Inquiry: the elusive guilt in “God’s voice”

The Cello and Viola da Gamba

by LJ Frank

What does the voice of The Unutterable sound like?

The uniqueness of human beings is the process we call thinking and memory. Our ability to have ideas about things, organic and inorganic, and retain them. Man created the words – God, Allah, Yahweh and the long list of synonymous nouns with varied etymologies, to describe that which originated in the tribal and primitive mind as The Unutterable.

The human mind remains paradoxically brilliant, primitive and a vast array of variables in between, depending on situation and circumstances including genetics. The primitive’s nomadic existence tens of thousands of years ago was daily inspired with natural insecurities and fears surrounding their tenuous existence with the evolving desire for a greater explanation of life’s meaning. (e.g., Mircea Eliade, From Primitives to Zen)

Humans know giving a name to someone or something allows approachability. Once we are able to approach that which we name, the process allows us to categorize and apply attributes to that “Being” and be in subtle control of the Being’s nature. (e.g., Martin Buber’s I and Thou.)

Man created the words synonymous with sacred and the accompanying rituals and ceremonies to allow further manipulation of fellow humans for the sake of discipline in daily life. That’s not a negative or a positive comment. The “I” of the human leans towards being in control and towards a higher ground of self-authority and for some, authority over others. Still, the stream of life appears to flow regardless of how we attempt to channel its flow. But interestingly one of the most powerful forces in life is water which in turn seeks the lowest level. And humility becomes a paradox in survival for humans. (e.g., Lao Tzu)

In the process of developing the authority of “I” as expert, scholar, teacher, lawyer, engineer, president, minister, king, queen, ruler, dictator, demagogue and so forth, “I” also produces volumes filled with words based on ideas about “God” in man’s attempt to manipulate and sanction the story about The Unutterable.  Belief is at stake as an under pinning of meaning. Without belief what is there for the believer’s mind?  The actions of God in history are the rationalizations created by believers.

Each time a ruler came into power scribes would be ordered to write about how God’s will in effect was ordained, and the “Bible” was created by men to justify the legitimacy of the ruler, his role and power. (e.g., Robert & Mary Coote, Power, Politics and the Making of the Bible.) It also meant greater wealth for the ruler. Wealth in turn signified exceptionalism and an elite status.

There were uncommon isolated examples where the desire was not for control or wealth but simply based on the care of one’s fellow creatures. Those rulers sensed a moral obligation to be civil and generous. And life was understood to be easier to greet each day when both the ruler’s stomach and the follower’s stomachs were satisfied and the heart was glad.

Historically, God is a violent Being. When examined closely the saving grace to the violence of God throughout human history are those prophetic individuals who chose love over hate, charity and generosity over injury and malevolence. Those are individually inspired acts with primitive roots. They are an uncommon trait seeking to be common for the sake of humanity as a whole without forcing their lifestyle and philosophy on another. But things can get out of hand quickly when in the hands of the selfish, greedy and proud. Yet laws, mostly with religious roots, were initially developed to serve those in power and not the impoverished or disadvantaged.

Recognizing the elusive guilt in God’s voice lay in the very words we attribute to that Being we invented by naming him. The story of Moses questioning the name was told, Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh, (e.g., The Torah, Exodus 3:14)…the primitive mind was more attune to not giving a name to their “God” out of fear and a sense of helplessness in the face of the “existential”. The name would come later and as we know attributes accumulate over time with degrees of sacredness. And words defined as sacred by those vested in such powers develop punishment when the words and acts are used in blasphemy and rated a sin or illegal…all are inventions of man who inspires himself with an idea to counteract the existential and transient nature of life.

The sacred is followed by tribal acts, man is blindsided by the “I” and therein lies the problem and irony of God’s elusive guilt. God’s characteristics are created and owned by Man, for the genesis of God ultimately is rooted in the primitive’s consciousness – intangible and invisible except in the tribal mind, regardless of sophisticated theologies and dogmas. God’s “beingness and elusive guilt” swirls around in the very thing man was bequeathed with through evolution – the human imagination.