Gods and Men: One God, the Bible…Why?
The One God of Abraham, the God of Men in Judaism, and earthly concerns.
Many of us wonder about these topics, many are satisfied to believe in what their church leaders teach. Religious Christian ideals can be so deeply imbedded that believers may do either wondrous good works and/or horrible and hateful acts in faithful certitude. I have my own convictions, and they do not relate well to the Bible.
At one time I was determined to believe that the singular Christian God was clearly the “truth”, and that his son, although not God, was “The Way”, as taught, to find God and everlasting life. I followed a variety of Christian teachings for brief periods, attending meetings, prayer groups, and being baptized more than once. I sought to find an organized religion that spoke truth to my heart. The closest I came was to be rejected by the one group I felt was truly faithful. Not their fault, I found it impossible to accept 100% of what they wanted and could not live up to their expectations. I failed, but I still believed in a spiritual existence.
I was never religious in the strict sense, I learned as a child that attending Sunday school was important, and expected by my father – so my mother sent me, and I toted the little sisters along. Of course church never quite fit mom, but she wanted us to learn enough to make our own judgement. For me, there was fear of God in bible teachings, and so much about the bible was a contradiction.
In learning from the bible in Christianity, the chronicle of events simply confused me. I listened, and I mostly understood I was learning a history of how man was created, how God played his hand, the lineage of God’s creations, the branching of men God favored and blessed in bloody wars, in his name. I couldn’t understand the odd practices, blood sacrifice, and physical suffering required for maintaining holiness. And the chronology didn’t account for fossils and geology. Then I learned how God nearly destroyed us for our wickedness, while later providing a loophole in an inspired new testament. We could continue to be wicked, but in love he sent us a way to gain forgiveness. His Son was sacrificed in the most cruel and bloody experience, really unimaginable. This one man, Jesus, could save billions by dying in absolute pain and agony. To me it seemed unlikely for God to be so much like man: loving, changeable, murderous, forgiving… then simply absent after being so in touch with his generations of creation. Finally to send us a surrogate to perform earthly miracles that would convince people of who he was- although Jesus would never claim godly status. Why really? And I had questions.
God created Man in his own image, then made him a companion, woman, who would be subservient. Why? She was blessed to create within her body. Why didn’t God give man this attribute so he would be more like his creator? This was the creation story, and there were no other people. Yet, Adam had two sons, one who found a woman in another land and began a family. Where did these other people come from? They weren’t in the Garden of Eden, and they had the same knowledge that Eve and Adam gained by “eating the forbidden fruit”. How did that happen?
Why would God decree “Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me”
Exodus 20:3 (Deuteronomy 5:7, Judges 6:10, Hosea 13:4)
Or, “For thou shalt worship no other God:”
Exodus 34:14-16 (Deuteronomy 6:14,15)
“..make no mention of the name of other Gods..”
Exodus 23:13 (Joshua 23:7)
If God acknowledges other Gods, then they must exist. There are many Gods, but Yahweh tells us he is a jealous God.
So, then God commands us to only answer to his will, he is supreme, and we will die by his hand for being unfaithful.
Exodus 22:20 (Leviticus 17:7, Jeremiah 48:35) (Deuteronomy 17:2-5) (Deuteronomy 18:20) (Deuteronomy 13:1-5)
So man is commanded to worship a cruel master, one who expects slavery to his service, and to perform bloody practices?
I wanted God to be loving, nurturing, to show me a presence and give me peace. I wanted God to answer my questions directly, to be accessible, and to bless me as a father would for doing the right thing. I didn’t want to ask a man wearing pomp and expecting reverence to speak to God for me, to be my interpreter, and to tell me what God expected. I wanted a direct connection. I wanted to feel the touch of God, to know my place, to be in touch with the earth and it’s creation.
The Bible I was told, specifically the new testament, is the means to understand the way of God. When accepting the “Word” I could know all these things and be forgiven for any wrongdoing I had committed, no matter how serious.
I learned about the Bible. There were many sacred writings and accounts written by men, women too (although most accounts, and all feminine accounts are excluded from the bibles of today). But this text of Christian history is limited to the choices of a Roman Emperor and the later decision of an elite group of religious leaders in the Council of Nicea, who hand picked which Christian gospel testimonies would be included in the canon we call the “Bible” today.
