It seems that there are as many concepts of God as there are people. Just who is this all powerful Spirit, Being or Intelligence that is the architect and engineer of all that exists?
I have narrowed the God Concept to 2 main ideas. Parent or Creator
This is the most prevalent idea of God in Western Judaeo/Christian/Islamic civilization. Since we all have or had a mother and a father, it is only natural that we should internalize God as our heavenly parent. Like our own parents, God gave us life by creating all that exists, including Mom and Dad.
This parent God not only created us but acts as our Heavenly parent; punishing us when we are bad or “sin” and rewarding us when we are good.
Often our own parents acted as judge, jury and jailer, (I must have served 2 years total during my childhood and adolescence “on punishment”). If God puts us on “punishment” its not a couple of weeks, its for all eternity.
Whew, talk about tough love! But that’s not all the “Parent God” does for us. He/ She also helps plan our life and direct our path, rather like having a perpetual mother-in-law or ethnic Mama (Jewish, Italian, Armenian, Greek, Irish)
People who believe in the “Parent God” often ask:”What is God’s Plan for Me” as if we came with a life road map at birth. This can even extend to buying a car or house; getting married, having a child, taking a new job or moving to another city. Any salesman can tell you of customers who would not decide on a home or car unless “it was God’s Plan”.
I often wondered how God could possibly have time to deal with the minutiae of 10 billion people and that is just our one little planet out of millions more in the Universe!
Belief in this Parent God is called Theism.
My personal favorite God is the Creator God, the God of the 17th and 18th Century Enlightenment. This is the historical period when fear based belief and the old medieval ideas gave way to science and the philosophy of Rousseau, Locke and Montesquieu. This is the God of our Founding Fathers, including Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Franklin and virtually every major player in the founding of our nation. This idea of God is called Deism, the idea that God is the Creator of all that exists but rules by natural laws, both physical and spiritual.
God’s gifts to us are life and what Deists call “Providence”, meaning that God has provided all that is needful for humanity to thrive and be successful on this Earth. To a Deist, God is not a parent or nanny but a Creator and Law Giver.
Does this seem a bit cold and detached compared to the Parent God? There is no denying that if you want Big Daddy or Mommy in the Sky, you will not find them in a Deistic Universe. This Creator Deist God does not get involved in your love life, what car you drive or where you live. The only “plan” that the Deistic God has for you is what you think, speak and choose. YOU are the author of the “plan”.
A Deistic God has endowed his creations with all they need to live happy lives and succeed. It is their choice, however, to live their lives wisely and well or foolishly and badly. By our thoughts, words and choices WE are the authors of our lives. The Book of Life that we write is neither right or wrong to a Deist… it just IS. The Law returns measure for measure back to us exactly what we have thought, done and believed.
A Deistic God does not punish or reward. Your life and after life is created by your thought, word and deed. Law gives back what you put out so no Divine intervention is necessary. No need for reward, for virtue is its own reward, no need for punishment for we do a fine job of punishing ourselves .
Before you conclude that the Deistic God is just a Divine Clock Winder who began the Universe and all that is in it and then left us alone, you should know that this concept of God is open 24/7 for consultation and inspiration. It will encourage you, love you, and inspire you you at every turn of your life….If you are open and listen to the voice within, which is the presence of the Divine in you.
The Deistic God is the best friend you could ever have for he/she never rewards or punishes, he or she merely is and always will be.
This is a God that you can talk to and get answers; clear answers that human beings can use and follow. Yes, you can talk to God for God is not up in Heaven, or down in Hell. No these places are merely constructs of the human mind and have nothing to do with God.
God is everywhere present at all times, including in you and I and every person on this planet and many more beyond our imagination. God lives and moves and has it being in you and I and in every living thing. We swim in God as a fish swims in the sea but we persist in believing that God is a stern and distant parent, beyond reach and reason.
Religious Science is very God centered but ours is the Deistic concept of Emerson, Descartes, Thoreau, Swedenborg, Quimby and the philosophers of the Enlightenment.
If he were alive today George Washington would be a Religious Scientist.
There is no mystery to God, He or She is as close as a prayer and stands ready to give you strength when it all seems hopeless, inspire you when all roads seemed closed to you and warm your soul with Her Eternal, Unconditional Love. If you want a faith and philosophy that warms your heart and soul and still makes sense in this 21st Century then log on to CSL.ORG and see if Religious Science just might be the answer you have longed to find. You will be most welcome!
And So It Is
Rev. Dore’ Jacques Patlian, Sarasota, Florida