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God: A Definition


JosephM
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Defining God is something that most religions attempt to do. The definition or words used creates a rational for one to believe God exists, that for another enforces the certainty that God does not and yet another that takes the position of not knowing. It seems to me that this disparity is mostly a result of focusing on the teaching and definition of one's taught religion rather than a more comprehensive study of many including the practice and experiential knowledge gained in doing so.

 

HERE is a site that quotes definition sources from 7 different religions and attempts to come to the following definition agreement that will be perhaps more in line with open dialog using more abstract words while avoiding limiting labels.

 

"God is the indescribable, uncreated, self existent, eternal all knowing source of all reality and being."

 

From experience, who here can describe God in finite words?.how can anything become created except from the uncreated? who can deny existence itself?, and who can see the existence of anything without source? These are just questions one can ask oneself. yet the real answers lay not in words but in an individual experience or realization of ones own inner being and its connectedness from where it appears to arise from.

 

Your definition of God? Your thoughts on what God is or could possibly be that speak to you ?

 

Joseph

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It's hard for me to describe God as I don't know who/what/where God is or comprises of. As far as I am aware I haven't had any convincing experience or realisation of God. I accept others feel they have but I don't know whether that's because they've had a genuine experience or whether their life experiences and/or their brain hardware/software tells them that. I struggle with understanding that if there was a God then why wouldn't that God reveal itself, share itself, or even point to itself so that we all may revel in that God.

 

But then if God isn't so much an entity as simply our own hearts, then maybe I have experienced God. I feel good when I help somebody - so maybe that is God in me. I feel empathy, sympathy, anger, sadness and a whole realm of other emotions - so maybe that is 'God' somehow.

 

I accept that somehow/somewhere all of 'this' started yet we can't fully explain how that came to be, so for me that does leave a little wriggle room for the existence of something called God. I do wonder if I will ever find out.

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Paul,


From your words....... Perhaps then that definition is not so far away from you. "Indescribable" seems to fit. Your life experiences/reality witnessed by your very being seems to me to be a convincing argument to also include the word "being".


Perhaps the reason that you and so many say they struggle with the thought/understanding that "if there was a God then why wouldn't God reveal itself" is because they were defining God in limited terms or taught to expect something more profound other than reality itself and the subtle presence of 'being" (I am).


It seems to me, it presents itself AT ALL TIMES but since we identify so heavily with mind and body, we act out of our diverse unconscious individual and group conditioning and fail to consciously realize that which is providing the very source for this reality in all its diversities. Perhaps in time as we focus more on that unconditioned, or state of heightened awareness of being, (which some might call true Love) whether through religious or other practice or worship, (we are absorbed by what we worship) that will be undone. In my opinion, our actions and thoughts will then arise from that conscious presence called God rather than the unconsciousness of an evolving mind that seems to me was created as an evolutionary tool to be used to experience the world but now is temporarily mistaken for SELF.identity.


I think Christianity teachings by Paul speak of this as crucifying self, dying daily to the carnal mind, sacrificing the old creature for the new,. The real glory of the mystery in Christianity as Paul pointed out in Col 1:27 which is realizing this mystery which is "Christ in you your hope of glory" (glory=doxa in Greek which is the unspoken manifestation of God) or God's essence, presence, divine quality, splendor, etc. I do not believe he was speaking of something that waits for physical death.


I think all religions basically, and evolution in general seek a transformation of the individual from the unconscious nature of the conditioned flesh with its attachments and desires to the attributes of that which is its source for development (God/Reality or the divine) which are often described in human terms as Profound Peace, Love or Compassion and Joy of being which have no opposites. Unfortunately many religions seem to have been infected to some degree with viruses by followers from their original teachings. However, it seems to me there are enough pointers still in place within them for a prudent individual to get the real message.


Just my 2 cents

Joseph

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Perhaps the reason that you and so many say they struggle with the thought/understanding that "if there was a God then why wouldn't God reveal itself" is because they were defining God in limited terms or taught to expect something more profound other than reality itself and the subtle presence of 'being" (I am).

I certainly do fall into the category of "taught to expect something more profound other than reality itself and the subtle presence of being". I like how you put that. I guess I do expect God to be something other than 'me'.

 

Do I understand you right - are you saying that God could simply be me being alive and the wonder of my life and everything around me? That God is not a 'separate' entity so to speak and is the unseen 'force' that is all we can see/experience?

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I certainly do fall into the category of "taught to expect something more profound other than reality itself and the subtle presence of being". I like how you put that. I guess I do expect God to be something other than 'me'.

