Who is God? And how exactly do you relate to Him when you’re a human being? With so much teaching on God being misleading, harmful, and straight up wrong, I’m going to explain a few basic principles about the whole God thing that can clear up some confusion and help you avoid a lot of angst.
Who is God?
God is real. This is the single most important fact about God that you need to understand. He’s real. He’s also a very specific Being with a specific personality. You see, while human theories about God range all over the place and portray Him in wildly different ways, God isn’t really a vague, vacillating mishmash of many ideas. God is who He is, and who He is is quite clear, specific and unchanging. Just as you are always you, and just as you don’t morph into George on Tuesday then Sally on Thursday, God is who He is. He isn’t sometimes Zeus and other times Jesus. The endless characters that humans portray God as are just that: characters. None of them are accurate portrayals of who He is. For starters, every God character that religions promote have features that God simply doesn’t have in His natural state.
Now suppose your son Tom is playing the role of dinosaur in a school play. You might point to Tom up there in his dramatic costume and say, “That’s my son.” Everyone knows you aren’t trying to say that your offspring is a dinosaur. When people see the big green dinosaur bouncing about onstage, they all understand that there is a human being inside that suit who is making the dinosaur character seem alive. This is the same sort of thing that God did when He came up with the character Jesus Christ. Jesus was God in costume, but while the costume was that of a Jewish man, God is not Jewish, male, or human.
Throughout human history, God has periodically shown up in our world wearing many different costumes. While His Jesus costume gained lasting global acclaim, some of His others went entirely unnoticed. But the key point to realize is that although God can show up in any form He wants whenever He wants, the costume He chooses never gives us an accurate idea of who He really is.
God doesn’t have a physical form. In our world, everything seems to have a physical form. Even the wind pushes around physical particles of the air as it whooshes by. Viruses, colors, sounds and even lights can all be described in terms of physical particles moving about. With our entire existence in this world being focused on physical matter, we simply can’t grasp the idea of a Being who is highly complex, intelligent, present, and purposeful without imagining Him as having some kind of form. Yet God is formless. And to us, that is utterly bizarre.
In His natural, non-physical state, God is impossible for you to perceive. You can’t see Him, hear Him or touch Him. Even though He is literally present with you as you read these words, you simply have no tools to detect Him unless He wants to be detected by you.
Suppose you have a magic coat that allows you to move about in a man’s house both invisibly and silently. In such a situation, it would be quite easy for you to hang out with the man without him knowing you were there. The man relies on his senses to detect when other beings are around him, but your magic coat is allowing you to avoid that kind of detection. Since you are in a position to control when the man even becomes aware of your presence, you hold all of the power. The man will not have the option of trying to relate to you until you intentionally make him aware of your presence. But while the man does not know about you, you know about the man, and you might be doing all sorts of things to manipulate his behavior.
This magic coat metaphor illustrates the position we are all in with God. God is always present with you, and He has been actively involved in your life from the beginning. But it is quite impossible for you to become aware of Him until He wants you to.
Now let’s go back to you wearing your magic coat. Suppose you shove over a vase in the man’s house, causing it to smash onto the ground. Now that certainly grabbed his attention, didn’t it? Even if the man wanted to not notice the vase crashing, he really didn’t have that option, did he?
One of the many fascinating things about humans is how easy we are to control. It was very simple for you to come up with an action you could do that would be guaranteed to grab that man’s attention. In the same way, it’s a very simple thing for God to grab your attention when He is interested in doing so. What this means is that “finding God” really isn’t the vague, frustrating mystery that many religions make it out to be. For starters, you don’t have to “find” Him, because He’s already with you at all times. But what you do need is for Him to make a relationship possible by communicating with you.
If you were to just skulk around the man’s house in your magic coat, he’d never realize you were there, and therefore he’d never attempt to talk to you. In the same way, if God keeps His reality hidden from you, then you will never try to talk to Him. It’s a simple thing for God to keep us completely ignorant about His existence. He can even make the whole idea of His reality seem utterly absurd. But why would He want to do this? Well, this is one of many strange qualities about God that we struggle to understand. He simply has a very different approach to relationships than we do.
