I’ve been going through some cogitating on “what” are the Michael Teachings as defined by a usable term — are they spiritual? are they metaphysical? are they “new age”? are they “secular humanist”? and so on. In the process, I’ve read deeper into the concepts of Pantheism and into Apophatic Theology (negative theology). The definitions from Wikipedia articles are below:
Pantheism is the belief that the universe (or nature as the totality of everything) is identical with divinity, or that everything composes an all-encompassing, immanent God. Pantheists thus do not believe in a distinct personal or anthropomorphic god. Some Eastern religions are considered to be pantheistically inclined.
Apophatic theology (from Ancient Greek: ἀπόφασις, from ἀπόφημι – apophēmi, “to deny”)—also known as negative theology, via negativa or via negationis (Latin for “negative way” or “by way of denial”)—is a theology that attempts to describe God, the Divine Good, by negation, to speak only in terms of what may not be said about the perfect goodness that is God. It stands in contrast with cataphatic theology.
In negative theology, it is accepted that experience of the Divine is ineffable, an experience of the holy that can only be recognized or remembered abstractly. That is, human beings cannot describe in words the essence of the perfect good that is unique to the individual, nor can they define the Divine, in its immense complexity, related to the entire field of reality. As a result, all descriptions if attempted will be ultimately false and conceptualization should be avoided. In effect, divine experience eludes definition by definition:
Neither existence nor nonexistence as we understand it in the physical realm, applies to God; i.e., the Divine is abstract to the individual, beyond existing or not existing, and beyond conceptualization regarding the whole (one cannot say that God exists in the usual sense of the term; nor can we say that God is nonexistent).
God is divinely simple (one should not claim that God is one, or three, or any type of being.)
God is not ignorant (one should not say that God is wise since that word arrogantly implies we know what “wisdom” means on a divine scale, whereas we only know what wisdom is believed to mean in a confined cultural context).
Likewise, God is not evil (to say that God can be described by the word ‘good’ limits God to what good behavior means to human beings individually and en masse).
God is not a creation (but beyond that we cannot define how God exists or operates in relation to the whole of humanity).
God is not conceptually defined in terms of space and location.
God is not conceptually confined to assumptions based on time.
The other terms that need to be defined are “immanent” vs “transcendent” — immanent means that the divine permeates everything, it is within all. Our use of the word Tao or the phrase “All That Is” is immanent. There is no personal or anthropomorphic “god” outside of everything. God is not transcendent.
In a sense, Apophatic or negative theology is both a polar opposite of Pantheism or a different way of looking at it. When one attempts to define the divine by all of the things that God is not, vs all of the things that God is, there is a point where “All That Is” meets up with “All That Is Not.”
Oddly enough, most major religions have a strain of apophatic tradition, most especially Buddhism, Greek Philosophies, Taoism, Hinduism, Shia Islam, and early Christianity. So, it’s not entirely foreign to any of our thinking. The biggest conflict occurs when an attempt to anthropomorphize “God” into a personal deity occurs. At that time God becomes limited by the imagination of the followers.
Why have I bothered diddling around in obscure philosophies? I’m tired to trying to explain what the Michael Teachings are to others. If I have a term to “hang my hat on” such as Pantheism, it’s up to them to look it up further. I can also explain that it means that god is within and without everything . . . that it’s the entire universe. It’s then up to me to decide whether or not to expand on concepts of non-duality, good vs evil, etc. Also, it keeps me away from having to use the atheist word as that is currently loaded with so much judgmentalness. I don’t really want to debate whether or not god exists, but I’m willing to let others think that I’m not “godless,” even though I am.
Also, Michael really does stand uniquely outside of many of the New Age catechisms. Although, as Michael said recently, the difference between those who subscribe to rituals and pagan types of beliefs come out of the Western or Atlantean philosophies; whereas the more intellectualized version of belief more in the Lao-Tzu traditions come from the Eastern or Lemurian philosophies. The direction each of us leans is in large part due to past lives and our instinctive center memories. One attracts us more because we resonate with it more.
Due to an appropriate request by VIP in comments, I’m going to add information on Transcendence from Wikipedia. I hesitate on how much of Wikipedia to quote in any given article in large part because I do provide the link. But, I understand that some will want more in order to “go less.”
In religion, transcendence refers to the aspect of God’s nature and power which is wholly independent of the material universe, beyond all physical laws. This is contrasted with immanence, where God is fully present in the physical world and thus accessible to creatures in various ways. In religious experience transcendence is a state of being that has overcome the limitations of physical existence and by some definitions has also become independent of it. This is typically manifested in prayer, séance, meditation, psychedelics and paranormal “visions”.
It is affirmed in the concept of the divine in the major religious traditions, and contrasts with the notion of God, or the Absolute, existing exclusively in the physical order (immanentism), or indistinguishable from it (pantheism). Transcendence can be attributed to the divine not only in its being, but also in its knowledge. Thus, God transcends the universe, but also transcends knowledge (is beyond the grasp of the human mind).
Although transcendence is defined as the opposite of immanence, the two are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Some theologians and metaphysicians of the great religious traditions affirm that God, or Brahman, is both within and beyond the universe (panentheism); in it, but not of it; simultaneously pervading it and surpassing it.