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Author Topic: Must God be separate from Creation?  (Read 4842 times)
kai wren
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« on: May 28, 2006, 01:31:47 »

[Moderator Action: I am splitting a thread and making a new one because this is an important topic. The Background: In a previous thread, James S. said that we needed to stop thinking of ourselves as being separate from God and that the idea itself is "the greatest blasphemy of all time." James also introduced the metaphor that God is a VERB. The following is kai wren's initial response to James and then all following posts.~Beth]

How so?

I do not see how God -must- not be separate from us, it makes more sense to believe that God is both separate from us and not separate from us at the same time, does it not?

God created the universe, God also created man, I truly believe that God is part of everything and everyone, I do not wish to derail the thread with this concept, but to say that the greatest blasphemy is that God was ever separate from us seems... absurd.

God must have been separate from us in the Beginning to have created us, if indeed he/she/it created us at all. If God did not create us, is such a being God? At least in the sense many people understand the concept.

I do not believe so.
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ubiquitous
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« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2006, 02:28:24 »

god is an atheist he looks down on religialites with regret of what he has produced
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« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2006, 02:28:24 »

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James S
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« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2006, 08:28:10 »

Kai wren,

No criticisms here, but your post seems a little confused.

To first say that you believe God is part of everyone and everything, then to say God must have been separate from us at the beginning to have created us seems to me to be a contradiction.

To me this is typical of the kind of contradictions put forward in the bible.
I guess it all comes down to belief systems. For me, my belief system embraces Oneness and I AM - God is all there is and all there is is God. At no time were we ever separate nor can we ever be separate from the oneness. It is only our physical body ego that produces the illusion that we are separate through the use of fear. To me the promotion of separation is blasphemy.

Look at the meaning of the word blasphemy:
A contemptuous or profane act, utterance, or writing concerning God or a sacred entity.
To say we are separate from God is to show contempt for the sacred entity that we area part of.

Look away from the physical world and look instead at the energy that makes up all that we know. All matter is energy. It's all connected. Very thoroughly and very completely connected.
This is Oneness.

Blessings,
James.
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Beth
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« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2006, 08:31:08 »

Quote from: kai wren
...it makes more sense to believe that God is both separate from us and not separate from us at the same time, does it not?

No kai wren, that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever!! grin In essence what you are saying is just metaphysical double talk--you have created a paradox--it sounds mysterious and very profound with the saying, but when applied with reason it clearly shows itself to be totally empty of any real value.

Except, of course, that it is definately a step in the right direction away from religion's use of human personifications.
Quote
God created the universe, God also created man
This is your beginning premise, and IMO this is also the point at which your subsequent conclusions fall short into error:  God does not have to be separate from the universe or humanity to have accomplished these things.

James referenced the perfect metaphor that explains why this is the case:

God is not a NOUN.  God is not a WHAT or a WHO. As a NOUN, God is limited to being the 'creator' which leaves 'all other' as being the 'created'. Very strict boundaries are being drawn here.

Only as a noun, as a 'what' or 'who', does reason demand that God be separate from us. But this concept does not work in the bigger scheme of things, when for example, our reasoning faculty looks for 'the creator of the creator'. This is where the whole logical argument falls apart for 'God' in this context, and the premise is thus rendered impotent and irrational. It is also the point where many a human mind has allowed 'religious faith' to come in and take the place of a continuing effort to use their reasoning ability to see it on through to a rational conclusion.

But there is a solution to this mystery, and irrational religious faith is not necessary: when we take a close look at the problem, that God as the creator (a who or what) needs a creator (also a who or what) can you see the missing element here?

As it stands, 'every creator' will always 'need a creator'-- i.e. a 'who or what' that created the creator, that created the creator, and so on and so on.  

The answer is found in the fact that the most important element is missing: there is no actual 'first creation' taking place. When the concept is void of creative action, all you have are static 'things', i.e. 'nouns'.

As soon as you have the epiphany that God is a VERB, and your mind truly groks it, a whole new way of looking at the universe becomes available. And a LOT of things make much more sense!

Philosophically speaking, as a VERB, God can be both the prime mover and the movement itself, i.e. God is the creative principle through which all creation occurs. God is 'the creator' only in as much as 'God is the creative process', and all the while can never separate from 'creation' at any time. Simply put, a verb cannot ever be separated from its own fulfillment.

Linguistically speaking for example, the verb "create" cannot be separated from "creation/created/creating" all of which are different conjugations of the same verb.  All of these terms are intrically connected and cannot be separated. You may be wont to say that they are separate because the first one is a 'concept' and the other is a 'fulfillment of the concept', but this does not mean that they are separate, rather they are simply 'different aspects' of the same thing, i.e. the verb 'to create'.

Thus, God 'the creator' cannot be separated from humanity, 'the created'.

