God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher offers a unique first-person account of God's experiences. God shared his story with philosopher Dr. Jerry L. Martin and explained the God beyond God, existing before Creation, and the birth of the God of this world through the Big Bang.
Imagine each life story as a great drama, with God playing every character, experiencing the suffering and potentiality of the universe through the unfolding of each life story, working in partnership with every character toward the most remarkable story ever told- and lived. Are we more similar than separate from God, flawed but evolving, growing in potentially through our copartnership to achieve an ideal story?
Join us for an insightful conversation between Jerry and Scott about their personal spiritual experiences while recapping points from the most recent podcast series. Jerry discusses loving the God in everyone, even the evilest, and the mind as a medium, something similar to consciousness, housing God's divine presence, the connective tissue of the universe.
Are you living your story's true potential in rhythm with God? Being the best version of yourself involves a simple task- love yourself. Silence the distractions and hardships of the world, relax and yield to God, and discover your ideal life story.
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Read God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher.
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Related Episodes: [Two Philosophers Wrestle With God] The Big Picture [Part 1] [Part 2]; [What's On Your Mind] Mindful Moments
Related Content: [Video] Why Is God Hiding?
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Scott Langdon [00:00:17] This is GOD: An Autobiography, the podcast. A dramatic adaptation and continuing discussion of the book God: An Autobiography As Told To A Philosopher by Jerry L. Martin. He was a lifelong agnostic, but one day he had an occasion to pray. To his vast surprise, God answered- in words. Being a philosopher, he had a lot of questions, and God had a lot to tell him. Episode 77.
Scott Langdon [00:01:05] Welcome to Episode 77 of GOD: An Autobiography, the podcast. I'm your host, Scott Langdon. With this episode, we bring you another addition in our series, What's On Our Minds, where Jerry and I talk about ideas and questions that have come to us from the last three episodes of the podcast. This week, Jerry and I discuss the relationship between God and human beings and how it might be analogized to an actor playing a role. If God is the actor behind everyone's character, what could the implications be regarding how we treat one another? If you have a question, comment or story of your own about an encounter with God or a spiritual experience, drop us an email to email@example.com. Thanks for spending this time with us. I hope you enjoy the episode.
Scott Langdon [00:02:01] Welcome back, my friends, to episode number 77 of GOD: An Autobiography, the podcast. This is another edition of What's on Our Minds. This is the fifth time we're doing this. And Jerry, I'm so glad to get to talk to you.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:02:13] Well, hello, Scott.
Scott Langdon [00:02:15] In this What's On Our Minds episode, we kind of look back at the last three episodes that we've done. So we're referencing here episodes 74, 75, and last week's episode, 76. And in 74 and 75, that is the fifth dialogue between you, Jerry, and Dr. Richard Oxenberg. You guys sat down for several conversations about this book, and we've been breaking them down into two parts every time we do one, and so 74 and 75, those episodes are part one and part two of the fifth dialogue. In that fifth dialogue, which we've called The Big Picture, you and Richard talk about what you write about in the book as the God beyond God.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:03:02] Yes.
Scott Langdon [00:03:02] And we find in so many religious traditions this notion of that which is beyond us, that is the unnamable, that which can't be named, all of those things you just can't have a concept for it. Richard In episode 74 on bringing this up, references the theologian, early theologian Meister Eckhart, and he quotes him as talking about this as the Godhead. But Meister Eckhart also says, "I pray God rid me of God." And I think what he means by that quote is that there is every time I think I have an idea of what that ultimate God might be, I pray that you'll rid me of that idea because I can never actually express it. It's incomprehensible. Right? So Saint Augustine would say, "If you can comprehend it, it is not God." So that's what we're talking about when we talk about the God beyond God. Am I correct so far about that?
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:04:13] Well, that's a very natural way to take it. I don't think it's actually accurate to how God beyond God-- God beyond God presented God's self to me. We actually had a conversation and there was nothing about that it was all so wondrous or ineffable or something like that, that one couldn't talk about it.
Scott Langdon [00:04:40] Ahuh.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:04:40] The God beyond God is not a mystery, other than it's a very strange kind of role, because it's like, you know, if you ask- well, before this world and before God created, and as the story goes in God: An Autobiography, God entered the world and Himself was creating Himself as the God of this world. If you ask what was God before that- which I asked right in the Creation chapter.
