On one of Bishop Spong's recent question and answers, someone asked him "What is God?", stating that her granddaughter has asked he this question.
Rev. Spong's admirable answer was that no one can say who or what God is.
While I believe this is true at a certain level, I am not quite so modest about what we can say about God as is Bishop Spong.
Borrowing here from Rev. Spong's response to the question asked him, I strongly endorse his statement that God is the "ground of being", using Tillich's famous definition. And it is here that I believe, with all due respect, that we can go at least one step further than Rev. Spong does.
For while "ground of being" and "God" are both terms that can be used to mpoint to, or refer to, the ultimate, I believe it can be instructive to consider what eastern philosophers (not to mention Tillich himself) and religions, which do not share our visceral, western insistence that God is "wholly other" than the world, have said about the ultimate.
Shankara, for example, the 7th century founder of Vedanta (usually classified as a school of thought within Hinduism), stated simply "Tat tvam asi", which is Sanskrit for "You are it". This means, of course, that the deepest aspect of you is identical to the dimension that we call God.
Interestingly, Jesus said the same thing when he claimed "I and the father are one" and "When you have seen me, you have seen the father". Fact is, this experience of realizing one's identity as the ultimate (or God, ground of being, or the divine) is not limited to Jesus, as the most profound mystics have known for millennia.
In short, I am the ultimate, as was Jesus, as is everyone. And I always have been (though I haven't always known it).
To realize my true identity, moreover, is to experience transformed consciousness. And I am free and am privileged to identify myself with and as this level of reality (which some, in addition to God and ground of being, have called "the Formless", "Brahman", "Tao" and "the Void", among other terms used), to rest in it, and to simultaneously dis-identify from the illusory and egoic identity which goes, in my case, by the name "Tom".
Realizing one's true identity and letting the old one go. This is the ultimate purpose of consciousness (or God) in the human species.