The Time of Your Life
Your reading today begins with an assignment. It will not be a request to do something, but rather to think about something that probably has never entered your mind. There is a good reason you may never have had such thoughts before. The process now is to get into a frame of mind that is perhaps impossible to achieve.
For starters, you may have thought about traveling to some exciting or exotic place on our planet. You might not be able to pay for the first class travel or accommodations your thoughts are taking in, but the trip is possible. Or, you may have dreamed of the perfect person you have in mind as your life-mate with qualities you feel are beyond your power or ability to attract. Or your dream could be a new job, a home, a car or even a five-course dinner at a first-class restaurant.
All of the items just mentioned you can imagine right away because they may be things you have already thought about. These ideas may have taken form through a movie, a book, a picture or even a conversation or lecture you were a part of or some other life experiences you have had.
Your assignment here goes beyond anything that is imaginable because it will never happen. Yet, it may open some thought processes you never thought possible for yourself.
I’m hoping that right now you are thinking, “What can I possibly imagine that is beyond anything I’ve ever had in my mind?” Here we go!
You are having a dream in which the main character is God—and you discover you are God! “Wait a minute,” you say. “Maybe I haven’t played the role of God in my dreams, but I have certainly thought about being Dictator or CEO, or President who could order and do whatever I please and no one could say, No! I could fire or hire or marry or live in any way or style I wanted.
Yes, that is a good analogy, but it’s not where we are headed.
In those kinds of dreams or imaginations, you are operating in a world that already exists. You are just moving people, places, positions or objects that are already present. In a sense, you are playing with the toys or ideas of where you are living. And, should you change places with an aboriginal citizen of the Amazon jungle, you could have similar dreams. You would work out your imagined achievements and acquisitions with the artifacts familiar to the Amazon valley. It would still be the same game, but on a different kind of playing field.
While you and I may never have thought about this kind of assignment, God has. So, again, let’s give it a shot.
In your dream, you are God. There is nothing else. That means absolutely nothing outside of you exists. There are no stars, no planets, no elements, no molecules or atoms. There is no “space” because space only exists where there are objects available for space to come between.
So you wake up in your dream to find there is nothing else and you have no opinion as to what “something” should look like. That means at that moment, with your position of total supremacy, there is no light or darkness or any object that you can focus your attention on.
This is where your mental assignment begins. With all your power and wisdom and goodness, what will you do? Remember, you are totally God.
Understand that at some point in eternity past, God was in that position: Nothing else existed.
Well, you may ask, how do you know that? Two good sources: Scripture and science.
But before we delve into those arenas, we should spend some energy working on the assignment. If you woke up in your dream and you are God, what would you do? In what direction would you move your thoughts? Give yourself some time.
At this moment of your awareness and without any outside assistance, what can you say about what you know? Can you even imagine anything like that? Maybe with some hints, we can begin to build some structure. For example, to continue with the dream idea, what would you know about yourself when you woke up?
For one, you know you are an individual person. In other words, you are conscious of yourself—you have self-awareness. Without opening your eyes, you know you are thinking—you can process thoughts and ideas. You know you are alone. Yet despite the reality of being God, at this point, even eyesight would not be helpful since there is nothing to see. Nothing else exists.
But you have knowledge that you exist. And the fact that you can think confirms your existence—you are not looking at something (or someone) else. Maybe it’s like the saying of one of the early Greek philosophers—Know thyself! Or as another who expanded on Socrates’ words: “I think, therefore I am” (Rene Descartes). So thought proves existence (which seems self-evident).
Beyond that, as God you do not have to ask or think about questions such as, “Why am I here?” Here does not exist, since creation is not yet an event. The only here is you. Neither is there a sense of “what should I be or do?” You are God and there is no outside power or force that can impose conditions on what you are to be or do. These would be patently obvious concepts since you as God are alone. Or we could say, as God at that time, you are the totality of what exists. That is your position in your dream. You are God Almighty. Nothing else exists!
Now you may say, “Yes, that is something I’ve never thought about.” That is true discovery! But, indirectly we humans frequently act out thoughts like this—we attempt to act like God. We decide we are going to establish a new morality or way of living that is off the charts of what instinctively we know to be self-destructive. And that’s not determined by where we are, whether in the Amazon jungle or the president’s palace in Paris. But we’ll look into that later.
An Early Greek Model: The Unmoved Mover
It was also those early Greeks who for their times thought about God as “the unmoved mover.” He was kind of a cosmic magnet that was immovable yet exerted influence over all creation. At the time that was accepted, the understanding of the universe was nowhere near where we are today. Their thinking was confined basically to the solar system and the inhabitants of earth on a flat plane. It was a picture of a very static God, one having no emotional, ethical or controlling interaction with humankind.
But these Greeks did introduce something helpful to our inquiry right now: What kind of God are you going to be? In your dream, you have awakened to a status you never imagined. So now you are thinking and desiring to do something; but what will it be? What kind of God are you or will you be? What will become important to you? What will be the reason for any action you take? In what direction will you go?