In 331 AD, Emperor Constantine ordered that an “ecumenical Bible” be written. Constantine wanted a Bible which would be acceptable to pagans as well as Christians, and Eusebius (the Bishop of Caesaria and a follower of Origen) was assigned to direct this task. The King James version and modern bibles of today are the result of this action. Many texts were accounts written from 30 years to hundreds of years after the facts. In historical accuracy I ask, are the chosen gospel accounts reliable? Yes, the texts were required to be well known and used among the people, some were written by associates of the actual biblical characters, bibliographies within their lifetimes. But, are they colored after having been passed down over hundreds of years, edited and re-edited uncounted times by the “faithful”? Authors are writers, and the written word is simply too easy to edit, modernizing details to fit current theory, or simply to elaborate so that the story is more enticing and therefore more widely read and appreciated. Even if the gospels were passed down carefully, translations are nearly impossible without critical misinterpretation and many “clerical” errors in content, spelling, punctuation, and citing. These were hand written documents, copied and re-copied by hand, thousands of times over.
Typical response to this is: “inspired word of God”.
Inspired? Novels are inspired. Good and bad deeds are inspired; men are inspired by power, greed, love, hate, and a plethora of ideals. The word of God simply cannot be “inspired”. That leaves interpretation up to “Man”, and as noted, men are far from the creator. They are wicked, unfaithful, sinful and not to be trusted when there is something to gain. That at least is what God saw in us and why Christ was introduced. And Christ did not solve the problem, he simply offered teachings of Love and Forgiveness for accepting that he is a personal savior and could redeem a faithless man.
OK, I am really not inspired by accounts written by unknown men, a biased selection made by a Roman, and the final selections pared down to what a council of pious men felt were the most relevant accounts they wanted made available to the “people”. The intent was to focus on a “one God” belief for appeal to the Abrahamic people, while enticing pagans.
Well, all that, and I should be convinced that the Bible is the undisputed truth? I’m sorry, I have difficulty agreeing with this.
However, I do believe in these things as they arise from what I have learned, and in the contacts I have made:
There is a universal, omnipresent, spiritual existence. God, Goddess, Spirit, all of the universe, including all living things, are part and parcel, the divine aspect. We are for all purpose a part of the creation, and therefore spiritual in nature and self. Self being the soul of all living things, separated while earthbound in this dimension of time and material construct.
Matter, time and place is what separates us here. In our earthly context, we are spiritual beings living a temporary physical reality. We are not humans living temporary spiritual lives, to believe that means death would be finality.
Spiritual existence is outside of time and place, so we cannot physically relate to life that has departed from earthly confines. Man is physically confined by matter, time and distance. In the spiritual world physical boundaries have no significance or importance. When someone or something dies on earth, the spirit continues without further restraint. Years, decades, and centuries on earth don’t even relate to seconds in the dimensions of the spirit world. Time has no meaning there.
Grandma may greet you as you depart earth because she is always there, not waiting because there is no wait, but there because you have a connection to her than exists within all things outside of time and place. Part of you originated with her. In the same manner, there are innumerable connections to the spirit world that will draw each of us together because our energies are magnets, we will know one another in a connection without distinction of distance or place.
More dense than the atoms that earthly bodies consist of, our spiritual self will find freedom at our designated time. We will find no beginning or ending, have no needs, no unfulfilled desires, we will be universally connected in a glory not unlike that of a God.
That is what I know. It clearly does not match any organized religion. It may or may not suit the perspective of those who read this, but I am not asking you to believe it either.
The truth is, in our physical state we live like individual islands, we must survive by what we see and hear, what we can touch and smell, and we rely on our mental development to determine what is and what is not real for us… individually. Some people reach briefly beyond the physical realm, into the spiritual, to find bits and pieces of a vastly different dimension. Anyone is capable of doing this, but only a few are brave enough to intentionally see.
I look forward to abandoning the confines of earth, but while I am here it is a uniquely amazing place to live. The energies who shaped our earth and universe did so with loving care and fascination beyond any human comprehension.