- Religion and Philosophy
Depending Upon the Strength of God
So many people depend upon physical strength or the strength of things built up over time. Bank accounts accrue interest; this gives one financial strength. Threats of harm elicit reactions calculated to entrap or control; these give the tyrant strength in numbers.
Muscle grows from use, built on continuous layers from a solid foundation. But is it such a solid foundation? Perhaps it isn't when nothing in this universe is permanent. The strength of God comes from none of these.
Expecting Physical Things in Heaven
Because we are so familiar with our bodies and our physical surroundings, it's hard to think of Heaven as anything but a physically friendly place. Even the description of the Garden in Genesis talks of physical things. But when Adam was told that he would surely die on the day he ate of the forbidden fruit, he and Eve did not literally, physically die on that day. They were escorted out of the Garden, and Genesis 5 describes Adam (a different individual, perhaps; or the first tribe of all humanity?) living for 930 years. So, what really happened? I discuss the meaning of Adam elsewhere.
Genesis 1:26 tells us that man was created in the image and likeness of God. It also talks of male and female. But couldn't this gender stuff be talking about something different? God is not Homo sapiens—not male and female human. These are not the image and likeness of the Creator.
The Ten Commandments include a prohibition against graven images. Why? Because God, the Heavenly Father, is not physical. He is superior to all that is physical.
A Foundation Stronger than a Neutron Mass
The Greek philosopher and inventor, Archimedes, reckoned that he could, given a place to stand and a lever large enough, move the Earth itself. That's "continuity" talk. That's the relationships of physical laws at work. But could any physical thing produce or create any other physical thing?
Certainly, we have the concept of Einstein's conservation of energy and matter through his formula of their equivalence—E = mc2—but what put all of the matter and energy into the Big Bang? Where did it come from? Why that amount of matter and energy? Why not more or less?
Atheists sometimes ask, "What put God there? Who created God?"
This is a really funny question. Why? Like Archimedes looking for a place to stand, there is none. When one talks of the source of all things, God was not created; He merely IS. The phrase used multiple times in the Bible is "I AM." And this is so appropriate, because God is not subject to the laws of time and physical continuity. He is not "before" all creation; He is above all creation, and not "above" in the 3D physical sense. He is superior to it all, because He is the source of it all.
The physical universe is built of cause-and-effect relationships. This is our action-reaction reality. God is perfect. He is ultimate cause. He cannot be effect.
And there is something peculiarly different about the sources or "causes" we see in the physical realm. These are imperfect "causes." Why? Because they can also become effects. Look at a boxing match. See what I mean? All of the cause-effect relationships in this world have two sides to their coin.
Within every victim is a perpetrator who suffers; within every perpetrator is a victim ready to lash out. When one suffers and asks, "give me strength, God," one becomes more powerful than any perpetrator could ever hope to be. But it takes far more than merely mouthing the words.
The things of the realm of creation are without dichotomy. They are the Zen one-sided coins—the sound of one hand clapping.
God is cause, but never effect. Atheists have a really hard time grasping that simple concept. They may be bright on physical continuity concepts, but this befuddles them. Be kind; they need our compassion.
The realm of creation is stronger than a neutron mass—a super-heavy block of matter where all of the space is removed, unlike the light and open airiness of the atom. The realm of creation is the foundation upon which all matter and energy have been built. In fact, space and time are also built on that foundation. Matter can be ripped apart in the coruscating violence of a nuclear explosion, or crushed in the painful grip of a black hole. Space can be warped or ripped by strong gravitational gradients. Time can be dilated or entirely stopped by velocities approaching or arriving at the continuity-realm maximum—that of light. But constant and unwavering beneath it all is the realm of creation. Without that, nothing would exist or persist.
The strength of God comes from something far more permanent and durable.
The Perfections and the Ego Self
Buddhism describes a state of perfection with the term "paramita." This means the "other shore of existence." For instance, we have mortal, ordinary generosity and its opposite selfishness; but paramita generosity is untainted by any opposite. It has no opposite. Paramita generosity, wisdom, compassion, confidence and others are perfect forms. Ego has no ability to grasp these, because ego is built of dichotomies. You cannot hold in your hands the hearth fires of the sun's core—high-density, super-hot plasma. Ego cannot pass through the gate that leads to the fires of creation.
It took me many years to understand what "paramita" meant. And understanding it intellectually is only half of the battle. You have to put your "self" there and that requires humility and perfect confidence.
In Buddhism, they don't hold "self" in high regard. That's because the "self" of which they speak is the mortal, false self of ego. This is the vulnerable, action-reaction based "self" through which many of us view the world.
