An excerpt from the Authentic Freedom Weekly Lesson. Full content available for Basic – Premium Members. Learn more HERE.
“He is not God of the dead, but of the living,
for to him all are alive.”
God: The big “G” word. So much evil has been done in the name of an “on behalf” of “God” that I am hesitant to even use this word. At the same time, we don’t have another word in our English language that describes that which cannot be described.
When we look beyond the patriarchal interpretation and manipulation of “God” to the mystical Jewish tradition of which Jesus was most certainly a part, God is understood as this:
- Ain-Sof: Ain-Sof is the Hebrew word meaning “No-Thing.” Ain-Sof is the limitless Nothing out of which all of creation was brought forth. Ain-Sof is empty, nothing, void; but at the same time, it holds infinite possibility. Every possible thing, idea, creation, image, etc. etc. etc. is present within the void. This is the Source of all that is, and is what existed (or didn’t exist) before the BIG BANG ignited the unfolding creation of the universe. Ain-Sof would be the highest understanding of that which we might now call “God.”
- Emanations: Because this Ain-Sof cannot truly be grasped by the human mind, “God” distilled/constricted itself so that it could come into material form. In the Kabbalistic tradition of Jewish mysticism, these progressively distilled emanations of the Divine are represented on the Tree of Life as the Sefirot. These are the various aspects of the Divine that are involved in the bringing forth of all that is: Keter (Light), Chokmah (Wisdom), Da’at (Knowing), Binah (Understanding), Chesed (Mercy/Compassion), Gevurah (Severity), Tiferet (Beauty), Netzach (Victory), Hod (Splendor), Yesod (Creativity), Malchut (Creation/The Word).
- Formless, Faceless, Nameless: The ultimate Divine cannot be named, has no form and no face or image can capture its infinite nature. While human beings continue to create God in our own image, God cannot be contained by our limited perceptions or experiences. In the Hebrew tradition, this truth is lived out in the titles that are used when referring to God, never daring to utter God’s only name which has been described in four Hebrew letters which illustrate the power and majesty of the Divine. Titles like “Adonai” or El-Shaddai are used out of respect (and fear/awe) of the nameless, faceless Source.
- Masculine, Feminine and Everything in Between: In the articulation of the Divine Emanations as described in the Kabbalah, the actions of the Divine are defined in terms of “active” or “receptive.” These Emanations have been given masculine (active) and feminine (receptive) names to distinguish their active or receptive principles. Those along the middle column (Keter, Da’at, Tiferet, Malkuth) are neutral as they are that which comes forth out of the balance between the active and receptive principles of life.
In short, never in the Hebrew tradition has God been exclusively male – this interpretation is simply a distortion of the patriarchal culture out of which Christianity emerged. Therefore, Jesus’ understanding of God was not exclusively male. He is quoted as having called God “Abba/Father,” though it is just as likely he also called God “Amma/Mother.” While this cannot be proven through scripture, we do know that Jesus found himself to be ONE (John 17: 6-26) with God and in that Oneness, found great peace, contentment and joy. This “Oneness” Jesus called “Malkut,” inaccurately translated as “Kingdom of God.” From the perspective of Jewish mysticism, Jesus fulfilled the emanation of the Divine within him by attaining “Malkut” – Oneness with God and the fulfillment of the purpose of the human journey. This is what Jesus tried to teach his disciples.