I am a closet Deist

I had a realization last weekend, while presenting the workshop “Love Cannot Be Compromised,” that I wanted to share with you.

All my life I’ve wanted to be a loving person. It’s something I want more and more as the years go by. But I have another part of my mind, a part that seems virtually immovable. This other part says that we just don’t deserve love. It seems so obvious to me that people are just animals with clothes on.  And while animals maybe cute and cuddly at times, they also have claws and teeth and tend to use them. The fact that we all tend to live in denial of this obvious truth is just more evidence that the idea is right. After all, for an animal, truth is irrelevant.

I feel like these two sides of me are deadlocked, with each one seeming to deepen over time, almost as if they are trying to keep pace with each other. That is the backdrop for the insight I had.

The insight was extremely simple and straight out of the Course. It sounds so basic as to not be worth mentioning, but in the days since, it still feels like a real way out of my dilemma.

In recent years I have become increasingly convinced, on more than just an intellectual level, that God is pure love. Now that I think about it, that conviction has been slowly breaking a similar deadlock—this one between whether reality is ultimately positive and meaningful or empty and meaningless.

What I realized is that that idea can provide a way out of my “love deadlock.” The notion was simple:

God is perfect (meaning, perfect Love)

A perfect God creates only the perfect

…and keeps it in perfection.

As I said, I truly believe that a perfect God exists. Based on that, I really am required to believe that He creates the perfect—meaning, the perfectly loving. How could He do otherwise? All creators create out of themselves; create that which is like themselves. Further, why would a loving God create petty, selfish, vicious, and cruel creatures? What a cruel thing to do. It makes no sense.

So our original nature, at the moment He created us, must have been absolutely perfect, just like He is.

All that seems quite natural and logical to me. The key part is the third part. I have had this background assumption—on an emotional level, not an intellectual one—that once God created us, His part, in a sense, was done. Now we took over. Now we had the power to shape, mold, and alter what He had originally created. And at that point we, of course, took a blowtorch and a wrecking ball to His lovely masterpiece.

Do you know who the Deists were? The Founding Fathers of the US were mostly Deists. Deists believed that God created the world, but after doing so backed off, and no longer has a hand in what happens.

What I realized is that, when it comes to our identity, I am a closet Deist. Without really examining this belief, I have assumed that after creating us, God must have backed off, leaving us to run the show, leaving our identity in our own shaky hands.

But does that actually make sense? If He cared enough to create me perfect, is it reasonable to think He would then let me screw myself up? If He created me perfect, why wouldn’t He stay with me and maintain the perfection He gave me?

So now I’m trying to remind myself this about myself and everyone else. Who has the power when it comes to our identity? Did God have the power originally, but then hand it all over to us? Or has He never relinquished it? Logically, I can see every reason why He must still have it. And that means, simply, that if He created us in perfection then He is, right now, keeping us in perfection.  And all our apparent imperfections are just an insubstantial smokescreen that covers up the truth.

And that means that everyone deserves unqualified love. I know it probably doesn’t sound very big, but it feels big. I just hope I can keep it with me!