Saturday, October 10, 2009

More about understanding God

So here are some thoughts as helpful follow up to what you read previously about understanding and explaining God's All Knowingness.

If you really understood the imagery regarding God's All Knowingness that I used in order to describe God, and really work with the comprehension and illumination it provides, you should have two simultaneous reactions. One is to be completely boggled by the awesomeness and completeness of God. When you understand that he simultaneously and at all times knows all that there is to know, including the history through eternity of even the smallest quantity of vacuum, nothingness, in the universe, and all that could ever befall it, you have to be totally boggled by the immensity, perfection and completion of God. However, you should also have a simultaneous feeling of "click," of a light bulb lighting, of dawning understanding, a relief that you finally "get" what God is really all about. At the same time that God is revealed as truly all that ever can be or will be, to a level of detail and completion that no angel or human can understand, you should also feel that at last you DO understand a very important part of God, and thus he is, in an almost paradoxical way, more approachable to you personally.

By chipping off this individual insight about God, really understanding his All Knowingness, you receive cascading benefits of illumination and comprehension about him. For one, you lose that mindless, amorphous, fuzzy wuzzy temptation to believe that he's a name, a personification, given to some "universal force." That, you now understand, is total rubbish, because God is the creator and outside of the universe itself, and so the universe's matter and "energy forces" cannot at all be compared to him, and also you realize that any "energy forces" that do exist, and are not bogus human imaginings, fall under God's creative actions and his control anyway. Secondly, you realize that God is indeed a "person" and not some goopy syrup of "vibes" or "energy." God is not a name given to forces that just kind of churn around in a mosh pit of "energy" and "vibrations"... God is a personage, someone who is totally mindful and in control of all that was and ever will be.

By understanding the extraordinary and indescribable scope of God's All Knowingness, you also understand that God can be described as having three basic "activities," very broadly speaking. Again, I'm trying to help by putting them in human context. One is that God creates and then lets creation (and subsequent maintenance and ongoingness of his creation) proceed according to natural laws he has put into place, such as gravity, biology, geology, etc all reveal. So God creates and when he creates he also creates the natural laws that then are the ongoing mechanisms put into place. An obvious example is reproduction, where after creating life, the natural laws and processes that God has put into place allows plant and animal species to reproduce on their own: God does not have to intervene.

The second "activity" that God "spends time doing" is, thus, intervention. God rarely intervenes in the way that most of you think about, such as miracles, smiting evil doers, and/or temporarily suspending natural laws. However, God is constantly intervening in two ways. God is constantly available to have a relationship with any individual person and will respond to prayers, though not always in a way that one expects or can perceive. God is also constantly working on the heart and soul of every person, even those who hate him, through the presence and invitation of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is always there, moving among even the most arid and hateful of people and communities, and even among the worse sinners, trying to reach them and bring them back to genuine humanity, charity, self respect, and relationship with God. This is why you cannot really claim a faith or religion is either "unfair" or "the only way" because its believers believe that only through their rites etc will they be saved by God or whatever. In many ways it is a moot point because God does seek individual relationship and the Holy Spirit does indeed move even in Communist atheist countries, as we have seen in history. However, one must always, as I've boggled before, seek the truth, not the "right" or "best" "faith." If you seek the truth you find it, because God is the truth. False religions and faith put a checkered flag in front of you too soon, so that you think you have found the "right" or "best" "faith," before you have really completed (or even sincerely started) the search and discernment of the truth about God.

For example, it became an anti-establishment fad in the 1960's and continuing today to rebel against the "irrelevant" and "boring" and "hypocritical" faith of one's parents. Now, I'm speaking of the mainstream monotheistic faiths, primarily Judaism and Christianity. Islam has thus far not suffered from the throwing away of the parents' faith by the children just because the children want to sin and feel all grown up and rebel "against the machine" of religion. But for forty years Jewish kids and Christian kids grew up to be denomination switching, converting, God denying, or pagan faith pursuing rebels who think they are smarter than their boring and sheep like parents. Ooops. Why is that an ooops? This is where God's All Knowingness is so important to understand.

How can any one person decide to rebel or religion "shop" if they really understood God's All Knowingness first? One really has to come to know God within one's own family mainstream and orthodox faith FIRST before becoming any sort of religion critic. This is because all the mainstream, orthodox Monotheistic faiths are founded on truths of communication between the one true God and his people, which is why they are described as the offsprings of Abraham. Here's a modern analogy. Suppose you really want to get to know all about a celebrity who you admire. But you decide to throw away thousands of years of dialogue that your ancestors have had with this celebrity, because you want to find the place where you supposedly can really get to know him. I mean, think about it, that's so absurd. But that is what two to three generations of rebellious religion "shoppers" have done, and are still doing.

