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God and the World: Summary of a Class Presentation

[Please note: ACIM passages quoted in this article reference the Foundation for Inner Peace (FIP) Edition.]

Here is the gist of what I said yesterday:

God is a Creator God, but what He creates is not a world of form, a world in which everything passes away, a world filled with minds trapped in bodies, pitted against each other, saddled with suffering and loneliness, and doomed to die. Only madness creates a world like that, and God is not mad.

Instead, what God creates is beings—perfect, boundless, disembodied beings called His Sons—in a perfect, nonphysical Heaven. We, of course, are these Sons.

However, we chose to believe we were separate from God. This thought of separation gave rise to a collective dream—this universe. This dream is just the outpicturing of the seed thought of separation. It is composed of separate beings occupying separate places and moving through separate moments of time.

Yet this is not the whole picture. At the very instant God’s Son thought of separation, God created the Holy Spirit. As a result, from the instant we began to make this world, the Holy Spirit was simultaneously part of that making, such that the Course calls Him “another Maker of the world” (T-25.III.4:1). His influence, in other words, was an essential part of the establishing of the world. As the Course implies in several places, this was not done apart from us. There was a “spark of beauty” in our dreaming minds that cooperated with Him and that He was then able to work through.

His influence meant the world, you could say, has one way that it works on the surface and another way that it works underneath. On the surface, the ruling law is the law of the jungle, in which I get ahead by smashing the competition. On the surface, everything is mired in past events, past history, which can never fully be escaped. On the surface, things happen randomly, without rhyme or reason. On the surface, everything about the world just reinforces separation, which was the ego’s purpose all along, so that we remain separate from God seemingly forever.

Underneath, however, the story is quite different. There, the ruling law is the opposite of getting ahead through attack. Instead, it’s the law of love, whereby what I receive is what I gave out; what I do unto others I actually do unto myself.

Underneath, the Atonement is always there waiting, ready to wipe away the past, including our past mistakes, given just a tiny bit of willingness.

Underneath, every event is carefully planned by the Holy Spirit. His plans by necessity incorporate the dark material that we contribute to the dream, but that is not all there is. Every event also contains the alternative, the light shining beyond the form. Each event, in fact, is designed to give us an opportunity—an opportunity within our reach—to look past the manifestations of our past mistakes and see the light shining beyond. Each event, then, is designed to be a potential breakthrough. Each encounter is designed to be a potential holy encounter.

Underneath, the world has been assigned a new purpose. Its purpose is not the reinforcement of separation, but the escape from separation. Now it is a classroom whose whole purpose is that we learn our way out of the error with which the universe began.

This view of God’s relationship with the world is really the best of both worlds. It exonerates God from responsibility for creating a world filled with separation and suffering. Yet at the same time it does not cut us off from God’s assistance. It affirms that His loving help is everywhere, always at work behind the scenes, to the point where this perfectly designed classroom is guaranteed to bring us to a place where our learning is complete and we come back home to Him.