Our Relationship to God
Posted On 19/09/2020
Before we begin I would like to say that what follows is my understanding built up through my years as a Friend and should in no way be taken as an official understanding of anyone else, or indeed Friends as a body of people. It comes from personal experiences, reading and speaking with other Friends; each followed by deep thought on the subject. The object of writing this piece is the hope that it will help others in their understanding, or encourage them to explore their own relationship with God more fully.
When I use a capital letter at the beginning of a word I am signifying that the word is an expression of what the world would call God, whilst without the capital letter it represents a part of us.
What is God?
Jesus told us that God is Spirit (John 4:24), so we could say that Spirit is what we call God. This Spirit can pervade everywhere, in everything and around everything. Our word “Spirit” can be interpreted from the Hebrew as “breath”. If God/Spirit is Breath then this Spirit can be within all of the air around us and the world. The Breath of God must be finer than anything else we know for it to be able to pervade everything else. Maybe we call it “the Essence of God” (God’s understanding for us) which is everywhere and is eternal. So we now have 3 more possible names for God -— Spirit, Breath and Essence. Interestingly in using any of these 3 terms for God, they remove the gender issue that can cause difficulty in some cases.
What is a Human?
I am going to attempt to divide our human existence into 4 parts: our physical body, our soul, our spirit and our conscience.
This is the easy one for it is our physical presence on earth which has a finite time, after which it decades back into the earth and is no more. It is also the one thing that shows our outward existence to the rest of the world and is made up of the most dense particles of our human time on earth.
We cannot say exactly where our soul is in our body, although by deduction we might be correct in saying that it resides somewhere in our brain. This soul of ours is the finest essence of our being, but not as fine as the Spirit. We can know our soul through our emotions (love, peace, fear, anger and imaginations) and it holds a true reflection of who each of us are as a human being at any particular moment in time. Our soul adjusts with our development, pure when we are born, learning and changing as we grow. Our understanding grows with us, both for good and for bad. When we die it is our soul that is eternal.
Our spirit is what is given to us by God when we are born, as the Light of Christ, and is a part of our soul. Our spirit resides within us whilst we are physically present on the earth. This is how the Spirit communicates with us and how the Spirit directs us. This may be in a sudden realisation about something, it could be in a vision or dream when we are sleeping, or near to sleep or when we pray. It could be by direct teaching, gently or even a major event in our lives. The Spirit sees the true nature of our soul due to its ability to pervade everything larger in particle size than itself. Our spirit is also how we can communicate directly with the Spirit and does not require anyone else to interpret this communication for us.
Our conscience tells us immediately if we do something that is out of line with our soul. It makes us feel good if we have done something that is in line with, or better than, the reflection of us in our soul. It immediately lets us know if we have done something that is below what our soul holds as our true being. We can desensitise our conscience by continuously ignoring it when it is letting us know that our thoughts and actions are lower than they should be. This desensitising will then directly affect our soul to reflect our new state of who we really are.
When all 4 of these aspects are in equilibrium (our body, our soul, our spirit and our conscience) we are in unity with the Spirit. How do we reach this equilibrium? We still all 4 aspects of ourselves so that we can hear our spirit in our soul receiving the Love, the Teaching, the Admonishment, the Acceptance and feeling the Power of the Spirit within us. We may experience visions, or sudden realisations of Truth within or maybe simply the calmness of the Spirit within our inner self.
If we are worshipping together as a group of humans all trying to listen for God to speak to our spirit in each of us, all those people in the same state will be in unity with each other through the Spirit. Our sense of this unity will be reflected in deep calmness, peace, contentment and oneness together as a people. We may also find that someone will “minister” (in the manner of Friends) only to find that one or more others in the community present will be being moved in a similar way by the Spirit as well.