Category Archives: God

Burning Bush Plant

What Question Would You Ask God?

Anne Foerst writes in “God in the Machine: What Robots Teach Us About Humanity and God“:

What does it mean to be human? How can humanness be defined? Can we ever come up with criteria that distinguish us from animals – or, for that matter, from robots? And what exactly is our place and our purpI Aose on this planet, in our sun system, in the universe? Are humans special, or are they just another random species on an insignificant planet?

As computer scientists make great advances in the field of Artificial Intelligence the day looms when such questions may become crucial. No one knows when our technology will reach the point of either reproducing real intelligence, or mimicking it so accurately that even experts may have difficulty discerning the difference.

As early as 1950 Alan Turing proposed the possibility of creating a test to distinguish between human and machine intelligence. Today this is known as a Turing Test and various forms have been devised for commercial use on the Internet to try to weed out “bots,” or computer programs that attempt to imitate humans in leaving comments with thinly disguised spam to sell everything from smut to stocks.

One has to wonder if there might be a possibility of a kind of Turing Test for God. After all, if you were hiking in the Rocky Mountains and a bush started to glow and voice came out of the bush, would you have a good trick question or two to ask in order to make sure that the voice was the genuine article?

In Exodus 3 Moses has a pretty good question. He asks God what his name is. Apparently names had very significant meanings in ancient times so his question may be far more penetrating than we would at first suspect. The traditional translation of the original Hebrew is that God replied that, “I AM THAT I AM.Exodus 3:14

Some hold that “I AM” signifies God’s unchanging, and perhaps unfathomable nature. In the footnotes of the NIV translation they give an alternate answer which is, ” I will be what I will be.” This reflects the fact that the verb is in the future tense.

Author Joseph J. Dewey writes that he believes that Moses understood the answer to be something like, “I am becoming that which I decide to become.”

“One thing we know for sure. God did not tell Moses that He did not exist, but will exist in the future. Nevertheless the future tense even makes sense in light of the true meaning mentioned in The Immortal which was: ‘I AM BECOMING THAT WHICH I DECIDE TO BECOME.‘”

“When you make a decision around some goal of becoming that decision relates to what you will be in a future time or what you shall become.”  Joseph J. Dewey, I AM BECOMING

Perhaps unlike the static, unchanging “I AM” vision held by a majority of believers, God is a being that is always becoming something new, evolving, and changing with its creation? Perhaps even more revolutionary is the idea that God was not always the God that we imagine it to be.

Whatever the case, the next time someone meets God in the burning bush, he will need a better question. God has already heard that one.

 


Is God Perfect?
Being God
What Is God?
Who Is God?

Closed Canon or Closed to God?

Both Judaism and Christianity consider their canons to be closed.

biblical canon or canon of scripture is a list of texts (or “books”) which a particular religious community regards as authoritative scripture.

Most … canons … are considered “closed” (i.e., books cannot be added or removed), reflecting a belief that public revelation has ended and thus some person or persons can gather approved inspired texts into a complete and authoritative canon …
-Biblical canaon, Wikipedia

Judaism and Christianity both have closed canons, bearing in mind that both may have sects that differ in some details of what they include their canon (contrast Catholicism vs. Protestantism). Both however believe that revelation of new ideas, principles, or even commandments are ended which is just another way of saying that they would have a difficult time listening to God if it chose to do “a new thing.”

Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. -Isaiah 43:19

And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. -Revelation21:5

Believers in these traditional religions often scorn any sort of ideas they consider “New Age” as being an affront to God and based on individuals who are not humble enough to accept what has already been given by God (and if the real truth be known, often distorted and twisted by men).

New revelations add to the old and change the perspective of the past works, but they are not tossed aside. -Joseph J. Dewey, The Sign of Initiation, January 23, 2000

Those on the cutting edge of the age past are often left behind as the new age begins to dawn.
-Joseph J. Dewey, Answers Through Principles Part II, February 20, 1999

It seems to me that declaring communication (revelation) from God as being “closed” speaks more to the act of men closing their minds, than of God choosing to only do “old things.” If it is an affront to God to look for new things isn’t it just as much an affront to presume to tell God to, “Just shut up for now, you’ve already told us enough!”

