Is All That Exists God?

Is all that exists God? Is it the case that everything that exists a part of God? Or part of “the one” of God? Is it the case that all people are of one being?

If this were the case, the following would be true:

  • There would only be one being, and all of the material world would be part of that being.
  • Separation would be an illusion. What we percieve as separated people and objects would be an illusion.
  • We would all be God, and all the objects we see are equally part of God.

It cannot be the case that all is God, for the following reasons:

1. God either changes or not. If all were part of God, then God changes, for we are changing. This cannot be, for if God changed, then something other than God would have to cause God to change. But nothing is other than God, so we have a contradiction. On the other hand, if God does not change, then we are not God, since we change. In either case, all things are not shown to be God.

2. If we are God, we would know it, for God is all things, including knowledge. But all those who believe that they are part of God had to learn that they are God. Either God did not know something, in which case all things are not God. Therefore we are not God.

3. If we are God, how is it the case that so many people do not know they are God? How did they lose this knowledge?

4. If all that exists is part of God, then evil is part of God, for evil exists. But evil is a lack of good, a destroyer of good. So if both evil and good are part of God, then God cannot be all things for part of God creates and part destroys. God cannot be all evil, for evil is a lack, a destruction. If evil exists apart from God, then all is not God. In this scenario, God is limited at best, and at worst a contradiction. In either case, all is not God.  

5. To say that God is infinite, yet shares his being with matter, is incoherent, for matter is limited.

The true solution to explaining the nature of God is found in the Bible. A great passage that explains the nature of God in some detail is Isaiah chapters 40 to 50. If we study these chapters, and others in the Bible, we find that:

  • God is creator, we are creation, like a painter is to a painting.
  • God is holy and good, all the time.
  • God is infinite, and not limited.
  • God is spirit, and not made of matter.
  • God is all wise and all knowing.

Because humans and objects are none of these, God is separate and not a part of creation, although God is present in creation.  

 

 

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About humblesmith

Christian Apologist & Philosopher
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29 Responses to Is All That Exists God?

  1. R.Ross says:

    You said: Is all that exists God? Is it the case that everything that exists a part of God? Or part of “the one” of God? Is it the case that all people are of one being?

    If this were the case, the following would be true:

    There would only be one being, and all of the material world would be part of that being.
    Separation would be an illusion. What we percieve as separated people and objects would be an illusion.
    We would all be God, and all the objects we see are equally part of God.

    Absolutely. And that is what I have come to believe through reading about many religions, ancient and more recent, as well as physics, science, spirituality, psychology, biology, art, mathematics, archaeology, mythology, anthropology, sociology, nature and well, many things.

    You said: It cannot be the case that all is God, for the following reasons:

    1. God either changes or not. If all were part of God, then God changes, for we are changing. This cannot be, for if God changed, then something other than God would have to cause God to change. But nothing is other than God, so we have a contradiction. On the other hand, if God does not change, then we are not God, since we change. In either case, all things are not shown to be God.

    But if there is no time and all things are eternal then all which has ever been, is and will be remains – the changes are illusion. God, or what we call God is all things at all times and all things exist eternally.

    And if God is not capable of change then God is limited and God is not all there is and God must be all things – you can’t be half-God and you can’t be some things and not others.

    You said: 2. If we are God, we would know it, for God is all things, including knowledge. But all those who believe that they are part of God had to learn that they are God. Either God did not know something, in which case all things are not God. Therefore we are not God.

    The most ancient spiritual teachings and even more recent ones attest that we do know it – but we have forgotten. In some ways we are meant to forget – passing through the River of Sleep as we return to this world, so that we may consciously and with free will, find or remember who and what we are.

    It is a bit like religion as a wise Catholic priest said to me many years ago when we discussed young people discarding their religion. He said: ‘They must discard the religion they have learned as children so they may return to it as adults. What they need is the religion of a mature adult, not a helpless, immature child.’

    Not everyone has to learn they are God …. Many religions which we would call primitive have held this teaching for millennia. It was the religions which grew out of the patriarchal age – where left-brain thinking took power over right-brain thinking – where ego took over from Soul – which began to teach the separation which necessitated learning what we had once known.

    You said: 3. If we are God, how is it the case that so many people do not know they are God? How did they lose this knowledge?

    Partly because this is how humanity has developed, because it had to develop this way and partly because in the past 5,000 years we have become more left-brain driven where focussed consciousness has taken control and limited, if not imprisoned, our right-brain’s capacity for diffuse awareness.

    The greatest spiritual teachers have been those who could use their focussed consciousness to access and explore their diffuse awareness.

    When I say it ‘had to be this way’ I mean that just as a teenager must, at some point, find his or herself and this requires rejecting the parent (for the parent will not reject the child) so too did we have to feel ourselves separate so we could grow independently and mature to a point where we could return (to parent or God) as a developed, or as Carl Jung would have said, individuated person.

    I liken this ‘separation’ to that of a situation where a child, living in the ‘shadow’ of his parents can not see her or his own shape and must move out of that ‘shadow’ and into the ‘light’ to see more clearly exactly who and what s/he is.

    As Above: So Below. The microcosm reflects the macrocosm.

    You said: 4. If all that exists is part of God, then evil is part of God, for evil exists. But evil is a lack of good, a destroyer of good. So if both evil and good are part of God, then God cannot be all things for part of God creates and part destroys. God cannot be all evil, for evil is a lack, a destruction. If evil exists apart from God, then all is not God. In this scenario, God is limited at best, and at worst a contradiction. In either case, all is not God.

    Yes, this one is tricky for religions. It has been created one could argue to ‘protect’ God but of course God has no need of protection and the source of this teaching actually has more to do with the patriarchal impact on religions – turning them into systems of power and influence through which one can gain money, power and influence.

    If you can get human beings to believe that God is Good and they are Evil and they can only be saved if they find their way back to God, but they cannot do that without the help of the church then you have a powerful structural and economic system. As it was and still remains to lesser and greater degrees.

