Who or What IS God?
Who or What IS God?
I have to be totally honest right from the beginning of this post, I am VERY nervous about writing on this topic! God? Is He/She our Source, our Creator, LOVE, Divine Presence, or the Powerful Force that holds our Universe together? No wonder my mind feels intimidated ~ I am simply in awe and wonder if I even have words…there is that ever present feeling deep in my soul that somehow KNOWS God. I do not profess to know any more than ANY of you, I have no real answers. Maybe we can simply ponder together.
I sat quietly this morning with my cup of coffee as the sun rose. Today it was a golden orange ball shimmering back in the water in front of me with steam rising off the water. It was an eerie but beautiful sight as it very slowly began turning more yellow. There was NOT the brilliant blue sky, it was a grayish colored sky…kind of like my thoughts at the moment. God’s incredible gifts were simply there for me while I took the time to REALLY take it all in. The sky got me to thinking about this topic…Who or What IS God REALLY.
Intellectually I also knew that the phenomena I was seeing is also man’s contribution. Michigan is experiencing the effects of the massive out of control wildfires in Canada sending a grey covering in the sky. So…is this MAN? Or is it GOD? It could be natural causes or it could be careless practices by MAN. (generic for men & women) Are we the COLLECTIVE of God? Humans all have the same DIVINE Source no matter what words we want to use. I was using my limited mind, reasoning that if each of us is a part of God…aren’t we part of the WHOLE ~ continuously contributing to our surroundings. Too often we are picturing God as WAY OUT there somewhere and who knows where.
Man has been speculating about all of this since the beginning of time. Our information super highway these days can open our eyes to the wonder of it all globally knowing that people in every religion, race or culture are asking the same questions. It’s like opening that huge window that leads to opening doors to wider and wider thinking. I’ve pondered all of the world’s religious teachings born out of that same deep yearning to know and understand more about God. Unfortunately…MAN certainly wants to complicate it & control it.
These thoughts surfaced again as I was reading a book that my book club was reading called The Faith Club by Ranya Idilby, Suzanne Oliver, & Priscilla Warner. It is a true story of three women’s lives coming together to learn from each other. They too were hoping to expand their knowledge, challenge their own beliefs, and gain a compassion for a world understanding of GOD.
One of them is Christian, one is Jewish, and one is Muslim. They are all modern American women living in New York City where each were deeply affected by the tragedy of the events of 9-11. I marveled at their journey over many years. But, what especially captured me was their OWN interpretations of WHO IS GOD? Each was interpreting through their religious experiences and upbringing, but all of them were very deep and independent thinkers. Their stories are real and enduring.
Perhaps their descriptions can spark something within you.
Ranya Idilby grew out of the Muslim Faith: “I believe in one God, an all embracing God, a God who is neither male nor female, nor human, a merciful and compassionate God. In submitting to God’s will and living a Muslim life I am asked to apply the discipline and judgement that will allow me to make the correct choices. To serve God, I am asked to be fair and just, charitable and humble, to protect the weak, the orphaned, and the disenfranchised. To live an accountable, responsible and moral life. To live a kind honorable, and peaceful life. I believe God does not distinguish between humans because of their race, color, or religious traditions. God sees beyond the different rituals and judges the valor of humans not on the merits of one tradition over the other but rather on our actions and choice.” Pg. 162-163
Suzanne Oliver grew out of a Christian Faith: “I believe in a benevolent creator who willed space into being and controlled the process by which humankind evolved. I think God created us out of his love and desire to have the company of thinking creatures like himself. I imagine us somehow bursting from his imagination, our universe resting in the palm of his hand. I believe that God loves every human on earth and that we all are capable of living on with God forever, though I don’t know how. I’d love to think that I will be reunited with those I love who have died. Resting in the heavens with my sister, my husband, my children, and the rest of my family basking in the glow of God’s love forever sounds pretty wonderful. But, I think it is probably not as simple as that. Will I have my current identity? I don’t know. Perhaps I will be part of a joyful cosmic consciousness. If God was able to imagine our world, he is surely able to imagine something glorious for the hereafter. ” pg. 147
Priscilla Warner grew out of the Jewish Faith: “I believe that God is the goodness that exists inside each and every human being, every animal, every flower, and every miracle of God’s creation. I believe that God is a force that binds us together, showing up in the moments when people make unexpected, magical connections with one another. God challenges us, I believe, to become our best selves, even in the toughest of times, when beauty and goodness seem to be mysteriously elusive, overshadowed by excruciating pain and evil. Pg. 250
Previously she had described her vision for the Middle East. “I’d like to imagine a land of milk and honey, a place where Christians, Jews, and Muslims live together in that one little sliver of holy land in peace, where Jerusalem is the holy city for all faiths. Where saplings are planted and ancient olive trees revered. Where children of all religions and backgrounds believe they have a future. Many people would call me a dreamer. But I don’t want to live my life any other way… I need to live in a world where I believe good will prevails over evil, where people will eventually, somehow, put down their arms, and say ‘Enough.’ ”
These women are totally inspiring. Their lives were and are no different than most of ours. There were days of beautiful exchanges, difficult conversations, family issues, trials of every kind, and deaths they all had to learn how to cope with in understanding.
Is it possible God intended for each and every one of us to define God in our own way? Perhaps instead of a RIGHT way…there are endless possibilities as we navigate our way to a peaceful existence?