If you need a more mundane example, euphemistically speaking if I may, as sexual beings we cannot separate our sexuality from our sexual response. With this, our sexuality is both the 'creator' and the 'created' within the sexual experience itself.

I hope you can begin to see how, as a conceptual metaphor, God as a VERB works beautifully for providing us with a rational and logical conception of God that is never separate from us. As such, our problem of 'a creator God' needing to be 'created' is solved, and 'God' is quite simply revealed to be the active principle that was present in that awesome first moment when the universe came 'to be'.

~Beth
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kai wren
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« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2006, 09:36:19 »

Okay, first off, there is no paradox in saying that God is both separate from us and not separate from us. Saying that God is not separate from us implies that God needs us, for without us there would not be God, which I do not believe. However, I do believe that God is a part of us. There is no reason why God cannot exist both within us and without us at the same time, there is no paradox.

Secondly, a verb is an action word- a word used to describe doing something, perhaps I am now guilty of getting too bogged down in the words of what you are trying to say and not the meaning myself, but it seems to me that describing God as a verb does not remove the necessity for something to have begun him/her/it, what was it that started the action of God?

However, I believe that what we are verging on here is the Cosmological argument-    1. Everything has a cause(s).
   2. Nothing can cause itself.
   3. Therefore, everything is caused by another thing(s).
   4. A causal chain cannot be of infinite length.
   5. Therefore, there must be a first cause.

However, personally, I do not find this argument too convincing. I can explain upon request, but frankly I doubt my detailed rebuttal of the cosmological argument would be terribly interesting to most people- and its the weekend, I wasn't planning to start my philosophy revision until Monday.

However, I would like to make one final point- if God is not separate from us, that is clearly a limitation upon the power of God. If God is responsible for the creation of the universe, why would this power be limited? Unless, of course, you are coming from the standpoint of God as an impersonal force. In which case I am forced by Discordian dogma (and maybe Catma) to agree, and add that the impersonal forces are female, and called Eris.

Thanks for the reply, and I hope this has explained a little more how what I'm saying is not just metaphysical double talk.
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« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2006, 09:36:19 »



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Beth
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« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2006, 19:50:44 »

kai wren wrote:
Quote
there is no paradox in saying that God is both separate from us and not separate from us.
Sure there is. Look closely at what you are saying. You are contradicting yourself and then you are trying to correct the contradiction by using 'both' as an equalizer, but -- that doesn't work in the case of 'separate' and 'not separate'. It is totally illogical to try to have it both ways.

Let's break it down in the context of what your whole post stated.

First, the above statement was not your beginning premise. The above statement is your conclusion, and second, you have ultimately created a paradox by drawing an erroneous conclusion from your premise.

Your beginning/major premise was:
Quote
God created the universe
Your secondary/minor premise was:
Quote
God also created man
Your conclusion:
Quote
God is both separate from us and not separate from us.


It is the conclusion that you draw from this that creates the paradox. i.e, when it comes to 'separate' and 'not separate' you cannot have it both ways.

The paradox is solved, however, when you approach and apply the major premise in a different way. Let's look at it another way:
God created the universe.
God also created man.


All this logically says is that:

Man is therefore a creation just like the universe. It tells us nothing about God.

To seek knowledge of God from this same beginning premise, you need is a new syllogism that works:

God created the universe.
The universe is the totality of everything that exists (of which man is a just a small part).


If we stick with our major premise, then the only conclusion that we can logically draw about God, is:

God is inseparable from the universe--else God would not exist.

If you want to know even more about God, let's use the same beginning premise but apply it differently and follow it on through by using our previous conclusion as the minor premise:

God created the universe.
God is inseparable from the universe--else God would not exist.


The only logical thing that you can deduce from this is:

God cannot be separate from creation and therefore must be a part of creation itself.

Now, how do we deal with this problem--given what we want God to be? God cannot be 'a part of' anything, right? God must be more. If we need to have this as a conclusion in our knowledge of God, then our syllogism is still in error.

So, let's try it one more time, using our needed knowledge of God as our minor premise:

God created the universe.
God cannot be separate from the universe, yet cannot be 'a part' of anything.


There is only one logical conclusion left to us, in order that we may get everything we want by proving that both our major and minor premises are true, and that is:

God is ever-present within the universe as the 'creative principle' through which the universe in constantly being created. This is the only way that God can be the creator of the universe and still exist.


We finally found a syllogism that does not fall into error.

God as the creative principle of the universe becomes the prime mover and the movement itself. Inseparable. We are like God in that we are able to move things, and we are also in movement, but we are different from God in that we can actually be moved by other things that move. Since 'movement/God' is the 'one thing that cannot be moved/Prime mover' we have everything we need God to be. We are not separate from God--only different aspects of the same thing. Where we are limited in our physicality, God is not, because God has no physicality; God is everywhere in the universe, and yet 'no where in particular'. This does not separate us from God, rather --  God is with us at all times -- and yet remains 'more' than we are.
 
