The God Beyond God

The God Beyond God December 27, 2013

A variety of traditions, including Christian mysticism and modern existentialist theology, have spoken of the “God beyond God.” This is the very ancient idea that, beyond any sort of anthropomorphic deity that we may think of and tell stories about, there must be an even greater reality that transcends our ability to comprehend and describe. For many atheists, that question is often pushed aside or that ultimate reality is said to simply be the laws of physics. For ancient Gnostics, the anthropomorphic god is viewed as a real but inferior deity who created the physical cosmos. For mystics, the anthropomorphic depictions are linguistic symbolic pointers to the one God who transcends description.

That's perhaps a strange reflection to offer on the basis of the cartoon below by Kristian Nygård that Terry Firma shared. But it illustrates an important theological point somewhat nicely, in a humorous fashion. Often human beings become confident that they have gotten to the God beyond God, and that now they are thinking about that reality and able to conceive and describe the ultimate. That is, in fact, just another expression of our fallible and limited human perspective, a major element of which is such hubris. Humble acknowledgment of our limitations and lack of understanding is much more challenging to achieve.


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  • David Evans

    “For many atheists, that question is often pushed aside”

    That’s a strange way of putting it. For atheists there is no God, and therefore no God beyond God. The question is not pushed aside, it never arises.

    • VorJack

      I think it might be better to say, atheista just stop a couple of levels before theists do.

      James is skeptical about the human ability to know that they have discovered the ultimate level, the true god beyond all other gods. I’m skeptical about our ability to know anything about god, period.

      • Yes, thanks for clarifying my meaning. I could have said that everyone pushes questions aside about their arbitrary stopping point as we try to see “just how far down the rabbit hole goes.”

        • Yes, that’s better.

          David was right to point out the oddity of making this an “atheist” problem. Many people push aside ultimate questions, regardless of what they do or do not believe.

          Atheists that do consider ultimate questions, particularly physicists, would be the first to acknowledge how much we have yet to discover about reality.

        • Evangelos

          There must be a path to follow for a long period of time in deconstructing all knowledge and believes and see what you are without any understanding. there is no chasing the rabbit hole without any knowledge…awakening has become an illusion in the mind to steer you even further for greater illusions… To go beyond must reject everything, like a baby, not knowing of any being…The unborn can never know itself…

  • VorJack

    John Scalzi’s “The God Engines” uses this trope to good effect, when it turns out that even the gods have gods.

  • Humble acknowledgment of our limitations and lack of understanding is much more challenging to achieve.

    I agree. And we should really wait until we’ve cracked the shrink wrap on what we currently consider reality before we pretend to deal with the “ineffable” kind. As far as Homo Sap’s hubris goes, the notion that our empirical models constitute reality is right up there with talking gods.

    • Evangelos

      If you want to share then you must search and find answers in relation to Gods, cosmos and creation. Or you can just go beyond thought, knowledge and self altogether, remaining mute. Unsatisfied with the entire field of consciousness…

  • David Evans

    I’m wondering whether it’s a mistake for atheists even to concede that questions about ultimate reality are meaningful.

    “Why are there contingent beings?”
    What can the answer possibly be except
    “Because there is a necessary being.”
    to which Aquinas adds, with his characteristic chutzpah, “and this all men call God.”

    Perhaps atheists should simply say (pointing at quantum mechanics) that some questions have no answers.

    • Ian

      “Why are there contingent beings?”
      What can the answer possibly be except
      “Because there is a necessary being.”

      What makes you think that is an answer to the question? It is a non-sequitur. As is

      “Why are there corn dogs?”
      “Because the USA exists.”

      You don’t have to deny that questions can have an answer, to point out that answers that are commonly given as intellectual pablum, don’t actually answer the question.

      • Evangelos

        When mind runs out in chase of the impermanence will get only illusions. The mind rides on mind on the endless DOME and there is no escape unless you come to the point when you say enough, but it’s not that easy… Your knowledge rides you and you are unaware…

        • Ian

          Thank you, you make my point so perfectly, I couldn’t have asked for a better response.

