Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia!
Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia!
Charles Wesley (1707-1788), from “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today” (1739)
All the gods that we ever have worshiped have been human–made. This is true even of the Christian God, who is based on the ancient Hebrew Yahweh. We have imagined the modern versions of our gods to be less cruel and a lot less scary, but still their ancient shape remains. And now I am wondering why. Humanity has long since split the atom, journeyed to the moon, even begun to cure cancer; but still we envision the same static God for whom the first Christian martyrs died. We haven’t even progressed to the much more loving God-just-as-Spirit that Jesus introduced! Despite the tweaks of the Protestant Reformation, we still adhere to basically the same Christianity that ruled by superstitious terror, carried out the barbaric Crusades, and tortured and burned many infidels alive.
But why should it still have to be this way, when at last we know that there actually is a genuine Creator God unlike any god that any religion has imagined? Being reminded last week of the staggering eternal importance of the Easter events that we never could have fully appreciated until after the twenty-first century began has made me think that it might be time for us to reconsider everything. Two thousand years ago the Godhead directly intervened in human history in a way that was designed to be fully obvious to us only two thousand years later. It was a genuine divine revelation! But then, as with every other religion, Christianity was created and soon frozen in time. Its dogmas have changed little in a thousand years. If God was watching our subsequent progress and later judged that the time was right for another major revelation, then unfortunately God would have been out of luck because the religion based in the incomparable divine events that were the life and teachings of Jesus has been sealed by its people for all time. If the Godhead has something more to say, how will any of us ever hear it? Isn’t it time for us to start to try to better understand what the living God actually wants?
Albert Einstein was a gigantic intellect, but at heart he was a relatable guy. One day in 1925 as he shared a walk with a young student he said to her, “I want to know how God created this world. I’m not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts. The rest are just details.” How perfectly wise he was! And now you and I want to know God’s thoughts about the Godhead’s eternal plan for humankind. We aren’t interested in physics, which turns out to be a mere detail of this limited illusion that seems to be solid but in fact is not. Nothing physical is objectively real, since all that actually exists is Mind; and the laws and details of human physics seem more and more to be just the Godhead’s inventions to keep us amused and distracted. And of course that raises yet another question! There have been increasing hints that the Godhead is a Collective of Perfected Beings that is continuously creating the universe freshly in each instant of artificial time, and is steadily making our past more complex in what seems to be an effort to stay ahead of our attempts to figure things out. But why is that? What on earth is going on?
A quick perusal of our archive here reveals that we have asked variations of these biggest of all human questions many times, but always just in limited ways. It seems that we had to tackle this process in pieces and build toward even knowing how to ask the biggest questions. And beings who are no longer in bodies have lately been telling us that the limited aspects of our vast, eternal minds that we bring into these material bodies are meant just for efficient spiritual learning. They say that we cannot possibly expect to use such puny earth-minds to address the very biggest things!
That may be true. But we are not deterred. Jesus invites us to ask our questions, not suggesting that we limit them by size; and already our trusting Him to give us answers has yielded some amazing insights! He says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (MT 7:7-8). So now we ask Him to help us find some answers to the biggest questions of all, while knowing that we won’t fully understand whatever answers we might find. We trust that over time our perceptions will grow. And finally, when at last we get to go home, we are assured that we will know it all! Here is one way that we might frame our primary question:
How is the Godhead involved in human affairs?
This always has been humanity’s core question, even though we seldom have posed it as a question. Religions have assumed all kinds of things, from gods that deal minutely with every one of our individual wishes and needs to gods that hold us on the edge of disaster and require that we placate them by throwing our firstborn infants into their belly of fire. The Christian version of God is both gods at once, since we confidently pray for things like no rain for some event on Thursday while we also know that because of Adam’s sin we might wind up burning in hell forever. And I cannot recall even once in all my years of being a practicing Christian being told that we should, in complete love and trust, pray only and always for what God wants!
No, that is not quite true. In the greatest prayer ever imagined, the prayer that God in Human Form taught us to pray, we do say “Thy will be done.” But have we ever seen any Christian take those words seriously enough to stop asking God for anything else?
Last week we talked about the life of Jesus. We know now that there was a time when the highest aspect of the Godhead lived a whole life as a human being in an effort to understand us on our own terms. And we are told that Jesus did that so He could then teach us how we could better grow spiritually. Knowing what we know now, it is not an overreach for us to see the life of Jesus on earth as a hinge of human history, since it was the first moment when we could have ceased our endless religious floundering and begun a real relationship with the genuine Godhead.
But, why then? And why just once? And also, here is an astounding question: Why was evidence given to us way back then in all the details of the Shroud of Turin that we would be unable to see as key evidence for an additional two thousand years?
Since it is reasonable to assume there may be a divine plan, how does that singular gigantic event two thousand years ago fit with whatever came before it, and also fit with whatever divine events may have come after it? It seems to be extremely important that we seek now to know as much as we can! We have talked here about human religious history, but always just from our human perspective. Even when we thought we saw God taking some role, we clueless human beings have applied that role to whatever particular religious tradition we personally most favored. This is why Christians love the new evidence provided by the Shroud of Turin! They don’t yet see it as the reproof to all of Christian history that it might well be.
These musings are not sacrilegious. They are instead the height of loving respect for the only genuine Godhead! As humankind still continues to worship human-made gods in the very same ways that our human-made religions already were prescribing to us many centuries ago, we tell ourselves that we are honoring the genuine God. In fact, we are doing nothing of the kind. Instead, we are smugly telling God that we already know what God wants from us!
That fact is indisputably true. No clergyman can deny it! Many years ago, as I was converting to Catholicism and trying to do my best at it, I asked my priest a great many of the same questions that we have been asking here. And soon his answer was automatic. No matter what I asked him, he would simply say, “That is what we believe. You’re going to have to accept it.” Which is precisely the same thing that all our religions are saying now to the genuine Godhead! Every religious person is always telling God that we already know what God wants. And maybe we do, since after all Christians believe that God ‘inspired” all the councilors at the First Council of Nicaea. And perhaps all the other Christian councils, too. Maybe God has been whispering in human ears every one of the times that anyone on earth has assumed that any event at all has actually been a new divine revelation, from the Buddha’s moment of murmuring “I am awake” some five hundred years before the Lord was born to the amazing discovery of messages on “golden plates” in New York State in 1830. And we could name fifty other such “divine revelations,” just off the top of our heads! Convincing people we have received the Divine Word of God and then starting or revising some religion or other has long been a productive and highly satisfying role in life for a great many people.
But in trying to contain God in all these tens of thousands of human-made religious variations, we have been closing our minds and hearts to the love and guidance of the genuine Godhead. So we ought to begin to ask the question that we should have been asking all along:
How has God been relating to us?
I realize now that I was first prompted by Thomas to begin working toward asking these questions a couple of years ago, when I stopped blogging just when I got around to it and began to do it religiously (sorry!) each week. And just as I didn’t know where that was heading, so I have no idea where this is heading now.
But I do know that it is long past time for us to seek to know the genuine Godhead. Unless we at least attempt to understand what has been going on from God’s perspective, we will remain stuck forever in these human-made religions that will let us pursue a relationship with God only from our own perspective. And what kind of a one-sided love is that?
As Moses is quoted as having put it to the Israelites before they entered their Promised Land 3250 years ago, “The eternal God is a refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deut 33:27). If there ever has been a time in the past three thousand years when all of humankind together desperately needed the comfort and safety of the genuine Godhead’s everlasting arms, it is now….
Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where’s thy victory, boasting grave? Alleluia!
Charles Wesley (1707-1788), from “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today” (1739)