 

Being God

It is an article of faith among many spiritual paths today that men and women are in some way part of God, are capable of being God, or a manifestation of God, or have a divine component in their nature. Actress Shirley MacClaine took a lot of flak for stating her belief that, “I am God!” Many New Age paths proclaim that all are God, that all have a divine nature at the core of their being.

So how about you – do you believe it? Do you believe that perhaps there might be something in you a little better than all those things that you did, but would be horrified for anyone to know about?

The Unity Church expresses it this way:

 We are each individual, eternal expressions of God. Our essential nature is divine and therefore inherently good. Our purpose is to express our divine potential as realized and demonstrated by Jesus and other master teachers. The more we awaken to our divine nature, the more fully God expresses in and through our lives.

Religious Science, which like Unity is an offshoot of the New Thought movement, says that:

We believe in God, the living Spirit Almighty; one, indestructible, absolute, and self-existent Cause. … We believe in the individualization of the Spirit in Us, and that all people are individualizations of the One Spirit. We believe in the eternality, the immortality, and the continuity of the individual soul, forever and ever expanding.

United Centers for Spiritual Living, What We Believe

A Course In Miracles (ACIM), a modern book aimed at achieving spiritual transformation, was first published in 1976 and makes no bones about claiming that humanity and God are one and the same:

The recognition of God is the recognition of yourself…

 A Course in Miracles, p. 147

A lot of people today probably see the Mormons or Latter Day Saints (LDS) as being somewhat old fashioned in their beliefs, but their founder Joseph Smith was a lot more New Age than most people realize. In one of the LDS scriptures we read:

The elements are the tabernacle of God; yea, man is the tabernacle of God, even temples;

Doctrines & Covenants 93:35

If that doesn’t sound radical enough to you, then try the following from a sermon given by Joseph Smith, Jr. in 1844:

Here then is eternal life—to know the only wise and true God. You have got to learn how to make yourselves Gods in order to save yourselves…

The King Follett Discourse, Joseph Smith, Jr.

One could argue, though most traditionalists would deny this conclusion, that the Christian Bible itself supports the conclusion that man has a divine nature. In the Old Testament:

I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.

Psalms 82:6 (KJV)

Jesus in the New Testament seems to grant validity to the above passage in Psalms when he quotes it while arguing that it is not blasphemy for him to claim to be a son of God:

Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?

John 10:34-36 (KJV)

The above quote from John is even more clear if the very last line is correctly translated. The definite article “the” does not exist in the original Greek and we should read that Jesus says “I am a son of God,” not the one and only son of God.

The Apostle Paul wrote also

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

Philippians 2:5-6 (KJV)

These views of the divinity of man or the existence of divinity in man are in strong contrast to traditional Christian beliefs which largely see man as created by God and in no way part of God, or containing any part of God’s nature. Traditionalists mostly see these ideas as arrogance. In order to humble ou they might quote from Job in the Old Testament:

Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

Job 38:4-7  (KJV)

The traditionalist hopes to humble you with this quote. Who do you think you are? But in truth we were there, and before. That which has no end has no beginning. In physical life we forget these things so we can do a new thing.

Author Joseph J. Dewey has a powerful analogy where God is the wave (think of a wave in the ocean) and we are a drop of water in that wave:

A drop of water is insignificant when it is removed from a giant wave, but when it is joined back into the wave and cooperates with it, it then becomes the wave. We are like drops of water that have separated from the Life wave we call God. When we join back in with the God wave we become one with it and we can say with all the other billions of lives: “I am the wave” or “I AM God.”

Gods of the Bible, The Nature of God and Christ, Joseph J. Dewey

We may only be a “drop in the ocean” that is God, but if even only a molecule, we are still of God, and capable of being one with God. We can go with the wave and not fight it. That is the secret of being God.


Is God Perfect?
What Is God?
Who Is God?
What Question Would You Ask God?