GOD: An Autobiography, As Told to a Philosopher - The Podcast

98. The Essential Project Of The Divine | Series: Two Philosophers Wrestle With God | Dialogue 10 [Part 2]

October 27, 2022 Jerry L. Martin, Scott Langdon, Richard Oxenberg
GOD: An Autobiography, As Told to a Philosopher - The Podcast
98. The Essential Project Of The Divine | Series: Two Philosophers Wrestle With God | Dialogue 10 [Part 2]
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Why do we care that we die? Is time linear? Explore these questions, the relationship between ego and spirituality, and the potential for reaching the ultimate victory level.

Join Scott Langdon as he connects Dr. Jerry L. Martin and Dr. Richard Oxenberg for a profound philosophical and spiritual discussion from Two Philosophers Wrestle With God, Part Two of the Essential Project Of The Divine.

Dr. Martin is a philosopher, founding chairman of Theology Without Walls, and author of the true story God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher. Dr. Oxenberg is a professor and has many publications on ethics and religion including On The Meaning Of Human Being: Heidegger And The Bible In Dialogue.

Read God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher.

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Related Episodes: [Dramatic Adaptation]
13. I Ask God Hard Questions About Ego And Suffering | 27. I Learn Human Effort Completes Creation | 30. I Learn Of God’s Experience With Hindu Sages | 33. God Introduces Me To Jesus | 39. Upset By God, I Stop Praying | 40. God Explains Infinite Worlds And Their Purpose | 42. God Explains Fulfillment And Victory

Related Content: [Video]
What's Wrong With Ego? 

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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 98. 

Scott Langdon [00:01:12] Hello and welcome to Episode 98 of God: An Autobiography, The Podcast. I'm Scott Langdon, your host. This week, we bring you part two of the tenth dialogue between doctors Jerry Martin and Richard Oxenberg in dialogue number ten. Richard and Jerry focus their discussion on the big picture. They talk about the implications for God and us, of creating a world in the first place in which there is a multiplicity and diversity of objects, and what the world's religions are essentially designed to do in terms of helping us stay connected with God. Here now is part two of dialogue number ten called The Essential Project of the Divine. I hope you enjoy the episode. We begin with Richard speaking first. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:02:00] Once again, so the big scheme here, the big picture is that we have the Atman of God, I guess at one point you suggest that what is being called the Atman of God here, is similar to what in Hinduism is called Brahman.

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:02:22] I tend to speculate that maybe it's kind of like that. Yeah.

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:02:26] Yeah. And I think God responds to you, well... 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Sort-of. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg  It's complex, sort of, it's complicated, but you could think of it like that. Here's actually the quote. It's on page 296 (Episode 39). You say, “Is that why there are non-God-centered religions?” I was thinking the God beyond God might be like and impersonal Brahman.” And God responds, “Yes, it is complex, but it is connected." So, this God beyond God is in, and I think this is an important point, because a lot is made in the book of how the God of this world, which is not the God beyond God, is in some respects limited, is subject to suffering in a way that, you know, we ordinarily don't think of God, even has some dimensions of Himself, itself that we might even call evil or have, you know, a potential for evil. But that's not the God beyond God. The God beyond God is beyond that. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:03:33] Yes, although, we have to always remind ourselves the God in this world is identical with the God beyond God. It's the God beyond God now in a world. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:03:44] Right. But a manifestation of the God beyond God?

