Defining God

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Defining God

A concept of God can begin at many places. I begin with a search for ultimate origins. Two complementary approaches can be taken: The personal: Where did I come from? The cosmic: Where did the evolving, life-producing world come from?

PERSONAL: A quest for God appropriately begins with a two-fold basic experience. The first is the amazement that we are. The most immediate and self-verifying knowledge that we have is the consciousness of our own existence. This realization arises out of the contrast between the undeniable fact that we are "really here" and the recognition that we might not have been at all. Reflection and observation leads to the certainty that there will come a time when we will cease to be. There was a past when we were not, a present when we are, and a future in which we will no longer be. Out of this shock and astonishment arises the question of the factually ultimate origin of this coming to be and passing away. The formal answer to this question is God. To speak of God is to refer to the primordial, objective ground of our personal being. I experience my life as a gift from beyond myself from an Ultimate Source that I call God. The second deep experience is the awareness that it is good to be. The primal response to the gift of life is joy in being. We experience our existence as potentially and essentially good, i. e., capable of producing enjoyable, desirable, and satisfying experiences. The processes of life that fulfill the potential of the organism are experienced as pleasing and agreeable. Goodness is coincident with being. Life with its promise of happiness and joy is a gift to us from some Ultimate Mystery. The delight and ecstasy of life at its best point toward a Loving Giver of what comes to us a pure unmerited favor, grace.

COSMIC: Science tells us that our present world has evolved over billions of years from a "big bang." Moreover, the evolutionary process has produced many forms of life. Organisms are highly organized systems composed of mutually sustaining, interacting parts whose harmonious functioning sustains the life of the whole in ways that tend to actualize the potential within it. The processes of life are internally directed toward the survival and flourishing of the individual organism and the perpetuation of the species. The universe appears to have a life-producing, life-fulfilling, and life-reproducing urge and capacity.

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