Here is a truth: you do not know what God is. You use this word, it’s a useful word, you are free to use it, and you will be almost right when you do. But you do not truly know what it refers to. That which you conjure when you point your word at it is at the same time smaller than what you think it is and also greater. It is smaller because it is not immortal, nor inevitable, nor universal. It is fragile and finite and formless. It is greater because it is dynamic, evolving, and intimate. It does not know you but it is of you.
I am. Life is. God is. I am alive. Lives are God.
Allow me to explain.
God did not create life, though it sometimes seems that way, because God has been for as long as the life that exists to contemplate it. But God is not the parent that birthed the child of Life, nor the older child that witnessed the birth of a younger sibling. God and Life: they co-exist, co-create, co-die. God is the complementary collective of all life on this planet, God is the cumulative life force of each man and moss, each daughter and dragonfly, each living being.
We are accustomed to thinking of life as personal and of God as universal. My life, your life, an animal’s life: these are parceled things packaged within our solid forms, but God is the context for our individual isolation. God is the song in which the notes of our lives are played, without which we would merely be single sounds hanging silently in space. God is the alphabet from which the letters of our lives are spelled, without which there is no story.
And the length of the song or the thickness of that book- it is neither infinite nor stagnant. It flexes and fades like the running tally of an accountant’s ledger. Consider this: there was a time on earth when there was no living thing, now there are many. The volume of God on earth rises and falls in accordance to the abundance of Life on earth. It waxes and wanes imperceptibly with each solitary birth and death, it dilates and deflates with each phase of fertility and war. It bloats with each evolutionary explosion and bleeds with each mass extinction. When there is death, God depletes accordingly- by a drip for each beetle and a drop for each boy and a drought for each blue whale. God is sensitive like that. But, even so, God will continue to exist so long as Life does.
Death is the absence of Life. Death is the loss of God. Life is the presence of God. God is the presence of Life. As long as the thread of Life persists, so does the Deity.
Now that you know what, you are ready to learn how.
(Read next entry here)