As many of you know, I am working on a Master’s Thesis, “A Case for God Seen Through the Lens of Metaphysics.”
I have, and continue to research, the idea and concept of God. To date, the most articulate expression I have found regarding God is from Paul in Romans 1: 19-20, “…since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”
I could spend hours and pages analyzing this scripture reference. That is not my intent today. One of my very favorite references about God comes from a poem by Baruch Spinoza titled “The Substance of God.” Spinoza was one of the most important philosophers of the 17th century. In a nutshell, he believed that God is everywhere, and everything is God. He was one of the early modern thinkers that expressed the nature of pantheism and panentheism. (PANTHEISM and PANENTHEISM-in Greek pan means “all,” theos means “god,” and en means “in.” Pantheism means that all IS God; panentheism, that all is IN God. The two doctrines can be definitely distinguished. When considered together they may be called the pan-doctrines.)
Wherever Albert Einstein spoke, he was often asked if he believed in God. He would respond by stating that he believed in the God of Spinoza and was famously quoted as saying, “I believe in Spinoza’s God, who reveals himself in the lawful harmony of all that exists, but not in a God who concerns himself with the fate and the doings of mankind.”
Spinoza’s beliefs are reflected in his poem, The Substance of God:
“God would say: Stop praying and giving yourself blows on your chest, what I want you to do, is go out into the world and enjoy your life. I want you to sing, have fun and enjoy everything I’ve made for you. Stop going into those gloomy, dark and cold temples that you built yourself, and that you call my home. My house is in the mountains, in the forests, the rivers, the lakes, the beaches. That’s where I live and express all my love for you. Stop blaming me for your miserable life. I never told you there was anything wrong with you or that you were a sinner. Stop reading alleged sacred scriptures that have nothing to do with me. If you can’t read me in a sunrise, in a landscape, in the look of your friends, in your son’s eyes… you will find me in no book!
Stop being so scared. I do not judge you, nor criticize you, nor am I ever angry with you – nothing bothers me – nor do I devise punishment. I am pure love. Stop asking for forgiveness, there’s nothing to forgive. If I made you, I filled you with passions, limitations, pleasures, feelings, needs, inconsistencies of free will. How can I blame you if you respond to something I put in you? How can I punish you for being as you are, if I’m the one who made you? Do you think I could create a place to burn all my children who misbehave for the rest of eternity? What kind of god can do that? Respect your peers and don’t do to others what you don’t want for yourself. All I ask is that you pay attention in your life, that your alert status is your guide. Life is not a test, not a step on the way, not a rehearsal, nor a prelude to paradise. This life is the only thing there is, here and now and the only thing you need. I have made you absolutely free, there are no prizes or punishments, no sins or virtues, no one carries a marker, no one keeps a record.
You are absolutely free to create in your life a Heaven or hell. I couldn’t tell you if there’s anything after this life but I can give you a tip. Live as if there is not. As if this is your only chance to enjoy, to love, to exist. So, if there’s nothing after, then you will have enjoyed the opportunity I gave you. And if there is, rest assured that I won’t ask if you behaved well or not, I’ll ask. Did you like it? Did you have fun? What did you enjoy the most? What did you learn? Stop believing in me. To believe is to assume, guess, imagine. I don’t want you to believe in me, I want you to feel me when you kiss your beloved, when you play with your little girl, when you love your dog, when you bathe in the sea. Stop praising me, what kind of egotistical God do you think I am? I’m bored being praised. I’m tired of being thanked. Do you feel grateful? Prove it by taking care of yourself, your health, your relationships, the world around you. Do you feel overwhelmed? Express your joy! That’s the way to praise me. Stop complicating things and repeating as a parakeet what you’ve been taught about me. The only thing sure is that you are here, that you are alive, that this world is full of wonders. What do you need more miracles for? Why so many explanations? Don’t look for me outside, you won’t find me. Find me inside… there I’m beating in you.” -Spinoza
So, what do you think? Do you have room for Einstein’s God?