God is not a concept. God is/was before any of us.
I think where we went wrong and where God became so loaded is when He became a concept of our selves – our separate, worldly selves… our false selves. In fact, the concept and belief that we are all separate is killing us. God is not an extension nor a creation of ours. God is not born of self but rather we are born of God. And I’m quite sure that all those who curse God wouldn’t be cursing Him if they died, for they would see that God is beyond human concept. Because those who curse God are not really cursing God but rather cursing someone else’s conception of God, which isn’t God at all.
I don’t think we can even come close to conceptualizing or intellectualizing God. In fact, look at what happens when we pursue Him as an extension of self. When we define God from the artificiality of our limited, conscious minds, we do nothing but get further away from Him. We become clouded such that real contact isn’t even possible.
The Power which is God is so beyond the reach of us and of our faculties that it’s a fruitless endeavor to try to define or symbolize Him. This is why we fight. Religious wars are not over God, but just over differing man-made conceptions of God, which have nothing to do with HIM.
Holy wars are quite different, and that is between good and evil, both of which exist in our world. But as Thomas Merton says, “…instead of hating the people you think are warmakers, hate the appetites and the disorder in your own soul, which are the causes of war. If you love peace, then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed – but hate these things in yourself, not in another.” –Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation.
Man, I wish I could do that.
But anyway, I’m quite sure that if we were to die, none of us would have the attitude or certainty we have while living in our individual selves, our separate bodies, our fabricated identity driven by ego. Perhaps we should just act, act right, act based on spiritual principles and leave conception and imagination to drug addicts and crazy people.
From a previous post, Knowing God vs Having God: Truly there is a difference between knowing God and having God. To know God we simply have to believe, or read some doctrine, or perhaps drop by Sunday service and potluck. But to have God we have to perform. We have to take actions that bring God into us and expand His actual presence.
And once again, from Merton: “Nothing could be more alien to contemplation than the cogito ergo sum of Descartes. “I think, therefore I am.” This is the declaration of an alienated being, in exile from his own spiritual depths, compelled to seek some comfort in a proof for his own existence(!) based on the observation that he ‘”thinks.” If his thought is necessary as a medium through which he arrives at the concept of his existence, then he is in fact only moving further away from his true being. He is reducing himself to experience, directly and immediately, the mystery of his own being. At the same time, by also reducing God to a concept, he makes it impossible for himself to have any intuition of the divine reality which is inexpressible.” Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation.
God, please give me the wisdom, strength and courage to have You, not just to know You, that I may rest beyond concept in Your love and power…