    If you see evil in terms of the opposite of good as in black/white or right/wrong then this is difficult but if you see evil (the word is live backwards) as a matter of perception, which, in religious terms it often is because what religions have called wrong are perfectly natural and healthy practices, then it is less difficult.

    Evil seen as ignorance, as opposed to a lack of good, is often destructive. But much that is done in the name of ‘good’ has ‘evil’ results. In other words good can come out of what we call evil and evil can come out of what we call good.

    The practice of forcing unwed mothers to give up their babies for adoption in decades past was seen as ‘good’ but in fact had an ‘evil’ effect on mothers and children; the old practice of beating children was once seen as ‘good’ and we now call it ‘evil’; the belief that indigenous and primitive peoples were better dead if they did not agree to convert was clearly quite ‘evil’ but was called ‘good’; the discrimination against women which is endemic in most religions is called ‘good’ but is clearly ‘evil’ because it is so destructive not just for women but for men and for society as a whole; lobotomising the mentally disabled as happened in the past was seen as good but was evil; racial discrimination and South African apartheid, both supported by religion in many cases were called good but were extremely evil….. and so the list could go on.

    And even if you see evil as destruction of course it must be a part of God – we live in a world of death as a part of life. Every cell in our body is replaced every seven years – cells die and are reborn – they are destroyed so new ones can be created. That is an inherent part of this world which God created and continues to create.

    Without destruction the natural world could not survive – the process of birth, life, and death are what this world is about.

    You said: 5. To say that God is infinite, yet shares his being with matter, is incoherent, for matter is limited.

    It is not about matter – God is consciousness – matter emanates from consciousness as modern physics is now discovering. Matter is limited but consciousness is not. Matter, which is the stuff of this world, is just one expression or manifestation of that which is God.

    You said: The true solution to explaining the nature of God is found in the Bible.

    Except given some of the destructive, silly, unkind, primitive, sexist, misogynistic and backward things found in a literal reading of the Bible it is clear the Bible is meant to be read metaphorically or symbolically.

    You said: A great passage that explains the nature of God in some detail is Isaiah chapters 40 to 50. If we study these chapters, and others in the Bible, we find that:

    God is creator, we are creation, like a painter is to a painting.

    God is creator is a religious teaching which sets God outside of this world – as other. Apart from the fact that at an energy level the painter and painting are one – because at the molecular level, all is connected, the analogy once again casts God in human form.

    You said: God is holy and good, all the time.

    The words here are limiting. Definitions of what is holy and what is good are highly subjective. To a religious person holy means going to church, temple, synagogue or mosque amongst other things, but often rules particular to circumstance, culture and patriarchy – to me everything is holy, as in sacred, as in deserving of honour. And God as holy could certainly work from my perspective but I would simply say that everything is holy and sacred, all the time – as was taught in the ancient Goddess religions.

    As to the meaning of Good, this is also highly subjective. As I said above, what one person sees as good another finds evil. The purest Good and this is how I see God, is Love, but I define Love as connectedness and given the complexity of the human understanding of Love we could spend a lifetime debating its meaning.

    If one believes that all works for a purpose then distinctions between good and evil are less clear. If one recognises that good comes out of evil and evil comes out of good, as patently they do, then it is also less clear.

    You said: God is infinite, and not limited.

    If God is not limited then all things must be of God. If we are separate from God and those things we choose to call evil are separate from God then God is limited because God is not all and if God is not all then God is not infinite.

    The most ancient teachings echo those of much spiritual and religious teachings – there is no time – all is infinite. Quantum Physics now says the same thing.

    You said: God is spirit, and not made of matter.

    If God has no connection with this world of matter then God is not infinite and God is limited. However, I take the view that God is spirit or consciousness and this world emanates from that spirit or consciousness and matter is a manifestation of God. It also makes sense that we are spiritual beings, inhabiting for a time, material bodies. But ultimately all is one – all is God.

    You said: God is all wise and all knowing.

    God is all things so God must be wise and all knowing. When we connect with our spiritual selves, our true selves, our God nature, then we too have access to that wisdom and knowing.

    You said: Because humans and objects are none of these, God is separate and not a part of creation, although God is present in creation.

    My experience of humans and what you call objects are that they are all of these things. And as I said, if God is all and the power you believe then how can God not be a part of all that is, including God’s creations? If you are present in something then you are a part of something. That is connectedness – that is Love.

    The painter with her painting – the architect with his drawing – the surgeon with her scalpel – the gardener with his garden – the pilot in her plane etc. etc. are all present and all a part of the process in which they participate.

    As physics now sees – we are co-creators and the ‘observer effect’ clearly shows that in the process of observing or expecting or demanding or creating we ‘decide’ what will manifest – wave or particle. At core, like God, it remains both wave and particle, but it becomes one or the other in a process of manifestation which is called life in this material world.

    I suppose I simply cannot conceive of a God who is not all things. I realise for many religions it is the problem of evil which creates a desire to separate God from some things but I think that is the easy way out. There are other ways of explaining God and understanding that which we call evil.

    I like the saying of Julian of Norwich, conveyed to her by God – ‘all shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well,’ which suggests that there should be less judgement and greater trust in the process of things.

  2. humblesmith says:

    Was there ever a time in your life that you did not know you were God, and therefore had to learn it? This was change, was it not? Was this change illusion, too? If this change is illusion, could it not be true that it is an illusion that you are god? How do you know whether the illusion is from before you learned you are god, or after you learned this?

    Is it not true that as humans, its possible that we not exist? And also true that we then came to exist? How can God not exist, then come to exist?

    Also, you say that you came to this belief by studying many religions. Does it bother you that the Bible directly contradicts your view? For we are told the following:
    –There was a time when humans did not exist, then God created us. (Genesis 1)
    –We are separated from God due to sin. The Bible says “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23)
    –Hebrews 9:27 says “It is appointed unto man to die once, then the judgment.” This is change. So the Bible says that we are judged by God, therefore we are not God.

