Wednesday, March 20, 2013

God didn't create the world.....and He isn't finished with us....

"God didn't create the world," a Catholic priest announced at a retreat I took many years ago. Pausing for dramatic effect, he concluded: "God is creating the world."

His point is that God's creation is not finished, but ongoing. The same is true of each of us. As the old saying goes, "God is not finished with us yet...."

But what about God? Is God a timeless, unchanging entity, as the Platonists argued? Or is God evolving and changing--as process theologians tell us?

I don't know the answer to those questions--both views can be found in the Bible--but I like what my Jewish Quaker friend Pablo posted in response to my entry "The Mystery and Miracle of the Immune System." He writes:

Forgot to mention that part of the Jewish teaching that distinguishes it from much Christian commentary is: We [Christians] refer to the Holy One as the Creator, from Latin, based on the perfect (passive) participle creatus. We think it means S/He has created this world (finished). But in Hebrew, ha-Shem is called Bore et ha-kol = the one who is Creating all, based on the form bore-, the imperfect active participle of B-R--, to bring something into existence [not just make something out of parts]. Notice how your perspective changes when you think God is your Creating One, constantly making and remaking you and all that is, flowing creatively through you as a stream of Living Water
I like the idea that God is not only a noun (a holy name, one who created the world) but also an active verb (a becoming, one who is creating and re-creating the world).

Jesus used the term "living waters" to describe the inward experience of God's presence when he met the Samaritan woman at the well. These Living Waters are what inspired the prophets and evangelists, and give joy and renewed life to the soul.

"Living waters" is the theme for this year's FWCC, Section of the Americas, as I learned when I went to Indianapolis this week to take part in the annual gathering. Over 125 Friends from 12 countries took part in this gathering, where the living waters flowed freely in prayers, messages, songs, and meetings for business.
How we view God, the source of Living Water, can be very important to how we live our lives. Is God timeless and unchanging, or dynamic and involved in the world? Or both? Since we are made in God's image (and hopefully do not try to make God in our image), how we view God ultimately reflects on how we view ourselves.
I see myself as evolving in time, with an unchanging core that I cannot describe but which I experience in those moments when I am "still and know that I am God." I know the God-essence in myself as unchanging, yet as the source of all change.

If I ignore the timeless and unchanging part of myself, I can feel overwhelmed by the vicissitudes of life. If I withdraw from the world and focus only on the eternal, I can miss the opportunity to do my part in the cosmic drama/school we call life.

Sometimes I like to soak in the Living Waters and feel refreshed and renewed. Sometimes I let the Living Waters flow through me--a stream of peace, love, joy and light.

And sometimes I feel dry as a bone....

Whatever my mental and spiritual state, I thank God that I am alive and able to be thankful.

God isn't finished with me (or the world) yet!


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