Seeing God Among and Within Us

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by Ray DeGraw

The Book of Mormon includes the following statement from Alma, the High Priest, to Korihor, the professed atheist :

The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator. (Alma 30:44)

Alma lays out both a scientific and mathematical argument in this verse – speaking of the complexity of the creation and its intricate, “regular” operation as proof that God exists. In essence, he says,

“This could not be without a God to make it be.”

This seems simple to many people – that the creation itself, seen as encompassing all of which we are aware, testifies of a Supreme Creator. These people often can’t understand how is it not self-apparent to all. They think,

“Why can some people look around – or even study the intricacies of molecular biology and string theory and quantum physics and other astounding modern discoveries – and not see that it simply can’t be the result of random mutation from an origin that still is unfathomable to scientists? Why can these people not understand this, even when many of them are very good, moral people? We haven’t even scratched the surface of it all, and yet some can’t recognize it as a sign of a creator. WHY?”

The following us quoted often in the Church:

“For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.”

As we consider the idea that the pure in heart shall see God, there is an element of “they shall see God” in one’s ability to recognize the hand of God in His creations, but that ability is contingent on “yielding to the enticings of the Holy Spirit” – on having a heart purified by that Holy Spirit. It is relatively easy for many people – with even a comparatively weak connection to the Spirit – to see the grandeur of the universal creation and be humbled into a recognition of God in that creation. It is more difficult, however, to rise above the natural man and see God in His most inspiring creation – His children.

From both a religious and evolutionary perspective, we are the height of creation – but we also carry within us its depth. We are gods and devils in very practical terms, and, while it is easy for nearly everyone to see the fallen man (the chasm that separates us from God), it is very hard for many to recognize the embryonic child within that fallen man (the tie that will be bound in heaven).  There is great beauty within and among us, but there also is terrible ugliness.  It is easy to see the caterpillar, but it is very difficult to see the butterfly within that caterpillar when it still is a caterpillar.

One of the most amazing things that happens when our hearts are purified by the power of the Holy Ghost is that, to some degree or another, we glimpse the inner butterflies among and within us while they still are limited by their caterpillar exteriors – and, in glimpsing those butterflies, we suddenly, in a very real and powerful way, begin to see God.

About Ray DeGraw

I am the husband of my high school sweetheart and father of six children. I basically have no life outside of family, work and church - except blogging, which I have been doing actively, to put it mildly, for the past 5 years. I have lived in almost every section of the United States and currently reside in Carson City, NV. I have written at Things of My Soul, Mormon Matters, Times & Seasons and - and commented more than occasionally at various sites in the Bloggernacle.

5 Responses to Seeing God Among and Within Us

  1. Ann says:

    What a lovely thought to start the day.

  2. templegoer says:

    I believe C. S Lewis said that we encounter no ordinary mortals, only gods in embryo. Can at times be a challenging thought.

  3. Raeann Peck says:

    You’ve inspired me to open my heart and my eyes more to recognize the truth that lies beneath mere appearance.

  4. SilverRain says:

    When we do see that potential, it can be very painful. So many of us are living below our potential. To see people hurt themselves and others through their denial of their divinity, to see what they can be but be forced to deal with them as they are is an indescribably difficult experience. Especially when that person is oneself.

    I think sometimes we don’t see that because it hurts so much.

  5. Ray DeGraw says:

    Silver Rain, I believe that is the heart of the concept of a weeping God in Mormon theology.

    If we aren’t willing to weep (with all that includes), we aren’t prepared for Godhood – and I believe the willingness to weep, personally from a broken heart, is perhaps the core difference between Jehovah and Lucifer.

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