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

61. Revelation | Series: Two Philosophers Wrestle With God | Dialogue 2 [Part 1]

February 10, 2022 Jerry L. Martin, Scott Langdon, Richard Oxenberg
61. Revelation | Series: Two Philosophers Wrestle With God | Dialogue 2 [Part 1]
GOD: An Autobiography, As Told to a Philosopher - The Podcast
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GOD: An Autobiography, As Told to a Philosopher - The Podcast
61. Revelation | Series: Two Philosophers Wrestle With God | Dialogue 2 [Part 1]
Feb 10, 2022
Jerry L. Martin, Scott Langdon, Richard Oxenberg

Questions? Comments? Text Us!

Analytical and energetic dialogues of philosophical and spiritual discussion between Dr. Jerry L. Martin and Dr. Richard Oxenberg about God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher. A profound conversation of philosophy, sciences, and religion daring to consider God's perspective in the series Two Philosophers Wrestle With God. The second dialogue covers revelations.

Richard Oxenberg received his PH.D. in Philosophy from Emory University in 2002, with a concentration in Ethics and Philosophy of Religion. He has written and published numerous articles on these subjects, many of which are available online. His book: On the Meaning of Human Being: Heidegger and the Bible in Dialogue, was published by Political Animal Press in 2018. Richard currently teaches at Endicott College in Beverly, MA.

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

Begin the dramatic adaptation of God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher

Related Episodes: [Two Philosophers Wrestle With God]
The Big Picture [Part 1] [Part 2]; The Nature Of Divine Reality [Part 1] [Part 2]; Purpose [Part 1] [Part 2]; Revelation [Part 1] [Part 2]; Jerry's Story [Part 1]

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Show Notes Transcript

Questions? Comments? Text Us!

Analytical and energetic dialogues of philosophical and spiritual discussion between Dr. Jerry L. Martin and Dr. Richard Oxenberg about God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher. A profound conversation of philosophy, sciences, and religion daring to consider God's perspective in the series Two Philosophers Wrestle With God. The second dialogue covers revelations.

Richard Oxenberg received his PH.D. in Philosophy from Emory University in 2002, with a concentration in Ethics and Philosophy of Religion. He has written and published numerous articles on these subjects, many of which are available online. His book: On the Meaning of Human Being: Heidegger and the Bible in Dialogue, was published by Political Animal Press in 2018. Richard currently teaches at Endicott College in Beverly, MA.

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

Begin the dramatic adaptation of God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher

Related Episodes: [Two Philosophers Wrestle With God]
The Big Picture [Part 1] [Part 2]; The Nature Of Divine Reality [Part 1] [Part 2]; Purpose [Part 1] [Part 2]; Revelation [Part 1] [Part 2]; Jerry's Story [Part 1]

Share Your Story | Site | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube |

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 61. 

Scott Langdon Episode 61. Hello and welcome to Episode 61 of God: An Autobiography, The Podcast. I'm your host Scott Langdon here in episode 61. We continue with the series of conversations between two philosophers, Dr. Jerry L. Martin and Dr. Richard Oxenberg, where the two discuss in-depth Jerry's book God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher. During their conversations, these two philosophers wrestle with the questions many people, not just philosophers, would be inclined to ask of someone who claims to have heard a revelation from God. We split their first conversation into two parts spanning two episodes, episodes 57 and 58. For their second discussion, we will do the same and have this episode be part one and next week’’s be part two. In this episode and in other episodes like it that follow, there are specific references to passages from Jerry's book. From time to time, I will interject with a clip from the dramatic audio adaptation of the book, which you can find from episodes one through 44 of this podcast. In doing this, I hope to simply provide an additional avenue by which our listening audience can get further context on a specific discussion or point. If you have any questions about this or any other episode, please email us at questions at godanautobiography.com. I hope you enjoy the episode. We begin with Jerry speaking first. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:02:32]  I'm very pleased to have Richard Oxenberg join me again and raises very good questions. As any pursuer of the truth knows, what you most need to help you along the way is good questions. And so we will continue to deal with the kinds of questions that a rather rich book like God: an Autobiography raises. I'll let you proceed to kind of frame the topic of today's questioning. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:02:54] OK, great. Thank you, Jerry. So I thought that today we would maybe focus on the question of revelation and the nature of revelation. And I guess this is a conversation I've been wanting to have with you for some time. And I guess the way that I would think of it if I were to run into Isaiah or Mohammed or anyone who professes to have a direct connection

