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dkm3870

What is God's power in this world?

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In thinking about why there is pain and suffering in the world, I start by breaking this down into two root causes-

Man-made- God gave us free will so that we can be individuals and not puppets.  This gives man the option work for the good of the community and help others (love), or to be self-centered and hurt others.  This explains that part of pain and suffering in the world.

Nature-made- Natural disasters, diseases, random accidents.  Why does God let these things happen if he is all powerful?

The only answer that I can come up with is that God can change the minds and hearts of people through the life of Jesus and the actions of other people, but is not able/willing to change the laws of physics that control the natural world.  We can do something about the Man-made pain and suffering by following the teachings of Jesus and  showing love to others, but we cannot stop the natural world entirely.  

Are there any published theologians that have proposed a similar view?  Others thoughts on this?

 

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1 hour ago, dkm3870 said:

Man-made- God gave us free will so that we can be individuals and not puppets.  This gives man the option work for the good of the community and help others (love), or to be self-centered and hurt others.  This explains that part of pain and suffering in the world.

Nature-made- Natural disasters, diseases, random accidents.  Why does God let these things happen if he is all powerful?

The only answer that I can come up with is that God can change the minds and hearts of people through the life of Jesus and the actions of other people, but is not able/willing to change the laws of physics that control the natural world.  We can do something about the Man-made pain and suffering by following the teachings of Jesus and  showing love to others, but we cannot stop the natural world entirely.  

Are there any published theologians that have proposed a similar view?  Others thoughts on this?

I believe you are close but there is a bit more to it. 

Since God is the one who allows all to be and sustains all in existence, in some real way god is responsible for all. 

Man could not be created in perfect relationship (no sin) with God (this would reflect the freedom of man but there is still some issue with it - I don't have the exact argument at the ready but will get it) and man could not be born with the 'immediate' knowledge of God because he would be so overwhelmed that any choice for God would not be our of his freedom but as a consequence of his 'fear and awe' of God.

So........some theologians speak of creation as a 'soul-making' environment. Man is born at what has been called an 'epistemological distance' from God in that he is truly free to decide (no fear or awe) and he is born in a challenging environment in which he grows, meets challenges and overcomes them in his growth into the 'likeness' of God. This is actually a very interesting argument. So God can be said to be 'responsible' because he 'sets' the conditions necessary for the freedom and real growth of man but man and nature 'exercise' that freedom sometimes to the detriment of man.

The whole study of evil is called theodicy and John Hick (philosopher and theologian) speaks eloquently of this. I will get you a book reference but his website is http://www.johnhick.org.uk/jsite/. Hick died a few years ago but this site remains and contains some articles he wrote - check to any articles on evil. 

There are a number of theologians who write on theodicy and I will get a short list for you. I read a number of them earlier this year when a similar topic arose.

 

 

 

 

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17 hours ago, dkm3870 said:

Others thoughts on this?

I think we only experience suffering because of how our minds view the world.  We look at something and regard it as suffering because we feel threatened by it.  Instead, if we accepted 'bad things' as just part of life, then I find it hard to imagine that we would feel any suffering at all.  I think this is probably what Buddhism is trying to say.  God or not, we only feel suffering if we allow ourselves to regard something as suffering.  I think to be at peace with what we would otherwise consider suffering is easier said than done, but it seems to make sense to me that suffering can be overcome with a different mindset.

So to that end, I wonder if God plays any part whatsoever in suffering.  Perhaps not.

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5 hours ago, PaulS said:

I think we only experience suffering because of how our minds view the world.  We look at something and regard it as suffering because we feel threatened by it.  Instead, if we accepted 'bad things' as just part of life, then I find it hard to imagine that we would feel any suffering at all.  I think this is probably what Buddhism is trying to say.  God or not, we only feel suffering if we allow ourselves to regard something as suffering.  I think to be at peace with what we would otherwise consider suffering is easier said than done, but it seems to make sense to me that suffering can be overcome with a different mindset.

So to that end, I wonder if God plays any part whatsoever in suffering.  Perhaps not.

That might take care of suffering but why must there still be pain? If you fall off a 3rd story roof and break your leg, there might be suffering (even if we accepted it as a bad thing that just happened) but there would definitely be pain and probably lot and lots of pain. So as dkm asks, why (suffering and) pain?

