Caves of the Underworld

Job 40:1-2

Then the LORD said to Job, ‘Will the faultfinder contend with the Almighty? Let him who reproves God answer it.” NASB

“God then confronted Job directly: ‘Now what do you have to say for yourself? Are you going to haul me, the Mighty One, into court and press charges” The
Message Eugene Peterson

“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction. Jealous and proud of it, a petty, unjust, unforgiving control freak, a vindictive bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser, a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidical, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”
The God Delusion Richard Dawkins

“Alright, you know how this works. Tell me what you see.”

“I… I see a, a horse?”

“Yes, that’s right a horse. Now tell me what you see?”

“It looks like, it’s a … a tree?”

“Well done. What do you see now?”

“I think it’s a… it’s a… dog.”

“Yes, you’ve done very well. Here is a new one for you… it is called an eagle.”

“An eagle.”

“Exactly, watch the eagle.”

Shadows dance before a young woman’s eyes. Shadows reflected from a light source she has never seen, being educated by a voice of someone she has never met, and learning only the sheer silhouettes and outlines of items and objects. She has never experienced a tree, but yet she can identify one and name its type by the shape that it casts against the wall. It’s all she has ever known. The voice speaks, she listens, and she learns but yet she doesn’t know why.

Imagine the life of one subjected to utter darkness, forced to gaze at only shadows, incapable of seeing anything real. She doesn’t know that this is torture and inhumane, how could she? She sits content in her darkness learning the names and characteristics of a form of reality without seeing the substance thereof.

Now imagine that one day, a spelunker finds this dark cave where this young woman is being kept. He disables her captives and comes to her rescue. His headlamp shines into her darkness brighter than any light she has ever seen. The light is too powerful, too great, it is painful for her to even look at. She can’t adjust her eyes to such brilliance.

“You’ve been a prisoner here for too long”

“Prisoner? What are you talking about?”

“You are a slave here in this cave and I have come to rescue you.”

“I am no slave and this cave is the world. I am not a prisoner.”

“It is worse than I feared. Come with me.”

Her rescuer takes her hand. He breaks the chains that bind her and gets her to stand. She still can not look at him, the light is too painful.

“Where are you taking me?”

“We are leaving this cave, this prison.”

“But this isn’t a prison, this is the world.”

As he guides her further up the cave gets brighter and brighter. The light is becoming unbearable. It is attacking her eyes even with them closed.

“Please, stop it hurts, it hurts so much.”

“Just a little bit farther.”

“I can’t…”

Suddenly there is the mouth of the cave. To her rescuer this looks like the exit of darkness and the entrance into a world of light. To her it is brighter and more painful than anything she could ever imagine. She screams in horror as the pain becomes unbearable for her. She stumbles to the ground. Her rescuer is confused, why is there such resistance? Why can’t she see the light?

“Why have you brought me here?”

“I have come to set you free.”

“Free from what? This is my home.”

“But there is so much more, you’ve never seen the sun, or moon, or trees.”

“Yes, I have seen trees. I can tell you the name of each one.”

“But you haven’t really seen one.”

“Yes I have.”

“Then what color are they?”

“Color? What kind of word is that? Just let me go, I am not going any where else. It is too painful.”

“You’re free to do whatever you wish.”

“I wish to be left alone.”

She rushes back into her cave, into her world, to sit in her darkness and memorize more shadows. She will never see the substance that those shadows represent, but it is of course her choice.

This is Plato’s Cave Allegory. He uses it to describe ignorance, enlightenment, and education. I use it here to represent what is happening in the mind of a non-believer, in fact, in the mind of all of us at one point. It is the condition of this world. All mankind is born into a prison of darkness, forced to see only shadows of reality and never see where they come from. This ignorance (for lack of any other term) leads us to believe that there is nothing beyond what we see, hear, and experience in our prison. If someone were actually subjected to the conditions of Plato’s cave we would consider it cruel, torturous, inhumane. That is the truth. Our sin has left us in an inhuman jail of dark, dank shadows. It is a sub-human existence.

Christ came to give light. He broke the chains that bound us, he robbed our captor of his power and authority over us, and then showed us the way to life as it was meant to be; outside the cave, out of darkness, into the light. He wants to show us what it means to be a human.

Yet there are those who refuse to leave the darkness of the cave. They refuse to see the light, they refuse the gift of freedom that is offered to them. They see the rescuer as the one who is cruel for trying to tell them everything that they thought was real was just an illusion. They refuse to believe there is anything on the outside of their cave. They remain, even when freedom is within reach. I call this, Atheism.