Applying this to the linguistic metaphor that James and I were working with:  Every language has a main "to be" verb--a prime mover. This is the one element that is an absolute necessity to all languages.  So it is with God and the universe. That is why 'GOD IS A VERB' works as a metaphor.

Finally, you suggested:
Quote
Unless, of course, you are coming from the standpoint of God as an impersonal force.
Everything that I have described here is in no way 'impersonal'. In fact, it is about as 'personal' as you can get. It is the "to be" of my "I AM." I would not even 'exist' if it weren't for God (as described above.) Everything I see, everything I do, everything I think, etc., is happening because there is a prime mover in the universe. Therefore, God is within me and I am within God. There is no separation. If there were a separation, I would cease to exist.  

There are several ways that this can metaphorically be described, but as you can see, you must be very careful: the whole syllogism must follow logically, or your whole position crumbles into fallacy.

~Beth
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James S
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« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2006, 13:43:28 »

Thank you Beth, for splitting off this subject and for providing such wonderful posts. Once again I am in awe of your knowledge and research.

A thought came to me while reading through your post, and then you delighted me by mentioning exactly what I was thinking about - the perfect statement - "I AM"

Beth, can you please confirm the correct translation of Exodus 3:14, where God replies to Moses "I AM THAT I AM". Some translations  have "I AM WHO I AM", but if my meager research is correct, then the proper translation fully supports what we've been saying.

If that is how it is meant to be translated then that is without a doubt one of the most stunning insights given in the Bible.

Blessings,
James.
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Beth
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« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2006, 23:51:42 »

Hey James!  grin

Well, I wish I could tell you that it is 'definately' one or the other, but, alas...

All I can tell you is what interpreters are working with:

Moses has basically asked the question: what does YHWH actually mean? The answer is found in this verse, and guess what? Because Hebrew nouns are derived from roots that also act as verbs, then YHWH can be a noun, but as we will see, it was probably meant to be a VERB!!!:grin:

EHYH AShR EHYH
eheyeh asher eheyeh:
"I am that I am," or, "I am who I am."

asher is the word you are questioning.

In Hebrew, asher is a relative pronoun. In order to break this down I will give a very pithy reminder of what pronouns are, and how they are used (without going into the many different inflections.)

Personal Pronouns:
These pronouns are personal in that they are used in lieu of proper nouns/names.

3rd person: (singular) he, she; (plural) they
2nd person: (singular) you; (plural) you
1st person: (singular) I; (plural) we

Example:
He threw the ball.
She hit the ball out of the park.
We celebrated the grand slam after the game.

Demonstrative Pronouns:
These pronouns are used to demonstrate identity, most often of "things" rather than people:

(singular) this, that
(plural) these, those

Ex:
"Take this apple and eat" said the serpent.
"You mean that apple?" Eve asked.
"God told us not to eat these apples" Adam replied.

Relative Pronouns:
Relative pronouns are used to indentify what something is relative to by connecting one clause with another. Asher is this kind of pronoun, and can mean either:

who, which or that

Ex:
I AM WHO I AM
I AM THAT I AM

Both of these are technically correct, in that as a relative pronoun either one works. Further, it may not be the relative pronoun that needs further examination!

The two clauses that are being joined in the verse are:

eheyeh and eheyeh

So asher is functioning to make these 2 clauses relative to each other.

A look at these two clauses will tell us more:

heyeh (hayah) is the primary "to be" verb of the language, and means: to be, to exist, to become, to happen, to come, or to come to pass.

eheyhey is an inflection of the primary "to be" verb, and operates as the 1st person, common, singular.  This inflection is translated here as "I am" but it can also be translated as "I will" or "I shall." Either way, the inflection is joined with the meaning of the verb.

So, what we have with the verse is question is several possibilities.

We have the traditional:

I AM THAT I AM
I AM WHO I AM

But we also have the potential of:

I SHALL BE who/that/which I SHALL BE
I WILL BECOME who/that/which I WILL COME TO BE

The first person singular "I" is translated as such because interpreter's have traditionally treated this as a 'noun', relative to YHWH (also treated as a noun) instead of a 'verb' (which YHWH is as well). If we treat it as a verb, eheyeh asher eheyeh can mean:
 
Ex:
IT IS that/which IT IS
IT SHALL BE that/which IT SHALL BE
IT WILL BECOME that/which IT WILL BECOME

Now, if we read these narrative characters as being personifications of concepts and ideas, and not real historical people (which is what my book is all about! wink ) then we can easily justify treating this particular word as a personified verb.  This way we would know that even though the narrative level of a translated text reads he/she/I, that the personification is of an idea or concept rather than an actual person. In this case, both YHWH and EHYH are inflections of the primary verb "to be."