You see that in seeking an answer to how you, as God, are going to “evolve”, we have interjected ideas from our own experience and understanding. For example, we are aware today that there is an enormous universe that surrounds our tiny little solar system. There are billions upon billions of similar potential habitats that exist. Yet, in terms of earth’s history, it is a very recent and still developing discovery that gives us that understanding. Earlier peoples didn’t have our tools.
So as you are contemplating what you are going to do as God, will you be a creating God? Is that an initial step that you will direct your power and wisdom to work out? And if that is so, how will you accomplish it? What overall design will you create and for what purpose will you make it? And will you have any interest in where it is all going or will you become just the “cosmic magnet” that is the mover without being moved yourself?
When we started this chapter, we conceived of the God in your dream as knowing only yourself as you were the only “object” that had existence and presence. And we are still only speaking about “things” apart from any emotional or moral context. For example: Will you be a “good” God? Perhaps you’ll be an ambivalent God with no moral moorings? Or, will you be a capricious and evil God? And who will determine what “good” is or what “evil” is? Lots to consider.
Based on your answers to these kinds of questions, you will develop a picture of yourself as God. And, if you really get into the “creation” business with life, then conscious life and even self-conscious life, your role as God will have lasting continuity. What does that mean? What you create (if that is your desire) will help define who you are. That will be the “ink” that reveals the character lines of your being.
But there we go again. We have drawn water from the well of our present day experience to suggest what and where you are headed as God. Instead, perhaps you would be content to just sit there forever, never “doing” anything. Your satisfaction would come from your self-absorbed reflection and imaginings that never escape from the confines of your cranium.
Well, we haven’t gotten very far in developing your “portfolio” as God Almighty. We haven’t even come up with a plan or idea as to where your interest might or should go. We have only scratched the surface from our own life experiences and what we have been told is out there. None of this has yet produced any traction in terms of what you envision as your role as the One and Only. Something else has got to ignite this conversation or we won’t make any forward motion.
Even so, our thinking has brought us to one possible conclusion. First steps are crucial. Accordingly, regardless of which direction, which characteristic, which abilities you would like to possess as God, the result of your first steps will be the launching of relationships.
As soon as you as God do something or make anything, you will have a relationship with whatever it is you do or make. You will be the superior and whatever is the result of your creative action will be the lesser or inferior. Whatever you do or make, as God you can also undo and terminate. So this creative act (if that’s your wish) can move you away from the unmoved mover idea of God. Because now you are moved to relate to your creation.
Creating Means Launching Relationships
It is also a reasonable conclusion that whatever initial direction or action you take, it sets the stage for subsequent actions. In other words, a sense of character will start forming from the actions or directions that you initially take. It’s somewhat like the proverb, which tells us, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” The point being made is that initial steps lead to and influence future actions and development.
Nonetheless, relationships will become a key ingredient to your role as God. In a sense, you are stuck with whatever you create. You can’t get away from it unless the Greeks were truly correct. You see, their God created orphans—set adrift to fend by themselves–unless, of course, they felt the invisible tug of the Creator without any moral or emotional direction or influence. That is a difficult path for us based on our own life experience. It doesn’t “mesh” together with what we know. We live within a construct of relationships all the time.
So, like it or not, whatever you propose to do as God, whatever direction you choose, you will have to endure the consequences of relationship. But this brings us back to an earlier issue: Do you truly want to be forever tied to whatever you do or bring into being? Once saddled with being responsible for what you have made, do you really want what you are thinking about? That is a heavy burden to carry—forever.
The Burden of Where You Are
In this dream world we have described where you wake up to find yourself to be God, it is next to impossible (if not totally so) to detach our thoughts from the reality in which we live. We are welded to the memories of our present, past and future. We have a sense of our destination because of our present and past. Yes, we can have mid-course corrections–normally altering the route somewhat but rarely changing the destination.
Are you sensing the difficulty of trying to think completely outside the box of your own experience? To illustrate: Can you project a reality in your role as God that does not include creating? Can you see a world without oxygen? Can you feature a day without the sun or a month without moonlight? And we haven’t even gotten to the Milky Way or a billion other galaxies, or eyesight or platelets or conception. To stretch our imagination outside of what we know and have experienced is a bridge too far away for us to reach.
Not only are we bound to a certain place and time, but our place and time are restricted by the days and months of each year. They are soon past and we have only just begun the long journey necessary to complete the assignment. It is indeed a burden that fixes us in a pattern that we can’t change.
Yet, the brief exercise that we have gone through has a lesson for us that can illuminate and stretch our imagination. We may come to realize that perhaps the age of our universe that science places at about 14+ billion years and the age of our earth at about 4 ½ billion years are reasonable estimates.
Considering everything involved, is it possible that the God of creation had thought it all out with some precision before starting?