I am not being overly simplistic or emotional. Atheism is more than not believing there is a God. It is an out and out rejection of God, Jesus, the cross and all that it stands for. It is running back into the cave when the way out is right before you. But why? Why would someone not want to see light for what it is? Why would someone choose shadows over substance? The answer to that question is the reason why Plato’s cave works as such a great example.

The pain and disorientation of being subjected to light after so long in darkness is difficult to overcome. I am reminded of the movie The Matrix. In this film mankind is being used by machines as slaves. They place us in a fantasy world, a dream world that seems perfectly real. There is a scene in the movie when the main character Neo wakes up from the dream world and sees the real world for what it is. For the next few scenes he is in complete disorientation. Nothing makes sense anymore. When he is finally told the complete truth about the human race, that everyone is a prisoner and everything he thought he knew was a lie, it is almost too much to bear. He stumbles backward saying that he will not believe it. He falls to the floor, vomits, and passes out. Why? He was set free? Why react that way? Because the prison had become everything to him, his very identity. When it was taken away he had no idea who he was.

I think the reason Neo passed out in the movie is the same reason why Richard Dawkins writes what I quoted earlier. All our lives have been lived in our darkness memorizing shadows, and some of us get really good at it. We know our shadows well. We get so used to this that we find our identity in our knowledge and mastery of the known universe. Imagine what would happen if you told Richard Dawkins or Brian Green that all of their knowledge, for that matter all of the knowledge gathered about the known universe, amounts to a puppet shadow show on the back wall of a cave. They will laugh at you. They will call you delusional. They will attack your belief at every term. Partly out of pride, partly out of fear, but mostly out of an inability to recognize light when they see it. Light to them is only pain, a “capriciously malevolent bully.” There is such anger and resentment in the tone used here and in many atheistic writings. It begs a question: How can you be angry at someone that is not there?

Today’s atheists come in several forms. Some simply choose not to believe content to let others play in their so called fantasies while they remain in their darkness. Others are far more aggressive; some enforcing a greater restraint on religious expression calling it offensive, some demanding abolishment of religion and faith institutions, some boldly repeating blasphemy (as if it is a challenge to repeat someone else’s words), and still some (very few, but some) have gone so far as to commit murder to try to eliminate those they feel are too stupid to continue in our evolutionary gene-pool. In summary, there are conservative atheists, moderate atheists, liberal atheists, and even militant atheists. Very much like every other religion and faith tradition on the planet. What does that mean? Atheism is its own religion, its own faith. It has a core belief and list of guidelines that are essential to remaining within the faith.

Those who have an atheistic viewpoint of God are those who have seen His light and have chosen to run the other way. I will not call them cowards, because I have my own fear when I look at the reality of eternity, the truth of the cross, and the beckoning of the Holy Spirit to step out into the unknown. But I do pity those who run back into darkness. They memorize shadows in the dark, but as my eyes adjust to the marvelous light shining around me I am beginning to see color and substance of the things I have always heard about but never actually seen.

This next allegory takes the cave theme a bit farther and explores the relationship between those who say the cave is all there is and those who have experienced more. Though the story itself is original, the idea for the story comes from a scene in The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis.

Imagine a cave, a deep dark, cold cave, far in the deep trenches of the earth. Imagine that this cave is your home. You were born here, your grandparents, your ancestors died here. All you have ever known are the walls, the stalactites hanging from the sky, and the stalagmites that rise from the ground. You have never seen the sky, heard of clouds, felt the sun. All of your life has been spent in the cave of this Underworld.

Here in Underworld there is light, fire was discovered eons ago and torches light your way through the labyrinth of passageways. Water seeps through the rocks and collects in pools, clean and clear. Moss grows on the side of the walls that can be used to create stew. Cave dwelling animals frequent the caves to provide your people with food. No one knows quite where the water and food comes from, but they have some working theories. Generations have come and gone and no one has ever seen the outside world. It would be common sense, if you lived here in Underworld, to suspect that this was all there is, all there ever was. This belief is taught and encouraged. You would simply not ask questions and continue in the journey to survive.

One day, as you are harvesting moss from a wall to provide your family with a supper that evening you chance to see some travelers coming your way. This is not at all unusual but there is something different about these travelers. They wear clothes with bright colors that reflect the light of the lantern they carry, one of them has dark skin and dark hair, unusual for cave dwellers. You approach them with caution. Let’s say, for imagination’s sake that they speak your language; that you understand what they say.

“Good day to you,” they say.

You don’t know how to respond. The concept of “day” is foreign to you.

