An Open Letter to Our World
DOES GOD’S LOVE TURN TO
WRATH ON A MOMENT’S NOTICE?
EDITOR’S NOTE: I am excited to be able to use this space on the Internet as a place in which we can join together to ignite a worldwide exploration of some of the most revolutionary theological ideas to come along in a long time.
The ideas I intend to use this space for in the immediate future are the ideas found in GOD’S MESSAGE TO THE WORLD: You’ve Got Me All Wrong. I believe this new book (published last October by Rainbow Ridge Books) places before our species some of the most important “What if” questions that could be contemplated by contemporary society.
The questions are important because they invite us to ponder some of the most self-damaging ideas about God ever embraced by our species. For example, the statement that,,,
God is vengeful and God’s love can turn to wrath
This is an extension of an earlier belief. Much of the world believes in a God who is a male super-being, who demands obedience, who says we are imperfect because we have not been obedient, and who tells us that in order for us to be in God’s good graces (and thus, eligible for admission into heaven), we must meet certain very specific requirements— and whose love turns to wrath if those requirements are not met.
A search of many of the holy books of the human species produces countless references to “the wrath of God” in many of the world’s religious traditions.
In the Jewish tradition we are told at Nahum 1:2 that “Adonai is a jealous and vengeful God. Adonai avenges; he knows how to be angry. Adonai takes vengeance on his foes and stores up wrath for his enemies.”
In the Christian tradition we are told in John 3:35-36 that, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
In the Islamic traditions we are told at Verse 005:060 about: “. . . those whom Allah has cursed, those upon whom fell the wrath of Allah, those whom Allah turned into monkeys and pigs, and the devotees of the arrogant and the evil. Their plight is the worst; they are the farthest away from the straight path.”
In the Mormon tradition we are told in Mosiah 3:36 of those who “have drunk out of the cup of the wrath of God, which justice could no more deny unto them than it could deny that Adam should fall because of his partaking of the forbidden fruit; therefore, mercy could have claim on them no more forever.”
Things are considered pretty serious when scriptures that we call holy tell us of a Deity that we call merciless. Small wonder that people throughout history have been nervous about offending God. Even Moses was known to have said in a prayer to God: “. . . we are consumed by thine anger, and by thy wrath are we troubled.” (Psalm 90:7)
Indeed, we are. This idea of God’s merciless anger permeates human considerations of The Divine, and has done so for centuries.
Now comes The Great What If . . .
What if God has never displayed, and never will express or experience, wrath?
Would it make a difference? Does it matter? In the overall scheme of things, would it have any significant impact in our planetary experience?
Yes. Of course it would. It would allow us to believe in a God whose love is unconditional and is never withdrawn for any reason at all—and certainly not for our beliefs.
This, in turn, would give human beings, at last, an accurate model of the true nature of love, and a wonderful example of how to love one other. Right now many humans use their understanding of how God loves us as their model of how they should love one another.
Accepting the notion that God’s love is unconditional would mean that a display of human wrath for any reason could no longer rely for its justification on the teaching that God has brought His wrath to bear on humanity time and time again. (You will recall that the Bible indicates that over two million people were killed at the hand or the command of God.)
At the level of individual life partnerships and romantic relationships, a new way of loving each other would have a demonstrable basis if humans were not told over and over again about God’s wrath. That new basis would be God’s unconditional love. What a model we would finally have! Someone who loves us no matter what.
Fear, too, would leave the human heart forever if we thought that the experience of love—whether the love of another human being or the love of God—was forever.
If we thought that God had no wrath, little children could go to bed no longer having to worry about what will happen if they don’t live until morning. The prayer, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray to God my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray to God my soul to take . . .” could be changed to: “Now I lay me down to sleep, I know that God my soul will keep. And if I die before I wake, I know that God my soul will take.”
If we thought that God expresses no wrath, billions of adults could go to bed no longer feeling the urge to beg Mary, the mother of Jesus, to “pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.”
Thus, Supplication Theology would be replaced by Application Theology.
Supplication Theology is a theology in which we are placed in the position of a supplicant, continually asking God, begging God, entreating with God for one thing or another.
Application Theology is a theology in which we apply in our lives what we know to be true about our relationship to God: that God lives in us, through us, as us, and that the qualities of divinity are ours to apply in our daily lives, including wisdom, clarity, knowledge, creativity, power, abundance, compassion, patience, understanding, needlessness, peace, and love.
Now here is God’s message to the world:
God has been telling us from the very beginning, and it is becoming more clear to us every day, that humanity’s Ancient Cultural Story about God’s wrath is plainly and simply inaccurate.
It is okay now to remove this ancient teaching from our current story, and stop telling this to ourselves and to our children. The fact is that God has no reason to experience or express wrath. When you are everything, have everything, created everything, experience everything, and can express everything that you wish to express, what can there be to be filled with rage about? When you want nothing, need nothing, require nothing, demand nothing, and command nothing, what can there be for you to feel betrayed about?