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9 hours ago, thormas said:

That might take care of suffering but why must there still be pain? If you fall off a 3rd story roof and break your leg, there might be suffering (even if we accepted it as a bad thing that just happened) but there would definitely be pain and probably lot and lots of pain. So as dkm asks, why (suffering and) pain?

Well, if you didn't have pain you wouldn't be a human being.  It's like asking "why do we breathe air?".  It is part of how we have evolved as humans.  Pain is a sensory experience our body utilizes to identify and address a physical problem (e.g. our leg is broken - do not walk on it.  That surface is hot - do not sit on it, etc).  Pain is an essential part of our human beingness, without which we simply couldn't exist.  So to that end, pain itself should be considered a positive and beneficial occurrence.  There is nothing for God to change concerning pain, unless one wants God to make us not human.

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1 hour ago, PaulS said:

Well, if you didn't have pain you wouldn't be a human being.  It's like asking "why do we breathe air?".  It is part of how we have evolved as humans.  Pain is a sensory experience our body utilizes to identify and address a physical problem (e.g. our leg is broken - do not walk on it.  That surface is hot - do not sit on it, etc).  Pain is an essential part of our human beingness, without which we simply couldn't exist.  So to that end, pain itself should be considered a positive and beneficial occurrence.  There is nothing for God to change concerning pain, unless one wants God to make us not human.

So God is not responsible for pain or the suffering?

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3 hours ago, thormas said:

So God is not responsible for pain or the suffering?

I don't know specifically what God you have in mind when you ask that question, but generally, I don't think pain and suffering is attributable to a decision-making God, no. 

For me the jury is still out but I could fathom an understanding of God who/which is 'existence' itself (perhaps like the 'awareness' that Joseph is explaining to you in another thread), so I could imagine such a God would also BE pain and suffering (as well as joy and happiness, etc) - in, of, through and all things that are.  Oneness.  Not so much 'responsible' for these things, but IS these things or at least is the experience of these things (as is everything).  Oneness.

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On 4/12/2020 at 1:15 PM, thormas said:

I believe you are close but there is a bit more to it. 

Since God is the one who allows all to be and sustains all in existence, in some real way god is responsible for all. 

Man could not be created in perfect relationship (no sin) with God (this would reflect the freedom of man but there is still some issue with it - I don't have the exact argument at the ready but will get it) and man could not be born with the 'immediate' knowledge of God because he would be so overwhelmed that any choice for God would not be our of his freedom but as a consequence of his 'fear and awe' of God.

So........some theologians speak of creation as a 'soul-making' environment. Man is born at what has been called an 'epistemological distance' from God in that he is truly free to decide (no fear or awe) and he is born in a challenging environment in which he grows, meets challenges and overcomes them in his growth into the 'likeness' of God. This is actually a very interesting argument. So God can be said to be 'responsible' because he 'sets' the conditions necessary for the freedom and real growth of man but man and nature 'exercise' that freedom sometimes to the detriment of man.

The whole study of evil is called theodicy and John Hick (philosopher and theologian) speaks eloquently of this. I will get you a book reference but his website is http://www.johnhick.org.uk/jsite/. Hick died a few years ago but this site remains and contains some articles he wrote - check to any articles on evil. 

There are a number of theologians who write on theodicy and I will get a short list for you. I read a number of them earlier this year when a similar topic arose.

 

Thank you for your insights!   I will look up John Hick.  I struggle with deciding how active God  is in the world.  Natural disasters and random accidents happen all the time, so he must not be willing to prevent those.  People are still astonishingly evil to other people, so he apparently is not willing to prevent that.  So how much does God control?  It seems that if he is here, he is "in the background".  Yet there is still much beauty and love in the world when you look for it.  It seems like we need to initiate the connection.  The invitation is always there, but people must accept the invitation and change how they act in order to make this world a better place through our actions towards others and deal with the natural disasters, accidents, and diseases in the best way that we can.  So, I think God works through people, but it has to be voluntary on people's part.  If we accept the invitation to love and live our lives that way, this world will be as good as it can get, given the natural threats.  If we don't, we make the world even more hostile and threatening.  

So, I don't think we should pray to ask God to do this or that for us.  We need to pray for wisdom, courage, and strength to  live a life of love in this otherwise threatening world. 

Your thoughts?

