Nature of God

Introduction

 

It is important from the outset to recognise that all attempts to define God are but human metaphors.  They should be seen as such and not be considered as absolute truths. 

 

The English Folk Church proclaims there to be one eternal God, who is unchanging and exists within and beyond our world. God is pure spirit; eternal essence and uncreated energies, a single entity without division. God’s eternal essence transcends the created cosmos and exists outside of time and space as we know it. But the uncreated energies are immanent in the created world, existing within and throughout all matter. In this, the EFC is Panentheistic.

 

We hold that God is the ‘Ultimate Reality’ and ‘Eternal Law’ that was known to our ancient North European ancestors and remains the ‘God’ to which they continued to worship even after they became Christian. We believe that this is the original Indo-European understanding of God, shared by the ancient Druids, Northern Godhi, Iranians and the Vedic religion of India. The Vedic name Brahma, for instance, means ‘Ultimate Reality’. 

 

The EFC defines God as a Holy Trinity; one God in Three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, eternally sharing the one divine nature. However, we recognise that this is an imperfect doctrine devised by man to try to explain the complexity of the divine nature which is something essentially beyond the scope of the human intellect. The EFC also teaches that God is neither male nor female; but rather the dynamic unity of both.

 

Although not accepted by all theologians, there is a strong argument that the doctrine of the Trinity has its origins, or at the very least is influenced, by the ancient pagan Greek Philosophers. For instance, Pythagoras refers to the Triadic Principle – the ‘Three’, representing harmony. Neoplatonists argued that within an object that presents itself to our senses, there are three higher spiritual principles, called or Hypostases.  Plotinus, for instance, saw them as the One, the divine intellect or Nous and the World Soul. These roughly equate to the way the Christian Trinity; God the Father (the One), God the Son (the Nous or Logos) and God the Spirit. These three Hypostases (translated into personas in Latin) are in effect three ‘principles’ of the single divine substance being we call God, referred to in Greek as Ousia.

 

God the Father is the head of the Trinity and the source of all things. He is omnipotent (all powerful), omniscient (all-knowing) and omnipresent (everywhere). His nature is love, protectiveness and justice. Although referred to as ‘Father’ and seen as having the qualities of the perfect Father, God is neither male nor female in the human sense. So it is appropriate to see the first person of the Trinity as not just Father, but also as Mother with the qualities of the perfect Mother. 

 

Although all three ‘persons’ of the Trinity are co-equal and of the same essence, there is plenty of Biblical evidence to suggest that the Father not only brought the Son and the Spirit into existence, but that the Son and the Spirit are to some degree subordinate to Him. Perhaps for this reason, even in Trinitarian circles, the Father is sometimes equated with the totality of the Godhead and simply referred to as God – especially in relation to the incarnated Son as Jesus of Nazareth.

 

The EFC does not tend to attach a specific name to the Father. Traditionally, the Church equates Him with Yahweh the God of Israel. However, there is Biblical evidence to suggest that Yahweh is just that – the tribal God of Israel and not the head of the Divine Council who we consider to be named ‘El’ in the Bible simply meaning God. Whilst some will argue that El and Yahweh are one and the same, we believe this is a matter of ‘perception’ where different tribes tended to see ‘their’ tribal God as ‘the’ God.

 

God the Son is the second person of the Trinity and also known as the Logos, God’s inner voice of thought, reason and logic. Logos is God’s Law, the natural law, which our ancestors called Wyrd or Orlog, which literally means the primal law. However, Logos is personal not impersonal, being brought into existence (begotten not made) by the Father before creation. Indeed, creation was brought about by the Father through the Son or Logos.

 

The Logos is the ‘light that shone in the darkness’, the inner voice that whispered to our ancestors and who sought to guide them through mythical tales before His incarnation. He was then born into our world as Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ or anointed One, and lived amongst us for a while.

 

Jesus taught the word and natural law of God that had been handed down to the Israelites and which we believe were also understood by other peoples such as the Druids and the Brahmins of India. He frequently sparred with the Pharisees, the precursors of modern day Rabbinical Judaism, who had corrupted the Hebrew natural law with their emphasis on literal interpretation and embellishment of meaning through the oral tradition which was to become the basis of the Talmud.

