02. Seeing beyond the graven images of God

Ascended Master Lord Maitreya through Kim Michaels.

 

Does God exist? People have been pondering this question for eons. While some claim to have found proof that God exists in a particular form, others claim there is no final proof and still others claim to have proof that God does not exist. This controversy has given rise to the related question, “If God does indeed exist, why hasn’t he given human beings some irrefutable proof that he exists?” This question is worth pondering before we go any further.

Let us begin by considering how God could possibly give such a proof. How could any proof be irrefutable? Or rather, how could there ever be a proof or fact that could not be doubted by the human mind? When you look at the variety of ideas and belief systems found on Earth, it is not difficult to see that for every idea or belief there is a counter-idea that seems to invalidate or at least question the original idea. Today, it seems completely obvious to most people that the Earth is round. Yet only a few centuries ago, this now accepted fact was disputed by most people. 

The logical conclusion is that most human beings are in a state of consciousness that is dominated by an interplay of two opposites—truth and falsity, count and counter-point, black and white. These two opposites are – or seem to be – mutually exclusive. A statement cannot be true and false at the same time—or so it seems to the human mind. And thus, it seems that people must choose between one of the opposing viewpoints. They either accept that God exists or they accept that he does not exist, and in either case they cite evidence to “prove” their belief—evidence that can be debated and disputed endlessly without ever finding a final answer. So instead of finding the final answer to the question of God’s existence, people continue to debate the evidence, and they continue to seek to convince others that their evidence constitutes a final, absolute and infallible proof.

Is there an alternative approach to the question of God’s existence? Let us step back from the debate. Let us recognize that most of the people who argue for or against the existence of God do so based on a particular mental image of God or of “reality.” For example, materialists argue that there is no God because they claim to have discovered an evolutionary mechanism in nature that supposedly can account for the appearance of today’s multitude of species. Thus, if everything could have come from a random process, there is no need for an intelligent creator. However, this theory is based on certain assumptions, and these assumptions are based on a particular view of the world. One such assumption is that a highly structured and orderly universe – and science continues to discover deeper layers of complexity and order – could actually have arisen from a completely random process. In other words, they say randomness can – by chance – produce order and it can – randomly – uphold an ordered process of evolution that – over billions of years – leads from less complex to more complex life forms, such as human beings. Obviously, this cannot be proven in an ultimate way (if everything is random, how can an ordered process be proven?), and thus the entire world view of materialistic science rests on an assumption. 

What is an assumption? It is a mental image of reality that you choose to create even though you have no direct experience or proof to demonstrate that the image is correct. You assume your image is true, and therefore, an assumption is a chosen rather than a necessary or infallible mental image. If you have a strong desire to prove your assumption, you might see only evidence that supports it and overlook evidence that goes beyond it. You see what you want to see, because you have used your assumption to form a mental image and you are now seeking to project that image upon reality.

Most religions argue that God does exist, but in reality they are not arguing for a universal or transcendental concept of God. They are arguing for a specific concept or image of God, as defined by their sacred scriptures and by their current interpretations of those scriptures, their preferred doctrines. They are arguing that their God exists and that he/she/it is the only true God. For example, the mainstream Christian churches argue that God is omnipotent and thus he could not have created anything imperfect. Yet everyone can observe that conditions on Earth are not perfect because they produce much suffering. So either an omnipotent God created human beings to suffer or something must have prevented God’s original intent from being manifest on this planet. Either way, there is no absolute proof that God is omnipotent, so this is another example of an assumption that is chosen and not the only possible assumption.

If we are to prove the existence of God in an ultimate way, we have to go beyond theories that are based on assumptions, assumptions that can be disputed based on people’s chosen view of “reality.” We have to go beyond theories that are expressed in words, words that can be interpreted differently by different people. We have to find a way to prove God’s existence that is beyond the human mind, the level of consciousness dominated by the two relative opposites. We have to find something that is beyond truth and error, something that cannot be influenced by the dualistic mind, the mind that sees everything in terms of opposites. To find absolute proof, we must turn to experience, but not just any experience.

***

Most people believe in the existence of atoms, and most people believe in the existence of apples. Most people have never seen an atom, so their belief in the reality of atoms does not rest on direct experience. Instead, it rests on a process that takes place entirely in the mind, a process that has led most people to accept that everything they see is made of invisible building blocks that look like miniature solar systems. Yet because most people have not seen an actual atom, their belief in atoms rests on the creation of a mental image. After they became aware of this mental image, they used the mind’s reasoning faculties to accept that the image must be accurate and therefore atoms must exist. The point is that people’s acceptance of the existence of atoms requires the intermediate step of a mental image.

In contrast, people’s belief in the reality of apples is not based on any kind of reasoning process. People do not have to reason in order to accept the existence of apples, they simply have to draw upon experience. They have all seen an apple, felt its smooth skin, heard the sound of their fingers rubbing that skin, smelled its fragrance and experienced the taste of the sweet juice. Thus, few would seriously dispute that apples are real. The point being that although people have a mental image of apples, they do not need this image in order to accept the existence of apples. They have had a direct experience of the phenomenon they call an apple, and their acceptance is based on this experience with no intermediary in the form of a mental image. 

As discussed above, people who believe in the non-existence of God have no experiential proof for this belief. It is not possible to experience that God does not exist—it is only possible to fail to have the experience that God does exist. It is not possible to experience the non-existence of something, as it is not possible to logically prove that something does not exist. You can experience an apple, but you cannot experience the non-existence of apples. You can say that at this point you have not had the experience of apples, but that does not prove you could never have this experience. Likewise, all one can say is that one has not experienced the existence of God. One can never rule out that such an experience could be attained in the future. Thus, people who believe God does not exist do so based on a mental image, a mental image that portrays a world in which God is not needed. The point being that this non-belief in God is not based on direct experience but requires the intermediary of a mental image.

Most religious people have not experienced the Presence of God. Their belief in God rests entirely on a mental image defined by a particular religion. The point being that whether people believe in God or do not believe in God, their belief is based on a mental image and not on direct experience. If people were to have a direct experience of the Presence of God, their view of God would no longer be based on belief, would no longer be based on the acceptance or non-acceptance of a mental image. Thus, the existence of God would be no more mysterious than the existence of apples. 

We might say that when you believe in something, your belief is based on a mental image. The mental image is subject to belief or non-belief, and it can be debated endlessly by the dualistic mind without ever finding a conclusive answer. When you experience something, you go beyond the mental image to a direct perception. Yet even experience is not absolute. It is possible that your experience can be colored by your mental images, as if you are seeing the world through colored glasses. Thus, you can refine your experience, but seeking direct experience is still better than clinging to a mental image. We might say that only those who are willing to seek for a direct experience have the potential to answer the question of God’s existence. A mental image can never prove or disprove anything. 

Can human beings have a direct experience of the Presence of God? Many people – from every religion, even some from no religious background – have had spiritual or mystical experiences. In fact, the statement in the Old Testament that human beings were created “in the image” and “after the likeness” of God (Genesis 1:26) is an indication that human beings were designed with the capacity to have a direct experience of God’s Presence. Yet this ability to experience God is not based on the physical senses, which is why most people have experienced apples but they have not experienced God. You can experience God only by going beyond the physical senses and even beyond the entire consciousness that creates mental images of reality, the consciousness that operates with relative opposites.

 

NOTE: The rest of this dictation is available in the book Master Keys to Spiritual Freedom.

 

 

Copyright © 2007 Kim MIchaels.

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