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More Thoughts On God


Jake
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It was suggested that I move this conversation to debate and dialogue due to a percieved misconception I detected concerning a post I made on Kyler's thread, "Thoughts on God". I would like to open it up for debate in this forum. I apologize, in advance, if this sounds confrontational. I hope you will read it in the manner it was intended, and keep the conversation ongoing with your responses.

 

First off, I do not believe that God is profound peace, and has nothing but unconditional love for "His" creation. I do not believe that if I would just stop wrestling then, at that "moment of surrender a profound peace and presence emerges that removes all conflicts and questions of conflicts", or that "all that wrestling was nothing more than vanity and a creation of the mind and no longer necessary."

To me that sounds a bit like the "Prosperity Gospel" prostheletizing that I hear from the fundamentalists, and the mega church movement.

God is infinite and beyond our understanding. God is all things and nothing. God is an Event taking place in our lives every waking moment. God is beyond our concept of love, of hate, of fear, of joy, of good, or of evil. All of these things are just human constructs used in an attempt to control the God that is around us. We objectify God by trying to bring God into the scope of human understanding and we assign traits and descripitives like "merciful", or "loving", or "all knowing".

To surrender and stop wrestling with this God beyond my understanding in exchange for this profound sense of peace has nothing to do with faith and requires no faith. It simply calls for a conscious decision to "believe". That belief is giving in exchange for the reward of peace.

Real faith is forged in conflict and in doubt. Faith is the stubborn pursual of the mystery of God, without the guarantee of reward.

What I perceived in the previous thread was a tendancy of the contributors to present an objectification of God in response to my post about struggling with God. I felt there was a pattern of suggestions as to how I get beyond my struggles to find this inner peace, as if my wrestling with God was a problem to be solved. Some responses were even borderline arrogant, and suggested, albeit politely, that my understanding of God might somehow be less mature than those whose beliefs had evolved to a place beyond the struggle with an understanding of God. Well, thanks all for your suggestions, but I prefer to keep up the fight.

My understanding of faith comes from somewhere other than the guarantee of peace, the promise of heaven, or the fear of hell. In my perception, the holiest day in the Christian calender should be "Black Saturday", the day between the Good Friday and Easter Sunday. For the first Christians, those who new Jesus immediately and personally, there was no guarantee of salvation or of peace. They followed this man when the church of the day hated him, plotted against him, and eventually killed him. They lived with their doubts and fears. They lived knowing that through their associations with him they may be killed as well. The man they loved and followed had just been killed, and the miracle of the resurrection had yet to occur.

On that Saturday, fearing for their lives, morning for their friend and lord, left with nothing but the memory of their times with Jesus and the message he had given them, that was the moment when faith was forged. In that black moment, the message and the Event of Christ were all,and that was everything.

I am not looking for peace, prosperity, clarity, etc. If I have moments of any of those in my faith, then I am blessed, but to expect them as a result of my beliefs is to fall short in my faith. The basis of my faith is not found in answers, but in the birth of new questions. Christianity is a pursuit, not a doctrine or a creed. To reach the end of that pursuit is to find out that I have never even started.

 

I leave you with a traditional Jewish tale.

Two highly respected and well learned Rabbis would meet for lunch every Wednesday in a park and debate scriptures from the Torah. They were both very wise and holy men, and very knowledgeable, but they could never come to an agreement about the meaning of some of the texts. They would offer up their arguements to each other sometimes convincing one to change his opinion, but then the other would be swayed by the presented evidence and find himself arguing from the perspective of the first. This went on for years and years, and they could never come to an agreement. One day God decided he had had enough of the incesant debate. God reached down and parted the clouds and spoke to the Rabbis.

" It has been years and years, and still you two cannot decern the meaning behind my words. I will give you their true meaning and put an end to this debate once and for all."

After overcoming their shoke at the appearance of God, the Rabbis composed themselves and responded to their Lord, "You stay out of this! You've given us the words, it is our place to figure out what they mean."

 

Just think on it for a while.

