I had a wonderful e-mail interchange today with a woman who wanted to discuss an article I wrote recently. I enjoy thoughtful dialogue about the most significant things in life, especially when there is respect and openness. And this was a wonderful opportunity.
We were talking about big things. The core question she had was: “Are we God?”
There is so much to say on either side of the question. The most obvious answer is “Of course not.” God is God and we are human beings. And looking at how we sometimes act as human beings, we are often not even very God-like.
Moving beyond an immature understanding of God as a male figure in the sky with a long beard, I understand the word God as a name for the creative force within all matter and within all living things. But the word implies more than force, power or energy. It also implies pattern, because looking around at all of Creation, not only is it in motion; it has a definite intelligent pattern to it.
But the word God means more than power and pattern. It also implies beingness and selfhood. It implies that what creates us and what creates all things is not only a something, it is a someone.
Are we, as human beings, all that? Are we the Being with the power and the pattern to create all things? That was the very weighty topic of my e-mail interchange. The woman who wrote to me was challenging, saying that only God is the Creator, and we are not.
Like most important subjects, the answer to the question we were discussing is not simple. Or, at least, the simple answers don’t bring us to the deeper truth.
When you consider your physical body, would you say that it is you? The physical body alone is not you. In fact, we can imagine that without the rest of you it would not survive very long. But the truth is that you are in your physical body. It is the outermost expression and embodiment of you or anyone. In fact, if you saw a person’s physical body walking down the street you wouldn’t say, “Look, there’s so-and-so’s body.” You might think or say, “Look, there is so-and-so.”
So while your physical body alone is not you, in your everyday experience it is you. It is you being you in a physical way.
You could think about this relative to all the other dimensions of your human capacity—your mind, your emotional body and your human spirit. They are not all of you. They depend on you for their meaningful function. If they somehow become divorced from you, they are in trouble. And when they are in trouble, you are in trouble. If your mind were to become subject to a hallucinogenic drug, or if it otherwise becomes outof balance, its pattern of thought could become unrecognizable as an expression of you. It could be out of your control. Likewise with your emotional body and your spirit. Yet, even though they are beyond your control, they would still be yours.
As I see it, this is how it is when it comes to God. We are an embodiment and expression of God, the Creator. The author of Genesis did his best to convey this when he said that we are created in the image and likeness of God, and that we are here to replenish the earth and have dominion. Down through the ages, dominion turned into domination. But accounting for that mistranslation, how could the author have said any more clearly that we, as human beings, are designed to be the arms and legs, and even the heart and mind, of the Creator?
Leaving the Bible aside, is this not our potential? We have the ability to access and express the power of the Creator—the universal Love that is within us. We have the ability to intelligently discern and create according to a pattern that we, of ourselves, didn’t invent. And we have the ability to touch the beingness that is within another person, within the creation around us, and within ourselves. In touching that beingness we are bringing its presence through ourselves.
This is what happens in human procreation. A man and woman come together and create a baby. But do they really create it all by themselves? Certainly the union of a man and woman is necessary for that baby to be born. But do the parents provide the pattern for that child? Yes, they provide the DNA. Yet that doesn’t guarantee anything. The pattern for the child’s life is determined at a level that is well beyond the conscious control of any human being.
How about the power for the child’s life? Certainly the love of parents is a key factor. But where does the power of love working through that child come from? From within that child.
And how about the Beingness—the selfhood of the child? Parents don’t create that. They can foster it. They can support it. They can’t create it. That selfhood is a reality that isn’t created by any human being. It is a reality the child can know of themselves, for themselves, just as any adult can know it for themselves.
Knowing and expressing the Creator within oneself lets it all make sense. A friend of mine says that this is a spirituality that needs no belief. When you actually experience yourself as an expression and embodiment of the Creator that is within you, you know that without having to explain it to yourself. It just is what is. Of course, some belief can be helpful to assist you to have the experience. And some belief, expressed by you, might help someone else to have the experience.
By the way, what reality is there beside God? If God is the creative reality within all things, what are you other than that? I’m making no claim as to my own divinity, or anyone else’s. Because it is apparently quite possible to have the illusion that we are something other than what I have described, and to operate with that illusion. In fact, that state of separation is rampant in our world.
That kind of disconnect in consciousness creates not only illusion but also a manifest human world that is based on it. And perhaps a better word for that illusion would be nightmare. There is certainly a nightmarish world that we are capable of creating based on the illusion that we are something other than the Creator. Just watch the evening news. That nightmare isn’t divine.
Here is the bottom line. Look around at the natural world. We could call that creation. It is all created by a power we don’t really understand, according to an incredibly beautiful pattern. We are like that too. Even though we have the ability to deviate from that beauty. If it is true that all of Creation is an expression of the Creator within it, then is it not true that the creation is, actually, the Creator? It is not all of who and what the Creator is. But it is the body of the Creator. And so are you.