What Is God Like?

Have you ever asked yourself the question: What is God like? We are told to pray by turning away from the problem and thinking about God; but how are we to think about God?

What is His nature?

What is His character?

Where is He?

Can we really contact Him, and if so, how?

The first and most fundamental thing to realize is that God is not just a superior kind of man. Most people would say, "Of course not"; but my experience shows me that even today the majority of people, in their hearts, do think of God as just a magnified man—that and nothing more.

Now such an idea is really but a projection of their own personalities, and it requires very little thought to show that such an idea cannot be true.

In philosophy, such a being is called an anthropomorphic God. And no such finite person could possibly have created the boundless universe that we see through our telescopes. It is natural for a thoughtless person to think of God as being just a bigger edition of himself. We, however, are beings possessing the twin faculties of reason and intuition, and so we must get beyond this infantile stage to the truth.

God is infinite which is in-finite or unlimited.

A great practical difficulty in discussing God is the fact that we have no suitable pronoun to employ. We have to use the words "he" and "him." We have no alternative, but these words are very misleading because they inevitably suggest a man or male animal.

To say "she" and "her" would be equally absurd, and the word "it," besides seeming to lack in reverence, suggest an inanimate and unintelligent object. The reader is therefore asked to bear in mind that the use of "He" and "Him" is an unavoidable makeshift, and to correct his thought accordingly.

The Bible says that God is spirit and that they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. To worship Him in spirit means to get a spiritual understanding of His nature, and we shall now endeavor to do this. We shall not attempt to define God because that would be to limit Him, but we can get what is for all practical purposes an excellent working knowledge of God. We shall do this by considering different aspects of His nature, one by one.

Seven Main Aspects of God

There are seven fundamental truths about God, and all others are built upon combinations of some of these seven. These truths never change.

They were the same a billion years ago and they will be the same a billion years hence. So naturally it behooves us to get as clear an understanding and as strong a realization as possible of these Seven Main Aspects.

This can be done by thinking about them a good deal, and identifying them in the experiences of everyday life. The quickest way to solve a particular problem is to meditate on whichever aspect is the most appropriate in that particular case.

1

God is Life. God is not just living, nor does God give life, but God is life. Where God is, there Life is. God is your life. Life is existence or "Being."

When you are sick you are only partly alive. When you are tired or depressed or discouraged, you are only partly alive. To be truly alive means to be well and young and full of interest in the day's work.

Few people as yet express God in an adequate way. What usually happens is that people grow up to maximum sense of life, what we call the prime of life, and then gradually deterioration sets in, a process which we call middle age, and finally come old age and death.

Joy is one of the highest expressions of God as Life. Actually it is a mixture of Life and Love, and the Bible says that "the sons of God shout for joy." This means that when we realize our divine sonship, we must experience joy, and that sorrow is a loss of the sense of the fatherhood of God.

Joy and happiness always have an expansive effect, just as fear has a contracting and paralyzing effect. You know how a little child when it meets someone whom it loves and trusts expands like an opening flower and goes out to meet him, but when it is afraid, it shrinks back into itself. That is what happens to the human soul too. Again, when a person says "I can," you always notice an expansive and forward movement, but when he says, "I can't," there is a retraction.

The body always expresses the thought; and the thought of Life heals and inspires, whereas thoughts of fear and death contract and destroy.

Here is an interesting experiment which you can try. Some evening when you find yourself in a crowded subway train, and most of the people around you are looking tired and worried and obviously wishing they were at their journey's end, just start declaring the Presence of God as Life in all those present; and keep it up.

You will be surprised and gratified at what will happen. First one person will brighten up and smile, and then another will obviously relax, and before long the whole crowd in that car will be feeling and looking differently. Do not just say that this is fantastic nonsense, but try it!

2

God is Truth. God is not truthful but Truth itself, and wherever there is Truth, there is God. God is absolute Truth and does not change. To know the Truth about any condition heals it. Jesus said, "Know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Truth is the great healer.

You should realize God as Truth when you want information on any subject, or if you suspect that you have to deal with deceit or falsehood. If you have reason to believe that someone is trying to deceive you, think of God as Truth and claim that Divine Truth dwells in the person concerned, and is expressed through him. If you realize this clearly enough he will then speak the truth. Realizing God as Truth will save you hours of work in research in any field. You will be led to the right book or the right place or the right person without loss of time, or the necessary information will come to you in some other way.

3

God is Love. God is not loving but Love itself, and it would probably be true to say that of all the Seven Aspects this is the most important one for us in practice.

There is no condition that enough Love will not heal. Jesus himself said, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."

Where there is fear there cannot be love. The best way to rid yourself of fear is to realize Divine Love. When you love God more than you love your problems, you will be healed.

Does that seem strange to you?

It is true. If you love God more than you love your sickness, your grievance, your lack, or your fear, you will be healed.

If you could feel a sense of Divine Impersonal Love toward everyone, no one could hurt you. If someone came to rob you or kill you he would not be able to carry out his intention.

Divine Love never fails, but the important thing to realize is that Divine Love must be in your own heart and cannot operate outside, so to speak.

If you had sufficient Divine Love for everyone in your heart, you could heal others by speaking the Word once; and in many cases your mere presence would bring about healing without your having made any special effort at all. Of course, by the time you reached this stage you would have gotten rid of all criticism and condemnation.

You would never for an instant want to see someone punished or think "It serves him right." This does not mean you would condone wrong doing in any way, but you would condemn the wrong and not the wrong doer. If a small baby is troublesome or perhaps breaks a valuable object, you regret the act, but you do not hate the baby.

In like manner you must not permit other people to cheat you or otherwise impose upon you. That would be to help them to be dishonest or selfish. Protect your own rights, but always in a spirit of Divine love.

To realize God as Love is the remedy for fear—and the only real one.

Of late a great many books have been published on the subject of fear, but on examining them I find that in nearly all cases they only get as far as analyzing fear, saying what a bad thing it is and how much harm it does, and how important it is for us to get rid of it; but without offering any practical way of doing so. The truth is that there is only one remedy for fear, and that is to get some sense of Divine Love, by thinking about it, analyzing it, claiming it, and expressing it in practice toward all human beings without any exception.

When your prayers are not answered it must be because you have not fulfilled the conditions of the law, and, ninety-nine times in a hundred, it is because you are lacking in a sense of love for all.

It is a cosmic law that Love heals and that fear and condemnation damage and destroy. Treat yourself for Love every day and watch your thoughts, and watch your tongue, and watch your deeds, that nothing contrary to Love finds expression there.

Because God is Love, God never punishes or threatens anyone. The action of God takes place only to heal and comfort and inspire. The nearer we get to God, the happier, more peaceful, and healthier we are. In fact, trouble and sickness are really the way in which we become aware that we have lost the sense of His Presence. When we make mistakes or do wrong, the punishment which we bring upon ourselves is the natural consequence of the law we have broken, and we shall continue to suffer until we cease to break the law.

This is a wise arrangement and a very merciful one, for in no other way could we learn. God is love, and God is the only real power.

4

God is Intelligence. God is not merely intelligent but God is Intelligence itself. When you clearly realize that this is an intelligent universe it will make a major difference in your life. It is obvious that in an intelligent universe there cannot be any disharmony because all ideas must work together for the common good.

It is especially important to realize that God is Intelligence, for the following reason: It sometimes happens that when people outgrow the childish idea that God is just a magnified man, they go to the opposite extreme and think of God as merely a blind force, like gravity or electricity. This means they have lost all sense of the Love and Fatherhood of God, and such an idea is very little better than a subtle from of atheism.

In an intelligent universe there can be neither cruelty nor waste, for these two things are infallible symptoms of a lack of intelligence in those who are guilty of them. And so we know that inharmony and stupidity of any kind are but illusions of the carnal (ego) mind, and in fact they always begin to disappear under the realization of God as Intelligence.

We know that prayer is thinking about God, but in order to think about Him at all you must have a certain amount of knowledge of Him, and these Main Aspects furnish that. They enable us to think about God in an intelligent way. When you dwell upon one of these main Aspects of God you are developing that quality in yourself.

When you think of that aspect as being in another person, you develop that quality in him. To think of God as Love makes you more loving, and gets rid of a certain amount of criticism, resentment, and condemnation.

To think of God as Life improves your health and gives you more energy, and so forth. When some kind of trouble comes to you, try to realize the Main Aspect which represents the exact contrary.

Thus you realize Love to overcome fear or anger, Life to heal sickness, Truth to uncover falsehood, and so forth.

5

God is Soul. And Soul is spelt with a capital S. Do not confuse this with the soul spelt with a small s, which is what modern psychology calls the psyche, and is another name for your human (ego) mind which consists of your intellect and your feelings.

Soul is that Aspect of God by virtue of which He is able to individualize Himself. The word individual means undivided (In Webster dictionary). Most people seem to think that it means the exact contrary. It suggest separateness to them, but they are mistaken. Individual means undivided, and God has the power of individualizing Himself without, so to speak, breaking Himself into parts.

God individualizes Himself as man, and so you are really an individualization of God. God can individualize Himself in an infinite number of distinct beings, or units of consciousness, and yet not be in any way separate.

Only God can do this because He is Spirit. Matter cannot be individualized. It can only be broken up. So your real Self, the Christ within, the spiritual man, the I AM, or the divine spark, as it is variously called, is an individualization of God.

You are the presence of God at the point where you are. This does not, of course, mean that you are an absurd little personal God.

You are an individualization of the one and only God. Man may very well be compared to an electric light bulb. The electric current is present in all parts of the circuit but it shines forth, or one might say, figuratively, becomes self-conscious, in the bulb. So Divine Mind becomes self-conscious in you, and that is what you are.

To realize in some degree that you are an individualization of God could not possibly make you egotistic or vain. On the contrary, it would give you true humility and at the same time true self-confidence, and, indeed, it is the only pathway to the overcoming of fear. When you realize that you are one with God, whatever task you are called upon to perform becomes "our business" instead of "my business," because God is your partner.

Now, man cannot be separated from God in reality, but he can be separated in human belief, and when the belief in separation (from God) occurs, the belief in death follows in greater or lesser degree. The lesser degrees are what we call sickness, depression, discouragement, and old age. In the greater degree it becomes the death belief itself, when we lose the body altogether and disappear from this plane, leaving the body behind.

It should be clearly understood that you will never lose your individuality. Ultimately, when you attain full conscious union with God, and know that you are one with Him, you will still know yourself as an individual, and you will maintain that identity through all eternity.

You will always be growing and developing, but you will always be you. By that time you will have forgotten the worries and griefs that you will have left behind you in the past, just as an adult forgets most of the griefs and fears of infancy. Complete conscious union with God does not mean absorption and annihilation of individuality. Some of the ancient Egyptians spoke of man as a beam of sun, and the same idea seems to have occurred to certain American aborigines. This is a wonderful idea and expresses the truth beautifully.

If you will work regularly realizing this oneness with God, you will change for the better out of all recognition. Your body and your mind will hardly be recognizable. People will say this cannot be you! On the other hand, if you think negatively about yourself, if you believe that you are a miserable sinner and keep on saying so, that will be the best way to become one.

6

God is Spirit. We know that God is Spirit but what does that mean? Well, Spirit is that which cannot be destroyed or damaged or hurt, or degraded in any way.

Spirit cannot deteriorate. It cannot grow old and tired. It cannot know sin, or condemnation, or resentment, or disappointment. It is the opposite of matter. Matter is always deteriorating.

You are Spirit. Spirit cannot die and was never born. Your true Self was never born and will never die. You are eternal, divine, unchanging Spirit, in your true nature.

The whole universe is spiritual but we see it in a limited way. The Bible refers to this distortion of seeing as the carnal (ego) mind.

Damage, decay, sin, sickness, and death, and all of what we call "matter" arise from our false seeing.

Our false vision causes us to know ourselves only from a seeming birth to a seeming death; but this is illusion.

Matter is unreal in the philosophical sense. It is not the outer and separate thing that it seems to be.

Life is a state of consciousness, and the world we see about us is part of our consciousness.

When you realize that any given thing is not in reality matter, but a spiritual idea seen in a limited way, that thing changes for the better. The so-called inanimate objects are really spiritual ideas. A table, a chair, your watch, your house, are all spiritual ideas seen in a limited (clouded) way that we call matter.

When Jesus saw the man with the withered hand he realized that in Truth that hand was Spiritual—and the hand was healed. When people said that Lazarus was dead, Jesus realized that true man is Spirit and dies not—and Lazarus came forth alive.

The time to realize the Aspect of God as Spirit is when something seems to be damaged or in decay. If you can realize the presence of Spirit where the trouble seems to be the condition will begin to improve, and if your realization is sufficiently clear the condition will be completely healed.

7

God is Principle. This aspect of God is probably the one that is least understood. People do not usually think of God as Principle, but such He is.

God is the Principle of perfect harmony and God does not change, so perfect harmony is the nature of his creation. Prayer is answered because God is principle, and when we pray rightly we bring ourselves into harmony with the Law of Being (God's Thought system).

Scientific Prayer does not try to change the Law. It does not try to bring about exceptions in our favor, but it tunes us in, so to speak, with Divine Principle; and then we find things coming right. If you have a radio and you want to get the program on WJZ, you tune in for WJZ. We have problems and troubles because we have tuned out mentally from God, or the Divine Principle of our being, and our only remedy is to tune back.

"And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good…" Genesis 1:31

In describing each stage of creation the Bible tells us significantly that God sees that His Creation is good and in perfect harmony. No condemnation or regret is expressed anywhere. Creation is revealed as definitely good.

The Scriptures recognize the temporary existence of evil and suffering, but they teach that such things are not real in the sense of being permanent. They teach that we bring these things upon ourselves by our own wrong thinking and false beliefs. This wrong thinking includes not only sin but the harboring of false beliefs of any kind, which means lack of correct understanding of life. They teach that we become free from suffering and limitation, and attain to glorious happiness, by studying the laws of God (God's thought system about our Identity) and then living in accordance with them.

Prayer Is Thinking About God

The only way to approach God is by thinking of Him. There are no material steps that will bring you to God. Only by thinking of Him can you approach Him.

In the East, certain foolish people have tried to get close to God by maiming their bodies or by assuming unnatural and uncomfortable postures, but such things are a waste of time.

There is no way to find God except by prayer, and prayer is thinking about God. There are three degrees of intensity in prayer.

1) The first and easiest way is to pray aloud, what is often called an audible treatment.

2) The second degree, which is a little more difficult for most people but is also much more powerful, is to think systematically about God, recognizing His presence where the trouble seems to be. This is meditation, and a good way to meditate is to read a verse of the Bible, or a paragraph from a spiritual book and then let your mind work on it.

3) The third degree is reached when the thought and thinker become one and there is a vivid realization or revelation of Truth. This is called contemplation, but it is not possible for most people to attain to it yet, and one should never try to do so. At the right time it will come spontaneously, and before the right time you cannot compel it.

Most practical problems can be solved by sufficient audible prayer or meditation.

 

 

From Alter Your Life written in 1931 by Dr. Emmet Fox Emmet Fox was one of the outstanding spiritual teachers of his time. While he lived he addressed some of the largest audiences ever gathered to hear one man's thoughts on the spiritual meaning of life. "Unhappiness, frustration, poverty, loneliness," insists Dr. Fox, "are really bad habits that their victims have become accustomed to bear with more or less fortitude, believing that there is no way out, whereas there is a way; and that way is simply to acquire good habits of mind instead of bad ones—habits of working with the Law instead of against it."

Fox's secretary was the mother of one of the men who worked with Alcoholics Anonymous co-founder Bill Wilson, and partly as a result of this connection early AA groups often went to hear Fox.

Alter Your Life! is his cry—an imperative statement of the forgotten secret of personal power demonstrated by Jesus and available for use by anyone who sets to work to learn about it. "Become acquainted with the Bible's laws of life and apply them to your own individual conditions. That is the only way."

 

EXCERPTS:
ADAM & EVE STORY
WHAT IS GOD LIKE?
APOCALYPSE

 

 

 
 

Home | Download | About ACIM | About Us | Video | Recommended