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Hi Jake,

 

And thanks so much for bringing this topic to this section so we can all share perspectives in more detail. I think your question and topic is important to many here. Your question and view is not taken as confrontational and it is exemplary of what TCPC is all about as long as we can dialog in a respectful fashion which I believe you have done. In fact there is no requirement for a winner or loser or agreement or disagreement in this area. There is no one that will be determined right and another wrong except possibly in the mind of him/her who chooses to do so. We are just going to challenge each other a little so we might better understand each other and might have an opportunity to modify our perspective if desired. I have an appointment at present so I will respond later this evening when I have more time to contemplate your words in silence and give a complete response. Until then, perhaps others will join in and explain in more detail their position after considering your words.

 

Again, I am very glad you have address your concerns with some of the responses in other threads and opened it for more detailed discussion.

 

Love in Christ,

Joseph

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Hi,

 

I believe in wrestling for a blessing. God just wishes I chose my matches more wisely. :lol: When I presented New Bibles to 9th graders I would sometimes say that the book would make them angry and they would want to throw the Bible away. I urged them to keep wrestling until they received a blessing. My little wrestling matches I don't remember. My larger matches begin with something like: How do we know which religion is right? What if my son's 2nd grade teacher is gay? Why did something go wrong in surgery? Why do we have to stay 50 days instead of 14? The wrestling begins when I realize that my faith as it is at the moment is insufficient and inarticulate. This crucifixion of my known and certain world begins the subsequent wrestling match. It may take a year or two or ten or thirty and in the end I receive a blessing.

 

Dutch

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(snip)

First off, I do not believe that God is profound peace, and has nothing but unconditional love for "His" creation. I do not believe that if I would just stop wrestling then, at that "moment of surrender a profound peace and presence emerges that removes all conflicts and questions of conflicts", or that "all that wrestling was nothing more than vanity and a creation of the mind and no longer necessary."

 

(snip)

 

 

 

Greeting Jake,

 

First of all, I freely admit you will find selected writings in the Bible to make your point. As you will see I can also use some selected writings and some reasoning to challenge your interpretations so personally I will try to minimize my use of Biblical writings after I make a point concerning peace and then deal mostly with my personal experience which there is no requirement on my part for anyone to accept. First of all I can't prove anything. What I say can only be subjectively experienced, not proven. If it is experienced, no explanation will be needed anyway.

 

As a forward, let me also admit that anything I say (write) in words is dualistic in nature and in my experience God is not, therefor there will be a level of inherent error in my words because of that limitation in verbal communications. God is in words an invisible God. The Bible and any attempt to prove God to another will confirm this. God is the source of creation and in a sense can be seen in the things that are created yet God is not created as is man and the things that are created. So we can say that God is Spirit by which the world is created but God is not the world because God is eternal and the uncreated.

 

Concerning peace Just a few words on Peace from the Bible.....

 

Psalms 29:11 "the Lord will bless his people with PEACE" Psalms 34:14 "seek PEACE and pursue it"

 

Psalms 37:7 "Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright for the end of that man is PEACE"

 

Proverbs 3:13-18 "Happy is the man that finded wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. for the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things that thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and ALL her paths are PEACE. She is a tree of life to them that retaineth her."

 

Isaiah 26:3 "Thou will keep him in perfect PEACE, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusted in thee"

 

Luke 1:79 "To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of PEACE. " Note the end goal is to guide us into peace because there is no darkness in light and no conflict in peace and peace is found in God.

 

And most importantly Jesus is recorded saying in John 16:33 "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have PEACE. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." and in another place "my PEACE I give unto you not as the world giveth PEACE"

 

Gal 5:22 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, PEACE, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith," Notice these are attributes of Spirit. That which you might consider the opposite or absence of these things such as conflict must therefore be of the flesh.

 

Phil 4:7 "And the PEACE of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Note it is the peace of God that passes understanding that keeps our hearts and minds through Christ.

 

These writings alone, if accepted as true say that Peace is of God. Wrestling must be of the world. Conflict is of the world. Peace is a fruit of the Spirit of God. If we are seeking Wisdom and all her paths are peace and she (Wisdom) is the tree of life then Peace is in a sense a compass to God. In the same sense God is Love. Anything that is not Love is not of God but of the world. And what is the world but the 5 senses connected to and interpreted by the mind. Without the mind, does the world even exist?

 

Read the whole book of Ecclesiastes believed by many to be written by Solomon, reportedly who had more wisdom than any other man Ecc 1:14 "I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit."