For humans, time is as big of an issue as physical form. Everything we do is related to time, and it is our sense of time passing that often makes us feel like there’s a big urgency to “finding God” and cultivating a relationship with Him. But for God, time is a concept He invented and introduced to only some of His creatures. Time isn’t really a thing in God’s reality. He doesn’t personally feel that He has a big clock ticking away over His head, prodding Him to hurry up, or threatening to steal opportunities away from Him. To God, time can be paused, reversed and sped up as easily as you can manipulate the pace of a movie with your remote control. Because God personally controls time, it simply isn’t the big deal to Him that it is to us. And that is another really bizarre concept that makes our minds feel frazzled.
So now we have a non-physical, undetectable Being who is very much involved in our lives, yet also being very selective about when He introduces Himself to each of us. Some of us will remain ignorant about God’s reality for most of our lives. Sure, other humans can insist that He is real, but until God gives you a personal “aha” moment, your soul will view God more like a possibility than a reality. Even when we really hope there’s a God out there somewhere, that’s different than knowing He is real. Of course once you know that God is real, your life suddenly becomes a whole lot more complicated because now you’ve got this all-knowing, all-powerful Deity whose personal opinion of you will have major ramifications for how your existence as one of His creatures unfolds. Clearly the smart thing to do would be to figure out how to stay on the good side of this mysterious Being’s complex Personality. But how are you supposed to do that? And given what a bizarre kind of Being God is, how exactly are you supposed to relate to Him?
Relating to God
When it comes to forming relationships with other human beings, your body plays a critical role. We don’t tend to think of it this way; instead, humans tend to wax on about their hearts and emotions when they talk about relating to each other. But if you think about it, you’ll realize that it’s quite impossible for you to convey any kind of message to another human being without the help of your body. Facial expressions, hand motions, hugging, kissing, and speaking are all physical actions which would be quite impossible to do if you didn’t have at least one physical element to your being. Happily, you do have such an element–just one, but one is enough. While your mind and soul are non-physical elements, your body is that critical element which is able to translate mental and spiritual messages into physical sounds, motions, and touches.
Now what’s so fascinating about this setup is that your body is the least interested in your relationships with other beings. It’s your subconscious mind and your soul that are the most impacted by your relationships with others. Certainly your body can benefit from your relationships, but not nearly to the extent that your mind and soul do. And yet without your body acting as their translator, your mind and soul would have no way of forming relationships with other humans. What a complicated thing you are.
So what about God? When you watch religious people going through a bunch of physical rituals such as clasping hands in prayer, kneeling on prayer rugs, and passing around special foods, it certainly seems like the body is playing an important role. And yet the great irony is that your body is irrelevant in your relationship with God. You actually relate to your God entirely with your soul. Sometimes your other elements will respond to what your soul is doing, like when your body clasps your hands together when it senses that your soul is talking to God. But other times, your elements will ignore what your soul and God are doing because they just don’t care.
Your mind and body have no interest in God. The only time God becomes a Being of interest to elements other than your soul is when He seems to be affecting your soul in significant ways. When your soul gets super excited about some activity that it feels God wants you to do, that affects your mind and body, because now your soul is insisting that they help it carry out its plans. Or, when your soul gets super stressed out about the idea of God punishing you for something you did, that affects your other elements because they are automatically upset by your soul being in angst.
Your body wants food. Nice tasting food on a regular basis. And plenty of it, thank you very much. Your body really isn’t a fan of low cal diets, hard to digest “health foods,” and forcing down bad tasting dishes in the name of “good manners.” So when your soul decides that not eating at all for a while will help it gain a new level of supernatural insight, your body finds the idea of fasting to be quite repulsive. But if your souls kicks up enough of a fuss, your body will feel coerced into cooperating. And then it will decide that whoever this God is that is giving your soul such bad ideas is quite a pain in the neck.
