The Word Foundation


Harold W. Percival



Section 2

Classes of Gods. The Gods of religions; how they come into existence. How long they last. Appearance of a God. Changes of a God. Gods have only what human beings have who create and keep them. The name of a God. Christian Gods.

There have been and there may be innumerable Gods. There are nature Gods outside, and there is the Light of Intelligences within man. The nature Gods are of two classes, the gods of the pure elements and the Gods worshipped in religions.

The gods of the pure elements, that is, of the spheres, exist in hierarchies. The term hierarchy is freely figurative; channels would be more descriptive. The earth fire is one. It is like a reservoir having many channels which have lesser channels, making a system like that of water which is the same in a mountain lake, in a reservoir and in a faucet. The reservoir of the fire element is the fire god. The lesser gods under it are like channels in which it is and through which it can flow; and a radiant unit is the least jet or utmost channel of the fire element. The units can progress downward only and towards the earthy earth and then towards a physical body. The great elemental fire god which stands behind all its units is the most powerful, is the most easily commanded and will obey most readily. However, it is the least of all elementals in that it is the least progressed. It is less progressed than its lowest unit. The great fire gods under it are like lesser reservoirs. They are less powerful, but more progressed than the fire element as a whole. In these hierarchies a unit cannot ascend, because its descent is its advance and its development. It cannot go back, it must go on. However, when it is freed upon the breaking up of a compound in which it is, it returns to its element, by entering the stream of the units of the four states of matter that flows to a stratum in the solid earth, to the moon, to the sun and to the stars. The gods of the pure elements are not known to humans and are not worshipped in religions.

The Gods worshipped in the pagan, Jewish and Christian religions are nature Gods, but not pure nature Gods. They are made by human thinking. They are nature-matter and nature forces and get their forms and traits from humans.

The Gods worshipped in religions have been and are parts of the elements. These parts are projected from their worshippers and are supported as separate beings by the thinking of these worshippers. They are allowed to exist for the experience of human beings.

Gods come into existence as the expression of human thinking which tries to bring to a few or to a group or to a mass of humans what they desire. The desire cannot be expressed by many acting together; it must be done through one of the number. The one who can most clearly think of what is needed, conceives and issues a thought and speaks about it; and that thought enters into the hearts of the many and is accepted and issued by them. The God first comes into being as a human thought. The thought takes on a part of one or more of the elements and clothes itself in this elemental matter.

So far the thought is no different from other human thoughts. Before it can be turned into and take being and identity as a God it must be approved by the ruling Intelligence and must take life. The Intelligence is not arbitrary in its approval or rejection. If the thought is what the people desire and merit, as a happy, lavish, bloody, warring, sexual or voluptuous God, it will be approved. The God announces his name through the mouth of a human and is known to his worshippers by that name. He grows in mass and power according to the increase of the number who believe in him as a God, and praise him and pour out their thought to him. He is as though astonished at the power he has and amazed at that attributed to him. Soon he becomes accustomed to be praised as the Creator, the First Cause and the Supreme Intelligence. He is made to feel assured even of that, and he demands faith from his worshippers so that he may have faith in himself.

In this manner came into existence Moloch, Baal, Jehovah, Thor and various Christian Gods, also such trinities as Brahmâ, Vishnu and Siva, and Osiris, Isis and Horus. The Greek Gods do not belong to this class. They were not created as human thoughts, but were race types of men and women who had lived. There were in Hellas traditions of human races that had existed in former ages. At their renaissance the Hellenes personified and deified these races, pictured them as the Olympian Gods, poured out to them their thought and praise and worship, and so empowered them as Gods.

A God lasts as long as there are any who nourish and support him. His life may last for decades, thousands of years or ages, but it is not eternal. He ceases to be when there are no more human bodies to give exteriorization to thoughts of prayer and worship, to voice his name and to let him live in their blood and nerves. This occurs when the mass of worshippers fades away or is destroyed by war, disease or a cataclysm, or when its thought has changed to the worship of another deity. When a God ceases to be, his elemental parts return to the element to which they belong, and the thoughts which have held them together remain in the mental atmospheres of the doers who created them. Only the thoughts of the living can nourish a God, because he needs blood and nerves to transmit the nourishment of prayer and praise. A God lives through the bodies of his worshippers.

Every God has the feeling of identity, that is, he feels that he is the same entity throughout the period of his existence. This identity is different from the identity which each of his worshippers believes him to have. Every one of his worshippers looks at him in a different way. They all recognize his identity, but each qualifies it differently. The difference is not in the God, but lies in the persons. The identity may also be different from that given him by those who do not acknowledge him as their God. All who think about him contribute to his identity. The identity lasts as long as the God and the God is conscious of his identity, though he may be worshipped under different names, either at the same time or in successive periods. The identity of a God differs from the identity which each Triune Self is. Each doer of its Triune Self contributes from itself to the identity of the God, but the identity of the God, being the sum of these contributions, is different from any one of them. The identity may repeatedly grow stronger and become weaker during the life of the God; when the God ceases, his identity ceases.