Scott Langdon [00:05:12] Yeah.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:05:12] And it sounds like a pregnant nothingness. You know? There wasn't much there. But Richard read some of the very interesting descriptions, a kind of serene, untroubled, you know, nothing is wrong, but it does end up to be more like the potential God. You know, it's not quite real. It's serene and perfect you might say, in the sense that nothing is wrong, but it actually is a God who then enters this world, and that's not two different gods. The God of this world is the actualization of the God beyond God. But I think you're right, Scott, that all the traditions, no matter how much they talk about God and this would include theistic forms of Hinduism and so forth, there is always a sense that there's something more. And one understands that there's something more to you and to me then we understand or can readily articulate. There are deep mysteries in life and things we can't quite bring to articulate consciousness. And that's true of many of the beauties of the world, the Grand Canyon, and of one another, and of animals that you know and they have hidden depths, and so surely it's right to think of the divine as having hidden depths.
Scott Langdon [00:06:40] Yes.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:06:41] What I'm told in God: An Autobiography is simply one conversation, a set of conversations that God had with one person in the 21st century America. And so there's got to you know, we all know from the get-go that there's a lot more to the divine reality than this one conversation reflects.
Scott Langdon [00:07:09] And when I think about it, I'm thinking about-- Well, let's go back to the analogy of a play. Okay? So, if I'm doing a play and the curtain goes up at 8:00, the beginning of that story starts at 8:00 and it goes till ten. So for 2 hours is this story. Now I exist before the story, and then I inhabit the character that plays in this other world. And then in 2 hours time, a span of time in that world, which may go, you know, years and years and years in that story. Right? This character that I play might age and then die, and so forth. But that all takes place in this framework of our two hour time period, and then when the play is over, I continue to exist. So when I think about it that way in terms of our world and I think about God as the animating force of my character, if you will, of the character of Scott Langdon. I think of God existing before me. My story starts, what, February 4th, 1969? I don't know. And here we are in the play, and God exists simultaneously with me now, and when I die, whenever that would happen to be and Scott Langdon is no more, God continues to exist so.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:08:33] God himself uses that analogy.
Scott Langdon [00:08:35] Yeah.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:08:36] And it's right back in the God book as well as it comes up again, in a natural way, in my discussion with Richard Oxenberg. And the analogy is as if the God of this world is God entering the role of an actor, and it's not the actor in the false way, but it's the way you understand it. It's really God, but it's God in one face of God, one enactment of God. And that's the sense in which there's a God beyond God. That the God of this world doesn't, you might say, exhaust everything there is to say about the ultimate divine reality. There's more. Scott Langdon [00:09:21] Right.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:09:21] There's more.
Scott Langdon [00:09:22] And I would, to me, part of how I take in the multiple worlds idea, and I'd love to hear more of your take on this, for me when I take in that idea is that God is playing all of the roles all of the time. And of course, there's a completely unique-- you know, if I play a villain, if I play Fagin in Oliver for a run, you know, I experience the world as Fagin and think about things as Fagin. But I'm also Scott even while I'm on stage, I have to know where my light is. I have to know where I'm exiting and entering, all of that stuff. So I'm still present, but there is no Fagin without me in that moment, right?
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:10:02] Right.
Scott Langdon [00:10:02] So I'm exploring, but I'm only exploring the world as Fagin. So then I go play Charlie Cowl in music, man. Oh, completely different country, a completely different stage. And I'm enacting that there. I'm creating that world with my fellow players. But here's the thing. All of my fellow players are doing the same thing.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:10:20] Yes.
Scott Langdon [00:10:21] In our lives, I imagine God as the actor. So God knows other by playing all of the roles.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:10:31] God is playing Scott right here now. God is--
Scott Langdon [00:10:35] And Jerry.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:10:36] Right? Here and now. And God is actually playing the microphone. Right?
Scott Langdon [00:10:40] Well, yeah, yeah.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:10:41] You know, God is the whole world. God is the enveloping whole world, the universe, the stars, and so forth that we can't see in the daylight here. But God is-- and of course, those I don't know if there are great dramas going on with them, but certainly when God enacts people, you and me, and our wives, and children, and parents, and so forth. God is really enacting a heavy drama.
