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My sister once explained her approach to spirituality: “Jim, I’ll tell you where I see God. I see God inside the people around me, inside myself.”

Similarly, at the Last Supper, Jesus admonished his disciple Phillip “…Don’t you believe that….the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing His work.”

Historically, religions have tended to view God as omniscient, almighty, and distant. However, the claim being made in these statements is that the presence of God can reside within a human being.

Is my sister’s claim rooted in the reality of human spirituality, or is it misleading, or just wishful thinking?

Could it be that “divinity” exists nowhere other than within human beings, and there is no such thing as a higher creative power?

Can Jesus say what he does because he is unique (a “special case”) or does each of us have the potential to achieve a oneness with God that is exactly like his?

What metaphysical ‘design feature’ could facilitate God’s becoming “incarnate” within or “manifesting” through a given individual?

Have you personally experienced God’s presence within another person or within yourself? If so, what was the impact of that experience?

Please share your thoughts below

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David Burton
David Burton
24 days ago

So much of this is rooted in ontology. In the west we have traditionally considered there to be two types of things that exist: spirit and matter. In a human being mind is spirit and body is matter. In this view matter is inert, simple, and formless. Life, mind, even shape and structure have to be added to it from outside. In this view God is necessarily separate from all things and acts on them from outside. So from this perspective I would have to look for God outside of myself. However if we move to a view of existence… Read more »

Gail Snow
Gail Snow
27 days ago

My mind always goes to the verse in I Corinthians 6:19. “…do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” NKJV. Makes me think of living for the sake of others, and that God can dwell within us,as we prepare the space for our Heavenly Parent. Having that intention of atteding seems really important.

Kate Tsubata
Kate Tsubata
27 days ago

One of the most beautiful stories in the Bible is when Jacob, after being pursued, threatened, cheated, and exiled for 21 years says to his angry and estranged brother “Esau, when I see your face, I see the face of God.” Seeing God in others, and in oneself, is the core of “seeing from God’s viewpoint.” If we glimpse that true, original being in the other, we are forever transformed. We become aware that there is a sacredness to each human, an eternal content that is indestructible. When enemies can do that–miracles happen.

James Osborn
James Osborn
28 days ago

I believe God wants to be in all of us. But He is repelled by sinfulness. Several times I have felt God’s presence closely, but eventually He drifts away.

Chris Noble
Chris Noble
28 days ago

There are many concepts of God. John 14:2 says it well: “My Father’s house has many rooms”. One definition of God is: when we act in an honorable and compassionate way, who are we trying to please?

Steve Honey
Steve Honey
28 days ago

A friend of mine once asked me “If there is a God, why can’t we hear Him? Why doesn’t He speak to us?” My response was that the transmitter is working but the receiver is broken. A little over a hundred years ago the radio came out, and by the 1920s it revolutionized communication and entertainment. But if, at the beginning of the 19th century, Mr. Marconi told someone that they could speak into a box and be heard miles away they would ask, “Where are the wires?” I clearly believe that God is actually IN each of us, a… Read more »

Jason Mitchell
Jason Mitchell
3 months ago

I would modify your sister’s comment to indicate that we see God’s influence in the people around us. Some are influenced by God, others are not. At the Last Supper, I assume that Jesus meant that His Father’s influence, His Father’s values, were so ingrained in Him, or so much a part of Him (Jesus), that it could be said that “that Father is in me.” But if, as a Christian, I accept the Old Testament, then Moses (Exodus 33:11) and Jacob (Genesis 32:30) saw God “face to face.” I have to believe that God’s influence can be everywhere, but… Read more »

Jason Mitchell
Jason Mitchell
Reply to  James Edgerly
3 months ago

If they were “God loving,” they likely were pure hearted and conscientious, or at least trying to be so. If you love God, you will try to be good to others. Someone once said if, “If a person is kind to you, but rude to the waiter, he is not a kind person.” Jesus spoke against hypocrisy. We are all somewhere different on the continuum of goodness. I’m not sure what you mean by “incarnate in them.” In my opinion, God does not enter into us. He is a separate being. But his influence, the holy spirit, may influence us… Read more »

Josephine
Josephine
Reply to  Jason Mitchell
2 months ago

Jason, after reading your post I thought of God as inner light then at Mass I received so many confirmations. The Bible is full of references to God as inner light and God’s light can and does enter us.

1 John 1:5 ESV / 22 helpful votes

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

Josephine
Josephine
Reply to  Jason Mitchell
2 months ago

John 17 is my favorite chapter in the Bible because it is Jesus’ prayer for us to experience God inside us and God inside each other. I have experienced this and it surprised me at first and I didn’t know how to understand it until I read it in Jesus words. It is a oneness with the presence of Christ and the Father inside myself and a feeling of the other person in the presence of Christ and the Father inside me too, and all around me. It is deeply nourishing, it is life giving and bring the peace of… Read more »

Dr. D. Michael Hentrich
Dr. D. Michael Hentrich
Reply to  Jason Mitchell
3 months ago

This is an interesting point, as to whether and how God could be “in us”. I think human have a tendency to default to materialistic thinking, i.e., atoms, matter, location, distance, etc. If God has no tangible form, either here or in the spirit world, then we must adjust this kind of thinking to a different direction; more qualitatively and internally. My book, “Angelic DNA” speaks to this area in some depth.

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