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:03:47] Well, an actualization. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:03:49] An actualization. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:03:50] Of the God beyond God. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:03:52] Right. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:03:53] Just as God beyond God, It's sort of nothing, though not a nothing. Anyway, I just want that we're not relating in this world to a second being. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:04:06] Oh, right. No, no. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:04:07] Relating to the God beyond God as God enters this world. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:04:12] Right. No. As a matter of fact, there's a schema given where it talks about how the Atman of God gives rise to the God of this world, which gives rise to the Atman of the human being, which gives rise to the individual human being of this world. It's kind of this projection. We have a quote, here, sort of describing the state of the God beyond God. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Yes. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg Right. (Episode 40) On page 73, ”There was a Self, timeless, without reflection, still and at peace, like calm waters, lucid, not nothing, but not something either.” And then on 311, we have the self, the Atman of God “is calm, dispassionate, quiet, tranquil, serene, blissful...” And yet another quote (Episode 27) from 184, “You might say that the idea or potential for all things resides in the God beyond God beforehand or in another dimension.” We keep thinking of it in temporal terms. But actually, what is clear in the book is that all this is happening at the same time, right? 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:05:26] Linear time is perfectly real, before, and after, and so forth. As we live our lives and God develops, that's perfectly real. On the other hand, there is another dimension, and way of looking at it where the times are all simultaneous, and that perspective is, well, I started to say more real, that's not right. They're each real in their own different ways. You just need to understand which time sense you're talking about. It's really true that Caesar crossed the Rubicon before World War Two. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg  Right. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin That's true, but there is a point of view from which those are all like history books on a shelf, and they're all sitting there simultaneously. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:06:14] Right, and it says here on (Episode 27) 184, "It is true that, in that mode of dimension,” in other words, the dimension of the God beyond God… 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Yes.

Dr. Richard Oxenberg “...evil cannot strike.” 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Right. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg “There is no evil in the “world” of the God beyond God.”

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Right. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg And that, I think, is an important point, because what it's really, as I read it, what it's saying, what we take to be evil, what we take to be, you know, difficult, is not ontologically fundamental. It is a product of the manifestation, or the creation of the many out of the one,  but it is not a feature of the one itself. Right. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:07:02] However, when you say it that way, ontologically Richard, it seems to me you're kind of reversing something I keep emphasizing, which is the God beyond God is not in that mode quite real. Of course, there's no evil there. It's placid. Nothing is going on there. You know, there's no good either. There's no beauty. But, you know, to actualize, which would suggest become more real, God has to enter a world, and the God in the world is therefore more real than the God sitting back vaguely aware of the possibility of becoming real. It's blissful, It's perfect, because nothing's happening. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:07:51] Well, but I go back to that very first quote. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:07:54] Yeah. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:07:55] About the aim being to create the many, and bring them back into the one. To me, this seemed to be an important point, that the reason the aim is to bring them back into the one is at least partially, maybe reason isn't quite the right word, but, if it weren't for the fact that the one, the original one was at peace was calm, was beyond evil. And I am not sure I would say that that means it's also beyond good. Because beyond evil, then bringing it all back into the one wouldn't resolve anything. In other words, there's something about bringing it all back into the oneness that is a resolution to the problems that are caused by the creation of the many. And to me, they're, what allows for it to be a resolution to that, is that there's something, there's a quality to the one that lends itself to the many when the many get in touch with that quality. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:09:11]  The quality that is so wonderful in the resolution is harmony. There's no harmony back in the God beyond God because there's no multiplicity. You've got to have all those instruments come to the town meeting, and have those problems before you can have the solution. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:09:34]  But you also can't have harmony unless there's unity. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Yes. Well--

Dr. Richard Oxenberg There must be a way in which all the parts are able to fit together? Let me put it another way. One could imagine that emerging out of some primordial one, the Big Bang, for instance. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:09:54] Yes. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:09:55] It's just a lot of chaos. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:09:58] Right. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:09:58] A lot of pieces that can't fit together harmoniously, and then there would be no project. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Right.

Dr. Richard Oxenberg Right. Then there would be only, you know, to use the Hobbe’s saying as the war of all against all. There would just be this chaos fighting with itself. So there has to be this potential, I mean, what creates the potential for harmony? True, harmony requires that there be a multiplicity, but it also requires that multiplicity be such that the different pieces can fit together into a greater and more harmonious whole, and that possibility, it seemed to me, must be a feature of something about the God beyond God. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:10:48] Well, what, I guess I think of this a little more dialectically, that we go from an extremely undeveloped God beyond God to God's actualizing God's self in multiple worlds, and then having the problems you rightly describe. Because a world has limitations, and elements of decline built right into it of incompleteness, of conflict, built right into it, and of course, there is a constant factor that God is in this world, God or the divine, and whatever, and It's multiple aspects is in this world and moving it toward harmony. But the most real state would not be the primal state where we started, it would be the final state with the full actualization of harmony. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:11:47] Potentiality for that harmony, it seems to me, is a function of something that is inherent to the original God beyond God. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:11:59] Fair enough. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:12:00] here's an interesting quote from (Episode 27) page 184 about the emergence of the many. God is saying, "Reality wants to be embodied.” 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Yes

