What is God?

History is littered with all kinds of ideas about “god”. Every nation and culture has had a “god” of some sort – something labeled as such.

Psychologists have tried to understand the attributes of these gods as being the exemplified and amplified abstraction of principles – such as strength and wisdom – that humans have discovered. For example, there are strong creatures and weak creatures, allowing humans to extract the concept of “strength”. With such an abstraction in mind, the strongest of all things is “god”. However, as valiant an effort as it is to unite these ideas, there seems to be be little in common between these culturally accepted gods.

The similarities between these societal gods likely arise out of necessity and the need for cultural identity. For example, in order for the common man to understand “god” and relate to it, such a god needed to be visible, tangible, and – in many cases – human. In order for a “god”, in order to speak with humans, surely humans thought it needed to be human or at least spoke audibly.
And yet, in nature, the variety of “gods” around the world do not have similar properties. The “kami” in Japan are more akin to spirits with limited powers. The “gods” of the Greeks merely ruled the world in power but did not create it, nor where they necessarily non-physical (as in the case of Hercules). These “gods” were cultural figures and allowed the calm merging of cultures, as was the case with the Romans adopting the Greek gods.

However, it is quite clear from history that a number of philosophers – from Buddha to Plato – rejected the common man’s view of God and sought a more reasonable explanation to the existence of the cosmos.

The Greeks philosophers derived the concept of the Monad[1] – a self-existent, self-supported being from which all other things came. The theories they derived about the Monad may not have been accurate, but they at least had discovered the most fundamental element of the cosmos.

The Monad itself supports the concept of Pantheism and a chunk of the spectrum of concepts called “Panentheism”[2] (all in God), though not Theism (in the sense of Theism suggesting God is separate from the universe).

For as much as the concept of the Monad says about God, it does not say anything about the “mind of god” or much else about anything else that is derived from God.

The idea of the Monad comes from the necessity of there being a source for the existence of all things. It does not say anything about there being a “beginning” of time, even though time, by its casual nature, implies a beginning and no end. Like time, the Monad always exists and all things always come from the Monad. The Monad does not exist in any medium. It is the medium in which all things exist.
Other attributes about the Monad can be inferred based on some application of reason.

(( In my opinion, unless you are Theist (not necessarily in the traditional sense but as someone who believes God and the universe are completely separate), the Monad – in its simplest definition (and not including a variety of extra aspects that the Greeks attributed to it) – is perfectly agreeable basis for reality. Considering how this simple definition is the basis for the majority of other ideas concerning reality, it is comforting to think of this as being one of the earliest understandings of the essence of God by man.
Derivatives of the Monad append all sorts of other things onto “God” that we usually associate with God. For example, in the Western World, the teachings of Christianity have left people with the notion that God is an emotional being, having a personality that is similar to our own. ))

For a moment, however, let us consider what “God” is not. This will help us better understand what God is.
First, God is not merely physical. This does not mean that God cannot become a physical being or manipulate the physical world. Instead, it means that God is not limited to the physical world and precedes it in existence. Nothing else exists without God. This is proven by the very definition of “God” being used here. The entire purpose of concept of the Monad is to identify something from which all other things are derived. It does not at all suggest reciprocal dependence; that is, God is not dependent on anything created.

Second, God is not a physical creature. This does not mean that God cannot, in some senses, become human. What it means is that physicalness cannot fully embody divinity. To say that it could would be a loop of contradiction. By definition, God encompasses the universe, so how could the universe both fully contain God and be more expansive than God?

Third, God is not limited in expanse, scale, power, and so forth. There is nothing to bound God. Anything “outside” of God to establish that boundary would suggest that this “God” exists within the confines of something else, and thus would not fulfill the very definition that was established. Again, God does not exist in a medium. God is the medium. It is possible to invent a rhetorical argument the argues against the omnipotence and omnipresence of God, but this is based on the inapplicability of human language to reality based on its limitations – the same answer to the Assyrian paradox (i.e. “This statement is false.”).

Fourth, God is not emotional. The “gods” of ancient cultures often had emotions, but this only makes it easier for humans to understand and relate to them. The Monad would not have “emotions” – certainly not in the recognizable sense. If God is said to have emotions, then it is only by analogy so as to explain the actions of God, which supersede human understanding.

Most importantly, God is not chaos. A slew of discoveries about God can be made based on understanding fundamental chaos (what I call “Philosophical Chaos”), which could also be called “anti-logic” and “anti-order”. Since God is not this chaos, we can better understand what God is by treating God as the opposite (in accordance with the First Law of Opposites). However, I’ll save this treatment for another time.

[1] The term “Monad” here is very restrictive, referring specifically to an origin of all things. It does not suggest the other theorized aspects of the Monad, such as the origin of the of Dyad from the Monad.

Some people might object to using the term “Monad”, especially since it has specific ideas attached to the Greek concept. Again, I am not suggesting that the Greek concept was entirely correct, but I am suggesting that it’s fundamental element (the basis upon which all of the other theories surrounding it are derived) is a reasonable basis for both the concept of “God” and a definition. Furthermore, it serves as an example of how human knowledge about “God” was discovered in ancient civilizations and never rendered antiquated despite all of the progress in human thought. The Monad – according to the definition I have presented here – is a strikingly simple view of God that is neither obsolete nor irrational.

[2] The term “panentheism” has been broadened from its original definition, but the common trend in all of its definitions is that somehow everything is connected to and contained within God. Some theories of panentheism claim dependence of God on the world, a kind of co-dependence which is, for all practical purposes, no different than pantheism (where God and the world are one and the same). Other theories of panentheism – such as the rigid definition of the Monad I argued in the section about what God is not – treat the existence of God as independent of the universe, even though the existence of the universe is dependent on God. Panentheism is a spectrum because there are different ideas concerning the exact relationship between God and the universe.

The “universe” here refers specifically to the physical realm, as opposed to the cosmos, which is all-inclusive.


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