The Question of Cosmic Personality

That we are and we ask makes us the revelation of the I Am That I Am

If reality is impersonal and unliving, you and I won't ever know. There can be no knowing, because we get umppity-ump years here and we're dust. The thing which spawned our personalities which can love selflessly does not have a self and does not know love. The thing which spawned our imagination which can encompass the eternal and the infinite does not save, only frustrate in the end with death. The thing does not have a truth to give except cold facts, relative beginnings and ends, dead convolutions of energy pretending to be intelligent and ethical and ideal. It doesn't concern itself with our longing to know origins and destinies, and doesn't care that it holds no answer to the first and last and exclusively human question, "Why?"

This is the question of the dead universe and its meaning for human longings. I recognize that our desire that the universe be at least as much as we are, in order to answer our questions, is only the hope that springs eternal and not a proven fact. I recognize that the argument of idealizing and self-aware human personality in the universe suggests greater personal awareness, even personal Creator awareness, but I'm well aware that the philosophic possibility is unproven.

Indeed, observation from the material universe perspective indicates that "greater" does evolve (not just adapt but "improve") out of "lesser." Energy-matter appears out of the void, life appears out of inert matter, mind appears from the mindless, personality appears out of mindedness, society arises out of personality.... These improved uses of energy, however, have "value"--relative spiritual merit--only because we, the value-assigning spiritual personality level of stuff, assign them values in our socially-trained minds: not the molecule nor algae nor dinosaur nor even our barbarian ancestors (many still all around us--grin) care about such relative worth which we assign the universe's unfolding exhibition of its potentials for maximizing energy utilization. It is a fact that the material universe has evolved beings who know and appreciate one another, who are not just of matter but are scientists, who are not just of mind, but who are psychologists, and who most importantly comprehend the relative value of the material, mental, and personal, and can thus idealize a heavenly neverending fellowship of life, even a universe of brotherly wisdom and enlightenment, and joyous embracing thankfulness toward the One Who made it all possible. That this hope and joy exist is fact. That life is cheaper without it is a judgment. That God exists is not a conclusion, it remains ever in this life a matter of unprovable faith. Self-aware personalities who know and love one another do not prove God. I well recognize that even the profound, enriching experience which one may have of living and working in the presence of the Creator once one engages in the game of faith is entirely subjective and could be self-delusional. Whatever prior Creator Son status Jesus of Nazareth may have had, as he appears to have claimed and believed, whatever assurance he had as a Son of God, I expect that the human son of Mary and Joseph, the Son of Man, for all the miracles internal and external he witnessed in his own mortal life, had not one more iota of material human proof of his divinity than I have of my own indwelling Spirit. He seemed like a pretty smart guy, and when Mom & the fam and most of society are saying, calm down boy, you're a little crazy, come home for a long rest, and you think you're not just a prophet or a saint, you think you're a Son of God incarnate, well, a smart human being doesn't just swallow that hook line and sinker. He'd have to respond to what he believes to be real, but right up to about the Garden of Gethsemane, I'd say the human mind is still cooking up what at a lower level is
our doubts, questionings, and fears, but which in its higher forms is better expressed simply as wonder. Knowing we don't have the answers is the human dilemma, a dilemma posed to us by the fact that we are capable of asking these questions.

The dilemma of faith is profound. Simplistically, if the universe answered, then faith would not be required, but the answer is not simplistic. Or, put another way, it is so simplistic as to confound the wise. That we are and we ask makes us the revelation of the almighty I Am that I Am. The full answer, the full revelation, will take all time, but we may transcend the full universe unfolding of this grand drama and achieve eternal understandings even in this life, much less in whatever schools await us in promised new forms to which we will be translated. We go on, grasping more and more of the unfolding, and being an active part of the expression of the cosmic Supreme Beingness of love in action, ever more a part of God. Now, I'm not offering this all as proof, because what I'm saying is, the proof is this agelong unfolding, and you won't get the whole proof until you've gone the whole route. You can't know, materially, because the experiment's not cooked yet, and won't be for quite some time. The only answer we get is the tiny slice of the unfolding which we perceive in our life. The only revelation available to short-cut the experiment and prove the identity of the Oneself Almighty is your own Oneself Almighty within your own personal experience. Admittedly, being limited and largely determined godlets, we have a bit of extrapolating to do to appreciate that one of those other Selfs is the First Self (to use a temporal word for an eternal hierarchy) — and in fact all of these other Selfs, Oneself included, are children in the likeness of the Creator Self, relatively free-willed where the Creator is absolutely free-willed, partially self-aware where the Creator is completely self-aware, and marginally co-self-programming within the constraints of our given material and mental components where the Creator is absolutely and omnipotently creative. We can know of this possibility, but we will have no material proof that God and all of the children of God, living together for all eternity, is our true destiny. Why believe it?

