June 3rd, 2008

From the 2004 SynEARTH Archives


Seeking a Definition of God

Timothy Wilken, MD

I have been doing a lot of reading and thinking about God recently. What is the role of God in Humanity’s future? It would seem that any serious inquiry into that question must start with a definition of God.

I found the following definitions of God on a website about the various religions of the world:

Taoism

Tao, the subtle reality of the universe cannot be described, That which can be described in words is mearly a conception of the mind. Although names and descriptions have been applied to it, the subtle reality is beyond the description.
Tao Teh Ching – beginning of chapter 1

The subtle essense of the universe is elusive and evasive. …

It is the subtle origin of the whole of creation and non-creation. It existed prior to the beginning of time as the deep and subtle reality of the universe. It brings all into being.
Tao Teh Ching – portions of chapter 21

Buddhism

“There is, O monks, an unborn, unoriginated, uncreated, unformed. Were there not, O monks, this unborn, unoriginated, uncreated, unformed, there would be no escape from the world of the born, originated, created, formed.

“Since, O monks, there is an unborn, unoriginated, uncreated, and unformed, therefore is there an escape from the born, originated, created, formed.”
The Gospel of Buddha – Sermon at the bamboo grove at Rajagaha

Hinduism

Neither the multitude of gods nor great sages know of my origin, for I am the source of all the gods and great sages.

A mortal who knows me as the unborn, beginningless great lord of the worlds is freed from all delusion and all evils.
The Bhagavad-Gita – The tenth teaching, verses 2 & 3

Sihkism

There is One, only One Supreme Being, Truth Eternal, Creator of all seen & unseen, Fearless, Without hatred, Timeless Being, Non-Incarnated, Self created, Realized by the Grace of Guru (Perfect Master Only.)
Guru Granth Sahib Page 1

Judaism

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 1:1

For thus saith the Eternal that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the self existent One; and there is none else.
Isaiah 45:18

Christianity

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself. He was present originally with God. All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without him was not one thing made that has come into being.
Gospel of John 1:1-3

Sufism

You are the Absolute Existence which causes (our) transient (existences) to appear.
Masnavi – Book 1 – Creator and Creation

Elsewhere I have written: Humanity has used the term God to represent ‘that’ in universe that is larger than ourselves. We have used the term God to represent ‘that’ which is the source of Universe — ‘that’ which is the source of Heaven and Earth — ‘that’ which is the source of Life and Humanity.

I make no argument against the existence of God. I am in full belief that there exists ‘that’ in universe that is larger than ourselves. I am in full belief that there is a ‘source’. And I also call that source God. Let us agree then that the source of Universe — the source of Heaven and Earth — the source of Life and Humanity — is God. This agreement does not require that we describe God in anyway.

Harry Rathbun in Creative Initiative writes:

We use the word God to designate that which is beyond description or definition. That which is ineffable, unutterable. That which is the Ultimate Reality, the Ultimate Mystery, which stands both behind and within the universe, behind Creation; that which is at once both immanent and transcendent. By the word “God” we refer to that which is source, direction, intelligence, and will; to that spirit which encompasses the supreme values of truth, beauty, and goodness; to that reality on which we are totally dependent and to which we are totally subject; and to that before which we stand in awe, wonder, and reverence, but with which we can communicate.

God is that which draws man up toward the heights, whose plan and intention call for all of us to rise to that level of being which is our destiny and our fulfillment.

This seems quite positive to me. Life’s power is to create syntropy. This ability to ever increase order, organization, pattern, and form is a defining characteristic of life. Life evolves towards ever-increasing syntropy — ever increasing order — ever increasing organization, form, pattern, and heterogeneity.

Young’s Theory of Process explains that this transition is from simple process to complex process — from light to particles, from particles to atoms, from atoms to molecules, from molecules to plants, from plants to animals, and from animals to humans. This process of synergic evolution then is another of the defining characteristics of life. This brings us to a new definition of evolution:

Evolution—def—> The transition of process from a state of lower syntropy—order, organization, pattern, and form to a state of higher syntropy—order, organization, pattern and form.

Science in 2004 has discovered that evolution is synergic. Then the purpose of life is to evolve. To transition from a state of lower syntropy to a state of higher syntropy. And so perhaps God is that which pulls us towards oneness–that which pulls us to be the best we can be. This seems an appropriate definition of God for a Future Positive.

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