It is worthy to note here, that YHWH as a verb in the jussive form of HWH means "LET IT BE" or "MAY IT BE" and is the equivalent of the Greek "Amen" and the English "So Mote It Be."

Now coming full circle, the question Moses' is asking in the text is: What does "YHWH" mean? To which YHWH answers (non-traditionally speaking of course):

IT IS THAT/WHICH IT IS
IT SHALL BE THAT/WHICH IT SHALL BE
IT WILL BECOME THAT/WHICH IT WILL BECOME

So, as you can see, I cannot give you a definitive answer, but YHWH/God sure looks like a creative principle to me!!:grin:

~Beth

p.s. sing along: que sera sera....whatever will be will be  wink
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James S
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« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2006, 08:07:13 »

A definitive answer though it may not be, it is still a wonderful answer that raises a great many other wonderful points.

There are so many differing beliefs and philosophies that this effectively ties in together.
Like a sphere - no matter which angle you look at it, it is still the same shape.

Thank you so much for the reply Beth. Your answer actually provides far greater insight to my question than I had considered.

Blessings,
James.
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« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2006, 17:29:44 »

I'm not sure how this ties in, but I'll try:

The opening statements in the gospel of John is, "In the Beginning there was the Word, and the Word was God, and the Word was with God." (I'm not 100% sure, it's been a while, so feel free to correct me.)

The word Beginning equates with time. God exists before "the Beginning", because he created time. It's impossible to understand this because it takes concepts, and concepts didn't exist before creation. First there was only god, and then a Word or concept. This concept was the first objectifiable illusion that there is a seperation from God. It lets us know it's an illusion because "the Word was God". On a physical level we can't experience this, but it assures us we are "with God" on the physical level, as well AS God beyond physical concepts or Words. The entirety of creation was created out of God's Words and concepts, so in essence everything is God. Being separate is an illusion.
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« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2006, 00:41:12 »

"The opening statements in the gospel of John is, "In the Beginning there was the Word, and the Word was God, and the Word was with God." (I'm not 100% sure, it's been a while, so feel free to correct me.)"

Of course, in the original Greek, the term we have translated at 'word' is actually 'Logos' which is a far more subtle term, which really translates (clunkily) as 'active creative principle or 'rational active creative principle'

so the above line should really be:

'In the Beginning there was the Logos (rational active underlying principle), and the Logos was God, and the Logos was with God'.

We see that the line you quoted is exactly in keeping with what we have been talking about in this thread about god being a verb, metaphorically speaking. God is 'action', the ultimate expression of 'action' in fact.
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« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2006, 03:55:11 »

Yes, thanks for clarifing that Gandalf. Here's what I found in "The Gospel of St. John" which is a series of lectures by Rudolph Steiner.

"When the author in his wholly characteristic manner spoke of Jesus, he could not do otherwise than begin with what he call the "Word" or the "Logos" and say: "the Word was in the beginning and all things came into being through It." If we consider the Word in its full significance, we should say that the author of this Gospel felt impelled to speak of the Logos as the origin of the world, the highest to which the human being can lift his spirit, and to say that through the Logos, the First Cause, all things have come into being."
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« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2006, 03:02:12 »

What is created is from and part of the creator.  How we perceive it is filtered by what we can understand and what we believe, and sometimes how we want it to be.
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« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2006, 17:58:38 »

How so?

I do not see how God -must- not be separate from us, it makes more sense to believe that God is both separate from us and not separate from us at the same time, does it not?

God created the universe, God also created man, I truly believe that God is part of everything and everyone, I do not wish to derail the thread with this concept, but to say that the greatest blasphemy is that God was ever separate from us seems... absurd.

God must have been separate from us in the Beginning to have created us, if indeed he/she/it created us at all. If God did not create us, is such a being God? At least in the sense many people understand the concept.

I do not believe so.
The Christian idea about this is pretty fundamental and simple. Remember this is just the Christian idea about this, OK. So, no hate post please. I am also only talking about "in the beginning" and there is more that goes into this later in creation, but it's kind of not on topic so I won't discuss it in this thread.
OK, here it goes!
God created man.
Man sinned. Man is impure because of sin.
God is pure because he is without sin.
So God cannot be with man because God is pure and man is impure.
God cannot impure therefore he is separate from impure man.
That's it in a nutshell!


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« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2006, 18:46:22 »

Vedantic Teachings ( hinduism) are based on concept that Creator and cration are non-separate.. yuo may find some food article on www.avgsatsang.org if you are intersted in reading more ( you may to click on the pictures of saints to acces articles by them).. I havent visited the website in a few months..
Thoght you may find them interesting..
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