Snyder, George L Snyder, Lenore Snyder, God, ethics, morals, religion

The Elephant Speaks
One Man’s Elephant book II

God, Who are You?

             When I was a small child, it was comforting to picture God as the baby Jesus. As I grew older, I pictured God as the man Jesus. It was only after graduating from high school that I began to picture God as Jesus the Christ. There is a considerable difference between Jesus the man and Jesus the Christ. Jesus, the man, can be found in history. Jesus, the Christ, can only be found in your soul.
             Now in my later years, I picture God as a great spiritual being that I remain totally unable to grasp. Something that is much more than anything that can be represented by Jesus. I am just a blind man trying to see the elephant. I do not know. I can only guess. At best, my view of Jesus the Christ is an incomplete view of the elephant. A small incomplete view of God.

               To determine who/what God is, is an impossible task. With my scientific background, I may have a different view of the elephant, a different concept of God. In fact I hope my view is different.
               Because, like many people, I am driven to discover God, I have, in this chapter, made an attempt to let you know part of the process my mind went through and is still going through. This is an attempt to let you know my view. The concepts in my mind seem impossible to put on paper. Of course, I am aware that my view is wrong, but this is the best I can do.
               If you find this chapter threatening or confusing, just skip it. Come back to it later if you wish. When I looked at this chapter during the editing process, I realized that I am attempting to do what I know is impossible.

And God speaks to me:

             “Any way that helps you in your search is good. Do not fear that your attempts to understand Me may be less than total, even inaccurate. You are not to have total understanding. You can never know Me until you join Me when your life is complete.

             The blind men when they looked at the elephant were all correct. Incomplete, yes, but correct. Your view of the elephant is correct and so is mine. Even if we all see something totally different, we are all correct.
             The blind men when they looked at the elephant were all wrong. Incomplete, yes, and wrong. Your view of the elephant is wrong and so is mine. Even if we all see something totally different, we are all wrong.

How many different views of the elephant are there surrounding you?

Do you sometimes have different views of the elephant?0

Does your view of the elephant change as your faith grows?

If your view of the elephant has not changed, does not change, then your mind is closed.

If you have a poor incomplete view of the elephant, then you will be intolerant of the views of others.

And God speaks to me:

             “You must keep your mind open. How can you hear me if you keep your mind closed?

God is not a being
God is being

God is not good
God is goodness

God is not infinite
God is infinity

God does not exist
God is existence

God is not the creator
God is creation

God does not love
God is love

God does not forgive
God is forgiveness

Jesus is not the way
Jesus is a way

The Bible is not God
The Bible is God’s message

             We all wish to know Who and What God is. This is a puzzle that has tormented mankind since Adam and Eve (the human race) became separated from the Garden of Eden.

And, God speaks to me:

           “I AM!

             Because we cannot know God, how can we even attempt to prove His existence? There is nothing you can think of that can describe God. There is nothing you can think of that can prove God. There is nothing you can think of that can disprove God. To attempt that, you first have to put God in a box. You have to make God something you can understand. There is no understanding of what or who God is. There is no box that you can construct or even imagine that can contain God. If God is a being then it becomes too easy to apply our own limited concepts to Him. Then we have created a god in our own image. Then we have become pagan, perhaps not different from one who worships the sun or the moon or a golden calf in the desert.

             God is within you, within your soul. Not in your mind or intellect. You cannot know God. You can only feel God within your soul. Approach God the same way you approach a work of art. When you go to the theater, you wait with your mind open hoping for a delight, for a new experience. When you go to the museum, your mind is open, looking for the experience. When you listen to music, you are open to the emotions of the experience. With all of these you wait. Your mind and soul are open. You wait with expectation.
             You have to engage God with openness and expectation. Seek a profound change in your soul. Allow a profound change in your soul.

The ritual of your religion can help you become more involved with God.

We have been told that God exists throughout the universe. God exists in all places. God exists everywhere. There is no place that does not have God present. God is present in all time. God spans time and exists throughout the universe throughout time. God exists when and where I am as I am writing this. God exists when and where you are as you are reading this. If you can accept that God is every where, then you should be able to accept that God is every when. There is no past or future for God to exist in, as there is no right or left for God to exist in. God is. God’s existence spans all time and space. God is not trapped in the same time stream we are. God is greater than time. Time is one of God’s creations.