 

I have only addressed your first paragraph so far. And I will no longer be using the Bible as it is only being used by me for convenience here rather than authority as I can make a case for your viewpoint also using it. Perhaps from this input we can agree that there are different viewpoints from the same book. Having said all the above, and having presented some writing that seem to support this view, I will gladly dismiss it all and give my personal testimony.

 

In my experience of God, in Spirit, there was no duality of subject and object nor limitation of locality. Anger, fear, hate, resentment, judgement, jealousy, revenge and conflict were not a possibility. Profound peace, unconditional love, and infinite power were present. On that alone I base the authority within the limitations of language of my statement you referenced in your quote. I offer no proof, only testimony to do with as one wishes. In my view, we can choose to wrestle or believe that God is subject to the egoic characteristics of the creature as is a common projection and even supported by writings or we can surrender to God completely and experience what is beyond the duality of men and words.

 

Just my perspective of the first paragraph. Perhaps I can address some of the rest as I get time. Thanks again for bringing up the issue and I am open to any questions or comments on what I have said.

 

Love in Christ,

Joseph

 

 

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Hi Jake,

 

I liked your story at the end of the post. I thought you made some interesting points. I found it interesting that you used the term "wrestling," as I have on occasion used the story of Jacob and the "angel" to describe my approach to to Bible. I think it might apply to other aspects of religion, but I'm not sure.

 

I know that one way that many people perceive God is as "infinite and beyond our understanding." Many use the word "mystery" to describe their perceptions or understanding of God's attributes, and I see that as a similar theological approach. In that context, I tend to think of myself as an agnostic, as those aren't ideas that I find particularly helpful.

 

You appear to be making a distinction between belief and faith, and I find such a distinction helpful. I've pretty much come to the position that belief is not a particularly useful attribute for a religion. Faith, on the other hand, works well for me because I read a measure of not knowing into it. In that context, I liked the idea that "faith is the stubborn pursual of the mystery of God, without the guarantee of reward."

 

I don't remember if I made my point about God as "coming into being" in the previous thread, but that is how I hedge my theological bets. I can't see the value in a god that is not omnibenevolent, and the issue of theodicy (god and evil) leads me to conclude that God is still pretty much below the radar. What I see is occasional events that give me the kind of hope that I think of when I use the term "faith."

 

I also am taken with the notion that "the basis of ... faith is not found in answers, but in the birth of new questions." As far as what Christianity is, I tend to think of a hymn that goes, in part, "follow with reverent steps the great example of one whose only thought was doing good."

 

Anyway, those are my random thoughts for the moment.

Edited by grampawombat
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(snip)

To me that sounds a bit like the "Prosperity Gospel" prostheletizing that I hear from the fundamentalists, and the mega church movement.

God is infinite and beyond our understanding. God is all things and nothing. God is an Event taking place in our lives every waking moment. God is beyond our concept of love, of hate, of fear, of joy, of good, or of evil. All of these things are just human constructs used in an attempt to control the God that is around us. We objectify God by trying to bring God into the scope of human understanding and we assign traits and descripitives like "merciful", or "loving", or "all knowing".

 

 

I certainly cannot speak for the mega church movement as I am quite ignorant concerning them but I would share in my experience some of the things you have written above to be very similar.

 

 

To surrender and stop wrestling with this God beyond my understanding in exchange for this profound sense of peace has nothing to do with faith and requires no faith. It simply calls for a conscious decision to "believe". That belief is giving in exchange for the reward of peace.

 

 

That is one way to look at it. We are all free to wrestle if we like just as we are all free to completely surrender. It seems to me that first, we indeed as creatures do wrestle with God or at least think we are. After all, how can we find out whether a road is a dead end or not unless we first go down it or in some cases accept another's word who had traveled the same path and decide to try that alternative. It seems to me, eventually all who continue to struggle and wrestle with God will come to the same conclusion in the end. Therefore I would not argue against it though I would present a different perspective to any that would listen.

 

 

Real faith is forged in conflict and in doubt. Faith is the stubborn pursual of the mystery of God, without the guarantee of reward.