Dr. Richard Oxenberg “In this respect, philosophical traditions that derive from Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus get it wrong. The material object does not “fall beneath” the perfect “form;” it actualizes it." This is very much what you've been saying. “Embody-ness is not subjected to limitations.”

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:12:30] Yeah. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:12:31] Hence the sense of a fall from grace.

Dr. Jerry L. Martin That's right.

Dr. Richard Oxenberg Which includes erosion, destruction, and in more complex forms. Disease, dysfunction. And in human beings. Death, suffering and evil. I guess I see that as a critically important quote. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:12:53] Yes. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:12:54] Because in a sense, it's all that fall from grace that involves erosion, destruction, disease, dysfunction, death, suffering, and evil that need to be resolved in some sense. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Yes. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg And, I guess we could ask the question- why does the many, (see, this is where what I was saying before in my mind comes) why does the creation of the many result in all these negative things? It's because, you know, as I would understand it, is because the particular is not self-sustaining. By reason of its very particularity, and so therefore, it requires connection with the whole in order to overcome, in order to be sustained in any way at all, and given that it is not any longer directly or indissoluble connected to the whole. It therefore experiences itself as threatened by the fact that it can be severed from that which sustains it. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:14:14] Well, in what I was told, I don't think that vocabulary really came into the dialogues with God. What did come in was the nature of material reality. To be actualized is to be material. It's not as if, oh, God could have come into a perfect spiritual world or something, we would have had the problem that He started, that God starts out with, of not being actualized. To be actualized is to go into a particular world, and I'm told God doesn't make up the laws of nature. Entropy is built into what it is to be a material world, and entropy, which includes all these organic problems of aging, and so forth, so it's a world, to be real, has these problems, and I think what you're talking about in terms of the particularity, that incompleteness does seem to be in the book. That we're looking for a connection, you might say, to the divine and our particularity, while it actualizes us, presents us with that problem of connectedness. You know, what is our relation to the whole, what is our relation to one another? I think that is a key element here.

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:16:15] Yeah. You know, there's a question, I guess, that I've asked myself. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Yes. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg You know, quite apart from reading your book. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:16:22] Yes. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:16:26] You know, a lot of philosophical questions involved calling into question things that are just taken for granted most of the time. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Yes. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg But, so, here's the question, you know. Why do we care that we die? 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:16:40] Why do we care that we die? 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:16:42] Yeah. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Yes. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg Why should there be any distress over that. I mean, there obviously is, but what does it say about the nature of the life urge that we don't want to die. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Yes.

Dr. Richard Oxenberg Where does that come from? Where does that desire not to die come from? 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:17:03] A-huh.

