I am giving all credit and honor for this week’s (dot)Love newsletter to my long-time spiritual director, Leanore Rommelfanger. In my session with her this week, she literally blew my mind – and my ego – with her wisdom. Leanore, this is for you!
What do we know of God – really? The short answer to this question is NOTHING. To quote Schultz from the 1960’s sitcom Hogan’s Heroes, “We know NOTHING!” We really, truly know nothing of God. We don’t even know if God exists. And yet, for as long as human beings have walked this planet, we have pondered the infinite mysteries of the universe, including life itself. As we gaze in wonder at the universe, at the miracles of creation, of the beauty all around us, we know that we did not do this, nor could we. But if human beings didn’t create all of this – then who, or what did? As we struggle to make sense of the difficulties, challenges and suffering that all seem to be part of life on this planet – we also wonder, who or what is causing this? Are we causing this suffering by our actions or are they caused by something outside of our control? Or, as the chaos theorists surmise, is this all completely and totally random? Is creation simply brought about by a bunch of random particles bouncing off of each other creating life as we know it?
At the end of the day, we will never truly know – at least as long as we are on this side of the veil. Yet this does not stop human beings from trying to make sense of it all. The ancients determined that the world was created by The Great Mother (Creatrix) who birthed the universe through her very self. Ancient tribal cultures give credit to the Great Spirit in the Sky. Some acknowledge one Divine Being who can express itself in a multitude of ways and forms and does so through what these cultures call their “gods.” Some conceive of an Earthly and Earthy Source. Others think of the gods as from above. Some believe aliens created our world – but if so, where did they come from? The Hebrews believed in One God who was infinite, who bore many names and who was truly genderless and could express itself as female or male, but who for many became Lord. Jesus called his god Abwoon, which western religion has translated as Father. Scripture tells us that Jesus found himself to be One with God and it was in this Oneness that he discovered the kingdom of God, what today we might call peace or contentment. The author of the letter of John, in his (or her) deeper reflection on Jesus’ teachings described God as Love.
Ultimately we define god by our own tribal custom, beliefs and through our own understanding. Most commonly, we are making god in our own image or defining god by our experience of human beings. I know this idea might be shocking to some – but think about it. In the Christian tradition alone, there are a million ways in which God is defined – all based on a human being’s interpretation of scripture which can only be interpreted through that individual’s life experiences and the lens through which they have experienced the world. Some versions of Christianity speak of a fire and brimstone god, one who is judging humanity and waiting to throw sinners into the fiery pits of hell. Others preach an unconditionally loving god. Everyone else preaches something in between the two. Which god is really and truly God? In the limited experience of being human, we will never truly know. St. Paul once said in quoting Isaiah(64:4):
However, as it is written:
“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”
the things God has prepared for those who love him…
these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. 1 Cor 2: 9-10
From the perspective of our tiny human experience, we cannot fathom the nature of God. Even Paul put conditions on God – “for those who love him.” Only those who love will be privy to the wonder of God – and God is only male. Sigh.
But, such is the nature of our human condition. Our view and our understanding is limited. But we still keep trying to define God. What would happen if we stopped defining God and instead, allowed God to reveal God’s Self to us?
GREY MATTER ON MY KEYBOARD.
A big Homer Simpson “D’OH!”
What would happen if we got out of our big fat egos and instead of trying to define or explain God, we let God do that for us? I suspect this may have been what Paul was getting at in the continuation of the passage from 1 Corinthians 2:
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