 

 

Thank you for your insights!  I guess where I was going with this is that I can understand man-made evil in this world.  We are "survival" oriented like all other animals and since we are at the top of the food chain, we can choose to harm others to make our own life more comfortable.  But there are natural 

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Posted (edited)

dkm3870 said: Thank you for your insights!   I will look up John Hick.  I struggle with deciding how active God  is in the world.  Natural disasters and random accidents happen all the time, so he must not be willing to prevent those.  People are still astonishingly evil to other people, so he apparently is not willing to prevent that.  So how much does God control?  It seems that if he is here, he is "in the background".  Yet there is still much beauty and love in the world when you look for it.  It seems like we need to initiate the connection.  The invitation is always there, but people must accept the invitation and change how they act in order to make this world a better place through our actions towards others and deal with the natural disasters, accidents, and diseases in the best way that we can.  So, I think God works through people, but it has to be voluntary on people's part.  If we accept the invitation to love and live our lives that way, this world will be as good as it can get, given the natural threats.  If we don't, we make the world even more hostile and threatening.  

So, I don't think we should pray to ask God to do this or that for us.  We need to pray for wisdom, courage, and strength to  live a life of love in this otherwise threatening world. 

_________________________________________________________

God is always active but his actions or 'power' is not what most of us understand by the word power. God's power is said to be persuasive as opposed to coercive so he can't/won't override man's choice. He tries to persuade or call man to a greater 'awareness' through others (thus he is active) and to choose  good not evil actions. So on one hand there is a 'willingness' to allow the possibility of human evil but this is done so man's decision for God or the Good and for becoming fully human is truly his. If God imposed himself on man by being in the foreground then man would not be choosing relationship with God freely.

So too, in a way, this is God's posture for natural evil. God is willing to let nature be natural and obey its own laws and so, in a sense, he is in the 'background.'

I think it was Hick (again I will check and get back to you) who speaks of a 'soul-making (a human being making) environment. The easier ways to approach this is if you are a parent you know that you have to let your kid take the school bus for the first time, ride a bike, go to the mall with her friends, drive a car, do her own homework, write her own college admissions essays. etc. And, as we know many of these decisions, all this letting go and letting be, is fraught with possible danger, injury, disappointment, failure, embarrassment but also success, triumphs, exhilaration and growth into her own person - and some of these people become extraordinary.

The parent does it because he knows that the child must learn to be her own person, make her own decisions, stand by those decisions, fail, succeed and grow up a bit more each day. What the parent is doing is creating a 'person or adult-making environment' for his child.

It has been said this is not only the best of all possible worlds, it is the only world in which a soul can be made. This world is the only way to make souls, the only way to empower men and women to become truly human.

 

I think you pretty much nailed it with your comments.

 

Edited by thormas

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14 hours ago, dkm3870 said:

I guess where I was going with this is that I can understand man-made evil in this world.  We are "survival" oriented like all other animals and since we are at the top of the food chain, we can choose to harm others to make our own life more comfortable.  But there are natural 

It seems to me that 'man-made evil' is as much a part of God as all the sugary bits.  I don't see how it can be any other way.  If God is THE creator, then God created 'evil' just as much as God created 'good'.  I'd rather says God is all things - whether we think of them as good or evil.  Man, with our thinking brain, starts to determine what is good and what is evil as a survival tactic, but it is all just the experience of life.  One man's evil can be another man's righteousness ( all perfectly normal human assessments of life).  Yes we can use extreme examples such as killing or torturing others as 'evil' but really, if all things are in God, then that evil is in God too.  It is just part of living.  That doesn't mean we don't seek to minimize harm to ourselves, because that too, is a perfectly natural part of being human.  As you say, we are survival oriented animals.  But at the end of the day, all of these things happen within, and is of, God.

It seems to me that we must harm in order to survive.  We simply cannot survive without killing other living things (plant or animal or both).  Of course we can rationalize that the lives of these living things aren't as important as ours, but if all things are 'created' by God and God is simply 'observing' them or trying to 'guide' them as they progress, we would be harming that which God considered good.  The alternative to me is that it isn't harm per se, but merely experience of what it is to be God living.  

The alternative that you seem to lean toward, to me seems to suggest that God is separate to existence.  I don't believe that is or can be the case.  If God is in all things, then God is the man who loves as well as the man who hates.

Anyway, that's just my take on it.

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22 hours ago, dkm3870 said:

 

As promised: John Hick's book is 'Evil and the God of Love' and the specific chapter is Chapter Xii, section 3 entitled "The 'Vale of Soul Making' Theodicy." Hick borrows from the poet, John Keats, who coined the phrase 'the vale of soul-making.' in 1819.