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:03:17] Yes. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:03:18] From God, I might have quite a few questions to ask them about the nature of that revelation. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:03:24] Yes. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:03:25] In order to understand what's happening. Also to understand what kind of authority such legends should be taken to have, whether or not there is ever expressed wiggle room? Right. I mean, if Mohammed said that God told me this. Does that mean that we have to believe that God told him that? Right. I mean, are we faced with the choice of either accepting everything that such an experience professes or rejecting everything that such an experience professes? Is there any middle ground? 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:04:02] Yes. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:04:03] . . .The middle ground. Why would there be middle ground? These are all questions. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:04:07] Good questions, you know. Is there a way to appropriate to make use of . . .

Dr. Richard Oxenberg Right. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin . . .A revelation. You know, you might say reasonable and intelligent way. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg Have reasonable. . . 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin As He speaks, stated on accepting every word and every comma. And so forth as the word of God. And or just rejecting it as though God's not going to talk to Isaiah or Muhammad or anybody. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:04:35] Right. And I just, you know, start just by saying that one of the reasons that I find myself asking this question has to do with my own way of approaching things like the Bible. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:04:46] Yes. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:04:46] Which is to believe that there is some sense in which they are inspired by higher truth. My understanding of something. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:04:58] Yes. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:04:58] Same time I am unable to believe that every word is a word chosen by God. And you have to follow the Bible in some very literalistic, absolutistic manner. As a matter of fact, I find that literal approach to the Bible to be a barrier in the way of a deep spirituality. So, this is all part of the general question that I have. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:05:28] Yeah, the background you're bringing to our discussion here. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:05:33] So maybe we can just start by having you say a little bit about just in a kind of commonality of your own experience of the voice and how it comes to you, how it has come to you. Has it always come to you in the same way other times when it's fainter and more pronounced in the book itself? The book will see that you have dialogues with God. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin  Yes.

Dr. Richard Oxenberg Have your questions that you are making of God in quoting quotation marks, and then God speaks in bold face. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:06:15] The text tries to identify the voice of God by praise. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:06:19] The text tries to identify the voice of God with bold face.

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:06:21] Yes. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:06:22] And one of the questions that has always been on my mind is, did you actually . . . Were you recording?  Were you writing that? Were you taking dictation? 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:06:34] I was taking dictation.  

