As suggested in my previous post, man has for over 3000 years been unable to get complete agreement (or in fact anything anywhere near it) on the existance or non-existance of the One God. I do not intend to dive into that quandry directly, preferring to let everyone form their own conclusions.
I do intend though to try to draw a more logical and better picture of God, one with greater integrity and wider appeal, that allows all believers to more closely unify their belief with other believers (and perhaps even allowing non-believers a glimpse of what others ‘see’, or convince themselves they see, and why).
First though, we need to agree on something.
While our minds may be in many ways superior to a computer (and possibly also inferior in some respects 🙂 ), when sharing our ideas with other members of our race (who have minds full of their own understanding, which is in some way different to our own) We, through necessity, must abbreviate a lot of what we want to say because our time and our vocabulary are ‘limited’, finite.
When trying to discuss ideas about a God that is not finite but IN-finite therefore, we are forced to adopt finite, and in some cases pre-conceived (prefabricated by someone else), concepts to try and take the place of, or represent our ideas of, something that we were not properly designed to do. ( With ‘justice’ 🙂 )
This is a little like trying to convey the idea of an ocean to someone who has never seen one before by showing them a glass of water. Try as you might it just ain’t going to do the entirity of what an Ocean is any kind of ‘Justice’.
OK… so – with the idea that If God exists (and i confess to moving closer to the idea that God does exist in our Universe, although the form, or forms, is/are not perfectly clear to me just yet) God is far more than our words are ever likely to adequately ‘justify’- lets see if we can progress to that better ‘vision’.
Oh – just so we can all be working from roughly the same page: A brief class in Logic.
Saying a thing is ‘this’ does not logically mean that it cannot also be ‘that’.
Example: Just because an orange is round does not mean it cannot be orange. Nor does it mean it cannot be green – consider an unripened orange!
Slightly more complex example: Saying God is Light does not mean God is not also Love – it also does not mean that God cannot be/exist in darkness!!!
That is going to throw what some people believe right out the window! Let me expand a little further in the hope that such people don’t leave with their false understandings intact (or just leave full stop.)
Humans see only a very small portion of the spectrum of ‘Light’ – the ‘visible’ spectrum is actually only a very minute variation in electro-magnetic wavelengths of matter compared to all possible wavelengths. We define darkness as being the absence of ‘Light’ and yet cats can see perfectly well in what to us is almost total darkness. We must be very careful that we do not discount the presence of something merely because our eyes (or our mind or our equipment) cannot detect it. What to us as humans is ‘darkness’ may in fact contain God in any number of other ‘forms’.
Analogy’s (such as are frequently used in the Bible, say) may be useful in the strict terms of their context and to define one aspect or idea relating to one perspective of something but extending them to mean more than they were originally intended is (knowing the human capacity to misunderstand or misinterpret) able to be corrupted and great caution needs to be constantly exercised to not confuse what was meant, or mishear what is being said (and what, at the same time, is NOT being stated).
Back to the logic class…
Saying something is NOT something means just that! – it is not…! You cannot logically say what a thing IS by saying what it is not. This is a very common mistake most of us make every day – our Limited finite minds have the concept of Duality down fairly well: up/down, light/dark, good/evil, hot/cold – we tend to define something by it’s not being it’s opposite. This is rarely a good or accurate idea.
Where we begin to ‘boggle’ is in relativity and also by making false assumptions about ‘true’ opposites.
What is the opposite of being Rich?
If you answered: being poor (i.e. having no money) then you get a ‘d’ in logic!
Score top marks if you answered: being very deep in DEBT!
I said most of us get duality (or believe we do) but fail in relativity. the problem the above example demonstrates is in only seeing HALF the full picture… having money is one end of the spectrum of wealth. Being poor is in the middle of the spectrum (a ‘zero’ point). The true Opposite of being rich is OWING lots of money to someone else. i.e. having negative riches.
Relativity puts another spin on our ‘duality’ perspective. What we understand as hot and cold gets very confusing when we realise that pouring liquid nitrogen on our hands actually BOILS the nitrogen while freezing our skin (don’t try this at home folks!) Hot to us may be freezing to God and vice versa. What God understands of as ‘good’ may seem to us to be ‘bad’ while what we do as ‘good’ may in fact be not what God wants us to do at all!
