"We should go back to the Beginning. Enter into Me, and experience the Beginning as I experienced it." Welcome to GOD: An Autobiography, The Podcast. A dramatic adaptation and continuing discussion of the book God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher by Jerry L. Martin. He was a lifelong agnostic, but one day he had an occasion to pray. To his vast surprise, God answered- in words. Being a philosopher, he had a lot of questions, and God had a lot to tell him.
Read God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher.
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(Begin with the last bit of Episode 15 as a lead-in)
We should go back to the Beginning. Enter into Me, and
experience the Beginning as I experienced it.
Record what I say as I re-experience that moment.
I tried to still myself and yield to whatever experience I was about to be given.
I am in the midst of Nothingness...
"In the midst of Nothingness?" My logical alarm went off.
Lord, how can I make sense of this?
Don't worry now about making sense of it. Just listen.
I tried again to still myself and yield.
I am in the midst of Nothing. I hear nothing, see nothing--because there is nothing.
I feel alone, very alone, except that I don't yet know what alone means.
I feel growing strength, and Myself being drawn toward the light, just a glimmer at the "edge."
I am in a kind of "pain" like stretching aching muscles.
Suddenly, it’s as if I punch My arms and legs through the sides of a bag I'm in. It’s like an explosion.
In a split second, fragments are zooming out in all directions.
I’m at a throbbing, pulsing center.
I’m not sure what's happening. It’s like a tightly coiled spring suddenly released and springing out into a vast space instantaneously.
I scramble to take control, to provide order.
I tried to picture all this in terms of the Big Bang theory. In the first trillionth of a trillionth of a second, the universe expanded faster, much faster than the speed of light.
Slowly I reach out to extend Myself over the whole, to infuse it.
It becomes calmer, but still full of flux and dynamism and outward expansion.
I relapse, as if tired. I have done all I can at that stage.
Lord, you have taken me through a story that is completely unorthodox and embarrassingly anthropomorphic. What am I to make of that?
I’m not interested in what you make of it -- or in conforming My account to your prior beliefs.
I am using literal language because that is the only way to explain the experience of being God.
But "experience" is also anthropomorphic.
Not really. I am a Person, but I am not only a Person. I am also much more.
There is something you might call "what it is like" to be God. That’s what "experience" refers to.
But Lord, You are admitting serious limitations as You scramble to create order out of chaos. That’s not our idea of God.
Limitations only from My perspective. By your standards
I already had unimaginable power and knowledge.
But You say You knew nothing.
In one sense I knew nothing.
But, in another sense, I was viewing everything from another level--as when your senses are confused but your mind is clear and is noting with precision the nature and contours of the confusion.
Perhaps like a researcher taking a hallucinogen and carefully noting its effects.
Before I was a Person, I was around "for a long time."
First, there was Nothingness, not just empty space--there was no space and time either.
Out of Nothingness I erupted, "created" Myself.
At that point, I was just pure energy, pure creative force, pure Being, Being itself.
Space and time were created as a result of My Being -- they were the frames of My existence.
The physical universe spun out of Me by My overflowing.
I am the to-be of all things. I was not yet a Person. I was not yet self-aware. I was amorphous energy flowing out radically in all directions.
Before Creation, I am pure spirit, sufficient unto Myself.
I felt I was lacking something--grounding, facticity, the blunt materiality, the hard edge to push oneself against, the resistance and friction that physical objects have.
So, out of My Being, a world was spun.
I look at the world, matter, around Me. Dead. Nothing there.
I’m ready for action, for interaction, but there is nothing.
Just whirls and splashes and explosions.
Matter has a subjective side, a "within," that subliminally experiences its surroundings, but that is too limited to interact with, too limited to be satisfying.
So I infuse My spirit into matter, as if trying to blow life into it. Like blowing bubbles, I blow and blow molecules, complex molecules, the building blocks of life.
That was a meaningful image even if anthropomorphic. Even for scientists, the origins of life--even the answer to "What is life?"--is a profound mystery. If there is a God, then surely He would be part of that story, and "blowing life into it" might be about as precise as anything.
I feel My way, pulled forward by a telos or goal emergent in each step, the way an intellectual project often develops from one insight to another. I am pulling life forward, eliciting the development of its potential, drawing it to more complex forms.
In this process, consciousness is quite a miracle, even from My point of view.
I had consciousness before, but I didn't think of it that way.
I just was and matter was.
It was quite startling to see other consciousness develop.
Consciousness developed very slowly. The first glimmer is found in the lowest molecules, in their ability to interact with, to respond to, their environment.
I breathe life into matter, and matter starts responding.
As one translation of Genesis puts it, I "flutter over the waters" and nurture, incubate life.
And I am filled with joy. It’s like a child picking up a harp and being surprised to find that strumming makes beautiful sounds--and delightedly playing with it.
At the beginning, the cosmos was My playpen, My garden of delights. It was beautiful, dazzling.
But You felt alone?
Yes, I wanted more. In retrospect, the inanimate years feel very lonely. The emergence of life is a delight. With life, spirit comes into play. Wonderful to see amoeba, moss, and so forth. The frogs and other creatures, each with a soul and personality, each in a sense in tune with God. I can play with the animals, "walk among them." I love their myriad forms. I am not alone anymore.
The creatures that began to stir on the earth are amazing,
more amazing than anything that had yet occurred in creation. They move on their own; they have dramatic lives--even the worms and fishes.
There is birth, growth, death, mating, offspring, colonies and flocks, emergent social orders -- ideality as well. There is telos and purpose, success and failure, standards of perfection and imperfection.
And over time, further developments in the species, a most amazing, creative ramifying of the evolutionary ladder.
New species emerge that could not have been imagined before. Your paleontology tells the story: the first horses could easily fit into the palm of a hand, and so forth. Can you imagine the spectacle?
Yes, I think I can.
It is not true that the lower forms have no spiritual response.
They are in harmony, in attunement with nature and with Me. Their capacity may be limited, but they have the advantage that they don’t have any filters.
Their world is much less dualistic, more holistic,
with less individuality and separateness -- and hence
less separateness from Me.
It is mainly instinctual un-self-conscious rapport that we have.
Why isn't that enough?
In a sense it is. Animals do have uniqueness.
Each animal is distinct, has its own soul.
But they lack self-awareness, and that’s true even of cats and dogs and apes.
You can interact with them but there’s no second-order reflection, hence a very truncated sense of time--just temporal motion,
a passage from an immediate moment-just-passed to a next moment anticipated.
And even that cannot be thought about, represented symbolically, or made available to self-consciousness.
So I cannot develop solely through interacting with them.
It is static, inert. We just *are* together.
I could not become a Person without there being other persons. The personal is essentially interpersonal.
And so I created mankind.