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:06:37] From memory? Or were you sitting there with a pad and pen and writing it down as you were hearing it? How exactly did that work? 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:06:45] Well, at the beginning, I just remembered some things because there wasn't that much to remember. So the first couple of chapters of the book, I'm reporting it as I remember it. And they're usually short things. I was told. But then at a certain point, as they went, as the prayer is progressed and I found I could pray and ask questions and get answers to questions that I had both as a spiritual seeker and as a philosopher, I thought I need to start taking notes. And in fact, I find that's for me, the best way to pray. I sit down with a pad, write out my questions. Sometimes the answer starts coming before I quite gotten the whole question written, but. And then it's just I'm taking dictation and I don't even. I've shortened parts and so forth, avoided repetition. But I've not even corrected grammar because I thought it's very important to keep distinct what God told Jerry from what Jerry thinks we're thought about it or extrapolated from it. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:07:49] So when you say you're taking dictation, so you're at your you are hearing words sounding in your mind. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Yeah. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg And these words are . . . I get that if I'm writing . . . I don't hear the word that I'm writing before I write it. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:08:08] Right. I know what you mean. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:08:10] The words are coming out of me as I write them and through my writing. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:08:17] Yes. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:08:18] But in a sense, if I were listening to somebody, talking to me and writing what they were saying, right? Did you ever find yourself saying to God, hey slow down? 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:08:27] Oh, yeah. I had the terrible time keeping up. And some of the my notes are just like scrawls. I have them. I save them all. In a kind of fireproof little thing. Just for future reference, maybe. But yeah, it came so fast, it was very hard to keep up. And as I say, sometimes before I get the question formulated, the answer is coming. And I have to manage that. But I think I did manage that pretty well. And that's exactly how it happened. And as I say,I treated the God quotes with punctilious care because for one thing. How would I be in a position to edit them? You know, I'm just Jerry Martin. How would I be in a position to say all this part was wrong or better or worse or as you know, there are some answers I got that seem to contradict an earlier answer. I've left them both in because maybe they're both true if you understand them a certain way, how do I know? Or maybe later one supersedes the earlier one. Because I go along, I'm learning more and getting more tuned in maybe, but certainly learning more. And I was told, you know, to go read some things. And so God's saying to Jerry, so I have something to work with so that God has something to work with. So, you know, I need some equipment, some stuff in my head, because it's my head that God is using, you know? 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:09:54] And, but at the same time, well, not at the same time. But I guess as part that, I guess when you edited the work, when you put it into the book, you include every now and then. You have a parentheses in the middle of God's statement, because you felt that what God said, might not be as clear to the reader as it could be. And so in your parentheses, you make that a little clearer or or try and make it more gender? 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:10:22]  Well, it's a this was if God tells me this was about that, I may very well known what the "this is" and the "that is", it would be easy for the reader to lose it. Occasionally I notice something in of one of the passages I was looking at just today, I put in a little "or" because often it came to me as just phrases right after another. And that's again, a little hard for the reader. So once it was a sense of "or", it's either "this or that". So I add that that mechanism. And about that, I've put them right into the quotes because I've felt, you know, as the listener. Well, this happens in conversation. The two of you understand what you're talking about, the sense of it. And so I'm just putting in that to help the reader. But it shows my scrupulousness with regard to the actual words. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg Yeah.

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Because I'm adding those interpretive elements with the parentheses around them.

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:11:19] Your experience was then very much that of the experience of someone in effect, engaged in a conversation with another entity, with another person, not not just inspired stuff.

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:11:35] No, no. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:11:36] Another entity who is somehow conversing with you inside your own mind. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:11:41] Yes, exactly. No, it's not an inspiration in almost poetic sense of. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg Right. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin You know. And I'm told that can be from God too. Occasionally I'm thinking I get into a discourse and I'm wondering, is this still God talking? 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg  Yeah.

Dr. Jerry L. Martin It's natural in conversation where you almost start completing each other's sentences sometimes because, you know, and kind of extrapolating the thought. And am I off on my own here? I would stop and kind of get back. And sometimes I'm told that by God "no,that was all for me" though at that point it felt more like thinking than it did, like listening. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:12:45] So the next question that I have in this regard. And it really comes out of both my reading the book and also certain things that are said in the book. And that is the extent to which you are in some manner, shape or form contributing to the revelation itself. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin Sure. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg And. Oh, what I mean. Let me put it this way. Right. One of the things that we've discussed is that when you listen to the voice of God or the words of God or the style in which God speaks is very much like the style in which you speak.  

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:13:29] Yes. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:13:30] In other words, if not, we don't get a distinctive sense that this is God's style of speaking. God has one style of speaking, you have another style of speaking. And two people are speaking in these different styles. I would imagine that if I were to meet Shakespeare.

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:13:45] He's going to talk like Shakespeare. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:13:47] If I had a conversation with Shakespeare, Shakespear would speak like Shakespeare. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:13:52] Yes. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:13:52] He wouldn't speak like me.  Shakespear wouldn't speak like me. Right? 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:13:57] Yes. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:13:57] But actually, in one of the passages, I think you even bring this up that God is speaking in a style very much similar to the way that you speak and that God says to you, "Well, that's just the way that revelation works." 

