God is Dead
by Ted L Glines
Some time back, I wrote this fictionalized early American Indian creation mythology. It was based on artifacts unearthed from sites ranging from the southern California coast to somewhere out in the Mojave Desert. These artifacts were some 18 thousand years old and, according to the archeologists, those early tribes and clans were among the first humans to have arrived in North America, and they had a God-is-dead creation mythology. Here is the paragraph from my fictionalized history:
“In the beginning, the Great Old Dragon created the Heavens full of universes and stars and moons and planets. The Great Old Dragon used the essense of Himself in creating this awesome work. Thus, in the fullness of time, the Great Old Dragon became depleted. After creating this world, its oceans and mountains and forests and deserts and rivers and lakes, the Great Old Dragon used the very last bit of Himself to create Condor, and He gave this command to Condor: “Condor, you will fly all over the surface of this world, and you will create all the living things, both great and small, both dark and light, and you will cause them to rise up and multiply so that they will fully use and appreciate what I have made.” Then the Great Old Dragon went to His rest, and it was good. Thus it was fulfilled that Condor created all the living things, great and small, dark and light, in the Name of the Great Old Dragon, and he saw that it was good. And, as guardians, Condor created his sons, commanding them to protect the living things and preserve the balance between dark and light, for without the balance of dark and light, there can be no life.”
Obviously the “Great Old Dragon (GOD)” was my own invention, a useful prop for that particular story. The Indians probably had their own charming name, like “Father Sky” or something. But the rest of it is fairly accurate, for Condor was a demi-god in their mythos, and was tasked with creating and protecting all of the living things. Frankly, I think Condor got a bit carried away. He could have skipped creating mosquitos, poison ivy, and politicians, among other things.
So, God was dead. But that was not nearly as odd as the fact that, 18 thousand years ago, the Mojave was wetlands, lakes, marshes, and forests, as the continental glaciers were melting out of existance. Common animal life included herds of Imperial Mammoths, dire wolves, short-faced bears, tree sloths, and saber-toothed cats. The God-is-Dead concept would have fitted a people who were hunting and eating mammoths and sloths in between being hunted and being eaten by all those other predators. It was a rough life and they were on their own, surviving with God not helping very much.
My own God-concept (yes, I do have one) is simplistic and primal. To me, God is the universal force of creation, destruction, and rebirth, all of which is visible and dramatically happening all around us, and in us, every day. Nope, no old guy in a white robe, sitting on a cloud while He reads and makes biographical entries about us in His Coffee Table Book of Idiots; this might work for Disney Studios but not for me. I see absolutely no reason for weakening God by giving Him human attributes like love or jealousy, and I see no reason for treating God like some wish-giving fairy when we go to Him in prayer. Beware of your manly pride in giving God a male orientation, lest She have a hissy fit about this! I see myself, and all of us, as being essential motes (children of God) in the universal force of creation, destruction, and rebirth -- which is God -- and this works perfectly for me. I think we are all connected within God, and I think that prayer is when we network in communication within God, and when viewed this way, we see why prayer is such a powerful tool for getting things done (much more effective than the Internet). And, since we all live in God, there is no need to start a church about it (thus becoming power-crazed, abusive, bigoted, non-helpful, divisive, and corrupted like churches tend to become).
Some time back, two young fellows in white shirts, ties and black slacks, parked their bicycles and walked their briefcases to my door. When I came out, one of them smiled widely and blared, “Have you found Jesus?” I struck a sternly alarmed visage and responded, “Have you young whippersnappers lost Jesus again? How careless!” I had to stop those two boys from running away, long enough to buy a few Watchtowers. I really do like reading them.
God is not dead so long as creation, destruction, and rebirth continues apace. And we may easily have faith that it will. Be gentle with yourself.
Vaya con Dios mi vida.