    Whether or not you or I agree or disagree with these Bible passages, we cannot say that the Bible does not teach these things, for I’ve just quoted the passages that says it does. So theres at least one source, the Bible, that does not teach what you believe. And this is not my opinion or interpretation, for I’ve just quoted the passages.

    What is more, many other religions also deny that we are god and that the world is an illusion. These include Islam, Judaism, native religions, and Hinduism. None of these would hold that we are god right now.

    I hope you don’t think I’m too forward……..I always have been itnterested in how people come to believe what they believe. Thanks for the interesting conversation.

    • R.Ross says:

      I have only just gotten back to your reply and so I will respond.

      You said: Was there ever a time in your life that you did not know you were God, and therefore had to learn it?

      Consciously yes and of course knowing one is God means different things to me – I believe all is God therefore as part of the all, I am God, or rather, an expression of God, but in essence, God.

      You said: This was change, was it not?

      It was change in terms of remembering, having forgotten – because I believe when we enter or re-enter this world we are meant to forget and follow a path to remember. Actually I don’t think everyone is called to do that, just some.

      You said: Was this change illusion, too?

      Everything is illusion as the Hindus and Buddhists teach. Or rather, everything is ‘created’ by us as an expression of God. This world is a reflection of the real world.

      You said: If this change is illusion, could it not be true that it is an illusion that you are god?

      Absolutely, of course it could. The task is to make sense of this material world using our material nature combined with our spiritual nature. At the endof the day we have no absolute proof of anything. But, just as we believe in Love and cannot quantify it or reduce it to material essence in a petri dish, so too I believe that this is a meaningful and purposeful world where the material emanates from the spiritual.

      You said: How do you know whether the illusion is from before you learned you are god, or after you learned this?

      You don’t. All any of us can do is come up with a set of beliefs which work for us – which makes sense of ourselves and this world and the life we live.

      You said: Is it not true that as humans, its possible that we not exist? And also true that we then came to exist? How can God not exist, then come to exist?

      it depends what you mean by exist. If you mean exist in the material sense we believe we exist then absolutely. We are in essence infinitesimal amounts of matter vibrating in a sea of energy, and as physics now suggest, we actually drop in and out of this reality, this material world all the time. So if you like, we constantly exist and do not exist in a material sense.

      However, I do believe that we exist in a spiritual sense eternally and so for the spiritual, which is also God, and our unique individual selves as an expression of God, there is no in and out, there is no time, there is no exist and not exist – we are, God is, always.

      You said: Also, you say that you came to this belief by studying many religions. Does it bother you that the Bible directly contradicts your view?

      Well, in truth, it is not so much the Bible which directly contradicts my view but how the Bible is interpreted. Fundamentalist Christianity has but one interpretation of the Bible and the teachings of Jesus. Across the spectrum of Christianity there is a wealth of interpretations, some of which sit quite comfortably with what I believe. But even if they did not, no, it would not bother me. Christianity is but one religion amongst many and what I believe can certainly be found in many other religions – in varying forms – as indeed it can be found in the Bible.

      You said: For we are told the following:
      –There was a time when humans did not exist, then God created us. (Genesis 1)

      My view is that given how often the Bible has been translated and re-written that it would be foolish to take too literal a view of anything in it. However, to read this metaphorically –

      Yes, there was a time when humans did not exist and then we were created as an expression in the mind of God just as this world was created as an expression of God through the mind of God. Our spiritual natures however always existed, as does God, but being expression as material beings is new – the spiritual is eternal the material is sourced in time therefore it can have a beginning and an end.

      You said: –We are separated from God due to sin. The Bible says “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23)

      You interpret literally and I interpret metaphorically. ‘We are separated from God due to sin (and one could spend a lifetime arguing the meaning of sin – happen to believe sin is ignorance) means, we are separated or feel separated from God because in our ignorance we believe we are only material beings. We have forgotten our spiritual nature, or in the Newtonian/Descartesian paradigm, we deny our spiritual nature.

      And ‘the wages of sin is death’ means that in ignorance (sin) we are dead to our spiritual truths and selves and so know only the material which can and does die, not the spiritual which is eternal. Death only exists in this world of matter. If we believe in our ignorance (sin) that there is nothing more than this world of matter then we believe in Death but Death does not exist as any true reality. Maya, or illusion as the Hindus say.

      You said: –Hebrews 9:27 says “It is appointed unto man to die once, then the judgment.”

      Well the Biblical teachings on re-incarnation were edited out of The Bible but there is evidence for their existence. But, if I were to interpret metaphorically I would say – yes, you can die once, as that incarnation and then there is judgement but it is not the materialistic mindset judgement of Christianity but a judgement by the Soul and Self of its Self. This is something which has been recorded in NDE’s for hundreds if not thousands of years. Those who return from an NDE consistently say there is a judgement but you judge yourself – which makes much more sense and is much more just. They also say you re-live your entire life in an instant, not just feeling your own feelings but feeling the feelings of all those who have touched – for good or for ill. That is a judgement in which I can believe.

      You said: This is change. So the Bible says that we are judged by God, therefore we are not God.

      That is the literal view. If we are God and our spiritual Self is our Godself then yes, the judgement is by God but by God manifesting as our own unique Self and Soul not by a God who sits like a ‘parent’ or ‘judge’ in a court of law condemning and punishing.

      You say: Whether or not you or I agree or disagree with these Bible passages, we cannot say that the Bible does not teach these things, for I’ve just quoted the passages that says it does.

      And I would simply repeat what the Bible can teach depends upon interpretation. Your interpretation is a very different teaching to mine and others. The passages you quote are collections of words which can mean what you say if God is made in the image of humans or mean what I say if God is, well, God and humans are made in the image of God.

