The great difficulty with language is that we use it in our attempts to explain things for which no true explanation exists. In the Hermetic writings of the third century it was written, “If you don’t make yourself equal to God you can’t perceive God: for like is known by like.” Anything I say about God is restricted by the limitations of language and my personal experiences. The following is part of an internal dialogue that started in a dream.
Look at the night sky, the Milky Way. Look at the photographs of the universe sent back by the Hubble telescope. You see millions of stars, planets, moons, galaxies and the possibility of so many life forms like and unlike our own. And yet, we picture God in the image of man. Not only does that fact extort man’s ego, it also demonstrates his stupidity.
We call Him (as if God has a sex) by many names, Jehovah, Yahweh, Allah, El Shaddai. “Mohammad encouraged his followers to call upon God by any of His 99 Names. Judaism refers to 72 Divine Names, and the Hindu scripture Mahabharata contains a thousand names of Vishnu. The English word “God” is used by multiple religions as a noun or name to refer to different deities.” (1) And although we call Him by many names, God has no image. For me the name ‘God’ is only a point of reference for us to have a common subject for discussion.
Michelangelo did a great disservice to the world when he gave God a face on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. It is how modern man sees God. He no longer sees God in everything that exists but rather as a bearded old white man with his finger giving life to Adam. I do not blame him for his depiction. It merely further the belief that man is in the image of God.
To Be Continued…
(1) Andrew Wilson, World scripture: a comparative anthology of sacred texts—p. 596, International Religious Foundation, Paragon House, New York, New York 1991.