I’ve been thinking about the concept of God lately. Not just God; not ‘a’ god; but how the concept of gods presents itself across different religions and spiritual practices.
A very dear Christian friend said to me the other day that ‘God is everything and God is in everything’. It was a response to my telling her that The Divine is in everything and we are all part of it; and she kinda brought me down to earth with a clunk of familiarity. Church may be a distant memory, but I went till I was 17 and I still know the hymns at a funeral better than most.
It got me contemplating the meaning of God, because I think the concepts differ across different types of religion in a fascinating way.
The Divine Source instead of God
Sure, I think of the divine source as being:
[Creator] above all, and through all, and in you all. (Ephesians 4:6)
So I replaced ‘One God and Father of all, who is …’ with Creator. I want to remove the God and Father bit from the equation for now. But look at the remainder of the sentence.
It says that my concept of the divine source is the same as the Christian concept of God.
Except: I have ‘met’ two gods this year (goddesses, in fact), with distinct personalities, and even … agendas. Despite the bizarre methods of contact between us (I’m still getting used to the psychic stuff), the exchanges were almost … businesslike. In fact, there was no ‘almost’ about any of it. Certainly businesslike in tone.
I’m not going to drivel on about my ‘spiritual experiences’ but I know what I saw and felt and what I didn’t see.
The different aspects of the divine source
I grew up on a reading diet of Greek and Roman myths, interspersed with westerns, sci-fi, and fantasy, and it’s always been my understanding that in polytheistic religions, each god represents certain parts of the All. So, for example, Apollo was the sun god, with all the fiery positive aspects you might imagine that sort of symbol to hold for people. If you wanted to do well in business, you could do worse than pray to Apollo.
To me, gods and goddesses are incredibly powerful beings; as real as you or me, just possibly on some different plane or dimension (I’m still pretty hazy about all that stuff); but they’re really distinct from one another.
They’re aspects of the divine; different characteristics. Sure they can raise ships from the deep and affect the weather really badly, and I think you could regard them as omnipotent, but ‘all-powerful’ probably comes with the god territory. It’s standard. They are of the Divine, they are divine, but they are not the Divine.
My breakaway from Christianity
One of the reasons why I know Christianity will never be for me again is the thought of the Ephesians verse quoted above. Because to me, Jehovah has utilised the concept of the divine source to his followers, and of course it makes beautiful sense to them, that One God is the answer to everything. It says it everywhere you look in the Bible, but I rediscovered the One concept in modern spirituality … as the divine source.
But to me the divine is not a god. It’s more than the gods, it is the gods, and it’s nameless.
Gods have names. My ‘experiences’ this last 12 months were with the Morrigan, and Brighid, for two entirely unrelated reasons. Very recognisable, and very businesslike. The Christian/Jewish god is Jehovah. Allah is the name of the Muslim god. And of course, the one-god religions all call their god ‘God’ to indicate that there is no other god.
There are other gods in my paradigm of the universe. I don’t know if they evolve to eventually become some inscrutable part of the divine, but their (to me, proven) existence turns the basic concepts of Christianity and Islam into a parody of what I understand to be real. To me it feels like the Bible and other venerable books are no more than propaganda on behalf of one particular god in each case.
The late, great Terry Pratchett wrote an entire novel about gods. His concept was that there are hundreds of gods, but they become bigger and more powerful the more people pray to them. So there are a lot of small gods worshipped only by a handful of people.
I honestly think my view borders on Terry Pratchett’s position. Only he’s funnier.
How come the universe is so complicated?!
God Thought for the day! 🙂