“The Tao that can be named is not the Tao.”
“God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am(YHWH).’”
Humanity, Get over yourself. The God debate is human civilization’s lingering binge with dualism. Does God exist or not? The atheist and the Evangelical debate. And of the competing versions of God and His law, whose idea of God is correct? Theologians and philosophers wrangle endlessly in this foolishness, when the question they ought to be debating is whether an anthropomorphic deity exists and does an anthropocentric logic rule the Universe? Answer? No to both!
The Universe is, and The God of the Universe is vastly greater than human reasoning can conceptualize and express. God can only be apprehended as a vast unknowable. God, as ancient mystical texts seem to imply, and modern science indicates, seems to be more of a unified field of energy that precedes the physical universe, is the physical universe, and is also the consciousness that experiences the universe.
Humanity keeps getting lost in an anthropomorphic idea of a creator of the stuff of the Universe – which they categorize and accumulate – while paying no attention to the mystery of the consciousness that is the source from which all the stuff manifests. We all have a deep knowing of this mystery, but it is so buried under the “stuff” that we lose almost all connection with this knowing. This leaves a void in us, and we make up religions with names for God and special knowledge of God’s rules and wishes to fill that void. Even mystic traditions, when claiming special knowledge, fall into the trap. But the void cannot be filled in this way, and a deep archetypal urge in humanity continues to seek to express the knowing of this mystery. Ten thousand faces, ten thousand names. The wisest knew. This – which cannot be named. Yet, it is important that somehow we find a way to express this knowing that God is.
God is. And when we are in the midst of the experience, we realize that we can only in truth experience God as, to borrow from a Jewish theologian, Abraham Heschel, “sublime wonder.” Heschel stated, in a lecture I heard many years ago, that “the denial of the sublime wonder of life is the origin of sin, the origin of the attitude that leads to sin.” That statement was, to me, satori’s thunderclap. Sin is acting from an arrogance that assumes knowing and owning what is unknowable and unownable. Sin is separateness. This sin, this separateness, is also the source of all mental suffering.
Try this on: The first sin is the naming of God. “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.” That’s the first commandment to Moses from the un-nameable YHWH. It’s given after YHWH tells Moses not to make any graven images. Sin is in the arrogance that leads to separation. Sublime wonder is union. To make God in the image of man, and claim to own God’s truth, is the graven image, and naming the nameless for our own vanity is the beginning of sin. It is the denial of the sublime wonder of that which cannot be named. To attempt to name, is to drag by force, for vain needs, the unmanifested consciousness that manifests into manifestation on human terms. We neglect that the terms for this manifesting consciousness are already set. It is Nature. To arrogantly set this aside to insist on human terms called anthropomorphic religions is the fall from Eden, from oneness.
This life we live. It is. “Everything is”, as consciousness icon, Alan Watts, wonderfully said, “as it can be”. From unmanifested consciousness this life manifests. It is. It is the mystery. It is Life. It is as it can be in a mystery of evolving manifestation. When referenced theologically, it is God. Our purpose in this journey of manifestation is to bring our individualized consciousness into sublime wonder, into harmony and union with the Natural Universe, with God, with what is. It ought not to be pretending that we can name and impose rules that we make up and claim to be from the Divine. The result of that folly has been all the destruction humanity has wrought on each other and the world. It has been the denial of wonder that leads to all human manipulation and destruction.
Lao Tzu understood. “The Tao that can be named is not the Tao.” It is human folly. Yet, the Tao even contains human folly, and will continue should human folly destroy humanity and its planet home. Perhaps, however, humanity can touch and own its deep knowing of the sacred mystery, and with that knowing begin the era of sublime wonder, of humanity’s coming home and new beginning. We are universal consciousness individualized, seeking our way home. When we rediscover ourselves as embedded in Nature, we will also rediscover our oneness with the mystery of Deity that we have given a thousand names to. And then the void will be filled.