Why vulnerable? There is an old parable of a monk and a samurai which illustrates this false self in action and reveals the vulnerability of which I speak.
On a winding, country road, a samurai warrior happened upon a hoary old monk and asked him for the definition of heaven and hell. The monk immediately berated the samurai. "You stupid idiot. You loathsome scum. You couldn't understand the difference between heaven and hell if you had a thousand lifetimes."
At this, the samurai became enraged. Drawing his blade, he lifted it high above his head to destroy this puny monk for his insolence.
Suddenly, the monk pointed knowingly at the warrior and said with a firm voice, "That is hell."
Like a sail suddenly without wind, the warrior's sword arm dropped to his side, awkwardly. The samurai's face flushed with shame. But then, his face relaxed and tears poured out of his eyes like rivers. His shoulders melted and his face glowed with a light the monk had rarely seen even amongst his peers.
"And that is heaven," said the monk.
Even the shame the samurai felt was ego in action. But then he let it all go. He gave in to utter humility and stood spiritually on that solid foundation that the eyes cannot see.
Just as a woman cannot be half-pregnant, you cannot be half-enlightened or half-blessed. You cannot stand with one foot in the continuity of physical reality, depending upon your monthly paycheck, and, with the other foot in creation, expecting a miracle to save a dying loved one for whom medical science has given up. When depending upon the strength of God, one cannot hesitate. Any doubt will spoil the effect.
When Yehoshua of Nazareth walked upon the Sea of Galilee during that raging storm, he stood upon the foundation of creation. He derived his strength from God. This is not the type of foundation that a skeptic can see with their own eyes. And clamoring for proof misses the point of it all.
The Object is Salvation—Not Votes of Approval
When a skeptic demands proof of miracles or of God, they are missing the point of it all. In the Hollywood version of Greek myths, Zeus needs our love for his own strength, without which he might wither away and die.
It doesn't work that way. God isn't in this as a popularity contest or to recharge his batteries on our adoration.
This is a rescue mission. And we are the ones who are lost—trapped in physical continuity and into thinking that all this stuff is "all that." It isn't.
It is not unjust for God to require of us something that we cannot attain on our own strength. This isn't an arm wrestling contest or a battle between egos. God wants to rescue His children from the pit of physicality. This pit blinds us and wraps us in distractions which pretend to be more real than the foundation of creation. And the ego which traps us is of our own creation. We have become enamored with our egos and don't understand that they are a trap and an illusion. That's why God has sent help on numerous occasions. Even the Great Flood was a form of help for his non-physical, immortal, but sleeping children. God has given us all we need and we can lean on Him and His son at any time.
God is Love, Even During Noah's Flood and the Coming Armageddon
This book is from years of my own research into a biblical timeline compatible with those of mainstream science. I wasn't surprised that God's holy book would match his own creation (reality), but there were many surprises, including discovering through science the target of Noah's Flood -- a species which went extinct at that time.
How can Noah's Flood have been an act of Love? It's critical that we find out. This book tells how.
God needs our decision. And He is quite willing to give us that for which we ask. If we ask for oblivion in physical continuity, that will be what we get. There will be many who will decide, "Oh, I'm quite comfortable here in physical reality. I don't need any non-existent spirit world."
So be it! When the time comes to give our final decision, it will be done. But it will be our own decisions that proclaim it.
If we decide to stand on the more permanent foundation, then we will be with God in the non-physical realm of creation, fully aware of the physical, but not of it.
In time, the physical world will wither away and die—burnt up as chaff in the fires of the sun when it goes red giant. But even billions of years before that, the sun will grow hotter and hotter to the point that Earth will no longer be able to hold its oceans. The continents and dry sea beds will become molten lakes of fire. And ultimately, the Earth will evaporate in a puff as it finally plunges into the burgeoning form of the old sun, claiming the lives of its nearest children—Mercury, Venus, Earth and perhaps even Mars.
Without these Homo sapiens bodies, the lost immortals will remain sleeping in their fitful nightmare, unable to stir from a waking dream that goes on forever.
And even some who call themselves Christians will be left behind, because they will refuse to give up their egos—insisting that their way is the right way to view Christianity, rather than realizing that there is much more to learn.
Learning and discovery take humility and hard work. The biblical literalist may find that they cling to a frail shadow of truth, and that's not the foundation they need.
What is faith in God? It is letting go of our own narrow viewpoints and allowing His wisdom and strength to pour through us.
The strength of God is non-physical and it comes before all things that are physical.