          • Evangelos

            Knowing the truth will not solve life’s problems but will give us deeper understanding in minimizing our goals, longings and activities. In due time man must die and be also prepared to welcome the fact. Learning how to disengage the mind from worldly activities and bring silence and awareness will eventually find peace beyond the normal…and also to have prepared the Heart for the absolute to come closer and step in without any regrets of self lose. The real essence of the mind, I think, is being true and humble within one’s self.

          • Ian

            I’m still not seeing where you’re responding in any way that demonstrates you’ve read or understood the discussion. Reiterating your aphorisms isn’t the same as discussion.

          • Evangelos

            In reference to God beyond God. Sorry, I cannot argue any statement made by any discussions, I just interfere and assuming otherwise… How accurate is your knowledge over these discussions and what proofs are there for any accuracy in debating? As life arises knowledge evolves – while death descends and knowledge dissolves. Since all phenomena are transient and impermanent mind is also a powerful shadow. Transcendence liberates the mind trapped by conditions as such and probably a higher intuition can give man the ability to strip himself from everything he has ever known. How well prepared are you to behold your won extinction…as never being born…

          • Ian

            In reference to God beyond God.

            Ah, there’s your problem. My point had nothing to do with “God beyond God”. So you’re referring to a conversation you’re having with someone else.

            If you’d like to reply to something I wrote, it might be worth starting from understanding what I actually wrote.

            Sorry, I cannot argue any statement made by any discussions, I just interfere

            Indeed. Still, acknowledging you have a problem is the first stage in recovery.

          • Evangelos

            You are correct, recovery must rain for all.

          • OK, you seem like you are just spamming at this stage – lots of comments, all on one post, most of them don’t make sense (not in the sense that they are mystical and paradoxical, but in the sense that they do not even make sense when interpreted as though a genuine mystic were trying to have a genuine conversation on a blog).

            Please stop spamming and interact coherently with other commenters, or you will be banned. Thank you.

          • evangelos

            Yes, I apologize for my interference.

    • Evangelos

      Staying between the two points of the argument as not valid and center the mind in the unknown… No present -no future – no past… The finality is in between the light and the darkness at last…

  • Charles Darwin

    Be it that we know so little of everything past present beyond that we
    leave science to answer all of our questions. According to the theory,
    the Big Bang occurred approximately 13.798 ± 0.037 billion years ago,
    which is thus considered the age of the universe.

    Be this true or not at this point in our lives we get a bit lost. So now it’s the God theory or its the big bang theory “but of cause there can’t be any other theory
    can there because; we already know better don’t we” or do we? So
    another fork in the road appears so it’s off down that road we all go.

    Look I am not here to bash anyone over the head with the words of Jesus
    Christ a Man 2000 years + ago. But I have considered so much of what he
    said and every single thing in every different way can be all explained
    by his famous works and he’s final parting words, why have you forsaken
    me father. Not that I was there to see it for myself. For all I know it all could be a big story that has evolved over many years of trying to find an answer to it all has come up with. But it was written by people just like you and me. So the bias mind has it’s input.

    Read the words of Jesus Christ as a child would, no matter how old you think that you are. Because if you think that there is another way to work it all out then you will come to the same conclusion of the big bang and if that it is proven to be so that it all just happened from nothing and created it’s self. Then many would just say that God is a in a manner of speaking is a side affect or a by product of the energy from the big bang.

    Because no one lately 2000 years + has come back to tell us any different. About what went bang and how it went bang. So be it that God in what ever manner or form is no more then the very first spark. That somehow farted and it all went bang. As that’s all we will ever know and that is enough for the most of us.

    Peace be with you and praise be to what ever reason we are all here to begin with.

    • Evangelos

      You must lose yourself in order to find yourself, be like babes to return to the kingdom, take up your cross and follow me for I am the way and the light that leads to happiness and to salvation and resurrection from ignorance…

      • Charles Darwin

        Just doing the best I can learning by errors not to lose my own humanity.
        Is it a healthier experience of life and the people that surround you, for us all to have a bet each way when it comes to life after death.

        If the universe was created from nothing then anything is possible.

        No matter how strange it is, give it enough time and it will become normal.

        Can you consider our own existence from a primal ooze in a sex orgy and the parting end to what we know, for this cycle of life to begin once again.

