friend of mine reflected recently on his blog about how his mistaken idea of Jesus had actually led him to genuine and healthy repentance. I commented on this occurrence as follows:
Sure, untruth can actually spark valuable growth. If it couldn't we'd be pretty stuck wouldn't we? Consider how faulty are our images of God. We try to see God as God is. We say God is love, and we are right. But in saying so, we load our own limited and faulty experiences into that word "love," and as a result, our belief that God is love is sorely tainted by bad definitions of love. You could even call that truth a lie for what we mean by it. The same is the case with the picture of God as Father. So our true beliefs are never purely true, and yet, they do lead us to the Truth, to the true God.
CS Lewis said that "reality is iconoclastic" which captures the experience of us all that what we believe is constantly being shattered by reality, by experience. No where is this more true than in our thoughts about God. In our minds, we picture God, we make an icon of the Divine and then, when God allows us to catch a glimpse of Godself, SMASH, our icon is destroyed...and we go about trying to rebuild another that accounts for the encounter. And on and on we go praying and hoping that our icons are improving, and at least that they are good enough to send us into those iconoclastic encounters.
What makes an icon good enough? -- Ask yourself, has it been helpful over centuries in leading God's people into divine encounters? By the by, the Bible is a good library of good-enough icons, good enough metaphors, good enough explanations of who God is based on an encounter with them. They are true because they lead us to the Truth. And then there is Jesus, the true icon, the image of the invisible God. Reformers talked about Scripture as the Word of God in that it faithfully sent us on a collision course with the Word of God, Jesus.
May you encounter the icon-smashing Word of God.