The Gods have bodies, but these are not fleshly bodies. There is in the body of the God elemental matter. To this substratum comes other matter, namely, units that flow in from and go back to human bodies. This matter consists of free units from the elements, and of transient units from the bodies of the worshippers. Sometimes the bodies of some Gods may contain in addition compositor units from the bodies of their worshippers, after the doers, in the after death states, have ceased to use these units. The transient units that come from human bodies qualify the background of elemental units by their character, and the compositor units build the bodies of the deities into forms. Among these compositor units streaming in and out are human senses of sight, hearing, taste and smell. These give the God his all-seeing eye, his hearing of prayer and praise, his tasting of offerings and his smelling of incense.

All Gods have bodies of nature-matter and though most of these bodies have form, some are without form. The body of Jehovah is without form; he dislikes images of himself. Some Christian Gods have bodies in form, and these forms are in the human image. The bodies of Gods when in form are not fleshly bodies, though they contain units that have made up the flesh bodies of their worshippers. The bodies of Gods need not be dimensional as human bodies are. They may be present on the four planes of the physical world, that is, they may be present in the world of solid matter in many places at the same time. The bodies of the Gods if without form may take on form, or if having a general form may change it for a time. Gods may appear in the general human form or as many-armed, many-headed. They may appear temporarily as a tree or as a dragon, a serpent, an elephant, an ape, or as a speaking rock, flowing water, a rushing wind, a flame, a blazing star, a burning sun. They may also speak as a voice coming from any of these forms. These appearances may be solid or they may be airy or astral.

While a God has no youth or old age but comes into existence fully created, he changes during his existence as his worshippers change. At times he may be stronger or weaker. He suffers no physical aches or pain, but only purely psychic afflictions, such as anger, grief and fear. A God does not sleep; he has no solid body and at all times some of his worshippers are awake. The Gods have sex but no sex organs, because they have no fleshly bodies; the sex organs of their worshippers are adequate. There are Gods and Goddesses. If they were worshipped by hermaphrodites they would be hermaphrodite Gods.

In addition to the nature-matter which makes up the body, with or without form, a God has intelligent-matter, with which the doers of his worshippers endow him, through their minds and psychic atmospheres. The intelligent-matter itself has no form, any more than have the doer portions to which it belongs. When people speak of a God they can only refer to the physical matter in which he dwells. They do not refer to the intelligent-matter of the God, any more than they refer to the doers of people unless they connect them with the human bodies through which they live. The nature of the Gods is in great part psychic. They feel and they desire. Their character, their actions, their relations are essentially psychic, that is, like their human sources. Gods have a mental part, they think and they reason. These mental activities are not original, not self-prompted, but Gods use them to serve their desires. They do as little thinking as do their worshippers. A God is conscious as a composite of his living humanity. No God is conscious apart from the bodies and the doers of his worshippers.

The nature of Gods presents the same aspects as the average human nature. Some Gods are simple, some complex. The Gods have only what the human beings who create and worship them have, but the many human contributions during many years magnify the human traits of the Gods. So the goodness, love, knowledge and power, and the anger, hatred, cruelty and lasciviousness of a God are greater than any of these traits are in human beings. The inner nature of a God changes as that of his worshippers changes. He may be more loving and forgiving or more arbitrary, revengeful and cruel at one time than at another.

A God differs from a human in the things he lacks. A God has no identity independent of the identities of his worshippers; he has no mentality and no feelings and desires other than those furnished him by them. No God has a doer or a Triune Self of his own. A God has no aia and no breath-form. No God receives Light directly from an Intelligence. No God was ever human, none will ever become human. Gods are not stations in the Eternal Order of Progression. There are no entities that rise to become Gods, and Gods do not develop into entities independent of the doers and bodies of their peoples. A God has no destiny. He is the destiny of each of his worshippers who accepts and issues the thought of him. No God is responsible. A God exists for the experience of his people, as long as they want to look up to an outside deity.

The name of a God, if he has one, is characteristic of the God; it indicates his nature. The name is made by sounds and these are shown by letters. The forms of the letters and of the sounds have meanings. The total of the meanings is the name and shows the nature of the God. To illustrate. The name Jehovah embodies powers, organs, functions, qualities and relations. The letters make a male part and a female part, the male part having in it the female, and the female part having in it the male. The name is divided, but each part comes from and gets its power from the one name. The function is sexual. When the parts are in two separate beings one has to act through the other; when the parts are both in the same being they act together as one. The qualities are the elements in their active and their passive sides. The relations embodied in the name of Jehovah are those of male to female and those of both to their God, their origin, their creator and their ruler.

