* Recently a good friend of mine declared, with a touch of megalomania, that he is God, after scoring a hat-trick in a cricket game on PlayStation. Although I initially thought he might suffer from slightly too much aplomb, I actually realized, he might not be exaggerating.
Among other logical necessities, such as omniscience and omnipotence, one often attributes to Allah, Brahma, Jehovah, the Universe, or whatever you may call it, the notion of omnipresence, since if we assume that God is infinite and unlimited, it is imperative that he is not limited in space.
The assumption that “God is everywhere, filling all things and flowing through them forever” (Ashtavakra Gita 1:18-20) is quite common in Hinduism, and even the Bible proclaims that “his way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and clouds are the dust of his feet” (Nahum 1:3).
While this argument is enough for many strict Hindus to be vegetarian, and not to gulp down other manifestations of God, many Christian scholars believe that God is almighty without the exigency of being represented in space, as merely finite objects have locations.
According to this theory, time and space is understood, in an Einsteinian manner, as being restricted by sphere. The unlimited God, on the other hand, would not be subject to this sphere, but still omnipresent, exactly because he is not limited by it. Yet, in my opinion, this God would merely be semi-present.
The evil problem
But for now let us concentrate on the Hinduistic interpretation. If God is everything, is he not also the evil in and surrounding us? Also the philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz encountered this “problem of evil”.
One of the strongest responses is that our definition of good and evil is not applicable on a divine level, but only a byproduct of dualism, which is nurtured by obligatory counterparts.
Even if we dissect the physical world to its quintessential elements, there will be nothing left of our definition of good and evil, but energy in a perpetual state of flux – for what is, will always be and can neither vanish into nothingness, or come from nothingness (see Parmenides).
This is why good and evil have always had a component of relativity attached to them. The sadomasochist may find something utterly painful pleasant, and death is often not seen as something evil, but as a relief.
In addition, a Buddhistic approach might argue that all suffering is solely a logical consequence of our craving for attachment and on a higher metaphysical level nonexistent.
The omniscience problem
Whatever the answer may be, in case we accept omnipresence as a possibility, we encounter another problem: according to the philosopher Immanuel Kant, an omnipresent being cannot be omniscient, because to be self-aware, there must be an external object to be aware of and thus to realize itself in this relation.
Consequently, it would be impossible for God to know in the same way as we know, for example, that we exist since we create a picture of our selves in response to outside world. Christians would not have this problem, because they could argue that God is not existing in all spheres.
But what about the Hinduistic interpretation of omnipresence? I believe, it is a misconception to compare divine omniscience with a human like thought. Human thoughts work in a dualistic framework of object and subject, as Kant already observed.
Still, the divine conscience is mostly described as not being trapped by fetters of dualism and therefore not obeying its rules. It seems to be no coincidence that we feel closest to the cosmical spirit in those moments, when we are precisely not inhibited by time-and-space-enslaved thoughts.
So, I am God?
So is my imaginary, PlayStation-educated friend really God? The same way a leaf says it is a part of the tree, but not the tree itself, my friend can say he is a part of God, but not God himself. He is not God, but godly.
Or in Jiddu Krishnamurti’s words: “Love in all its glory has intoxicated my heart; my heart can never be closed. I have drunk at the fountain of Joy and eternal Beauty. I am God-intoxicated.”
If we keep this in mind, we will realize that we should cherish every embodiment of the divine, for, in the same manner as Atlas needs every muscle to hold the world, we need every aspect of divinity to do suchlike.
* Photo: Werner Kunz