So I hope i have shaken your belief systems up just a little to allow you to see things differently to what you did when you read the first line of this ‘salvo’ on the War on Error!
I will leave my discussion of some of religion’s major errors for the next Salvo. – Stay tuned!
Interesting stuff, well written.
So, maybe this was some of your point, but if we truly cannot comprehend the size of God and bring that to words (which I agree with), how do we go about speaking about Him?
I think logic is valuable in reality, but how do we ever hope or intend to create a “logic” about God?
Ah but I disagree with you on this particular point. (No surprise there, huh.). Duality is the problem. It is difficult for us to comprehend the pure nature of God because what we experience among ourselves is a corrupted version of that same nature. We cannot accept the idea that God is not hateful, vengeful, wrathful because that is how we respond to things, especially when we percieve these responses to be ‘just’.
Darkness is not the opposite of light – it is the absence of light. Cold is not the opposite of heat – it is the absence of heat. Evil is not the opposite of good (or God). We make a mistake when we allow it to take on tangible, even sentient characteristics. Evil, in varying degrees (just as cold and dark varies) describes those human actions that are done, in varying degrees, with an emphasis on the self as opposed to the ‘good’ of others.
All good things come from God. No ‘bad’ things do. What we percieve as bad are those things of God that have been perverted by our egos. Even the worse thing imaginable will have some element of ‘goodness’ intrinsic to it, a goodness that has been perverted. Just the act of ‘being’ can be seen as ‘good’.
God cannot incorporate evil anymore than a red hot skillet can hold water. Our misunderstanding of this allows us to commit ‘evil’ and stamp it with God’s seal of approval. We ascribe to God a duality, incorporating elements of both love and hate, that is not seen in the picture that Jesus paints for us.
Glad you found it interesting and not heretical Inworship 😉
Two very good questions and while I don’t intend to set myself up as any kind of Authority on God, prefering to merely try to widen what appears to me as some very ‘narrow’ views of Him (I really don’t like using a personal pronoun for the Source of Everything either but it does save a little time 🙂 ) I am happy to offer my opinion since you did ask 🙂
Science knows very little (really) about the Universe but that does not stop it talking ‘logically’ about it either. What seems paramount to me is the importance of realising the difficulty many, if not all, humans have of comprehending something that is far more, or ‘greater’ than they are. (Our egos are designed to believe that it is all important and nothing is really more important (to it) ).
To me it is important to recognise this above all: our human mind, body and ego is never going to ‘fit’ all of what God is into it, we can never fully ‘own’ God.
What we MAY be able to do is give all of ourselves over to God (or rather to what each of us understands are the key things about God) To do this we would have to spend the rest of our lives overcoming the wishes of our Ego who will never accept complete total submission to something it perceives as ‘not it’.
But I am not really answering even the first of your questions: How do we talk about God? I think it would be wise to first of all fully understand God as Jesus claimed to do – ‘I Know My Father’ – John 10:15; 14:7; Matt 11:27. Secondly it is important to realise no-one ever fully understands God but understands just one (or perhaps a few) aspects of God. How He relates to them personally and we should not presume to force our personal belief upon someone else but let them come to their own understanding. WE can express our own ‘perspective’ in terms that make it clear this is what God is TO ME but always allow for another perspective. God is Infinite. We can be certain of the facts and motivations of our own personal experince – it is far more difficult to be certain of the motivations and facts concerning God. Scripture may be ‘The Word of God’. It is certainly the word of man and as such is how we all read it (we cannot read it as God would when He wrote it).
Many people may compare their personal views of God and find that a number of features are seen by all, or most. We should remember that, before we then assign such features to God, that we all once agreed that the Earth was Flat!
The majority (or even those with the loudest, strongest voices) are not always ‘right’.
So should we therefore be full of doubt when speaking of God to others? I think if we truly know God we would speak about Him humbly and full of respect for the beliefs of others and of our own potential infallibility while being as certain as we can be that what we are telling others is True (and is Personally incorporated (literally: given a body)).