So when you understand God's All Knowingness and perfection of totality and completeness, and you understand both his creation/let it be role and his role of personal intervention, you realize that the Bible, the Qur'an, and the writings of many orthodox rabbis throughout history is actual records of that "celebrity" that you want to know: and your parents' mainstream faith records their share of understanding the actual God. You should fully respect and immerse yourself in your mainstream orthodox Jewish, Christian and Muslim faith first before seeking "additional" information and most certainly before diving into the rites of other faiths. I mean, if you don't understand the full purpose and relationship of your own faith first, how do you recognize, supposedly, a "better" faith? Duh. :-)

And finally, by understanding God's All Knowingness, you understand the third activity that God engages in which is to be in fellowship with the angels, the humans, and all creation. I don't mean this in the fuzzy wuzzy "they are all one in the ether" kind of creepy New Age thinking. I mean God, as a personage, "hangs out" with the angels, with humans, and with the living things, and the inorganic things, of the universe. It's one of the first things humans learn about God, what God is "like," in the Book of Genesis in the Bible, that God would walk in the Garden of Eden, with Adam and Eve, in the coolness of the evening. [God doesn't get too "hot" or "cold" so one is supposed to understand that God is hanging out with Adam and Eve at the time of day they would most enjoy, doing what many humans do, which is to walk around the yard, or the garden, or sit on the porch, at the end of day.] This is how we know, in addition to other scriptural references, that God spends much of his "time" just being in companionship with the beings he created, and the places that he created.

Just to wrap up this segment of posting about understanding God's All Knowingness, here is another insight that such analogies and knowledge about God should be giving you. Now you understand how even non-believers and people who do some pretty bad things can feel "blessed" and have what they think are "good lives," because while they are alive, they are swept along on the tide of goodness that God has set into motion for everyone. In other words, the rats benefit from being on the good ship. But when the ship goes aground, as it must someday do, either on an individual basis, or a culture or a nation, or totally, at the End of Time, or at a person's death and individual judgment, they realize they were riding the coattails of God's overall blessings and providence, but were doing so as rats rather than good stewards and believers. When one understands God's All Knowingness, you better understand why it seems that bad people get away with a lot, and even have "good lives," but they do not, as God knows the actions of every particle or vacuum that ever was or could be. Their judgment will be full and complete, when it is their time.

However, in this blogging I want to keep you focused on the joyful search for understanding the true God as he has already repeatedly revealed himself as he alone chooses to, so I don't want to close with just that warning above. Those of you who believe in God, or who were deprived of faith, or given false examples to follow, will benefit greatly by taking the first step of understanding that God is truly All Knowing and in control, in the ways that I've described above, as explained in Jewish, Christian and Muslim holy scripture. When an auto accident happens, God is in control because he established the laws of physics where energy and matter react, and humans decide if their use is for goodness or for not so good. Also, humans are flawed vessels, through both their physical limitations and their ignorance or vanity, so they cannot expect to live within a universe of natural laws but act like they are superhuman beings. Every child figures that out when he or she first decides he or she is like superman and then jumps off their garage (a childhood friend of mine did that and got the expected broken leg). Adults need to understand that God is in control through the natural laws he established in his creation, but that adults should not be puffed up about their role. Where they should feel pride is as St. Paul described, pride in Jesus Christ, pride in being brought to God within Jesus Christ, not through their own works or their imagined superhuman powers.

Rather, one needs to have comfort and consolation and understanding that even as God Knows All, he still desires and puts forth the Holy Spirit to help in this, fellowship and parenthood of all humans, bringing them, those that are worthy and just, into the companionship where God is all the time, which are the angels in heaven. God wants to walk with each human in what remains of the Garden on earth, but he will only do so if you truly seek him, not a fraud. God knows every particle and every non-particle that ever was and ever could be... if you understand that and come to accept that knowledge joyfully, that becomes a key part of your foundation of faith and trust in God. I've observed that humans find it difficult to trust God and have faith in him in large part because they continue to not understand the full dimensions of his All Knowingness, and the categories of his involvement, as I've described here. Evangelicals often leap too quickly into telling people to trust God without helping their followers to understand the fullness of God's "dimensions" and thus his trustworthiness. That is why the prophets before Jesus, and then culminating in Jesus himself, performed awesome miracles, as through observation of those powers that could only be God given, people mutually trusted the prophets but also grew in their trust of God, knowing intuitively how only the All Knowing can do those miraculous things that they saw.

I hope you have found this helpful and a special hello, as always, to the young people out there.