Scott Langdon [00:14:19] As Richard just mentioned, God came to Jerry in a voice that sounded very much like his own. And this confused Jerry. Here's a clip from episode four of our podcast where God explains to Jerry, that's just how Revelation works. 

Dramatic Adaptation: Episode 16

Jerry Martin - voiced by Scott Langdon

The Voice of God - voiced by Jerry L. Martin, who heard the voice

Jerry Martin 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.

The Voice of God [00:14:54] 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. 

Scott Langdon [00:15:15] That was a clip from episode four of our podcast where Jerry’s concerned about how God's voice is coming to him. If you would like to find this passage in the book, God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher for additional context, it's taken from the very beginning of chapter four on page 21. Now back to the conversation between Jerry and Richard. Here's Jerry picking up the conversation. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:15:47]  For me, I'm always questioning this at the same time, but I'm completely accepting it, believing of acting on it, giving up a career and working to follow this voice. Basically, I'm also as a philosopher and thinker and modern person, you know, keeping this  . . . Well, that seemed odd. If God's going to speak to me, why does it sound just like me, more or less? Although, some readers have said "No, It doesn't really sound like Jerry." 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:16:12] Well, it does and It doesn't. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:16:15] It's my conversational style. But of course, the content is not at all what I previously believed.  

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:16:23] Right. And the content came to you often as a surprise, I believe.

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:16:27] Yes, and the language is sometimes corrected. So God isn't entirely buying into my language. I'm saying. No, no, that's wrong. You need to think of it another way. You know,  so that also happens. But you're right. Why does God speak not unlike Shakespeare, come to life again, speak in our way? And I take it that's because we are the instruments. Yes, as you know, at one point there was a moment when I felt pride because, well, God told me all this. I'm hearing from God. That makes me rather special, doesn't it? Of course, you know, the first thing that happened is the line went dead. I've been in relation to God and that just cut it off, that moment of ego. But I was then told you're no more special than the paint Leonardo happen to use on the Mona Lisa. Then I thought, well if you're just paint it's kind of good you make it into the Mona Lisa. But on the other hand, you know, paint is just paint. But it also illustrates the point you're now exploring Richard, which is, well, I'm the palette, I'm the paint, I'm like God's palette in this set of revelations. Mohammed at a very different palette, Isaiah, Jeremiah, another palette. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:17:46] Right. This is a critically important point, it seems to me. Because if you're the palette or another way of putting it is, you know, God is sculpting something and you're the clay. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:17:58] Yes, yes, yes. Or the marble, perhaps. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:18:01] Or you might think of it this way if somebody wanted to present an image of a three dimensional object. But the only thing that they had for presenting it was a two dimensional page. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:18:16] Right. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:18:16] To give a two dimensional representation of that three dimensional object. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:18:21] Right. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:18:21] And have been able to make it three dimensional. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:18:24] Yes. Yes. Yes. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:18:26] And in some sense, perhaps, and I'm wondering to what extent you might agree with this, and I think we even see it in some of the things that are said here in the book. God had to present himself, herself, itself, in terms of the concepts and vocabulary already available from you. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:18:51] Yes. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:18:52] Right. I mean, maybe God can stretch your mind a bit. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:18:56] But God does both. But God's . . . we start with what, with my equipment as it is the equipment wretched and bended and adapted. But I suppose artists do that with their materials. Often people who just use the crayon one way, and now an artist comes and thinks of a quite new way to portray something with that instrumentality. So God is changing the instrumentality, changing, opening my mind, heart and soul in new ways. And so more can come in and God can do more with this particular instrumentality. And I take it that's then, you know, back to your original question, Richard. That's the nature of revelation. That's how God comes to people in their own situation, in their own terms, maybe even unresponsive to their own needs. You know, their historical situations. Some of the prophets are very much people with particular historical situations that are going on and in the fate of Israel at that time. So all of these are possibilities. And there's a tendency. I think to overly relativize this sort of thing, you start saying, well, it's bounded in this way, bounded by that way, and it sounds, you know, just a perspective and no good. But I tend to think of it the other way, that it's a kind of enabling.  If you think of art. . .  Why are we glad that there's a Rembrandt and a Van Gogh and a Picasso? Each one is limited in their own way. Right? But they show you different ways of the world. They show the world in different ways. And so, you know, God is using Jerry Martin to show the world in the way that God feels is needed for Jerry Martin or I think maybe even more for our particular historical time. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:20:51] Right. Well, clearly, the kind of revelation that you receive here, isn't it, for more than just you, right?

