“Who is God?” by David Sills
by Reggie Kapp
I have always been very serious about religion. Even as a child attending church, I took everything said there very much to heart. I read the Bible (King James, naturally) very closely, starting from the beginning and going through to the end. This was the beginning of a lifelong love of the Bible and the great wisdom that is to be found within it.
From the start, I asked myself, “Who is God?” When I was young, I was taught that God was a Father (a man, naturally) who was unimaginably far away in Heaven and yet kept a very close eye on doings on the Earth. God had, after all, in the very distant past, created the Earth by willing it to be. This was an awesome power even a child had to respect.
And yet, there were issues. Where was God today, especially when things happened that didn’t seem to be very Godly as I understood it? If God was all-powerful, why wasn’t everybody happy and fulfilled in their lives? If God loved us, why do some of us repay that love with violence, hatred, and persecution? Why doesn’t everyone see that God is as clearly as I did then and believe that God was something special, something not to be taken lightly?
I took everything I read about God quite literally (I had not yet discovered analogy, allegory, metaphor, or even humor). As I grew, I kept reading more and more widely (thank God for the library), but my interpretations were still quite literal; I was still a child.
Then I had AN EXPERIENCE. I was sitting in front of the trailer in the trailer park where my family lived and suddenly, I was no longer there. The entire Universe had collapsed into a single point somewhere near my diaphragm and I was in it, free to roam as I pleased, distance no object. God was there, looking a bit like a soldier from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker ballet as designed by Maurice Sendak (note, I knew at that time nothing about Nutcracker, Tchaikovsky, Sendak, or for that matter ballet). God and I visited stars and galaxies and danced with ecstatic abandon.
And then it was over. I was sitting in front of the trailer, some few hours having passed, breathing heavily and with a feeling of utter shock. Nothing like that had ever happened to me. I wondered if I had slept and dreamed; if I had hallucinated (I didn’t really know what a hallucination was, but crazy people had them); if… well, I didn’t know what.
One conclusion I drew almost immediately and have never doubted since is that that experience was REAL. It was more real than any experience I had ever had. I was more alive in that vision (what I would call it today) than I ever have been otherwise, more aware, more focused, more completely present.
Another conclusion was that the vision had something to do with Oneness. The whole Universe had compressed itself into a single point, which must mean that it really was all one thing (otherwise, how could that have happened?). So, at that point, I was left with two conclusions: my vision was real (which meant God was real) and that Oneness was central to the whole experience.
Thus began a lifetime’s search for the meaning of all of this: looking for God and Oneness. And that, dear reader, is where I will take up next time. Have a lovely day!