Gita (the song of the Celestial Lord) was written (perhaps about 100 BC) and inserted in the great Hindu epic called the Mahabharata (c.400-100 BC). It is in the form of a meditation by a young man of the warrior caste named Arjun as he senses the revulsion of going into battle to kill his countrymen. The essential theme of the Gita is the need to do one's duty as a warrior with detachment. This was easily interpreted as the need to perform one's DHARMA (duty or religion) in the caste system without emotional involvement. That offered the Brahmin priests an answer against the amorality and denial of the need for DHARMA which was suggested in the UPANISHADS. In modern India the Gita is interpreted as a call to selfless action.


GNOSTICISM The Greek word gnosis refers to a special knowledge which is not accesible to ordinary people till they have been initiated into the Gnostic mysteries. A heresy that Paul opposed (Colossians 2:8, 16-23 and 1 Timothy 1:4; 4:1-3, 6:4, 20, see Revelation2:6, 15, 24) seems to have been a form of Gnosticism, though the main struggle of the churches against this emerged in the second century, as in the teachings of Valentinus (in Rome c.136-165 AD). There are many forms of Gnosticism, but they all teach that transformation and salvation are by personal knowledge and illumination rather than by the Holy Spirit. The soul is imprisoned in the body and needs to be released. There is inevitably a denial of bodily RESURRECTION and the TRINITY. The special knowledge may require rules of discipline and ascetic practices including abstinence from marriage. The Christian good news is offered without any form of payment, as in our day, but all forms of Gnosticism are only taught to those who are willing to pay for it (1 Timothy 6:5, Titus 1:11). Any demand for payment for enrolment as disciples, or for special teaching, should make us suspect that a form of gnosis is being peddled.

GOAL The supreme purpose of life is the Kingdom. As Jesus said, "Strive first for the Kingdom of God" (Matthew 6:33). Get that right and we have everything else that we need for fulness of life. As a result of adopting that goal we also understand the inner meaning of our world. "To you has been given the secret (mystery) of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables with the result that (another meaning of ina) they may indeed look, but not perceive" (Mark 4:11-12). The heart of the Kingdom is the Lord King Messiah Son of God. Obviously knowing him and serving in his Kingdom is what faith is all about. And the whole Bible is about his reign (see MONARCHY). "He must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet (1 Corinthians 15:25).

GOD The word God is a name given to whoever or whatever originated our world. But until we add some adjectives, nouns, pronouns, and verbs, the word God has no content. To avoid vague theorizing we first add the pronoun 'my' to say "My God." What Atheism denies is a personal Creator. "My God is chance, energy/mass, the big bang, whatever." Theists believe that "My God is the Creator/Artist of our world" (as in Genesis 1). But that does not tell us what God is like. Some believe that God is a monster, and they hate him. Others imagine that he holds up the scales to weigh our good and bad deeds, and if we don't measure up we will burn in hell. Christian Theism says "My God loves me more than any human parent." And we go on to say "I experience God as three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, united in perfect love." That was the Trinitarian experience of Paul the Apostle: "The Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with the Messiah" (Romans 8:16-17).


GOD, Hearing his voice see PROPHECY

GOD, Judge One picture of God as Judge is set in a Roman law court. And the explanation is that our sin (see ORIGINAL SIN) deserves eternal damnation, but Jesus the Son of God satisfied the justice of the Father by making a sufficient payment on the cross for us to be forgiven. The language game for the word judge is however best learned not from a law court but from the Book of Judges, where a judge is the deliverer and protector of his oppressed people (Judges 2:16). Later when a king was appointed , David was loved as one who exercised justice, and cared for and shepherded his people. In the New Testament Jesus described himself as a Shepherd Messiah (John 10) and defined his reign in terms of servant leadership (Mark 10:42-45). The idea of God as Father is already found in the Old Testament (Isaiah 63:16, 64:8), but in the Lord's prayer and the parable of the prodigal son Jesus firmly set God's judging in a family setting. Parents have to act as judges to settle quarrels and exercise protective discipline. . But loving parents never condemn and exclude their children from the family. And we should not picture God as less loving than we are. The Messiah also acts as Judge and exercises wrath among the nations, but this is not to condemn them to eternal damnation (see WRATH).

