When we speak of things being ‘alive,’ we usually mean people or animals that feel, think, and act. We talk about ‘consciousness,’ and the ability to reflect. Does that only apply to humans? What about animals? What about plants?
When we speak of God, or ‘God’s Spirit,’ we believe that the Spirit of God permeates everything; that the presence of God is within me, within you, and within creation. But what does that mean if something seems ‘lifeless’ or inanimate, like rocks, dirt, soil, or even human-made products like concrete, coffee tables, and lamps?
Scientists have shown that all creation is alive in some sense, in that even photons and quarks have a relational quality to them, and everything seems to have some capacity of ‘consciousness.’ Consciousness is described as an ability to be reflective, (and relational). While photons don’t have brains, they influence the positions of other photons, and even the act of observing them determines their ‘behavior!’
While a plant, tree or dog has less reflective consciousness than we do, as the poet Mary Oliver asks, “Why should I have it, and not the anteater who loves her children ?...Come to think of it, what about the maple trees? What about the blue iris? What about all the little stones, sitting alone in the moonlight?” (“Some Questions You Might Ask” – New And Selected Poems)
We have loving relationships with animals. We know plants respond to music and people talking to them. Every kind of physical mass is actually composed of atoms, and protons and neutrons circling around, abuzz with activity. Quantum physics, (the study of the smallest atomic waves and particles) proves that all created matter comes from consciousness, and shares some form of consciousness. (Max Planck The Observer, 1931). What is consciousness, if not the mind of God?
It is time to get rid of old ideas about God as a man in the sky. We know that isn’t literally true, yet how often do we still hear expressions like ‘The man upstairs,’ or references to God ‘showering His blessings down on us’? A local minister from Plymouth Congregational Church, Rev. Daniel Wolpert wrote a book, The Collapse of the Three Story Universe. In it, he describes how the idea of God in’ heaven up there’ and us ‘down here’ with a ‘hell’ underneath everything originated back when people thought the earth was flat and so everything else, (including God) must either be on, above, or below the earth.
We don’t believe that anymore, but somehow the ‘heavens above’’ and ‘hell below’ and God as ‘the man in control’ ideas still stick around. We know these are metaphors, but it’s time to talk about reality! God and God’s presence are alive in all of the life, consciousness, and relationships that exist in all of creation. This consciousness, the mind of God, permeates everything, and continuously offers us the most loving, life-giving choices in every situation.
The mind of God, and our minds, consciousness, or souls are joined for all eternity.
God isn’t a man in the sky. Animals, plants, insects, and inanimate ‘things’ aren’t ‘things’ at all, but sisters and brothers who share the Spirit, the mind of God.
Consciousness (in various forms) permeates all creation, and joins all of us as one living family. Let’s enjoy, appreciate and love our family members in all of their wonderful forms! We have lived long enough with the idea that we are not connected. We aren’t just connected – we are related! Care for creation is not just critical – it’s caring for family!