 

The Logos is the mediator between the Father and creation, between the divine and human as he is the union of both. Christ was crucified, died and rose again after three days, taking away the sins of the world. After appearing to his followers on several occasions in a physical, yet changed body, he rose into heaven. Christ’s resurrected body is both physical and spiritual, glorified and not subject to the imperfections of our human condition. The ascended Christ remains with us just as he has always been with us and it is the ascended Christ to which we direct our prayers and worship. Eternal life is ultimately a gift of Christ.

 

The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity, referred to in the Nicene Creed as "the Lord, the Giver of Life”. He also known as the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of Truth and the Paraclete or Comforter. He is also sometimes referred to as the ‘Holy Breath’ or Ruach and the Spirit of Wisdom. In traditional Christian imagery, the Spirit is depicted as either a dove of peace or as fire to represent His power. The ancient Greeks called God’s word the Christos or ‘Spirit of Truth’, who spoke to the ancient seers and prophets.

 

God’s spirit is the divine animating force that is active within our world and permeates all of creation. In Greek mythology, the Spirit is depicted as ‘Sophia’ the embodiment of Wisdom. It can also be seen in terms of the Indian concept of Prana which is the life-force or cosmic energy that permeates everything. In the 19th Century, Baron Karl von Reichenbach equated this force or spiritual energy with Odin and referred to it as the ‘Odic Force’, representing both power and wisdom. In traditional Christian imagery, the Spirit is depicted as either a dove of peace or as fire to represent its power.

 

The Spirit is the breath of God that blew across the Ginnungagap and which was breathed into us by Woden, Will and Weoh. It is through the Holy Spirit that the Volvas of old made their prophesies. And it is the Spirit that lies within each of us and leads us to seek a return to God.

 

The ancient religion of Israel, at least initially, saw the divine presence that resided in the Temple as feminine; Ashera, the female consort of the male God El. When Ashera worship was banned, her presence evolved and she came to be known as the ‘presence of God’, or Shekinah, which literally means ‘God who dwells within’. Hebrew tradition tells that when the Israelites went into their various exiles, the Shekinah went with them as a comforter. This has direct parallels with the Christian notion of the Spirit as Paraclete, or comforter.  Shekinah is seen as divine wisdom and it is she who is called Sophia which simply means ‘wisdom’ in Greek. She is the embodiment of wisdom, love and healing – often depicted as a dove.

 

 

 

Another ancient Hebrew name for the Spirit of God is Ruach, or Ruwach, meaning wind, breath or inspiration. This word is also grammatically feminine. The Greeks translated the Hebrew word for spirit as ‘Pneuma’ which is grammatically neutral. However, they used the name ‘Sophia’ to describe her as the Spirit of Wisdom throughout the Old Testament. The Greek translation for the Holy Spirit as ‘comforter’ took on a masculine grammatical gender in the word Paraclete. Thus it is possible to see in the Greek a recognition at some early time of the Spirit as both feminine (Sophia) and masculine (Paraclete).  Collectively, they can be seen as Pneuma – a grammatically neutral word that fits very well with the Folk Church’s view of God as being neither male nor female but rather the dynamic unity of both.

 

The underlying meaning of the name Ruach (wind, breath or inspiration) reminds us of the Odic force, Odr (or Od), which derives from the proto Indo Germanic word Wat and is related to the Sanskrit word Vat, meaning ‘to blow’. The EFC believes that our understanding of the Odic force (see article on All-Father Odin in the mythology section) is simply our north west European take on an older Aryan belief that also influenced the ancient Israelite concept of Ruach. This Odic force is part of the divine energies of the One God. The Odic force is the underlying essence of Odin, associated with wind, breath, inspiration and wisdom.

 

God has several attributes, such as love, order and creativity. These are the essence of God’s nature or personality. They pervade the whole of creation and are the underlying principles by which creation is ordered. We call these attributes, or divine nature, ‘Wyrd’ or ‘Orlog’, literally the primal law. Our interaction with Orlog is our interaction with the nature of God and is expressed mythologically as the Web of Wyrd.

 

The way we interact with God’s underlying nature affects the unfolding of creation, both positively and negatively. In this way, our past actions collectively and individually affect our present and what will unfold in the future. This is expressed mythologically as the Web of Wyrd. Past actions have consequences and it is our duty to ensure that we interact positively with the divine law to help the positive evolution of creation.

 

 

 

 

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