In my previous post I outlined, (with a brief indication of why), some sources other than the Bible, which seem to me to have a useful contribution to make to the concept of ‘God’. That being so, what are my thoughts at this point in time? I don’t go in for labels that carry baggage with associated assumptions that may well not apply. Since the word ‘theist’ can have a variety of meanings, and because there are different ways of ‘knowing’, I don’t call myself an ‘atheist’, or even an ‘agnostic’.
Clearly, I can no longer honestly accept what I would call the ‘picture book’ version of God. He seems to me to be simply a human being writ large – a ‘superman’ who takes a personal interest in his followers, and sometimes intervenes to help them out, if he ‘hears’ their prayers. If God were indeed, as we’re told, infinite and transcendent, then he’d not be a ‘big person’ in the image of you and me but, as suggested last time, the ‘Ground of All Being’, out of which has emerged what we experience as material objects, living beings, sentience, self-awareness and personhood.
If the ‘ground of all being’, has the potential to give rise to self-consciousness, it makes sense to me that it’s in us that ‘God’ could become a ‘person’. In which case, we’d be the hands and feet, arms and legs, eyes and ears, mind and heart of ‘God’, which would be a huge responsibility if we were willing to acknowledge and accept it, and live accordingly. The Bible, after all, as well as saying that “God is Spirit”, says that “in God we live, and move and have our being”. Dualism would have no place. ‘God’ wouldn’t be ‘outside’ us, but ‘in’ us, and we’d not be ‘outside’ of ‘God’ but ‘in’ God. There’d be no separate, independent, contending ‘powers’ of good and evil, nor any heavens and hells, except of our own making. That, of course, is something that eastern philosophies and religions have been telling us for thousands of years.
For me, to believe in, trust in, commit ourselves to ‘God’, is to put our trust in all that is, in what has been called the Tao, the ‘way’ things are. This universe is awesomely magnificent in its order, beauty and wonder, and its beneficence in giving us our amazing little colourful planet, at the right distance for life to be warmed and lit by our Sun. But the universe is, at the same time, terrifyingly violent and randomly destructive. There are ‘black holes’ that suck in everything around them, vast galaxies that collide, and massive stars that explode in unbelievably devastating fury. But it is in these exploding stars that the elements are ‘cooked’ that you and I are made from. Without that destruction, there could have been no ‘construction’ of that awesome cosmic magnificence, nor of ourselves to witness and enjoy it.
In committing ourselves to ‘how things are’, there is no personal insurance policy. On our own little planet there are these “volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis, mudslides and avalanches, droughts and floods” we spoke of previously. Life feeds on life, and therefore Life feeds on death, which is inescapable. To say ‘yes’ to what is, is to accept, as One, both what we experience as ‘good’ and what we experience as ‘bad’. It is to rest in the ‘bigger picture’.
So although there is, I think, no big-human-like ‘intelligent designer’ in the driving seat, there is nonetheless Awareness, Intelligence and Design at the heart of things, which is working itself out as it goes along, following its own “Laws of Nature”. You and I have been given the incredible opportunity, whatever happens to us, to be a very small part of this, at least for a short time, but perhaps, in a transpersonal and collective sense, forever. You’re free to hold on to the traditional God if you can, and so choose, but if you can’t, then you can give yourself to the Ground of All Being, believing that, in the final analysis, All will be Well.