A Personal God
Now I am reading over Honest to God and The Honest to God Debate, and it seems to me that John Robinson, Bishop of Woolwich, doesn’t really seem to understand God, so it is no wonder he is all confused. I agree that many of the “supernatural” aspects of Christianity may have to be clearly relegated to the euphemism of historical analogy, myth, and symbol, such as the Virgin Birth, the Divinity of Christ, the Transubstantiation, and the Resurrection. But then Bishop Robinson goes on to conclude that we will also have to let go of the phantasy of a Personal God, now that we have “come of age.”
And yet, according to my theology, God is very much of a Trinity of ideas, all of which seem to be independent ideas, but all of which are necessary and inseparable for a complete view of God. Of these, “the Mother and the Son” correspond to the primary Yin and Yang with which God brought Herself into Being, Whose metaphysics I have been trying to elucidate in my books The Laughter of God and More Laughter. But it is the Holy Ghost that ties it all together and infuses the Whole with life and consciousness.
I understand fields of consciousness at every level ~ every family, tribe, nation, language, or interest group contains a center of consciousness which I believe constitutes the center of life for that entity. Thus, our world contains all of these fields of consciousness simultaneously in a complex and interconnected dance. To posit that these fields are conscious and alive may seem to be debatable, but to me it seems to be the whole essence of the matter ~ to be alive is to be conscious. I am aware of the consciousness of trees, other plants, and animals, and have no trouble communicating with them.
I go up to the most inclusive field of consciousness on planet earth, comprising the entire biosphere of life on the planet, and I assume that it is alive and conscious, and currently receiving mail as “Gaia,” but I have no trouble imagining a more all-inclusive consciousness as comprising the entire field of life in the universe, but, as I have said before, the consciousness of Gaia is the primary focus for the idea of God on earth, and must be known, understood, supported, and protected, as essential to our own survival and well-being.
Consciousness is the essence of life, and it is certainly personal. Every center of consciousness is aware of its smallest component parts, and communicates with them. Likewise, each part sends its messages back up the line to the center of consciousness, analogous to the experience of living human beings.
So, yes ~ we can pray to God, or Gaia, and (if we can learn how to listen) we can also hear messages and replies coming to us. I wish more people would pay more attention to this voice, as it is coming with increasing urgency.
So, all of this makes me practically Orthodox, with a belief in God as a Trinity, and including a very personal God in the person of the Holy Ghost. Add to this the person of Jesus Christ, showing us clearly the path to eternal life as a path of love, and we have the essential message of the Christian Gospel in a nutshell.
But, lest I leave too orthodox a taste in the mouth, let me recount my understanding of some of the historical aspects of the Christian story:
To begin with, there is the matter of the Virgin Birth. Out of respect for the mother of Jesus, I will stipulate that we cannot imagine any other interpretation of the historical events other than that of the virgin birth story. If Mary never had any sexual congress with Joseph, then clearly the father of Jesus must have been God Almighty. If there were a cute stable-boy who might have had other information, no memoirs of his have survived. Incidentally, the claim that Jesus was of the House of David is carefully documented from King David all the way down to ~ Joseph, which, of course, can have no bearing upon the ancestry of Jesus.
Moving right along, what about the divinity of Jesus? If we accept the record of the Gospels, it seems to be clear beyond dispute that Jesus considered Himself to be divine in a much more primary sense than that “all living things partake of the divine to some degree.” Perhaps Jesus was very close to God, hence “divine,” and yet it seems clear that Jesus had visions of a grandeur some orders of magnitude beyond that. No problem; so Jesus was a simple fisherman, who need not be expected to comprehend all of the complexities of metaphysics. I consider Jesus not as a God, but as a teacher whose message was clear and important, matching the wisdom of the Hermetic philosophers and alchemists who taught a similar aspiration towards higher consciousness under the analogy and symbolism of the transmutation of the baser metals into gold.
Next, I come to the sacrament of Holy Communion. I believe that community and fellowship are very important. I think it is a wonderful idea to commemorate the last supper of Jesus with his disciples. Today, whenever two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them. By all means, let us break bread together with our friends in fellowship and love, but anyone who needs to take the words of Jesus literally and assume that they are eating the flesh of Jesus and drinking His blood are requested to keep such unwholesome phantasies to themselves.
Then there is the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Many people seem to think that this is the real essence of Christianity. How can anyone be a “Christian” unless they believe in the death and resurrection of Christ? Well, since you ask, Jesus himself explained how ~ By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if you have love one to another.
As I consider the story of the resurrection of Jesus, I wonder if there are any other interpretations of the data (as in the story of the virgin birth, for example). Sure enough, other possibilities arise. I might suppose that Jesus survived the crucifixion, for example. As I look over the story, I see nothing about that experience that precludes survival ~ they didn’t even break his bones. I think that perhaps we may tend to think about historical events in the precise categories of modern terms, when the actual events may not have been so inflexible. Certainly one was not expected to survive crucifixion, but the certainty of death need not be assumed. The importance of the crucifixion was the enormity of the torture. Whether or not anyone might survive such an ordeal was beside the point.
But the Crucifixion of Christ was a devastating failure. It seems evident from the tale as we have it that Jesus expected to be “glorified by the Father,” Who would be coming down to earth surrounded by His Choirs of Angels to exalt Jesus and bear Him off in Glory and Triumph to His Celestial Home, with the sound of Hosannas of Joy and Praise to the Lord and His Son.
That didn’t happen. The poor old fraud just suffered his agony on the cross, leaving his exhausted and wasted body to be gathered up by Joseph of Arimathaea, with Pilate’s permission. Upon cleaning the body for interment, Joseph discovered that the poor wreck of a man was still alive, so he whisked the body off to a safe house where he might be nursed back to health. Later on, the disciples had the wit to make the best of a bad situation by claiming that Jesus died on the cross, all right, but that he then arose from the dead on the third day, etc. But, as for Jesus, he had just been shown up as a fraud, so he made only rare appearances to his closest disciples. Perhaps Paul never knew.
Whether he then slunk away with Mary Magdalene, making it as far as France where they had some babies, whose heirs eventually included the Merovingian Kings of France, is a story which may be considered apocryphal, as the evidence for anything like that is generally considered to be slim.
The Evanescent Press