What I perceived in the previous thread was a tendancy of the contributors to present an objectification of God in response to my post about struggling with God. I felt there was a pattern of suggestions as to how I get beyond my struggles to find this inner peace, as if my wrestling with God was a problem to be solved. Some responses were even borderline arrogant, and suggested, albeit politely, that my understanding of God might somehow be less mature than those whose beliefs had evolved to a place beyond the struggle with an understanding of God. Well, thanks all for your suggestions, but I prefer to keep up the fight.

 

 

 

Jake, To me, real faith is a gift. Though one passes through doubt and conflict, faith offers no resistance. Perhaps, real faith is knowing and beyond belief. To me, when faith is present, no belief is necessary. Perhaps we both define faith differently?

 

As far as the pattern of suggestions you received in the previous thread, I would think that some perceived a problem and hoped to help by suggestions. I personally think they were sincere but of course, this still could be perceived as arrogant. It is extremely difficult to use language in such sensitive matters. I can only speak for myself and say that I do not view you as more or less,or, higher or lower than I. To me each individual is where they are in their evolution at this moment in time. This does not make one better or one worse than the other. What does one have that they have not been given? And if they have been given it, where is the room for boasting or arrogance?

 

 

My understanding of faith comes from somewhere other than the guarantee of peace, the promise of heaven, or the fear of hell. In my perception, the holiest day in the Christian calender should be "Black Saturday", the day between the Good Friday and Easter Sunday. For the first Christians, those who new Jesus immediately and personally, there was no guarantee of salvation or of peace. They followed this man when the church of the day hated him, plotted against him, and eventually killed him. They lived with their doubts and fears. They lived knowing that through their associations with him they may be killed as well. The man they loved and followed had just been killed, and the miracle of the resurrection had yet to occur.

On that Saturday, fearing for their lives, morning for their friend and lord, left with nothing but the memory of their times with Jesus and the message he had given them, that was the moment when faith was forged. In that black moment, the message and the Event of Christ were all,and that was everything.

I am not looking for peace, prosperity, clarity, etc. If I have moments of any of those in my faith, then I am blessed, but to expect them as a result of my beliefs is to fall short in my faith. The basis of my faith is not found in answers, but in the birth of new questions. Christianity is a pursuit, not a doctrine or a creed. To reach the end of that pursuit is to find out that I have never even started.

 

 

My understanding is similar, My faith has nothing to do with the promise of heaven or fear of hell. Personally, I esteem every day alike and do not object to others who might esteem one day above another. I hear you saying you are "not looking for peace, prosperity. clarity, etc." Personally I am not looking for them either but they are a fruit of that faith that I cannot deny. And in that sense they are in my present view a good compass in determining what our faith is in because the fruits of the spirit are not only well recorded but seem to me to be a living testimony of those who abide in Christ. I could not concur with you more that indeed real Christianity is not a doctrine or a creed. However, to me, it seems even less a pursuit and more of being apprehended of God. For how can one even come to God unless the Spirit draw him?

 

BTW, I have heard that Jewish tale before and am content and overjoyed to receive from God directly. smile.gif

 

All of this post is meant to be taken lightly. If it speaks true that is good and if not, it is good to let it pass.

 

Love in Christ,

Joseph

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Jake,

 

After having slept on your post, I awake, having to agree that in this world we are continually brought into conflict, tribulation on some scale , and the like. We are shaken by our circumstances which many times result (or are drawn to us) by our flesh nature which includes the pride of life, lust and other egoic tendencies of this creature called man. We are shaken in a sense so that only those things which cannot be shaken remain in us. ( so that we might arrive at the end goal unto perfection that is in Christ) Perhaps this is the struggling with God and "wrestling" you speak of. The end goal, which is peace and love that passes all understanding is to me the compass because it is that which is 'in the world but not of the world'. Surely, we struggle in this world but to what end? Is it not to overcome the world? And is the world not overcome by surrender to God who is well able to finish the work in us that was started ? If we seek God, is it really not the essence of love that we seek? And in that essence, is not there found profound peace?

 

Just a few questions for you.

 

Love in Christ,

Joseph

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Thanks for the well worded replies. I hope others will chime in on this as well.

