Who is God?

I’ll start this one off with an answer.  I don’t know!  To be able to know who God is, to know exactly who God is, is to be more than human.  We humans are not capable of understanding God.

I have an atheist follower of my blog.  I follow his blog as well.  His last posting stated that atheists do not believe God exists.  But for someone to believe something exists or doesn’t exist, there has to be a definition for that thing.  I would agree that he probably doesn’t believe the God of the Bible exists.  That’s a fair statement because it’s pretty clear who the God of the Bible is.  But God has such a different meaning to so many different people that it’s nearly impossible to say that one believes or disbelieves in every single one of those definitions for God.

For simplicity, let’s stick with the God of the Bible for a moment.  I can understand why one would doubt that God would cause a Great Flood, or part the Red Sea.  I can also understand why people living in the time these things happened would have no scientific explanation for these events, and for this reason, attribute them to God.  Today science has proven that a strong enough wind for a prolonged period of time over the Red Sea, near the Nile river, could have in fact, lowered the water level enough so that Moses and the slaves could have walked across.  Science also has many theories about the Great Flood, including that it was the result of the quick melting of the polar ice caps after the last ice age.  The truth is, scientifically, we are smarter today than we were when the Bible was written.  That’s not an opinion, that’s a fact.  Many of the seemingly miraculous occurrences from the Bible could have actually occurred.  The question is, were they caused by God?  This is only one theory, and at the time it was the only theory that held any water, pun intended.  But today, there are many other theories.  And the thing is, they are ALL theories, including the God theory.

If you look at the Bible and it’s stories, many other cultures share the same stories, some dating back thousands of years before they supposedly occurred in the Bible.  Does this mean the Bible is wrong?  Who knows?  Maybe these things happened many times.  My points are these.

1) God, can be and is used to explain things that science cannot explain.
2) Many things have happened, are happening, and will happen that cannot be explained by science.
3) The theory that these things can be attributed to God is only one theory.

Many will say the Bible is a work of fiction.  To those people I would politely say that perhaps it is a work of the less informed.  Perhaps if we were to go back in time, and experience the occurrences in the Bible, we would be able to explain them with science.  However, this does not make the Bible a work of fiction.  In fact, it may very well be an accurate history book since it was written by people of the time.  Think about it this way.  If you lived in this time, and someone told you the Earth was spherical, you would have thought it preposterous.   If someone you knew said they were going to sail to the end of the Earth, and they never returned, you might have assumed that they had fallen off the edge of the Earth.  If you wrote a book about your friend and his adventures, you would have written that he sailed to the end of the Earth and must have fallen off, otherwise why would he never return.  Does this make your writing fiction?  No, it makes it a combination of your experience of your interaction with your friend, a lack of knowledge that the Earth is spherical, and an assumption based on your belief that the Earth is flat.  But you didn’t make it up.  You may have embellished a bit, but you certainly didn’t sit down and write a children’s story book which somehow got mistaken for history.

So what about God?  I am not a religious person, but I believe in God.  I do not believe in the God of the Bible, but instead I believe in a force that guides me down the right path.  I believe that God is both what can be explained by science, and what cannot.  I believe in an energy that cannot be seen or explained.  I believe this energy is much stronger when I am with other people.  I believe that when I am interacting with others, both those that agree with me and those that don’t, that this is when God is present.  I believe that the more I try to understand people, and the more I see the similarities between us, the closer I am to God.  I also believe that the more I isolate, or only hear and see what I want to, the further I am from God.  This is when I am taking my own, unguided path, and although I’d like to think I am the smartest person in the world, why should I not take guidance from those around me that I trust, and in turn, offer guidance to them.

I do not believe God parts the sea, or creates a great flood.  But I do believe there is a lot I don’t understand and never will.  Infinity for example.  You won’t believe how much time I’ve spent, and how far I’ve gone trying to understand that one, only to get closer and closer and closer to the answer without ever reaching it.  Math geeks applaud that last sentence.  Sure we can explain the theory of the parting of the Red Sea, or the Great Flood, and we can even explain the theory of infinity, but we are limiting ourselves to our current understanding, and our current capacity to understand.

It all goes back to being human.  Human beings simply do not have the capacity to understand everything.  Some choose to use God as the explanation for the things we can’t understand.  Others choose to explain these things with, well, I really don’t know actually.  What I would say to those people is, there is an explanation, not a void.  If you choose to not use the word God, because it is associated with the God of the Bible, then I’m with you.  But there is some explanation.  Even with all of the science and technology we have, and even with all of the explanations we have come up with, and even if some of these theories have been proven beyond a shadow of doubt, there is still a lack of explanation beyond the explanation.  There is still a curtain behind which may be the Wizard of Oz or further scientific discovery, or maybe it’s the God of the Bible after all.

My main point here is this.  Whatever you think you know, is limited by what you know.  Whatever you think you can explain is limited by what you can explain.  Whatever you think you don’t know and can’t explain is limitless.  It is your life.  Whether you choose to live it based on what you know and can explain is your choice.  The human race moves forward, however, when we choose to think about what we don’t know and what we can’t explain.  Fill your brain to capacity, and your children will have a bigger brain.  God is what provides an endless amount of knowledge, so that our brains can keep growing.

8 thoughts on “Who is God?”

  1. As I am that atheist who is following your blog and whose blog you also follow, I figured I just had to respond to this post.

    First, I agree with you that the definition of god can be different for different people. And that’s my point. God is defined as whatever someone wishes to define god to be because god is a human construct. You cannot define the sun as whatever you want to believe it is, because it exists in reality. It is what it is. But god does not exist in reality. God exists in the mind of man. And I believe that man uses god as the answer to questions that man cannot answer, cannot even comprehend. It’s easy to answer such questions with “because of god.”

