Where Is God?

In most monotheistic traditions, it is understood that God is not a being, not a physical object to be detected with the senses, but the ground of all being, a unified Spirit behind the many detectable things. But then specific claims are made about that Spirit, such as its gender, preferences for human clothing and behavior etc. When asked for proof of the subject of these preferences, the devotee has no being at which to point, only artifacts that suggest a human origin, and so the existence of God is brought into doubt.

Modern religious naturalists instead look at the tangible world revealed by the senses, observe how all of its contents are connected biologically and chemically, and conclude that this is what was always meant by God. For what else could we point to as our source and sustainer? What else is worthy of our reverence aside from this manifestation of all things that expresses its preferences through observable natural laws and no capricious personal will? But then the question is rightly asked: “Why not just call this ‘universe’ if it is no more than a unity of physicality?” In this case it is not the existence of God that is called into doubt, but the significance.

To classical pantheism —which has philosophical and experiential roots in prehistoric animism and all forms of mystic spirituality, and now produces fruit bearing the same DNA— neither of these are completely true, but also are not completely false, and the truth is found in a synthesis of the two. For “God” is simply a word we use to bring contemplative attention to the connection between your subjective self and all conceivable objects and ideas. God is the field in which all mental and physical interaction occurs, because God is that interaction —or better yet, the interbeing— of all objects and ideas.

If that seems too far-out to accept, consider this: it is impossible to verify the existence of anything without bringing it “to mind” —without creating mental awareness of a subject-object relationship with it. Whether there are words to describe it or not, that awareness is ubiquitous to all your experience of the objects of the world. The relationship created by your awareness of something belongs exclusively to neither subject nor object; it is a property of the connection itself. This is another way of saying that you never experience a thing in and of itself, only the information that comprises your relationship to it.

If we accept the idea that all physical activity (interaction between an object and its environment) is something the universe is doing, it follows that all mental activity (interaction between a subject and its environment) is something the universe is doing too. Your mind only seems isolated to you because you isolated yourself in subjectivity.

God –the mental connection between all and all– frees you from that isolation; you can’t think of anything without interbeing with it. In recognizing your interbeing with an object of your perception, you are literally invoking the eternal web of universal connectivity that makes this meeting possible –you are participating in the universal Mind that is God. Gives a whole new slant to “When two or more are gathered together in my name, I am there,” doesn’t it?

So, God is not isolatable to a time and place —God is here now, no matter what herenowness you invoke. God is not invisible —God is the ground of all visibility, like the retinae of your eyes. And to borrow a Buddhist idea, God is “not this, not that” —God is the interbeing of this and that.

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