Saturday, July 9, 2011

Who is God?

This question has been asked since the beginning of time.  Who is God?  What is God?  Is there a God?  What form does God take?  Does God cause all the tragedies we experience on earth?  How can God make children suffer?  Is God a man who sits up in the clouds on a throne with long white hair, beard, long robe, and punishes us when we’re bad?  Is He a man or woman?  Genderless?  Is He a God of love, or a vengeful God who is full of anger and judgment?  Add your own question(s), and you have asked the greatest mystery questions of the ages.

What does God looks like?  I don’t know.  And neither does anyone else.  In the thousands of books and magazines that I’ve ever read regarding religion and spirituality, I have never read where anyone has seen the actual face of God.  There are verses in the Bible that say someone did see the face of God, but didn’t describe his actual features.  Then again, Jesus says in John 5:37 states: “And the Father who sent Me, He was borne witness of Me.  You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form.”   Some people today say they have seen the face of Jesus, but they usually see the image of the man that was depicted in an artist’s vision of what he thought Jesus looked like.    

If you look up all the different names for God, you will find thousands of variations depending upon the religion, culture, and belief system.  Traditional Christianity has collectively called this Deity “God,” but even within the Christian faith, the names can vary. It also depends upon which nation and/or culture the Christian lives in as to what name is given.   I could give a list of the thousands of names from all religions, but they could fill a whole magazine alone.

When the Bible was written, it was a patriarchal society.  It is said that all but two chapters of the Bible were written by men. Women didn’t have a voice in Biblical times (with few exceptions).  Therefore, God is depicted as male.  In the New Testament, Jesus talks about God as being His Father.  But did He only say “Father?” I don’t know; I wasn’t there. Genesis 1:26 states:  “Let us make man in Our image…”  Who is Us?

We can fight over who or what we believe God to be, and forget why there is a God in the first place.  Many Holy wars have been fought over people trying to defend their beliefs as right and others wrong.  We do this to this day, though in America the fighting is more in words.  People have been killed in America over religious beliefs, and continue to be to this day, albeit not in a military war as in other countries.

So, does it matter who or what God is, or what name we call Him or Her?  Does it matter what gender God is?  I don’t think so, and I really believe it doesn’t even matter to God.  (For those who don’t believe in God, just add an “o” and call it “Good.”)

Personally, here’s what I know about God.  I don’t know.  But here’s what I do believe.  It doesn’t matter the name you give to God.  It doesn’t matter the form or the gender that you give to God.  I no longer believe that He is a man sitting up in the clouds pouncing on us every time we do something someone else here thinks we did wrong.  God is Love.  God is compassion.  Good is all good.  God is in everything.  I call God a He, and other times I say She. Usually I say Spirit or Universe.  I believe that God is an all embracing energy of pure, unconditional, perfect love.   She is all inclusive and loves every single one of us regardless of color, race, religion, or walk of life.  He doesn’t judge, nor punish us for our interpreted sins.  Take the love you feel for your newborn baby, multiply it by billions, and you still only have a smidgeon of the magnificent love that God has for us.

You can disagree with me on this.  That’s okay.  I honor and respect whatever you believe.  This is only what I believe, and I choose to believe God as a God of love and compassion.

(Published in "Our Journey," a Cookeville, TN magazine.) 

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