Ultimately, I believe it is probably best if we let God speak for Himself. We can always discuss what we ‘know’ about Him with others, preferably with those who don’t see Him exactly as we do to recognise that He is, in fact, Infinite and speaks to us all in His own way.
Hopefully that may bring us all closer together instead of forcing us to go to war against each other.
How can anyone who believes Truly In Christ go to war, or convince others to do it for them, against another human being as Christian Crusaders have done for millenia?
Your second question – I am sure you will be glad to read – is far easier to answer 🙂
God necessitates us to know Him through Faith and Belief and not physical ‘proof’. God is however, Pure Logic – nothing about Him is illogical – He is ‘internally’ full of Integrity. The problem is that we humans are capable of less than perfect logic and so can make mistakes when we try to define Him ‘logically’.
The Universe is relatively infinte to Us but we are perfectly capable of explaining and talking about it ‘logically’ – we should be equally able to do so about an Infinite God. It is important however to recognise our own finite ‘limits’ and work within them. Each of us has a slightly different set of finite limits, but we can all adpot identical logical ‘rules’.
Anytime one of us perverts this logic it is possible (preferable) that someone point it out to the perpetrator before it becomes a ‘fact’. (Like the ‘Flat Earth’).
The ‘science’ of logic was once taught in school – it exists – we don’t need to recreate one – just apply it correctly.
We do need to recognise and accept however that no single human can ever have a monopoly on all of God’s qualities.
Did any of that sound reasonable and ‘logical’? 🙂
Wonderful Big C – but i’m going to have to disagree with you – you don’t really disagree with me at all! 😉
I agree with almost everything you wrote!!!
What most of us see as duality is in fact a singularity – a single spectrum.
Up down is in fact merely a relative positioning along a single vertical (infinite) axis.
Hot cold is is merely relative positioning along a tempreature scale that is one-way open ended (still infinite)
Light dark is, as you pointed out, prescence or absence (a single relative quantity) of electromagnetic radiation, usually in the visible part of that whole (infinite) spectrum.
we think in terms of ‘absolutes’ and ‘opposites’ when in fact everything is relative.
Ok so maybe we have one area where we don’t quite see Eye to Eye – just yet! 🙂
God is the source of Everything – not just everything ‘good’ – for the reasons i mentioned above. ‘Good’ and ‘evil’ are (a human) positioning along a single spectrum which God ‘contains’ within Him.
Using your analogy of a skillet and water is a fine image but both the skillet and the water (and the heat and the eyes that observe them all) ARE God! You simply cannot separate anything that is, or anything that is not – from God. ANY thing. Can we ever truly turn away from God and commit ‘sin’ by following our own egos which are merely our incorporated version of God?
Humans have not ascribed to God a Duality as you stated, but only half of a Duality – all the ‘good’ bits while rejecting the ‘bad’ bits as not being of Him.
Humans are capable of moving along a spectrum of doing what is perceived as ‘good’ or ‘evil’ but that spectrum always is contained within God. Whatever we choose to do is God’s Will acting through us as a ‘filter’.
WOW! – that is going to be controversial – but logically i don’t see how it can be otherwise? God is Pure Logic and Truth. (along with everything else).
Right – the skillet analogy falls short because water is a very real entity. In my opinion (and I don’t know why I failed to say this earlier) evil does not actually exist. It is a word that we use to describe corrupted reality, the pure form of which God created.
Wow Big C! Wish you had said that opinion earlier 🙂 could have saved me about a hundred lines of babble!I know a lot of people are going to struggle trying to get their understanding around that one – i am having a time of it myself to be honest ;-).
I favour the ‘good/evil’ spectrum for humans. I think we, as mortals, need something away from Good to be able to have a clearer moral compass and the term ‘Evil’ nicely fits that bill – would you agree?
By ‘avoiding’ or turning away from ‘evil’ we believe we are doing good?
I don’t believe however, that God has such limitations and so in a sense is ‘beyond’ good and evil – he merely accepts that humans seem to need the terms. God is big enough to contain them all and much much more. Like a tough but fair parent – His conditions He sets upon us can seem to us as either ‘good’ or ‘bad/evil’ but that is mere human perspective. Which of course we tend to remain ‘forever’ trapped in.