 

In my opinion,to view faith as a surrender to God, breaks faith down the affirmation of certain beliefs that offer a means to understanding life. It reduces Christianity to an idea that the world exists simply for the purpos of God loving us, and being loved in return, and the existence of a reward in Heaven for that exchange of love. It misses the Greek sense of tragedy that is so vital to experiencing life in the fullest right here and now. The affirmation of that peaceful bliss and world without end is almost a form of nihilism (a'la Nietzsche) that robs life of its fragile and fleeting beauty.

For me, the faith born in doubt and confusion, formed in late hours of wrestling with the unknown,is a means of more fully engaging life with all it's sufffering, tragedy, and unknowing. This is also the lesson I take from the Book of Psalms, in numerous verses. David, hunted, hounded, and in hiding, pleads and cries out, "Why God? Why? Where are you!"

 

Love to continue, but I have to prepare for church this morning.

 

Thanks again for the responses. I hope a few more join this conversation. The fuel for reflection is a blessing for me.

Edited by Jake
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(snip)

 

For me, the faith born in doubt and confusion, formed in late hours of wrestling with the unknown,is a means of more fully engaging life with all it's sufffering, tragedy, and unknowing. This is also the lesson I take from the Book of Psalms, in numerous verses. David, hunted, hounded, and in hiding, pleads and cries out, "Why God? Why? Where are you!"

 

(snip)

 

 

Jake, it does seem you have more of a taste for the dramatic than I. laugh.gif On the serious side, perhaps more will join in and you can address any questions I may have left you with. BTW, In case there is any misunderstanding, I am in no way waiting for any promise of heaven nor do I believe the world exists for the purpose of God loving us and being loved in return. That would be a dualistic understanding. Nor do I believe God loves anyone greater than another nor has any favorites nor has any enemies. Thought I would add that just so a label might be more difficult to apply to me. wink.gif

 

Joseph

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I don't know that I have any answers. What I vaguely thought I believed doesn't work anymore.

 

Words that work for me today:

Now is Holy and Apocalyptic. In this moment I am completed in God and God is completed in me. I think there is a tug toward the left - love. That is the "preferred" side but it is not the essential side of the relationship.

 

In "Your Definition Of God" topic grampwombat said

 

I describe God as "coming into being." for me, God is still pretty much below the radar, but growing in power and influence.

 

I am intrigued and it would fit with the idea that God's creating arose out of God's yearning to know God's self in the only way possible, by being in relationship with "other." We are other to God; God is other to us. Relationship is dynamic, changing, and the implication is that God and I change as the relationship continues. I think Jakob Boehme suggests that this transcendent entity we call God recoiled in wrath or pain at the first becoming of relationship with the other. An anthropomorphic projection, one out of our experience. As someone who is separated from his spouse I can say that wrath and pain are definitely part of relationship.

 

First is not an appropriate term. I am not sure there is one for a transcendent becoming immanent event.

 

The immanent nature of God had billions of years of relating to creation "coming into being" before I arrived on the scene. I have no idea what to make of this but it does suggest that I should be less certain about anything I say about relationship with God.

 

In my opinion,to view faith as a surrender to God, breaks faith down the affirmation of certain beliefs that offer a means to understanding life.

 

What if the "surrender to God" means to treat each moment as valuable and not anything to hang on to?

 

from the Tao Te Ching translated by J. Legge Chapter 5

 

Heaven and earth do not act from (the impulse of) any wish to be

benevolent; they deal with all things as the dogs of grass are dealt

with.

The sages do not act from (any wish to be) benevolent; they

deal with the people as the dogs of grass are dealt with.

 

Straw dogs are handled as if valuable until the ritual then they are thrown away or burned. Yes, the Tao view suggests that bearing slightly left or right is of no meaning or importance but, hey, I am writing the story.

 

If I follow my logic I would replace the phrase "surrender to God" with "surrender to the Now." God and I meeting in the Holy and Apocalyptic now. I am trying to lean left because it makes me feel better. Then we do it again. And again. And again. This is not without pain and works best if I am not hanging on to any of the altars of stones behind me.

 

I am not sure I would agree with all this tomorrow.

 

Dutch

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Dutch,

 

It seems to me there is no 'other' to God. God is All in All. To the creature who thinks he is separate there is the 'other' but perhaps in reality one will find that separation is an illusion of mind and there has been, is and shall always be only One indivisible and without parts.

