The Nature of God
We have been talking a lot about the nature of God and the most fundamental beliefs of the the faith of the prophets and mystics. Of the hundreds if not thousands of ways we could take the discussion of the nature of the Deity, I have decided to continue my posts inspired by Brian McLaren's a Generous Orthodoxy.
In the book, McLaren describes the God he sees in creation in a simple yet profound way.
God is a:
a unified, eternal, mysterious, relational community/family/society/entity of saving Love (a Generous Orthodoxy, 85).
This is a phrase for meditation and quiet contemplation in the night. We have already talked about Rabbi David A Cooper's image of God as a Verb (see this post). This notion of God is very close to the glimpses of Providence we get in our everyday life, but McLaren has found a way to describe our encounter with the Divine.
The testimony of the Prophets reveals to us a God that is One. On the night before he was crucified, our Lord prayed:
That they all may be one; as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that you have sent me (John 17:21).
It is our mission to reconcile all to God and to spread the word that we are one in Christ, and one in God. We are one human family, in fact, we are one terrestrial family. This is where our impulse for peacemaking and conservation arise.
Many people confuse the unity of God is one of the most misunderstood ideas in the history in monotheism. There is but one God, called by many names. There are no other Gods. Once we realize this, our tribalism melts away and we realize the commonality of all faiths.
As Joseph Campbell said:
Eternity isn't some later time. Eternity isn't a long time. Eternity has nothing to do with time. Eternity is that dimension of here and now which thinking and time cuts out. This is it. And if you don't get it here, you won't get it anywhere. And the experience of eternity right here and now is the function of life. There's a wonderful formula that the Buddhists have for the Bodhisattva, the one whose being (sattva) is illumination (bodhi), who realizes his identity with eternity and at the same time his participation in time. And the attitude is not to withdraw from the world when you realize how horrible it is, but to realize that this horror is simply the foreground of a wonder and to come back and participate in it. 'All life is sorrowful' is the first Buddhist saying, and it is. It wouldn't be life if there were not temporality involved which is sorrow. Loss, loss, loss.
Moyers: That's a pessimistic note.
Campbell: Well, you have to say yes to it, you have to say it's great this way. It's the way God intended it (Power of Myth).
Eternity is a present reality that we tend to ignore. Through prayer and meditation we learn to reside in this eternal now, and through mindfulness we learn to live with in it. In so doing, we are learning to practice the presence of God.
God is most clearly seen in the relations of things to one another. We see God in the heart of all living. We find God as Father/Protector, Mother/Nurturer, Sibling/Believer, and Child/Actions.
The God we see through providence is the Unknowable Father, the one whose name has never been soiled by human language.
In nature and times of trouble, we rest in the nurturing Spirit as our Divine Mother.
In every believer, we see Christ in them as our Brother, Sister, and Sibling in the Lord.
Through our actions and the actions of the faithful, we see God as Child, the one who is conceived in us upon conversion, and who through our lives we bring into the world.
Corporately, we as the church are the body of Christ. We see God in the hearts of all people.
This is the Living God who is with his people and frees them from fear and torment through his marvelous grace.
The power of God is intimate love and peace we find as we rest in the arms of the Godhead in liturgy and meditation. This Saving Love is the power of Christ to deliver us from Satan's power.
In all things, we worship the Living God.
For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain`also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device.
And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commands all men every where to repent:
Because he has appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he has ordained; whereof he has given assurance unto all men, in that he has raised him from the dead (Acts 17:28-31)