A young couple was enjoying a lovely stroll through a beautiful garden. They happened upon a fruit tree of which they were warned not to eat. A sly, conniving stranger convinces the couple that it really is OK to eat the fruit from that particular tree. So they do. And all hell breaks loose. Literally.
We’ve all heard the story – forms of which exist in nearly all cultures, all religions.
God becomes angry. And not just a mild twinge of annoyance, but full-on rage. He punishes the couple making their lives difficult, forces childbirth to be painful, and extends His curses to all future children the couple and their descendants will sire. He further projects his disappointment by castigating the devious stranger as well all his offspring.
Yet we read in 1 John, and many other works, that God is love. Further, in one of the more popular passages in Corinthians, Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful. And finally, back to 1 John, There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment.
So, we have an infinite God of perfect love on one hand, and on the other we have an angry, vengeful, conditional God that metes out his wrath and punishment as he sees fit. Is God bipolar?
Of course not.
If we start with the axiom that God is infinite love (not just immense love, but infinite – never ending, no boundaries), then clearly there is no possibility of anything other than total love. Anything other than that would imply it wasn’t quite infinite. Perhaps a lot, but certainly not infinite.
Yet, we seem to have such a God that is less than infinite love and quite conditional about who he loves and when. From Proverbs 8:17 we read I love those who love me. I’ll love you if you love me. That sure seems trite – something you might hear from a conversation amongst two teenagers.
Can this really be God? Once again, of course not.
This is not the God of infinite oneness and never-ending love. The pedestrian god that doles out punishment and is happy one moment while angry the next is a god created in our image. Those are things we do: we are happy when things go our way, when people love us, when people do what we want them to do. We get angry when people disregard our wishes, and we boil over in murderous rage when someone seriously violates us.
If we were going to create a god in our own image, he would look pretty much like the God of the bible (and many other religious texts) – just like us, but with a lot more power. In our need to explain our worldly situation, and perhaps aided by our desire to control and manipulate others, we created a framework of authority, sin, punishment, and conditional redemption – all things we buy into on the level of the body. And yet we never step back from the picture and ask ourselves, “Does this really make sense?”
It is only when we step outside the battleground that we can see how silly the picture. From within the prison we made, the wrath of God and fear of punishment seem very serious indeed. But when viewed from the outside, we realize that there is no possibility of wrath or punishment within infinite oneness and never-ending love. All there can be is blissful peace. Nothing else.
God is not partial. All His children have His total Love. (T-1.V.3)
Is not the [love] of Heaven infinite? (W-pII.283.1)
God is not some capricious maker whose whims determine our fate. Rather, God is infinite creation, of which we are all a part.
Oneness is simply the idea that God is. And in His Being, He encompasses all things. No mind holds anything but Him. We say “God is,” and then we cease to speak, for in that knowledge words are meaningless. There are no lips to speak them, and no part of mind sufficiently distinct to feel that it is now aware of something not itself. It has united with its Source. And like its Source Itself, it merely is. (W-pI.169.5)
In that understanding resides our true peace.