God is not a “Who!”
What a strange title for an article. Strange for many because it acknowledges the obvious—God is not human. Strange because the thought is embedded in many of the religious teachings we have encountered over the years—God exists within the spiritual realm. Strange because we never refer to God in human terms—as having thoughts, experiencing feelings, having preferences, or taking action. Wait, Wait, Wait! There’s a problem with the last one and it’s also linked to the first two. Haven’t we heard references to God in written and spoken teachings that ascribe human qualities? Human qualities in which God has a gender (Him or Her), is loving or angry, rewarding or punitive, or has preferences attached to religious, political, or cultural approaches, even sports teams/accomplishments, to mention just a very few. God is not a who but every time we use references in which human qualities are connected directly to God that is exactly what we are doing. We are turning God into a who within our human frame of reference. Unfortunately this has huge negative implications for our understanding of God. It sows the seeds for the conflict and destructiveness that has and continues to take place between people built upon defining who God is.
Many may think and respond by saying that human characteristics attached to God are just metaphorical or figurative and intended to help us to better understand God. Unfortunately, this understanding has two significant problems connected to it: 1) Metaphor is only helpful if one is able to appreciate and keep track of the abstraction involved and not convert it into a concrete, literal meaning. Failing to do so often leads one to cling tightly to the latter as it is often better suited to one’s cognitive and emotional “comfort zone.” This serves to make God extremely human and less spiritual to us even if we are not consciously aware of doing this. 2) Human characteristics attributed to God have often sown the seeds for divisiveness, particularly within and between religions. A divisiveness in which anger, hatred, and war have all occurred in the name of honoring what God “wants” from us. A divisiveness in which the Love, Life, and Energy—God Is within the fundamentally good, well-meaning, and intelligent participants has become lost and an absence of spirituality is being manifested.
If God is not a who then “what” is God? The what is, God Is—Love, Life, and Energy! Everything that was here and always here before humans, human consciousness, and human frames of understanding God were formed by people. Love which is unconditional, unburdened, inexhaustible, and connective when we are being it. Life which recognizes the presence of God in all life forms, honors all life, and realizes the eternal nature of life when we are being it. Energy of light and truth, diverse in manifestation, transformative, and healing when we are being it. From the perspective of Ego, Spirit & You when we manifest Love, Life, and Energy within our daily thoughts, words, and deeds, we are being and truly knowing what God Is.
The conception of God deeply impacts our understanding of spirituality and how we come to know our own spirituality--or not. Unfortunately, human characteristics are often ascribed to God impacted by one's ego energy which undermine spiritual consciousness--individually and collectively. Instead of Unity, Connection, and Oneness there is Separation, Distance, and Isolation when God is ascribed human characteristics such as gender, preferences, and emotions shaped by the nature of one's ego energy. Often, sowing the seeds for conflict and destruction within and across religious groups. When we stop ascribing God with human characteristics this can change and allow for movement along one's spiritual path.
Dr. Nickolas Martin is a licensed psychologist who has worked in clinical, university, public school and private practice settings as a therapist, diagnostician, educator and consultant for 35 years. He authored “Ego Therapy: A Method for Healing Your Whole Self” and co-authored with Rev. Linda M. Martin, “EgoSpiritualism: Awakening to Your Human and Divine Self” and “The Two Voices Within: Balancing the Energies of Ego and Spirit to Enhance Your Life.”