Your subconscious is focused on getting your needs met as quickly and conveniently as possible. Waiting to have sex until your married? Highly inconvenient. Having a one night stand with the sexy someone at the bar? Quick and efficient. But then your soul starts moaning and groaning about the immorality of what you’re trying to do, and it’s going on about how God wouldn’t approve. Just who is this God, and why is your soul so enamored with what He thinks? Your subconscious finds your soul’s obsession with God to be quite exasperating, especially when your soul keeps using Him as an excuse to hamper your subconscious’ agendas.
Your conscious‘ main job is to act as a mediator between your subconscious and other beings. When you engage in a conversation with other people, for example, much of what you say is the result of your conscious passing on the subconscious‘ instructions to the body. Your conscious spends far more time listening and responding to your other elements than it does initiating. Like the secretary who only acts when she receives a direct order, your conscious primarily acts on directives from your subconscious. It will change its focus to your soul if your soul becomes forceful enough, but it usually considers your subconscious to be the top ranking boss. It is this biased view that causes humans to feel so out of touch with their own souls.
Your conscious is the only one of your elements to favor a verbal language. When thoughts form in your head that are possible to speak out loud (because they have a verbal form), it is usually your conscious that formed those thoughts. Your soul, body, and subconscious each have their own non-verbal language, but your conscious is able to understand those languages enough to form verbal summaries of them. When people pray to God out loud, what they’re really doing is using their conscious minds to form verbal translations of things that their souls have already said to God.
When God speaks to you, He speaks directly to your soul using your soul’s native language. Your soul does not speak or think using words. It has its own spiritual language which is far richer and more efficient than the language you use to speak to other humans. To understand how superior your soul’s language is to verbal communication, imagine trying to describe the beauty of this scene using words:
It feels impossible to do, doesn’t it? Your best attempt would have to use many words and run on quite a bit, yet you still wouldn’t feel like you were able to help someone else see this exact picture in their imagination based on what you said.
Now think about how lacking your verbal description of this picture would be. That is how lacking all verbal prayers to God are. When your soul prays to God, it’s like it simply shows Him this picture. When your conscious then tries to describe what your soul just showed God, the best it can come up with is a verbal prayer that really doesn’t begin to capture the depth of what your soul actually said.
Humans pray out loud for their own benefit and for the benefit of other humans. Your soul and God certainly don’t need verbal prayers to happen, nor do they feel that those verbal prayers are accurate translations of what they say to each other.
Now how long did you have to stare at that picture to comprehend what it was? Just a fraction of a second, right? This is how efficient your soul’s language is: in the time it takes you to blink your eyes once, your soul can communicate highly complex messages to God. Using the same language, God can communicate a highly complex reply with the same lightning quick speed. The extreme efficiency of your soul’s language combined with the fact that your soul and God tend to converse back and forth with lightning speed causes your conscious to simply give up on trying to translate most of what you and God say to each other. There’s just too much being said much too fast for your conscious to try to keep up. This is why humans often feel frustrated with their attempts to pray to God using words. There’s often an internal sense that what they say out loud isn’t a good match to what they really want to say, but that what they’re feeling internally is impossible to describe. The good news is that all of this frustration is based on a myth that we must talk to God using the same method that we use for other humans. While other humans are incapable of deciphering your soul’s thoughts without any translation help, God never misunderstands what you are saying to Him. You also express your thoughts to God far better than you consciously realize.
Your soul isn’t just the element that you use to talk to God and to receive messages from Him. Your soul is also the part of you that forms a relationship with God. Here is where we come to the all important issue of soul attitudes. Whenever God speaks to your soul, your soul is forced to choose how it will respond to Him. The ominous subject of Divine judgement is simply God’s response to the choices your soul makes regarding Him.