GOD, Location  In every room of our house about twenty different television programs are going on, and you can pick them out of nowhere if you have the right antenna and a TV monitor. Those programs are accessible all around, and in everything, without having a particular location. If you moved across the city they were still there. You can also access those programs through cable, but there again they are pulled in from a satellite in the sky. Similarly God's location is around us and in some mysterious way within us. Just as television world cannot be "proved" till it is experienced, so there is no proof for the existence of God, only what we experience. I talk to God like a parent above me, God like a friend beside me, and God inspiring me from the depths of my being. And I can do that anywhere, anytime. When I die I expect the conversation to go on but without all the confusions, distractions, and pain of the world around me now for the present.

GOD, Moving & Moved J.N.Darby (1800-82), was the Anglican minister who founded the Exclusive Brethren. He quaintly said "God's ways are behind the scenes; but he moves all the scenes which He is behind." This is illustrated in the Gospels where Jesus predicted the destruction of the temple in that generation. Before this happened (AD 70) there was a lot of scene moving in a Jewish rebellion (AD 68), a Roman counterattack, Nero's suicide (both in AD 68), a terrible siege, and the destruction of the city (AD 70). The Jews were exiled from Jerusalem for 1900 years, and the Christian church emerged from the womb of Judaism to begin the evangelization of the world. But Jesus was moved to tears by what would happen (Luke 19:41) and felt for the women who would suffer terribly (Luke 21:23). Clark Pinnock's Most Moved Mover, Baker 2001, argues that God is not only moved by our pain and suffering but longs to be moved by our prayer conversation with him. He asks us "What do you think needs doing?" We know we are "joint heirs with the Messiah" but we are hesitant to enter into his parish council. The "prayers of the saints" mean that "we reign on earth" (Revelation 5:10) by moving the scenes. But that involves being moved as he is moved. "If we endure we will also reign with him" (2 Timothy 2:12).

GOD'S NAME Scholars used to divide up the first five books of the Bible into documents according to whether they used Yahweh (J) or Elohim (E) as the name for God. It is much simpler to view Elohim as the plural name for God as TRINITY (as in Genesis 1:26 "Let us make humankind in our image). The name translated as LORD in capital letters is used to avoid using the sacred name (based on the four letters YHWH meaning HE IS from the interchangeable roots HIH and HWH). It is often used when the Son of God comes into personal contact with humans (e.g Genesis 2:7, 21, 3:8, 22, 4:9,6:3, 6, 7, 7:1, 11:5, 8). He appeared to ABRAHAM (Genesis 15:1, 17:1) and to MOSES (Exodus 3:2-4, 13-15, 24:7, 33:11, 34:27-28 ). As John's Gospel explains, "No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father's heart, who has made him known" (John 1:18).

GOD, Openness Under the influence of Greek ideas of perfection, classical theologians had viewed God as impassive, timeless, and immutable. His will could never be thwarted. In a book titled The Openness of God (Clark Pinnock, ed. 1994) a group of writers demonstrated that in the Bible God has a wide range of feelings, including joy, grief, anger, regret. This meant that God allows humans to interact with him, and can even change his mind. A key occasion was when Aaron made people worship the golden calf, and God said "Now let me alone that my wrath may burn hot against them and consume them." But Moses "implored the Lord his God to "Turn from your fierce wrath; change your mind and do not bring disaster on your people." The result was that "the Lord changed his mind about the disaster that he planned to bring on his people" (Exodus 32:10-14, Deuteronomy 9:19-21, see Jonah 3:10). This openness enables us to see ourselves as cooperating with God in our prayer life and our work in the world. It also enables us to picture God as vulnerable, loving, taking risks, and responsive to us. But the Lord King Messiah does not let things get out of hand, and he intervenes when the situation demands it(see DAY OF THE LORD).

GOD, Working Jesus made the enigmatic statement: "My Father is still working, and I also am working" (John 5:17). What does this mean? In the first chapter of Genesis we have a six day record of all that was needed for this world to work "naturally." In one sense the work of creation ended: "And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done in creation" (Genesis 2:2). We are still in that seventh day of God's rest from creation, but that does not mean the world is left to go on like clockwork (a view that is called Deism). The Father still works like a parent watching over us, and hears and answers our prayers (see GOD, Openness). The Son's task is to intervene both in the world and in personal contacts. "The works that the Father has given me to complete, the very works that I am doing, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me" (John 5:36). The Holy Spirit works from deep within our hearts to give us the inspiration and power we need for our creative work.

