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?

Who Is God?

Shirley MacLaine in her book Out On A Limb famously said that “I am God.” Does that make any sense, and if so, could it be true? It largely depends on how you understand her claim.

Mainstream Christians mostly seem offended by this statement. They may see it as enormously egotistical. Those of a more fundamentalist stripe might say something like:

You are not God! You are not the Creator of the Universe! Who do you think you are!

Those a little familiar with New Age thought may not see this as a claim to being the one, the only, and the almighty God in one person incarnate. They see it more as being one with that God. They don’t see it as a claim to be the whole entity that is God, but rather a part of it. Author Joseph J. Dewey put it this way:

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“.  We have not lost the molecules that have made us the drop.  We still have our identity, but we also have much more.  We are one with something much greater than ourselves (as drops) to the extent we actually become the wave.  We are a wave, yet millions of drops combined.  We are God, yet millions of human drops combined.  No life is separated from the life which is God.

Gods Of The Bible, Joseph J. Dewey

The Christian Apostle Paul alluded to this:

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many.

1 Corinthians 12:12-14

 God is both one, and many. There is only one God but it is composed of many members. And again from Paul:

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

We are all “in the form” God, like Jesus, and it is not a crime to understand our equality to God in the sense of being part of God.

We are all members in the same body that is God. We are equal as drops in a giant wave. We become one with God when we seek its will. We become one with God when we cooperate with the wave and not resist it.

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

What Is God?

What is God? What do people believe God is? A little Googling or searching on Wikipedia might amaze you with the sheer number of different “-isms” that humans have come up with to explain their belief in a deity or deities. Most of us are aware that there are a lot of religions out there, nevertheless it is amazing how many complex and inventive variations humanity has come up with trying to exactly explain what God is.

Not everyone believes in God, but those who do are theists of some sort:

Theism – The belief that at least one deity exists.

There are a bewildering number of variations on theism, only a few of which are listed below:

Polytheism – A belief in multiple, usually limited, deities.
Monotheism – A belief that only one God exists (often coupled with a belief in perfection and unlimited attributes, like “all-powerful,” “all-knowing,” “all-good,” etc.).
Deism – A belief that God created the universe, but has no great interest in the details, for example, me and you – logic and reason, not faith, are what we need to follow.
Pantheism – God is the universe (everything that exists is God, including you and me).
Panentheism – The universe is contained in God, but God is more than the universe.
Pandeism – The creator deity became the universe but then ceased to exist as a separate and conscious entity.
Dystheism – God is not wholly good as most monotheistic religions believe.
Buddhism – Some gods (devas) exist but are more like humans than the western conception of God (Buddhism is only barely theistic, if at all).
Autotheism – Divinity is inherently within ‘oneself’ and one has a duty to become perfect (or divine). Also called apotheosis.
Omnism – all religions have some aspect of the truth – pick and chose what you like.

This list, as the old sayings goes, barely scratches the surface of all the different isms humanity has conceived of. Also the descriptions given above also do not go into the enormous details of these explanations.

What do you say? What is God to you?

From a numerical standpoint the monotheistic view encompasses the largest number of people on the planet today. The majority of those belong to either Christianity, Islam, or Judaism. The latter two might question whether most of Christianity is truly monotheistic given its concept of the Trinity with a Father, Son, and Holy Ghost as composing the different aspects of God. Nevertheless Christians believe that they are monotheists.

There seem to be several key concepts that are unique to monotheism. A polytheist can envision a god that is not perfectly good, powerful, etc., but when you are left with just one God then it needs to be a pretty good, powerful, and largely infallible God. Or at least the majority seem to feel that way.

Another important concept is where God exists:

  1. In the universe.
  2. Outside the universe.
  3. As the fabric of the universe itself.
  4. As the fabric of the universe, but also being more than the universe.

Finally to what extent is God aware or concerned about humanity as a whole, or individuals, their fates, and deeds. For the mainstream Christian the answer is clear: not even a sparrow will fall such that God is not aware (Matthew 10:29).

Recently I have been reading Parallel Worlds: A Journey Through Creation, Higher Dimensions, and the Future of the Cosmos by Michio Kaku. Some modern physicists, based on the latest findings, are now speculating that we don’t live in a single universe, but rather in a multiverse with multiple parallel universes.

If there is any truth to this speculation then the Creator might have to be responsible not just for creating this universe, but instead a possibly enormous number of universes, and in each of these universes the laws of Physics might be subtly, or not so subtly, different.

This last idea, the idea that the constants and laws of the universe are at some level tweak-able and not fixed in stone is an important one. This ties in with another book I read a number of years ago by the late Sir Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe callled Evolution From Space.

Hoyle was a big opponent of the  Big Bang Theory and in fact was responsible for coining the term. However despite his opposition he made significant contributions that help explain the feasibility of the theory in that he helped discover how heavier elements (up to iron) are created in stars (even heavier elements require a super nova to be created).

The main point of Evolution From Space was the very great difficulty in explaining evolution from pure chance given the now believed 13 or so billion years from the the initial bang. The book is a long dissertation on the odds, not of creating human beings from chance, but merely creating the required biological enzymes and proteins.

Evolution From Space is also about how modern science has discovered that an enormous amount of biological information rains down on our planet every day in dust and particles from outer space. Given this “seed” information the idea of evolutionary change becomes much more reasonable. The big problem is figuring where this initial biological information came from, and the calculation that it could not be totally the product of chance.

This of course leads to an appeal to intelligent design which Hoyle thought – reluctantly I think – was required to explain the complexity of observed living beings including humans. He points to how it seems certain constants in physics seem specifically tuned to make life possible and in his view an incredible intelligence would be needed to figure it out in advance.

The real problem with the Big Bang is that no matter how much scientists can explain and theorize about what happened after the Big Bang, they can say nothing about it the instant it happened, or anything before it happened (let alone why it might have happened). There is a lot of evidence pointing to the Bang, but the closer you get to that singular point the less you can know, and less it makes sense (imagine all the material of the universe at a point smaller than the point of a safety pin and you may start to get the point).

That is where the Multiverse theory comes in. One possibility is that Black Holes create a rip in space time and can birth a new universe through a White Hole on the other side. That is where God might come in, forever experimenting and fine tuning each new universe.

A possibly more disturbing idea is whether indeed God created the Multiverse, or was itself a product of evolutionary universes? Did God create existence or simply come to consciousness in it? Did God awake and wonder if it was the only one of its kind? What is God?

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