When God speaks to your soul, it’s like you walking up behind your friend Rob and tapping him on the shoulder. As soon as you tap Rob, you and he both know that he felt your tap. But suppose that Rob doesn’t turn around. Even though he’s acting like he didn’t get the message, you know that he did, so you interpret his behavior the way he wants you to: as an insulting snub. In the same way, when your soul hears God speak but responds by ignoring Him, your soul is intentionally snubbing God, and He responds accordingly.
Now before anyone spins off into unnecessary angst, it’s vital to realize that the error factor in these exchanges is non-existent. A lot of sincere God seekers start fretting over the possibility of honestly not registering some message that God is saying. They then leap to the very wrong conclusion that God is going to get mad and punish them for snubbing Him when that is not at all what they are doing. While such misunderstandings often occur between humans, you will never have this problem with God. This is because God knows how to make your soul register His Voice, and He only holds you accountable for how you respond to communications that He knows you actually received. And by the way, some religious person yammering at you does not qualify as God speaking to your soul. While many religious people will declare that “God says” you are doing something morally wrong, therefore you’re on His bad list, no one gets to do God’s judging for Him. God will only judge you based on your response to Him, not on your response to a bunch of people who claim to be speaking for Him. While it’s true that God will sometimes speak to you through another human, when this happens, God will give your soul direct confirmation that what’s being said is really His message. When you don’t receive any such confirmation (which is often the case when humans start rolling out the “God says” lectures) you are not expected to just assume those people are legitimately speaking for God. In fact, it is actually dangerous to believe that any message is from God without first checking with Him directly in the privacy of your own soul.
So let’s summarize. You communicate with God using your soul, and it is your soul’s response to Him that you are judged by. I explained earlier that your body and mind tend to have a rather negative view of God, which is why it’s such good news to realize that God does not judge you by the way these elements respond to Him. Often your mind and soul will have very different responses to God at the same time, and if you don’t understand that He only judges you by your soul response, you’ll go spinning off into all kinds of fear and stress about your mind’s bad attitude.
Now many religions exalt the soul as the superior element while they teach disdain for the mind and body. In Christianity, for example, there is a lot of talk about trying to suppress and overcome your fallen/sinful/evil nature and its “depraved” desires. Such negative terms are really describing your subconscious and body, and essentially teaching you to loathe two thirds of your being. Well, it’s not going to take you anywhere good to sit around cultivating an attitude of self-disgust. Your subconscious and body have logical, valid reasons for doing what they do and wanting what they want. Rather than write off those two parts of your being as “evil” and “wrong,” you should get better educated about how those elements work and learn to see their value. Self-compassion is a far more helpful attitude than self-hate, yet unfortunately many religions teach self-hate as they talk as if the soul is the only part of you that matters.
Once you realize how flawed religious teachings can be, you can see why talking to God directly is a far better choice than trying to cultivate a relationship with Him through human mediators who claim to be in His inner circle. God doesn’t really have any such “inner circle.” The mega missionary, the impressive evangelist, and the miraculous healer have no spiritual advantage over you. The fact that someone can quote religious texts from memory or wax on about theological topics doesn’t mean they have a better connection to God than you do. In the first place, so much of what passes as “holy acts” and “spiritual maturity” is a bunch of self-exalting guff. In the second place, no one can force God to relate to them. God is the One who decides when and how He is going to communicate with each of us. The best you can do is to make the most of any opportunities He gives you to relate to Him, and that simply means giving Him a positive soul response when He speaks to you.
Now this post is already quite long and I’ve barely explained anything. As you’re probably already suspecting, the topic of how to relate to your non-human Creator is extremely vast and complex. There is so much you can learn about Him as well as your own soul. There is so much you can learn about how to respond to God in ways that will gain His favor and help you thrive as His creature. I’ll be posting a lot more information on this most fascinating topic in the future, because your soul deserves as much attention as your mind, and on this site, the goal is to help you gain a much better understanding of both of these amazing elements.
Looking for advice? You can submit an anonymous request through the Ask a Question page.
To find out why supernatural beings are discussed on this site, see Regarding Supernatural Beings.