Scott Langdon [00:11:09] And a very particular and special one.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:11:12] Yes.
Scott Langdon [00:11:13] You know, the human drama is different than an oak tree drama, although they are inter-being, as the Buddhists would say, they are distinct.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:11:23] Yes. There's also a distinctness and God is playing the distinct roles in this dramatic back and forth. There's the human drama, there's the Scott drama and the Jerry drama, and the Scott and Jerry drama. These are all parts that God is, in a sense enacting but allowing God's self to be sufficiently different, that's meaningful. It's not just we're all different spoonfuls of vanilla pudding, you know? No, we're more different than that. God is really enacting different characters here in us, and we are, of course, partners to that because it's not as if we're artificial images, as if we were animated features in a movie. No, we're actually real. But God is the ultimate vivifying aspect of the reality of Scott, and of Jerry, and of the listener.
Scott Langdon [00:12:28] When you and Richard are talking about God, the God beyond God emerging in to the world as (let's talk about it as) the big bang.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:12:41] Yes.
Scott Langdon [00:12:41] Like at that moment when creation begins. Yeah? And the description that God gives you in creation of how it felt for God was very much like a birth. And you and Richard talk about that, you know, arms reaching out, trying to and then after sort of understanding or beginning to articulate to God's self that this is like, what is this like, it's like arms? Okay. Arms reaching out. Yeah. All right. And then I feel this energy going everywhere. I probably-- What do I do? Organize it. Let me grab it, let me, okay, let's figure out what to do with this. And God is slowly figuring out that something needs to be done and what that something is- all at the same time. Right? So there is this formation then of this world, and in that formation of the world, the God beyond God actualizes into the God of this world that speaks to you.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:13:54] Exactly.
Scott Langdon [00:13:55] Now, my question about that, what I want to understand more about that, is that prior to that big bang, there is no other. There just is.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:14:10] Yes.
Scott Langdon [00:14:11] So I think as soon as we say it or talk about it, as soon as I say it, it's no longer that. And the problem with talking about the God beyond God is that when we refer to it as it, we just can't do it. You see what I mean? There is other. What existed before other is important, but it doesn't matter because it's about the actualization in the world.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:14:43] That's exactly right.
Scott Langdon [00:14:44] To be in the world means to have suffering. Well, what is it like to suffer before the world? There is no suffering because that's the point of the world of otherness. The God of this world is a manifestation now because of other. Does that make sense?
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:15:01] Well, yes. It's kind of puzzling and hard to state clearly.
Scott Langdon [00:15:07] Yeah.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:15:07] But it is as if the God beyond God, the God before the creation of the world, before God's emergence into this world is perfectly peaceful, nothing is wrong. But that's in a way, because nothing is happening, you know, nothing. And that's why early on, the formulation came up, a pregnant nothingness. A nothingness, but nevertheless was full of potentiality, of potency and the potency to enter this world in multiple worlds and then to live out these great dramas. And I was also thinking, Scott, as you were talking about this so much like a birth and Richard and I discussed that. That image of a birth comes up in another context much later. And it's so the context of the world is incomplete. It's not perfect, and yet God and we are partners in that process, and there was an image that came to me, and I couldn't quite figure it out at first, but I had a back and forth with God about it. But the image was of giving birth, and it was as though the world is going through pangs of birth. You know, there's a lot of pain connected with giving birth and with being born, and the world continues all the time to go through the pain of coming into being, of trying to actualize itself fully and most integrally. And that's what we're all involved in.
Scott Langdon [00:17:34] In your discussions with God about this topic, and Richard quotes from this part of the book as well, God says to you that I am the medium, and you ask God is mind the medium? And God says yes.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:17:58] That's right.
Scott Langdon [00:17:58] So now therefore, I want to conclude that God is the mind. Is that a reasonable conclusion?
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:18:10] Yes. If you don't carry it too far, if you don't carry it too far. But God says-- and you know, I'm an epistemologist which means we wonder how is it we know anything about the world out there? We're here. It's out there.
