The Life Wisdom Project explores lessons and insight from each episode of God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher from Jerry's conversations with God. The Life Wisdom Project investigates takeaways for everyday living with special guests. How can we live better, healthier, happier, and wiser lives? Next week, Rev Dr. Ray Silverman, author, and professor at Bryn Athyn College, will discuss episode four with Dr. Jerry L. Martin.
MEET THE GUESTS- Rev. Dr. Ray Silverman
FIND THE SITES- Theology Without Walls | What is God: An Autobiography
BUY THE BOOKS- God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher | Rise Above It: Spiritual Development for College Students
LISTEN TO RELEVANT EPISODES- [Dramatic Adaptation] I Learn How To Tell When A Message Is From God [The Life Wisdom Project] 99. A Lesson In Obedience | The Encounter With Novelty And Living Truthfully
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God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher, is written by Dr. Jerry L. Martin, an agnostic philosopher who heard the voice of God and recorded their conversations.
The podcast began with the Dramatic Adaptation of the book and now has several series:
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 112.
Scott Langdon [00:01:16] I'm Scott Langdon, and this week we bring you something special in preparation for next week's fourth edition of our series The Life Wisdom Project. In each episode of The Life Wisdom Project, Jerry is joined by a special guest, and together they talk in depth about one of the episodes from the audio adaptation of Jerry's book God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher. You can always find the complete audio adaptation of the book for free any time you like, by beginning with episode one of this podcast and listening through episode 44. Next week, Jerry is joined by Dr. Ray Silverman, or "Coach" if you know him, professor of religion and English at Bryn Athyn College in Pennsylvania. And the two have a wonderful conversation about episode four: I Learn How To Tell When A Message Is From God. So, this week we thought it would be the perfect time to revisit episode four so that you could be completely prepared for next week's terrific discussion. In episode four, as is the case for the entire audio adaptation of the book, I speak the voice of Jerry and Jerry L. Martin, who heard the voice, speaks the voice of God. Now here is episode four: I Learn How To Tell When A Message Is From God. I hope you enjoy the episode.
Scott Langdon [00:03:04] Episode four:
Dramatic Adaptation 4: I Learn How To Tell When A Message Is From God
Jerry Martin [00:03:07] Judaism, Christianity, Jews, Jesus--all this upset me, so, for a time, I concentrated on day-to-day matters. One morning I started to ask some trivial question and was interrupted.
Voice of God [00:03:22] You stopped asking me because some of the answers disturbed you. They shook your faith.
Jerry Martin [00:03:29] Lord, why is faith like that? Why is your interaction with us so tenuous and subject to doubt?
Voice of God [00:03:38] First, it is not. During most times, people have not had trouble believing. Believing in me or in some gods was--is--the most natural thing in the world.
Second, my "invisibility" has to do with the kind of Being I am. It's like asking why we can't see neutrinos. Nobody can see your "mind." You believe in "other minds" with no greater "evidence."
Jerry Martin [00:04:12] God was alluding to the topic of my doctoral dissertation. One of the great philosophical puzzles concerns skepticism with regard to knowledge of other minds. The problem arises from the fact that we do not have direct access to other people's thoughts and feelings. We only observe their outer behavior. In fact, we do not have any proof that others really have inner thoughts or feelings at all. Yet it is reasonable to believe they do. Is God any more elusive than minds? Well, he certainly seems so. I was trying to be flexible, but my mind was being stretched out of shape. Some days I would doubt the voice. It was, after all, in my head and talked a lot like me.
Voice of God [00:05:06] My words are coming to you for a reason. Do not worry that my voice sounds like you. It is bound to sound like you and to use your vocabulary, your concepts. That is how revelation works. But notice that what you are now writing is completely different from what you believed prior to prayer--so different, much of it is profoundly uncomfortable and disturbing to you. Just relax and put yourself in my hands.
Jerry Martin [00:05:46] How can you tell whether a message is really from God? I learned that my question had an official name--The Problem of Spiritual Discernment. I would get to the bottom of it. The classic text on the question is "The Spiritual Exercises" of St. Ignatius, founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). I read it eagerly, but the section on Rules for the Discernment of Spirits sent a chill down my spine. In short, there is a problem in believing every voice you hear. But there is also a problem if, having sensed the divine presence, you give in to doubt. The moments when I most "dwelt in God" were calm and reassuring. But I was not always comfortable with what I was told. And I was most disturbed when I was not actually praying but wondering what people would think if I told them I talk with God--and He talks back! I looked for something more recent and found it in "The Art of Praying: The Principles and Methods of Christian Prayer" by Romano Guardini.
Lord, I am skeptical by nature and that worries me.
Voice of God [00:07:06] Don't worry about doubting unless it interferes with faith. Doubting is a natural response of a thinking mind to conflicting evidence. You may doubt--you might always doubt--but faith must transcend doubt as it transcends knowledge.
Jerry Martin [00:07:30] I determined to follow that path, maintaining a critical distance from my experience of God while at the same time yielding to divine guidance. It is not an easy balance to strike, but it seems to be a challenge at the heart of the life of faith.
Voice of God [00:07:52] Yes and no. I come to you--but not to raindrops--as a person and therefore I am a person. One cannot be a person in some modes without being a person.
But I am also much more than a person. Just because I seem familiar to you--we talk just as persons do--should not mislead you into thinking I am "just a guy." It is true that I have many of the attributes of a person--desires and a history, for example. But, again, do not assume that desire and history mean just the same for me as they do for human beings. Keep in mind that I am definitely not a human being.
Jerry Martin [00:08:50] But Jesus is.
Voice of God [00:08:52] Yes.
Jerry Martin [00:08:54] Then how can it be right to say that Jesus is *identical* with God, that he is God? Two beings cannot be identical if one is human and one is not; one is mortal and the other is not.
Voice of God [00:09:08] The notion of identity is not helpful here. Jesus' whole heart and soul and mind were one hundred percent infused with me. What he said, I said--just as what you are writing now is what I am telling you. And some of your thoughts are put there by me, which means they are mine, because they are put there by an indwelling of me in you, a partial merge, if you will. This is not just inspiration. When I enter something, I really enter it--become infused--"intermingled" is too weak a word because the elements are no longer separately identifiable.
Jerry Martin [00:09:55] That was a lot to take in. I would have to "let it percolate" as Miss Finely, my high school Latin teacher used to say.
Scott Langdon [00:10:20] 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.