Written December 1996
I’ve come to realize that God, by whatever name I wish to use, is a being, an entity, a consciousness that loves and accepts me. This Divine entity is within all of us. We are within it. We are one with each other. We are one with God. An envelope that encompasses all creatures great and small. My God is a friend. A friend who loves me because I am me – not in spite of me.
My body is a physical thing. I should take care of it, since it’s the only one I’m going to get. At the same time, I can choose to do with it as I wish.
My Soul is a part of the Divine. God in the broadest sense. God encompasses not only all living beings – but all beings. Those who are – those who ever were – those who ever will be. Each of us is a piece of God. It is this soul that links me with my God.
God is in many ways like a parent, a Mother/Father. I am like a child. I struggle to be on my own. My parents are always there to support me if I allow them to do so. I can snuggle up to my God and know that I am loved, protected, and warmed — no matter what.
My God feels my guilt, my despair, and my joy. God feels the depression of my failure and the exhilaration of my success. She shares the warmth of my inclusion and the cold of my exclusion.
Like a friend, God perceives my feelings and decisions and responds to them. He calls me to pull from those experiences whatever good I can find. I can then move in future directions that will present a greater good.1
Like a mother, my God knows even my most secret thoughts, words, and actions. Still, she is there to hold me as I shed the tears I would hide from the world.
My soul, the souls of those who were, and those who will be, are within God. We are like the leaves on the vine that John talks about.2 Our souls are a dynamic, interactive part of God. My soul is within my body. It will remain there until released at my death. Those souls who are without bodies are the angels of God.3 The souls without bodies are the messengers of God that we find throughout history.
The term “Angel” comes from the Greek word for messenger.4 Maybe Angels are the direct interaction with God through souls with whom we can relate. “Eyeball-to-eyeball” contact with God is scary. Maybe Angels are the physical links between those who are and God. It doesn’t make much difference. The relationship is the important part, whatever the details.
A Theologian from Belermine College reviewed my first draft. He taught me several new words. He tells me that this perception of God is known as PANENTHEISM. I was pleased to know it had a name. That I was not the only person thinking this way. I looked up Pantheism and Panentheism. They will help us understand the basis for much of what I an talking about.
Pantheism is the belief that God is the universe. Everything in the universe is God. God is the eminent force or soul. This is sometimes called absolute pantheism. If we ARE God, if God IS US, then there is no free will, no choice. We simply are divine. What ever God does is “Godly (?)”, Perfect by our definition of God. Therefore we are committed to being perfect. We cannot do otherwise.5
Panentheism is the belief that the universe, or its animating force are a part of God, who is also transcendent. There is a subtle, but very important difference. From a Panentheistic point of view, God is within us. Our soul is a direct connection to God. At the same time, we are a unique entity from which God is transcendent.6
Even the most conservative Christian definition states that God is transcendent. God is an unclassifiable entity. God is beyond the limits of experience and knowledge. God is beyond what we can perceive with our senses.
You may already be blowing off this whole idea. I’m saying. That’s your choice, but Ephesians says One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.7 Corinthians tells us “Now Ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.8
The Baltimore Catechism told us that God is all present, that he is everywhere.9
Paul Tillich, a 20th century theologian and philosopher, stated that “God” refers to the source and ground of all being and that all other statements about him are symbolic. The picture of God constructed by men participates in the ultimate reality but is not in itself ultimate.
1 Mesle. Pg. 15. 2 (KJV) John 15:5. 3 Baltimore Catachism, Saint Joseph Edition, 1964. #19. 4 Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Encyclopedia Britannica, 1966. 5 Encyclopedia Britannica, 1994. 6 Encyclopedia Britannica 1994. 7 (KJV) Ephesians 4:6. 8 (KJV) 1 Corinthians 12:27. 9 Baltimore Catachism #11.