Scott Langdon [00:18:22] Right.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:18:23] And you need a kind of medium to connect what's in us to what's out there. And the medium is something like consciousness, and that is a divine presence that God is that fluid medium. That amount allows everything to connect, not just knowledge, but allows things to connect, to communicate with one another. And I just give the caution about carrying that too far. You know, there are philosophical positions that contend everything is consciousness and nothing is real in any other sense than being experienced. I don't find any of those doctrines here. You just have to take the thought for what it suggests to you and not hammer it into a philosophy of everything.
Scott Langdon [00:19:15] Right, right. So I'm thinking of-- when I think about it, what has come to me lately in my experiential reality of my day to day when it comes to God and thoughts of spiritual matters like this, it's the evidence of my experience. Which is, well, let me take this experience that we're having right now. So we are recording this, and folks who are listening on the podcast here, this is audio. We are actually recording this over Zoom.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:19:46] Yes.
Scott Langdon [00:19:47] And and I see you on the screen and you can see me and we're having this conversation. Now, if I think about this in just regular terms of communication, conventional communication, I would say that Jerry and Scott are talking and that's the end of that. Except that here is a microphone, and a wind screen, and the computer, and the people who invented Zoom, and who had thought about the Internet, and who thought about photography, and all that. So all of our ancestors who went before who invented these, all of them have collaborated, if you will. All of that has been collaborated and brought together for us to have this experience right here in this present moment. And if you are listening, this is our past. Your present moment contains all of that and our voices together to make your present moment, you listener. Right. So to me, that is that unifying adhesive to all of that what you have just said, the medium that wraps all of that together to make this present moment, it's so much bigger than Jerry and Scott and God. The kind of- oh, it's just the three of us. No, it's Jerry Scott, everyone at Sony, everyone at Apple, everyone, you know, and then some, and then some.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:21:04] Yes. Yes, it's pervasive, and it's the great connective. The great connective tissue of the universe.
Scott Langdon [00:21:13] And it's why I think, you know, we keep having Hamlet after Hamlet, after Hamlet and, you know, revival after revival of a play, because the individual actors who, you know, bring those characters to life, they're bringing the same characters to life, but they're different every time.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:21:35] Yes. Yes.
Scott Langdon [00:21:35] And it's-- if we're going to stay with that analogy, it's the same thing with God. Every time God comes, manifests God self as a human being, this character is completely different than any other character that's ever been played. It's a miracle!
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:21:48] Absolutely unique, absolutely unique in each case. There's never before been the story of Scott Langdon, of Scott Langdon's life, and you're enacting it now, and we don't know where the story goes next. So we're all with bated breath waiting to see with people who were listening to on a podcast, or the people close to us in our lives, or the people we read about in the news, or watch on the big screen, or whatever, we're always participating in their story one way or another. Even if we're just sitting in an audience watching a play or a movie or something, or hearing someone give a talk, we're participating in that story altogether.
Scott Langdon [00:22:36] Yeah, that is really an important thing to remember, is that we're always participating in the story.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:22:43] Yes.
Scott Langdon [00:22:43] One of the things that I have found a lot of peace in is when I think about who I am and what I offer, just let me just say, as a professional in my career, and I look at someone else's career who has had success, and who does a lot of the same roles I would do or say something. And I think, oh, they've done it and I haven't, that means I'm a failure or vice versa. You know, I'm a success and this person isn't. Except for the fact that sometimes you're the audience and sometimes you're the actor. So this actor who's doing this role, maybe it's my turn to be in the audience and see this world that they're creating, and be the audience.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:23:23] Yes.
Scott Langdon [00:23:23] That's my part of the whole picture. He can't be the actor unless I can be in the audience and vice versa. When it's my time to be the storyteller, then that's the role I assume. That's what God is having me play then, and then you or this other actor or whomever is in the audience, and they get inspired by that story and then we move on, or whatever. So when we look at our identity and say, I'm not doing X, Y or Z, that makes me a failure. You wonder compared to them? Or compared to what I'm supposed to be doing, or however that looks.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:23:56] Yeah. No, I think the point of view of the God book, what God told me, the implication is you need to figure out what your story is. In other words, the aim isn't to be a success or failure in some worldly term, you know, to be the top of the charts of some set of charts, you know, the person made the most money or has the most Twitter followers or something. No. It's to figure out what is it you're supposed to be doing? Are you living your story properly? Are you living the right story? We all live our story, but we might be watching it, doing a bad job. We might be completely out of sync with the divine and just often some wild goose chase of our own churned up by who knows what inner passions, and a lot of the key to life is just, well, let's try to get back in alignment with the divine in a kind of (I'm told somewhere the aim is) to be at one with God. To be at one with God. Which means something like I often think of- you walk along with two people where you kind of synchronize your walking. You know, you both take strides of the same length and the same in a kind of rhythm. Then I often think of something like that as we want to be in rhythm with God.
