What is the relationship between God and reality?
It may seem a strange question, but whether we see ourselves as atheists, agnostics, believers, or perhaps mystics, it is important to clarify.
Do I see God as somehow separate from the reality we know? Separate but connected? Or identical?
If we see reality and God as identical, what does that mean?
For mystics, God and reality are two names for the same. All appearances are the play of God.
In evolutionary spirituality, God and reality are identical as well. The evolution of the Universe, this planet, and ourselves as a species, are expressions of the creativity of God. Science is one way to explore God, as is art, religion, and our experiences in everyday life.
And Byron Katie likes to say that God is another name for reality, and it is kind. I believe something, life (God, reality) shows up differently, so I am invited to examine my beliefs more closely. I may recognize that the stories I have are questions, and find a richer set of stories and the (limited) validity in each.
So whatever is real, is God. There are many ways to explore reality, and taking some ques from science and the mystics can be very helpful:
All thoughts (maps, models, stories, interpretations) are questions, and pointers for own exploration.This is the inquiry aspect.
They are tools for guiding attention, choices, and actions. Each one may be helpful in some situations, and not so helpful in other. This is the pragmatic aspect.
And stories happens as content of experience. There may be images of a me, as this human self in the world. There may be images of an I, as a doer and observer. There may be identification with each of these to varying degrees. But is that what “I” am? What is the reality of it? What happens if identification releases out of the (images of) me and I? What is really here? Also, how does what I am experiencing show up in each sense field? Can I find space outside of the mental field? Can I find time outside of the mental field? Can I find a sense of solidity or substance outside of interpretations from the mental field? This is questioning our most basic assumptions.
And, of course, this too is just a question. A pointer for own exploration.
There are at least two ways of seeing reality and God as identical.
I can take my stories and beliefs about God as reality, no matter what science, daily experience, and sanity says. This is the loony bin approach.
Or I can investigate reality using pointers from science, as mentioned above. This is the more sane approach.
We all do some of each, at different times and in different areas of life. And stress and unease tells me when I take the first approach.
– two ways of seeing reality and God as identical
— (a) my beliefs about God are reality, no matter what science, daily experience etc. say (loony bin)
— (b) investigation of reality (science approach)
— we all do some of each, at different times, in different areas of life
It is indeed? possible that God exists. It is also possible that, as Bertrand Russell said, “an invisible teakettle is orbiting the moon.” The probability of either assertion is so small it can scarcely be measured.
Yes, but it also depends on what you mean by “God”. If you, as some do, equate God with reality, whatever that? reality is, it is a little different. (Reality here means whatever is, whatever that may be, including reality as explored through science.)