 

You say that Boehme speaks of the wrath of God. I would ask how one that is all present, all knowing and all powerful and is the creator could ever be wrathful, or even angry with that which it creates knowing full well the end from the beginning as if there was one. These emotions do seem to me to be no more than, as you say, " An anthropomorphic projection " of the mind of the creature.

 

To me, 'surrender to God' is one and the same with surrender to now because God can only be found and is present in the 'now'. It is a non resistance / acceptance of the moment that IS so that we are free to move rather than as you have said so well " to hang on to ".

 

Joseph

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It seems to me there is no 'other' to God. God is All in All. To the creature who thinks he is separate there is the 'other' but perhaps in reality one will find that separation is an illusion of mind and there has been, is and shall always be only One indivisible and without parts.

 

Hi, Joseph,

 

I understand this is your understanding. I am either not there yet or disagree. Scriptures describe a relationship between one and the other, between God and us, superior and inferior, Creator and created. If All is in All and there is no separation then, I think, there is no relationship. There is a question I should have asked you first: Do you believe in a personal relationship with God in any way?

 

I am not fond of realities of which our experience is only illusions, only shadows. I would say that all creation becoming is the reality. All that we can learn about it in all our ways of knowing is real. Our understanding of creation becoming is never a complete or full understanding, but that is not the result of illusion. I believe that there is another, or, are other, reality/realities that we don't know, don't understand, are not aware of. Obviously I can't say anything else about that.

 

You say that Boehme speaks of the wrath of God. I would ask how one that is all present, all knowing and all powerful and is the creator could ever be wrathful, or even angry with that which it creates knowing full well the end from the beginning as if there was one. These emotions do seem to me to be no more than, as you say, " An anthropomorphic projection " of the mind of the creature."

 

"all powerful"

 

I don't believe that God is all powerful. That is part of my answer to the problem of good and evil. I think that God is not "voluntariliy limiting" God's power, I believe that God is "inherently limited" in power.

 

"all knowing"

 

God's knowledge is limited otherwise there is no relationship. God's knowledge is limited not voluntarily but inherently. God does not know how it is going to turn out, does not know what is going to happen next, and did not know a long time ago what values would be preferred. Perhaps it might be said that God a billion years ago did not know about love. God is in relationship with the other that is creation becoming and that relationship is ever changing. The only thing that the static transcendent God, complete, with no beginning no end - no words to describe - the only thing that God knew was a yearning to learn about God's self.

 

"God's wrath"

 

Boehme probably used this image differently than I do and it is at the edge of my understanding of everything else he said after that. He is a mystic and mystics often make me dizzy. I used "God's wrath" only to suggest that the static transcendent God opening up Divine self to creation of other and becoming dynamic immanent God in relationship - that is similar to our struggle to open up, setting the ego aside and being present for the Now. It is a painful struggle that can not be avoided. Foetus becoming infant becoming separated from mother, learning that other people get a turn, deserve fairness and justice and love - and that there are forces, systems, people who work against these values. This is a process that is not without some pain.

 

"shall always be only One indivisible and without parts"

 

For me this happens in the moment after Now when immanent God gathers up all that has become and uses it in the next becoming, ever "reusing" that which has become into that which is becoming the next moment. A good image for me is the fact that many stars were born and died before all the elements in the natural periodic table were available for further becoming of the universe and life.

 

"surrender to God/Now"

 

Surrendering in your and my understanding perhaps is better said, "being open to the Now/God"

 

Dutch

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Hi, Joseph,

 

I understand this is your understanding. I am either not there yet or disagree. Scriptures describe a relationship between one and the other, between God and us, superior and inferior, Creator and created. If All is in All and there is no separation then, I think, there is no relationship. There is a question I should have asked you first: Do you believe in a personal relationship with God in any way?

 

It can't get any more personal than no separation. smile.gif Relationship is a concept of the thinking mind. It creates the other. To me the relationship and God as 'other' is a concept that does not exist in permanent reality.

 

 

 

 

I am not fond of realities of which our experience is only illusions, only shadows. I would say that all creation becoming is the reality. All that we can learn about it in all our ways of knowing is real. Our understanding of creation becoming is never a complete or full understanding, but that is not the result of illusion. I believe that there is another, or, are other, reality/realities that we don't know, don't understand, are not aware of. Obviously I can't say anything else about that.

