The topic of God isn’t an easy thing to talk about, especially if toe-treading isn’t something you’re really into. I’ve refrained from taking a stance on God (though I did once discuss what God symbolizes in the psyche) for two reasons: 1) I don’t want to upset people, and 2) I don’t know what God is (honestly no one really does). But, like any other person or religion, I suppose I can give my own interpretation.
As someone who believes in science and all of its wonders, it can be hard to reconcile my faith in science with the notion of God. There are religious people who attempt to do so by claiming that God created all of the universe and all of its science: I find this approach to be extremely lazy. That’s not to say that the other side, namely the atheists, are any better or well versed in their claims. Truth be told, I probably dislike atheists more than I dislike religious folk, if just because many of them hypocritically become the zealots they so love to bash. In the end, I just don’t like either camps because they refuse to acknowledge each other in any meaningful way. With that said, let me begin my interpretation of what exactly God might be.
There are three qualities that go into God: perfection, omniscience, and omnipotence. The latter two of this trio are self explanatory as to what they consist in, but perfection might require a little explaining. Perfection is an idea that transcends any single person’s notion of perfection. Real perfection has no single image which we can make obvious to ourselves or ever really understand: as beings limited to an imperfect form and an imperfect perspective (as we are confined to these meager bodies and singular positions in the universe) we cannot ever understand precisely what perfection truly consists in. Yet, as Descartes claimed, we know that such a perfection exists because we are always comparing ourselves and our ideas to it, always pursuing this knowledge which we can never really have. Thus we ourselves can make no claim about what is imperfect or perfect in the universe: there will always be a bigger picture whose perfection we can never understand. If that sounds confusing, I’ll spend more time later trying to explain it. For now, I blaze on.
Omniscience is having knowledge of everything. But what I have learned from my own meditations into the nature of perception is that the only thing that we can have true and absolute knowledge of is the existence of our own mind: everything outside it is thrown into utter doubt, simply because the real truth that no one ever wants to contend with is the truth that in everything but ourselves, there is infinite doubt. Even when we look directly at an object, we have no knowledge of its absolute current state: all we have is knowledge of its existence less than a micro second ago. We often take this for granted because the time delay is so small as to be negligible, but perhaps the reason we can’t arrive at any sort of truth is because we keep claiming that things are negligible. But that’s beside the point.
With all this said, in this scientific universe, how might one have true omniscience, that is, have true knowledge of everything? My reply is this: if the only knowledge that any being can have is knowledge of oneself, then to have knowledge of everything, one must be everything. Therefore, God’s omniscience is the result of the fact that God is everything, or rather, what we interpret as omniscience its merely the realization that the entirety of the universe is in itself a single entity that “knows” everything about itself. God is the universe. The universe is God. In fact, we might as well make no distinction at all; in my view, there is no difference whatsoever between the two. We are all part of God because we’re all part of the universe.
Now I move to understand omnipotence, that is, the supreme power. Omnipotence is the force that keeps the universe in motion, a flow started by the original spark, the Big Bang, or whatever happened in a time so unimaginably long ago. Science is our foolhardy attempt to control it, to have mastery over cause and effect, but the truth of the matter is that we are all swept along in it, and everything we do and everything that happens in the universe is the result of its power. Some people call it fate or destiny while others call it cause and effect: I don’t think the two are necessarily different things.
Anything that has ever happened or will happen or is happening is the effect of some cause and the cause of some effect: the entire universe is locked in the flow of time itself, a never ending stream of causes creating effects and effects becoming causes to other effects. What greater power can there be than this single power that guides everything, every person, plant, planet, galaxy, and particle, forward to its eventual destination? God’s omnipotence isn’t the ability to perform miracles or do any particular action; we perceive these as his power simply because of our inability to see the bigger picture at hand, because of our incomplete perspective on the universe. God’s omnipotence is the inexorable flow of the universe, the “whatever will be will be”: nothing in the universe can resist its force, for anything that anyone or anything does is simply another result of its guiding power, just another effect of some cause and the cause of some effect. We have the mistaken belief that God has intentions or plans, but what that really amounts to is merely the notion that everything in the future is determined as the inevitable result of an inexorable series of causes and effects that started even before anything really existed at all.
In the end, my interpretation of God is this: God and science are nothing different from each other. God is the universe and his power is the flow of events within the universe. The universe and the flow of events within it is God. God can be nothing but perfect, for the universe is everything, and there can be no perfection greater than the universe and all of existence. And it’s extremely important that you make no mistake here: if you think that what I intend to say is that the universe is some entity as imperfect and subject to whims and fancies as us humans, then you truly have not understood what I’m trying to get at.