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:17:03] And I guess I assume that it must be something about life itself. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:17:11] Yeah. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:17:11] That just doesn't want to be subject to the very limitations that our particularity subjects us to. So there's on the one hand, we are made particular and in, in some sense that particularity actualizes us. But that very actualization creates the problem. Creates the problem that we are now limited in a way that our life urge struggles against. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:17:45] Yes. Yes. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:17:46] And is not really content with. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:17:48] Right. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:17:49] And in some sense, that's why religion is necessary, so as to put us in contact with, in some sort of communion with the whole that in our particularization we have been severed from. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:18:07] And, to that, other timeline where this finite horizon, a temporal horizon that demarcates our birth and our death isn't itself the total picture. And there's more happening right here and now than that sense of, oh, whoa, you know, it's short, fleeting. One can get that other perspective. I don't think the word eternal is used here, but it often is in these kinds of discussions. But it's certainly a more fundamental sense our relation to the divine, and too, you might say our own soul's destiny, has this other perspective where the key thing isn't the day we're born, the day we die, it's each, every moment has its own deep, deep, deep importance in relation to the divine. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:19:13] Right. But it takes some doing to be made aware of that. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:19:19] Yeah. Because as you point out, we're thrown into this world with our limitations. I was given a vision at one point early of, you might say, the life force rising up, you know, through all of nature, and through the tears of nature, and the most fundamental, you might say, biological urges are always present, even as we move up through tiers of looking for love, for beauty, for wisdom. Even as we move up, the life force expresses itself in a kind of teleological way. It's kind of moving up towards these higher values, but it's always rooted in the nature all the way down by basic biological urges, and it's the life force expressing itself, and that's how we are in this world. And so, at the end of those life force, it's as if everything collapses like a house of cards, the nobel collapses along with the basic biological. Except there is another perspective, that it's hard for us to tap into, but possible for us to tap in to. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:20:38] And hard for us to tap into, and here's another quote that had always jumped out at me in the book. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Yes. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg That seemed kind of central from page 53 (Episode 13) about the ego. The ego is in a sense that through which, on the one hand, it's necessary, because we need it in order to be particular. It's what particularizes us. My ego is my-- Ego is just Latin for "I." So, my ego is my I, and your ego is your I, and we couldn't be different people unless we had different egos and different I's. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:21:16] And we couldn't survive well if we didn't have some ego strength. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:21:21] Right. The danger then, and here's the quote, "Ego is destructive, separatist, defiant of My will, self-satisfied and self-lustful.” So, the ego becomes, as I see it, kind of wrapped up in itself, closed off from the rest. Right. That's what would be the implication of separatist? 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Yes, yes.

Dr. Richard Oxenberg Right? And that then becomes the problem. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:21:54] Even becomes kind of perverse, the defiant, you know, rather than just paying attention to my own business, you might say would be the proper purview of the I, of the ego, becomes defiant and sort of wanting to break norms, and do the wrong thing. And that's also part of this ego assertiveness. It's not just self-interest, which can lead one to predations of one's neighbors, but it's a little more perverse than that. It's the ego's dramatic, willful self-assertion. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:22:30] But it's almost as if, and I don't know that this is expressed in the book particularly, but it's expressed in other places, where the ego wants to make of itself God. It wants to be God in its own egoness. Right? It doesn't want to have to submit, and this is expressed in the book. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Yes. Yes. Sure. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg The importance of surrender, and sacrifice, and submission. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin] Yes.  

Dr. Richard Oxenberg In order to come into touch with the divine. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Yes. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg But the ego doesn't want to submit, it wants to be in charge. And that notion that the ego has, in a sort of implicit way, that it is even capable of existing on its own right is really an illusion. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin A-Hmm. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg Right- It's a metaphysical, ontological illusion because the ego is constantly being sustained by the greater life force that is allowing it to be. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:23:34] Sure all down to one's friends, and neighbors, and the people you buy your groceries from, and to the ecosystem, and the global economy, and the social system, all the way up to the divine, you know, actually energizes, as you might say, the whole, all of these, is the force behind them. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:23:58] And so this then gives us the kind of, it seems to me, the paradigm for what all the religions in one manner, shape or form are trying to produce, and that is to create systems, and rituals, and context for the ego, to get beyond its sense of isolation, of ontological isolation, and also its sense of being reliant upon Itself, and being completely self-contained in its self concern. In some sense, all the religions are various ways of trying to deal with this somewhat perverse and pathological condition that the ego is almost naturally inclined to fall into. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:25:00] Yeah. Yeah, that's right. None of the religions is a fan of that aggressive, you know, self appropriating ego. They all look to rise above that because they all think that ultimately reality, there's something more fundamental in reality than your ego and mind. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:25:20] And this comes to be the meaning, the real meaning of sacrifice, as the book then presents it. Right. Did you want to say maybe a little bit about that? Here's a quote, and because what's interesting is that the God beyond God says that "I also am engaged in a sacrifice." You say, this is on page 305 (Episode 39) "Lord, is entering the world a sacrifice for You?” He says, “Yes, I am in eternal peace. Then I erupt into the world…”

