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The Eternal Godhead


Jagged Zen Monkey
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On another thread a few of us have been discussing who God is and I thought the concept of Godhead deserved its own thread. I'll be rehashing some of my thoughts in the following post. Where does the term Godhead originate and why is the Godhead viewed to be Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? The Godhead is only used 3 times in my KJV and nowhere does it imply that the Godhead is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

 

 

My view is that our Heavenly Father is spirit, our Heavenly Mother is the material universe, and we are the offspring of both. Scriptures state that God is spirit, just as the scriptures state that we were formed from the dust of the ground (material universe). To me, our Heavenly Father is the head of our family unit, and our Heavenly Mother is who rears us in the physical world.

 

 

Our Heavenly Mother supplies our physical needs to survive, just as our Heavenly Father supplies our spiritual needs to survive. Together they make up God [plural] and we, once born again, complete the Eternal Godhead (Family). Our Heavenly Father is our spiritual life force and our Heavenly Mother is our physical life force, the Holy Spirit is love and the power of our parental reality (God). The Godhead, to me, consists of Father, Mother, and Offspring.

 

 

Jesus embodied the fullness of the Godhead. In other words, Jesus was part of God's eternal family unit. Father is spirit (Breath of life) and the Holy Spirit is love (The essence of God). I think that those born again of the Holy spirit are children of God, just as Jesus was a Son of God. Adam was a Son of God, but all who came after were sons of men, which is why Jesus says we must be born again of the Holy Spirit (love) in order for us to become a part of the Eternal Godhead, or rather part of the Eternal Family of God.

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Although I really like the family of Papa, Jesus and Sarayu in the Shack it is only a metaphor that I like to enter in prayer when I need to experience a personal relationship with the divine. I do not feel that it in any way represents ultimate reality: that which we call God.

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Although I really like the family of Papa, Jesus and Sarayu in the Shack it is only a metaphor that I like to enter in prayer when I need to experience a personal relationship with the divine. I do not feel that it in any way represents ultimate reality: that which we call God.

 

 

Are you suggesting that there is no eternal family of God? Perhaps eternal implies a never ending relationship with the divine. It could be never ending in this lifetime, or it could last beyond the grave. I won't rule out eternity meaning beyond the grave, nor will I rule out eternity meaning never ending in this life. Being part of the "family unit" is, at least to me, what Jesus showed us how to obtain. The Holy Spirit enables us to be a part of God's eternal family. I personally strive to be in that family unit always, not just when I wish to experience the divine.

Edited by Jagged Zen Monkey
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Hi JZM. I am going to try to make a brief observation/comment. Wish me luck! :)

 

Though I know that Jesus used it, I don't like the idea/duality of "in the family/out of the family" that is present in much of religion. It easily gets interpreted as "for us/against us" and "friend/enemy" which does not lead to the unity that, I believe, both God and Jesus ultimately call us to.

 

For me, because God as the Creator is my favorite metaphor, we are *all* children of the Father. We are all in the image of God. But some of us reflect that image better than others, depending on how compassionate our lives are.

 

We all know families where the children are "spitting images" of their parents. And then there are families where the children, while still being biological, look nothing like their parents. Similarly, we are *all* "biological" offspring of God. But our character doesn't always match the image of God that we are supposed to be, and that, imo, is the repentance that Jesus called us to. Therefore, I don't take as literal that the Pharisees had Satan as their father, etc. I think Jesus was describing character, not biological/spiritual lineage. God is the Creator of us all, imo, making us *one* family. But we don't always act that way, and that is where the Golden Rule and Jesus' teachings come it, trying to get our character in line with our "biology."

 

But that's my take on it. So much for short! :D

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Are you suggesting that there is no eternal family of God? . . . nor will I rule out eternity meaning never ending in this life.