Scott Langdon [00:25:23] Mm hmm. Mm hmm. One of the obstacles for me that I have had to overcome, and am continuing to overcome, that I'm so grateful was not a an obstacle for you, is the notion that (a very, very heavy notion that) God and I could be separate?
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:25:46] Yes.
Scott Langdon [00:25:48] That at some point, when my will takes over, God leaves and then comes back. It's just the very notion that that's a possibility. It has been a huge obstacle. And then when you think of it and when I think of it in terms of the promise of God, that God makes a promise, and when we talk about it like that, God would never leave us because God made a promise. I still can't believe that, because my experience is promises are broken.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:26:23] Yes.
Scott Langdon [00:26:23] There's the potential for a broken promise, and I have sworn with all of my heart on promises that I have made, and in the moment of promise we could never have thought for a minute that I would break that promise, and have done.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:26:38] Yeah.
Scott Langdon [00:26:38] Because I'm flawed. We are, you know. And so if God is this developing God, if God is flawed and if God, you know... When you put those kinds of ideas into a relationship with God, it for me, it does the opposite of weaken the notion of God.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:27:00] Right.
Scott Langdon [00:27:00] Because if God is perfect and I'm flawed, I can never be like God fully. Oh, but you strive. But I can never, ever get there. And God will never, ever fully be with me. That is the notion of a separate God that almost collapsed me. Now, when I know that God, I am not God, that God and I are one, that's a different thing. I think we talk so much about the separate part of separate and the same, that we need to talk more about the same part.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:27:37] Yes, it's at least as true, you know. And as Richard likes to put it, it's more of the foundational truth, you might say, of our unity all together with the divine, which then differentiates itself into other, including our otherness with God. God taking on a particular character at that point of a divine face towards people, but the of kind of fundamental reality behind that is we're all the same. And there is nothing, there is nothing outside God, in fact, in this conceptual universe that wouldn't even make sense for something to be outside God. Where would it be?
Scott Langdon [00:28:24] Right, right. Yes, yes!
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:28:27] This is very much the kind of problem that some of the people who've written in have expressed in their own lives. Wayne had a terrible journey of which he persevered in, to his credit, but it was constantly the possibility that he's on the outside and everybody else somehow is on the inside. And we, Joe, who wrote in last time, talked about striving to come to the being of realizing she's at one with God. She knows it intellectually, but how can she be, you know, at one with God? And and so we discussed that interesting challenge. And then I take it as a form of this Ray writing in several different emails with different moments, because this is how the spiritual life is. Some days it's like the weather, it's looking up and some days it's looking down. And this whole problem of, well, of feeling loved, of loving people and maybe finding it hard to think they love you, and to take that into your heart, and he's struggling with that. And I kind of sensed that at bottom there was a question of did he feel lovable? Could he love himself? I'm told, and God: An Autobiography, if you love yourself the way I love you, God says, love yourself the way I love you. God has the love of the ideal parent. You know, where you love your kids flaws and all. And that's the ideal lover to, you know. When you like a person, you like some things, don't like others. My experience is when you love a person, you kind of love the whole person. Just deal with whatever the downside is. But there is that challenge and God loves us fully, flaws and all. And we need to kind of love or at least accept ourselves fully, even at the same time that, of course, we're always trying to be better and remedy our flaws and so forth, but that does not make us lovable. And if you love yourself, God told me, you're better able to do God's service and to love other people.
Scott Langdon [00:31:10] Well, one of the things I really love about what we do with the episodes, What's On Your Mind, when we invite folks to write into us and we talk about the experiences that they're having and some of the struggles that they're dealing with. I know that I relate to a lot of these emails and a lot of conversations I have with just people in my general life about this feeling that God is not present. You know, there's a feeling that God-- And you, when you talk to God, ask him a number of times, you know, why is it that you're so temporal and--.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:31:44] So hidden? God seems hidden.