        While nature crosses over it’s self not in a circle but more so a
        figure 8 finding balance, going over it’s own cross roads adjusting to the environment that it is surrounded by.

        Can this here on Earth be HELL? With a slice of paradise for those able to put aside the suffering that we are surrounded by and will have to go through soon enough.

        Praise be to what ever reason we are all here to begin with.

        • Evangelos

          1st) Can mind in itself be an error in yearning? 2nd) Experiencing can be also destructive by error, mind or even nature… by error mind has assumed mental formations in craving even afterlife and also to crave death due to error. 3rd) can all possibilities, in creation and throughout the universe, contain error in themselves, and therefore error somehow distinguishes itself and turns back to no-thing? 4th) Can the possibility, due to error, evolve for final liberation from error? Can you give up your human experience and trace the mind to its divinity beyond conditions and error? absolute eternity is beyond error…all errors are consumed by eternity as they arise through extinction – un-erring remains as the absolute. Heaven and hell are states of erring/mind within the absolute reality, as creation and division, vs. error and ignorance. And He said: I am the way and the light that leads to resurrection from error.

          • OK, enough of your spamming with word salad. Goodbye.

          • Ian

            spamming with word salad

            Mmm, mixed food metaphors, mmm. 🙂

          • evangelos

            I am the hermit in complete solitude tracing the Lord’s spirit and to uplift man’s ignorance and error from their flesh and bring transcendence to their heart and spirit. Perhaps some will pretend while others will dismiss while those who have heart and radiance the Lord will never miss…

          • Charles Darwin

            Evangelos; thank you. As that is all I could ever say to Jesus. No disrespect as praise belongs to God alone. I face God not in shame but as a child, and all I can believe is, God what ever you think is a fair thing. I believe that there is no other way then this hell for us all here. Because we have free will. If God was with us at all times then our own free will would not exist.

            So if the purpose of life is to consider, if we could be trusted with the ability to create and not abuse that right, then we could create our own heaven, without suffering, without corruption but it seems to me errors our own or errors that belong to someone else is progression.
            In other words be kind to yourself and others, also love each other even the people you like to hate. Empathy and Humility.

            A wise person learns from errors that belong to someone else. So errors are of the mind not of the soul. My soul has walked out on me many times. I have seen it do so in my own minds eye. But it comes back scared and bruised a little less pure then before.

            It seems to me that most would think that I am insane. But what else could I be while I exist within this cruel existence with no more of an idea then anyone else of why and how I even exist, as yes a bit touched in the head is what my psychiatrist believes of me. For his advice to me is to become an atheist. But I just can’t over come the dread of death into nothingness.

            I have had dreams that are so real not from drugs, but in a state of mania, beside myself in body and soul through the realms of a natural high within Gods unconditional love and grace, of a living figure of flames that appeared from behind a black disk suspended in space, like an eclipse of the sun and moon that held out a hand of compassion and I just didn’t have the faith to embrace. I have climbed tall a structure with a shining light above, believing that god’s love was above, and all about me was others with a sense of entitlement as the higher I climbed the louder the abuse was about me and within my own mind. Only for me to climb all the way back down to the lowest platform to find an opening underneath that only my heart new the way to travel while others about me hiding in the dark, call over here, but my heart knowing better then to stray as I move forward along in the dark and a light appears and then I walked with Jesus and seen a great arena of polished white marble with high walls, floor and a blue summer sky with the figure of a man locked in marble frozen in time beside us and a black throwing stone lay at foot, for then I see myself shining in gold armour with weapon and shield so bright like anew and for then I felt ashamed of myself as I have before, so I stripped off this skin and walked away from myself into a narrow doorway where others walked bye peering out considering to leave or not, but carry on regardless holding onto a handle attached to a great chain filthy in grimy rags and this is where I felt that I belonged so I went and when I awoke a voice that I know only to be Jesus said, I will come back for you when your time comes.
            I have been in and out of mental clinics many times with a mania so high I thought that I was Jesus and a depression so low that I walked out on myself willing myself to die in shame with uncontrollable sorry, begging God to take me away from it all but shock treatment in the clinic was my return

            But for me now I feel that I have seen more then enough. Not that I will walk out on myself again. Not that I will ever stop searching. But I long for the day that Gods unconditional love for us all, embraces me once again, for there are many ways to heaven this is just one.

