A Christian religion page on how to read and understand the Bible, authored by
Frank Ellsworth Lockwood

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

WHAT IS GOD? (Is there a God?)

By F. Ellsworth Lockwood
Is there a God?

Of course there is! Of course there is not!

I can hear my readers screaming their opinions now. The other day one of my children said words to the effect that the more he looked into spiritual things, the more he discovered that, "There is nothing there."

I think that there is something there, but that what is there just is not what people were looking for or what they thought would be there or what they thought should be there. The belief in God, for me, begins with the belief in my own existence.

Intuitively, we believe in our own existence, I think. And from that kind of "faith" you go to believing in existence in general, and that of course leads to the great mystery, and in following the great mystery there are so many different directions one can go, and most of them being directions one can "go wrong." We are apt to travel many "wrong" paths or dead ends trying to discover where our own spirituality -- or lack thereof -- leads us.

I have been on this path called life for 62 years, and it now seems to me that faith is actually the affirmation of life. It is the decision to honor something as holy, as divine, as worthy of devotion and love. And I think that this affirmation, when we follow up on it, eventually leads us to the conclusion that God is love.

The first sermon I ever heard, I must have been maybe six or seven years old, and the "preacher" was an eight year old boy if I remember correctly. I cannot remember his name but I remember what he said to me. We were sitting on some steps in the sunshine, and that was something hard to find in a redwood forest -- a spot in the sunshine -- because of all the trees, and because of all the shade and of all the shadows cast by the foliage of the branches that loomed overhead. And this boy said to me, "Do you believe in God?" And I cannot recall for sure but I think I said something like, "I don't know, what is God?"

And he said to me, "God is love. Just think," he told me, "if there were no God there would be no love in all the world. Just think what the world would be like if there were no love at all." That was my first sermon ever, from an eight year old boy. I think he was a Catholic, but that is not the important thing. He could have been a Buddhist or Hindu or Moslem. So what?

If this childhood preacher was correct, the implication is that every time you sign a letter with the word "Love" (followed by your name), you are acknowledging God, whether you realize it or not. And that in spite of all the wrong and harmful and degrading notions of God which other people may cling to.

Jesus reportedly said, "No man comes to the Father but by me." But according to Christian doctrine, the Father is Love. How can any man come to Jesus without coming to Love as well?

And if the Trinity is a fact as many (but not all) Christians claim, then Jesus is God. It follows that Jesus is Love.

This question comes to mind: If Jesus is God, does it not follow that the man who experiences Love has come to Jesus as well?

If so, in the moment of love, does a person experience Jesus, even if he does not realize that this is the case? And does he/she also experience God?

One of the authors of I John seemed to think so, when he wrote: "Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love." ( I say "one of" the authors because it seems to met that the book may be a compilation, but that is meat for another table.)

Leaving the question of whether those who love are of God, here is a question for those who think that salvation is a matter of knowing the right name to call upon:

Question: Is Love is dependent upon words, upon language?
It seems to me that the essence of Love is not in a word, it is not a linguistic feature, rather, it is a quality, a particular way or experience in Being. Love is a way or a type of being which has a magnetism that draws all men -- and all women -- to itself and transforms them into new creatures, works toward transforming them into the very image of God -- or of Christ, or of Jesus, or of the ideal man by whatever name human beings may reverentially call him.

Some people would like to interpret Jesus' words in such a way as to exclude people from foreign cultures, people who dress differently, talk different languages, and who have different notions about how to approach God. But is this the way of Jesus? Is it the way of Love?

Next Question: Is something there? Does there exist something high and wonderful that we might rightly call "God," something worthy of our worship, our reverence?

Think about what the world would be like if there were no Love in all the world, and then, if necessary, move over a little from where you are sitting, just enough to catch a ray of sunshine, and listen to the little boy or little girl that still resides in your heart. Do the words of an eight year boy old ring more true to you than all the words of all the wise adults in the whole world?

What does the child in your heart tell you? Doesn't the child in your heart still say, "God is love"?
The End.
(Below is a poem to celebrate Love.)

Let There be Joy, and Chestnuts and Rum

When evening's gleam, of golden light,
Fades away and darkness rules the night,
When you cry and your heart feels only despair,
When your ears strain, but nothing you hear,
And there is a chill that grips the air,
Do not despair.

For God said:
Let there be daylight, and a dawn to come,
Let there be joy, and chestnuts and rum,
Let there be happiness, and a day of fun,
Let God's own Son arrive from above,
To bestow upon earth,
His infinite Love.

P.S. Did you know that Frank Ellsworth Lockwood is also the author of the novel, "Captains All"? If you like, you can pre-view or purchase the book here: