Changing the Way We Look at God

A lot of us are looking for God. The human experience is one that is characterized by an ultimate search for meaning and reason, and many of us have either been raised to believe, or have freely chosen to believe that the answer lies in the unknown entity of “God.” When we make assertions about God, we tend to put forth the notion that “He” is an all-powerful, all knowing, omniscient being whose appearance very well might mimic that of man. This idea has endured for millennia and will likely continue far into the future. According to the Bible, we were after all, “created in the image of God.” The conception of God as an entity that is separate from our own, and whose existence operates on a level that we will never be fully versed in, is standard dogma.

 

One of the prevailing characteristics that we have assigned God—it is very much His primary characteristic—is that He is an entity entirely separate from our own as people. God is God. He is not a person, a tree, the ocean, or anything earthly and tangible. He cannot be quantified, measured, pointed out, seen, smelled, or touched. He is separate and eternal—an existence that undergirds our limited conceptions of reality and somehow keeps it intact. God is untouchable and ultimately unknowable. Because our human questions about existence may forever be unanswered, we create an abstract, the standard idea of “God,” to answer them. We answer the unknown with the unknown, and give it an identity, characteristics, and powers.

 

How can we have something that we ultimately know nothing about as the basis of our beliefs about existence? I am not positing that there is nothing which connects us all and infuses life and purpose into every person. Rather, I am suggesting that we turn the idea of what God is, on its head. Instead of attempting to draw a larger principle for what it is we draw our existences from, maybe we should begin to see life and existence as that principle. Maybe we need to abandon the idea that there is such a thing as divine existence and rather recognize that existence in itself is divine. Where we run astray and run out of answers is when we search for something more than what is right in front of us, rather than what is within all that is in front of us.

 

Perhaps God is not separate from each one of us, but rather is a combination of the things that make humanity, humanity. Perhaps He is not a being but rather a set of properties that are perfect when applied to the imperfections of people. Hope, love, friendship, and forgiveness do not exist without people to employ them to make their own existences better. In other words, the perfect does not exist without the imperfect. These perfect properties do not exist without imperfect people. Hope cannot exist without fear and doubt, love cannot exist without an object of love, friendship can only exist between more than one person, and forgiveness can only be found in the face of human error and hardship. Man is imperfect, and if we are to assert that some sort of perfection underlies our flawed existences, it is only rational to believe that this perfection is somewhat accessible—never mastered, but always available.

 

The human search is undeniable. We are all searching—for happier, for better, and for more. However, I fail to believe that the “more” we are searching for finds its roots in an elusive God, one whose existence supersedes our own, and whose perfection is absolutely bound in itself. No entity can exist any more than another can, and life’s perfections are found in its flaws and our abilities to overcome them. Is perfection not hope in the face of doubt, forgiveness in the face of conflict, and light in the face of darkness? Maybe we should look at God as these properties—as a means to a better existence, rather than an end, and realize that the “more” that we are searching for in life might just be life itself.

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