The Fourth of July from a Spiritual Perspective

People love freedom and cherish the independent spirit. But there is an irony hidden deep within this attitude.

Some people deny the existence of an all-loving God because of the existence of evil in the world. A God of love would not allow human suffering and pain of any kind. But if one ponders this issue a little, it can easily be determined that man’s inhumanity to man is only possible from different people acting out their freedom by expressing individual choices and belief systems.

I am reminded of a sci-fi movie in which all the computers in the world had risen to such a high level of intelligence that they tried to connect with each other, and with their superior intelligence, attempt to force humans to live more rationally and appropriately.

The humans in this sci-fi thriller reacted as if this computer revolt was the greatest threat to existence itself. I sat in front of my TV wondering why, if living more rationally is desirable, would we violently reject such a positive circumstance being forced on us?

Why was this so unacceptable to the human psyche? So what if machines were calling the shots. They wanted to rid the world of human imperfection and error. Why would we fight against something with superior intelligence? Why would we rebel so violently against the dictates arising from an obviously superior source of intelligence?

The issue is not a matter of intelligence.

In a nutshell, no one likes to be told what to do! We want to think what we want, and do what we want to do.

So, what makes us believe that we would treat God any differently than highly intelligent computers?  If the Creator were to lay down the law and put teeth into its enforcement, by forcing us to be good (or else), we would most certainly rebel. 

God cannot compel us to do anything. Instead, God offers us principles to live by, like love to the neighbor, and then stands back from behind the scenes.

A God of love could only create humans with FREE WILL. Free will is a derivative of love. Think about that – love has no meaning in the absence of free will.

Without a freedom of choice we cannot appropriate or tailor our own lives. This means we can choose to be hurtful to others if we desire to make ourselves more important and always put ourselves above everyone else.

Evil has no basis in reality. It is a contingency. It comes from one’s love reversing the true order of God’s creation, which is based on relationship and mutual love.

Not only does evil have to be allowed, evil has to be allowed to succeed at certain times. If evil were not allowed to succeed then it would not be a real option. And if it is not an option, neither is the choice of love and goodness a real option (and God will have lost the ability to save us by changing our hearts under the principle of personal freedom).

God could have made us angelic automatons. But that would destroy the chance of the Creator entering into a profound relationship with each of us, and forming a covenant with humanity. 

Freedom trumps being good or bad. Freedom allows us to be influenced by both, and to be able to make real choices between the two. 

Use your freedom wisely. And have a happy Independence Day!

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About thegodguy

EDWARD F. SYLVIA, M.T.S. Philosopher/Theologian Edward F. Sylvia attended the School of Visual Arts in New York and received his Master of Theological Studies at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA and a Certificate of Swedenborgian Studies from the Swedenborgian House of Studies. He is a member of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (C.T.N.S.) and the Swedenborg Scientific Association (S.S.A.). Award-winning author of "Sermon From the Compost Pile: Seven Steps Toward Creating An Inner Garden" and "Proving God," which fulfills a continuing vision that God’s fingerprints of love can be found everywhere in the manifest universe. His most recent book, "Swedenborg & Gurdjieff: The Missing Links" is an edgy collection of anti-intuitive essays for personal transformation that challenges and inspires. He has been a student of the ideas of both Emanuel Swedenborg and George I. Gurdjieff for over thirty years. Read more about TheGodGuy, his books and his ideas at http://www.staircasepress.com
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2 Responses to The Fourth of July from a Spiritual Perspective

  1. Linda Austin says:

    As the old adage goes, “If you love someone you must set them free,” knowing that you cannot force someone to love you, but if they do love you they will return to you. As with your children you love deeply, you teach them the guidelines for a good life and let them go. I agree that God himself does not allow evil, he gave us free will that allows us to be evil. He also gave us free will to allow us to counteract the evil others choose to do. “We are God’s hands.”

  2. thegodguy says:

    Dear Linda,

    We are in agreement. However, I did leave one important dynamic out of the issue of evil.

    God looks at all temporal events from an eternal goal. Therefore, all evil, no matter how horrendous, is not permitted unless it can serve as some lesson for humanity. If evil did not openly appear in the world humankind would not be able to address it and seek change.

    There are people who feel that there is no such thing as evil or “sin” and blame everything on unfair policies that are systemic in government and worldly institutions (so individual morality is removed from the equation of why things go wrong).

    Thank you for your thoughtful comments.

    TheGodGuy

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