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God As Good And Evil


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Jakob Boehme, the first modern German theologian, 1575-1625, would agree that God is the source of everything: including whatever we call Good and whatever we call Evil. It is not two aspects of a dualistic god. It just the fact that all of creation is grounded in the same origin. Having a second god in competition to God is not monotheism

 

Boehme is my favorite but there are many others who would say that God is not two sided or three sided or 27 sided. Good vs Evil is a human construct. We like dualism but I don't think it is accurate to project that need onto Ultimate Reality.

 

Many passages in the Hebrew Bible recognize that God is the source of both good and harm.

 

Dutch

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Rob,

 

Welcome. Bishop Spong does not participate in the discussions here or answer questions in this forum. In any event, I hope you will "Introduce Yourself" in a thread with that title and join the discussions.

 

George

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Dear Bishop Spong,

You state in one of your books that if we as humans are created in the image and likeness of God, then God must be a two sided coin. God/Satan, Jesus/Judas, good/evil, etc. Am I reading you correctly?

Hi Rob

Speaking as a devout agnostic, I don't quite see it the same way as you. I like Joseph Cambell's interpretation of the Garden of Eden Story - Adam and Eve got kicked out of the Garden of Eden for gaining a knowledge of good and evil. So to get back into the Garden of Eden (metaphorically speaking) we have to give up thinking in dualities: ie no more Jesus/Judas, God/Satan.

 

Ditto for man and God. This is what was meant when Christ said "I and my Father are one". We too should endeavour to be Christlike. Be one with God and not merely have the holy spirit in us.

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  • 3 months later...

Hi Rob

Speaking as a devout agnostic, I don't quite see it the same way as you. I like Joseph Cambell's interpretation of the Garden of Eden Story - Adam and Eve got kicked out of the Garden of Eden for gaining a knowledge of good and evil. So to get back into the Garden of Eden (metaphorically speaking) we have to give up thinking in dualities: ie no more Jesus/Judas, God/Satan.

 

Ditto for man and God. This is what was meant when Christ said "I and my Father are one". We too should endeavour to be Christlike. Be one with God and not merely have the holy spirit in us.

There is a Hindu concept that "Atman is Brahman", that is, "the soul is God".

Of course, Brahman is a much more expansive concept than the western idea of God, but I think it's that same sort of idea. God was in Jesus and if we God to be visible in us as well we should try to be like Jesus.

 

I also agree that duality is rather overdone. God / Satan is a bizarre concept, because it's commonly seen as a duality but it isn't. The stories either have Satan as a guy God calls upon to literally play Devil's advocate, who works for God, or Sammael (or Lucifer) getting cast out because he refused to love humans as he loved God the way he was commanded. I don't think either of these should be taken literally, whether it's emblematic of the inner "Devil's advocate", simply a storytelling device, or a mandate to love humanity with all it's imperfections as the Devil failed to. Haha...

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... God was in Jesus and if we God to be visible in us as well we should try to be like Jesus.

 

I also agree that duality is rather overdone. ...

 

Even the words we choose tend exacerbate duality - for example god in Jesus - Even Christ says he was one with with his father. Not that god was in him. We too should be one with god and therefore with everything else as well.

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  • 2 months later...

There is only God. Everything else are constructs of our need to organize. Truly horrific things happen in life. It is part of what goes with the territory of our particular existence. It doesn't necessarily need a Satan to pin it on. It just is. God is not the author of everything that occurs. Creation is bound by universal laws. If we are to be highly complex organisms we must be subject to all that goes with that including disease and diseased minds. People die of cancer because our design holds those potentials, as do all other life forms. Stars die as ours will eventually, this is not satanic, it is in keeping with what goes with the territory of existence. God is always God. All of creation functions within its own perimeters, including terrible things. In the end, we are all just a part of the everything that is God. My leap of faith is that God holds everything all together with love. We can harmonize with that for our own completion or refuse to do so at our own loss. God is still loving.

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