             One of the current scientific views is the universe we are aware of is only one of many. The dimensions of up-down, right-left, forward-backward, future-past are only four of many dimensions that some physicists believe need to exist in order to explain the behavior of the universe. God spans all these dimensions. God’s existence fills all the universes, all time, all space, all possibilities.

             It is very difficult for us to perceive the concept of spanning time. We happen to be limited to stumbling through time at some preset pace. I do not say that God will be with you at some future time when you choose to read this. I say that God is with you at that future time (to me as I am writing this), and that God is with me at the past time (to you as you are reading this) as you are reading and I am writing. It is all one to God. I do not say that God will forgive your sins or has forgiven your sins. I say that God forgives your sins. At the moment of creation, at the moment of the final extinction of the universe, God forgives. It is all the same to God. God is forgiveness.

             The concept of an eternal God spanning time is hard to understand for many people. Let’s continue with our exploration.

             In many cities, there are iron grates in the sidewalk that allow you to walk over an opening without falling through. Some homes have heating systems that circulate air through openings in the floor. There should be some sort of grate to keep one from falling through. Such a grate will have small (usually rectangular) openings that are much smaller than your foot. This is so your foot spans more than one of these openings and will not be allowed to fall through. Take a piece of paper and draw something similar to the following.


             Each irregularly shaped rectangle represents a different creation, a different universe. Choose one of these rectangles at random. Consider the one you chose as our universe. The width of the rectangle shows time with the creation at the left side and the end of time at the right. Now take a pencil and put a dot somewhere within the rectangle to show where we are in time now. I suggest putting your dot near the center even though some people believe we are probably only beginning our trip though time and others believe we are near the end.

             Now, hold that piece of paper and look at it.

             Notice each ‘universe’ is different. All of God’s creation is different. Nothing made by God is exactly the same as anything else made by God. It appears as though God likes diversity.

             Although you can see the dot designating the current time, you can also see both the beginning and the end of time in our universe. In fact, you can see all of time in all of the different universes. You can ‘see’ the ‘future’ as well as the ‘past.’ Remember, God created much easier than you created. You had to find a pencil and some paper.

             God created time so He has total vision of time. God also has total control of time. Time is just one of the many things God created. We cannot limit the creator by one of the creations.

             So, now that you have created multiple universes and can see all of time in all of these universes; how does it feel to have an experience that you share with God?

             Just so you don’t get to thinking of your great power, compare the scale of your creation with the scale of God’s creation. Keep in mind that your vision is of only one small part of God’s creation. At best an incomplete view of the elephant.

             Now take that piece of paper, crumple it up, and throw it away. It would be easier for God to do that with His creation.

             This does not in any way mean that we do not have free will. This does not mean that we are predestined to any preordained destiny. Because God is not within time but external to time, He can see all of time in the same way you saw all of that rectangle.

                 To get an idea of the scale of time, read the first chapter of “A Very Brief History of Eternity” by Carlos Eire.

             Imagine you have a time machine. Imagine going back to watch the Wright brothers in their bicycle shop while they are talking about building a flying machine. Imagine that you can watch but are unable/unwilling to interfere. Your knowledge of what they will do, in no way forces them. What they do is done through their own decision, their own free will. You are aware of what they will do only because you are watching from outside of their time, from a future time. God spans time. God’s view is not limited. God is external, beyond time.

             Like the Wright brothers, you are trapped within time so you have to follow all the rules of time. You also have the advantage of not knowing the future. You do not and can not know the future. You create your own future, your own destiny. You have the ability to make your choices. You have the ability to choose a different path within your time stream. You have the advantage of being a resident of the space time continuum. God is within, above, beyond, and external to all creation. The existence of God permeates all. Even, especially that which is beyond our space time. We as those within the constraints of space time, have free will. We can and do control our own destiny. What we choose is not preordained. The person that lives on that dot you placed within that rectangle does still control and influence his own destiny. As an observer who can see that rectangle from the outside, God can see what we will do but we are the ones who do it. God will not, does not interfere with our free will. God is the ultimate time traveler. No! God does not travel in time. God is! God exists, in all time.

             In fact, God places a great value on our free will. God places a great value on our ability to make our own choices. God will never interfere with our ability to choose. God sees our free will as a sacred gift He has given us. How do I know this? I do not!

