One of my favorite names for God is “the Eternal Num-Num.” There’s a lot that I love about God included in this term.
On one level, the meaning is pretty obvious: God is an eternal source of nourishment for us, a true “num-num” for the soul.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good,” the psalmist tells us; “happy are those who take refuge in Him” (Psalm 34:8).
Whether this is meant literally (as when we consume the body and blood of Jesus in the Eucharist) or more figuratively, there’s certainly a sense in which God “tastes” good, in which God can be described as “nummy.”
But there’s another reason that I call God the Eternal Num-Num.
“Num-num” is baby talk for food. So when I call God the Eternal Num-Num, I’m also saying that God is eternally childlike – that God is eternally filled with joy and wonder at His own creation; that God is, in some sense, eternally at play.
G.K. Chesterton captures a bit of this in his book Orthodoxy, where he writes, “It is possible that God says every morning, ‘Do it again’ to the sun; and every evening, ‘Do it again’ to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”
Unfortunately, many people seem to think that God is some sort of cosmic killjoy, ready to smite us whenever He sees us being “naughty” or having too much fun! But this isn’t the God I have come to know.
Certainly God is more powerful and holy than we can imagine; and before such power and might it’s appropriate to have a sense of reverential fear.
But the same mighty Creator whose name alone can cause kings to tremble, is also as carefree and playful as a little child – and delights in our pleasure as much as we do – possibly even more.
Having grown up in the church, I’ve known for quite a while that God is loving, merciful, holy, and kind; but it wasn’t until pretty recently that I came to know that God is also fun.
As it says in the book of Ecclesiastes, “Eat your bread with enjoyment, and drink your wine with a merry heart; for God has long ago approved what you do” (Eccl 9:7).
Indeed, whenever we experience joy or amusement, God not only approves of it, but enjoys it along with us. Whatever we do, God experiences it vicariously through us.
For God, even the “work” of creating and sustaining the universe is a cheerful, fun occasion. God, you see, isn’t just the Eternal Father and Eternal Mother; God is also the Eternal Child – and the Eternal Num-Num.