Saturday, 2 July 2011

the nature of God

What is the nature of the God we believe in?  What does God look like? Is he male or female or some of both? Does God operate exclusively through formalized religious institutions? Does God still speak to individuals as he did to Moses and Abraham?  Did God come to us with an operating manual such as the bible, Koran, doctrine, or dogma?   Does God get upset or angry when we 'miss the mark' or sin?  Does God need help to convert those who subscribe to different  faiths and beliefs than ours? Did God really eject everyone out of the mystical Garden of Eden? Will God condemn some people to an eternal hell after they die because they have not met certain moral requirements? Is entry to God’s heavenly realm only open to those who have met that moral requirement? 

I believe I have addressed at least some of these questions in earlier blogs.  But here are some additional thoughts about God from people who are a lot smarter than I:

Aquinas’ views on the nature of God are quite complex, but let us suffice it here to understand that Aquinas viewed “God’s substance” as “existence itself.”  Because “God has no body” we cannot understand him by our senses. 

The 12th. Century mystic Meister Eckhard considered the nature of God as follows: “Thou must love God as not-God, not-Spirit, not-person, not-image, but as He is, a sheer, pure absolute One, sundered from all two-ness, and in whom we must eternally sink from nothingness to nothingness.”  True knowledge of this God can only happen by union with him in the mystical experience, not by rational analysis or intellectual reasoning.  That direct knowledge transcends intellectual knowledge.[1]
Consider the following quotes from a modern mystic by the name of David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.d in his book ‘The Eye of the I – From which Nothing is Hidden (2001)

  • God is beyond perception, duality, positionality, or having parts.  God is beyond all opposites, such as good and bad, right and wrong, win or lose.  Like the sun, God shines equally on all.  God’s love is not reserved for the favoured few.
  • God is not injured by anybody’s wrongdoing and therefore has no trauma to avenge.  The image of God as a retaliatory, cruel punisher is hard to eradicate from one’s thinking.  It is the ego that is the source of guilt, sin, suffering, condemnation, and creation of all the hells.
  • God does not direct floods, conflagrations, earthquakes, volcanoes, storms, lightning, or rainfalls. God does not get mad and ‘thrash out’ cities, civilizations, towns or ethnic groups.  All these things occurred on the planet before there were living societies.
  • God does not get involved in human conflicts, political and religious struggles, or strife. He has no enemies that need to be slain.
  •  God is not a disturbed child or a parent.  He does not read the news or punish the wicked. No arbitrary judgment is required in a universe which is innately just and self-balancing.
  • The infinite mercy and forgiveness of God is beyond any and all conception and is totally unconcerned with the trivialities of world event.
  • In the presence of God, all suffering ceases. There is nothing that needs changing or bettering.
  • The love of God is unconditional.   
Most of us still carry with us child-like understanding about the nature of our Creator and picture God as the wizened and bearded male sitting on an elevated throne casting judgment upon his people. Others believe that God left us with an exact prescription of right and wrongs supported by our version of Holy Scripture.  Armed with this ‘legal document’ ,but perhaps limited by a shallow understanding of God, we have somehow claimed the right to appropriate God’s judgment by issuing forth God’s  condemnation on all matter of people and things.  In so doing we have by-passed the opportunity to understand God’s unconditional love for others, ourselves and the Creator. 

The purpose of this brief essay is nothing more than to suggest that ’ just as our understanding of nature has evolved, so too should our understanding of God’.[2]
 The feeling remains that God is on the journey, too.  ~Teresa of Avila    

[1] Bernard Haisch, The Purpose – Guided Universe: Believing in Einstein, Darwin, and God. (2010)
[2] Bernard Haisch, The Purpose- Guided Universe (2010).

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