 

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11 hours ago, PaulS said:

The alternative that you seem to lean toward, to me seems to suggest that God is separate to existence.  I don't believe that is or can be the case.  If God is in all things, then God is the man who loves as well as the man who hates.

Anyway, that's just my take on it.

Perhaps God is not the man but merely the substrate  that  allows man (the creature)  to be.  In that respect,  God is not the hate in man but the hate is rather a current condition of genetic and conditioned individual and collective consciousness in the creature  at the present stage of its evolution. So, while God is not separate from his creation  or man, it is the illusory ego that evolved in the thinking mind we know as 'i' or 'me' or 'self' or Joe, Paul, etc  that creates that dichotomy that makes up opposites such as love and hate, good and evil, etc.. Without an ego hate  and evil is non-existent in the creature. All things are seen as One and accepted (loved). Hate then cannot in reality exist.

Just musing

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, JosephM said:

Perhaps God is not the man but merely the substrate  that  allows man (the creature)  to be.  In that respect,  God is not the hate in man but the hate is rather a current condition of genetic and conditioned individual and collective consciousness in the creature  at the present stage of its evolution. So, while God is not separate from his creation  or man, it is the illusory ego that evolved in the thinking mind we know as 'i' or 'me' or 'self' or Joe, Paul, etc  that creates that dichotomy that makes up opposites such as love and hate, good and evil, etc.. Without an ego hate  and evil is non-existent in the creature. All things are seen as One and accepted (loved). Hate then cannot in reality exist.

Agreed: God in not the hate or evil but, as Hick allows, God presents a world, a cosmos that as a soul-making or a human-making environment allows for evil, both man made and natural to occur. 

Without an ego or, from my perspective, as the human 'in Christ' transcends self-centeredness, there is no evil.

Edited by thormas

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13 hours ago, JosephM said:

Perhaps God is not the man but merely the substrate  that  allows man (the creature)  to be.  In that respect,  God is not the hate in man but the hate is rather a current condition of genetic and conditioned individual and collective consciousness in the creature  at the present stage of its evolution. So, while God is not separate from his creation  or man, it is the illusory ego that evolved in the thinking mind we know as 'i' or 'me' or 'self' or Joe, Paul, etc  that creates that dichotomy that makes up opposites such as love and hate, good and evil, etc.. Without an ego hate  and evil is non-existent in the creature. All things are seen as One and accepted (loved). Hate then cannot in reality exist.

Just musing

I didn't think I was saying God is the hate in man (as like you,  I think hate is just a current condition of genetic and conditioned individual and collective consciousness in the creature  at the present stage of its evolution).  Hate is purely a human-thinking term and emotion.  There is no such thing as 'hate' or 'love' outside of our mind.  The physical manifestation of things we do/see that we judge as hate or love (or some other degree in between) are all the experience of God living.  Or so I think anyway.

Rather I was trying to express that God is in the man who loves as well as the man who hates.  Man doesn't move any further or closer to God on this emotional continuum (its our thinking mind that creates the continuum - love vs hate and all of the grades in between).  I don't think there is a 'goal' that we are working towards other than to have our human existence and experience whilst it exists.  I don't think God has an emotion either way.  God just is and we just are - God's experience as us.  As such, there really is no love or hate in our existence - we just make it so.

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10 hours ago, PaulS said:

I didn't think I was saying God is the hate in man (as like you,  I think hate is just a current condition of genetic and conditioned individual and collective consciousness in the creature  at the present stage of its evolution).  Hate is purely a human-thinking term and emotion.  There is no such thing as 'hate' or 'love' outside of our mind.  The physical manifestation of things we do/see that we judge as hate or love (or some other degree in between) are all the experience of God living.  Or so I think anyway.

You weren't. I was just commenting on your post to clarify any possible reader  misunderstanding and to amplify on your postulate that God was indeed not separate. I probably should have commented without the repost of your quote.

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Posted (edited)
44 minutes ago, JosephM said:

.......... to amplify on your postulate that God was indeed not separate

This is interesting and fascinating stuff.

In Christianity, God is 'separate' - in that he is Creator and Being and man is the created - and yet 'not separate:' man lives in God and becomes 'one with' God but never becomes God. 

