The Nature of God

by Joshua Tilghman on April 28, 2012


If you truly want to get a glimpse into the nature of God, you need look no further than Exodus 3:14. Once you understand what this verse implies, it should become one of the most profound statements in the entire Bible to you, perhaps even changing the way you view life.

But first I want us to understand something: while it is true that human thought cannot comprehend God, human thought can at least tell you what God is not. This is very important because many people have the wrong concept of God; they have been so saturated in religion that their belief-system hinders them from ever arriving at the door of the divine. Instead, they sacrifice God-experience for doctrine and dogma—namely, religion. Jesus taught that it is possible to experience God in the stillness of the present moment. The present moment, or the eternal now, is the doorway to the divine. Exodus 3:14 makes this crystal clear. It is so simple a child could understand it, and yet, our egos mask this simple truth so well.

Let’s get to the scripture at hand. In the literal story, Moses was chosen by God to deliver the Israelites from Egypt. Moses is reluctant to go. He uses every excuse in the book to opt out of the mission. He then asks God what to say if the Israelites wanted to know who God was. In other words, what should Moses call God? And how does God reply?

“And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM:  and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me to you.”

What an answer! On the surface it would seem that God didn’t tell Moses much of anything. But this verse contains the very nature of God. The phrase “I AM THAT I AM” is meant to be understood metaphysically; it means God is BEING. And what is BEING? BEING is that which is both the un-manifested (spirit) and that which is manifested (physical matter) at the same time. God is the sum total of both—the unborn infinite potential and the creation. God is truly ONE!

Consider the second commandment. It states:

“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.”

Why? Because an image gives the false impression of the infinite; God cannot be represented by any form (things). And contrary to popular belief, God does not have a body separate from his creation. He is the sum total of it all. Again, he is ONE!

The world desperately needs to understand that everything in creation is a manifestation of God, and is therefore sacred. It is all God’s body, including you and me. And since God is ONE, so are we ONE with God and creation! BEING, which resides in everything, is this ONENESS that is God. This esoteric idea is also found in Deuteronomy 6:4: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD.

 

Worshiping in Spirit and in Truth

 

So how do we truly worship? When Jesus states that God must be worshiped in spirit and truth, he was actually teaching us that God must be experienced as BEING! And how can we do that? Inside of you, behind your form—body, mind, emotions, and personality—you are BEING. And this BEINGNESS is God! If you completely stripped away your ego and lived in the present moment, you are left with BEING (God). That is why Satan (ego) tempted Jesus in the wilderness; the ego wants to be in charge, so it rises to the forefront of consciousness instead of the spirit (BEING) that we truly are. We therefore must learn to live in the present moment and return to God. As Jesus said:

“That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us…”

Once the realization of the divine within happens, Christ consciousness is ignited. You will then see that there is no point in judging and condemning others, because they are an extension of you, and you of them. To judge them is to judge your very own self. As Jesus stated:

“Judge not, that ye be not judged.”

This also works in reverse:

“Judge yourself, and you will not be judged.”  

Since we are all ONE, whatever you do to someone else you are really doing to yourself. So if you judge another, you are automatically receiving the same judgment you give out.

 

God is Also Love

 

What about love? Why does the New Testament state that love and God are interchangeable? It is because LOVE is the ongoing manifestation of BEING itself! It is nothing less than the eternal manifestation and expression of BEING. And in this love, there is no judgment. Now you may understand why Jesus brought a radically different concept of God when he stated that the father gives rain to the just and the unjust. The religious Pharisees were teaching that God was an individual that was looking down on the people with fiery wrath whenever they did something contrary to their teachings. But Jesus didn’t teach us to obey a set of man-made rules (religion). He taught us to discover the divine BEING within! This is why Jesus said the kingdom is within you! When you realize the divine within, your mind is renewed. You are transformed into a new creature. And the divine law which Paul spoke of us is fulfilled automatically from this inner place.

You might be asking, if LOVE is the ongoing manifestation of BEING, then why is there so much in this world that seems to be the opposite of love?

The LOVE that is the ongoing manifestation of Being itself is distorted through an individual consciousness who becomes self-centered by the illusion of separation from the eternal “I AM” nature. Fear, sickness, war, crime, and all the other maladies of society are the result. Fear is the opposite of LOVE.

