From: http://www.panentheism.com/Pages/01.html (http://www.panentheism.com/Pages/01.html)
By Daniel J. Shepard from the Panentheism (http://www.panentheism.com) site.
Some fools declare that God created the universe. if God created the universe, where was He before creation? Did God create the universe out of something? if He did, who created the material out of which He created the universe?...
Mahapurana (c. 9th century)
Jain sacred text
God and man, unusual concepts that have gone hand and hand since the recorded history of man, regardless of the time in history, or the culture recording the history. Why? Good question and a rather insightful and perhaps directional one at that. It is beginning to appear that the more universally generated a concept is among men, the more truth one will find as one shucks away the myths, culture, and tradition which has blossomed around it.
Man has always believed in God. Some say from hope others say from fear, some say from intelligence others say from ignorance, some say from tradition and others say from faith. Whatever one professes, men have always oriented their philosophical discussions around God or god.
Even those professing to not believe in a God, have professed beliefs and doubts through the very fact that they argue against God, for if their is no God why even bother arguing about the concept of God. If there is truly no God there is no significance after death, thus there is no sense arguing the point. Could it be then that those arguing the point in a negative fashion are merely seeking proof that they are wrong.
But back to the term God. Just what is God? Is God what the Christians conceptualize as God, “The true and only God”? Is the Great Spirit in the heavens the true God. Perhaps Allah is the true God. Perhaps Zeus is the true God and the other ancient Greek Gods are as the Christian Angels are in a sense. Or perhaps they are all one in the same. Perhaps the error in Christian, or for that matter most religious thought, is that God is not a particular God but every ones’ God. Perhaps we are more brothers in the soul and in beliefs than we as any particular culture care to think.
Whatever one’s belief, the fact remains that man has, to our knowledge, always conceptualize God, or a form of God in some sense, and therefore perhaps this small seed, this nugget of universality of man is true.
Some say wait a minute. Not so fast. If there is a God, and God is God, and if by definition God is the creator of our reality, then who created God’s reality. If God is the omnipotent, then who had the omnipotence to create God the Omnipotent. If all things have a beginning, and God is the Beginning of all things, then who began the beginning of God, and wouldn’t that force in fact be God? A perplexing problem but perhaps not as perplexing as one might think.
The answer, by definition, is simply, God is the initiator of mans’ reality. God is man’s direct or indirect creator, whatever the greater of the two cases may be. The force that began the reality of mankind, The force that lies beyond our universe and which is responsible for the creation of the universe and the creatures within it, is our God. Its as simple as that.
Then one might say this does not truly explain who the God of God, the creator of God’s reality, and the who God of that God is, etc. That is true. Then one might say, well I want to know who the God of God is and the God of that God. That is unfortunate. You are jumping ahead of yourself or should I say you are jumping ahead of mans’ position in our space time continuum. For as one cannot understand the subatomic particles until one understands the concept of an atom, and as one cannot understand the function of a mitochondria until one understands the concept of a cell, one cannot understand God’s God until one understands his own God. Thus, until we as a relatively intelligent and philosophical species have a better grasp of our own creator, we are just going to have to wait for any significant insight into the picture greater than God. Man is not a patient animal but sometimes he has no option but to wait.
Does this mean we are to stop our search for our true spiritual Creator? By no means! We have always and will always need to search, if for no other reason than it is an intuitive part of our nature. In order to obtain the beginnings or a better realization of who God’s God is we must first obtain a better understanding of who our God is.
Does this mean we should stop believing in our God? Quite the contrary, for our beliefs, our traditions, our heritage and religious customs give us peace, tranquillity, security, roots, guidance, civility, and a rock upon which we may weather our doubts until we in time come to understand the true and focused picture of God. In the meantime don’t despair, for at some point we will obtain a better picture of God, and also in the meantime, keep in mind that God is God and will remain so regardless of what we do or wish to believe, or regardless of how we wish to paint Him.
Each of us must search for the customs and personal beliefs that comfort us best as particular individuals. Each of us must recognize that we all are searching. We must be tolerant of each others search. We must help each other find the particular niche which best fits each and every one of us for their own particular times. We must revolutionize our religions to allow for each man’s search and need for a particular religion that suits his or her own particular unique needs and biological energy patterns. Religions must become tolerant towards each other. Religions must stop believing as if they are the only ‘truth and light’, and begin realizing that they are only one of many. Religions each have a crucial part to play in mans’ and man’s overall purpose. They are meant to be unique, not because that makes one right and one wrong, but because that allows for the needed variation which in turn allows for the diversity of so many individuals trying to retain their own identity in a sea of humanity. The variations in religions provide a niche in religious customs that will allow each of us to find inner peace.
As we gain more knowledge as a species and as individuals, we develop a need to become even more individualistic.. This leads to even greater needs for variety and what appears to be major variations between religions, but in actuality prove to be, in regards to the immensely large picture, relatively minor differences in customs and beliefs. This then in turn accommodates the need for more niches created through the acquisition of more knowledge by man. And so the cycle goes. This need for a means of filling unique religious niches in turn leads to a need to assist each other (missionary work) in finding these niches in order to help each other find peace and tranquillity.
This revolutionary reversal of the religious frame of mind regarding the concept of “I’m right and you are wrong”, however, cannot begin until we, as individuals in large enough numbers, insist upon it within our religious groups. And this cannot begin until we are willing to accept that God is God and not who we dress Him up to be. We cannot create God. God has created us. We cannot insist that God is who we have, through time and custom, drawn Him to be. Rather we must understand that who we have drawn God to be through time and custom was who we needed Him to be in order to find our niche. He is who He is to ourselves, because we needed Him to be such in order to find comfort in our lack of knowledge and to assuage our fears of what we perceive to be mortality.
We must recognize this process of painting a security picture of God before we can truly begin to show tolerance and empathy for our fellow man’s painting of God. Once we have truly accepted this concept, we will begin to accept our fellow man as our true brothers in soul.
Regardless of when this metamorphism to tolerance within society occurs , and it will occur, God will remain who He is, God, and not who we wish to paint Him as. There is nothing, no matter how hard we try, that we will be able to do about it.
This then leads us to circular philosophies - Quadratics vs. Linear Philosophy.