      You said: So theres at least one source, the Bible, that does not teach what you believe. And this is not my opinion or interpretation, for I’ve just quoted the passages.

      Yes, it is your interpretation as I have just shown. And that makes it your opinion. It may be a shared opinion but it is just an opinion.

      You said: What is more, many other religions also deny that we are god and that the world is an illusion. These include Islam, Judaism, native religions, and Hinduism. None of these would hold that we are god right now.

      Well, they deny that we are God in perhaps the way that you define God but they don’t so much deny that we are God in the way that I define God. The problem is that we interpret the concept of God very differently and as I have said before, that is fine as long as it brings fulfillment to one’s life – we are all different and I believe this world exists as an expression of God’s creativity.

      You see God as a separate thing, or entity, like a painter as you said who acts like some kind of parent with all the flaws and strengths that a human parent can have. This interpretation of God was developed in the patriarchal age and is, by necessity, inherently patriarchal in nature.

      I see God as consciousness, like an enormous ocean of consciousness, an entity without concrete form as God – no old man with a beard on a cloud – but pure and perfect consciousness which creates all that is, including this world and us and other worlds and other entities.

      As one finds in ancient myth, to me it is like a net (quantum physics also relates to this concept) which expresses or manifests as worlds and people and birds and ants and sand and sky – you get the picture, where absolutely everything which exists is sourced in and made of what I call God. We are made in the image of God because we are made of God – we are God.

      My beliefs are drawn not just from studying religions and spiritual writings but from studying science, physics, psychology, sociology, anthropology, mythology, astrology and lots of other ‘ologies’ and making the connections between them all which allow me to weave a ‘picture’ where I and this world makes sense and God makes sense.
      I hope that makes sense.

      You said: I hope you don’t think I’m too forward……..I always have been interested in how people come to believe what they believe. Thanks for the interesting conversation.

      Not at all. It makes me think about people who think as you do and it makes me think about what I believe and clarify and articulate it for myself. And I do apologise for length but I am also interested in this conversation and aware of how easy it is to misunderstand each other so I am trying to spell out for you how I see, or interpret what you believe and why I believe what I believe.

      • humblesmith says:

        Here is one part of the conversation above:
        “If this change is illusion, could it not be true that it is an illusion that you are god?

        Absolutely, of course it could. The task is to make sense of this material world using our material nature combined with our spiritual nature. At the endof the day we have no absolute proof of anything. But, just as we believe in Love and cannot quantify it or reduce it to material essence in a petri dish, so too I believe that this is a meaningful and purposeful world where the material emanates from the spiritual.”

        Now, I submit that there is no way to have a conversation here. Above, a question was posed whether her beliefs could be illusion, and the answer is “Absolutely, of course it could.” If one holds to a position that could as easily be illusion as not, we cannot have rational conversation.
        Then, the comment is “we have no absolute proof of anything.” Which is actually saying, in effect, ‘I’ve looked at the way things are, and the evidence proves that we have no proof of anything.” This is a self-refuting statement.
        As for spiritual things emanating from spiritual, we have zero evidence or reason to believe this is true. It is stated as a belief that, so far in this conversation, has no explanation or logic.

        • R.Ross says:

          You said: Now, I submit that there is no way to have a conversation here.

          I can understand that is the case from your perspective. It is not the case from my perspective nor that of others.

          You said: Above, a question was posed whether her beliefs could be illusion, and the answer is “Absolutely, of course it could.” If one holds to a position that could as easily be illusion as not, we cannot have rational conversation.

          You can have a rational conversation, you just cannot have what you call a rational conversation. For example: I believe someone is in love with me and has committed to me but I discover some time later that he does not love me and has not actually committed to me. My relationship then, while being very real, was an illusion. We could have a very rational conversation about my illusory relationship but the relationship, as later demonstrated, would remain an illusion.

          The point I was trying to make is that you cannot know you are absolutely right and I cannot know I am absolutely right and much of which we believe, however rational we believe ourselves to be (as so many are when they marry) can be illusion.

          At this point in time, as another example, the US and Israel are talking about waging a war against Iran which they cannot win and where everyone in the world will lose and most of the perspective is sourced in illusion. Illusions about what Iran really is or is not and illusions about what war would bring. One can have, and many people do, have very rational conversations about that topic from all sides of the illusion perspective so the decision to not have rational conversation is sourced not in an absolute reality but in your perspective.

          You said: Then, the comment is “we have no absolute proof of anything.” Which is actually saying, in effect, ‘I’ve looked at the way things are, and the evidence proves that we have no proof of anything.” This is a self-refuting statement.

          No, that is not what it is saying in effect. Far from it. Looking at the evidence reveals to me that there is substantial ‘proof’ for what I believe but that ‘proof’, just like your ‘proof’ is not absolute and cannot be. In fact it will not be until we die and either confront oblivion, in which case we will not know anyway, or your world or my world.

          Having said that I would add that a spiritual teaching which makes sense to me is that just as we create our own reality in this world, so we create our own reality when we cross over. You probably will see what you expect to see for that is your reality and I will see what I expect to see. In time no doubt, there will be guidance as to which represents the greater ‘truth.’

          You said: As for spiritual things emanating from spiritual, we have zero evidence or reason to believe this is true. It is stated as a belief that, so far in this conversation, has no explanation or logic.

          I think you mean material emanating from the spiritual which is what I said. Actually there is a great deal of evidence for this in modern physics and increasingly so and the fact that discoveries in quantum physics echo ancient spiritual teachings to this effect is a sign that the physicists and humanity are on the right track.

          It has a great deal of logic beyond the explanation posited above – any God must be all and God as a cosmic consciousness, entity, force, energy, pick a word, which is the implicate as in foundation and which gives birth to or creates the explicate – the material (and other) order(s) makes a great deal of sense.

          • humblesmith says:

            “I submit that there is no way to have a conversation here.