            Peace be with you and praise belongs to God alone.

          • milarepa

            The grate yogi/siddhi, Milarepa, concludes through Mahamudra that Reality is undivided and all things arise from the eternal flames of the Soul. See and realize that the eternity has touched physical being.and the flames are also your own. You cannot divide yourself from the happenings to which are occurring. Reality will eventually transcend all shapes and forms. It transforms matter through time and space and becomes the visions in its own luminous radiance. Awareness rides on the immortal flames as mind and visions. stay put and enjoy your own show. Be courageous in transformation of your own appearances but don’t make them permanent – march further on… you are indeed beyond. Christ is also the consciousness of your own mind that you must unite and behold the path towards eternity by conversions and emanations and of radiance formations of heavens and beyond. Conquer all fear for you are the one and only dear to behold..Don’t ignore the fact and be clouded by ignorance, call out your internal voice and the in-dwelling of Christ consciousness by being still and also learn how to abide on your own -transcending appearances and transformations.

          • Charles Darwin

            What you have put forward is progression. But an issue arises. Perfection within progression can not exist here on Earth. Jesus is not God, for he is the key for the doorway to God and no matter what I do within this life or beyond it. I could never ever compare myself with a man that gives all that he is and is still today.

            He is the messenger from the past and of the future that shared an understanding. Yes a very forward thinking individual of his time that paid the price with his own life. All from planting a seed of good will within us all that has been struggling to take root and change our ways the main advice that he past on to us was be kind to yourself and others, also love each other even the people you like to hate. Learn within your life empathy and humility.

            He also informed us all then and now that God is not vengeful. There is no hell beyond death. You just come back here again in what ever form God thinks is just. But if you prove to yourself that you have learned and practiced empathy and humility throughout your existence and would not abuse the ability to create then you create your own heaven throughout the universe. Or you choose what to do next with your own existence.

            Anything is possible, is not for us here on Earth and transcending into anything like GOD here is not possible. Because we are of flesh, we can not conquer death and come back again. Even if we could, an individual would only know what was past not of the future.

            Our mind is as the universe forever expanding. Gods mind dwarfs ours as it is all of our minds united expanding.

            Insanity is without an understanding of liberty.

            Just ask a person locked up in the mental clinic for the sake of themselves and the community if they are insane and what answer will you get. I am not crazy the rest of the world is.

            Forward thinking is the future, but can we create scenarios that flow backwards and forwards, like time travel to have an understanding of outcomes. Yes we can but we are never truly certain, even if the outcome arises just as we thought it would.

            Cause and Effect is beyond or understanding no matter how clear our minds are. Maybe if we could unite our minds within what I call unbiased sandboxing. A simulation of scenarios by benevolent individuals maybe then we might get close.

            If you are wondering who I am? I see myself as a dyslexic, manic depressive, benevolent analysts.

            Peace be with you and praise belongs to God alone.

          • Milarapa

            Accepting the facts of life as impermanent. Bearing the cross means to crucify the mind, knowledge and self from the illusions of being and wondering. Knowledge is poisoning and self destructive, binds the mind in yearning to understand more and more. There is no self to discover other then the knowledge that you have. Throwing away this knowledge liberates your mind from conditions. Everyone suffers from knowing too much and wanting even more. There is no purpose in life other than this unfulfilled yearning to know. Reverse everything as not your own. Discarding the entire creation as an illusion burns all knowledge until the mind empties itself out from the burden of knowledge. Cause and effect is this yearning to know and experience that ties the entire human consciousness in relation to cause and effect – interdependent… learning to liberate the self from conditions is the self beyond self, NIRVANA

          • Charles Darwin

            Is there not a battle of good and bad, right and wrong, past, future and present, going on everybody’s mind upon the path to enlightenment.

            If I stay idle and listen then I am of the meek. Hope is all that we have.

            I have in my minds eye a vision of Jesus in my own unforgiving sorrow of hopelessness from sins and transgressions that I have made within my own existence, trade himself with demons dancing about me while I burn within an internal denomination.