“Hello?” is all you can think to say back to them.

“Tell me, do you live here?”

Again, you don’t know how to answer; of course you live HERE where else would you live.

“Yes,” is the only answer available.

“Are there more of you?” Another one asks.

At this point you are completely annoyed. What kind of question is that? If they are HERE than obviously you are not alone. Again you tell them yes and they ask you to take them to your village. You comply.

Upon reaching the village center, one of the travelers stands on a rock and begins describing in detail the world in which they come from, the Overworld. He tells stories about, sky, sun, trees, hills, birds, and stars. Most of your people snicker, some to themselves, other out loud. But the louder people laugh, the louder these travelers talk. While this man is up on the rock speaking loudly, others are walking among the crowd trying to start conversations and always referencing the other world just above their heads. This goes on for a while and causes a great ruckus in the village, till it finally becomes too much. The leaders of the city come and apprehend the travelers and bring them to the village counsel.

Here in Underworld the village counsel tries to determine what is true and false, wrong and right. They are considered the torch of justice presiding over the affairs of the village. The whole village has come to witness this hearing, as the travelers are brought before the counsel for questioning.

“Now,” one of the older counsel members begins. “You say you come a place called the Overworld.

“Yes sir, we do.” One of the travelers answers with a smile.

“Where exactly is this… Overworld?

“Up there,” another traveler states pointing up.

“Is there a world in the cracks of the rocks on the ceiling?” Another counselman laughs.

“No, no, it’s above this world. Up above and outside this cave.”

“There is no world beyond this world.” A counsel lady proclaims.

“I’m sorry ma’am, but I have to disagree,” a traveler states. “I have been there. I have seen the night sky full of stars and the bright morning sun come up over the horizon.”

“Now you are just making up words and speaking gibberish, what is ‘night’, ‘sky’, ‘stars’, ‘morning’, or even this ‘sun’ that you speak of?”

“Well, you see sir, that lamp there, it is round and yellow and gives light to this whole room. The sun is like that just much bigger and brighter, giving light to all of Overworld as it hangs in the sky.”

The oldest counselman shakes his head. “It hangs from what? See, they can not think out clearly what this ‘sun’ must be. They can only say that it is like the lamp. Your ‘sun’ is not real, it is a delusion. There is nothing in that delusion that you did not get from the lamp. The lamp is the real thing; your ‘sun’ is simply the ramblings of the insane.”

The questioning continues till one of the counsel women says, “To tell you the truth, this a beautiful story, a wonderful picture that you paint of another world, but it would fit you better if you were all children. Look there is nothing in your make-believe that you didn’t put there from this world, the real one.”

“Indeed,” chimes in the oldest counselman. “You should put these childish ways behind you and help us in this world. We need you to contribute to our village to be productive in this world not in your fantasy.”

“Otherwise,” pipes in a younger member. “I’m afraid we will have to contain you to keep you from the disturbing the peace any longer.”

There is a long silence in the room, till one of the travelers takes one step forward.

“Just one more word please, ladies and gentlemen of the counsel. Suppose for a moment that we have made up all of these things – sun, stars, sky, grass, trees, and everything else. Suppose we have. In that case all I can say is that the made-up things seem a great deal more important and beautiful than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of world of yours is all that there is and there is no other world. Well, then it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that’s the funny thing about all this. You call us children making up a game, but a few babies playing a game have made-up a world that makes yours look hollow. I would take our make-believe over your reality any day. So with your leave, we will leave Underworld and go back to where we came from.”

The counsel is of course very angry at these words, but they decide to let the travelers go. If only to prove that there is no other world. In the minds of the counsel the travelers would leave and wander the caves for a while until they got hungry and came back asking for food. That’s when they would come to their senses and join the rational people of Underworld.

The travelers leave, even a few of the Underworlders join them as they go by the same passageway that they came in. There is peace again in Underworld and the travelers will never be heard from again. It is thought that they were lost in the cave and had died of starvation or thirst, but numerous expeditions have come up empty. The people still whisper about the travelers and wonder if there is any truth to a world above Underworld.

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else” C.S. Lewis


Shadows and Reflections

Listen to the song based on this post.
I Corinthians 13:12

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know fully just as I also have been fully known.” NASB

“We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God see us, knowing him directly just as he knows us” The Message Eugene Peterson

“God is like a mirror. The mirror never changes, but everybody who looks at God sees something different.” Rabbi Harold Kushner

We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” Anais Nin

What do you see when you look in a mirror? Do you see yourself? Do you see a reflection? What happens when the mirror is warped or twisted, cracked or misshapen? Remember the fun house mirrors at the carnival where you could see your reflection change depending on the type of glass in the mirror? There you were, your normal self, but in that piece of glass you were ten feet tall, with a huge head, and clown-sized feet; or maybe short and bloated with the tiniest head. And you would laugh, it was funny to you. The distortion of the reflection was so different, so ludicrous, that it was actually humorous. But of course, you knew that the distortion wasn’t real. You really were not some giant with large feet, it was just a reflection.

