The Empty Throne: Reimagining God as Creative Energy

Many people are ambivalent or negative when asked if they believe in God. Part of this reaction has to do with what they assume the questioner means by the term “God.” The image many in the Jewish and Christian traditions see when God is mentioned is of an old man with a beard sitting on a throne in the sky and ruling over the world. Understandably, many doubt the existence of such a figure.

Painting of a stairwell and throne

The Empty Throne by Olivia Wise (

My own reimagining of the figure of God found expression in a dramatic experience many years ago, and this experience has shaped my assumptions ever since that time. This experience happened when I was in my late teens or early twenties, about fifty-five years ago. I had been cogitating for some time about whether God existed. One day I had what I would call a “waking vision.” This was not a dream, for I was awake, but it was like a dream in that I experienced myself entering into a visual drama.

In this drama I experienced myself standing in a great hall, looking at great double doors at the end of the hall. I opened the doors and found a winding staircase leading upward. I began to climb the stairs, and at the top of each landing I found a new staircase. I continued climbing and climbing, until finally I found myself on the outside of another set of doors. I knew that these were the doors to the throne room of God.

How to Read the Rest of This Article

The text above was just an excerpt. The web versions of our print articles are now hosted by Duke University Press, Tikkun‘s publisher. Click here to read an HTML version of the article. Click here to read a PDF version of the article.

(To return to the Summer 2014 Table of Contents, click here.)

Rosemary Radford Ruether is professor emerita from Garrett Theological Seminary and from the Graduate Theological Union. She currently teaches at the Claremont Graduate University. She is author or editor of forty-six books and numerous articles on religion and social issues.

Source Citation

Reuther, Rosemary Radford. 2014. The Empty Throne: Reimagining God as Creative Energy. Tikkun 29(3): 28.

tags: Rethinking Religion, Spirituality   
Tip Jar Email Bookmark and Share RSS Print
Get Tikkun by Email -- FREE

COMMENT POLICY Please read our comments policy. We invite constructive disagreement but do not accept personal attacks and hateful comments. We reserve the right to block hecklers who repost comments that have been deleted. We do have automated spam filters that sometimes miscategorize legitimate comments as spam. If you don't see your comment within ten minutes, please click here to contact us. Due to our small staff it may take up to 48 hours to get your comment posted.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *