Who are You Lord

As I have said, on the evidence of religion, no rational person would believe in God. Only the experience of God's love or power can justify such an illogical stance in the face of the suffering inflicted through natural disaster and the acts of savagery by those who claim to be doing God's will.

I believe in Jesus because when, not knowing whether or not he existed, I asked him to help me believe and found myself filled with his overpowering love. But as a rational person looking back on that experience, I have to ask the imperative question that Moses put to the burning bush: "Who are you Lord?"

Fortunately, my experience of God includes miraculous healing. Wracked with pain for many months from osteoarthritis between two of the vertebrae in neck, I came to a small group of Christians I knew and asked them to pray for healing. The result was almost instant in that the pain left me and I could suddenly move my neck freely. At first, the joint made noises when I turned my neck, things felt decidedly loosely connected, but over the next few months, complete healing occurred until I could sit with my shoulder blades firmly against the back of my chair and turn either way to see the person sitting behind me. As a rational being, I have to accept that those prayers were answered by a supernatural being answering to the name of Jesus and able to override the normal laws of nature.

When Moses asked the question, he had a completely different understanding of the natural and supernatural. He had been raised in the Egyptian court where kings and queens were gods and the mysteries of nature explained as the action of spirits. Spirits and gods were there to be exploited and knowing a spirit's name was a way of controlling it to exploit its power. So God's answer "I am that which I am" set Him apart from all the gods and spirits which men thought they could exploit.

In fact, ever since Moses was given his answer, mankind has struggled over this issue. Are the Pagans right, or is there one God, creator of everything. It is over simplistic to imagine that these are alternatives. People's beliefs cover a spectrum ranging from one to the other. Many Christians exhibit a stronger belief in the powers of some imaginary evil being than in God's power. Indeed, as the church spread around the world with little concern as to people's actual belief, pagans simply gave their local gods the title Saint and continued to worship them under their new name. I have met Protestants who claim that many who worshipped a fertility goddess simply identified her with the Virgin Mary.

The more one studies religions, the more it becomes apparent that the concept of a single all powerful creator God is very hard to grasp. So the question "who are you Lord" really is imperative. The Bible can be a read as a history of a nation's relationship with God. The God of Abraham becomes identified as the "I am" of Moses, but at first is seen only as a local god personal to the Israelites. It was a long road to accepting the idea that no other God exists, and the Church soon started back peddling when it became part of the establishment of the Roman Empire.

Just as the Israelites struggled to comprehend that their God was also God in the surrounding nations in spite of the fact that the locals did not know him and worshipped idols, we can struggle with the idea that our God is not just God of this world, but of our Galaxy, even of the universe and possibly many universes spread through the infinity of space and time.

As a theoretical physicist, I work on the principle that God existed before the universe and designed its elementary particles and natural laws to ensure the development of galaxies, stars and planets and the evolution of life. As a romantic, I cannot believe that God exists outside time. The essence of being a loving God is waiting in anticipation for every decision and turn of events in the hope that we might reach his expectations.

So it comes as a surprise to me that the religious leaders of the various faiths find it so hard to accept that they simple know the same God by different names.

I have come to the conclusion that my God is both creator of the universe and lover of each and every living creature. When I express that belief, the half expressed thoughts which come into my mind seem to express a sense of incredulity that anyone could think any the less.