            I can understand that is the case from your perspective. It is not the case from my perspective nor that of others.”
            My Response: This statement, plus several others in this conversation, allude to the idea that truth and the meaning of a text are in the reader’s mind, that the meaning of a conversation is in the hearer’s mind. Rather, what the Bible says is not up for vote, it is not depedent on one person’s perspective. What it says is what it says, and I’m sorry, but whatever it says is fixed into the text, and not changed by us.

            Next, regarding rational converstion: “I believe someone is in love with me and has committed to me but I discover some time later that he does not love me and has not actually committed to me. My relationship then, while being very real, was an illusion. We could have a very rational conversation about my illusory relationship but the relationship, as later demonstrated, would remain an illusion.

            The point I was trying to make is that you cannot know you are absolutely right and I cannot know I am absolutely right and much of which we believe, however rational we believe ourselves to be (as so many are when they marry) can be illusion.”

            My Response: The first paragraph you are correct, you seem to grasp that we cannot go through life believing illusions, because reality tends to creep in eventually. If what is in my mind does not line up with reality, I must change what I’m thinking. However, the next paragraph makes this statement: “You cannot know you are absolutely right and I cannot know I am absolutely right.” This statement is given as if you are sure you are right about it. Logically, this statement is either right or not; if it is right, it is self-refuting since you know you are right about something. If it is wrong, it says nothing about how we can know we are right.
            In reality, what is usually meant by such statements is that the Christian can’t be sure, but other people can. This is illogical.

            Next “Looking at the evidence reveals to me that there is substantial ‘proof’ for what I believe but that ‘proof’, just like your ‘proof’ is not absolute and cannot be. In fact it will not be until we die and either confront oblivion, in which case we will not know anyway, or your world or my world.”
            My response: You are correct that we do not have “absolute proof” in a philosophical sense, for this level of proof does not exist for anything. In a philosophical, mental problem, we cannot be sure that 2+2=4 will be true tomorrow, since it might change. However, it is not reasonable to go through life like this, claiming that we cannot be sure of such things; to do so is unreasonable. If you have read very many posts on this blog, you’ll see that we have tremendous proof for the essentials of Christianity. We simply cannot wave away all this mountain of evidence with a wave of the magic wand of “we can’t be sure.”

            Next, “Having said that I would add that a spiritual teaching which makes sense to me is that just as we create our own reality in this world, so we create our own reality when we cross over. You probably will see what you expect to see for that is your reality and I will see what I expect to see. In time no doubt, there will be guidance as to which represents the greater ‘truth.”
            My Response. We simply cannot create our own reality. If we could, then I’ll do it now: My reality is that you’ve just become a traditional Christian. See you in church.

            I submit that there is a lot of popular misconceptions about what quantum physics actually teaches. While I am not an expert, the lectures I’ve heard from people that actually understand quantum physics is that it only works in the sub-atomic world, not in our common level of perception, and even when it does, the main point is that we cannot predict the location of a particle and the direction it is traveling at the same time. It does NOT claim that particles appear from no where, nor do the gaggle of atheist physicists say that material emanates from spiritual. (for proof, see here: http://www.reasons.org/articles/quantum-mechanics-in-plain-english )
            Perhaps you can find a qualified source for what you believe? I submit that you can’t.

            Next: “any God must be all and God as a cosmic consciousness, entity, force, energy…”
            My response: I have already commented on how God cannot be all, for he cannot be good and evil at the same time, and cannot be matter since all mater had a beginning. As for “cosmic consciousness” this is a meaningless term. Rocks are not self aware.

            Not sure how much longer I’m going to spend time going down through this alice-in-wonderland line of thinking. My time is limited and you are not basing your beliefs in anything except your own speculations. I respectfully submit that instead of talking to me, your time would be better spent reading the bible.

            I wish you well.

      • R.Ross says:

        As a matter of courtesy I will reply to your final post but like you, I am happy to leave things where they stand.

        You said: This statement, plus several others in this conversation, allude to the idea that truth and the meaning of a text are in the reader’s mind, that the meaning of a conversation is in the hearer’s mind. Rather, what the Bible says is not up for vote, it is not depedent on one person’s perspective. What it says is what it says, and I’m sorry, but whatever it says is fixed into the text, and not changed by us.

        But this is patently not true because I can read a quote from the Bible and come up with one interpretation and you can come up with another and no doubt four other people could come up with differing interpretations to lesser and greater degrees.

        The Bible is a collection of words, offered in the structure of sentences and paragraphs and many of those words have been translated more than once … and as scholars know, with resulting errors …and many of the sentences and paragraphs have been edited …. as scholars know, with resulting errors … and anyone who takes this ‘error factor’ into account is going to come up with a different interpretation than someone like yourself who does not.

        Given that the Bible has been translated and edited numerous times in its history then the text is not as fixed as you might suggest. And there are more than one version of the Bible so clearly it is not as fixed as you might suggest. The only ‘text’ which is fixed is the text you have selected as the one that you and your religion believes is the correct one. That is however merely belief and the veracity of that belief could never be empirically proven nor demonstrated – except to other believers.

        So patently the Bible text is not as fixed as you would have it and that suggests that other interpretations are as valid as yours.

        I said: “I believe someone is in love with me and has committed to me but I discover some time later that he does not love me and has not actually committed to me. My relationship then, while being very real, was an illusion. We could have a very rational conversation about my illusory relationship but the relationship, as later demonstrated, would remain an illusion.

        The point I was trying to make is that you cannot know you are absolutely right and I cannot know I am absolutely right and much of which we believe, however rational we believe ourselves to be (as so many are when they marry) can be illusion.”

        You said: The first paragraph you are correct, you seem to grasp that we cannot go through life believing illusions, because reality tends to creep in eventually. If what is in my mind does not line up with reality, I must change what I’m thinking.

        That is right and I changed what I was thinking in terms of how one could read the Bible and have it make sense – more than that – how one could read the Bible and have it approximate something which might be mostly sourced in what we could call God.