I am not quite sure what "eternity meaning never ending in this life" means but I could accept this. By changing from eternity meaning no limits on time to "eternity" meaning no limits on who my neighbor is and who I am called to love then my "eternal" family would include all humanity and all creation. Then, with those redefinitions, there is an "eternal family". Since I am a monotheist I can't follow you on dividing the Divine into family parts except metaphorically. For me, now, "The Shack" has more metaphorical power than "Godhead" for holding a personal relationship with ultimate reality

 

Dutch

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From what I can determine, the word 'godhead' is simply an archaic term for 'deity.' According to Wikipedia, 'godhead' was introduced into the English Bible by Wycliffe and then carried forward in the Tyndale NT and the KJV. Better modern translations, i.e. the RSV and NRSV, simply translate the KJV 'godhead' passages as 'deity' (once capitalized, twice not).

 

George

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I may be wrong as to actual origin of this term but it has, in my limited reading and study, seemed to arise out of and even now continues to be most encountered within attemps to interpret, teach, preach, close to the Trinity doctrine. It has seemed to me an affort to overcome some of the problems inherent to the nature of the trinity concept, that of course danger of falling into polytheistic thinking.

As a kid, I remember the use of the term "godhead" as it was often used alongside or woven into teachings involving the Trinity doctrine brought up a visual image of God in my mind as some kind of three headed multi-legged monstrosity, something like a bizarre Siamese triplet creature.

 

Jenell

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As a kid, I remember the use of the term "godhead" as it was often used alongside or woven into teachings involving the Trinity doctrine brought up a visual image of God in my mind as some kind of three headed multi-legged monstrosity, something like a bizarre Siamese triplet creature.

 

Still being a kid inside, Jenell, this image made me laugh! :lol: As you know, I've struggled to make sense of it too. One God but three persons, each person having a head but being one Godhead, one substance but three different entities, three persons but one deity.

 

And then, along comes the "wise" theologian that says, "If you try to understand the trinity, you will lose your mind; but if you don't believe in it, you will lose your soul." So, because it is admitted that it doesn't make sense, faith then becomes holding to "non-sense" as truth. ^_^

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From what I can determine, the word 'godhead' is simply an archaic term for 'deity.' According to Wikipedia, 'godhead' was introduced into the English Bible by Wycliffe and then carried forward in the Tyndale NT and the KJV. Better modern translations, i.e. the RSV and NRSV, simply translate the KJV 'godhead' passages as 'deity' (once capitalized, twice not).

 

George

 

 

There are three terms translated as Godhead in the KJV. One, in effect means: God like (theios) and the other two (theiotes/theotes) in effect mean: divine/divinity. Maybe instead of using the term Godhead to identify God's family unit, I should instead simply use the term "family"?

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The problem with trying to use "family" in connection to the Trinity is that even though a family is a 'social unit', a family is made up of, related, but individually distinct and separate beings...and there we go off down the slope to polytheism and heirarchal pantheons.

 

Jenell

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The problem with trying to use "family" in connection to the Trinity is that even though a family is a 'social unit', a family is made up of, related, but individually distinct and separate beings...and there we go off down the slope to polytheism and heirarchal pantheons.

 

Jenell

 

 

I'm monotheistic in that I view God to be our parental reality, and polytheistic in that I view God to be both mother and father. I don't see it a problem, nor a down slope to believe such. The God family is completed with the birth of children (living creatures) of which man is the most dominant on earth. I don't understand the trinity, so I don't believe in the doctrine itself. I do, however, believe that we all have that spark of divinity within us, we have simply drifted apart from our roots.

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As a kid, I remember the use of the term "godhead" as it was often used alongside or woven into teachings involving the Trinity doctrine brought up a visual image of God in my mind as some kind of three headed multi-legged monstrosity, something like a bizarre Siamese triplet creature.

Jenell

 

Actually, the /-head/ in godhead did not refer to the body part, but rather /-hood/, i.e. the state of being god or divine. The etymology according to Merriam-Webster: "Middle English godhed, from god + -hed -hood; akin to Middle English -hod -hood."

 

George

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George, yea, but a little kid tends to be pretty concretistic in their state of cognitive development. Such capacity for abstract thought as needed to understand that develops later. In most of us, anyway.

