Thursday, July 7, 2011

Who Is God? Can We Know?

The answer to this is what religion is all about. There is no general agreement. Even people of the same religion often disagree on some principles. It's the most difficult question anyone can ask. People largely agree to disagree. Language itself isn't competent to deal with this issue. Semantics - the assumed meanings of words - differ from one person to another.

But this author maintains that - as God says - we can find out who God is and expand our knowledge. The word Israel means wrestling with God, and God relishes the wrestling match, saying to Job (38:1-3), "Prepare yourself for action. I will question you, and you will answer me." After a long, painful, and arduous bout, God rewards Job with vastly more wealth than he had before all was taken away from him by God, through Satan. Who is this God who allows Satan to exist? And why?

The most extraordinary line in the Bible is Genesis 3:22, which says, "The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”

Every valid translation of the Bible - and there are over a dozen - says, "The man has now become like one of us..." People never speak about this because the implications are so mind boggling. There can be only one answer: God is a multitude, not a single entity. God doesn't say, "The man has become like me."  The Hebrew word 'Elohim' is often used in the
Torah, and it means the Heavenly Host. Let that sink in for a while.

It makes perfect sense. God tells Moses to call him "I AM that I AM" in Genesis 3:14. What does this mean? That everywhere consciousness exists, God is there. Every animal, every person, and perhaps every living thing to some degree. We cannot know how deep this consciousness goes, but it extends so far, to such multitudes of living things, that we cannot begin to conceive of it.

The most important thing to absorb from Scripture is this: We are the inheritors of God's creation, and were brought into existence to be with God and participate in God's Kingdom; to know God intimately. This isn't possible now, today, as the world is structured. But God has always promised a new world for us, a world without death, corruption, or violence. That world is coming. If it doesn't happen while we live, we will come into it after we die. Time is short. Be sure you wrestle with God and secure your place in the coming Kingdom.