        You said: However, the next paragraph makes this statement: “You cannot know you are absolutely right and I cannot know I am absolutely right.” This statement is given as if you are sure you are right about it.

        Context is important here. Life is not simple and the application of a perspective to one thing, in this case the reading and interpreting of the Bible, does not necessarily apply to all things. The statement was made about the topic we are discussing here.

        You said: Logically, this statement is either right or not; if it is right, it is self-refuting since you know you are right about something. If it is wrong, it says nothing about how we can know we are right.

        The nature of the statement when applied to interpreting the Bible and what God might be says neither of us can be sure in any absolute sense that we are right. If you want to discuss the sentence itself and what it could mean in terms of being self-refuting then those materialistic mindset contortions are possible but probably of little value. I made the comment in the context of the topic and you are taking it as a general which means we are both in very different places in regard to both its meaning and its application.

        It would be interesting of course, to ‘hold’ the comment in thought, like a Zen Koan – which is something it could be – in order to open one’s mind to all possibilities and I may well do that now that you have displayed it in that light. But it is a digression from the topic.

        You said: In reality, what is usually meant by such statements is that the Christian can’t be sure, but other people can. This is illogical.

        Of course it is illogical and that is not what I am saying. I meant exactly what I said. I am struck, as I write, by the thought that you, who takes such a literal and material view of the Bible and its teachings should take such a metaphorical and symbolic view of what I said when I meant it quite literally. You know, I think you would enjoy Zen Koans if you have not been exposed to them.

        I said: “Looking at the evidence reveals to me that there is substantial ‘proof’ for what I believe but that ‘proof’, just like your ‘proof’ is not absolute and cannot be. In fact it will not be until we die and either confront oblivion, in which case we will not know anyway, or your world or my world.”

        You said: You are correct that we do not have “absolute proof” in a philosophical sense, for this level of proof does not exist for anything. In a philosophical, mental problem, we cannot be sure that 2+2=4 will be true tomorrow, since it might change. However, it is not reasonable to go through life like this, claiming that we cannot be sure of such things; to do so is unreasonable. If you have read very many posts on this blog, you’ll see that we have tremendous proof for the essentials of Christianity. We simply cannot wave away all this mountain of evidence with a wave of the magic wand of “we can’t be sure.”

        Of course you cannot because your version of Christianity does not allow maybes. Your version of Christianity and religion, from what I can see, is about absolutes and about defending those absolutes. The ‘proofs’ that you have is in your version of Christianity, not all versions of Christianity and certainly not all religions.

        That suggests to me that you have a part of the story but not all of it but clearly it suggests to you that you have all of the story and everyone else is wrong. I prefer to go through life accepting its illusory nature and lack of absolutes than to try to force my head around a concept that one version of one religion in this amazingly complex world can be the only one which has it right. But I do understand why my position seems nonsensical to others, if not terrifying, and why the need to believe one is right and has certainty and appeal.

        I would also add I do not wave a ‘magic wand’ to make what you call proof disappear. I have used extensive reading across a very broad spectrum of knowledge to sift through what might be logically possible and what might be symbolically and metaphorically meaningful. If in my reading of other religions, spirituality and physics and science for instance I had found connections with your literal interpretations of the Bible then we would not be having this conversation now – I would believe as you do – because when I began this journey, my understanding, while not as fundamentalist as yours, was sourced in a literal reading of Christian teaching.

        But I did not find those connections. Instead I found that the only way to make sense of the Biblical teachings in terms of what we know of this material world and of more ancient spiritual beliefs, was to approach them metaphorically and symbolically. There was nothing ‘magic’ about it, except the magic I found in the world when I could make sense of vast areas of disparate knowledge. A ‘wand’ makes things happen in an instant – my beliefs have been formed over forty years and are still in a process of becoming.

        I said: “Having said that I would add that a spiritual teaching which makes sense to me is that just as we create our own reality in this world, so we create our own reality when we cross over. You probably will see what you expect to see for that is your reality and I will see what I expect to see. In time no doubt, there will be guidance as to which represents the greater ‘truth.”

        You said: We simply cannot create our own reality. If we could, then I’ll do it now: My reality is that you’ve just become a traditional Christian. See you in church.

        Very droll. What I meant of course is that we create our own reality not the reality of others. We can change ourselves and our own life but do not have the right to try to change others. In truth, when we change then others change. Your task in this life is you, not me and my task is me, not you.

        It is the tricky thing with prayer. We don’t know what someone else’s spiritual needs are in this world and so praying for specifics is not necessarily in their best interests. Keeping it general – sending light and love, praying that they find guidance or that they will become who and what they need to be – is to my mind a safer bet.

        And that is why I would never seek to create another reality for someone else – in all truth we cannot but we can confuse them given the power that thought has, particularly on those who are close to us. I neither need or want you to believe as I do: as I have said many times before your way is right for you and mine is right for me. This exchange is no more than a connection to offer insights into why we are who and what we are.

        I don’t wish anything for you other than fulfillment in the paths you choose as you live your life in your own way.

        You said: I submit that there is a lot of popular misconceptions about what quantum physics actually teaches. While I am not an expert, the lectures I’ve heard from people that actually understand quantum physics is that it only works in the sub-atomic world, not in our common level of perception, and even when it does, the main point is that we cannot predict the location of a particle and the direction it is traveling at the same time. It does NOT claim that particles appear from no where, nor do the gaggle of atheist physicists say that material emanates from spiritual. (for proof, see here: http://www.reasons.org/articles/quantum-mechanics-in-plain-english )
        Perhaps you can find a qualified source for what you believe? I submit that you can’t.

        Look I could post a heap of links or list dozens of books written by scientists and physicists but I don’t see the point. If you are interested it is easy enough to do the research. I am no expert either. I have read and continue to read books on the topic but I doubt I have the ability to put forward any sort of coherent explanation, nor do I have the interest. I leave that to the experts. Just do a search on any question you would put to me, or what you have said here, and the information will be there as will hundreds of books on the topic.