Scott Langdon [00:31:45] Yeah. Yeah. And God says, first of all, I'm not. I love the answer. You know, God is like, first of all, that's not true. You see me all the time, right? But what I hear from folks is, okay, I know I can understand the intellectual argument that God is within, and God is all things. But why do I, when I feel lost, how do I get in touch with God to not feel lost anymore? How can I change that feeling? And in last week's episode, we talked about the breath a little bit, you know, the exercise of breathing in and know you're breathing in to get your mind and your body centered together. You know, yoga is a great practice for that for some folks. Walking meditation, you say, you know, contemplative--
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:32:30] Contemplative prayer for me.
Scott Langdon [00:32:33] For you, yeah. And I think that when we share each other's stories, that is fuel for this fire of, you know, just lighting up the ideas of how to get in touch with God. Is it breath, is it contemplative, and all of the different religious traditions and places where folks have tried to find out how to get in touch and source God (more clearly), in this book, God says, here are some ways that people tried, but they weren't really good. They didn't work out, but if you look deeply, you can always find where, yeah, this is more of a way it works out.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:33:17] The message of God: An Autobiography is not that all of the religions say the same thing. If you study them closely, they don't. If you describe them in a very broad, generic way, you can make them sort of sound as if they say the same thing, but in the things that matter most to their devotees, they're very different. But the God book tells how God was coming to each tradition, and in fact, the question I put, that I was given to put to God about each one, is what were you trying to communicate here to these people?
Scott Langdon [00:33:56] Yeah.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:33:56] And then we get the stories of each of those, what God was trying to communicate and occasionally even of major religions, God said, well, there's one point that was a bit off message. Whether they carried something too far, or they neglected something. And that's mentioned along the way because communications are not pure and are not always fully absorbed by the people being communicated with. And that's of course the story of the religions like everything else. But God was at work with each one, probably including, you know, the really meager ones, the really meager ones. In part, they had some sense of the divine reality or they wouldn't have been a religion at all, and and that part they got right.
Scott Langdon [00:34:48] But when I think about this, and the thing that's so unique and beautiful about the book is that it's God telling you how it was for God. Like trying to articulate how this was for Me. I'm trying to communicate. God is saying I'm trying to communicate what it was like for me. And I can really understand that feeling because probably my greatest fear is that I won't be able to communicate what I intend. And I feel, I take it really sort of personally, I study language and communication skills so that I can try my best to have the meaning of my intention match up. And I can imagine God trying to communicate what it's like to be a God to God's creation, human beings and so forth, and feel frustrated that God isn't being listened to or isn't being understood or is only being heard part way. And it's like a game of telephone and God to create a telephone. So it's a God like, Oh, what did I create? You know? I mean, just this idea of being frustrated with not being able to communicate. Can you see--
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:35:58] That comes up at one point that God uses another theatrical analogy of being God is like being the director of an improv theater.
Scott Langdon [00:36:09] Right.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:36:09] Remember, the history of the world going forward is not pre-scripted, it's improv theater. That's the message. We are all, God says, we're all finding our lines, and that includes God who's interacting with us and finding the lines for for that interaction. But in this improv theater for God is sort of the director, the actors are deaf, or they aren't paying attention. And it's as if, you know, picture God standing on the side gesticulating, you know, to try to get the actors to do this or that, and they're simply ignoring. And so it's a kind of chaos like Murat Sade, of theatrical productions. But it's a chaos of us stumbling around, not paying attention and God's challenge in getting us to pay attention. You know, you mentioned being, you know, how it is for God. When Scott and I talked about Genesis and he asked, is Genesis wrong because it's got a very different picture of creation than occurs in the Creation chapter in God: An Autobiography, and one of the things that came out of that discussion, is that, Genesis is written in third person. As though somebody was back then sort of observing this and noting what was the nature of God and what was taking place.
