My understanding of the Divine

Here is an accompanying image for this little essay I posted this in a Community of Christ FB group, and I thought I would also post it here.

Its not much of a secret that I am a bit of an odd duck. I see things from a bit of a different perspective. One of the different perspectives that I hold is the nature of God.

Our tradition has had several different models for Divinity throughout its history. The Book of Mormon espouses Modalism/Trinitarianism, the Kirtland Era brought Binitarianism with the 5th Lecture on Faith, the Nauvoo era experimented with monolatry, and the Reorganized era settled on a more traditional Trinitarianism. Officially the church still espouses Trinitarianism, but in practice everyone is allowed to have their own theory.

I was talking to my sibling yesterday about the dozens of models of Divinity that exist, and when I told them the one I like the most they were blown away that there was a word for it, because that’s what they had always believed. I thought I would share how I understand the Divine, and then share a scripture that helps me describe that model for Divinity.

Its a bit irreverent, but when talking about God with people I like to preface by saying that if the god that we’re talking about is an old white guy with a long beard who lives in the clouds, then I’m an Atheist. I don’t believe in a God that is anthropomorphic, which then also means that I don’t believe that God is male or female. I think God wanted to show humanity the love and peace that the Divine is filled with and wanted to show humanity how to best be filled with the same. The Divine lived out the ministry of Jesus Christ which best exemplifies this peace and love.

From this we see that the Divine is in multiple things; multiple forms. I am comfortable using the term “modalism” if we are restricting God to the Creator, Son, and Spirit. However, through personal experiences I believe that God is in all things. In the water, in the sky, in me, and in you. Some may say that this is the Spirit, which is also another cool way of looking at it. God can be transcendent and imminent.

I like using terms like “Trinitarian”, “Binitarian”, and “Monolatry” to describe God. I think these words help sum up a whole complex concept. The word that I like to use to sum up my understanding of the Divine is “Panentheism”. I believe that God is present in everything, but there is more to God than our physical universe.

As I said, I kind of walk to the beat of my own drum. For a long time I didn’t think I would ever be able to find a community that accepted me, and then I found Community of Christ ? Then I believed I would never find scripture that spoke to my beliefs, but I believe I have found one: D&C 85:2-3 (LDS D&C 88: 4-13 I think). One of the ways that I understand scripture best is if I re-write it using words and terms that make sense to me. I’d like to show you my version of those verses:

2A. This Spirit that I give to you is from the Celestial Realm. It’s glory is of the Divine’s church. The Creator was glorified by Christ.

2B. Christ ascended above all things and below all things. He understands everything and is in everything. The light of Christ is truth.

2C. He is in the sun as well as the light of the sun. He was the power which created the sun.

2D. He is in the moon as well as the light of the moon. He is the power which created the moon.

2E. He is in the light of the stars and the power that made them.

2F. He is in the earth on which you stand and the power that made it.

3A. The light which now shines for you to see is made possible by Christ. Christ is also the light that opens your eyes and gives you understanding. Christ is the light which comes from God and fills the immensity of space.

3B. Christ is the light in all things, and gives light to all things. This is the way the universe works. God is the power that is in the chest of eternity and in all things.