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In This We Live and Move and Have Our Being

Updated: Jun 11

Recently I spoke about two views of God. One of those views was a literal anthropomorphic view reflected in some ancient myths and stories. Jesus seemed to distance himself from that view. Jesus had a profound disagreement with the Hebrew scriptures. He often said, “You have been told that, but I say…” He, in his words and parables portrayed a different God who he referred to by him as Abba or Daddy. He talked about being one with that presence.

He actually agreed with Plato who taught that consciousness existed before materiality that arose from it. Also with Paul, who, in addressing the Athenians, stated that God was that in which we live and move and have our being; a great field of universal energy present within every sentient being. Countless mystics, and now scientists say similar things.

If that is a field of energy, a ground of being, a life force, “it” presents a very different view to Western religious thought than the God defined by many in the Abrahamic religions. It turns much of our religious practice upside down. It suggests new corollaries to think about and to grasp in our spirituality. The new corollaries are different fundamental questions about our human nature because we are, quite literally, one with “God” or “Source” and “God” is, quite literally, one with us.

What would it be like to have infinite potential, literally unlimited ability to do anything? Imagine having a billion dollars in your bank account. Would that give you pleasure and satisfaction if you never spent a cent of it? I doubt it.

So try, with your limited human capacity to imagine the existence of a Source of infinite ability, of infinite potential, of infinite goodness, and of infinite intelligence and wisdom. That is what the Source is and we are a part of it. We can draw on those attributes at will. We can co-create anything we can imagine or dream of. We are only limited by the limitations of the potential that we can imagine. That Source has unlimited ideas that can be applied to life. Again, we limit that Source because we cannot imagine big enough.

Those ideas, within that Source or field of consciousness, are already big enough and has resulted in an environment in which evolution can take place and beings can live. Just think for one moment of the life miracles present in our own being and the millions of other beings that are part of the planet we live on. These ideas are called laws; laws of physics.

And there may be other ideas or laws that we are not aware of. And out of this field of consciousness there has arisen our life form and other life forms. In this way, infinite consciousness has moved beyond sterile potential to actual creation – to doing rather than just being. Source acted and lived out its ideas… its fantasies. It spent its billion dollars.

Following this logic, the manifestations of this infinite consciousness in this particular physical universe are none other than all of us and all the things we perceive around us.

That intelligent Source experiences itself through us because we are one with it or to make it clear, we are it. We are the creating intelligence made manifest – offspring of the infinite consciousness, experiencing one particular creation that happens to consist of space and time and the laws of physics known by modern science. Those ideas are expressed in the words of Paul in Athens. In it we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are the offspring.’ – Acts 17:28

Following this logic or looking at a corollary, Christianity’s claim that God knows our every thought begins to make sense. Our thoughts are part and parcel of this infinite consciousness. We are it!

This infinite intelligence and consciousness is directly compatible with modern science. Scientists can see it in the Big Bang, string theory, evolution and all other forms of physics, cosmology, and psychology. We know this to be true because our consciousness is a part of a universal or collective consciousness.

In some literal sense we are making or have made our own universe and then we enter into it. In this way, the intelligent field experiences one small part of its infinite potential through each of the billions of individual lives on this planet. In a way, infinite intelligence gets the joy of spending its billions of dollars on all sorts of amazing experiences.

This also allows each of us to live our lives as part of a great adventure. What sense of satisfaction would a scientist derive from inquiry if the laws of nature or Source were all clearly revealed? What joy of searching for buried treasure if you knew all along where you hid it? It’s the mystery that underwrites the joy of discovering self as a part of the great mystery.

From time immemorial philosophers and theologians of nondual traditions, those taking the Ultimate Reality to be a one invisible and indivisible whole, have struggled to understand how this One thing appears as the many things of our phenomenal world.

This metaphysical question can be looked also found in quantum physics. Electrons are elementary particles in the sense that they don’t have an internal structure and cannot be divided into smaller parts. The problem in quantum physics is that two electrons cannot be distinguished from one another. It is not just that they look alike, they have no individuality. If you put two electrons in a box you cannot tell which is which; they have no selves, no identity, or no individuality. This feature of the quantum world is utterly counterintuitive: In our macroscopic world everything has an identity though they may look exactly alike; they have specific histories. A chair remains itself as it endures in time; in other words, a chair is a chair because it keeps being itself as time passes.

Maybe the following impossible example can clarify: Assume we have a perfect twin; we look exactly alike, both internally and externally. We are taken into surgery and somehow the doctors put all our memories together on a table and shuffle them. They then put them back inside us. What happens if they have done everything perfectly is that none of us, as twins, can know which is which; we have lost entirely our sense of identity and individuality; we have no sense of “I” or “me” or “mine.”

Electrons are like that. One of the hypothesis that has tried to explain the above enigma of the quantum world is the One Electron Universe Hypothesis. The idea is that there are no two or more electrons; there is only one electron in the whole universe but the one appears as many electrons to our observation. The theory is that all the electrons that constitute the substance of the material world are instances of the one single electron. This of course is a pure hypothesis. It has not yet shown that how the one electron appears as the infinite number of electrons in the universe! By the way, it is estimated that there are about 15,747,724,136,275,002,

577,605,653,961,181,555, 468,044,717,914,527,116,709,366,231, 425,076,185,631,031,296 electrons in the observable universe, plus or minus one or two.

If electrons can be like that. maybe that is the metaphysical reality. We don’t know. Scientists, quantum physicists, theologians. and mystics, don’t know. But if one electron appears as the almost infinite number of electrons in the universe, maybe that is how the Source shows up; as you, as me, as your friend, as the homeless man, and as the woman sitting next to you.

Rev Jim

This blog is based on a discussion in Unity of Fort Collins' Spiritual Discussion Group that meets on Zoom (session 6239746443 (same Password)) Thursdays at 6:30pm Mountain Time.

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