Recently, I again heard a version of, “Why would God do this to me?” From a traditional Christian perspective the answer is usually about learning lessons. This view stems from being identified as an unwitting sinner, who needs correction, forgiveness, and unmerited salvation. This is not my world view. I’ll explain why and why it matters.
My world view is that creation was and is “very good,” and as the first chapter of Genesis describes, we are completely so as well; indeed we reflect and express all of God’s wonderful qualities and attributes, and are bequeathed with dominion and agency.
My God is unconditional Love, never making anything that needs correcting, and constantly sustaining all of creation to be just as incredibly good as ever. The way I understand it, God is not the author of sin, disease, or problems. We are never tested by God, but have complete, unequivocal, ongoing spiritual approval, based solely on the wisdom and amazingness of God’s creation, and by no effort of our own.
It seems to me that whether one takes the Adam and Eve story personally, or contrariwise, sees it as a cautionary allegory, makes a big difference. As a math person, I know that starting with an error in your premise will automatically lead to an error in your conclusion, every single time.
The first chapter of Genesis in the Bible is a sound premise, beginning with goodness, connection, love and approval, which then in turn, proceeds all the way through to a happy, eternal conclusion. Deriving instead from the second chapter of Genesis, however, as a disobedient offspring with a separate mind of your own, is a premise fraught with trouble, continuing right along to an unsatisfactory conclusion.
If God is infinite, all-powerful, ever-present, and good, and made us that way as the first chapter states, obviously then, the next question is where do “challenges” come from? So I ask you, where does two plus two equals five come from? That erroneous premise causes a lot of havoc. The whole thing you are working on won’t come out right. Is the God of mathematics “doing that to you” to “teach you a lesson?” No. There is no problem with mathematics, the problem is in how it is applied. You have to follow its Principle correctly, for things to sort out well. And I use the word Principle here as a synonym for God along with others, like Love, Truth, Life, and Mind.
We need to align with the Principle of all creation, or in our example, the Principle of mathematics, which unwaveringly maintains that two plus two always equals four. When we do align with that in application, miraculously, all our accounts sort themselves out.
Sure, we seem to have free will to make a hash of things, but why would we want to do that? When we are humbly obedient to the Mind that made us– as Jesus came to show us how to do– things are resolved into inherent, eternal joy. Wouldn’t we rather choose this? Doing so is to avoid being a little, separate, false god in our own mind and life, trying to be in control, and instead, accept our actual birthright of being one with the infinite, divine Mind that actually is in control. When we do so as undeviatingly as possible, problems disappear.
God has not deserted us, leaving us to muddle through and struggle, with a short quiz at the end. In my view, that is no kind of God worthy of worship. Instead, we are made to image forth God’s own greatness and bliss.
As humans, it is easy to feel we fall short of that. So I “self-immolate,” not to beat myself up, but to become closer to my essential self, and therefore feel more at one with God. By doing so I avoid many difficulties.
My mother used to say, “You make your bed, and you sleep in it.” That adage highlights that we experience the respective blessings or consequences of our actions (or lack of them). This is where our dominion comes in. What will we do with it?
Life is full of choices. Marry a terrific guy or marry a scoundrel, and your experience will be different. When you are miserable in your marriage, did God (or even your wretched husband) make you that way? No! You chose it. Mary Baker Eddy, a staunch example of moral authority, says, “Your decisions, will master you, whichever direction they take.” That is a practical fact that I work on religiously.
I call on all the wisdom, discernment, intuition, intelligence, awareness, and grace that God equipped me with to make choices that will bring healthy, happy, safe, progressive results. And we are not just talking about the big choices. The little trivial stuff can trip us up just as much.
A systematically unruffled, good attitude, a grateful, routinely forgiving heart, regularly responding instead of reacting, moderating what you say, incessantly correcting any unworthy thinking, seeing everyone as God sees them spiritually, constantly noticing and amplifying every joyful good– all these things have hugely positive ripple effects. Not doing them, however, eventually can bring a tsunami of mess and disaster.
The Bible would say, “Turn yourselves, and live ye.” In other words, turn away from wringing your hands, blaming, and feeling sorry for yourself. Turn away from comparing yourself and your situation to others. Turn away from envy, resentment, and frustration. Turn away from going over and over the problem, reiterating it, and ruminating about it. Turn away from researching the problem, to get to know it better. Turn away from feeling powerless, deprived, impatient, fearful, negative, and upset. Turn away from feeling without options, put upon, and stuck. Turn away from claiming your disadvantages and identifying with them. Turn away from complaining, criticizing, and from acting like it is things on the outside of you that need to change. Turn away from regret, grief, and how you wanted it to be. Turn away from helplessness, too.
Instead, own that you have agency. God gave you dominion (not these problems). Use it. God also gave you an endless list of wonderful qualities and attributes that you can call on right now to come to your aid– things like courage and perseverance, creativity and tenacity, integrity and honesty, strength and resolve, ability and perception, activity and trust, composure and kindness.
Cozy up to God, and see yourself as God sees you: living free, making mindful attitudinal and functional choices closely aligned with God-likeness. To the degree you reflect God– and are therefore Christ-like– you won’t have issues. That’s the point of salvation. We need to accept salvation, but especially, we must actively connect with it by living out from that place.
Infinite good, God, has all the power, so if anything not good seems to be claiming power over your life, it is time to remember and identify with God instead, letting the rest go. Those experiencing problems are often defensive, and don’t want to see or sort out their own complicit role in creating their situation. Even if you are in no way responsible, a hard look will show you how to start living out from perfection, by identifying with yourself and others as the original first Genesis creation, instead of impossibly struggling up to it from a fallible human perspective. The blessings of this God-based approach are legion.
So whenever you are tempted to ask why is God making horrible stuff happen, be alert enough to stop right there. Take ownership of the gift of life you’ve been given, and get back to reflecting God better. You can do what you need to do; there is always a solution, taken one step at a time. You are more than the story that is swirling around, and with the right thinking and attitude, that malaise can’t even touch you.
Get a better premise. Fix whatever glichly mistakes have thrown you off. Mistakes are not shameful or threatening, they just require remediation, and progress is a law of God. Lessons will be learned whenever you stray, but the lesson will always be the same: turn ye! You, not God, are the reason you keep learning that lesson. God never left you, and already knows everything; you are the manifestation of that all-knowing. Let’s learn spiritual lessons instead of wrestling with human ones.
Re-align more closely with the all-goodness of God. Then rejoice in knowing that the only thing that God will “do to you” has already been done, and it is your wonderful creation, above and beyond any human sense. You are already just right and our project here is to watch that marvel unfold and to discover it more and more!
Wow, super powerful and definitely what I needed to hear today.
This is a fantastic article Polly…so much in it, I know I’ll have to re read it at least twice more! Great to get a new perspective on the idea of bad stuff happening in order to “teach us a lesson”…not even as punishment (which Ive never believed) but even just so we do learn how to do things differently. I also like “we are given free will, so what are you going to do with it”…EXACTLY!!! Thanks for this.
Thank you POLLY. Always such a clear thinker and always willing to share your God-given gifts. Much love!