You are God

(Me too!)

The Pope recently redefined Hell to be a state of isolation from others and from God, as opposed to a place where tireless demons poke at you with pitchforks and daub you with fire and brimstone. Well, this can hardly be surprising in a world where most folks have never seen a pitchfork and don't have any idea what is so nasty about burning sulfur. The Catholic Church has a tradition of gradual and methodical adaptability, if not such a great history of tolerance. However, I was amazed to see the pontiff's theology touching my own so near its core. So, I thought, maybe it's time to put this "out there" where people can make fun of it, get mad at it or maybe even think about it for a moment.

Let's suppose just for a moment that You are God. You are all-powerful in the Universe of Your own creation, subject only to self-consistency; e.g. You can take away Your own powers but you cannot then give them back! Moreover, Your creative capacity is unlimited and unrestricted. You can retroactively have the Universe begin with a Big Bang if You get tired of starting 4732 years ago in the Garden of Eden, or vice versa. One thing You can't easily arrange is a big surprise, unless You create beings with free will and turn them loose to determine their own fate. Another thing You are stuck with is loneliness, unless . . . .

Let's go a step further and suppose there are other Gods who are equally all-powerful in their own Universes. I have no idea how You first came to be aware of them - maybe You created them after growing tired of playing with inferior beings (see above) who, while they had free will, were really incapable of understanding You the way You needed to be understood. Someone may object at this point, claiming that One "obviously" cannot create One's own Equal; to these I say only, "Wait another couple decades and tell me that." We'll see. In any case it hardly matters where the multitude of independent Gods came from; it only matters that They exist, and that each of Them has a deep need to be in intimate communion with the Others.

How is this possible, if each Deity creates a completely different Universe with different (or maybe no) laws of physics, maybe even different rules of logic? (I will assume that the rules of logic bind all possibilities, simply because I can't imagine anything else.) It will be pretty confusing to communicate between utterly different Universes, I think; of course, maybe We Deities can communicate "directly" without reference to any specific Universe, but I don't think so, viz. the fact that We have gone to so much trouble to develop a common consensual reality governed by rather elegantly simple laws (if I may say so Myself) in which We can all participate together, at the expense of great forbearance: to stay "in sync" with the unfolding of this reality, We must "go with the flow" even when it means pain, sickness, heartache, disappointment and death. (I don't know about death. This seems to be one of the things We decide not to remember. It sure makes life a lot more exciting and adds a sense of urgency that nothing else could!)

There are lots of other things I don't understand about this picture, but that's hardly surprising, is it? I mean, how seriously can One take this game if One keeps thinking about all the easy ways to "go around the rules" that limit Us in consensual reality? I'm not even sure if I want to know, or if I would be able to talk about it if I did. Most of Us have memories of odd occasions on which someOne "broke the rules" - usually consensual reality stretches enough to accomodate these transgressions as mere improbabilities, but there are limits to elasticity. If someOne gets far enough out of line, they would have to be banished from consensual reality and go back to the lonely business of micromanaging everything that goes on in Their private personal Universe.

There are other worrisome parts to this theology. Are there really billions of Deities on this planet alone, and more every day? Or are some humans just "props" as the Solipsists would have us believe? (As long as there is no way to tell which is which, this possibility has no practical implications.) What about extraterrestrial life? Is this the best of all possible consensual realities? If so, this is Heaven. If not, then it is still a "work in progress" and We all have great contributions to make. We sure have provided OurSelves with some exciting entertainment, haven't We?

So what motivates the creation and maintenance of this consensual reality? I guess it would not be out of line to call it Love. In that sense, We all submit to the limitations and requirements of "things as they are" for the noblest of reasons, and even what seem to be pointless suffering and tragedy take on a certain dignity, even nobility. I think the Pope and I agree on this one.

But I am inclined to think that We are ready to be a tiny bit more aware of Our true nature, and to take a little more personal responsibility for Our "work in progress", this consensual universe. If We are circumspect and considerate, We ought to be able to trade a little of the illusion of helplessness for a little more delight and pride in Our accomplishment. Something like that. I don't know. You decide.

Jess H. Brewer
Last modified: Tue Aug 3 03:59:05