Many people are ambivalent or negative when asked if they believe in God. Part of this reaction has to do with what they assume the questioner means by the term “God.” The image many in the Jewish and Christian traditions see when God is mentioned is of an old man with a beard sitting on a throne in the sky and ruling over the world. Understandably, many doubt the existence of such a figure.
My own reimagining of the figure of God found expression in a dramatic experience many years ago, and this experience has shaped my assumptions ever since that time. This experience happened when I was in my late teens or early twenties, about fifty-five years ago. I had been cogitating for some time about whether God existed. One day I had what I would call a “waking vision.” This was not a dream, for I was awake, but it was like a dream in that I experienced myself entering into a visual drama.
In this drama I experienced myself standing in a great hall, looking at great double doors at the end of the hall. I opened the doors and found a winding staircase leading upward. I began to climb the stairs, and at the top of each landing I found a new staircase. I continued climbing and climbing, until finally I found myself on the outside of another set of doors. I knew that these were the doors to the throne room of God.
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