Edited by thormas

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12 hours ago, JosephM said:

You weren't. I was just commenting on your post to clarify any possible reader  misunderstanding and to amplify on your postulate that God was indeed not separate. I probably should have commented without the repost of your quote.

That makes more sense!  Thanks for clarifying.

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17 hours ago, thormas said:

In Christianity, God is 'separate' - in that he is Creator and Being and man is the created - and yet 'not separate:' man lives in God and becomes 'one with' God but never becomes God. 

Indeed, traditional Christianity has seen God as separate - so separate as to think of God as a theistic being, sitting 'out there', external to our physical cosmos, overseeing our daily lives and ultimately judging whether we are fit to live in Heaven or not.

Yet many Christians have moved away from this theistic understanding for what I call "Theism-lite" where separateness from God is still maintained (as though God is something other but still a father figure per se) and with an intriguing 'not separate' understanding of living within God simultaneously, but of course not being part of that God within which one lives.

Perhaps the next step in Christianity (which I think is already developing) will be to understand that one can't 'become' something that they already are.  Perhaps we are in fact just as much the "I Am" as when Jesus said he and his Father were as one.  Just speculating.

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9 hours ago, PaulS said:

Perhaps the next step in Christianity (which I think is already developing) will be to understand that one can't 'become' something that they already are.

Yes, it seems to me, that time is now and also coming.  It seems to me, to be as you indicate more about realization rather than becoming.

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, PaulS said:

Indeed, traditional Christianity has seen God as separate - so separate as to think of God as a theistic being, sitting 'out there', external to our physical cosmos, overseeing our daily lives and ultimately judging whether we are fit to live in Heaven or not.

Yet many Christians have moved away from this theistic understanding for what I call "Theism-lite" where separateness from God is still maintained (as though God is something other but still a father figure per se) and with an intriguing 'not separate' understanding of living within God simultaneously, but of course not being part of that God within which one lives.

Perhaps the next step in Christianity (which I think is already developing) will be to understand that one can't 'become' something that they already are.  Perhaps we are in fact just as much the "I Am" as when Jesus said he and his Father were as one.  Just speculating.

Theism-lite..........I like it.

Although there are also non-theistic images of God in the Bible, I do agree that theism with it's extrinsic, separate God is/was the dominant understanding of God in Christianity. Theism-lite or panentheism does have a more nuanced view of God, with the latter actually eliminating the 'separateness' (as did Paul in his letters) by recognizing that 'the world is in God' as opposed to an external God overseeing the world. 

However, the view still seems to be that while we are not separate, while we are in God - God transcends us. We are 'part of' the God in whom we live but we are not the fullness that is God. Christianity still sees God as Abba/Creator/Being; it is not  pantheistic - we are not God.

We will agree to disagree on the 'next step' for this touches on yet another paradox: we become or growth into the fullness of what we are. Some theologians have said God's creation is only 'finished' at the end (so to speak) when man fully becomes Human and thus one with God. Some have also said that our I am is part of God's I AM.

It seems to me that even when Joseph (and he can speak for himself) speaks of enlightenment - whether it is sometime we aspire to or something we discover 'in ourself' or just discover - still suggests 'something' that we don't have now and that therefore is still beyond or transcends us. We also seem to be more when we are enlightened than we were before we got enlightened or discovered enlightenment. It seems to be enlightened is not seen as a good thing.

 

This is a next step for you, have you seen others speculating that this is the next step in Christianity? 

 

Edited by thormas

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Posted (edited)
43 minutes ago, JosephM said:

It seems to me, to be as you indicate more about realization rather than becoming.

If I realize something that I did not previously realize or know, am I different that before I realized it? Am I, in some way, more? Is the mystic different than the one who is so unenlightened that they don't even know they are not but could be?

Even the word to realize is to become (fully) aware.

Edited by thormas

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2 hours ago, thormas said:

However, the view still seems to be that while we are not separate, while we are in God - God transcends us. We are 'part of' the God in whom we live but we are not the fullness that is God. Christianity still sees God as Abba/Creator/Being; it is not  pantheistic - we are not God.

We (the creature) as was written of Jesus may have the fullness of the Godhead dwelling in us bodily if we are dwelling in Christ. Only because the creature dies do we say i am not God. If we speak from dwelling in Christ (ego is cast aside/ self dead) ,  it is not the creature speaking at that moment and we can say i and God are one. In the next moment we may be dwelling in self again and while God has not gone anywhere we may be back in the conditioned self. 