 

I've been thinking on this notion a lot lately, Jenell, and your input stirs my pot a bit, in a good way. :)

 

I need to preface my comment by saying that life and relationships are not easy. We all know this, mainly from hard-learned experiences. And yet...

 

And yet I'm tempted to think and to say that, at least for me, if my philosophy/religion/faith is so complicated or so non-sensical that if a child of the "age of accountability" (another subject) who has some sense of right and wrong can't understand the things are think are central or if he/she finds them non-sensical or offensive, I have my doubts as to the validity of what I might seek to pass on.

 

I've said this so many times on this forum that I should "copy and paste" but, imo, it takes almost no effort to convince a child that a creator exists and that our creator wants us to love one another. Neither of these precepts, imo, are non-sensical or offend the right/wrong senses of a child. They may challenge the child to deal with his/her selfishness (and rightly so), but such notions would not stick a child into a worldview whereby they would have to believe six impossible things before breakfast.

 

For my own children and grandchildren, while I would agree that they need to be coached in abstract thinking as they develop, I think they need a fairly solid base of reasonable beliefs that they can start out with and test to see if they ring true for them. As they grow, hopefully they will be healthy skeptics, but, hopefully, they won't struggle to the extent that I did.

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Jesus said, you much become as a little child to enter the kingdom.....I had also noted recently in another thread, one reason i think a lot of people have trouble understanding mystic thought is they make it hard, they expect it to be hard and complicated, that what most often throws them IS the child-like simplicity of it

 

While as a very young child I had difficulty conceptualizing the trinity, God as three-yet-one, yet I had no problem seeing, through my child eyes, such things as the discrepancy between messages of His love with so many events in the bible and Christian history, behavior, and doctrines. That they could teach me Jesus loves me, and have me sing Jesus loves all the little children of the world, and then one day tell me, well its really not like that, if I don't do something else, this or that, Jesus is going to send me to burn in hell, and all those other children of the world that happened to be born outside a Christian culture are doomed

to hell too, raised a LOT of very clear inconsistencies in my mind, or That they could gather around a funeral for one considered "unsaved" and say what a shame it wasn't he hadn't "accepted the Lord", and was "learning the truth now, (ie burning in hell!) and just shake their heads, then go out and laugh and talk about trivial things, and then sing "shall we all gather at the river" and "Will the circle be unbroken bye and bye".....left miy little mind and heart spinning in disbeleif and confusion! And if out of my babe mouth cames words expressing those confusions, I was told we aren;t to ask such questions, and that I'll understand when I'm older. Well, dammit, no, I didn't "understand it" when I got older, I'm now 63 dm yrs old and it STILL doesn't make sense to me!

 

When it all comes back to those things, at this time in my life i've come full circle right back to how I saw them through the eyes of a very young child.

 

So yes, i agree, if a child cannot understand it, there's something wrong with it!

 

Jenell

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One thing about my remarkable abilities at remembering events from very very early childhood, which has been validated in my family many times, has been not only remembering events, details of scenes, even over heard conversations, has been that of being able to bring up with those memories how I percieved and interpreted them and how I FELT when they happened. I know now that is extremely rare...most of us, even what early childhood memories we can draw up, we have super-imposed how we would understand them NOW, out of our greater maturity and learning through experience in life. I actually have had memories, that included scenes, events, over heard conversations, that brought up with them powerful emotions that seemed strangley disconnected to those actual elements of the events I was recalling. Often the events seemed mundane, I had no idea why I remembered them, let alone why I experienced those emotions connected to them.

