Living with the Question

A black puzzle with a piece missing

Anyone who has read my blog in any depth will recognise that there are two important components to my beliefs about God and the world.  On the one hand, there is my panentheist attitude that sees God in everything as the ‘cosmic animator’ – responsible for everything that happens in existence.  On the other hand, there is my Christian faith, which acknowledges Jesus as Lord and is the focal point of my prayer life and my faith.

There is a struggle that goes on in my life every day as I try to reconcile the differences that these two strands of thought and belief present.

It’s a simple predicament:  If God is in control of everything that happens, then how am I to understand free will which is central to the Bible and to Christian thinking?  I do not feel that I can be a fully committed Christian with this dilemma filling my thoughts each day.  And yet I love to pray and feel I must, and I believe in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

I have probably been frustrating my Christian friends as I have agonised over this dilemma for several years.  I recently spoke with an Anglican priest about it and he wasn’t able to provide a satisfying solution.  Indeed, it seems that no one that I talk to (Christian or not) can reconcile this problem for me.  No books that I have read or lectures that I have listened to have helped me to settle the dilemma.

It seems to me that I am going to have to live with the dilemma.  That doesn’t make life easy – I am “not quite a Christian” which is not a generally acceptable position among my Christian friends who are mostly very evangelical.  I don’t feel I can preach the gospel with any gusto having the problems with Christianity that I do.  And the pull of what I believe is the truth about God is strong enough to keep me believing that the panentheistic vision of God that I espouse is right.

The best advice that I have received on this matter actually came from my own father.  We were sat in a park talking about Christianity and as I explained my predicament he suggested I might have to “live with the question”.  I think that for now, at least, that is good advice.

I can’t imagine my life without prayer as a major component and I expect I will always reach out to God to give thanks and praise and to offer supplications.  Jesus will remain a hugely important figure in my life, even if I can’t commit to His teaching in the same way as my Christian friends.  Living with the question at least gives me some peace of mind and I am open to the possibility that God, who is infinite, may reveal new truths to me in the future.

I have almost finished writing my second book which discusses my thinking around these issues in a lot more depth.  I hope that the book will help others to gain insights into my struggle, which will in turn enrich their own spiritual journeys.

It is a good thing to seek the truth, and I hope and pray that God loves me for my struggle.

Do you wrestle with similar problems in your own life?
Are there questions to which you feel you must live with without an answer?
Can you relate to my struggle?

38 Comments on “Living with the Question

  1. Steven, its Peter here and you bring up an interesting topic. One Christians have either wrestled with and you will see some of this even in the Bible. In the NIV it says something to the effect, `I the Lord god create light and dark` Which is in effect perhaps a mortals wrong interpretation of original scripture. In the King James, it say `I the Lord God create good and evil.` I like an explanation I heard, that dark is not created, but just the absent of light. Therefore in my understanding, evil is just the result of the lack of the love of God in this physical dimension. You will not that in Christianity, the word ( Christ ) was there in the beginning, complete as God, before creation. All things were created through Him. It was only after creation and hence the beginning of time as we know it, that 1/3 of the angel rebelled, being led by the angel of light, Lucifer! Who turned into the evil one. I kind of equate the physical universe as having to be necessarily like the yin-yang sign, where the light side has a spot of dark and visa-verso. The light of Christ came into the world so that we can be saved, not by our own works, but by the sacrifice of Jesus upon the cross. So now whosoever believes in Him shall have everlasting life… This does not negate the reality that there are many rooms in His Fathers house. On a personal note, I am sure that those who walk like him, but have not known the name Jesus are saved. For example, Buddha and Lao Tzu. Love and blessings to you my brother.

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    • Hi Peter!

      Many thanks for your thoughtful comment. Of course the rebellion of Lucifer implies free will, and that is a concept I find troublesome as I believe God is in, and indeed is, everything.

      The question of what happens to the souls of those who have not known Jesus is an interesting one. I really hope that God does not send people to hell, but I do believe hell is very much possible, with God being omnipotent!

      Have a great week Peter.

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      • Blessing
        ✿ღ✿ღ.¸¸ღ♫*¨`*•..¸ƸӜƷ ✿ღ ✫❀
        Namaste
        ✿ღ✿ღ.¸¸ღ♫*¨`*•..¸ƸӜƷ ✿ღ ✫❀
        Om Shanti
        ✿ღ✿ღ.¸¸ღ♫*¨`*•..¸ƸӜƷ ✿ღ ✫❀
        Sindy

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  2. What if the decisions we make are the expression of god’s free will.?

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  3. Hello Everyone! Hello Steven!

    God is no mystery. God is no separate entity from us. Jesus is the same as I have described.

    According to the scriptures, Jesus himself equated his being with that of His Father.