We have a choice on how to live in this life, whether to live as if the universe, and ourselves, were a dead thing, or whether to live as if we were alive, minded, personal, sociable, and evaluating. Material realities are discoverable and while it would be fascinating to see how scientists on other, relatively parallel humanoid worlds might look at science, we can expect they'll be talking about and dealing with the same material rules for the universe--matter is matter. Likewise, we can presume that minds we haven't encountered, extinct dinosaur psychology (I enjoyed Crighton's applications of psychology to dinos in Lost World) to some other-worlders, will function in certain ways, vastly different in content to be sure, but the same in function since psychology has its rules just as does energy-matter. Self-aware personality and evaluations like ideals and morality which arise from self-awareness and other-self awareness are likewise rules which can be presumed to be universal, not because we extrapolate anthropomorphically but because the anthropological is as universal as the electrochemical, the biological, or the psychological. We can expect the proposal of the extrapolated eternal God of some sort, a normal function of a certain level of evolved imaginative self-aware personality, is likewise pretty much universal. People of love and fellowship throughout the universe are all aware of other people of love and fellowship throughout the universe, and we love one another and are thankful for our chance at even this life, but would that we all go on in paradisaical eternity. I choose to live as if that is the truth. If it's not, it doesn't matter if I'm wrong, does it?

If you don't have answers sufficient to support a faith in an almighty creator of love, then of course you shouldn't be expected to declare belief in same.

* It's been my frequent experience that when someone says they had faith and lost it, what they meant was, they had a belief and outgrew it. Faith grows with understandings. The God one doesn't believe in is obviously smaller than the God one is in fact worshiping and following.

Beliefs are pretty much dead and stagnant ideas; faith is based on living ideals. Beliefs break when confronted with contravening facts but ideals grow and thrive on the comprehension of each new understanding.

We are valuable to one another. People of all faiths or no faith cherish one another with a superanimal affection, as we can in our minds and hearts embrace each other, as one another, as only self-aware and other-self aware beings can.

The true lover of one's fellows cherishes the birth, life struggle, even death, timely or untimely, comic or tragic, short or long, of every fellow human being encountered.

When we love one another, we would be perfect for our Lover, and we would that our Lover be perfected, too. We would that our children grow up healthy, smart, strong, stable, productive, even become good parents. We would that our society find peaceful and just ways to deal with one another. We would that we find ways to transmit our highest values, wisdom, and knowledge from generation to generation. The separateness which gives rise to concepts of selfishness and cruelty are lost in the oneness of true Love. We would not only be perfected for one another, we would persist forevermore.

We are valuable to one another.

If we are not valuable to the universe Itself, at least we have here and now, and we might be grateful that It had as much potential as It did to spawn our opportunity to exist for a few moments amid the cartwheeling of electrochemistry — what a trip! — no matter what our life has been like.

If we have no value to the dead and impersonal universe, we still have one another while we are alive, to cherish and treasure each transient and imperfect but perfectly unique incipient personality.

The alternative, the living, loving God, is unproven except by the subjective unfolding of living as if one's Ideal God were true, and living that faith even when crises come. The gospel of Love, being supermaterial, cannot provide any inarguable material proof, and rarely can the spirit of Love even provide much satisfactory subjective personal proof in this life, only glimpses. Intellectual understandings, philosophy and theology, a willingness to be shown, these are helpful scaffolding to the answer, but are not the answers which can only come through subjective experience. The satisfactions of living with faith may seem thin indeed for those used to the gratifications of material satisfactions, physical and intellectual. It takes strength of will to keep seeking truth where little seems readily forthcoming.

If the universe is alive, personal, even parental, then there will be answers. Just because one doesn't yet have an answer doesn't rule out the possibility of there being an answer; that if the universe is God-centered, and one's answers aren't showing one that truth, it may be because of the poor quality of the answers one has, or because one is structuring the question so to rule out the actual answers.

Every faith-motivated person has faced the challenge of tragedy. How petty faith would be to crumble before challenge. A minister couple down South had a tornado blast their church, on Sunday, and their child died. The following Sunday, they led services on the very site. The father was quoted as saying something to the effect that it's easy to have faith when things go well for you; it's in times of anguish that faith is most challenged… and most needed. He may expect to see his child again alive in heaven, but his anguish is no less real.