Finally, when there is nothing else in existence except You, who is there for you to be rageful with? Whom shall you punish? Shall the right hand slap the left?
The idea of a wrathful God rests on a notion that God cares what you do or don’t do as one of billions of creatures in one of billions of moments on one of billions of planets in one of billions of sectors of a cosmos that is one billion trillion times the size of your home star. And not only that God cares, but that God cares so much as to be deeply wounded and grievously offended if your behavior does not live up to what is expected—nay, commanded—of you.
That would be akin to saying that you are concerned with one grain of sand out of all the grains of sand on all the beaches in all the world. You may love the sand and all its grains because they are part of the wonder and beauty of all the world’s beaches, but you certainly wouldn’t be filled with wrath if one of those grains was not reflecting the sunlight the way it was designed to. And you certainly wouldn’t be furious if you knew that this was but a temporary condition in any event, lasting no more than a nanosecond in the eternal span of that grain of sand’s existence.
The idea of a wrathful God not only depends upon our acceptance of the thought that God has a preference in the matter of our behaviors, but also on the notion that all of our behaviors and all of their consequences have not already taken place.
A wrathful deity can only be considered within totally artificial constructs of space and time. Yet in the universal Here/Now, God cannot become wrathful based on something that has just happened, but would have to always be wrathful based on all the things with which God is said to disagree, since everything that has ever happened, is happening now, and ever will happen is occurring simultaneously in the eternal and singular moment of Evernow.
It is true that God is always being something in Evernow, but “wrath” is not it. God is Love, eternal and unchanging.
Not wrath. Love. Love unconditional. The Essential Essence. The Prime Force. The Pure Energy. The Singular Element. The Only Thing There Is.
To gravitate toward this new and revolutionary holding of the Divine Reality and the Deity experience, one would have to release oneself from the notion that God is a creature of moods, whose temperament depends on what is happening at a particular time on a particular day in a particular life in a particular place on a particular planet in a particular solar system of a particular galaxy within a particular quadrant of a particular universe. To help you move to this new and revolutionary holding, remember this always:
God is Love, eternal and unchanging. Not wrath. Love. Love unconditional.
There is a third notion we must deal with. It is the stubborn belief that there is something called “divine justice,” which can be violated, or that divine perfection can somehow be irrevocably marred, by a single event in the single life of . . . here we go again . . . a single being on a single planet in a single solar system of a single galaxy within a single quadrant of a single universe.
We are told by some religions that it is this violation or marring that God finds intolerable and unacceptable, and which must therefore be rectified and reconciled. Yet God tells us (as opposed to what religions tell us) that perfection can’t be marred, because perfection is the natural state of things and the everlasting condition and reality.
In truth, no one thing is better than another, but all things are simply what they are: reflections of a perfectly functioning universe in a perfectly demonstrating manifestation of a perfectly existing reality, one thing leading inexorably to another in a never-ending process called evolution.
How can any and every reality be perfect? Simple. If no one and nothing requires anything or something other than What Is. And this is the natural state of things.
In Ultimate Reality that which is divine requires and desires nothing other than What Is, for the very good reason that What Is is the sum total of all possibilities, all events, all circumstances, all conditions, all experiences, and all expressions of life in any and all forms, all at once.
A rainy day is no less perfect than a sunny day, for it is the rainy day that makes the glory of the sunny day joyful, and the heat of the sunny day that makes the cooling of the rainy day welcome.
It is the mistake on her multiplication tables at age nine that produces the mathematical genius teaching advanced calculus at MIT at age thirty-four.
And yes, it is even the horror of the worst of human experiences that has given birth to the best of our species’ expressions as we evolve across the decades, centuries, and millennia.
Across the span of all existence, one circumstance or event produces, eventually, an awareness that authors another circumstance or event, and the master lives life without judgment or condemnation of that process, nor of any person or occurrence that is part of it, but rather, sees the grander mosaic.
“Justice” and “perfection” are human constructions created within the context of relative values. The idea of divine justice depends upon a preceding idea that some things are “right” and some things are “wrong” in the mind of God. Yet such an idea does not exist in the realm of the spiritual, which is also a realm of the Absolute, where everything is experi- enced Here/Now, and the only energy is Absolute Love.
Every spiritual master knows this, which is why all spiritual masters have said, each in their own way: Judge not, and neither condemn. You have already heard this message before here—and you will hear it again before these proceedings are concluded—for it rests at the heart of everything the human race is invited to embrace in its new understanding of God.
The question is, does “judge not, and neither condemn” apply as well to God?
The answer that most religionists have given us is, no. Humans are not to judge, but God is expected to judge.
Yet is this how everything is really supposed to work? And if so, why? How did it get to be this way?