Lesson 3: God's Manifestation In The Earth
Concept of God
Hence ye would study to show thyself approved unto thy concept of thy God. What IS thy God? Let each answer that within self. What IS thy God? Where is He, what is He? Then ye may find yourselves lacking in much. How personal is He? Not as Moses painted a God of wrath; not as David painted a God that would fight thine enemies; but as the Christ – the Father of love, of mercy, of justice. (262-100)
We should see in every experience of activity of another our attempt to express, to manifest, our concept of divine reality. (ASFG, Book II)
The advice given to the Norfolk Study Group #1 that they should each look within to recognize their own unique personal concept of God is remarkable. That there should be a wide variety of such concepts of God to choose from is an historical fact as documented in the video overview for this lesson.
The God concept of the ancient Hebrews – the angry God of wrath of Moses, or warrior God of David – is still with us in many ways that are not just religious or theological – and not limited to Judaism. Numerous instances of violence and warfare can be cited throughout the history of Christianity and Islam as well. Look around at the world today for current social and political examples of this concept of God.
As an alternative, the Cayce readings strongly endorsed the concept of God portrayed by Jesus (the Christ) as a loving, merciful father. Thus the relationship of parent and child is the basis for this concept of God. Some may balk at the sexist symbolism of traditional Christianity and insist that this concept of God be framed in the broader context of “Father-Mother God.” (e.g., 2305-1, 281-39, 281-65, 603-3, 1504-1)
Many Cayce readings also discuss another relationship-based concept of God as companion and equal. As souls, we were created to be companions and co-creators with God. The readings indicate that this is the destiny of the soul, a topic for a future lesson.
Or you may opt for an impersonal concept of god as exemplified by deism – a god of nature or natural law. Or perhaps as Creative Energy or Creative Force ("the Force be with you"). There are numerous other concepts of God from which to choose, if you feel the need to broaden your options. What is really important is that you examine your own beliefs regarding this question and understand how your concept of God reflects your spiritual ideal.
Application: Look within and determine your own concept of God. Ask yourself how your concept of God relates to your spiritual ideal. Be as clear as possible as to what you believe and be willing to put your concept of God into action in your life as a manifestation of your ideals.
Resources: Concepts of God (Reply)
God's Manifestation in the Earth
What is the purpose of this particular lesson? Has it not been pointed out to those as they have followed that presented, that in this there may be seen or known to each as to how, when and in what manner they as individuals may be conscious of the spirit manifesting through them in material things? (262-60)
Your concept of God will likely have a strong correlation to how (or whether) you perceive God manifesting in the earth. You may see God manifesting in historical events as described in the Judeo-Christian tradition. You may witness the power and majesty of God in nature – or the subtlety of the divine mind in the laws of nature.
If your concept of God is strictly personal, then God may manifest as the still small voice from within experienced during prayer and meditation as you become aware of Oneness with God (which the readings call "Christ Consciousness").
Or you may look around and see the manifestation of God in other beings, shining forth in compassion. Thus God manifests through the lives and actions of individual souls attuned to a higher purpose. Specifically, the readings insist that God manifests in the earth in human relations through: "The fruits of the spirit. Gentleness, kindness, the loving word, patience, hope, persistence, and – above all – consistency in thy acts and in thy speech. Be ye glorious in thine activity." (262-58)
Application: Look around and within. Answer within yourself as to how God manifests in the earth. Based on your observations and self-examination, consciously manifest God in your life in some manner that is true to your ideals.
Resources: God Within and Without (Article)
And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. (Luke 5: 37, 38)
As wine ferments, it expands. You will notice this effect when you open a corked wine bottle and the pressure is released. However, in biblical times there were no glass bottles and corks to contain the wine. Animal skins served that purpose. As the skins became old and rigid, they were not suitable for new wine that would cause them to burst.
Jesus used this chemistry lesson to symbolize the need for new concepts about God and how God manifests in the earth. The parable of the wineskins points out the need to continously re-examine beliefs and be willing to adopt new, flexible ways of thinking about God.
It has been nearly two thousand years since Jesus told this parable. Is it time for some new conceptual wineskins for 21st-century ideas about God and our relationship to the divine?
Application: Meditate on Jesus' parable of the wineskins. Answer within yourself as to whether you need to change your mind about God and your relationship to the divine.