The Big Man in the Sky: Comprehending the incomprehensible - questions and activities

Rebecca Lerve 8 September 2021

Read The Big Man in the Sky: Comprehending the incomprehensible in the Spring 2021 edition of Australian Catholics and take part in the following questions and activities.



  1. What does omnipotent mean? 
  2. Why do you think the author was worried about being called a ‘heretic?’
  3. Have you ever taken a photo that makes you think of God? Maybe it was a nature scene, a group of friends, a sunrise, an organised space?
  4. What kind of experience is the author linking her understanding of God with in the line 'God sits in the cabinet at your best friend’s house where you don’t have to ask to know where the glasses are?'


Word bank: The author uses beautiful imagery to describe God, and her words are very specific. Go through the article and highlight or underline any words that you don’t know the meaning of or that you would use to describe God or something that touches you deeply. Take a few moments as a class or by yourself to think of any other words you would like to add to this list. As you read, scroll or watch the news, add more words to your word bank.

Blind descriptions: Write a description of a photograph you have taken or a piece of artwork you have seen that makes you think of God. Sit back to back with a friend or classmate. Your classmate listens to your description and draws what you describe to them. Next, try drawing their description. Compare the drawings to the original photographs. What did they get right? Was there something they picked up on that you didn’t expect them to?

Rembrandt’s 'The Prodigal Son': Have a look at artwork 'The Prodigal Son' by Rembrandt. What is happening with the colour scheme of the painting? What could the colours symbolise? What feelings or emotions does this painting inspire? What is the focus of the image? Why do you think Rembrandt chose to compose the painting in the way he did? Why do you think Rembrandt chose to hide the son’s face? 
Using this piece as a reference, write a description of how you think Rembrandt saw God the Father. 

Biblical extension: Read Luke 15:11-32. Think about how you would paint, draw or describe the father from this passage. What colours would you use? Would there be any other figures present? Do you think that the prodigal son and the elder son both saw their father in the same way? How do you think this father represents God the Father? Does this scripture match, challenge or strengthen your idea of God?


Invite the students to sit in front of a whiteboard. Tell the students you need help to draw a picture of God. On the whiteboard, draw a picture that incorporates the student’s answers. Try to add all of the suggestions. Have some printed out photos of beautiful places, artworks, animals and of people doing work around the community ready nearby. Stick the photos on the wall, the other half of the board or around the classroom. Explain that God can be found in all of creation, even in these photos. Invite the students to see if they can find God in the photos. Tell the students that they might find God there, and they might not. They might find God in all of the photos, in a different one than their friend, or maybe in the same one for a different reason. Give the students time to look at and discuss the photos.