 

The True Beauty of Life

 

So what is the real beauty of life? It is that we are never going to arrive. Some may think heaven is the end destination. But the end destination is a figment of the imagination. Life is about the journey, not the end destination. The journey is where the experience of BEING has the opportunity to manifest. The journey is where the I AM-NESS of God gives expression to all that IS. This journey is eternal. So enjoy the journey. Enjoy the present moment. Enjoy BEING. Realize the “I AM” in every moment.

 

Closing Thoughts

 

This article was not written so much to show you what God is. Human intellect cannot understand or grasp God. But knowing what God is NOT can help free you from your ego. Some people reading this article may feel I am against organized religion. On the contrary, organized religion can be a wonderful experience. Ritual has its place. Just like the ego has its place. However, when organized religion gives us a false impression of God, it becomes part of the illusion, part of the problem.

I hope this article has helped you to realize that BEING is what YOU are. You ARE the “I AM THAT I AM” at your core. And this core is ONE!

So what do you think? What is your idea of God?

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Jami April 29, 2012 at 12:56 am

Hi Josh!
Interesting concept. I never really thought about it like that. We must remember we are nothing without the Holy Spirit; The being born again experience. It is so real, I know for sure because I have experienced it. My eyes were totally open and truth was all in my face. Honestly, the truth upset me before it set me free.
However, you are correct about seeking and studying because you really want to know but God already knows who’s who and no one can arrive without His tugging at your heart. I agree that is how our journey begins to renew our thinking and begin our diminsions deeply with Him-Love. Perfect love cast out all fear. Nice job Josh,
keep it up. Love you.
Jami

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Tamara Mosley May 5, 2012 at 11:59 pm

Yes, rituals are tools for us – just like Church. God has no ego, so doesn’t need to be “worshipped” but in the physical world it’s a place to bond and be with others of like belief and values which help keep our focus as well! It’s so hard not to get caught up and lost “in the world” without our reminders (re-commitments via rituals)!

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pat May 7, 2012 at 9:57 am

I love this teaching it reflects a lot what I beleive, thank you again

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Stephen May 21, 2012 at 11:13 pm

Hey Josh,
It totally rocks to find others who have discovered the true spiritual message delivered not only via the Bible but by all major religious and spiritual paths — despite the heavy modern emphasis on religious fundamentalism.

I came to a similar conclusion regarding the passages in the Bible where God = I AM. This is the verb “to be,” which seems to indicate that God IS being or existence itself — not “A being,” as most seem to believe… certainly not some type of superhuman in the sky.

I’m already quite grateful that you happened to leave a comment on the Search for Truth blog earlier today.

More soon… keep on seeking &writing!
S

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Joshua Tilghman June 2, 2012 at 11:04 am

Thanks, Stephen. It is amazing to find out that ao many ancient spiritual traditions taught this about God, but those teachings were lost through religion. Thanks for commenting here and I look forward to your next blog posts as well.

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Kat July 24, 2012 at 7:46 am

Wow, Josh, so true! There is no way in our limitedness to even fathom God, but we can get glimpses and understand the fundamentals. People ruled by ego need rituals and rules as guidance by which to live. Though they have imaginations, convention limits its use. I am so down on convention because I think it ruins our life and prevents us from being who we really are, if we get so wrapped up in it and fall down that hole, it is hard to get out of it, though totally possible.
Life is indeed much better when we align oursleves with the Source. Of course it takes practice, because we have been conditioned to fear, worry, lament and regret, the very negative emotions that keep us from God!

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Joshua Tilghman July 24, 2012 at 8:33 am

Kat,

I was in a church for 6 years that thrived on ego, so I know what you mean about “convention.” We stayed so busy with salvation programs trying to get others to see life EXACTLY the way we did. We were so busy…doing…doing…doing that we never learned to just enjoy BEING. There are so many suffering individuals who are in this situation. My heart truly goes out for them. But everyone has to discover the path for themselves. I just hope this blog can help in some way for all those who are looking.

And yes, I still have to practice putting down my ego. Worry, fear, lament and regret always try to rear their ugly heads. God would have none of these silly emotions for us. Thanks for the great comments!

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Divine Radiance Fellowship December 18, 2012 at 7:57 am

Hie there.

We have been navigating your site and it resonates with our blog.

