What Is God?


My friends: Back at my computer after a few weeks of travel, I find that a reader liked this blog post from March 23, 2012. Seven and a half years later it still rings true. So for those who haven’t delved that deeply into my archives, here it is again. Enjoy. I’ll be back with more news soon. 

How can human beings possibly know the nature of God?  We can’t, of course. Yet ever since our species realized we were alive and part of a vast living Mystery, we’ve been trying. And whether we’re religious or not, most of us have some ideas about this Mystery.  It seems to me we look at God from three major perspectives.

Objective Facts: Using mathematics and tools like X-rays, electrocardiograms, telescopes and microscopes, Science looks for factual information about the mysterious origins, forces, and laws of physical life.

Abstract Theories: Religion interprets the Mystery of life in words, theories, symbols, scriptures, and stories about enlightened spirit persons whose wisdom, compassion, and passion for social justice bring healing and hope.

Personal Truths: Psychology encourages us to explore the mysterious workings of our hearts and minds for insights that bring awe, compassion, and self-knowledge, and to express our experience of the Sacred in creative ways that reflect our individuality.

Until very recently these three perspectives were sharply separated. Scientific investigations took place in laboratories, religious ones in places of worship, and psychological ones in consulting rooms, art studios, and asylums. Moreover, since the invention of alphabets, the viewpoints of religions have predominately shaped humanity’s God-images.

But this is changing. The universal access to information that technology brings is closing the gaps, and our differing perspectives no longer totally  separate us from ourselves, each other, or God.  In fact, they are  merging into a deeper, more unifying vision. This is deeply disturbing to those who prefer separation to connection, simplicity to paradox, and certitude to dialogue.

However, those who seek truth and understanding find it refreshing and inspiring. Why? Because the newest insights and discoveries from science, religion and psychology confirm the same intuition that spirit persons from every place and time have always shared: that a primary characteristic of the sacred Mystery is Unity in Multiplicity.

Consider the myriad forms of life on our planet. Each has a separate reality of its own yet all live together in one giant, inter-connected home. Look at the variety of religions that have sprung up over the millennia. Despite cultural differences they all speak the same language of love, compassion, tolerance, and the sanctity of life. Look at different individuals. No two are exactly alike, yet we all share the same matter, physiological systems, instinctual drives, and archetypal inheritance. And all our parts work together to help our bodies and species thrive.

Three perspectives; one Mystery. A Holy Trinity as it were. Unity in Multiplicity.

I can think of nothing more sacred than the miracle of life. Without it there would be no science, religion, or psychology. No miracles, healing, or compassion. No people with ideas about God. No God. If the nature of God is expressed in Unity in Multiplicity and we are each living, breathing participants in that Unity, then we are in God and God is in us.

How would your life be different if you held this image of God in your mind as you went through each day? How would the world be different if humanity shared this God-image?

Jean Raffa’s The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon. E-book versions are also at KoboBarnes And Noble and Smashwords. Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications, Inc. Her new book, The Soul’s Twins, will be launched next year.

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15 Responses

  1. Jean, it would be so lovely if we could live and work together with our beliefs and ideals, however at this moment in time I see us being radically torn apart. There for a while, I actually thought we were coming together. No longer – it breaks my heart.

    1. Hi Gwynn, I know. It’s awfully discouraging right now.
      But I think the radical divisiveness may be bringing us together at a deeper level than we’re normally aware of. The extreme rhetoric and emotion coming from both sides of the political spectrum is causing thoughtful people to see and question their own political extremism and see how both sides contribute to the problems, which are more complex than most of us thought. I think we’re beginning to realize at a collective level that there are no simple, either/or solutions, and I’ve seen a bit more willingness from both sides to enter into dialogues that prioritize fairness and truth over party loyalties.
      I know the media thrive on the drama, but it’s just this sort of crisis situation that brings forth necessary change. The conflicts are very painful to me too, but as long as there is poverty, ignorance, and injustice in the world, there will be political unrest and rebellion. In the big picture, history shows us that our species is evolving toward greater consciousness, justice, compassion, and love. So instead of letting the chaos get me down, I’m focusing on the new solutions that can come out of all this given enough time……..
      May some of them come about in our lifetime!!!