 

Do I understand you right - are you saying that God could simply be me being alive and the wonder of my life and everything around me? That God is not a 'separate' entity so to speak and is the unseen 'force' that is all we can see/experience?

Yes, at least that would be my experience. When i am deeply aware of my root in being, i find separation from God (All That Is) an impossibility as "me" vanishes into "more" and no other is to be found as we are all One in essence.

 

I think you will find most religions will also confirm that. Of course that doesn't make it true. In Christianity Eph 4:6 says "one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. That which is in and through all cannot be "other". And as Jesus is recorded saying in the gospel of John "I and my father are One." In my view. he was speaking from pure being or one might say from "Spirit". Only in the conceptual mind is the appearance of both subject and object where separation can appear to exist..

 

Joseph

Edited by JosephM
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Would your view marry up with Panentheism?

Panentheism (from Greek πᾶν (pân) "all"; ἐν (en) "in"; and θεός (theós) "God"; "all-in-God") is a belief system which posits that the divine (be it a monotheistic God, polytheistic gods, or an eternal cosmic animating force), interpenetrates every part of nature and timelessly extends beyond it. Panentheism differentiates itself from pantheism, which holds that the divine is synonymous with the universe.[1]


In panentheism, the universe in the first formulation is practically the whole itself. In the second formulation, the universe and the divine are not ontologically equivalent. In panentheism, God is viewed as the eternal animating force behind the universe. Some versions suggest that the universe is nothing more than the manifest part of God. In some forms of panentheism, the cosmos exists within God, who in turn "transcends", "pervades" or is "in" the cosmos. While pantheism asserts that 'All is God', panentheism goes further to claim that God is greater than the universe. In addition, some forms indicate that the universe is contained within God,[1] like in the concept of Tzimtzum. Much Hindu thought is highly characterized by panentheism and pantheism.[2][3]Hasidic Judaism merges the elite ideal of nullification to paradoxical transcendent Divine Panentheism, through intellectual articulation of inner dimensions of Kabbalah, with the populist emphasis on the panentheistic Divine immanence in everything and deeds of kindness.

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Would your view marry up with Panentheism?

Paul,

 

Panentheism is a belief system. While the writing quoted contains many words similar to words i might use, my view is my own experience rather than a belief system. And i, at this point , am not willing to marry a label.or belief system :)

 

Joseph

Edited by JosephM
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Hi Joseph,

 

I think as some others have said, you nailed it as indescribable. But if I had to use words to describe a concept of God, I might go as far to offer the definition of: a supernatural, metaphysical, and / or mystical entity responsible for initiating existence. Thoughts?

 

Regards, Eric

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Hi Eric,

 

Good to hear from you again. I think our words change as our understanding and experience grows. it seems to me at some point we see the failing of words but they are often needed to keep us moving along our journey. If yours are serving you well, i am fine with them.

 

Joseph

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Rom,

 

Agreed.

 

When the objective outlook is surrendered, one loses the notion of dualism but it seems to me also one loses all notions whether of unity or dualism..

 

Joseph

 

Funnily enough, I see it the other way around. When we look at it subjectively ie me and the rest of the universe, then we fall into the 'trap' of dualism.

 

I think, John 10:30 nails it. Does it apply to me, you, everyone not just 'Jesus'? If this is true, then unity is very apparent when viewed "objectively".

Edited by romansh
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Funnily enough, I see it the other way around. When we look at it subjectively ie me and the rest of the universe, then we fall into the 'trap' of dualism.

 

I think, John 10:30 nails it. Does it apply to me, you, everyone not just 'Jesus'? If this is true, then unity is very apparent when viewed "objectively".

 

Perhaps we are saying the same thing? I said when the objective outlook is surrendered, one loses the notion of dualism.

I added when that is done one loses all notions (Notions -A mental image or representation; an idea or conception) of both. Of course unity is apparent from the perspective of dualism but in my experience one does not hold onto either as a notion in that state.

 

To me, Jesus was putting into words a mental image which is necessary in language to communicate however the experience itself only contains "I". (neither the notion of unity or dualism). It seems to me it is beyond description in words and i do not take exception to your words/interpretation looking at it subjectively..

 

Joseph

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Perhaps we are saying the same thing? I said when the objective outlook is surrendered, one loses the notion of dualism.

I added when that is done one loses all notions (Notions -A mental image or representation; an idea or conception) of both. Of course unity is apparent from the perspective of dualism but in my experience one does not hold onto either as a notion in that state.

