Lots of magazine articles address the general question about what is wanted, usually involving women wanting to know what men want, or men wanting to know what women want? Even with all those articles and their varied opinions, there is no consistent answer. How crazy it must be then to consider from a human perspective what God might want. As arrogant or impossible as the question may sound, thinkers in religion, philosophy, and psychology have been addressing the question virtually forever! So, I guess I’m just taking my turn at it.
Generally when people think about God’s desires they choose from two available variations on the question. What does God want “from” us? (Lot’s of individuals and religions are more than happy to provide their answers for you.) Or, What does God want “for” us? This question usually begins with a “loving parental God” who just wants the best for “His” children. Neither of these are necessarily bad perspectives, but they don’t cover all the possibilities. I’d like to add another one: What does God want for (or from) God? Said differently, “What is the Creator/Creative God up to anyway?”
It is always easiest to address this question if we begin with an image of God that shares lots of human characteristics: thought, feeling, intention, etc. But, of course, because it’s easy, it’s also restrictive, so I’m not going to begin there. In fact, I’m going to skip the image of God question all together. Maybe instead I’ll cheat just a little bit and consider “divine intention.”
How do we get evidence about what God’s intention might be? Theologians and philosophers make use of “revelatory experiences” and “reason” respectively. How about if we just look at what happens around us in the world to see what light such observations might add to our understanding of creation and the “creative intention.” Those observations make use of the various lenses of religion, history, scientific inquiry and psychology.
Here’s one example of how to approach the question. I am in the process of writing a second novel that is a loosely drawn sequel to Community of Promise, my first novel. Parts of the novel draw on an understanding of ancient Egyptian religion. One generally understood ancient belief is in the divinity of Pharaoh. Perhaps more accurately, Pharaoh is seen as a god-man. So, what does this mean? Is Pharaoh essentially of a higher order of creation than common mortals, thereby justifying the use of power over the masses? Such thinking is similar to “the divine right of kings.” It tends to follow a strictly hierarchical model with power concentrated at the top. Many have seen Pharaoh’s role in this way, including, I suppose, some of the Pharaohs themselves.
My deepening study leads me to a different understanding of the god-man. Many see Pharaoh as more of a religious figure than a ruler. Perhaps the Divine made use of Pharaoh as an entry point into human consciousness. The goal was not to concentrate the power at the top, but the king had the function of making the people more accessible to the embodiment of divine consciousness. One could speculate that the divine intention might be not only to create the universe, but to become conscious in it, too.
How might we think about our human lives if we saw ourselves as partners with the divine in bringing divine consciousness to its fullness in creation? Clearly this is not a new idea. Many have held it throughout history, but in our divisive and fear-based culture it seems like a delightful alternative to the hierarchical model that has “dominated” the political and religious world for millenia.
So, have you done your part to work “with” the divine today?
That’s how I see it, how about you?
“The Promised Land is within and among us.”