             God’s ability to see what we perceive as our future in no way means we are predestined. It only means that God is outside of our time and therefore can know what we do through our free will. The existence of God is. The existence of God is in the time we call past. The existence of God is in the time we call future. God does not say ‘I was’ or ‘I will be’ but God does say “I am.”

             That does not answer the question of who God is. That does not answer the question of what God is. All that does, is give you an idea, of what I think are some of the characteristics of God. You may have a different view. God is universal. There are no limitations on God. I suppose the concept of infinite is also there. We talk about infinity a lot. But, we humans are really not capable of understanding infinity.

             I am continuing the exploration of God that I started in my previous book. How do you describe God? I cannot. Neither can you. So now, knowing that describing or understanding God is an impossible task, lets go exploring.

             People have pictured Jesus as a blue-eyed blond. They have pictured Him with brown hair. They have pictured Him with black hair. They have even pictured Him with green eyes. In China, Korea, and Japan, Jesus looks oriental. They have pictured Him with white skin, brown skin, black skin, yellow skin, and in India, Christians picture Jesus with blue skin. After all, in their culture, gods have blue skin. That is one of the characteristics of a deity. They do not actually believe that Jesus really had blue skin. It just helps them associate the concept of deity with Jesus.

             You can read everything you can find about Jesus. You can study the life of Jesus for years. You will learn more about Jesus if you just follow Him and live with Him.

             The Holy Spirit cannot be pictured at all. A spirit has no body, no physical presence, nothing that you can see. We still have pictured the Holy Spirit as tongues of flame. We have pictured the Holy Spirit as a dove. I guess our minds have to have something tangible to touch, to see, to understand.

             Rather than saying Holy Ghost, I prefer Holy Spirit. The word ghost has connotations in current English usage that make it seem preferable for me to use the word Spirit. Better than either is to think the Soul of God.


             In German, the word geist means spirit or mind.

Is the Holy Spirit the Mind of God?

             In Hebrew the word for spirit is feminine.

Is the Holy Spirit the feminine side of God?

             In Latin spiritus means breath.

Is the Holy Spirit the breath of God?

Genesis 2:7



             God, the Creator, the Father, has been pictured by Michelangelo as an old bearded man reaching down to instill the spirit of life into Adam. Hey, that sort of is what I look like! I hope you don’t think I look like God. That is much more than I can live up to.




             How do you picture God? So far, I have used the word: ‘God’ a lot. Whatever is in your mind when I say ‘God’ does not exist. God is so much more. God is so much greater. God is infinity. God is a Spirit and if we have to give God a body, it has to be the entire universe. If we have to give God a body, it has to be greater than the entire universe. Otherwise, we are making God too small.



Be careful to not enclose God within the confines of your religion. You have again made God too small. If you define God by your religion, then your religion is your god.




And, God speaks to me:


             “I AM!




Webster:                                 singularity  

1.          the condition or quality of being unique or the only one of its kind.

2.         a unique, distinct, or peculiar feature or thing.


Quantum Mechanics:               singularity

-          an object that contains so much mass and energy, that time and space cannot be measured if viewed from outside the singularity. Neither can anything outside the singularity be viewed from within.


God:                                        singularity

-          That which encompasses all other singularities including all of the universes. The probable universes, the possible universes, and the impossible universes.


             This is as close to what my imagination can come up with when I try to imagine what God is.




And, God speaks to me:


             That is still not enough.





             Thomas Aquinas did not believe that we could learn anything about the nature of God from the universe God created. Maybe you cannot learn about the author, the artist. But, you can study the works of the author, the artist, the creator.


             Descartes believed that he had within himself the means of arriving at the truth. I am going to assume Descartes had a valid point. Otherwise to study faith, religion, theologies, God, gods - - is an impossible task, even a stupid task. It is impossible.


             We can never know with our limited minds. Our best hope in our search for God is to look at the works the artist created. Study the material the author published. Sometimes you may get a hint. If God wants us to know, there will be hints.




             You cannot even imagine all the possibilities, let alone the impossibilities. It is easier to only deal with the universe in which you perceive yourself.




             The human race has devised ways to search far out into the known universe to see what we can see. We have been able to view light from galaxies that has taken more than thirteen billion years to get here. That is when we look in any direction. If we look in the opposite direction, we see the same distance. This means that the light that has taken thirteen billion years to get to us will still have to travel thirteen billion more years to reach what we can see in the other direction.

                   Before printing this, I read that the cosmic horizon is now considered to be 42 billion light years away instead of 13 billion.