 

One that is an outstanding example was of a rather ordinary seeming day spent in the company of my older brother, when I was only 3 yrs old. I could remember so many details of that day. And it felt upsetting, tense. Yet I had not a clue as to why it should have been. I didn't have a clue, until not long before my mother's death 15 yrs ago, in her ramblings over painful memories, she told me of miscarrying a 5 mos fetus, stillborn, at home. Poor, unable to afford a doctor or emergency room, my Dad stayed home from work to help deleiver it, and later buried it in the back yard. It was her 3rd miscarriage after my birth, the one that she carried longest before losing it. My sister would be born a little over a year later. But as she told the story, she told of having Jerry watch after me, keep me out of the house and occupied, taking me to a corner store for a coke and cupcakes, Hostess snowballs, to be precise, and i wanted the pink one, but Jerry made me eat the white one, and to a neighbor's house to play on a rope swing, all the details I had always remembered about that day. Of course there was strong emotions attached to that day, and of course I didn't know why, because I was too young to know anything of what was happening!

 

But I've some to see that as a remarkable gift, to be able to go back down into the perceptions, the interpretations, the feelings, of a child's view of things. And it is why i can say with such certainty, that how i perceive and feel about many of these things we talk about here the same way I did as a very young child. At times, one that is observant, as they read how I word things, how I express some ideas, might detect at times, my "shifting into child mode", when I am actually tapping into that levle of my mind...a kind of "regression" to an earlier state, that is reflected in the words I use, how I use them, how I lay out an idea.

 

I have come to this this beleif that if I can get it into simple enough language, that it makes sense even to a child's mind, it might overcome, break through, the later "adult" conditioning of those that hear or read those words.

 

Jenell

 

.

Edited by JenellYB
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George, yea, but a little kid tends to be pretty concretistic in their state of cognitive development. Such capacity for abstract thought as needed to understand that develops later. In most of us, anyway.

 

Sorry, I didn't mean to suggest that you continued to view 'Godhead' in a concrete fashion. However, at least some of this thread seems to be based on interpretation of 'Godhead' as a metaphorical head (like head of a family, head of company, etc.). I thought this interpretation was motivated by the /-head/ component of the word. So, I thought it appropriate to point out that this was not what the KJV translators meant.

 

George

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Jenell, you do seem to have a highly developed memory of childhood. Most of my own memories before kindergarten are quite hazy and piece-meal, bits here and there with no central framework to tie them together. But, like you, I find that certain images from that time seem to be tied to certain emotions, some of them quite strong.

 

It would probably be an impossible endeavor to do, but it would be interesting to see how much our childhood memories, both conscious and subconscious, affect our lives, even to this day. Of course, Freud and others have tried to make some inroads into this, but I find some of those results to be dubious.

 

What is probably non-debatable, however, is that childhood experiences form a deep and lasting impression on us. I remember when my mom sat me down to have “the talk” about Santa Claus. Up to that time, I had been pretty convinced about his existence. Of course, toys were at stake, so there was a certain amount of cognitive dissonance that could be tolerated for sake of getting what I wanted for Christmas. By the time we had “the talk”, I was already suspecting some parts of the Santa story were elaborated or made up. But what I remember the most from “the talk” was wondering what else my parents had lied to me about. From my point-of-view, they had lied to me about this for as far back as I could remember and my experiences at that point were too narrow to see all of the culture behind it. But I couldn’t reconcile why my parents wanted me to always tell the truth with the lie that they had told me all those years which they finally admitted to. Of course, I didn’t doubt that I would get toys the following year, but I was deeply disappointed that my parents expected something of me that they themselves didn’t have.

 

As an adult, I have mixed feelings on the Santa story. But because it is inescapable in our culture, I’ve always tried to tell my kids that the story is a myth (not a lie) originally meant to preserve the memory/spirit of the real bishop of Hippo, Saint Nicholas. Of course, they know me well enough that I don’t “always” tell the truth, especially on menial things. But I don’t willfully deceive them on issues that I think are important. All I can do is to teach them the truth as best as I understand it through my words and actions, and encourage them to explore it for themselves as they grow. They may reach different answers or pursue a different path from my own. That’s okay, I will love them regardless. But I think it is important to keep the lines of communication and acceptance open because I’m not done with my journey yet either.

