Before we get started it’s probably a good idea to figure out how are we going to define God? There must be as many ways to define God as there are people on the planet. Some think he’s a big guy in the sky while others think he’s not a ‘he’ at all but a gender-less, formless, infinitely intelligent energy. I love the way Ernest Holmes refers to God as “the Thing Itself”.
I stand more with the latter group but, for the purposes of this book, I’m going to refer to God pretty much as the Bible does, as an all-powerful man in the sky. I know a lot of people get turned off just by the mention of the word ‘God’ but, if we’re going to approach the Bible literally, then we have to use the literal terms given us.
The Bible says we were created in God’s image but it seems, at least in the Old Testament, that man created God in the image of the most powerful kings and rulers of the time. Like these despots, God comes off as a petulant deity with a short temper who demands absolute loyalty and obedience. He is generous to those he likes and unbelievably cruel to those he doesn’t.
The Old Testament God is moody and prone to temper tantrums. Sometimes he can be argued with and he’ll change his mind. But then, at the next turn, one little slip up will doom you forever.
To confuse the issue even more, even God’s form is inconsistent. Sometimes he shows up as a clueless guy walking around the garden, sometimes he’s hiding in a burning bush, sometimes he’s just some guy who shows up on your doorstep. He’s even been known to get into wrestling matches with humans.
But one thing that is consistent, he’s always a ‘he’. So, although it pains me, that’s how I’m going to refer to him.1
It wasn’t until Jesus came along that the entire narrative on God changed. Suddenly he was this loving, benevolent, super tolerant ‘father’ who doesn’t judge you and is eternally forgiving. The New Testament God wants nothing more than to give you all the gifts life has to offer.2 Quite a change from the Old Testament fire and brimstone God.
Another thing about this God/gender thing; it does make it easier to talk about this infinitely intelligent source-energy thing if we just call it God and refer to it as ‘him’. Although I don’t believe it’s literally correct, I do see why people have been doing it for eons; it’s just easier.
Early on, the king was the most powerful dude around so it was just natural that God would be the biggest, baddest dude ever. That’s pretty much how a lot of people still think of him today. Thinking of God as some abstract energy life-force is just beyond some people’s ability to comprehend.3
It is self-evident a power exists in the universe that is greater than we are. Something grand and glorious gave rise to all this. It is pointless to deny the existence of Life Itself but where we take it from there is up to each one of us. Regardless of how we think of it, it is what it is.
Each one of us, within our own subconscious mind, will define God in whatever way works for us.4 I like how Bill Wilson, the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, called it “the God of his understanding”. He knew each person understands God in a completely unique way and nothing else matters except we acknowledge it in our own way. Ultimately, God, as far as we’re concerned, is whatever we think it is. God is quite happy to let us think whatever we want.
The nature of God is fodder for a whole book, but not this one. To state it plainly, as far as I’m concerned, God is infinite and therefore cannot be defined in any real way anyway. But if I were to try, I would say God is an all-powerful, absolute Intelligence, infinite Wisdom, LIFE itself, unconditional love and the source of all. God is ALL and all of creation is made ‘of’ God, which is way different than being made ‘by’ God. I believe God exists in its fullness in each and every one of its creation, including you and me. I believe our potential ability to create is exactly the same as this infinite creative force. It is only a matter of degree and our ability to believe we can.5
So, it doesn’t matter if you think of God as an infinitely intelligent Life force or a big powerful guy up in the clouds taking notes and getting ready for the judgment day. It doesn’t matter if you refer to God as your Inner Being, your Higher Self, Source energy, Nature, Life, the Universe, or just plain God. For the purposes of this book I’m going to stick to the literal narrative and refer to God as ‘God’, and that God is a he/him.
2 That’s the ‘Good News’ Jesus was talking about
3 My mom was one of them
4 As John Lennon said, “Whatever gets you through the night”
5 So did Jesus. Read on