GOSPELS Among the Greeks when someone brought good news it was called evangelium, so those who proclaimed God's good news were called evangelists (Acts 21:8, Ephesians 4:11). God arranged to give us his good news in writing through the impressions of four different people who had encountered his Son. MATTHEW was a tax collector, who recorded some of Jesus' words verbatim. MARK was assigned to write down what Peter remembered. LUKE was a physician who was sent by Paul to collect as much information as possible from eye witnesses. JOHN, the Apostle  probably wrote his reflections in exile on the Island of Patmos.. Some scholars deny that these are historical documents on the assumption that a virgin birth is impossible, the blind and crippled don't get healed, and no one can rise from the dead. But all four Gospel are given to us without embellishment or moralizing. It is hard to see why they were written if the object was to tell us a pack of lies. They certainly work very powerfully if we want to hear and live by what Jesus had in mind for us (Matthew 28:20).

GOSPELS, Dating Scholars assumed that the detailed account of the destruction of the temple (Mark 13) could not have been prophesied by Jesus, and so must have been written after the fall of Jerusalem (AD 70). From the accounts in our Gospels it is evident that Jesus prophesied that the events would take place in the generation of his hearers (Matthew 23:36, 24:34, Mark 13:30, Luke 9:27, 21:32). That means the synoptic Gospels (see SYNOPTIC PROBLEM) were probably written between 44 AD (the beheading of James) and Paul's imprisonment in Caesarea (58-62 AD). Bishop Robinson showed that there is no evidence for the late dating of the Gospels, and suggested that all the documents of the New Testament were written before 70 AD (John A. T. Robinson, Redating the New Testament, London: SCM, Westminster, 1976)

GOSPEL WRITERS When James was beheaded (44 AD), and Peter only escaped by angelic intervention (Acts 12:1-9), the church in Jerusalem realized it was urgent to have a written eye-witness record of what Jesus preached. I imagine they appointed Mark to go and interview Simon Peter. The style of his Gospel reads like brief responses to questions from an interviewer. Then I picture Matthew reading and using 90 percent of the verses in Mark's Gospel as a framework to splice in the sayings (logia) in Aramaic that he had taken down verbatim during Jesus' ministry. He prefaced these with the genealogical records of the Messianic line in the registry in Bethlehem, and an account of what he had written down from Mary's story. While he was in prison in Caesarea (58-62 AD) Paul had Luke with him (based on the "we" passages in Acts 21:15-17, 27:1,4). So he may have asked Luke to take Mark's Gospel, and the logia that Matthew had written, and then go and interview Mary, people in Nazareth, and other apostles. Luke claims to have produced a reliable account of what had happened (Luke 1:1-4). When John the beloved disciple had read the synoptic gospels he decided that he must share what he remembered of his own experiences and conversations with Jesus. To fit his gospel on to one papyrus roll the Apostle John left out the information which the other Gospels had already recorded (John 20:30-31). Obviously this imaginative reconstruction is only a guess. But I can only abandon it if I am offered a more plausible explanation.

GOTHS A group of Nordic Indo-European people (distinct from the Indo-European CELTS), moved south into Germany and then into the Balkans during the reign of Gallienus (Roman Emperor, 260-68). They even tried to besiege Athens. They were allowed to settle in the Roman Empire, but they were badly treated, and they rebelled and defeated the Romans at the Battle of Adrianople (Edirne, 378). Under the leadership of Alaric they sacked Rome (410), and then established a west Goth (Visigoth) kingdom in Spain. Alaric's son, Theodoric I reigned as King of Spain (418-51). The Visigoths had been followers of ARIUS, but they adopted the Trinitarian faith of Rome (c.576). The Visigoth Kingdom of Spain continued until the last Visigoth King (Roderick) was overthrown by the MUSLIMS (711-13). In Eastern Europe the Ostrogoths) were overrun by the HUNS, but they regained power for a time by serving the Emperor in Constantinople. The people of Sweden could be viewed as the Goths who survived by not going out to ravage other nations. Could their name be connected with the city of Gothenburg or Goteborg on the mouth of the Gota Alv river?

GRACE We might call it "the giving of love without limit to those who don't deserve it." Virginia Molenkott said "There is nothing you can do to make God love you more. And there is nothing you could ever do to make God love you less" (Ephesians 2:8). But that does not mean humans can behave abominably. Grace and wrath are both aspects of love.. And God's wrath assigns consequences for harmful behavior in our nation, in our family, and in ourselves. But the good consequences we enjoy and the worst consequences we can experience are both part of the same love of God. We tend to assume that we deserve the good we enjoy. But there is no explanation in this life of the good we do not deserve or the bad that often seems erratic and unjust. Faith is believing that the grace of God has been with us and for us throughout life. What unbelievers miss is knowing, believing , and living with the assurance that God's grace is for our ultimate freedom, and it will never fail us whatever happens (2 Corinthians 12:7-9). Which is why Philip Yancey wrote "I rejected the church for a time because I found so little grace there. I returned because I found grace nowhere else."