      1. Jean, you make some excellent points. I truly hope a comprehensive and satisfying solution is arrived at so the world can experience some peace of mind.

  2. This is great post and if i may, I will print a few to share.
    We are making our way to a stronger body for Bob. Biggest job I ever had. Miss you

    1. Thank you, my dear friend.
      Yes, of course. Share this with as many people as you like.
      I’m glad to hear Bob is slowly getting stronger. I can’t imagine how hard it must be for both of you to recover from his catastrophic stroke. It must take all the energy you have to keep pushing forward day after day. I’m so sorry. I miss you too, and wish I could be with you to help.
      Stay conscious. 🙂

  3. The reduction of Mystery to a Big Man in the Sky with organised religion broke me when I was younger. Later on, intuiting the ineffable nature of that Mystery brought some peace. The yearning of our species for simple solutions which automatically others perceived differences continues to be our tragedy. We are all part of the Mystery.

    1. Dear Brian,
      Seven years ago when I first wrote and posted this piece, you responded with a comment in which you touched on the problem of organized religion’s tendency to organize things into an “us against them mentality,” despite their professed belief in the Mystery of Holy Trinity.
      We were on the same page then, and still are. People who do not reflect on the realities of their inner lives tend to “believe” in abstract religious dogma without realizing that their lack of self-knowledge (psychological understanding) prevents them from practicing what they believe and preach. Since then, that tragedy you refer to has escalated to the point that it’s mirrored to us in the daily news. Yet some still don’t see it.
      My hope is that your experience of being broken by a repressive religion when you were a boy, (I was in my mid-thirties before I experienced the brokenness), will become more common as a result of these daily reminders until the blinders are removed from so many people that this new awareness becomes common to collective consciousness.
      I believe in the sacred Mystery with all my heart. Like you, what I have a problem with is man-made organized religious dogma that unconsciously influences followers to angrily, hatefully, and sometimes violently repress the Mystery of Unity in Multiplicity in the name of their deity. I can’t imagine that this attitude sits well with a god of love.
      Thank you for being my friend all these years.

        1. OMG!!! I did not see that. Totally unconscious! (Thank you, Unconscious Self!) Yes, Matrignosis at its best! Thanks for your astute poetic insight. You don’t miss a trick!!!

  4. Wonderful Post Jean,
    I can only speak for myself when I say that I am in awe when standing before creation. From the huge expanse of our universe to the tiny of things that surround us. When I see so much intelligence in creatures, I appreciate that they are the result of the wisdom and the power that designed me. With that said; regardless of what we believe, it would be so wonderful if we could all just appreciate each other and be thoughtful with the diversity we all posses.

  5. Thank you, Fern. Yes, appreciation, thoughtfulness, and respect for diversity would certain go a very long way toward creating the kind of world we’d all like to live in: peaceful, kind, fair, and free!

  6. Lovely to read this Jeannie, thank you. Descartes, Darwin and ‘others’helped to separate things and us into machine like organisms to our great detriment … and of course the political dogma surrounding religions when each as you say has basically the same message of peace love compassion charity – I think and hope that as a species we’re evolving even if things seem pretty dire.

    1. It’s like the old saying, “Two steps forward, one step back.” We learn, we grow a bit, but it’s difficult. So after a while, the temptation to slide back a bit becomes irresistible. But having grown a bit more self-aware, we can never rest completely easy with our shadow’s lapses. So we suffer a bit, for a while, until the conflict becomes so painful that half-reluctantly, we allow our inherent need to grow to re-surface and guide us again.
      Unless we don’t. But even when we don’t, our children will learn a little something from our mistakes. Eventually, someone in the family takes up the banner and starts to grow in their own way. It’s a generations-long process. But it accounts for all the changes our generation has seen in the direction of bringing freedom justice to people who many have long feared and hated because they are different from us.
      Thank you for your always affirming words, Susan.

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