If you really knew me, you would know my Father [and the Holy Spirit] as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him." John 14:7 (NIV)
Today as I prayed before I studied a chapter from Hebrews, I heard myself talking to God in my mind. It dawned on me, as it sometimes does, that in addition to God being out there where ever "out there" is, he also must exist to some degree inside my mind. Otherwise the metaphysics gets too exotic. I'm not saying we are God as some here and there have suggested, but that He must have a localized presence closer to us than some distant sphere millions of light years from our reality. Additionally, when you read the Bible, God is in His word. I feel closer to a perception of God like the one I've described than to a loving, though cosmically removed, being that lives in a physical heaven, again, millions or billions of miles from this, our present reality.
The Bible speaks of being filled with the Holy Spirit. Christ speaks of the Father being in him and he being in the the Father. A Christian who daily asks for the Holy Spirit to live in him and to dwell in him may sometimes come up with the following line of thought. At any rate it occurred to me many months ago. If the Holy Spirit comes to dwell inside of you and since the Holy Spirit is God himself, the thought occurred to me that to a certain extent when you daily commune with God you are communing with the Holy Spirit that has come to you each day as you invite him in. I'm not saying you're praying to yourself or that you yourself are God, but rather that somewhere in your mind the Spirit resides. You are are in effect praying to an intelligent presence, person, and being who exists in some compartment of your mind. The thought is both pleasant and perplexing at the same time.
Why was the truth about the trinity withheld for thousands of years? Of course, there are hints in the Old Testament of the possibility of a triune God, e.g., the Angel of the Lord, the Spirit of God moving over the face of the waters, etc., but how could something as vital as the triune nature of the One God be withheld for millennia? Perhaps one reason is that until Christ was manifested in the flesh, there was no need to confuse us with talk of three-in-One, where just the One Person could suffice. This delayed revelation of God's triune nature makes me wonder if there are other important aspects of God that for good reasons are kept from us.
I remember reading Richard Rice's book the Open View of God during the 80s and being shocked by its main premise. The vague recollection of it is that God knows everything that can possibly be known. What can't possibly be known, God, of course, cannot know. Is there no end to the surprises in store theologically as the centuries become millennia since Christ left us? Of course, in his place he left us his abiding Spirit. What better companion than the Spirit could he have left us?
Suddenly, a really big matter that we're told by traditionalists we're not supposed to think about suggests itself. To say we're not supposed to think about certain spiritual mysteries seems like an intellectually lazy way of saying, "if it were important we'd know about it already." What if because it really is mind-boggling and perhaps too much for us to bear, we're being kept in the dark (sorry about the use of that word in this context) about God's beginnings or, more correctly, lack of beginnings.
It's only natural to think that all intelligent beings must have a beginning, some kind of beginning, anyway. Perhaps the simplest explanation is to think of God creating himself. In that way, even God has a creator, himself. It's somewhat comforting to think of this explanation which then suggests the possibility of God growing and becoming more complex as eternity stretched into eons and eons of time. Of course, it's a difficult thought to think of a perfect being creating himself in an already perfect state. But at least there is the possibility for growth and wonder like every intelligent living being. I've often wondered how long God existed before starting to create any part of the known universe. Science tells us the approximate age of the universe based on the delayed light of stars that reach us. But how much time before that cosmic beginning did our non-existent universe have to wait before it came into being? How long was the universe in its non-existent state? Did God create other universes before he created ours? Did he begin creating us as soon as his perfection required us?
No doubt there are things about God's nature that we cannot know or aren't supposed to know in the here and now. What we need to know most, that he loves us immensely, has already been told to us in the person of Jesus Christ.
But there's always that hidden dimension about God that keeps me awake at night. It sometimes seems to me that we're missing certain pieces of the puzzle and that there are vital bits of information about God, eternity, and creation that are unknown to us, but that are, nevertheless, important, if we could only figure out what they are or analyze what light we have presently and see what we don't see now. In other words, we need to be enlightened. Perhaps that accounts for the mysterious disappearance of holy men throughout history. They knew too much or became too enlightened and "God took them." (The story of Enoch being the best example, or Elijah.) Was God rewarding them for realizing something so astounding about him, that he had to have them join him as soon as possible?
Years ago a Christian friend mentioned that nobody has the exact same conception of God. That was news to me at the time. I had always thought that the we both shared the same God since we both read the same Bible. I never asked if it was something he read or if he himself had come up with that idea. Now, of course, it goes without saying.
I must confess that for years I chose to think of God only in the person of Jesus Christ. I found God the Father too authoritative, but found Jesus very approachable. I once read about a young Catholic man who had difficulty relating to any male figure, especially in religion. He was unable to pray to God, but thankfully, he was able to pray to the virgin Mary and to St. Joan of Arc. It has taken me years as well, to equate God the Father, in my mind, to Jesus (God the Son). Only in the last 2 1/2 years have I been able to equate God the Spirit with Jesus. Previously, I never thought or spoke much of the Spirit out of fear that I'd offend him by thinking something erroneous. Now I warm up any time I read or hear anything pertaining to the Holy Spirit. I love to hear old hymns that I sang as a young man that mention the Holy Spirit but never even really understood who the Holy Spirit was at the time, and what he was like. He was and is like Jesus Christ, my lord and savior.