This I Believe

Pamela - Oakland, California
Entered on March 3, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65

The world is ever-changing. All living things are born, grow old, and die. How then can any time-bound organism comprehend God, an entity that has always existed and will always exist? I believe we can only move toward a better understanding of God if we are willing to listen to what God is saying to us now.

Ever since we human beings first grasped the concept of cause and effect and came to understand that by our will alone we could not always bring about the effects we desired, we have searched for “something” to help us to permanently achieve our ends. We have tried “might makes right,” we have yielded to superstition, and we have worshipped idols, all to no avail.

Approximately 6000 years ago, a man named Abraham came up with the idea that there was only one God that was “The Cause” we human beings had been searching for. Abraham’s people later wrote a document called the Torah describing this God. It is this document along with the New Testament describing the life and teachings of Jesus that have guided our Judeo-Christian view of God for thousands of years.

My thesis is that although I believe that these documents contain the “Word of God,” the content must be understood in terms of when and for whom the documents were written. For example, could anyone living when Moses took the Jewish people out of Egypt have understood that the probable cause of the ten plagues in Egypt was a tiny disease causing bacteria? No. But today it would be different. God can now speak to us in many ways: poetry, art, religion, and science, to name just a few. The question is: are we willing to listen?

To those who are willing to listen, God is speaking eloquently. Every day we come closer to eliminating deadly diseases; learning more about how the mind works: and advancing our understanding of beauty, truth, and humanistic inquiry. Today we are able to see an earthquake as shifting tectonics instead of the end of the world.

The awe I feel for this process of discovery is enhanced by the realization that we human beings may never complete the process. I do not believe in a Creation-in-a-Box that can be reduced to simplistic fixed facts such as the world was created in seven days. What arrogance we humans are capable of! We who cannot even figure out how to program our VCR think that we can actually understand the creation of the world?

I think I hear God sighing, or maybe it is chuckling I hear. God is still trying to talk to us, if we are willing to listen…