The Nature of God
Religion and Faith, these are two things which the world rests upon.
The two serve as the heart of civilization. These two facets are within every culture in the world, in every community and in every family to some extent. Religion itself is an abstract concept, as is Faith, and for some (such as myself), these are two subjects which are difficult to understand and conceptualize. A more problematic question is one I have asked myself, one I have pondered, many a time.
What Is God?
When I think of the word 'God', I think of Abrahamic Faith in general.
This is likely a common thought for many people, especially if they grew up in one of those three faiths. I was "raised" as a Christian, though the rearing on that end wasn't all that strict. From a young age, I was encouraged to think for myself and to pursue whatever caught my interest. When I was young, those interests centered on art and Creative Writing. Now that I'm older, my interests have evolved.
I'm fascinated by paganism, by theology in general, with old religions and beliefs, the division between abstract and concrete thinking - my beliefs are, in their own way, interconnected. They stack upon one another. As I've gotten older, as I shifted from one system of belief to the next, the same question has dogged after me.
What is God?
The question isn't, "Who is God?"
The question is: "What is God?"
What. That's the question that keeps coming into my mind. What? It is one that I've always asked. What is this? What is that? Why does this? Why do that? As an INTJ and Ennetype 5w4, I can easily, and confidently, say I'm not an abstract thinker. I'm more black'n'white, more 'why is this the way this is and is that correct?' I like to put together difficult pieces of information so I can understand whatever caught my eye.
'What is God?' is one question I haven't found an answer for.
It is, however, something I ponder.
When we get to the meat of the issue, when one considers 'God,' we must also take religion and faith into consideration. All religions, not just one. When one is to contemplate what God is, the answer isn't black'n'white. It's abstract. Logically abstract, in an odd way that makes sense while not making sense.
When trying to determine what God is, one must also take a look and understand the rest of the picture. Definitions set up the ground for a deeper, more open process enables us to understand something beyond comprehension to a degree.
What Is God?
In monotheistic religions, God is the creator and ruler of all things.
In polytheistic religions, a god is a superhuman entity/spirit governing some aspect of nature and/or human fortunes. There are more than one, as 'poly' means 'many.'
These are general definitions. They can be found online or in a dictionary. When it comes to defining what God is, as a whole, the correct answer is, most likely, a mix of the two. It isn't the easiest thing to consider, granted, but the two do encompass a larger aspect of what, exactly, created everything in this world.
For instance, if one is to go to a polytheistic belief, one would find gods and goddesses of yore. These deities came about in some way, they have lineages, family trees, and histories of their own. They're people, in a sense. Immortal people, but people nonetheless. Inhuman but humanistic in their functionality.
In some cultures, the world is made of a giant. In others, the planet was drawn from the depths of Chaos. There are faiths which suggest the world itself was made of dark waters, and, from it, the earth was pulled from the depths. In many of these stories, there are gods/goddesses already present. They were there, for some odd reason I can't quite put a finger on. In Anglo-Saxon customs, for instance, there is a cow in the "Abyss" when the earth is being formed. How there is a cow there before the Earth is formed is beyond me, though I think that may have been a minor slip in the narration.
Every culture has some inconsistencies in their Origin Stories.
As a concrete thinker, I asked: who created the gods/goddesses of other cultures?
When I was a Christian: If God created all the world, then who created God?
That's always been the question. In my own mind, something had to have created this divine, all-powerful, all-knowing entity that judges souls when they leave their mortal husks.
Nothing is made of nothing.
So, as always, I ask: What Is God?
Perhaps this is where Faith comes in.
One must have Faith that, even when the mind is asking these questions that no one has an actual answer for, there will be an answer when we die. There are many people who probably have been in church and asked questions the Pastor/Father didn't have an answer to. Then there's that moment of silence as the Pastor/Father tries to think of something to say, can't think of anything, and then replies:
Have Faith In God.
What Is Faith
If we look at the definition, it will, roughly, define it as such: faith is the complete and unshaken faith in something or someone even if there isn't physical, tangible proof or evidence to support it.
When this comes to mind, I think of Luna Lovegood from 'Harry Potter.' She has faith in magical creatures no one has ever seen and continues to believe for a very long time. She keeps believing even when she's bullied in school for it. Whether or not she is actually "loony" is up to debate.
Faith is believing regardless of proof. It is, in a way, like madness. It is similar to the belief in gravity. While we cannot see gravity, we feel it every day. While we don't see the air we take into our bodies, we know it's there. When it comes to God, I think the same concept applies.
Religion As A Whole
When God and Faith is the center of a topic, the third piece of the puzzle cannot be ignored. It would be in bad taste to skip over religion. For many, this topic (and this entire article in general) is a sensitive subject.
Religion itself is defined as the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods. For many who believe in a singular entity, who created all things on this planet, then that entity also is responsible for the creation stories seen in every corner of the world. It would be the entity itself showing itself to a corner of the world in a way that makes sense to the people in question.
This is what one would call Omnism. The belief in all religions. It is the complete opposite of Atheism, but some would say Omnists are likely the ones who have the clearest understanding of God because they do not deny God's many faces.
Faith, Religion, and God is far from a simple topic. Everyone has their own thoughts. There will be many who disagrees with all the above and there will be some who will be thinking deeply over the words and insight provided. When it comes to a topic such as this, an open-minded individual is more likely to find enlightenment than one who keeps all the doors shut.
The truth of the matter is the fact God, in all its creative glory, is a force beyond reckoning. It has watched over this world from the moment of its conception. It has witnessed miracles and inhumane nightmares, seen the world flood and has seen it burn. It will exist long after humans are nothing more than a figment in Earth's long history. The Creator will still be there long after our own world vanishes, drawn into a dead star.
The need for a cosmically, all-powerful entity is a common force in human thought. It had been present from the Dawn of Time, a means of explaining a world ruled by chaos. This thought can be seen in all cultures around the world.
When it comes to this force of creation, there are many names for it. It is known, intimately, by thousands. It is a mystery, something strange and unknown and beyond mortal comprehension. It is sexless, ageless, and always present at all times. It is within reach while being beyond our grasp. It is, in a way, everything while also being, in the same instant, nothing.
What is God?
This is a question no one has an answer to. Not really. Not truly. How can something as broad and infinite and ever-creating be described? Is it even possible, when all is said and done?
What is a god other than a placeholder? 'God' is a title, in a way. It attempts to define something beyond definition. Something that encompasses all things, and is nothing, is a force which makes blessed minds ache and the dull bright. God is a road, a blueprint, a map, and an imposing, yet enticingly interesting, gate.
The only thing any of us can do is live as well as we are able. To live gently, with compassion, with acceptance, and with love. Believe what you will. Pursue the unknown, reach for the starts.
Know that we are never alone.
© 2018 Britta Nicole Miller