 

In my religious background, it was sinful to have doubts or struggles with belief. I was taught by the Church, whether consciously or subconsciously, that Jesus rewarded faithfulness to unchanging beliefs about himself, not the search for truth. Cognitive dissonance was suppressed by appealing to faith. But I found that if I couldn’t be true to myself and my own journey, how could I be true to God? Many things are still a mystery to me. But it is one thing to say, “I don’t know.” It is another to say that God wants us to demonstrate our sincerity to him by believing in square circles. So I’m teaching my children to question everything, not out of cynicism, but because they do need to have some sense of truth and meaning on which to build their lives and, imo, it’s neither relativism nor absolutism.

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George, no apology needed, no offense taken. I was simply pointing out that those 'correct' understandings of the concept does require the capacity for abstract thought, which is a later developmental stage in the development of cognition in children. And until that stage is accomplished, that abstract understanding is beyond them.

 

But there is also something more important in how I stated what I did, that is a bit more obscure, but very relevant. In adding in most of us, anyway, is to allude to something of which most people outside formal studies into childhood development and cognition are unaware. While it might easily be taken as simply an observation on the natural and normal humancy tendency to fall into lazy thinking, to not make full use of the brains God gave them, which indeed is sometimes the case, it is not always so.

 

I did not know myself, until I did study Developmental Psychology and Cognition in my recent college experience that a signficiant portion of the adult population, as high as 35% in our society, NEVER fully accomplish the cognitive developmental task of mastering abstract thought. And some that initially do, lose it at some point, through damage to the brain. The capacity for abstract thought involves some of the most highly developed functions of the brain, that are the last to develop, the most vulnerable to failure to develop, and the first to be negatively affected, even lost, to even subtle brain injury.

 

Learning this forced me to revise many of my own ideas and attitudes toward people that had frustrated me for my assumption they were simply falling into lazy thinking, or for whatever other reasons, were merely unwilling to think beyond the concrete so as to understand abstract ideas and anything based on that. I, like most people, I suspect, had been 'guilty' all my life of assuming they could understand, but simply were unwilling, refusing to do so or acknowledge it. Other than those recognizable mentally impaired, i assumed all "normal" people had that capacity. And I had been wrong.

 

To me that becomes extemely critical in matters of religious theology and doctrine. I cannot possible accept that people unable to comprehend such concepts as exampled here, in the nature of the trinity, the godhead, and so much else in Christian theology, are so by it, "condemned", exempted from "salvation" or any other experience of God. Add that I also cannot accept that God would demand that we just accept, believe without question, on faith alone, what OTHER PEOPLE tell us we must/should, on their say so, things that make no sense to us.

 

Carry that into such as those of us here, most of us demonstrate not only capacity for abstract thought, but relatively high degree of that capacity. We commonly ask questions and explore ideas here that are really above many even normally intellegent people's heads. Some of that is for reason of our perhaps greater education and experience, but a lot of it is just plain downright very well developed capacity for abstract thought. And again, I refuse to accept that sets any of us as 'higher' in a sense of worth or worthiness, makes any of us 'superior' in value as human beings, OR BEFORE GOD.

 

Taking that down to the "common people", those that will live their lives in the valley, never having the opportunity to have ventured to the mountaintop, I keep in mind what Jesus did after His signficant experience on the mountaintop, His meeting with Moses and Elias....He did NOT stand there and start calling the people in the valley to come up, join Him and His disciples there, He did not go down into the valley to get them and bring them back up to the mountaintop. He taught them where they were, in the valley where they lived. He took any message or teaching down to their level. He never asked, demanded, or even hinted at them that they, too, should climb up to the mountain top. He recognized that they COULDN'T! And He never demeaned them for that. He accepted as HIS responsibility to convert what He was granted on the mountaintop into a form they could understand, comprehend, and in his demonstration with the child, could comprehend with even the mind of a child.

 

So we come back to what I and WS talk about here, that if our religious doctrines and teachings are such that cannot be understood, comprehended, by even a child, then there is something wrong with it.

 

Jenell

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WS, I know that those, as well as some other aspects of my memory are unsual, even rare, though it took me a good while into adlut life to really understand that, For me it was just part of my "normal". I of course have no "explanation" for why it has been that way for me. And I don't see it as making me superior, better, but just different. Quite honestly, there are times i'd gladly trade some of my own "gifts" for some of those I observed in others, that I lack! Especially those that seem of much more practical use than my own, lol.