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Yes. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg Which, as we know from having read the Creation passages, is not an entirely peaceful, at first it's lonely, and it's disruptive and-- 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:26:08] And God doesn't know what to do. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg Right. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Doesn't yet, It's just trying to figure out what the God's role is and how to do it, but it's chaos all around God at that stage. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:26:23] And then you say, "“Lord isn't the core meaning of sacrifice it's etymological meaning, to make sacred, make holy, mark off for God, surrender to God?” And then God responds, “Yes, this last is it.”  The surrender of…

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:26:39] Surrender. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:26:40] The surrender. Right. And you ask, ““How does entering the world involve surrendering to God? I don’t know if this is You or me talking, Lord, but what I get is this: Entering the world is to begin to desire, and desire is essentially a craving for possession, or for acquiring experience for the self. It is inherently selfish in this sense. One enters the world of desire and yet must renounce it and give it up to God at the same time.” And God responds, “That is correct.” So it's this interesting dialectic, I guess, is would be the word there. On the one hand, we want the world of desire. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:27:30] Yeah. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:27:30] Otherwise, we're just in this amorphous soup, but on the other hand, at the same time that we're living this world of desire, we have to sacrifice. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Yes.

Dr. Richard Oxenberg We have to be willing to make the sacrifice in order to connect with that which is beyond the ego. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:27:51] Yes, and of course, part of that problematic of desire is that, you might say, love is an aspect of desire or a type of desire. And love is also, in some sense, the essential positive force in the universe. And without desire, you know, no love. And yet, you know, one desires, and it's a problem, of course, in human love, relationships, you love the beautiful woman, and then you want to dominate her, and maybe even crush her spirit to put her in your back pocket, you know? And you see dramas of this sort all the time, of that lustful love. I'm not using lustful just in the sexual sense, but the thing from God you read a moment ago, that God just wants to appropriate experiences for self. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:28:47] Right. It's a grasping, kind-of. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:28:49] And wants to own. The lover who wants to own the other lover. And that's a sacrifice for God as well, because we have that God, not much is going on in the level of God beyond God, but it's peaceful and fine. Nothing wrong there, and no problems other than not quite being real. They go into a world, and my gosh, God too is now part of all of this trouble, including decline, including entropy, the laws of nature, and the life of desire. God, too, can get frustrated, for example, when people disobey, and God, too, loves and loves in a very active way. And I'm told somewhere sufferers when people go bad, well, when people have bad things happen to them, that God suffers right along with them. But also when they turn bad, like a parent seeing their child become a drug dealer, you know, it's a heartbreaking experience, well God's heart breaks, too, you might say. So it's a very dramatic sacrifice for God to come into the world, because that's the only way to have that process work, and come out with that harmony we're talking about, is for God to enter and relate to the cultures, and to then deal with their clashes, and you know, and all of that. This is the chore God now has, and takes on. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:31:02] So we might say that the ultimate spiritual aim is in some sense to learn to love properly. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:31:10 ]Yes. Good, way to put it. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:31:12] It I think the Second Noble Truth of Buddhism, that suffering, Dukkha, arises from Tanha, and Tanha has often translated clinging, a kind of clinging love–

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:31:27] To me, He used the word clinging. I notice that in one of the quotes that you cited. God uses the term clinging. Clinging to things, and you're bound to suffer, for the point you made earlier, Richard, that you're not self sufficient. So, no matter, and the clings you are clinging to aren't self sufficient, as the Buddha points out dramatically. And so it's you're grabbing at lifelines that's like grabbing at a rope, but there's nothing that anchors the rope at the other end, so these are false things to try to live your life by. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:32:07] So then in the various religions, we get sort of each one has their vocabulary for entering into the ultimate state. So you have Nirvana in Buddhism, Moksha in Hinduism, in eternal life in Christianity, and we might say that they're all variations on the same theme, if not just saying the same thing. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:32:35] Right. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:32:36] They all involved a kind of sacrificial, surrendering, sort of egoic self involvement in order to open oneself up to a sense of love of all. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Yes. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg Is that?

