In the beginning
God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)
we look beyond the surface of the solid objects around us, we
find that things are not as they seem. The page in front of me
right now looks like a simple, smooth, white surface with black
letters on it. Yet if we were to take a look at it with a
microscope, we would find that the surface is full of mountains
and valleys--not at all smooth and simple. And the ink that
looks so black and solid would start breaking up at high
magnification, with splotches of pigment here and there. Look
even deeper, and we find that this paper is not even solid. It
is made up of molecules and atoms that have nuclei with tiny
electrons whizzing around them, forming force fields that give
an appearance of solidity while actually being mostly empty
space. And we can go even deeper than that, and find that the
protons, neutrons, and electrons themselves are formed of still
tinier particles that just seem to get stranger and stranger.
we look inside our own minds, there, too, we find that
everything is not as it seems on the surface. When we say
"Good morning," for example, we just think of it as a
pleasant salutation. Yet beyond even the miracles of the brain
pathways and incredibly intricate physical organs of speech that
make it possible for us to say "Good morning," there
are all the thoughts and feelings that go into that "Good
morning." How do we feel about the people we are saying
"Good morning" to? What is our relationship with them?
What is in our tone of voice when we say it? If we were to
analyze that simple salutation, we would find that it has
thousands of thoughts, feelings, emotions, desires behind it
that we are only dimly aware of, if we are aware of them at all.
around us or within us is quite as it seems. As we look beyond
the surface, we find layers and layers of different realities
within, some of which bear little resemblance to what our eyes
see and our hands touch. We find that reality as we know it is
not quite as real as we thought. Apparently solid objects are
force fields operating in mostly empty space. Simple greetings
have complexities of human psychology behind them that would
take years to fully analyze. And each time we peel off a layer
of reality, thinking we have gotten to the root of it, we get a
glimpse of many more layers yet to be peeled away. We find that
the reality we see is not only not so real as we thought, but
that no matter how deeply we look, and no matter how far out
into the universe we peer, we still see only a surface of
reality that hides a still deeper reality that we can稚
does it all end? Is there anything that is truly real? Or are we
doomed to keep searching for, but never finding, something truly
would say that there is no absolute reality: that life simply
creates itself as it goes along. We can create our own reality
that has just as much status of reality as anything else. In
terms of human society, we create our own standards, and those
standards become the only social reality that exists.
would insist that although we can, indeed, look beyond the
surface and see deeper layers of reality, those layers all exist
in this material world. The fundamental substance and laws of
the material universe, they say, are all the reality we will
ever find. And if we were to fully grasp and comprehend the
basic substance and form of the material universe, we would have
arrived at reality itself.
there yet, despite centuries, even millennia, of searching. Even
the most sophisticated modern scientific instruments and
techniques just keep turning up ten more questions for every
answer they yield. Each time scientists think they may be close
to the fundamental reality and the grand unifying theory they
seek, they make some new discovery that turns all the previous
theories on their heads.
does it all end? Will we ever find anything that is truly real?
a spiritual perspective, that truly real thing has been there,
has even been reaching out to us, all the way along. There is
only one truly real Being in the universe, and that is God, the
creator of the universe. And we will never rest in true reality
until we come in contact with the Divine Being from whom all
that we can ever grasp the fundamental being of God and hold it
in our minds. God is infinite and eternal, whereas our minds are
finite and limited. To hold the being of God in our minds would
be like trying to hold the ocean in a drinking glass. It just
And yet, the infinite being of God does throw shadows and send
out messages into our minds, so that we can gain some sense of
who and what God is.
we begin to look at the being and nature of the Creator God, it
is good to remember that although we are contemplating reality
in itself, we are seeing only its shadow and its reflection on
our minds. And the humility of knowing that we don稚
truly know will
help us open our minds to continually see deeper and deeper into
the unfathomable reality of God.
Exodus 3:13-15, during Moses・conversation
with God out in the desert of Sinai, at the burning bush, we
find this exchange between Moses and God:
said to God, "What is your name?"
said, "I Am I Who Am. So you will say to the Children of
Israel, "I Am sent me to you.' And you will say, 'Jehovah,
the God of your fathers, sent me to you.' This is my name to
eternity, and this is how I will be remembered from generation
passage contains a play on words. In the original Hebrew, the
name "Jehovah" looks and sounds very similar to the
word for "I am." If it were written in modern
philosophical language, it might read, "Ultimate Reality is
my name," or "Reality Itself has sent me to you."