 

That is understandable. To me, all that is of a temporal nature can be called reality to the temporary one but to Me in true reality it is but an illusion to pass away that has been created by the mind. Jesus is recorded saying that his kingdom is not of this world because his kingdom is everlasting and this world is not therefor in the sense that this is temporary, it is an illusion that appears and disappears and has no absolute reality. I do not expect agreement, just sharing a view from my experience.

 

 

"all powerful"

 

I don't believe that God is all powerful. That is part of my answer to the problem of good and evil. I think that God is not "voluntariliy limiting" God's power, I believe that God is "inherently limited" in power.

 

all knowing"

 

God's knowledge is limited otherwise there is no relationship. God's knowledge is limited not voluntarily but inherently. God does not know how it is going to turn out, does not know what is going to happen next, and did not know a long time ago what values would be preferred. Perhaps it might be said that God a billion years ago did not know about love. God is in relationship with the other that is creation becoming and that relationship is ever changing. The only thing that the static transcendent God, complete, with no beginning no end - no words to describe - the only thing that God knew was a yearning to learn about God's self.

 

 

 

That is quite alright with me for another to hold that view even though I do not share it.

 

Love in Christ,

Joseph

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Thanks for the thought out responses. I find my own beliefs on God to be somewhere othere than Dutch and Joseph. Reality is definitely not an illusion to me, and I personally find that view, in practice, to be potentially dangerous. Reality is the sum of our perceived experiences from moment to moment. I will agree that every one lives in a different reality, and the other person's reality may be an illusion to me.

 

Also since time is a human construct the Now, Then, Before, After are just our own designations of chronology. That being said, When, becomes less relevant.

 

I think both of you are correct on the nature of God. God is both one with us, and other than us, both at the same time. Since one cannot have a relationship with oneself, God must be seprate, and other. Since God is All, then God is each of us. I think of it in terms of Life. Life is lived and experienced, but you cannot see, touch or feel life. Life cannot be explained by any of our senses, but is the thing that allows our senses to experience it.

In that same way, God is made manifest as a happening, an event, a blessing. God is revealed as one who is made present by acts of love and liberation rather than through catagories of human understanding.

 

Wish I had more time, but I am late for work. Just a little more food for thought, maybe "What are your thoughts on God" is the wrong question. I should have asked, "Why do you think on God?"

Edited by Jake
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Thanks for the thought out responses. I find my own beliefs on God to be somewhere othere than Dutch and Joseph. Reality is definitely not an illusion to me, and I personally find that view, in practice, to be potentially dangerous. Reality is the sum of our perceived experiences from moment to moment. I will agree that every one lives in a different reality, and the other person's reality may be an illusion to me.

 

Jake,

Actually we never said reality was an illusion. Reality is reality. The "sum of our perceived experiences from to moment" is the illusion and the real danger and source of conflict and wars. If "every one lives in a different reality" as you agree then it is not reality. Wiki shows: "Reality, in everyday usage, means "the state of things as they actually exist." In a sense it is what is real"

If everyone sees things differently, it seems to me, that is their subjective experience, not true reality that I spoke of.

 

Also since time is a human construct the Now, Then, Before, After are just our own designations of chronology. That being said, When, becomes less relevant.

 

It seems to me that Now is always more relevant than past or future because Now is the only time in which one can experience God. The past is only a memory in mind and the future a non-existent reality that can only come in the Now, but now is the only moment where true reality is found and that is eternal and always.

 

I think both of you are correct on the nature of God. God is both one with us, and other than us, both at the same time. Since one cannot have a relationship with oneself, God must be seprate, and other. Since God is All, then God is each of us. I think of it in terms of Life. Life is lived and experienced, but you cannot see, touch or feel life. Life cannot be explained by any of our senses, but is the thing that allows our senses to experience it.

In that same way, God is made manifest as a happening, an event, a blessing. God is revealed as one who is made present by acts of love and liberation rather than through catagories of human understanding.