            Because he is the greatest part of Gods plan. I owe him every thing that I have become and I give back too God every part of me to do what is install for me next.
            A gift that is a gift that is past on as a gift.

            I have seen within my minds eye visions of Satan a being of snake like appearance. With large eyes and a wide narrow mouth with no nose but two little holes to breath through, with large scales of green and black and is about then 3 foot tall. That sits beside of a small pool with small stones about the edge of what seems to be water gazing at us upon the Earth.

            So I within my own morals and ethics dragged Satan to the presence of God to put an end to all of this sorrow. Questioning God why is this so. And what did God say to me. He said set Satan free the time has not come. So I did.
            For then I see myself beside myself once again hand in hand, with a cleaner purer me. For then I understood why that there are those that are never satisfied. Forthright and ignorant of the works of God.

            Progression makes mistakes upon the path to enlightenment. Be them from someone else or your own experiences. Everyone suffers from knowing too much and wanting even more. This is true. So how far do you want to go. Do you want to go back to atoms the first spark of existence. The hydrogen atom at it’s most basic form.
            I will continue upon this path of enlightenment as there is no escaping it. Gods name in what ever language is Nature.

            What will be will be. So now I feel uncomfortable within myself as I have many times before.

            I will repent for the things that I have done until the day I die and most likely beyond it and I still feel a sorrow that over whelms me.
            I have not been on medication of any kind for over 12 years. I am aware that I say I to much. Because it’s not all about me it is all about us all here in this hell adapting to our conditions and environments watching each other going through their own personal illusion. Holding onto what ever gives us peace of mind.

            Peace be with you and all praise belongs to God alone.

          • Milarepa

            Life itself is a battle, an explosion unknown, and the mind is the field… the field that contains the knowledge to battle with. Must stop and clean up the field of knowledge…in an empty field no battle can arise, but awareness that can draw conclusions not to produce but to reduce. Mind is a force that shapes and shifts through the power of imagination and therefore gets trapped in its own cleverness to explore and experience like an addiction which is difficult to give up. The mind gets heated by its own imaginations and all types of visions can arise and still nothing remains to get hold on. Life itself is the great illusion of God and we all are involved as partakers. No matter whether is the son of God, Christ, or a rapist, somebody must arise and tell us that we are going on the wrong direction. The guy from Siberia took up the cross to guide and lead others to happiness and peace of mind so that they may enter death through serenity and not through arrogance, as this life is so short and flimsy. So let us be real humble and pray for the peace of our minds and the serenity of our hearts.

          • Milarepa

            Watch Christ on Earth today and learn how to free yourself from too much knowledge and worries within your mind no matter where you are…

          • Charles Darwin

            This Jesus fellow is in the lime light, be it what ever he thinks. This Jesus fellow is no more then holding onto what ever gives him and the people about him peace of mind. I say good luck to him and all that thinks he is God. The reality of his actions will dawn upon him soon enough.

            Living up to your own expectations is hard enough, living up to everybody else’s is impossible.

            Isn’t this tread about, The God beyond God?

            How can these people be truly happy in a world that is so corrupted by a sense of entitlement, that we turn our backs on each other. What makes you think that these people are any different? Life is easy with your eyes closed.

            If you think that I am something more then 10 pounds of crap like every body else upon this planet then guess what. I am 10 pounds of crap just like every body else upon this planet. Because I believe that every body is someone else’s idiot and that includes me. I also believe that working to live is better then living to work.

            To really understand something is to be liberated from it. Dedicating oneself to a great cause taking responsibility and gaining self knowledge is the essence of being human. Humanities greatest ally is the self educated individual who has read and understood. For now they can go about their lives with there eyes wide open.

            Peace be with you and all praise belongs to God alone.

          • Milarepa

            Look: my advice to you go to Siberia and mingle with the people there for a shift in your consciousness and for ever humble…and you shall see the difference. there you will find serenity, but you must listen and obey for many years. Mental illness is a crude factor and you must be strong enough and also willingly to associate with the right people. In the midst of your sufferings you shall learn how to obey in the service of others and also to prove to God within your heart that you are willing to offer your service in humbleness in serving others and never ask questions. your goal must be God’s blessings and serenity of your mind and nothing more… The people there are equal and will respect your humbleness in trying to change and recover…and God will actually bless you for giving yourself in the service of others, for a good purpose… Remember to bear your cross in the service of God and the good.