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:20:59] It's not really personal or is just for Jerry. But I pray. Why? Why are we doing this? The answer is in terms of the state of religion today you might say.

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:21:09] And I thought that we would perhaps save that topic. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:21:13] Right. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:21:13] For another discussion. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:21:14] Yes. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:21:15] Which, you know, what is the purpose of it all? 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:21:17] Yes. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:21:17] Let's continue with the question of revelation. If I wanted to characterize it this way, would this seem to make sense to you.

Dr. Jerry L. Martin And that is that in some sense, whatever reason, the nature of God and the relationship of human beings to God is such that there can only be a kind of Kantian point in a way, there can only be a revelation of God through our own humanity. In other words, we can only experience the way that God can be for a human being. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg  And, more particularly, I can only experience the way that God can be for Richard Oxenberg. And you can only experience the way that God can be for Jerry Martin. That doesn't mean that that doesn't have relevance for other people as well. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:22:16] Right. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:22:17] That nevertheless, when we hear a . . .  when we hear God speaking through you. What we're hearing is God as filtered through Jerry Martin when we hear God speaking through Mohammed. What we're hearing is God as filtered through Mohammed. And we can say the same thing about Isaiah or the same thing about any of these revelations. There is a filtering process that is integral to and essential to the very nature of revelation itself, such that we never get God in a kind of unadulterated form, the very nature of the relationship of human beings to God is such that any experience of God that a human being can have will be an experience of God as filtered through that human being. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:23:19] Yeah. The problem is, if you talk very much that way, it starts sounding as though we never quite get God at all. But I, and I would think of it. I remember G. E. Moore, the British philosopher, in his great carefulness when they're visiting the zoo. Someone says that's a huge elephant. And Moore says, well, from this side at least. Well, there's something odd about that statement as well. It looks huge to us. What does that mean? It's huge. It's how a huge elephant looks under these circumstances. It's showing itself. So God is showing God's self through these various lenses. It's as if someone says, oh, no, you know, I've looked at the moon the other night through a telescope, but it's filtered by the telescope. Well, no, that's not even there. I wouldn't want to put it that way. The telescope is empowering your perception to see the moon. And so you're seeing more you're seeing the craters, which you couldn't see before. So I myself would see these as empowerments, that there's a lot to God and God can show many things about God's self by using the vocabulary and historical circumstances of Jerry Martin, as he did of Isaiah and others. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:24:37]Let me say a little bit more. Let's see if we can, you know, move this a little further. So we have this book and we have the bold face, a bold faced text, which are the words of God, as you recorded them yourself, pointed out, you were pretty diligent. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:24:54] Yes. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:24:54] Recording them just as you heard them. Could they be in error? Let us suppose that you heard the voice just as you heard it and you recorded it just as you heard it. And that answered itself into the book, just as you heard, it didn't make a transcription error, right? 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:25:19] Yes, but. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:25:20] Could the boldface, could what is being . . . what we read in boldface in the text still be factually incorrect or or perhaps lead us in perhaps a direction that would not be a direction closer to the true God? Could there be errors? I mean, what I'm asking a question that I would ask if this were the Bible, I would read it. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:25:47] Right, right, right. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:25:49] So then there are doctrines of infallibility and doctrines of inerrancy. And I'm wondering. What is the relationship of the revelation that we read in your book with respect to those doctrines? 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:26:07] Well, I don't think there's any suggestion anywhere in the book of infallibility. And in fact, I'm told pointedly that I'm a fallible receptor. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:26:17] Well, I'm not talking . .  OK. Yes. Yeah. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:26:19] I'm a fallible receptor. And it depends on where you're trying to locate the error. Um, uh, you know God makes grammatical mistakes in these transcripts, I don't correct them. I leave them there. And I don't know if they're exactly factual mistakes, but I think there are times where God used the word and it didn't quite seem the right word. And I said, do you mean such and such? Yes. Yes, that's it. Although I can remember times where I did that and said no. He was telling me to read William of Ockham. This was very early on. And I thought maybe you meant Anselm. And so why would I want to read Ockham? And I said, do you mean Anselm? No. No. William of Ockham. Okay. So there's that wiggle room is not in a way that different from . . . suppose in his later years, you'd gone to interview Winston Churchill about the war years and what happened here and what happened there. The interviewer is writing notes. The interviewer could make a mistake, could misunderstand, could misunderstand the context. Churchill himself, though he was there, might have, you know, odd mistakes of memory. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:27:34] But if the interviewer wrote down the words of Winston Churchill and wrote them down faithfully, then those words would be unmistakably inherently infallible, given the way that God presents himself in the book. Right. So God is in some sense imperfect, although I wouldn't think imperfect in the sense that God doesn't know things that we would know. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:28:05] Right, can't communicate clearly and so on. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:28:08] But I guess one assumes that if some words are coming from God and if we've got them accurately from God,. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:28:17] Yes. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:28:18] hey must, at very least, be a reflection of how God understands reality to be. So then in what sense could you be a fallible receptor?