Some Gods have no name in this sense. Christians have taken the generic title God and transformed it into a name, as they have done with the word Lord, but it is not a real name. The designation as God and the description by attributes like the All-wise, the Almighty, or by relation like Father, Friend, or by titles like King, Creator are not names. There is a reason for the failure of the Christian Gods to acquire a name.

A God gets his name through the breath and mouth of his worshippers. The name, if it is a real name, like Allah, Brahmâ, Jehovah, not an appellation or a title, is always sexual, no matter what the religion or the age. The worship centers around the name. So Jehovah is properly worshipped when a Jewish man and woman breathe alternately each his and her own part of the name, to propagate. They desecrate the name of their God when they are in union not to propagate; then they use his name in vain.

The name identifies the God, but it is not his identity. The name is a channel through which the desire and thought of the devotee flow to him. Rigidity and conservatism in the worship of the name are necessary to preserve the very basis of the God as a being. Those Gods who have been successful in maintaining the worship of their names have had the longest life. The Gods of the Christians, though nature Gods, have no names, but the worship of the Christian religions is held together by the name of Jesus Christ, who personifies and is a substitute for these Gods. Christians have adopted the Jewish God, but are not as devoted to him as they are to Jesus.

There is a mystery about a God. His nature, origin, past, location, presence, his relation to nature and to nature forces, his works and how he does them, his relation to his devotees and to others, to his messengers, prophets and priests, the purpose of life: everything about his being, aims and actions is mysterious. People wish to account for the world as it is. So they accredit it to a God, and he does not reveal how he created the world or how he manages it. Many things, especially in outside nature, go by definite law, and people are inclined to believe that law prevails. Yet otherwise, especially as to moral compensation, there seems at times to be no law. The mystery remains because humans have not solved it.

Among the results of the mystery are religions, and with them the awe and fear of the unknown and obscure God, the fanaticism of ignorance, the claim to know, the fascination and the wonders of the works of God, and the profit to the mercenary who can turn all this to their advantage.

These results are at times used by Intelligences and complete Triune Selves to bring about effects as destiny in their government of the world. So the awe and fear of the unknown are used to give a moral code in religions, the fanaticism is used to loose blind force to carry out some plan, the claim is used to further order, the fascination and wonder are used to stimulate doers in their search for God, and the desire for worldly advancement is used like any other desire, to have profit or advantage.

Mystery about a God is essential to him. If the mystery is gone the nature of the God is gone, the God is gone. The mystery of God lies in man himself.

There are varieties of Gods. Fashion Gods, family Gods, political party Gods, guild Gods, dynastic Gods, money Gods and gambling Gods, and the help and protection Gods who are the Gods of religions—all come into existence in the same way, by human thoughts, and have a similar nature. All are made by humans, have bodies of elemental matter empowered by human thought and desire, and exhibit human traits. Here the concern is, however, only with the Gods of religions.

There are the gods of the streams and woods, in localities where human beings are and think. In places where no human beings penetrate and of which they do not think, there are none of these Gods. All are made by human thought. Elementals are there, but they cannot be called Gods. Household Gods exist, though they do not receive as much attention today as they did. Most Gods are local, from the mountain and sea Gods to the English or the French or the German Gods. Locality and language, since they influence thought, determine the conception of a God and therefore his nature. Sometimes Gods which were once local become independent of locality, as was the case with the Jewish Jehovah. The same God is worshipped by Jews in various countries as long as they adhere partially to the Hebrew service and to his name. Generally, however, locality and language have their part in the nature of the God.

There is no one Christian God, though most Christians believe Jesus to be the son of God. The Gods of the various Christian countries are different entities. There are many Gods even in any one of these countries. Thinking through the molds of locality, language and sect makes these Gods. They are composites of the thoughts of their worshippers. Each one is by his believers held to be the Creator and the Supreme Ruler of the universe. There is no one God who harmonizes and unites these various Gods. Moreover the dominating idea of a locality modifies the conception of God. The idea of democracy, if dominant, influences the king or ruler idea concerning God. The characters of these Gods change when the thinking of the people changes. The Gods become kinder, more tolerant, more just, as the people do. When the times are hard, relentless, arbitrary, the Gods become so too. The Christian Gods are held together by the worship of the idea of Jesus, the Savior. He too has been made a nature God, worshipped with bread and wine, with fire and water, and with stone and chants.