             If you think that means that we are at the center of the universe, get a grip on yourself. How conceited can you be? We live on a medium sized planet circling a common type of star about ¾ of the way out in a large, but by no means the largest, galaxy. There are about a half trillion galaxies that we estimate may be in the universe. The limitation is in our devices, in out minds, not the universe.

             The universe is only one of the things God has done. If you think our universe and its contents is the only thing God created, then again you have made God too small.




One Trillion = 1,000,000,000,000 or 1,000 x 1,000 x 1,000 x 1,000

Thirteen Billion = 13,000,000,000

Speed of light ~ 186,000 miles/second, ~ 300,000 kilometers/second

~ 31,536,000 seconds in each year

One light year ~ 5,865,696,000,000 miles

Distance Earth to Sun ~ 94,000,000 miles or ~ 8½ light minutes

     driving time at 100 mph ~ 107 years 4 months

Proxima Centauri is the closest star to our sun

Distance Earth to Proxima Centauri ~ 4.2 light years

     driving time at 100 mph ~ 28,123,200 years

Distance to center of Milky Way ~ 30,000 light years

Distance to Andromeda Galaxy (M31) ~ 2,000,000 light years

Diameter visible universe 819,936,000,000,000,000 miles

Latest estimates ~ 400,000,000,000 stars in Milky Way galaxy

                approximately 80,000,000,000 like our sun

~ 3,000 galaxies visible by Hubble telescope.

Estimates of as many as 500,000,000,000 galaxies


                Driving times calculated on not running out of gas, no breakdowns, and no potty stops.

                For every zero, think of the difference between driving your car 10 miles per hour and driving your car 100 miles per hour.


             Can we make an educated guess about the Creator from the scale of what is probably only a small portion of His creation?


             Check my math. I may have used incorrect numbers from an inaccurate source. I may have miscalculated. I may have added or left out some zeros. No, forget it! Don’t bother checking the math. The exact measurement is not important. It is the concept that is important. It is the message that is important.


             These are big numbers. Many people talk big numbers, but most have a difficulty conceptualizing them. For instance, if you had a million dollars and went to stay at a hotel that charged one hundred dollars a day, it would be thirty years before they would kick you out. Now, a billion, that is different. Noah, you know, the guy with the boat and the animals? He would still have twenty-five thousand years to go.

             I am not even going to attempt trillion.


             The universe cannot explain or define God. To attempt to explain or define God you have to start within yourself. You have to start within your heart. Within your soul. I have been talking about God. God, to whom these huge numbers are insignificantly small.




             There is no way you can prove that God does exist. There is no way you can prove God does not exist. In the universe, the laws of nature, gravity, physics are all required to be in perfect balance in order for us to exist. However, the laws of physics, time, gravity; do not appear to have been in effect immediately at the moment of creation. At the moment of the ‘Big Bang.’ The most advanced scientific thought cannot determine how this all got started. Creation just might be the easiest to explain of all the theories.


             If the universe had a beginning, how without God? Physicists continue to attempt to answer these problems. I believe God creates. I believe this creation is a continuous process. I believe that if God ever stopped thinking about me, you, the universe; we would no longer exist. Perhaps we would never have existed. Remember that paper you drew those rectangles on? The one you crumpled up and destroyed? When you did that, you not only destroyed ‘our’ present and future, but also our past.


             The universe did not come from nothing. The universe was created by the power of God. Of the power of God. Of the essence of God. There is no more easily understandable explanation for the existence of the universe than a Creator, a Sustainer. We are created by/from that which is greater than the universe.


             In my mind, I know that God has to exist. There is too much that cannot be explained by our scientists and physicists to preclude God’s existence. In fact, the more they discover and explain, the more questions they have. But, ‘God’ does not exist. Whatever is in your mind, whatever is in my mind when we say ‘God’ does not exist. We are not able to comprehend.


             In order for you to have a true picture of what God is, you would have to be God. We are all blind men trying to see the elephant.




             What my blind men saw when they looked at the elephant was determined by who they were and where they were. If they were at the side of the elephant, they saw a wall or a tree. If toward the front, perhaps a snake. As you go through the growth of your faith, you begin to realize that what you thought the elephant looked like may be only what you were able to see, from where you were, at that time. Hopefully, your faith grows to the point, that you become aware that your view is at best a partial view. It is at best a blind man’s view of the elephant. Once you get to that point and are able to put aside the conceited idea that you know what God is, then you have learned a little more of what God is. A little more only.


