Conversations with God, part 4
The worldview of the book
In the beginning, before time began, God was all alone, being the only thing that existed. But it would be a mistake to say that God was merely All That Is, for God was not only All That Is, but was also All That Is Not (p.24). Since God was both All That Is and All That Is Not, she referred to herself as the Is Not-Is.
The problem with the view so far is that it treats non-existence as if it were existence. God was the only thing that existed, but God was made up of both that which existed and that which didn't exist. But how can you be made up of that which doesn't exist? That which doesn't exist doesn't make up anything!
Anyway, God knew herself cognitively, but she wanted to know herself experientially. She couldn't know herself experientially because for any experience to happen, there has to be such a thing as otherness. There has to be two things so that one thing can experience the other. So God created a distinction within herself so that "this" and "that" could experience each other (p.22-23). To create this distinction, God exploded into an infinite number of parts.
Since there are two parts of God—the IS, and the Is Not—each exploded into something quite different. Out of the Is came spirit beings—our souls. We are all the children of God in the sense that we came from God. Collectively, we are God. Out of the Is Not (i.e. non-existence) came the physical cosmos, and it exploded in the big bang (p.25). So the universe was created ex nihilo.
Another problem with this view is that it contradicts a view later expressed in the book. Since God is all that is and all that is not, we must all be a part of God. We make up the part that Is. Anything that exists must be part of God. The contradiction comes on page 197 when we find out that God, whom we thought was the summation of all things that exist, is actually part of something bigger. Just as we are children of God, so also is God the child of another. But if God is the child of another, then God can't be all that exists, just as I am not all that exists. I'm only part of all that exists, just as God would have to be only part of all that exists. But if God is only part of all that exists, then God can't be the summation of all that exists. We have here a contradiction.
Anyway, God had created both the physical and the spiritual worlds. The purpose of the physical world is to allow those in the spiritual world to know experientially, not just conceptually. We spirit children were made to enter the physical world for that purpose (p.27). When we became physical, we forgot who we were so that we could choose to be Who We Really Are. The process of remembering allows God to experience herself. Here, and in several other places, God uses several clever puns to get her point across. "Remembrance" takes on two meanings. On the one hand, to remember means to recall what was previously known. But to re-member is to join back together with the other parts of God. It is through remembering that we are able to re-member.
The question in my mind was this: Why would we want to? To be absorbed back into the cosmic oneness, in my mind, is no different than ceasing to exist as an individual.
to be continued...