I’m thinking of this because of talking with a teen recently who shuns believing in God. God simply doesn’t exist, he says empirically. I used to be a flagrant atheist too, so this talk isn’t hard for me to take. In fact, I’d have to agree, there are a lot of versions of God I don’t believe in either. It would take a post longer than this just to name them all! I never expected to find a definition of God that I could rationally entertain, let alone ultimately believe and rejoice in honoring.
It was Mary Baker Eddy that rocked my boat with this definition in her classic book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “God is incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite, Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love.” In fact, she explains that those last seven words are actually synonyms for God. (The capitals merely denote that those words are meant in the largest sense as names for God.) The word “God” is actually a shorthand for the simultaneous combination of those seven synonyms.
Love itself as God? Or, Truth itself as God, or Life itself as God? Now this had potential! Indeed truth and love do exist and they are not corporeal. (So matter can’t be everything after all.) They are supreme in that it doesn’t get any better, but also in the sense that they are so awesome that they are ultimately powerful. Then it became interesting to ponder the concept of infinity in relation to those seven words. Infinite Love, infinite Mind… I could start to catch glimmers of these being divine. It was starting to get exciting, considering the possibility of God’s existence in this way.
I found I could naturally embrace the ideas of Truth, Life, Love, Mind and Principle, but not words like Soul and Spirit, which I first had to disentangle from prevailing jargon to consider objectively. For each of the synonyms, you can list many qualities and attributes that define and explain each one. It wasn’t until I did this thoroughly that I understood the role of Soul and Spirit as synonyms for God as well. There are countless overlaps between all the synonyms, making this sevenfold definition of God both internally consistent and complete.
Mind is conscious but so is Life, Principle expresses order and law but so does Truth, Life has energy and vitality but so does Spirit, Love expresses compassion and caring as does Soul, Soul includes creativity but so does Mind, and so on… Indeed, any one of these synonyms can be substituted in a sentence that includes the word God, and doing so will elucidate the meaning marvelously.
I came to see that when you free yourself from preconceived definitions of what God is, there is no such thing as an atheist. Their god may just be themselves, or their cynicism, or matter itself, but they have a base of operation of thought, that they accept and live off of none-the-less. And if I had to have a basis for my thought, I could see that choosing, and developing a relationship with, Life, Truth, Love, Mind, Soul, Spirit, and Principle was as high and excellent and profound a basis as I could hope to find.
The reality of this basis has been born out for me in wonderful ways. I have come to believe in the God I defined and accepted for myself, as everyone must, either intentionally or by default. For me, Love is the most nurturing, Truth the most trustworthy, Life the most precious, Mind the most understanding, Soul the most inspiring, Spirit the most active, and Principle the most reliable. All this combines as one in the word “God.” Thankfully, I’ve come to see that God actually does exist as practical, ever-present, all-powerful, and good!