“I am really looking forward to seeing what faith choices they make.” These words, spoken by a colleague about his growing children, brought tears to my eyes. For him it was a simple statement about his family. For me it was a doorway into a completely new reality. I had been taught that there was only one true faith, only one choice that was right—which meant there was no choice at all. From that moment on I committed to make my faith a matter of choice.
Over the years I have discovered that many of us find our view of God unsatisfying. Lurking in the unexplored corners of our souls are questions about why things are as they are if God is almighty. There are unanswered prayers and disconnections between what we say about God and what we know about the universe.Lurking in the unexplored corners of our souls are questions about why things are as they are if God is almighty. There are unanswered prayers and disconnections between what we say about God and what we know about the universe. Click To Tweet
In my previous post we explored what it would mean to release faith in a theistic ‘God in the sky’ and become a-theists. Which raises the question: what alternative pictures of God are available to us? In the next few weeks I’d like to explore those I find most compelling.
A CONSCIOUS AND CONNECTED UNIVERSE
We live in a conscious universe. Not just one where consciousness exists, but a universe that is itself conscious. This is being constantly confirmed by evidence.We live in a conscious universe. Not just one where consciousness exists, but a universe that is itself conscious. Click To Tweet
- Rupert Sheldrake has studied how dogs and other animals appear to know when their owners are returning home even when times and distances are random. (Also see this video).
- Suzanne Simard explains how trees communicate with each other, sharing nutrients and warning one another of danger.
- Likewise, many animals know how to use tools and solve problems, insects can do complex calculations and communicate in ways we don’t yet understand (for example: bees and termites).
The universe is also connected. Increasingly we see how all the organisms on our planet are connected and influence one another. We also know that our earth has ‘mechanisms’ in place both to utilise available resources from outside our planet—like light, heat, and star dust—and to defend against threats—like too much light, heat, or space particles (all of which is described in the television show One Strange Rock).
GOD AS UNIVERSAL CONSCIOUSNESS
I forget where I read it or the exact wording, but Annie Dillard once wrote that the consciousness of the universe is what we call God. If our universe is both conscious and connected, then it seems almost obvious that there would be a universal Consciousness. Seeing God in this way could give us a window into the nature of God, and offer some potentially transforming possibilities:
- God is not A being but IS Being itself (as Richard Rohr says)—the life and consciousness in all things.
- God is both so close as to be within us and part of us and beyond our capacity to understand or define.
- God is inextricably a part of the universe. God is connected with the created order, and holds it all together.
To view God in this way answers many of the questions and inconsistencies of the old theistic view. It also opens us up to wonder, awe, deeper connection, and an overwhelming sense of the sacred in all things.
What is your response to viewing God as the Consciousness of the universe? How does, or could, such a view deepen, expand, or transform your spirituality?
Let’s chat in the comments! Over to you!
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Oh I love this. It so beautifully and concisely sums up “God” in a way that is relatable and inspiring. And that doesn’t require that one’s faith or view of God requires blind acceptance or obedience. I would call this the faith of a mature (or maturing) adult. Thank you thank you
Thanks for your encouragement, Caryl! So glad you found this post helpful. 🙂
Well, I’ve just found these links. I think the 3 bullet points, at the end perfectly sum up what God is to me – an amazing consciouness that we have to be conscious of, someone who is as close to me as my skin(in another thread) but is unfathomable at the same time and a being who knows creation intimately.