In a prior article, I discussed the personal and impersonal approaches to God, the nature of belief, and the direct experience of God.
For most people and in most things you read, God is a concept that is either something about belief or something to debate intellectually. Do you feel it’s true or do you think it’s true.
But really these are less about God and more about our relationship with our story. What we tell ourselves about how the world is. Divinity is a great deal more than that.
To some extent our position also reflects the degree to which we’ve looked. While certainly the world is full of troubles and suffering, there is an undeniable underlying intelligence. What we might call laws of nature or fundamental principles.
“It is true, that a little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion; for while the mind of man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them, and go no further; but when it beholdeth the chain of them confederate, and linked together, it must needs fly to Providence and Deity.”
— Francis Bacon
Quite a few of history’s more illustrious scientists spoke of God, but often tended to speak of an impersonal transcendent God or underlying guiding intelligence rather than God in a form.
“The idea of a universal mind or Logos would be, I think, a fairly plausible inference from the present state of scientific theory.”
— Arthur Eddington
They have not always come to it easily.
“For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”
— Robert Jastrow, an agnostic
“It now seems to me that the findings of more than fifty years of DNA research have provided materials for a new and enormously powerful argument to design.”
— Antony Flew, former atheist
But a survey in the journal Nature indicated that 40% of American physicists, biologists and mathematicians believed in a personal God.
“The most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion on an intelligent and powerful Being.”
— Isaac Newton
Even Chaos Theory has discovered underlying patterns in the apparent chaos of the world. Order within chaos.
“I want to know how God created this world, I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts, the rest are details.”
— Albert Einstein
To suggest physical laws arose randomly contradicts the laws themselves.
“Let’s not forget that the entire enterprise of scientific inquiry during the last 500 years has been the ongoing discovery of underlying order, not the assumption of accident.”
— Perry Marshall
Science has been running smack into theological questions since it’s inception. For example, the more scientists discover about the origins of the universe, the more they realize they are looking at the beginning of time and space as well. If it had a beginning, it implies something came before, from which they arose.
“…why it is that we and the universe exist. If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason – for then we would know the mind of God.”
— Stephen Hawking
I’ve read several things out of modern Information Theory. While chaos may produce patterns that imply intelligence, information requires an underlying intelligence. The world is built of information.
It’s also worth noting that Entropy tells that unless there is a constant ordering influence, everything will decay into disorder. Thus, not only must intelligence be present, it must constantly be asserting itself.
However, these words still remain an intellectual exercise. Rather than belief or intellectual debate, what about experience? What about experiencing divinity directly?
The Bible tells us: “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you.” “Be still and know that I am God.” “Abide in me, as I abide in you.”
The books of the Vedas describe the paths to God. Yoga means Union with spirit or God.
Buddhism does not subscribe to a Creator God (the personal) but they do speak of the indwelling immutable divine. (impersonal) They follow the eight-fold path beyond suffering, broadly similar to Patanjali’s 8 limbs of Yoga discussed in the link above.
In fact, if you study any of the worlds faiths or lasting philosophies, all arise from the experience of divinity. An experience they then set out to try to communicate and share. And the experience of divinity has not been limited to saints and seers.
To me, God has long been self-evident, even before I made much spiritual progress. In the end, what you think or believe only has relevance to what you think or believe. More important is to stop and look at what’s there, under your story of your ideas and beliefs. The result may surprise you.