    If you are comfortable with staying with the foundation of Jesus and his message, then think on it this way. God is The Father of all. He is The Creator. He created everything into being including us.

    We are a part of Him, we are Him, as Jesus stated in the Gospel of John. Therefore, I am Him, He is Me. We are One.

    Don’t we consider ourselves to be composits of our parents? We share chemical components, DNA, which determine our birth origins. Why is it any different when it comes to Spirituality?

    Dogma has put God in a box.

    The God I know is a limitless entity which expands my mind as I know it to be at this time. I and He are made up of the same stuff 🙂 That’s my creator. I have the same DNA therefore I am all that which he is. We are a version of Him which He decided to place here to do many things, to experience the many parts of himself (we too experience the many parts of ourselves on a daily basis; there are many mes, each experience calls for a different me to present itself…sorry another lengthy topic).

    Remember, he is limitless so he can take form in whichever way he chooses. Energy takes the shape of any and every – look at all which has been created on this planet. I can go on…:-)

    If this perspective helps, take a look again at the Gospel of John starting at chapter 14. Look at what Jesus is teaching in a new way. Disect what he is saying.

    It is time for you have the clarity which you seek. I too had been away from blogging and now have come back to help you receive what you’ve been seeking. That’s how God works. We just have to be more open and aware to see him clearly. Keep me updated 🙂

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    • Many thanks for your thoughtful comment, which has left me intrigued to know more about your beliefs! My vision of God is that He is everything everywhere and actively in control (in this moment) of everything that happens in the cosmos. Would you agree with this vision?

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      • Yes I do. In addition to that, what I said in my comment about us being composits of him. Visualize a cell body. You have the membrane and the nucleus. The nucleus is the center and hub of the cell, right? That is where all the information is stored. God is that. The membrane is the surrounding matter which represents all of us including the cosmos. It all is located at a different point within the whole, but still part of the whole. Do you see it? Each vision of God, Spirit, Angels, Saints, Allah, Jah, Jahovah, etc., is Him. That Source and Center Energy is all of those visions, faiths, ideologies. The pull you feel regarding your vision is the one which has presented itself to you. God gave you that particular version of himself in which for you to experience him.

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  4. Wow! A deep thinker – a rare breed in a world where everyone seeks to be amused (a=not; muse=think)!

    God, being God, the only all-knowing Entity, obviously knows a lot more than I do. There are parts of Him that I can’t even begin to wrap my puny little human brain around! I’m glad, for if I could understand Him completely, He wouldn’t be much of a God.

    When it comes to free will – phew! – I am way out of my league and I know it.

    One of the fellows, in response to Invincible, stated that we’re puppies on a leash. It has been my experience that this is not so. I am free to choose to do anything I want – including gossip, adultery, alcoholism, hatred and a host of other things – without being yanked back into obeisance.

    The consequences of my choices hurt, though, and I realize that doing things my way doesn’t work out very well for me. As a result, I begin to see the wisdom of doing things God’s way, and align my choices with what He’s given (in the way of commands) for life and liberty.

    I’ve discovered that when God says, “Don’t,” what He’s really saying is, “Don’t hurt yourself.” In one way or another, I’ve broken every command and learned that the consequences of my actions hurts me as well as others.

    Keep asking questions. You’re a true disciple, and that’s good.

    Thank you for stopping by to comment on my post. You really got me thinking. I appreciate that!

    Your fellow disciple,
    Tami
    \o/
    Praise Jesus!

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    • Hi Tami,

      Thanks for your comment here and your other comment on ‘Lessons by Heart’. I’m glad you are a deep thinker like myself! My major problem here is with the free will question. I cannot see how I am free in the context that I believe God beats my heart, flows my blood, grows my hair, produces my thoughts, and everything else. How would I know how to do any of these things? I have no idea how they happen, because I am not in control – God is in control. So I can’t agree with Christians who talk about sin and the devil and free will, because all of those things are illogical to me. God is in control of everything that happens in the cosmos. That, to me, makes a lot of sense.

      Anyway, I respect the fact that we may think differently about these questions (because you believe in free will), and even so it’s good to talk them through!

      Best wishes,

      Steven

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      • The God Who Is In Control – and yet allows His creatures to what they will…then sweeps in with grace and mercy, sometimes cleaning up our messes, sometimes not…loving us all the while.

        An enigma indeed!

        If I had strong convictions on the topic, I’d try to sway you to my thinking.

        Here’s what I hang onto when it comes to topics like this: “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart, declares the Lord, and I will be found by you.” And so I continue to seek – to understand Him better.

        God doesn’t always operate by man’s logic. The cross and resurrection was proof of that!

        I wish you the best in your search for answers. Come by and share sometimes, would you? This has been the best discussion yet! I’m following you – curious to see what you unearth!

        Your fellow disciple,
        Tami
        \o/

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