In that moment , Jesus would say "Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.” 🙂🙂😄

2 hours ago, thormas said:

It seems to me that even when Joseph (and he can speak for himself) speaks of enlightenment - whether it is sometime we aspire to or something we discover 'in ourself' or just discover - still suggests 'something' that we don't have now and that therefore is still beyond or transcends us. We also seem to be more when we are enlightened than we were before we got enlightened or discovered enlightenment. It seems to be enlightened is not seen as a good thing.

In my experience, enlightenment is realization of that which is always present which includes have had,  and have now.  The creature may experience moments of enlightenment  and drift in and out of it  I understand it can be permanent but i have only experienced something called "Satori" by Buddhists whereby one is  "seeing into one's true nature". Moments of enlightenment are all i am truly familiar with. In those moments it is obvious that that nature/God was always present and is always present whether realized or not. In my experience, those moments are in the absence of conditioned thinking. It is more a knowing without thought at that moment in time that comes from a yielding / submission of self. Unspeakable peace and joy has always been present in those moments even under extreme life threatening conditions. Unfortunately, a pattern of obsessive and conditioned thinking  has always returned to date. 

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, JosephM said:

We (the creature) as was written of Jesus may have the fullness of the Godhead dwelling in us bodily if we are dwelling in Christ. Only because the creature dies do we say i am not God. If we speak from dwelling in Christ (ego is cast aside/ self dead) ,  it is not the creature speaking at that moment and we can say i and God are one. In the next moment we may be dwelling in self again and while God has not gone anywhere we may be back in the conditioned self. 

In that moment , Jesus would say "Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.” 

I agree with the fullness of God dwelling in us, albeit a finite expression of God. However to say that we are not God because we die is, in itself, a powerful admission. I also agree with the oneness (with/in God) but paradoxically although we are not separate from God, we are not God.

Such 'identification of Jesus Christ and God was a later development yet even then Christians acclaimed Jesus as Lord whom we revere.

 

4 hours ago, JosephM said:

In my experience, enlightenment is realization of that which is always present which includes have had,  and have now.  The creature may experience moments of enlightenment  and drift in and out of it  I understand it can be permanent but i have only experienced something called "Satori" by Buddhists whereby one is  "seeing into one's true nature". Moments of enlightenment are all i am truly familiar with. In those moments it is obvious that that nature/God was always present and is always present whether realized or not. In my experience, those moments are in the absence of conditioned thinking. It is more a knowing without thought at that moment in time that comes from a yielding / submission of self. Unspeakable peace and joy has always been present in those moments even under extreme life threatening conditions. Unfortunately, a pattern of obsessive and conditioned thinking  has always returned to date. 

Realization is a becoming. Even if something is always present (which I believe it is), the awareness of that 'something' is not. I believe that God is always present and 'active' and I believe that 'Presence' presents itSelf (or is ever-present) and the man who realizes this becomes enlightened. To become is, in a real sense, to begin: it is not a beginning for what is always present, rather it is the man who realizes that presence has a 'beginning.'  The present doesn't become (it is), it is man who becomes..... aware. 

I also agree that God is present whether we realize it or not. Yet it is only in realization/enlightenment that one can 'dwell in Christ.' Although I do allow/know that the simple man or woman who might even believe in a traditional theistic God can also 'dwell in Christ' if they love (agape). Faith is nothing without works, realization is empty without love. 

 

As an aside: God, the presence does not need to become enlightened. If there is that which needs to become enlightened, it is not God.

 

 

Edited by thormas

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Sounds good to me. 👍

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19 hours ago, thormas said:

This is a next step for you, have you seen others speculating that this is the next step in Christianity? 

It's not really a next step per se - I'm not saying that I think this is what God is - I am just speculating.  But it does seem to me to be a more logical understanding of God than any other expression of understanding God that I have been exposed to, either here or elsewhere.

Others speculating?  Well, only by our most obvious example, such as Joseph here.  Maybe not in every sense though.  I've also read a number of articles and essays concerning the concept - whether the people are "Christians" or not I don't recall.  I've also seen various articles along this line on the greater TCPC homepage from people who I would guess do regard themselves as Christian.  Whether it is a distinguished movement or not, I really couldn't say.  Personally, I think it is somewhat of what Spong is pointing to in his book we have been discussing on another thread.  I know you won't agree, but I read him as touching on or entering this territory.  I do suspect we will see more and more of it in Christianity.  

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