        But yes, it is tricky. For one thing there is the views of traditional physics in which I suspect your understanding is sourced – Newtonian/Descartesian material in approach – and then there is quantum physics which is in essence the new physics and which takes, or rather has been forced to take, a view beyond the material. Quantum physicists are now discovering that the physics of the subatomic world apply everywhere and that in fact the phenomena which traditional physics and materialist science would call paranormal are in fact normal and consistent with what is known about the laws of science today.

        The traditional physics takes the view of a separated world, just as your religion does of God. This doesn’t fit with Quantum or New Physics and it doesn’t fit with ancient spiritual teaching – ‘all is one’ – ‘as above, so below’ etc. The fascinating thing about Quantum Physics is that it is discovering, or re-membering, the connectedness of all things and the one source of all that is. And the belief that particles cannot appear from nowhere is being challenged as we speak.

        You said: I have already commented on how God cannot be all, for he cannot be good and evil at the same time, and cannot be matter since all mater had a beginning. As for “cosmic consciousness” this is a meaningless term. Rocks are not self aware.

        No term is meaningless. You may not comprehend or be prepared to accept a term but that does not make it meaningless. As Sir James Jeans, English physicist, astronomer and mathematician said: ‘The universe looks more like a great thought than a great machine.’

        You might find Bernard Haisch interesting. He has written a couple of books discussing the physics/spiritual perspectives. Bernard Haisch, Ph.D., is an astrophysicist and author of over 130 scientific publications. He served as a scientific editor of the Astrophysical Journal for ten years, and was Principal Investigator on several NASA research projects. After earning his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Haisch did postdoctoral research at the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics, University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Utrecht, the Netherlands.

        You said: Not sure how much longer I’m going to spend time going down through this alice-in-wonderland line of thinking. My time is limited and you are not basing your beliefs in anything except your own speculations. I respectfully submit that instead of talking to me, your time would be better spent reading the bible.

        That’s fine. I am happy to call it quits. I would not submit, respectfully or otherwise, how your time should be spent. I would simply wish you well on the path.

  3. thoughtofvg says:

    interesting read as usual-Isaiah 40 is a bit of a favourite of mine, as it if God were to exist, this passage models him in a way more similarly to how i percieve God. there is almost a suggestion that God is a demiurge as the speaker describes God in terms of a craftsman rather than an entity that actively works in our world. You also speak of God not being able to be material, but instead spiritual. I would agree with this, and therefore timeless. however, if God is timeless, it would not be possible for (him) to act within our world in time, as that would involve being part of a state where time exists. So from looking at Isaiah 40, as you have, I see that a concept of God must be a demiurge if (he) exists.

    • humblesmith says:

      Isaiah chapters 40 to 50 repeatedly describe God as the one who has created the universe. It uses poetic language to describe how he spreads it all out, measures it, weighs it, etc. 40:28 says explicitly God is creator.
      As creator, he is not part of what he created, since he would have to exist before he existed, which is absurd.
      As for time, time is a measure of change between two things. “15 minutes” is not a state of being, but rather a measure of earth rotation in relation to the sun. Thus if something were to never change, it would be timeless. All of creation changes, and is thus in time. God never changes, and is therefore timeless.
      There is no logical contradiction in saying that an unchanging being can act upon a changing thing. There is no logical contradiction in saying that a being not subject to time can cause an act that has effects inside of time. A doctor can make one prescription on Monday that has effects 3-times per day for a week. Likewise, God can act once from a timeless eternity and have effects that occur within time.
      God does indeed actively work in our world…..Colossians 1.17 says that he ensures all things hold together (consist).

  4. Ryan says:

    “As above, so below” is a statement that circulate throughout occult and magical circles, and they come from Hermetic texts. The concept was first laid out in The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermeticism#As_above.2C_so_below

    This statement is in no way Biblical.

  5. Ryan says:

    Macrocosm and microcosm is an ancient Greek Neo-Platonic schema of seeing the same patterns reproduced in all levels of the cosmos, from the largest scale (macrocosm or universe-level) all the way down to the smallest scale (microcosm or sub-sub-atomic or even metaphysical-level). In the system the mid-point is Man, who summarizes the cosmos.

    Macrocosm/microcosm is a Greek compound of μακρο- “Macro-” and μικρο- “Micro-“, which are Greek respectively for “large” and “small”, and the word κόσμος kósmos which means “order” as well as “world” or “ordered world.”

    Today, the concept of microcosm has been dominated by sociology to mean a small group of individuals whose behavior is typical of a larger social body encompassing it. A microcosm can be seen as a special kind of epitome. Conversely, a macrocosm is a social body made of smaller compounds.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microcosm_and_Macrocosm

    There are many ideas and assumptions that have been integrated into both popular terminology, popular culture and sub-cultures. Because of this, there are many ideas that are assumed to be Biblical but are in some cases come from polar values and focuses.

  6. Ryan says:

    Our beliefs are expressed through our actions, what we decide to do and commit to shows others who or what we truly value in any given moment. For me, I find that the decisions I make in my life don’t always align to what I believe, which is dangerous. I’m not referring to legalism – trying to earn our way to heaven through works. I’m referring to what I know I should do, but decide against doing. It is more convenient and comfortable to follow pleasures and indulgences than to be following God. According to the Bible there are actions and decisions that I have made that are sinful. But just because this is uncomfortable for me to accept, doesn’t mean that the Bible is incorrect. I feel like I would be deceiving myself if I believed that truth was based only on what I decided to do.

  7. Ryan says:

    I personally need to reflect on my own values. Truth isn’t merely building up justifications to defend how we currently live. isin’t truth more than this?

  8. Ryan says:

    I think it’s important to think about why we engage in discussions. Are we intending to learn?