Scott Langdon [00:37:38] Right.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:37:38] Whereas God: An Autobiography, says what it's like to be God as first person. It's what it's like to be God and what it's like in this whole story. That, for us is the story of human history and human aspirations and efforts. For God, He's not just observing that, and maybe making judgments the way that sometimes religion can sound, but no God is-- What is that like for God to live that out- to live out? And at one point, I'm told, there's no suffering like it- to see people going wrong. I hate to see people just suffering because Mount Vesuvius erupts and they're caught in a lava flow, but also just going bad. You know, be Nero or something. Well, that's bad. And it's painful the way it would be for a parent. Wouldn't you hate to be Nero's mother, you know? And so God has a first person story to tell.
Scott Langdon [00:38:44] Yeah.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:38:44] And that's really God: An Autobiography. That's why God gave me the title. I thought it was a bit overreaching, but God gave me the title, I put it in, I added modestly as told to a philosopher. We do not have a tape recording of God speaking, but it is God's own story unlike any other revelation I can think of.
Scott Langdon [00:39:05] If we go back to our early analogy and the one that God has used with you a number of times, it's sort of a behind the scenes.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:39:13] Yes! That's exactly right!
Scott Langdon [00:39:13] The actors story, you know, like.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:39:17] Yeah, yeah, yeah. Now the actor has a whole story that isn't the same as the play you see on the stage.
Scott Langdon [00:39:22] One of the fascinating things about my career, and in this country specifically, is that people have a really difficult time differentiating the actor and the character they play. Kiefer Sutherland is a couple of years older than I, just a couple of years older than I, and he started out his career very young. He was a very young age, and he started out in like well, say, like Stand By Me, that great movie where he is the bully bad guy, murderous, villain guy at like, you know, sixteen years old, 17, however old he was- just a couple-- And I'm going to see this movie and I see, I don't know it's Kiefer Sutherland, but I see Kiefer Sutherland image in the movie screen in this world being this terrible person. And in an interview with him not too long ago, he was talking about his career and he was talking about the fact that even to this day, there are people that he meets for the first time as Kiefer Sutherland that won't shake his hand because of that movie.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:40:26] That movie! Oh, my gosh!
Scott Langdon [00:40:27] And he's played a lot of villains, so it could have been a couple of different people.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:40:29] Yes, yes.
Scott Langdon [00:40:29] But, you know, it's just I can't shake, and they can't separate that, and I think that is important to talk about because in very much the same way, if we use this analogy of God as you know, the actors kind of thing, that we look at other people and we just look at them as the character. We don't take a moment to say who is playing that character, right? So who is God in them?
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:40:59] No, I loved when we went to India, and you got this greeting with the like prayerful hands from everybody in the hotel and so forth, and I gather it means that may the God in me greets the God in you. And I remember thinking, well, I can say that to my worst enemy. Somebody I think is just horrible because it's not the God in them that bothers me. So the God in me, and of course I have my horrible sides and moments too, but no, the God in me is greeting the God in them and that sort of ideal to the extent we can carry through on that. At the same time, one has to live a realistic life where the person, you may have to check your wallet, you know.
Scott Langdon [00:41:44] Right, right. Right.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:41:46] So you live realistically, but of course, that's not the most Godly aspect of them. That's the part that has not gotten in sync with the divine reality. And part of your reading to them is what you very much hope that they do. And that's not hope in the form of anger or condemnation, but it's the hope, again, of the ideal parent. Of, well, I hope Johnny straightens out, stops the drug dealing and stops the mugging and so forth, and gets on track to be a better Johnny than Johnny is right now. To be the best Johnny possible. And that's what you hope for people. You don't have to be perfect, but you want to be the best version of yourself you can be. And just relaxing and yielding to God, oddly enough, was a big help in that. It's a big help in that. It doesn't seem like a huge accomplishment. But in fact, given the distractions of the world and the different forces and our personalities, it is a big accomplishment just to relax and connect with the divine.
Scott Langdon [00:43:22] Thank you for listening to GOD: An Autobiography, the podcast. Subscribe for free today wherever you listen to your podcasts and hear a new episode every week. You can hear the complete dramatic adaptation of God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher by Jerry L. Martin, by beginning with episode one of our podcast and listening through its conclusion with Episode 44. You can read the original true story in the book from which this podcast is adapted, God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher, available now at Amazon.com, and always at godanautobiography.com. Pick up your own copy today. If you have any questions about this or any other episode, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and experience the world from God's perspective as it was told to a philosopher. This is Scott Langdon. I'll see you next time.