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Defining the Being of God

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There is a branch of philosophy called ontology, which looks at the nature of being. Today, I’d like to ask you to consider what you would be comfortable to say constitutes the being of God.

I’m not asking you to talk about the things that God can do, although this is of course a related subject area. Instead, I’d like to hear specifically about what you believe God is. Here are a few questions to get you thinking.

  • Does God have a form?
  • Is God purely spiritual, or does God’s being encompass material things as well?
  • Where is God right now?

You are invited to think deeply about these questions and leave a comment with your thoughts. You’re welcome to quote from the scriptures of a particular religion, the words of your favourite poet or writer, a definition you found in an online dictionary, or anything else that you feel meaningfully answers the above questions.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

26 comments

  1. God you see is not a separate entity or thing that is apart from the material world and all of creation, but rather is the very basis of what is and what ever will come to be. It is the force that is within all things but is also greater than the sum of all its parts, just in the same way that we as human beings are greater the sum of all our parts, both psychologically and materially.

    I’ve mediated on God for most of my young life, and the best analogy I have been able to form as of late consists of the image that we as living beings, and all living beings that currently reside in all the universe, are equivalent to minute cells encompassing the different parts of God’s body, as our own cells do the same for us. And here is where the adage of God not being separate from us individuals rings true for me, for as our own intelligent cells give life to us as human beings we do the same for God, for without our experiencing of life and our forming of intelligence there would not be a God, in the same way that when all our cells die we die with them, at least the individual notion of which we call ourselves in this present moment. So in that way I see life and God as not an individual movement cut off from everything else, but instead as everything being far more connected than what can currently be seen by the naked eye, or thought of and analysed by the current depths of our intelligence.

    God is both everything in the universe as His spirit and energy gives life to everything there is, as our own life gives impetus to the current workings of our cells and body, but is also greater than everything there is or could ever be, as we are the same in that respect; we are greater than our limbs and hair and looks, than our psychological disposition or habits of thought, for you see we are God as well to that greater extent, peering through the world through a narrow view, giving life to ourselves but also feeling that life is being sourced from a other. That is where the great game begins in many senses, for in the same way that in a dream there is the belief that we have absolutely no control over the events, that the dream is not a creation of our own minds but instead from a force outside of ourselves, and in this same feeling we have for the current situation displayed in our own lives, as it seems too obnoxious, or perhaps just scary, to believe that we have any actual control over the current reflection of our reality.

    Anyway, that’s just my take on God, my individual truth. You see I believe there is no absolute truth that any living being can come to about God, and rather that our own individuality and lives bring forth our own separate truths that give play to the rising narrative of what “God” actually is. We are creating God in that sense, as He is creating us.

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  2. I like Fynn for this, quoting what may or may not be the fictional Anna — God’s in my middle and I’m in God’s middle. This would suggest that God surrounds me, but I always carry a piece of God with me on this earthly plane: that God is both all-encompassing and a glimmer of something inside me. God will take whatever form is necessary — to what, I refuse to answer, as I know I can’t answer adequately! And I couldn’t tell you whether animism is right or wrong in that God is in, literally, everything. So much of this is a matter of personal belief and whether one is willing to take an absolute stance. It just so happens God made me a natural fencesitter, unwilling to condemn something or to condone it until I have enough proof for my liking.

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  3. To save time and space, I will just quote David Bentley Hart, “God is that reality which is unconditioned, that reality from everything else in our everyday experience derives its existence. Not really originating from some distant point in the past, such as the Big Bang, but conserving the existence of all conditioned beings at every moment in the here and now.”

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  4. I used to love to debate stuff like this when I was a teen. Loved it. Didn’t have a clue what I was talking about, no real theology training, just a little Bible, but thought I knew it all back then. I can’t even remember some of my conversations except one when I was questioning a speaker at some hippie coffee house one evening. The speaker was talking about how he “met God” when he was “tripping.” I told him boldly he was mistaken because God would not show himself to someone that was deliberately changing his brain chemistry like that so the God he saw must have been a hallucination. Jesus said the Kingdom of God is within those that believe so if you make room, he will be with you. God’s not going to live in an evil mess or one that is empty of anything Godly, that’s not possible, so that’s why we are required to pray daily and accept the peace that Jesus truth gives us, as hard as that is sometimes. That’s why I need to stay off social media lately. Very anger inducing to me. I used to tell myself it was “righteous anger” but now I am not so sure.

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  5. God is unimaginable; cannot be described; it is a beyond any idea we can ever understand. We cannot possibly put God in a box, because the moment we do, we’re already limiting who this entity is. That’s all I can say about it.

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  6. If my rough hammer makes a human form
    And carves it in the hard, unyielding stone,
    My hand is guided, does not move alone,
    But follows where that other worker came.

    Yet the first worker, God, remains above,
    Whose very motion makes all loveliness.
    To make a tool I need a tool, but his
    Power is the first cause and makes all things move.

    — from “Sonnet LXI”
    by Michelangelo

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