I’m doing my best to broaden that perspective – to try to see things more from God’s angle than Man’s.
N.B to other readers – I said MORE like God – not AS God – i do not believe i could ever reach that while in human form.
Exactly! By turning away from evil (which is really intangible and hard to fixate upon) we pat ourselves on the back, entirely missing the other ‘evils’ that still ensnares us. This is the essence of legalism. We focus on eliminating one particular ‘evil’. the one that most easily gets our attention and we miss all the others, especially those we would not recognize as evil in the first place.
So instead of turning away from evil we must turn towards God. God must be our focus. We must try to put on the mind of Christ, focus on his love, surrender ourselves to him and acknowledge that we cannot do this without his help. The rest will fall into place. This is why we have the incarnation. With Christ we can see God, we can identify with him, we feel his pain and his empathy for us. He shows us the way.
Not that we were ever really all that far apart but i think we are being brought closer together now! TOTAL agreement with your first para.
Like the thrust of the second one with the following points:
1.’rest falling into place…’ – I am reasonably certain it is not as easy as that sounds! 🙂
2. ‘acknowledge that we cannot do this without his help…’ – some can read this as meaning only ‘Christian’s get salvation. I think you and I both know that anyone is able to get Christ’s SPIRIT without necessarily ‘knowing’ the Christ story of the Bible or adopting the term ‘Christian’. And some who adopt it still don’t get it as they should!
One little point for contention (I’m sorry I just can’t seem to help myself!)
Since God is everywhere and in everything which way do we turn so as to be turning ‘towards’ God?
As a further dimension to the subject i saw this Scripture last night while trying to get a handle on Rev 22…
“And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is WITHIN YOU.”
Looking within, a ‘Godless’ man can see only his own Ego which surrounds and keeps captive his soul. Those who fully walk with God are able to determine His kingdom within themselves. They have through long hard work built a body in Christ and overcome their own ego. They are ‘humbled’ and have been fully born ‘anew’.
Some who claim this for themselves still live within their own ego to certain degrees.
you guys have a good conversation going on duality and good/evil, I am soaking it in…
From another angle, I like what Christian’s focus is here. We don’t conquer an “issue” by tackling it, we conquer it by replacing it. That is the teaching of Romans to replace our “ideas/thoughts”(being renewed) with God’s. Of course I don’t believe this is something we do, it is something God does. When a person is dealing with addiction, they will often take them in steps. They focus them away from the old habits into creating new ones. We do this through meditating on God’s Word. We commit our focus to Hi and He changes us. I know, I used the pesky pronoun again 🙂
lol – a couple o’ thousand years of ‘tradition’ can be hard to shake huh? 🙂
I hear what you and Christian are saying, Brent (it’s ok if i call you Brent, right?)
Replacing old bad habits with newer better ones can ‘improve’ us.
Modifying what we most focus on modifies our brains into creating new paths and modalities towards a new way of thinking/behaving.
Becoming a creator in our lives rather than one who just reacts to every situation they come into contact with can have remarkable results.
I think we probably do ‘best’ when we become co-creator of our lives with God as this gives us a far wider view of the world and our place (tiny) in it. This aids humilty and decreases the effect upon our thinking of personal ego.
It hopefully teaches us responsibility instead of just our ‘rights’, and gives us a greater ability to respect a wider section of humanity than we might otherwise do.
I believe some, particularly some of the more fervent religious adherents have a kind of ‘fear’ of this (huge) responsibility – it can be a very frightening thing to be fully responsible for all your actions – our childhood years rarely prepare us properly for it! Such people ‘hand over’ the responsibility entirely to their understanding of an Almighty God and let him take the responsibility for their actions away from themselves, believing that even actions which are totally ‘negative’ are somehow ‘blessed’.
They are some of the ones who rely most strongly upon their own, or their religious leaders, interpretations of what God says in Scripture to justify their ‘creative’ or often just reactive action.
By perfecting a ‘one-on-one’ relationship with God we can hope to better understand His ways but we are required to also live with our fellow man (in peace, if not in agreement) while on Earth.
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