For the burden of where we are is just that: We can’t break away from our own reality to imagine a different reality outside of our own existence. We are not talking about the kind of shoes we wear or the car we drive to work. It is not just relating to a mother or father, a neighbor or our teacher or boss. Maybe it is imagining a world without storms or floods, a day without death and disease and of relationships that always end with, “and they lived happily ever after.”
So we have come to a reasonable conclusion about our role as God Almighty: We are not up to it! Life is too short, our experience too shallow and our place in the universe too remote. We don’t have the time or the wisdom or the perspective to provide answers that will satisfy the cry of the ages.
So, here we are in the early stages of the 21st Century. It may be as good a time as any to examine where we are and where we are going. There may be answers if we are patient enough to listen, wise enough to learn and strong enough to live it out. And perhaps we can sort out some of the loose threads we found in coming to this point. One of those identified was that even today, we are making awkward and misguided attempts to play God in our own world. Are we really capable of that?
Playing God in Our Day
Earlier, we mentioned people trying to get into God’s arena of being God. We do it frequently. It’s the habit that despite evidence to the contrary, we are determined to do things our own way. It can begin at an early age when parents tell us, “Don’t touch the stove. It’s hot!” At that age, we are experimenting with the science of discovery. And we go ahead and touch the stove and we find out what “hot’ means. And generally, that ends that experiment.
But as we go along, we jump off more serious precipices of life. We arrive at college or university, full of life and love but often with an empty head. We discover some new realities—freedom, fewer social restraints than at home and alcohol and/or drugs. We begin to exercise our newly found options and within six months or so, we are on our way home because the important items, classes and study, got lost in the stampede to do our own thing. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg in a life where we do what we want.
Self-gratification has a well-worn record of grief and sorrow stretching across centuries of human history. A simple rule found in many religious traditions could have saved humanity from some of the most horrific calamities imagined. Why not try: “Do to others what you would have them do to you!” The starvation, ethnic cleansings, killings and abuse too many to enumerate, would have been avoided. But in an instant, self-appointed “Gods” took control. Daily we continue to see and hear of consequences from actions by such human deities.
Much more, we believe, is taking place. Many hurts and abuses remain unseen by society because often, they are personal and within the confines of family, religious, corporate, or government connections. Within these are either societal restraints or possible severe retaliation if disclosed. Even beyond this are well-intentioned actions that end up reaping a harvest of suffering for those subject to the decisions. It’s like the old saying, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
The Example of DDT
Can we give at least one well-documented example to make the point? One of the more debilitating diseases found in the tropics is malaria. It is carried from one person to another by the anopheles mosquito. During World War II, the control of the carrier mosquito was critical to winning the war in the South Pacific. An amazing discovery was made that solved the problem: DDT. DDT is a colorless, crystalline, tasteless and almost odorless organochloride known for its insecticidal properties. That’s the dictionary definition.
Once the beneficial results became known, DDT was widely used across the Americas and the world with dramatic results in controlling malaria. However, there were other, long-term effects from using DDT that proved a disaster. As small insects were killed, the chemicals in DDT got into the food chain through the eating of the dead insects by larger animals.
As the chemicals worked their way up the food chain, many animals’ ability to reproduce came to a halt. In particular, larger birds of prey were affected. Entire species were threatened with extinction. Eventually, this harmful result brought about the prohibition of DDT’s use in the 1970’s.
This is just one of many such examples that could be cited from medicine to education to manufacturing, etc. Some other decisions that come to mind are the use of thalidomide’s in medicine, the elimination of using phonics in education, and a troubling present day concern—the single parent home. The apparent early successes, sometimes hailed as “astounding,” later proved to be the carriers of tragic results.
The point being made illustrates the fallibility of government action taken even after all kinds of testing and approvals were presented to show how safe and/or effective their use would be. We continue to measure societal norms by a yardstick of a few recent years when there are centuries and miles of evidence to the contrary. The tragic aspect of this charade is the groups that should be protecting us in some manner are involved in promoting these disaster-laden programs and ideas.
We don’t want to generalize and castigate everyone and everything as bad and evil. That is not in any way intended. Nonetheless, it shows that we can easily be steered off track by groupthink and self-delusion if and when we ignore the wisdom of the ages. At least in America, we seem to be in an orgy of throwing out not only the bathwater and the baby, but the basin as well. It may be time to stop, look and listen before we cross another barrier that has stood the test of time. In reality, maybe we’re not as wise as we think we are.
But now we want to return to an earlier comment about the antiquity of the universe, as we know it today. We’ll talk about this from the standpoint of two sources of information. Let’s acknowledge right off that there are differences of opinion about the subject we are entering. Yet, there seems to be a growing harmony between the two rivers of information. It may be like the Amazon River and the Rio Negro in Brazil, flowing side by side in the same channel for miles before slowly merging. These waters flow in the same direction but at different speeds and temperatures.