    In a debate (especially if it’s public) the focus is not focused on trying to understand truth. A debate seems to be about gain, either personal or collective. A debate is more about convincing rather than listening.

    It is rare during a debate that one side turns around and humbly admits that the other party has made a very valid point.

    However, a discussion allows room for humility and learning, since the motivation behind each speaker is more likely to be based on a willingness to understand the others position, rather than personally “winning” the argument.

    Furthermore, participating in debates in a public forum can also trigger different drives in people, since more attention is directed on them.

    People might begin to use complicated words and emotionally charged language to convince the public observers. The exchange becomes personal, and this is where an argument could resort to attacking the other person’s character rather than considering what they are saying. In these circumstances the truth is undermined, because it is no longer about understanding what the truth is. It is about winning.

    People need to be willing to both listen and learn in order for dialogue to take direction. Like I’ve mentioned before I’m glad to see that people are respected in this blog.

  9. Ryan says:

    Personally, I believe that if our own beliefs are challenged, we seriously need to consider these challenges. This I believe this is necessary whatever our beliefs might be.

    If we merely treat everything as relative, and say “we’ll that’s an interesting perspective”

    Then think of it no more, are we being integral to ourselves?

    I think this is something every person should consider if they can

    If we turn back to a former (and more comfortable position) then have we really considered what truth is?

    When we are confronted or challenged do we ultimately dismiss it because it doesn’t align to our current and long held beliefs?

    I know I am only young, but I have yet to find, (and I have looked both in other religions and secular references) convincing evidence that the Bible is not true.

    And this is not merely because I want to believe in the Bible.

    If I am truly honest, there are things in the Bible that I find inconvenient and uncomfortable to believe. In some ways I would feel relieved if the Bible was not true.

    It’s not only that I want to believe – It’s that I would be deceiving myself if I were to decide not to believe.

    When someone has challenged my beliefs, I have generally taken time to look into it. I am not perfect, but I do not take faith as an excuse to dismiss challenges.

    I think that sometimes people look for information in order to justify their own actions. And when they find what they’re looking for they stop.

    I believe it’s important to follow the truth wherever it leads, even if this truth is uncomfortable or inconvenient.

    It is better to live following truth than to follow an illusion. Comfort doesn’t equal truth.

    • R.Ross says:

      All wisely said Ryan. The only reason that difficulties arise is when people demand that there version of God be the only one which can be right.

      Where a spiritual belief allows that we all find our way to God in our own way and in our own time – and I believe this – there is not an issue.

      My way is right for me, your way is right for you and the path Thomistic Bent has chosen is right for him.

  10. Ryan says:

    So in summary: I believe in the Bible because every challange of the Bible that I’ve further looked into has been lacking, if you take the time to look into it.

  11. Ryan says:

    It’s not evidence alone that enables someone to have faith, I believe the person has to be willing to honestly consider. Ultimately it’s God who enables people to believe, what we do with this ability is our decision.

    • Ryan says:

      That being said, I believe God has provided everyone with this ability to believe in Him, however it cannot be forced on us, for then we would not be free to believe.

      • R.Ross says:

        This is not strictly true. Some people are born physically damaged and others are so psychologically damaged and emotionally damaged by their experiences that their ability to believe in anything, certainly a God who is supposedly looking after things, is limited if not destroyed.
        We are not born equal. And some of the best of people freely choose to believe there is no God. I find it hard to believe, if God has factored free will into this material equation, that we do not have the right to choose whatever we wish.

    • R.Ross says:

      And there is also truth in that. We know quite clearly that some people have a greater ability to ponder and to process and we also know that some people have a greater inclination or even need to do so. Many people live constructive and admirable lives as atheists and many people live destructive and less than admirable lives as Christians which shows that religion per se: neither makes you a better person nor makes a better world.

      Any God must care what is in our hearts and what we do, not what we profess to believe.

  12. Ryan says:

    apoligies for bombing this blog with posts lately :) I should be more concise

  13. Ryan says:

    I have an obsessive nature, so I tend to get fixated on things. Far more intelligent and learned people than me have concentrated on “what is truth” and in this pursuit have lost their minds (Friedrich Nietzsche for one) I am fixated on this, but I have to be careful that this pursuit doesn’t bound me up or cause me to miss out on the gift of living. No more posts for a while I think, I’ll just quietly read.

    • R.Ross says:

      I also am inclined to be obsessive – but the upside of ‘obsession’ is an ability to process a lot of information carefully and methodically and to reach a balanced and informed conclusion.
      Taking time out is an excellent idea however but remember to remember the benefits of your tendencies – there is a gift in every curse and vice-versa.

  14. Ryan says:

    Friedrich Nietzsche clung to the assumption that God never existed and and built his worldview over this as a foundation

    Nietzsche’s mental illness was originally diagnosed as tertiary syphilis, in accordance with a prevailing medical paradigm of the time. Although most commentators regard his breakdown as unrelated to his philosophy, Georges Bataille drops dark hints (“‘man incarnate’ must also go mad”) The diagnosis of syphilis was challenged, and manic-depressive illness with periodic psychosis, followed by vascular dementia was put forward by Cybulska prior Schain’s; and Sax’s studies;. Orth and Trimble postulate frontotemporal dementia, while other researchers propose a syndrome called CADASIL.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_Nietzsche

    • R.Ross says:

      Here is my take on it. I believe mental illness is sourced in not being true to ourselves – in trying to be other than what we are and in seeking to force ourselves to belief something which our head demands must be true, but which our heart knows is not.
      The soul lives in the heart and the heart is a conscious, thinking organ – as is our gut! By all means reason with the head but trust also what your heart and your gut tells you.
      Also, syphilis was common at the time, often unrecognised and untreated – certainly a factor, but I believe physical illness follows emotional and spiritual illness, not the other way around.

  15. Steve says:

    Or man invented god(s).

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