Friday, July 1, 2016

God: A Man Like One of You

I've always been a bit annoyed by the Mormon idea that God the Father was and is a human being. Jesus Christ as a human being I could understand - God becoming human was the point of the incarnation, after all, or at least that's what I thought. I thought of God the Father as a transcendent, ultimate, and yet still personal being. But with Joseph Smith seeing Jesus Christ and God the Father in the Sacred Grove and with his teaching in the King Follett Discourse that "God himself, who sits in yonder heaven, is a man like one of you," it's hard to align my perspective with Mormon doctrine.

Luckily, I was able to twist out of this contradiction. I now think that God the Father is a personal being with a human body, even if God in His ultimate essence is pure love in itself. This realization came from two places: first, from books by the modern Sufi teacher Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee and, second, from the Mistborn trilogy of books by Mormon author Brandon Sanderson, which I have finally finished.

Why God Needs Humanity

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee is my favorite author at the moment. When he writes or speaks, he speaks with authority and the Spirit. I trust him a lot. Keeping this in mind, one of his major themes is that there is a new age coming into the physical world from spiritual worlds. However, the light of that new age, which comes from God, cannot realize itself without the help of human consciousness. He says that the the divine essence without human consciousness means well, but it doesn't have the common sense or know-how to accomplish good ends that only comes from being human. In his book Alchemy of Light, he expands on this point:

Without the medium of consciousness, the forces of the inner world still communicate, often through violent acts of nature or other disturbances that attract our attention (as on an individual level our unconscious may try to attract our attention through a physical symptom like a backache or some other psychological or physiological disturbance)....These primal powers of creation will do what they need to do to attract our consciousness. They do not themselves have consciousness, and they need our consciousness in order to express themselves: our consciousness is the bridge between the worlds, through which the inner can find expression in the outer.
More specifically, those divine forces of the inner world are like love, but love doesn't know how to accomplish its ends without intellect and truth. So if God in Himself is love, He needs to use the intellect of a human being to effectively realize that love.

I think that this is true, in part. However, to say that God is unconscious seems like too much of a stretch for me. Yes, I believe it's true that God needs the human element to gain consciousness and even that He needs us to help Him accomplish His ends today, but I find it hard to accept that the intelligence which created the world was completely blind. There must have been consciousness in it; humanity was somehow involved.

The Gospel According to Brandon Sanderson

Which brings me to Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn series. Without spoiling too much, I'll say that in the world's universe, a divine force is incomplete without a body. Yes, that divine force can act and influence world events, but without that body a deity is effectively just an unconscious force. But, risking a minor spoiler, those forces seem able to use human beings as ways to get this kind of embodiment and consciousness.

When I came to that revelation, I had a thought. Brandon Sanderson is a Mormon. As such, I wouldn't put it past an author of his skill to be able to see in Mormonism the threads that are invisible to most people. Maybe he didn't even know they were there but, instead, just served as a way for those threads to go into his book series. Whatever the case, his Mormon background makes it possible that his universe's "theology" reflects ours in a profound way. What if the bodies of his universe's gods work in the same way that God's body does in Mormonism? What if the embodiment of God the Father alongside Jesus Christ isn't just an odd doctrine but actually an indication that divine love carried a human consciousness from the beginning?

God's Humanity

So this is my idea: God the Father as the creator/progenitor of human spirits is a means for the divine essence to become conscious, not that divine essence itself. In other words, the Father is human being, and as a human being, He gave the divine essence the human know-how it needed to set up the world as we know it today. There is an intelligence behind the many coincidences and tender mercies in my life, and while I've always said that a divine love was behind it, I now realize that only a divine love realized in a human intelligence could work in that way.

All this means that a human consciousness lets divine love accomplish its ends in a way which only that specific human mind could provide. Love could do many things to ensure its purpose of "the immortality and eternal life of man," but without the intelligence of humans, it wouldn't know which of those roads to take. Each human consciousness, then, gives divine love a unique flavor. I suspect that "worlds," like ours, aren't anything physical like a planet or a universe but instead just whatever divine love ends up bringing into being through a specific human consciousness. Each of those worlds is a unique flavor from a unique mind; each is divine love brought into existence through a certain person.

How would you make a world? There's no one right answer. Obviously our Father has an idea of what's best, but would you embody divine love in a different way? You do that whenever you bring something into being--whether a kind word, a work of art, or even a business enterprise--from love. And maybe you'll get a chance to make an entire world from your unique flavor of love. Armed with your unique consciousness, imagine what could happen: a world with the color of a Van Gogh or one with the haunting harmonies of a Debussy! The possibilities are endless, but that, of course, is the point.

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