GREEK ORTHODOX By the sixth century, city churches were grouped by languages under five patriarchs in Jerusalem (Hebrew), Antioch (Syriac), Alexandria (Coptic), Constantinople (Greek), and Rome (Latin). The Patriarch in Constantinople (Byzantium) still claims authority as the Oecumenical Patriarch of the East. But he has a precarious existence under Turkish rule, and the Cathedral of Saint Sophia has been made into a museum. The Greek Orthodox DENOMINATION derives its authority from the Nicene Creed and the fact that Greek speaking people still read and understand the language of the Septuagint version of the Old Testament, the original Greek New Testament, and the very important writings of the Greek Fathers. Greek Orthodox church buildings flourish in most villages of Greece (and the islands), Crete, and Cyprus. As the denomination has mushroomed by immigration among the many other denominations of North America, it is only a matter of time before more and more of its administration and services will have to be in English. But the ancient LITURGY and elaborate ceremonies will continue to attract worshipers in every city. They allow the marriage of priests, but bishops are still expected to be celibate.

GREEK RELIGION The original Greek tribes that came into mainland Greece spoke a form of the INDO-EUROPEAN family of languages. These are listed under JAPHET in the Table of Nations (Genesis 10:2-5). Their languages included Celtic, early English, Nordic, Germanic, Latin, Iranian, Sanskrit of the Aryan tribes that invaded India. And they had a common word for the one Creator God (Dieu in French, Deus in Latin, Zeus in Greek, Dev in Sankrit). But they soon added other names for God (HENOTHEISM) as among the Aryans. The Greek myths described various minor gods lusting and competing for power among themselves (POLYTHEISM). This popular religion of a multitude of gods was rejected by the Greek philosophers (see SOCRATES, PLATO, ARISTOTLE), and many of them became atheistic. But Paul explains that "What can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made." The result was that "they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise they became fools (Romans 1:19-22). Paul then goes on to explain the terrible decline of Greek religion and civilization after the Golden Age.

GREGORY PALAMAS (c.1296-1359) was ordained priest in Thessalonica (1326), but his adoption of HESYCHASM (taught by the monks of Mount Athos) resulted in him being condemned and sent to MOUNT ATHOS. But he was restored and made Bishop of Thessalonica (1347). His teaching is that we are made God's image, and that includes our body and soul together. He says the incarnation affirms the goodness of the body and it is the means by which humans are saved from corruption and death. The ascension resulted in the sending of the Spirit through whom the deification of humans is accomplished by making us participate in the life of the Holy Trinity. This is received by participation in the sacraments, particularly Baptism and the Eucharist. But our deification is always a gift of grace through prayer. One of his important insights is that "The goal of the ascetic life does not consist in a mortification which suppresses the passions of the body but rather in the acquisition of a new and better energy" which permits the body as well as the soul to be transformed (theiosis). See Gregory Palamas: The Triads, trans. Nicholas Gendle. New York: Paulist Press, 1983 (the above information is based on a paper for Regis College, Toronto, November 2002, by Renee Desjardins). Transformation by the Spirit to be perfected in the love of God is an essential part of our model on this website (see our book on Creative Love).

GUIDED Many people destroy themselves and others by insisting that God has guided them to solve the world's problems. "God told me to mount a crusade, have an inquisition, burn the witches in this town, start a community in Jonestown, point out what is wrong with you." That is not to deny the importance of God's guidance. In fact Paul said "All who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God" (Romans 8:14). Such good guidance is easily recognized. "The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy" (James 3:17). People who are moved in those ways don't irk us. We may not always agree with them, but they soon establish their credibility and we can take their vision seriously.

GULAG Alexander Solzhenitsyn (born in 1918) was given the Nobel prize (1970) for his books that described life in Russian prisons (A Day in the Life of Ivan Deniscovich, 1962, Cancer Ward, 1968, The First Circle, 1968). But it took another 12 years to write the horrifying story of The Gulag Archipelago (in Russian 1974, New York: Harper & Row, 1975). An archipelago is a string of islands, and in this case he used it as a metaphor for the string of death camps in Siberia from 1918-1956. These continued for three years after the death of STALIN (1953). Solzhenitsyn was able to show that the Gulag was the inevitable outcome of a model of MATERIALISM in which there are no values to support human freedom and dignity.