Whenever people talk about ‘The God Question’, the discussion almost invariably tends to boil down to the simple question of whether or not God exists. On the one hand, people of a religious inclination will confidently assert that God does indeed exist, and created all Life a very long time ago, and on the other side of the debate, the atheists and so-called sceptics tend to insist, perhaps even more vehemently, that God does not exist. They reckon that such an idea is preposterous, and that everything was created for unknown reasons many billions of years ago by an inexplicable ‘big bang’, or some other equally mysterious cosmic event.
These two seemingly opposed philosophical camps have been battling this issue probably since ‘the dawn of speculation’, but as far as I can tell, no reasonable or convincing conclusion has yet been reached, or at least none that seem acceptable to both sides of the debate.
I would suggest that as long as this kind of slinging match continues along its well-worn trajectory, no mutually acceptable answer to this question will ever be found. This may be because both sides are arguing from a position of entrenched belief, and from the same general level of understanding, which makes them remarkably similar to each other. Both will confidently claim that something did indeed happen a terribly long time ago, and on that point they are actually in agreement, and they both also present their particular explanation as to what triggered this ‘creation event’. In other words, atheists and religious people in general offer a hypothesis, yet neither position seems convincing to the other, hence the perpetual discord between the two.
Maybe the time has come to consider an alternative approach to this philosophical and existential conundrum? First of all, it might be a good idea to discard the word ‘God’ altogether. Since time immemorial this word has been used in the sense of a supreme and omnipotent being, who, for whatever reason, at some point in a distant past decided to create what we think of as ‘Life, the universe and everything’. Religious people say, “Yes, that’s right!”, whereas the atheist crowd will forcefully retaliate, “No, that’s all a load of nonsense”. In this way, neither will ever win the argument. In other words, the word ‘God’, in its commonly accepted meaning, and the resulting division into two incompatible camps of useless quarrelling, serve as obstacles to a true understanding of Life and the mysterious ways in which it moves.
We can all agree that Life does indeed exist, and I can’t imagine that anyone would even try to dispute that fact. But what is Life? Do we know? I would like to suggest that Life is an ongoing process of conscious creative intelligence; a living, dynamic, ever unfolding mystery of such proportions and multifaceted complexity that it is currently not within the capacity of the human mind to fully understand the infinite totality of its true nature and significance. Furthermore, I can see no good reason to assert or accept that creation happened a really long time ago, and that’s primarily due to a lack of actual evidence.
Wouldn’t it make more sense to view the act of creation as an ever ongoing process, which cannot be pinpointed to any specific point in ‘time’? All our notions of time is part of the process of creation, which is always only happening in this here eternal now. What we think of as Life is obviously always taking place in this moment, the only moment there ever is. Have you ever noticed that the time is always ‘Now’? It has to be, because Life itself is only ever always ‘Now’.
You might ask: “Well, maybe so, but what does this have to do with the question of God’s putative existence?” That’s certainly a fair question, and the answer is quite simply that there is only ever Life, and it is only ever happening now. In other words, it wouldn’t make any sense to postulate a ‘God’ separate from the process of Life itself, because that would literally put God in an external position to Life, which would be meaningless. Life is all that is and all that ever can be, yet we would be well advised to keep in mind that we, as limited expressions of Life itself, do not know, and may never know, the totality of Life, of all that is.
Another important facet of this is the obvious fact that no experience outside of consciousness is possible, leading to the conclusion that consciousness is all-inclusive, and the essence of all that is and ever can be. It is the divine principle by which Life observes itself, or to put it into somewhat more poetic terms; Consciousness is the all-seeing eye with which God sees itself.
In light of the above, the question of whether or not God exists is a moot point, and although a discussion of whether or not there is ‘a God’ may seem interesting, at least for a few minutes, it is ultimately meaningless. It’s like arguing about whether there is conscious experience or not, and last time I checked there were indeed some examples to be found of materialistically minded intellectuals who would happily declare that consciousness itself is an illusion. So this kind of debate is one that can never reach any satisfactory solution, quite simply because it’s purely a theoretical kind of argument.
It’s a kind of discussion that depends on some kind of definition of ‘God’ maybe as some kind of a supreme being, an almighty something or other, or some kind of chap ‘up there’ somewhere, in a more or less remote location. Well, God only knows, but it is certainly possible to imagine all sorts of scenarios here, such as God being that jovial bearded bloke at your local pub, wearing a flat cap and worn woollen sweater, who enjoys his pint of lager every evening, giving you a thumbs up and a broad friendly smile every time he sees you…but does that make sense? Who knows, maybe to some it does.
Silly jokes aside, it seems obvious that in the deepest and most authentic sense, God is completely beyond any kind of definition, description, categorisation or classification. If we are to use this word at all, it can only be meaningful in the sense of the totality of all Life, in all its aspects, dimensions, levels and expressions. Life is all one, an indivisible unity, and the word God could perhaps at a push be used as shorthand for this great mystery of Life, but other than that, I would suggest that it’s by now pretty much a redundant word, well past its use by date.
Life’s ways are indeed inscrutable and beyond what we can ever fully comprehend, but we can certainly know that Life is all there ever is, and that it is a conscious, creative, intelligent process that is always happening only now. In other words, creation didn’t happen an inconceivably long time ago; it is a constantly unfolding dynamic process that is forever renewing itself, and always presenting itself through ever new forms, none of which are ever repeated.
Only conscious creative intelligence of an order and magnitude that’s beyond anything we can imagine could ever be capable of expressing itself as this miraculous wonder that we call Life. We are all unique expressions of this magnificent process, and as such, we are all the externalised forms of the heartbeat of Life itself. We are the divine made manifest on Earth, yet it is completely up to each and every one of us what we do with this most remarkable gift. We are all co-creators in the great cosmic drama of all Life and existence, and while we may seem to be separate individuals, we are at heart one with all Life. Our very being is consciousness itself, that very same consciousness that is reading and understanding these words; that very same consciousness which is eternally present, and without which no existence, experience or reality is ever possible. Consciousness is not a certain something ‘within’ us. Consciousness is all there is and ever can be. We are unique appearances ‘within’ consciousness, playing our different parts in this great and wondrous drama of Life, yet simultaneously being universal consciousness, which forever holds all possible forms in its embrace. Consciousness is beyond all forms, yet one with and transcending all possible worlds, forms and appearances. We are that, or as so simply and beautifully expressed more than 2500 years ago in the Chāndogya Upanishad: “Tat Twam Asi” – You Are That!
One thought on “The God Question”
Splendid but challenging