 

There is no disagreement, as one of us speaks from a dualistic point of view and the other from non-duality. The reason I said there is no other is because God can never be known as the 'other' because 'the other' implies a separation and that is not the perspective I was speaking from. Being separate, one can 'know about' something described as 'the other' but the only way to 'know' is to be one with. Jesus said "I and my Father are One" and in John he prayed that we would be One also. In my experience, there are no parts in God except those created by language and the mind which is the source of the illusion. In Spirit no language or thinking is necessary.

 

Even the Buddha might agree as this is the essence of his teachings based on the Pali Canon recognized by Buddhist scholars as the oldest record of what the Buddha actually taught:

 

 

Absolute changeless permanent reality, the unconditioned, itself alone is,

all else has always been, is, and always will be just a state of make-believe fiction,

a state of delusion worn like a costume with multiple fabricated viewpoints,

with each self-sustaining itself in a self-perpetuated state of self-ignorance,

until each decides to come to closure through self-enlightenment and self-awakening

 

Just some thoughts for your contemplation,

Joseph

 

Post has been edited by JosephM

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hello Jake,

 

I do apologize if my thread has caused any conflict between forum members. I also apologize if it seemed as if I saw you as being lower than I, because that is not true. I have ever only seen each forum member as equal or higher than myself, seeing as I'm still trying to figure out things. I wish I had been allowed to read things like this before recent events. Everyone on this forum seems like a giant to me. All your understandings of God seem bigger than mine. I was raised in a very sheltered home and was only allowed to read what my parents deemed readable, I was never allowed on the internet by myself until I was13, so anything like this forum was pretty much weeded out. I feel like a child who has never been allowed outside all their life and is finally seeing the trees and grass, flowers and leaves, animals and insects. I'm so confused and overwhelmed, I don't know where to go what to do. Every person on this forum is a guide post for me. It's hard for me to read everything on this forum and come to terms with past and recent events, and beliefs in my life.

I think I finally understand your wrestling with God. I guess I'm doing the same sort of thing more or less. Except my wrestling is looking for help. I'm wrestling with God about past beliefs and present revelations, I don't know what to let go of and what to keep. Letting go of my past conceptions of God is so hard to do. I was never allowed to find God for myself growing up, because I was always told what to believe. I was spoon fed doctrine all my life, and now with so much conflict around me on this forum and in daily life, all this wrestling is getting a bit tiresome. I understand your wrestling for answers better than you think, but I'm still learning to wrestle and my stamina is running low. If you could give me some wrestling tips I would appreciate it.

I appreciate any advice I receive and I thank you for your responses on my thread.

 

Kyler.

Edited by Kyler Rush
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Guest billmc

Letting go of my past conceptions of God is so hard to do. I was never allowed to find God for myself growing up, because I was always told what to believe.

 

This was/is one of my struggles also, Kyler. Im slowly coming to realize that conceptions of God are just that -- conceptions. They are our (or other people's) conceptions or images of God, and therefore not GOD itself. It is like driving into the city of Dallas from four different directions and following the signs. All the signs point toward Dallas, but none of the signs ARE Dallas. Dallas is so much bigger than the signs.

 

I, for one, do believe that reality is real. In fact, this is why I think that GOD is ultimate reality. But all of our conceptions about GOD can turn into idols when we try to freeze them into one and only one idea. So I try to hold to my own conceptions loosely and trust GOD to lead me deep into what GOD and reality really is. :)

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Guest billmc

I should have asked, "Why do you think on God?"

 

For me, three answers come to mind. The first is that there well may be, as Richard Dawkins and others think, some kind of "God Gene" that drives us to seek for something larger than ourselves.

 

The second is that, historically, notions of God help us survive as humans. God is seen as the provider of food, water, air, even the means whereby we can kill our enemies if necessary to ensure our own survival.

 

The third, especially in my own view, is more related to what Dawkins says, I desire to be connected to or to experience Something of transcendance, Something of the More. I like that way that Spong puts this: "If God is life, then I worship God by living to the full; if God is love, then I worship God by loving wastefully; if God is the Ground of Being, then I worship God by being all that I can be."

 

So, for me, I think about GOD in order than I might experience GOD more, so that I might live, love, and be to the full.

 

Other people, especially those of the mystic bent, seem to disdain "thinking about God" or theology. But I find it exciting, as long as I don't become dogmatic about my theology.

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