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:28:30] Oh, well, that's a good question. And, you know, there's the point which I was at.  . . If you think about the early prayers where I knew nothing. God had very little to work with because I'd never been interested in religion, had not studied religion, not even studied the religion I was raised in, and really just had the childhood on, you know, kind of pictures of that form of Christianity. And a lot of my early questions were really kind of crude. If you look back at them and rather crude formulations of my childhood, something like my childhood understanding and God answers those, much the way a professor in a class will answer freshmen and say, well, yes, that's right. Meaning really, well, that's close enough, you know, because in teaching, you can't go into every nuance and complication. You're trying to get some basic point across. And so God is saying basically to me as neophyte, "Jerry, you're on the right track.Yes, that that will do." Later, I learned a great deal more. And one of those passages might be instructive because I was rereading it because you had highlighted it. And I was wondering. Well, what's the context of this and what's the context . . . There are places where I encountered Jesus and have a chance to talk. This was page 271. 

Dr. Richard Oxenberg [00:29:54] Right.

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:29:55] Remember that one? In the context of where earlier prayers are somewhat discounted. Where I have the sense that I should focus on who am I talking to.

Dramatic Adaptation: Episode 37

Jerry Martin - voiced by Scott Langdon

The Voice of God - voiced by Jerry L. Martin, who heard the voice

Jerry Martin [00:30:03] “Lord, I have the sense that I should focus on Jesus' message of love--and let it into my own heart. I need to set aside my uneasy feelings with 'washed in the blood' and other echoes of my childhood. Is that right, Lord?”

The Voice of God [00:30:19] Both points are correct. Also, listen to Jesus' human voice. At this point, also bracket our earlier prayers, which were contaminated in various ways.

Jerry Martin [00:30:31] Apparently, earlier prayers, perhaps because I didn't yet know what questions to ask or how to understand the answers, were less authoritative and should be understood in the context of later prayers. Then Jesus spoke to me:

The Voice of Jesus [00:30:47] Don't be so worried about all this. Don't be too wedded to the scripture. This is not exegesis that we're doing. You know what I am about, which is the healing power of love. 

Scott Langdon [00:31:08] 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.