 

To me, Jesus was putting into words a mental image which is necessary in language to communicate however the experience itself only contains "I". (neither the notion of unity or dualism). It seems to me it is beyond description in words and i do not take exception to your words/interpretation looking at it subjectively..

 

Joseph

 

Perhaps - Are you saying viewing things subjectively leads to a monistic view point? If you are, I would say my experience leads to a dualistic view point.

 

Have you read anything by Rex Weyler? He wrote a nice book The Jesus Sayings about what words (he thinks) we can ascribe to the historical Jesus. I have a them here. Funnily John 10:30 is not amongst them. Does it matter?

 

Yes and no.

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Rom,

 

We all as humans view things subjectively. Is there any other way for a sentient being to view them? I am saying what use is it to argue that ones viewpoint is justifiably dualistic or monistic? To reside in ones being and to know one's Self one loses all notions of either unity or duality.

 

Not familiar with Rex Weyler. Whether John 10:30 is in the Jesus sayings or not certainly doesn't matter to me but it seems in my experience to be a valid Christian saying.

 

Joseph

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Rom,

 

We all as humans view things subjectively. Is there any other way for a sentient being to view them? I am saying what use is it to argue that ones viewpoint is justifiably dualistic or monistic? To reside in ones being and to know one's Self one loses all notions of either unity or duality.

 

Not familiar with Rex Weyler. Whether John 10:30 is in the Jesus sayings or not certainly doesn't matter to me but it seems in my experience to be a valid Christian saying.

 

Joseph

 

We all review things subjectively? Is the a subjective truth or an objective one?

 

I must admit I have a problem with this postmodernistic relativism where all is subjective. I can't help thinking this dichotomy between the objective and subjective (noumenon and phenomenon) is somehow a false dichotomy. And of course the postmodernistic relativism is a dualistic view of things. For example it does have anchor point of good and bad, it is just that we can't access them in that they dependent on our perspective.

 

Anyway to get back to the topic. A monistic point of view might lead us to an Einsteinian, Spinozan or perhaps a pantheistic type of god. Whereas a dualistic point of view might lead us to a panentheistic, deistic or theistic type of god. Of course a postmodernist view will suggest all these types are equally valid. So if it does not matter, why bother discussing this?

 

And to answer the semi-rhetorical question, a quote from Clarence Darrow:

Chase after the truth like all hell and you'll free yourself, even though you never.

 

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Rom,

 

Its seems to me that even if there were an objective truth, it could only be subjectively experienced.

 

 

Of course a postmodernist view will suggest all these types are equally valid. So if it does not matter, why bother discussing this?

 

Perhaps it does not matter.... yet the incessant curiosity and desire of the mind to name, label and conceptualize as if it (the thinking mind) can know truth..... by doing so makes discussing such .... a perceived necessity. Perhaps it is a self perpetuating prison and to free oneself one needs to surrender such opinions and viewpoints of the mind rather than chasing them.

 

Joseph

Edited by JosephM
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You all sound highly educated and use words and ideas which in my opinion are beyond the person in the pew. They are who we want to change as to their thinking of a theistic God. My God lives inside of me which for want of a better word I call my "soul" I try to live my life as Jesus would and I have seen or maybe felt the difference when a person dies----something leaves their body and if you can't see it you can definitely feel it. My definition of God is the same as Bishop John Shelby Spong's. " God is the ultimate source of life. One worships this God by living fully,sharing deeply.

God is the ultimate source of love. One worships this God by loving wastefully, by spreading love frivolously, by giving love away without counting the cost.

God is being-- the reality underlying everything that is. To worship this God you must be willing to risk all, abandoning your defenses and your self imposed or culturally constructed security system."

 

If we all believed this definition and tried to live it --what a wonderful world this would be! Alamar

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I could define God everyday in different way, stopped doing that some time ago because whatever I say, the most "powerful" words I use, it still feels like a blasphemy compared to the idea of eternal, all-knowing (see, "all-knowing" already feels bad because whatever my ideas are, it limits God in some way). I don't feel comfortable even saying "God exist", because if he does, it's something more than existence. And sometimes, on the other hand, "eternal" etc feel like too much.

 

Maybe it's just me, I'm a big fan of Derrida :rolleyes:

Edited by bearpawss
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I like Campbell's view or eternity and eternal

 

Eternity has nothing to do with time. Eternity is that dimension of here and now which thinking and time cuts out. This is it. And if you don't get it here, you won't get it anywhere. And the experience of eternity right here and now is the function of life.

 

When we start thinking of gods in terms of eternal, it pays to realize there are other interpretations of the e word.

Edited by romansh
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