But we all die, one way or another. So what? Death is not an argument against God. Suffering is not an argument against God. Time and space and pain and pleasure and goofy humans don't argue against God. Faith embraces all of these; these are God. Then we figure out "Why?"

"It ought to be better" is Godlike; children ought not die, in peace or in agony. We ought not die at all but live to a ripe old age full of peaceful experience and then pass on in a blaze to a higher level of awareness, or something. We can see this as "better" because we have the capacity, the potentials of idealizing perfection within us, God within. We evaluate.

To explain the pain and partiality of a universe created by a perfect Parent has caused difficult theologic convolutions, especially when Pandora's Box and Eve's Apple, sufficient myth for primitives, are presented as explanation for scientific-age understandings. Stagnant beliefs will not serve faith.

Yes, here, we've got a load of troubles. But we're progressing, finding out how to keep children alive, cure cancer, extend age, make death honorable and peaceful even if we don't go up in a blaze of holy glory. We strive to give our many-greats-grandchildren a world where these ought-to-bes become realities. And we benefit from the many-greats-grandparents who turned their impossible ought-to-bes into our current rich and precious bounty. Such progress is God in action in time and space, through and as humanity.

The unfolding of time-space, the flowering of God's will, is rich in variety because we are in time and space, not in a universe of eternal perfection. The pleasure of life doesn't come without pain. Hitler kills millions. Rome destroys Jerusalem. Pompeii is buried alive. We know these are not ghosts and demons at work, but the machinations of physics and geology, of psychology and politics of relatively free-willed and partially-evolved personality. The same physics and psychology produce Dr. King, Mother Teresa, Jesus, you and me. Without the variety of time-space potentials, we would not have this joyous (and sometimes appalling) variety of personalities.

Not every child lives in the early stages of human evolution so our primitive forebears had many children; in the later stages of social evolution, not every copulation leads to conception as civilized beings control reproduction and children are welcomed and nourished individually in stable homes. The ideals of home life, ideals of personal health and development, are not achieved instantly or overnight; progress by means of evolution, even at the accelerated rate of social evolution, is still a long, uneven, and often painful process of trial and error over so many permutations.

The future of the world, and the future of the individual, will better reveal the urge toward perfection implicit in the universe of the God of perfection. Time shows there is more to progress than the apparently flat and valueless doodling of mere adaptation. The troubles of a people or an individual's personal struggle have full value and make sense only when you can completely grasp them in their completion, from origin to destiny. We don't really have the data to appreciate that in this life. But we can extrapolate how God may see and judge rightly and in mercy, and so we may in faith understand how eternal justification, for all we've been asked to suffer, may work. Again, no proof, only a matter of understanding the possibility.

In a universe of time and space, justice takes time. The ideal time frame is eternal; although the eternal reference point is available to us, we live and die, pleasure and suffer, in time and space. A personal religious philosophy may offer some intellectual satisfaction, but only a real grasp of faith can begin to provide satisfaction of the longing for the kind of solid answer that frees one from living in the misery of constant doubt. Doubt may remain, as old beliefs and new discoveries play out their table-tennis adjustments, but the anxiety of doubt is abandoned in faith. To fully satisfy our time and space appreciation of a sense of justice for the painful suffering and untimely death of a loved one--of everyone--requires finding out what happens on the other side ourselves. If I see you there, how we'll laugh about us all! If not, shrug.

God's will for our material forms is discoverable as physics. God's will for us personally is discoverable as morality and idealism. Why believe the Source of physics, psychology, and personality exists and comports with our anthropomorphic ideals? Some claim to believe something like this and yet seem to be pretty rotten people, unfellowshiping and even unGodly. Others reveal intellectual mastery, and are moral and idealistic in the apparent absence of faith. Unlike most of my fellow religionists, I don't believe that a just God would, say, throw you into eternal torment because you didn't figure things out with just the information you had in this life, wouldn't punish a child simply because that child failed to declare a belief in the right doctrine, that kind of thing. A just God would properly account for the rotten self-proclaimed theist, and the gentle self-proclaimed non-theist, and would try to help each grow up in those areas of lack.

The value of living with faith, for you, cannot be expressed by anyone else because your relationship with Deity is your own. You can be presented with theological perspectives to contemplate, but only living faith can answer the question, why live in faith? I don't attempt to answer that for you, only provide some scaffolding you might appreciate. Much as I would have my fellows know the transcendent joy of friendship with God, I would not really attempt to convert someone; conversion suggests inducing a belief rather than inspiring to faith. Discovery, recognition, interpretation, and choice of the divine relationship is the prerogative of each individual child of the divine. The God of free will does not violate the created personality's free will, permitting instead that one may choose to live in faith, or not.

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