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:32:55] Yeah. Yeah. And a key thing there, and maybe you can find a good verse if you've spotted it, for giving up attachment. That clinging you're talking about is often called attachment. It's where you grasp things around you, and try to hold them, and possess them. And God says something to the effect of non-attachment, giving up that clinging. Put you on the right side of the line. So you're going to be on one side of the line and that is attached to the things of the world, or on the right side of the line, which is attached to the divine. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:33:37] Yeah, I have that quote right here on page 202 (Episode 30). God is saying "What detachment. Non-attachment--"

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:33:45] Non-attachment. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:33:46] “is to put you on My side of the great lines (the great divide). There is a physical reality and you can identify with that, and there is a divine reality and you can identify with that,” (it's almost like a choice). “If you detach from things first. You cannot do your full work in conjunction with me without detachment.” And of course, that's a major theme of the Eastern religions. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Yes. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg Somehow Karma Yoga is to live in the world, work in the world without attachment to the fruits of one's actions. And, I guess, the religious figure who maybe most, best expresses in some sense, this idea of an individual person who is wholly open to the divine would be Jesus. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:34:40] Yes. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:34:40] And, you speak about that, or the book speaks about that? 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:34:44] Jesus is always presented. I was early on asking what you know, is Jesus divine? Yes. Well, divine in the sense we're all kind of divine or some unique way called unique. Some unique way. And. Well, what way is that? Well, we're all good. It's kind of funny because in one sense, everything in the world is divine as part of the divinity, the divine reality. But at the same time, we're realizing that divinity and ourselves to various degrees of various moments. And most of us are kind of down here our degree of realization of the divine aspect of our nature. Jesus was like 100% full up to here. I mean, that's what I'm told. And. And then that made him. Enabled him. To really provide us the model of a finite creature capable of something like infinite wealth love with which knows no bounds. And since in one sense, that's what it's all about. You know, how do you produce the harmony? Well, love is virtually the word for the harmony, if you had to sum it up in one word. And Morris said about Jesus, Jesus is also described as a way of connecting to God, being completely filled, being accessible to us in a nicer way than the hidden, invisible God who's very hard for people to relate to normally. But Jesus was a real person in the world. And we have the stories and in his teachings and so forth. And so it's easier for us to connect to Jesus and Jesus, since Jesus is 100% divine. It's what logicians call a transit of relationship. It goes straight through. To connect to Jesus is to connect to God. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:36:50] Right. And He has a revelation of the sort of ultimate thing that we are all to be striving to become.

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Yes.

Dr. Richard Oxenberg It says on page 248 (Episode 33), "He is the pure embodiment of love, a great resource and a treasure for mankind, for all who believe in him– including the Jews, if they will but make use of him.” Right. So he is, you know, as it says in the Gospel of John, the way. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:37:13] Right. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:37:14] You know, so you look at him and, well, that's the way that-- But that's the path for all of us, so the aim here is not to worship Jesus, or to somehow get a get out of hell free card from Jesus, but to become Jesus- like in our own persons. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:37:32] Yes, exactly. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:37:34] And the ultimate goal, you know, just to sort of sum it up, I mean, this is a major point, it seemed to me in the book. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:37:40] Yes. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:37:41] I It is not for us to end up in some place, some heaven. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin No. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg Where we you know, which--

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:37:47] Which God calls a Club Med in the sky, and He says, give me a break, or something like that. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg Right. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin How can that be noble and ideal? You know, it's just is material, if it's in your afterlife, as if it were your next summer vacation. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:38:04] Right, so the goal is to live a sanctified life in the world. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Yeah. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg Right. I think of it, the phrase, this is not from the book, but a phrase that I've used is ego sanctification. The ego is not to be done away with, not like you can do away with it, you couldn't do away with it, you couldn't walk down the street without it. Right? So, it's not that we want to do away with the ego, it that we want to sanctify the ego. We want to bring the ego into its awareness of, not just intellectual awareness of, a kind of visceral, awareness of It's connection with the whole, and it's affirmation of the good of the whole, and to live in service of the whole. Which is a kind of joy. And the last thing perhaps, we'll just mention, is one way that we were able to do that. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:38:59] Yes. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:38:59] Is to realize, according to the book, that in some sense, as much as we are struggling now, and it's hard to put this because Heaven is already there. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:39:13] The Kingdom of Heaven, the Kingdom of God is already there. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:39:16] The struggle is now, and the victory is now. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Yes. And the victory–

