Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Face of God

Two of my favorite movies are “Bruce Almighty” starring Jim Carrey and Morgan Freeman, and “Evan Almighty” starring Steve Carrell and Morgan Freeman.  What I loved about these movies is that they had to do with humans and their struggles, and whatever relationship they had with God.  Enter Morgan Freeman as God.  I have to say that Morgan Freeman is my all-time favorite God out of any movie where an actor portrays God.  If I had to imagine what God looked like and how he acted, Mr. Freeman would be it.  His portrayal of God was one of kindness, compassion, and love. 

I remember a time when it was considered absolutely blasphemous and unforgivable to portray God or Jesus on screen or stage, and now it’s quite common even in movies produced by Christian organizations.  We’ve come a long way.

What I loved about Bruce and Evan is that they had moments in their lives when they questioned their beliefs about God, their relationship with God, and at times, if God even existed.  Most all of us, if we’re being totally honest, have had those moments and they’re perfectly normal.  Even though we’re spiritual beings having a human experience, we’re still filtering everything through that part of us that is human.  And it’s okay to question God.  If we don’t ask, we don’t learn.  Some people believe that it is wrong to question anything that has to do with God and that we have to believe whatever others tell us to believe.  But it is only when we ask questions that we get the answers, which then leads us to becoming more enlightened about who or what God really is, and it can allow us to have an even closer relationship.

Since the beginning of time, people have wondered what God looks like and what form this Deity takes.  The Bible states that we are to never see the face of God.  We only have early artist depictions of what they thought God looked like.  In the only way they could relate, they painted God to be a human-being in the sky.  This is where we got the idea that God is an old man sitting in the sky with a long white beard and white hair.  There are many people who believe that this is actually what God looks like.  But in truth, no one knows.  The same with Jesus.  We only have early artist’s depictions of what they thought he looked like.  Those are the visuals we continue to think of to this day, but again in truth, no one knows.

Today, many people call this Deity ‘God,’ but that’s a more recent name given to the All-That-Is.  In Exodus, the Bible tells the story of Moses talking to God in the bush, and when Moses asked what name the voice should be called, the voice replied, “I Am That I Am.”  “This is my name forever, the name you shall call me from generation to generation.”  Yet somehow since then thousands and thousands of names have been given to this Source.  People will fight and argue over what name should be used.  Honestly, I don’t think it matters one bit to God what name we should use.  A person’s religion, culture, language, belief, and where they live will define the names they use.  Many people in the Christian religion use ‘God.’  Christians and Muslims in the Middle East both use ‘Allah.’  Other names that I sometimes use are Spirit, Universe, Life, Nature, Source, or the God of our understanding. 

Are any of these wrong?  I don’t believe so.  Personally, I don’t feel threatened at all what name one uses or even if they say that this Deity is a he, she, or it.  (Did that push anyone’s buttons?)  Genesis 1:26 says, “Let US make mankind in OUR image.”  Who is ‘us’ and who is ‘our?’ I leave that one for you to question.

It is said that God is Love.  If that’s the case, Love is genderless.  If we could be the example of God’s love and stop all this fighting and arguing over who is right or wrong, think how much more good we could do in the world?  If we could just respect everyone’s right to their own religions and beliefs, maybe we could see more peace in the world, and we could actually live the love that all the great Spiritual Masters taught. 

At the end of “Evan Almighty,” God appears to Evan and says that the way to change the world is by doing one act of random kindness at a time.  I think that’s a very good idea and a great place to start to show that Love really is the face of God.

Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen October 31, 2014.

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