Those who are familiar with my philosophical outlook will know that I describe human beings as puppets under the control of an omnipresent God. It’s important to mention that I use the word puppets rather than the word robots to describe human beings, and there’s a significant difference between the two. Robots are pre-programmed and function automatically, whereas puppets are actively controlled by a puppeteer who has the ability to act spontaneously. The latter description is, I believe, an accurate analogy for the human/God relationship.
According to this view, there is a sense in which we are all trapped in our human bodies. Our lack of free will means we have no control over our past, present, or future — we are entirely at the disposal of the will of a sovereign God. In fact, take away the sovereign God from our human activity and there is nothing left. Now the title of this article should be making more sense.
I believe that, in reality, God is all that exists. Every created being is something God has manifested within Himself (because He is everywhere and nothing exists outside of His being). So we are all manifestations, or expressions, or aspects of God.
There is a play going on in which I feel as though I am Steven Colborne, but it is simply a mode of mind under God’s control that makes me feel this way. God could quite easily, in any moment, change my thoughts so that I identify as a different person. Indeed, there is evidence of this in the way psychiatric patients often have the experience of identifying as Jesus or another major figure from history for a period of time.
It’s possible for a human being’s thoughts to be changed so that they experience themselves as an entirely different person. In what sense, then, did the former person really exist?
Take away the impressions in consciousness with which you identify and you don’t have a being with a life story any more – you have the puppet without the puppeteer; an empty vessel. This is why, when we die, our bodies are just empty shells. And this is why I can say I don’t even exist.
I do believe in life after death, and that human beings have souls — entities that are described in the sacred Scriptures of all three of the major Abrahamic religions, as well as in Eastern philosophy. I do not know of what a soul consists, but I do feel it’s unlikely that God would speak about such entities so regularly in Scripture if they aren’t a reality. Because I sometimes have the experience of being a different person when dreaming, I can conclude that there is some part of me that endures — and which can have experiences — even when the physical body that I identify with in my waking state isn’t present. The existence of a soul provides a way of explaining this phenomenon.
I believe consciousness is eternal, and that there has never been any kind of non-existence. Non-existence, I believe, is an impossibility. All there is is what has always been, only God manifests Himself in different forms and expressions as the ages go by. Nothing is brought into existence, and nothing goes out of existence, though forms change. So while you don’t really exist in one sense (as the individual person with which you currently identify), you have always existed in another sense (as conscious awareness).
Considering the above argument in relation to life after death, I believe that when God annihilates a person (body and soul), their personhood ceases, but their consciousness does not; it returns to God’s consciousness — the being of God — like a river running into the sea. So, after death, some souls may exist in heaven or hell, but if and when God decides to end their lives they will return to the ‘sea’. This is to describe the way in which I believe we will all live forever.
The thoughts expressed in this article touch on some of life’s great mysteries, and I do not claim to understand everything, so take from this article what you will, and leave what you will. Certain knowledge is reserved for God alone and He will reveal as much or as little as He chooses, to whomever He chooses.
For a thorough investigation of the themes discussed in this article, I recommend reading my four-book compilation entitled ‘Puppets’, which is the most thorough exposition of my philosophical outlook available. You can find out more about the book by clicking here.