 

As for piece meal, bits and pieces, I don't think mine is that much more different than others. There's not much organization, structure, continuity, to them, any more than probably your own. My difference seem mostly in 1, how early they go back, and 2, the striking clarity and accuracy of detail. This is to such a degree, its hard for anyone, even those of my own family, to believe. There was a period of time, several decades ago, when this became very much a focus of attention and interest among some in my Dad's family, mostly my aunts and uncles, that had shared many common experiences with me when i was a very young child. In sessions of sharing old memories at family gatherings, my own sharing of stories of memories, of events and places, struck as a note of discord among them....I was describing memories of events and places that placed those memories in context of my having been as young as under 2 years old. They challenged me in much of it. And when I consistently met those challenges, they really became quite determined to find 'holes' in my accounts, to satisfy their disbelief. Most of them knowing, as they did, that one of my marked traits IS honesty in such things, they didn't doubt I really believed I was remembering those things, theyy just couldn't accept my memories were really that accurate. Recognition of my usual honesty is what was really puzzling them.

 

The occasion in which I think their acceptance of the reality of my memory 'feats' came through my accounts of some events that seemed to have taken place ay my grandparents home, from which they had moved before i was a full 2 yrs old. Again and again I'd describe details of the location of everything from the layout of the house to individual trees in the yard to location of various outbuildings, the windmill and water tower, the horse one of my uncles rode to do ranch work and which was the first real horse i ever got to actually touch and sit upon. With growing amazement, different family members would remember, and verify from their own memories, my details. But there were a few discrepancies they did hit on, all agreeing, no, that wasn't there, no, that wasn't how it was....it was with obvious relief, to them,that they had found holes in my accounts, even if only a few and mostly insignificant ones, such as the placement of certain farm equipment in the storage sheds, and the one that proved for them, the critical piece that locked it for them....that I remembered with accuracy the location of my grandmother's chicken coop, was granted, but when I described 5 white turkeys also in that coop.... Well, all were quite certain my grandmother had NEVER had any white turkeys!

It was a year or so later, at another family gathering, that they came together around me, in a most odd and subdued kind of way, and laid on the table in front of me an old black and white snapshot.....my Grandmother's chicken coop at the old place.....with 5 white turkeys inside along with the chickens. The photo had come to them when given a box of old pictures when someone from a different branch of the family had passed away, that contained this and other hpotos none of them culd recall having ever seen, and most certainly that I had never had occasion to see. There were other 'validations' among the pictures, as one by one theor points of difference between their memories and mine went down to the proof there in black and white. Never did that common phrase, right there in black and white, have more significance.

 

The downside? Any doubts they may have ever had, any benefit of doubt they have ever granted to my seeming "weirdness", my being "somehow not quite normal" were gone. I never knew until that day how much those doubts about me really meant to me, in positive ways. I know I can't really understand how they felt, still feel, but from my perspective, they became afraid of me. There has been a discomfort there ever since, that has made me wish I'd never said anything about those dm white turkeys.

 

But no doubt this cogntive ability, too, involves some of the more highly developed functions of the brain, those last to develop, the most likely to never develop, and the first to be lost throughdamage to the brain. In just the past 4 or 5 years, I've realized now, I have begin to lose that ability. I've realized that over these recent years, that kind of memory function is changing, now becoming that I remember remembering, but not always able to still remember, if that makes sense. I remember seeing, hearing, feeling those memories, what was contained within them, more and more, but I am actually able to remember those things themselves, less and less. Becoming "normal" feels kinda strange.

 

Jenell

 

An anddenda thought.....perhaps where above i wrote "they became afraid of me," its possible that more accurate and correct would be, "they became in awe of me." If my experience in this really reflects how it feels for people to be in awe of me, i cannot imagine God EVER wanting people to be in awe of Him.

Edited by JenellYB
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