At the PuffHo “Science” section (!), we get an essay by Beth Green, described as a “spiritual teacher, intuitive counselor and consultant.” Inspired by a TED talk by Louise Leakey on human evolution, Green churned out a piece called “Evolution, Humanity, & God“, in which she tries to convince us that we’ve been wrong about God all along. It’s not that a deity doesn’t exist—it’s just not the kind of perfect, anthropomorphic being we thought he was. Instead he’s ”an ever-evolving field of consciousness that is moving toward greater self-awareness and integration.” Now that’s the kind of a God worth wanting!
Here’s one bit from her essay that floats the idea of an evolving God. I present it without commentary, save for a bit of bolding (mine) and one reader comment that I’ve pasted at the bottom.
Suppose God was not sitting in heaven planning out the universe with omnipotence and omniscience? Then God could be seen not as perfect and static, but as dynamic and evolving. And then we could see ourselves in the same way: as evolving, not shameful, as manifestations of a God that isn’t perfect either. And having released ourselves from shame, we could face ourselves more honestly, acknowledging our flaws, addictions, cruelty, fear and destructiveness. And we would no longer compare ourselves to the perfect Creator, but have compassion for ourselves as also imperfect and evolving. And now with self-compassion and no longer paralyzed by shame, we could accept ourselves yet simultaneously call ourselves to accountability for our impact on ourselves and others. And we could lend our efforts to changing ourselves in directions that we foresee as more beneficial to ourselves, one another and our planet.
God and we are evolving; it’s that simple. But how do we feel about this idea? It would eliminate shame and blame, but the price would be letting go of the idea of the perfect God. Why is that scary?
Most of us still, consciously or unconsciously, cling to the belief in a perfect God. Why? Because life is frightening, and we need security, and therefore we haven’t gotten over our need for a father, all-loving, all-knowing, focused on us and taking care of us. Because if we create a God to which we can attribute certain characteristics, we just might be able to figure out the rules and learn to manipulate the universe. Because we need somebody to help us, and we don’t trust ourselves or one another.
We don’t need a perfect God to experience the peace, receive the guidance and connect to the bliss of what we associate with God. As a spiritual teacher in the 21st century, I’m ready to share the good news — that it’s possible to have an intimate and profound relationship with a God that doesn’t exist in the old sense. And we can do that by dropping the anthropomorphic view of a God created in our image and embrace the mystery of consciousness in the process of evolution, so that we can truly experience Oneness not only with One another but with the Divine.
I am a mystic, not a scientist, but I have no problem with science. It brings fascinating facts and theories that I can accept, question and/or integrate into my meager understanding. And the idea that we had not one, but multiple simultaneous ancestors* supports my mystical experience of God as an ever-evolving field of consciousness that is moving toward greater self-awareness and integration, with which I can have an intimate relationship. In fact, I can feel closer to this evolving God than I ever felt to the old man with the beard, because this field is not perfect, and I don’t have to feel ashamed of my human imperfection. And it fits with my experience of reality, where nothing is static, where everything is changing, even the rocks being impacted by the forces of nature itself. And it allows me to keep my common sense intact, because I don’t have to pretend that I live in a perfect world.
God must love the theory of evolution, because God is evolving, too.
After working my way through Green’s essay at great cost to my equanimity, I have to agree with this commenter:
*One comment: I’m not sure that Green understands that if several species of hominin existed simultaneously, as appears to have been the case, then only one of them could be the ancestor of modern humans. (If there was some cross-breeding, then of course we could be carrying genes that occurred in more than one earlier species.)