As the Hebrew month of Elul, the month before Rosh Hashanah begins, our tradition urges us to turn our thoughts toward the spiritual realm of life. Toward that end I want to share with you the way I think of God and the role the Eternal One plays in my life.
I understand God in two specific ways:
- God is the invisible, incorporeal force Who initiated the process that led to the evolution of the world, as we know it. The process was orderly and purposeful. I believe God created humanity to be in charge of and responsible for God’s world.
- God is a Force that lies in potential within each of us that wants each of us to use the talents with which God has blessed us to make the world a more just caring and compassionate place.
We have free will.
In many ways the aspect of God inside of us is like a muscle. We must cultivate and strengthen that muscle if it is to be useful to us.
We humans are not puppets.
God wants us to do good, but God does not make us do good.
There is both good and evil in our world. We can choose to incline our thoughts and actions in either of those directions. God wants us to use the minds with which we are blessed, to analyze the ramifications of choices we make, and choose to perform acts of kindness and caring that make a difference in the lives of others.
There is much about God that we cannot understand, that we will never understand.
As humanity continues to solve the mysteries of life and gain greater mastery over the forces of nature, the possibilities for both good and evil multiply.
A prime example is the internal combustion engine. The invention allows us to get from point A to B at speeds unimaginable even100 years ago. Yet no one can deny that invention has claimed the lives of millions of people.
Two things are clear to me as we continue to unravel life’s mysteries:
- The gap between what we know about God and what we cannot understand will always be infinite.
- The consequences of our choices for good or for evil will escalate dramatically.
At the end of the day, though, God’s desire for us today and forever is the same as God’s desire for humanity at the time of creation: to use our talents to make a more just caring and compassionate society. Each of us must choose whether and in what ways we wish to work toward that goal.