Dr. Richard Oxenberg And over the course of the struggle-- 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:39:24] The victory depends on the struggle, even though the victory from a certain time perspective has already been achieved. It's present, and it's accessible to us. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:39:35] Yeah. 333. (Episode 42) You ask, well, God says “The struggle is happening right now, yesterday’s and tomorrow’s struggles are happening right now– and the final victory is happening right now.” And you say, “The Kingdom of God is here now?” God says, “Exactly.” You say, “Is there some way for us to get in touch with that ‘final victory’ level or dimension?” God says. “Yes! That is also Me. You access it through Me.” So through being in communion with God, we are also in communion with the fulfillment. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Yes.

Dr. Richard Oxenberg I thought of this in relationship to the first chapter of Genesis, where, you know, for six days, God works to create the creation, and then rests on the seventh day.

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:40:24] Yes. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:40:24] And it's like that seventh day at this victory level. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:40:27] Oh, okay. Yes.

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:40:29] You know, which in the Jewish religion is sanctified. Right? The Sabbath is to be made holy, it's one of the Ten Commandments. Dawn of the Sabbath day, and make it holy. You're not allowed to work on that day because you are, as I would understand it, on that Sabbath day, that's when you rest in the victory level. The rest of the week, you're working. But on the Sabbath, you abide at the victory level, and that itself helps to give the six days of work their meaning, and their holiness. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:41:07] Yes. That's a wonderful way to put it, Richard. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:41:11] On 333 (Episode 42) as well, you then say, "Is it important that we relate to the level of being (if that is the right way to put it) on which the final victory occurs? Does our relating to the victory level contribute somehow to ‘winning the struggle?”

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:41:29] Yeah. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:41:29] And God says, “Yes, oddly enough, the victory is now and the struggle is now, and yet the victory depends on the “outcome” of the struggle.”

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:41:43] Yes, it sounds like mixed up time, but since there are two timelines, it makes perfect sense. Two time dimensions, I should say, it makes perfect sense that we've got to be working with all our heart and effort to bring about the victory level, you know, this kind of harmony and love that we've been talking about. At the same time, we've already achieved it. We collectively, including the divine. We've already achieved it, and can connect with that. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:42:17] Right. And both those things are important, that's the whole idea. You don't sit back in the day-- I guess one of the criticisms of mysticism, that we get in the book is the inclination of the mystic to want to somehow meld into the divine in such a way that they no longer have to engage in the struggles of life. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Yes. Yes. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg  And, God clearly says no, that's not the way. On the other hand, we don't want to be so immersed in the struggle that we lose this inner sense of peace that we get from knowing that on some level the struggle has already been won. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:43:06] Which is– 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:43:07] We need them both, right?

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:43:10] Yeah, absolutely. And, in fact, that's a good, you might say, premise. I think we're thinking about talking next time about the implications for living one's life? 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg Yes. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin And that's a sort of a good premise for that.

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:43:22] Maybe we can pick it up with that next time, and talk about, you know, how we now apply what has come out of the book. You know, what is the take away, we might say, from the book? 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:43:39] Yeah. Very good. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg Yeah.

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Well, thank you, Richard. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:43:42] Well, thank you, Jerry. Yeah. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:43:44] Bless you. Bless you. 

Scott Langdon [00:44:07] 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 questions@godanautobiography.com 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.

The God Beyond God
Dimensions Of Time And God
Material Reality, Actualization, And Potential
Why Do We Care We Die?
Ego And Sacrifice
Loving Properly
Attachment And Physical Reality
Jesus: Divinity In The Physical Realm
The Struggle Is Now The Victory Is Now
Outro And Contact Information