On the article above, read, http://divineradiancefellowship.blogspot.com/2011/09/what-is-god-is-god-external-or-internal.html

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Joshua Tilghman December 18, 2012 at 11:52 am

Divine Radiance,

Good to see another blogger out there with similar interests. I’ll be happy to read the article.

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KT March 17, 2013 at 8:38 pm

Dear Josh

I have started to read your writings and I do enjoy, making my spiritual life more meaningful.

I read some of abstract Advaita philosophy and later made it lighter to suits me. This is about non duality . I looked at the 10 commandments. The first commandment is about freedom (bringing out of slavery) The second one is about nonduality or advaita, God is telling there is only one. Third one is about self awareness, not to take my ( God is in me, now God’s name is my name ) name in vain, I need to be fully conscious take my name seriously for the benefit of myself and others. Non duality is about not to compare, not to criticize, not to complain instead to be compassionate to myself and others. Jesus says kingdom of god in you meaning I need to take myself seriously as long as God is in me.
Thanks again. Blessings. KT

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Omar October 27, 2014 at 8:15 am

How do you account for Jesus judging the pharisees? Jesus getting mad at the tax collectors and flipping over a table? It also say judge with righteous Judgment? In Matthew 7 where it says Don’t judge or you will to be judged. It looks like it was talking about hypocritical judgement because we have to take into account the rest of the passage. After we take the plank of our own eye then go take out the speck of our their eye. Judge ourselves first and fix it. Then go ahead judge and the other person to try help them fix it.

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Joshua Tilghman December 27, 2014 at 12:29 pm

Omar, I just wrote a post on this entitled “Why does Jesus get Angry.” Also, when we judge we will receive that same judgment because what we judge is a deeper reflection on what’s already in our heart. Often the person who does the accusing and defending is the guilty party.

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Alvin Davis August 30, 2014 at 3:12 pm

Question and good Lesson above,
Have you studied A course in Miracles? It says God Did not create the world/universe.
What do you think?

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Joshua Tilghman September 7, 2014 at 9:09 am

Alvin,

I still have not read this book, but I it has been on my list for a while. Everyone I’ve run into says its worth it. From my perspective, consciousness created the universe.

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Alvin Davis May 2, 2015 at 2:19 pm

Kt,

I agree with you and Josh that being is Non-duality BUT in Pure Non-duality
you can’t be compassionate to myself and others because there is No other.

Best article of all. thanks

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Susie June 14, 2015 at 2:17 am

Hi Joshua,

Thanks for writing this blog. I have been searching for the underlying meaning behind parables, trying to understand God, for quite sometime now. I must say that I find your interpretation of rituals very enlightening … I look forward to reading all of the entries here

Praise the Lord !

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Joshua Tilghman July 19, 2015 at 1:26 pm

Thanks, Susie. Your comment is appreciated.

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Scott October 18, 2015 at 4:19 pm

Nice article. Everything in the article is found in A Course in Miracles using different words but the same message and thoughts.
There is a powerful message in “I am that I am”. It’s that Truth doesn’t have form. You comment of understanding what ‘God is’ can begin to be learned by what God is not.
In the beginning of ACIM, the book is summed up as follows:

“Nothing real can be threatened,
nothing unreal exists,
Here inlies the peace of God”

The first line states truth (‘real’) cannot be represented in form because it then could be threatened. This hints at what God is.
Search your mind and find what cannot be threatened, you will suprised at where it leads you.
The middle line states what God is not or what is false. Basically, anything that can be threatened is false (‘unreal’) this includes the world of form and anythng that can be preceived with the body’s senses.
The last line states these basic thoughts are where the peace of God can be realized.
It is simple, but not easy to grasp. Our ego’s will not go away quietly as we try to ‘remember’ who God is and ourselves. We are all God but have forgotten our true identity as we have identified with the ego and thus are having a dream of seperation from Him.
This is why it is important to realize that how you treat others is how you are treating yourself. If you find yourself judging others, you are only judging yourself.
The traditional golden rule should be revised as “How you treat others is actually how you treat yourself”.

In truth, I AM THAT I AM cannot be understood as the individual “I” but only as the Oneness “I”. The sonship (all living things that appear to be here) could not say ‘we are that we are’ because it is exclusionary, there is some that are left out in such a dualistic statement. I AM THAT I AM is non-dualistic and references truth and Oneness of all.
Thanks Joshua!

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