God is telling us in this passage that God is the core reality
of the universe, the Being from whom all other beings come.
in this spiritual perspective can the human mind rest in finding
the Reality beyond which there is no other. God is the eternal
"I Am." God is uncreated, infinite, eternal. Unlike
everything else, God simply is, and there is no farther to go
if God is, if God is the ultimate, uncreated reality, this must
mean that everything else comes from God. We can dig deeper and
deeper into everything we see around us, and into our own minds.
Where the digging stops is not with some fundamental material
substance and grand unifying theory, and it is not even in some
fundamental spiritual psychology that makes us all tick. It
stops when we finally uncover God, who has been there within and
above us all along, reaching out to us and waiting to be
discovered. And of course, because our minds are finite and
the infinite, uncreated Reality as it is in itself, we can just
keep right on digging to eternity, and never reach the core of
that core is there. If it weren't, nothing else could exist.
There has to be something that everything else comes from. And
even though we can never quite reach its center, even though we
can never fully grasp God as God truly is, we can still look
toward God, be enlightened by God, receive warmth and life from
God, and continually gain more and more understanding of who God
can do this by looking at nature: at the material universe,
which comes from God and expresses God's nature.
We can do this by looking at ourselves: at the human being who
is created in the image and likeness of God. And we can do it by
searching the Scriptures, looking beyond their surface, and
discovering the spirit of God shining through from within.
implies that God expresses the divine nature in all the created
things that come from God. If God is the source of all being,
then the universe and everything in it was not created from
nothing, as some religious traditions hold, but rather was spun
out from the very being of God. And as with a painting or
sculpture produced by an artist, God's artwork,
which is the universe, expresses within itself the nature and
character of God. And God's book,
the Word of God, must also express within itself just what God
all the created things that reflect God's nature,
God has substance--the stuff God is made of--and a form that
this substance takes on. The next chapter will look more deeply
into that substance, which is divine love, and that form, which
is divine wisdom. For now it is enough to know that all of our
own substance and form come from that divine substance and form.
though the matter we are physically made of looks solid and
stable on the surface, its deeper reality is very different. And
if we were able to keep peeling the layers of reality from those
infinitesimally small electrons whizzing around the protons and
neutrons in the center of the atoms, and giving the illusion of
solidity, we would eventually find that they are continually
powered and kept in existence by the infinite, creative love of
God. Yes, even solid matter has love--divine love--as its
underlying substance and reality.
if we look beyond the outward, visible the human mind, which is
formed by our words and actions and the immediate thoughts and
feelings behind them, we find millions of thoughts and feelings
that continually act and interact with one another in patterns
so complex that our most advanced psychology can barely do more
than grasp some of the overall types and categories of human
thinking and emotion. Yet here, too, if we were able to dig more
and more deeply into the drives, the loves, that make us who we
are, we would find that every one of them is continually powered
and kept in existence by the infinite, creative love of God.
often think of creation as something that happened long ago, at
the very beginning of time, when God spun the universe out,
creating everything in it one by one. Yet even time itself is
not as real as we think it is. In fact, there is no such thing
as "before creation," because time itself came into
existence with creation. Some modern scientific theories say
that the universe has no beginning and no center. Some of the
scientists who hold to these theories believe this does away
with the need for a concept of a God to create the universe.
the creation of the universe is not something that happens
within time. It is something that comes from beyond time into
this time-bound world. Creation is something that happens in the
beginning of reality, not in the beginning of time. Creation is
not something that happened once upon a time in the distant
past, but something God is doing right now, and has been all
along. Whether or not
the universe has a beginning in time, the universe has a
beginning in the reality of God. Another way of saying this is
that creation is not horizontal, but vertical.
we can trace the development of the universe from a primordial
Big Bang if we like, and go through the stages of the formation
of stars, galaxies, and solar systems. But the real creation is
from within, throughout all those stages of development. The
real creation is God continually expressing the divine nature by
creating and holding in existence, each moment, the entire
universe and everything in it.
means that every new moment in time as we experience it is a new
creation of God. Every new birth and every new event in nature
is a new creation of God. Every thought and feeling we have is a
new creation of God, flowing through the spiritual atmospheres
into our consciousness.
is not just something God did long ago, setting things in motion
and letting them run. God is infinitely and eternally creative,
and never stops creating. Every moment God is expressing the
love that is at the core of God. Every moment God is creating
and developing the entire universe. And every moment, God is
creating and renewing each one of us. Every day and every moment
of our lives is a new creation of God.
new things will God create in your life today?
Music: So Far Away
© Bruce DeBoer
Used with Permission
Script Courtesy of
Photos: public domain from
the Hubble Telescope Mission
Earth Rise photo from Apollo 8 Mission