          • Charles Darwin
          • Milarepa

            I shall code Christ’s words saying: Truly I say unto you that there will be some standing here that they will never taste of death….The fact of too much knowledge and yearning has become contamination to the Soul and even after death there will be no rest… Stop!!! Close your eyes, ears and also shut down your mind and turn your back to the entire creation. Even if you gain the whole world and lose the peace of your Soul, you have encountered distractions of your own making… Forget justice and be peaceful within, forget the horsemen and bring serenity to your being, and forget science and secrets – the aberrations of the mind. But surely you are not alone, the entire human consciousness is full of tricks and treats that they hold on to as their most inner self to be admired, But their illusions will not be released so easily…And He said: I have not come to bring peace to the world but a sword….I have come to cast fire to the world and guard it until it blazes…He’s actually guarding our ways until we burst trough our own knowledge.

          • Charles Darwin

            Sorry about the out burst.

            Milarepa said:

            But surely you are not alone, the entire human consciousness is full of tricks and treats that they hold on to as their most inner self to be admired.
            I am ashamed that I have seen what I have seen within my minds eye. I am sharing this with you all. No one will ever know of me. My progression is of error. It does not have to be yours. Faith and hope is enough for the most of us. But some like me have to find out for themselves.

            And it upsets me, how people can turn away from each other so easily. Are we that conditioned or is it apathy?

            How do you find peace within this hell, while the sickness that has effected us all one way or another claims another and another and turn the knowing of this off.

            For you wouldn’t be here on this page if you already have enough faith

            God, grant us serenity to accept the things we cannot change,
            Courage to change the things we can,
            And wisdom to know the difference

            It’s not that I look for the worst in people or myself as I believe that people are truly good.
            I believe in empathy and humility and love is unconditional.

            Peace be with you and all praise belongs to God.

          • Milarepa

            Yes, must keep the revolt within our silent being and through our awareness must conquer our own errors as they become noticeable… The cause/affect relationship is a ball of fire of interdependence root it deeply into our bones and cells and blood; mind and thought arise out of the need to associate in co/relation to conditions for becoming. Life feeds on life and every thing transcends whether conscious or unconscious. Assuming for a moment that you will find peace and happiness in relation to conditions you have cheat it yourself big time. There are no friends here to be gained and admired, and be attached to, within this funny show. Sensuality is surely cheating you. Faith is a state of mind as an establishment, and how can that be possible to hold on to while all things dissolve? Be awake to the fact that we were born out of sensuality to be abused and blamed, To yearn and never be satisfied… To long and never find… To love and to hate… To struggle and to war… To be born and die for no purpose of our own……But We have now made it our purpose and also our satisfaction to conquer the world. Our intelligence Sir, will show you through,..Now be aware of the facts and try not to be a part of it in all its glory. Through your renunciation comes the realization that it is a great illusion that has brought you stress in your mind’s eye, and slowly and by and by you will gain peace beyond knowledge and the world.

          • Charles Darwin

            Harmony is what I yearn for the most.

            So it seems to me within this chaotic existence there is harmony. So; The God Beyond God is Harmony.

            Peace be with you and all praise belongs to God alone.

          • Milarepa

            Well, I think this is it. The God beyond God is true harmony. Peace be with you

  • In my ebook on comparative mysticism I wrote:

    God is the supreme concept of that essence which is God beyond God.

    “God is a concept and not a reality?” God is as real as you want God to be. The divine essence is Reality, even if you do not believe in God. It is another mystical paradox. “Why can’t it be simple?” It is simple…it simply is. It is our minds which add the complexity.

    • Evangelos

      Exactly so, its the mind that got bent in overlooking and got stock up… God looks for the man while man looks for God from two different dimensions that can-never meet unless we both learn how to end the mind game…

      • Evangelos

        There is also another thing i would like to suggest: Who is actually willing to step aside first from the illusory mind that has established self in a field of impermanence which is so awesome and satisfactory and ever-craving? God probably not and never will…