    You wrote, “I believe in a force that guides me down the right path.” I hope you’re not implying that those of us who do not believe in that force are not able to find the “right path.” It seems that that is what a lot of “god-fearing” people believe about atheists. We are lost souls with no moral compass and are without hope of finding the right path. But that assumes the right path is salvation and an eternity in heaven. That’s not even close to the path I’m looking to follow.

    You end with “God is what provides an endless amount of knowledge, so that our brains can keep growing.” Again, I have to take issue. Inquiry is to me is what provides knowledge and enables our brains to keep growing. Blind faith in a made-up deity as the answer to knowledge unknown and unknowable is not.

    But then again, I’m an atheist and I must, therefore, be following the wrong path.

    1. Doobster, I very much enjoy reading your posts and your responses to mine. To address your first concern, I am not implying that you have not found the right path, I am implying that you are not calling the ability to find that path God. God is just a word which I’ve made a point of stating has many different meanings. I’ve heard people use the term God as an acronym for Good Orderly Direction. They choose to call this God, and so do I, but that doesn’t mean you haven’t found that direction simply because you call it something different or nothing at all.

      The second half of that paragraph you refer to the God of the Bible. I’m simply saying that God does not have to be that God, or any sort of diety. It can be whatever you want it to be and you don’t even have to call it God.

      You mention blind faith in a made up diety. That is not the God of my understanding. The God of my understanding is a guide. He speaks through the people in my life that I interact with. He is that energy I am speaking of. Perhaps that energy is being created by having those interactions. I just choose to call what I am feeling when interacting with others God. When I’m seeking to understand them rather than to have them understand me, the feeling I get I choose to call God. When there is a challenge I must face and I don’t know the answer, but someone offers help, I choose to call that God. When I am helping someone with a struggle they are having, the feeling I get from that I choose to call God. I believe you probably go through the same things in life as I do, and you probably get the same feelings that I do in similar situations. You just choose not to call that stuff God and I do. That’s the only difference. The only reason I brought you into it was because I needed to make a point about the definition of God. I would suspect you and I are very similar in our beliefs. By the way, God is not my preferred term, it’s just a term that I needed to use when comparing the God of the Bible with my concept of a power greater than myself, which by the way, if you believe that you and the people in your life are more powerful than you alone, then you have a power greater than yourself too.

  2. Have you seen the “GOD” trucks? They are these large, 18-wheelers with the word GOD emblazoned on the back and sides. It stands for “Guaranteed Overnight Delivery.” I chuckle every time I see one on the highway.

    So here’s the deal, Larry. You can call your imaginary friend whatever you wish to. To me, it’s like Jimmy Stuart’s invisible six-foot rabbit in the movie “Harvey.” You’re assigning a persona that can be conceived in human terms, it seems, to what you feel to be a greater presence outside of yourself, and you’ve named that persona “God.”

    I don’t have a sense a “greater power” outside of myself, per se. I know I am part of something bigger than I am because I am but a small, insignificant life form in the scheme of the vast universe. But it’s my life form and it’s the only one I have or will ever have (or so I believe). Thus, I will attempt to be the best I can and live my life the best way I know how to, not just for myself, but for those who are touched by me one way or another. When I make decisions, I don’t attribute my decision and the consequences of that decision to some force beyond me. I take full responsibility for whatever comes of that decision. When good things happen or bad things happen, I don’t say, “well, that’s god’s plan.”

    Maybe I’m just not a deep thinker. I don’t contemplate the origin of the universe or why things are the way they are. They just are. How things started or whether they just always were will not change the way I live my life, it’s purpose, or its meaning.

    1. Taking responsibility for your actions is a good thing. Some would say God made them do it and that it was God’s plan. That’s not me. What I am saying is that I try to pay attention to what is going on outside of my world when I am making decisions, and use those things as guidance in making those decisions. I choose to call that guidance God. I believe you do the same thing. You are not closed minded, self-absorbed, or ignorant. You live in this world, and you try to be a good citizen. You still have the same guidance that I do from people, places and things in your life. You just don’t call that God. What you are choosing to call your sense of direction for living a good life is not the same as what I am calling it. That’s the only thing different between us. The only thing I would say though is the more open minded you are, the better sense of direction you have. But there is no invisible 6 foot rabbit in the picture. There is no entity. At least not for me. It’s just a matter of how wide I want to open the shutter on the camera lens. I’m not saying you are opening it any less than I am.

      1. I think we are, essentially, in violent agreement. You choose to name this guidance “God.” I choose to believe its intrinsic to my being and needs no name. At the end of the day, though, we each try to be the good citizens. And that’s what matters.

      2. But what made it intrinsic? You can probably figure out that this is a combination of genetics, life experience, and brain chemistry. Ah chemicals. What made those? That’s where I will stop my example because that is the limit of my understanding. But the story goes on. Well beyond. What lies beyond has an explanation, and there either is a name for it or there will be some day. Until that time I choose to call it a power beyond or greater than myself.

  3. The good news is that you are free to choose to call it a power beyond or greater than yourself, and I am free to choose to call it something within myself. And we are both free to debate it openly and honestly without fear of someone pulling us out of our homes and locking us up if they don’t agree with what we call it.

    1. Absolutely! Great country we live in. BTW, a friend who I’ve had for 35 years reminded me that I have another atheist follower. He follows me through Facebook. He told me that he has found the solution to the universe, but doesn’t want to spoil the ending for me. I responded with 42. Only a true geek will get that one. Remember that Jewish atheist I was telling you about?

      Hey, here’s a thought. If you are living a good, moral life and following the rules of society, then maybe you are Jewish and just didn’t know it. Shalom!

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