Unity views on ... God
Most of us, from our earliest learning experiences, have been taught that God is a supreme "man". We have been told that "God created man in his own image", and we have not realized that this image is male and female. Not fully understanding our own origin, we have easily decided to create God in man's image.
Consequently, we have made of God a "superman". Inasmuch as God has been around since the beginning of time, "He" would naturally have to be a very old man; so, we have given "Him" a flowing beard. Since the Judeo-Christian concept of God came out of a patriarchal (male-dominated) society, we have learned to always, refer to God with male pronouns: He, Him, His.
Our teaching further told us that the abode of God is the kingdom of heaven. When we speak of heaven, we think of it as being "up". Therefore, we have assumed that heaven is in the sky, that perhaps God dwells somewhere on the periphery of our universe.
Some early cultures were multi-god oriented. These gods were usually made visible through carved or sculpted "idols", and they often were related to every day living. Some societies worshipped the elements of nature as their gods. Elaborate rituals were established in order to appease these gods and, consequently, to control the elements. Other societies worshipped female deities, undoubtedly because of the woman's ability to give birth, which was tremendously awe-inspiring to primitive people. The worship of these gods and goddesses became the way of "pagans" with the advent of the one Hebrew God, Father of all.
There are places on this earth where it is thought that God can be contacted more easily and more readily than others. These have been designated as "sacred" places, and shrines have been built on many of them. Many persons have made long and difficult pilgrimages to such places, in an effort to find and draw near to the presence of God.
All in all, we have made God most inaccessible. We have made "Him" into a "Man" with human attitudes and emotions magnified to supernatural proportions. We have placed the kingdom of God so far away that we do not really know how to "get there". We have made of God one whose love is greatly desired and whose wrath is to be feared. We have given God a whimsical personality: sometimes "He" answers our prayers and sometimes "He" does not. We have made God one who seems most pleased when we come to "Him" as praying beggars and sinners.
Can this truly be God....the God of all creation? Can this be the God who spoke to the heart of Jesus Christ and said,"This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased"? Can this be the God, represented by Jesus Christ, who healed the minds and bodies of people, who provided them with food when they were hungry, and who has blessed and inspired so many people down through the centuries? Can this be the God who said,"Before they call I will answer"?
Perhaps we need to take a look at this concept of God, to determine if this is really the God we worship. Is there an alternative to this concept, one that we can relate to in our daily life, in a contemporary sense? I believe there is.
When Jesus Christ spoke of God, He did not speak of a distant God; He said,"The Father is in me." Could God be any closer than that? If God was in Jesus Christ, is this the same God in all persons? The argument against believing that God indwells each of us is that Jesus Christ was singled out by God for a special spiritual destiny. And so He was.
Still, the Bible clearly states that in the beginning God created all people - "man, male and female" - in the divine image and likeness. It is also written,"God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good." In Genesis we learn two very important things: God created us in the likeness of divinity and pronounced that creation good.
The Spirit, the breath of God, is in us. We do not have to put in a long-distance call to God everytime we pray. We are not called upon to make long pilgrimages to sacred places. God is within us, completely accessible to us. We may contact God by turning quietly within ourselves. This is what Jesus Christ meant when He said,"But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you."
Since this is what Jesus Christ taught about God, it is difficult to understand how Christians have taken an indwelling Spirit of goodness and shaped it into a supreme "Man" in a distant kingdom.
Does this mean that God is found only within people? Not at all. As Creator, God is imbued in all creation. The presence of God is not limited to people; but the presence of God finds aware and refined expression through people. "God slumbers in the rocks. God stirs in the flowers. God awakens in Man." The mountains reflect the majesty of God. A calm lake carries the message of the serenity of God. A sleeping infant reminds us of the uniqueness of God. The flaming red of a full-blown rose tells us of the beauty of God.
We could well say that God is where we find God. God is the principle responsible for all creation. The Principle cannot abandon the creation, without the creation ceasing to be. So, truly, God is in all things. There is no situation or thing on earth so mundane that it does not bear witness to the presence of God. There is no darkness so dark that the light of understanding cannot shine in it. There is no experience so critical that an activity of this all-pervading Spirit cannot harmonize it.
This, then, is your alternative: Instead of a distant, inaccessible hard-to please God, the God really represented by Jesus Christ is a God of healing and prosperity - an accommodating God, a God for whom no task is either too large or too small, a God who is "nearer than hands and feet, closer than breathing." This God is not a temperamental old man, but an indwelling Spirit, ever eager to find expression through creation - through you.
This item is an excerpt from the book "Alternatives" by William L. Fisher, and reproduced with the express permission of Unity School of Christianity, Unity Village, MO.