             If the only thing you had was one of his simple pencil drawings, how could you determine who or what the man called Michelangelo was? How could you determine who or what he was as a person? How could you even guess the beauty of the Sistine Chapel ceiling? How could you know the genius of his mind? How could you judge his skills and talents? How could you judge his soul?


             We are aware of a much smaller percentage of the work of God. We know less of the laws of physics. We know less of the laws of nature. Use your own terms. We know so little. God’s creation is so great. The creator must be greater than the creation.




what you are able to see from where you are at this time

Now I come back to the blind men and the elephant. Our blindness prevents us from truly seeing the elephant. What is the answer? Again we are blind. We are totally unable to guess how to even approach the answer. But, if God wants us to know, there will be clues given to us. We have to search for God’s messages.




               “And what is the object of my love?

               I asked the earth and it said: ‘It is not I.’

               I asked all that is in it; they made the same confession.

               I asked the sea, the deeps, the living creatures that creep, and they responded: ‘We are not your God, look beyond us.’

               I asked the breezes which blow; and the entire air with its inhabitants said: ‘I am not God.’

               I asked heaven, sun, moon and stars; they said: ‘Nor are we the God Whom you seek.’

               And I said to all these things in my external environment: ‘Tell me of my God who you are not, tell me something about Him.’

               And with a great voice they cried out: ‘He made us.’

               My question was the attention I gave to them, and their response was their beauty.”              Augustine - Confessions X. vi (9)


             The story is that we are created in God’s image. Of course, God is a spirit, with no physical body. If we are created in the image of God, it can only be in the spirit. In the soul. Our likeness to God has to be in our value system. Our morals. Our ethics. It has to be in our soul. It cannot be in anything physical.


             One way to search for God is to listen to His people. Read. Engage others in conversation. The conversation does not need to be about God or religion. Maybe you should avoid conversations about religion. Do not avoid conversations about God.


             Look for the messages God has given to us in the past. Listen to the messages given to the old Testament prophets. Listen to the messages given to the Hindu holy men. Listen to the messages given to the Buddha. Listen to the messages given to Confucius. When God speaks, He also speaks to those who believe differently from you. Think about one of the things that Jesus is reported to have said. It is not the healthy who need a doctor. God speaks to all of us, for we all need attention from the sacred doctor of our souls. We who are sick need the doctor.


             Therefore, I believe that God does speak even to the ones who claim to not believe. Perhaps God makes it a point especially to speak to those who claim a different faith path. After all, Jesus spoke to those who needed the message he had to deliver. But that is me, and it is also you. People who claim to be believers.


             Do not just accept something just because someone said it. Treat the words of Plato, the same as the words of Steven Hawking. Treat the words of the Buddha, the same as those you find in the writings of any other philosopher. Subject the Bible to the same scrutiny as any other text. Once you get that out of the way, out of your system, then and only then can the real truth, the real message, come out and enter your soul. Treat the words found in the Bible with the same questions you would treat any other document. All of these have messages from God hidden within them. Even you have messages from God hidden within you. You may be unaware of them, but God speaks to all. God speaks to all of his creation.


             Do not argue either for or against anything until you have studied both sides of the question. If you have not read what Darwin wrote, do not condemn his concepts.


             Even if you have read the Bible from cover to cover many times, that in no way is sufficient to make you an expert on either the Jewish faith or the Christian faith. You would have to know each and every person of faith. After all, the faith is the people. Without the people, there is no such thing as faith.




             There is no way God stopped speaking when the last word of Revelation was put on paper. Thinking this way restricts your faith in God. This forces God to not speak any further to his beloved creation. To think this, is so highly conceited, that you should be ashamed of yourself. God is always speaking to His people. Revelation is not something that happened long ago and then no more. Revelation continues through all time and to all people.


             Perhaps all Bibles should be published with no back cover. After all, God never stops speaking to us. You have noticed that there are no end quotes on what I believe are God’s messages. God continues to give us his messages. Part of God’s message has been placed within you. Within your soul. Search for this message and proclaim it. Share it with the world.


There are no end

quotes on what

I believe are

God’s messages

God never ends

speaking to

His children

‘. . . moreover, You hear nothing true from my lips which You have not first told me.’                                   Confessions of Augustine X. ii (2)

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