When I was a child I can remember being fascinated with shadows, my shadow and the shadows of other things that I saw. Maybe it was a Peter Pan-like wish that my shadow was somehow alive. But I remember noticing the way that my shadow moved. In the morning, as I would walk with the sun at my back, my shadow was there in front of me. It was long and its legs were like a spider’s. They were so thin and would shrink and grow with every step I took. In the afternoon my shadow would cling close to me, an amorphous blob on the ground. By the evening as the sun set my shadow stood tall again. I remember riding my bike and watching my shadow dance over the surface of the road and jump onto everything that I passed. There it was on the fence beside me, there it was on the hedges, and I would marvel at its ability to transform. Of course I couldn’t do that. I am not a shadow, shadows are not real.

The thing about shadows and reflections is their often similar and familiar nature. They often look like they should be real but they are not. They are only representations of reality. They are snapshots of something real distorted by two dimensions, the bending of light waves, the angle of the sun… there are a litany of things that cause distortion. With this in mind, if we focus on Rabbi Kushner’s quote it becomes obvious that looking at God as a mirror means we see something incomplete, lacking dimension, just a reflection of reality. The passage in I Corinthians describes it as looking through a dark piece of glass, like trying to see an image through a stained glass window. If you’ve ever tried to look through stained glass you’ll notice that all the details of an object are obscured in the tint and bend. What you see is a silhouette, a shadow, of what is behind the glass. This is how we see God now, from our point of view; incomplete, lacking dimension. We see a reflection, a shadow, there is always a sense that our view is incomplete and probably distorted.

When you think of the Almighty what image comes to your mind? How do you view God? How do others view this creator of the universe? Are these views incomplete? Distorted? Wrong?

Baylor University’s Institute for the Studies of Religion, in Waco, Texas, along with Gallup instituted a comprehensive survey in 2005. They asked over 1,700 people from all over this country 77 questions about faith, their beliefs and their practices. The survey hinged directly on the individual’s view of God’s personality and God’s involvement in today’s world. Using words like “absolute,” “wrathful,” “forgiving,” “friendly,” and “distant” they were able to paint broad pictures of how people in America view God. After their results were released in 2006 they stated that there are four major views of God in America. For our purposes here, we will say that there are five so as to represent those who don’t believe in a God at all. The five views breakdown like this…

The Authoritarian God is in direct contact with this world, highly involved in everyday life. He demands obedience or there will be judgment. He is angry at the state of the world.

The Benevolent God is also in direct contact with humanity. But he is not angry. He is a God of love, mercy, and forgiveness.

The Critical God sits at a distance with his judgmental eye on the wicked. He will not intervene in this world, not to condemn or comfort.

The Distant God is a cosmic force that set this universe in motion and now has left it to continue on its own. He is not involved. In fact, he is probably not a personality at all.

The Atheistic view states that God is not rational, relevant, or real at all. Though this view lacks any insight into this deity’s personality or involvement it still is a valid view; a God who isn’t there.

This pie chart shows the breakdown of these five views across the population of the survey.

The findings of the study, as indicated by the pie chart, reveal that there is no majority view of God. Yes, some views are larger or smaller than others, but there is not one view that most Americans hold in the majority. Most find this fact surprising since they assume that their view of God is probably the majority’s opinion.

The other interesting thing that this study discovered is that a great deal can be learned about a person when you discover how they view Deity. How we view God says a great deal about how we view the world. We will discuss this further, but I feel the interesting question to ask is, “Why?” Why does one’s view of God influence their view of everything else? The answer to this question lays in the idea spoken of earlier, shadows and reflections.

We cannot see ourselves for what we are without help. We cannot see our own faces unless the image is reflected back to us. We can not tell the dimensions of our bodies without a source of reflection or light to give a representation. Therefore our view of ourselves is skewed by the distortion of reflections and shadows. Let me explain further. Imagine that God is a light source and you are an object in front of it. You cast a shadow while you stand in the light. But the shadow is affected by the placement of that light, its size, its distance, its angle. Therefore your view of your silhouette produced is altered by where the light source has been placed. Here is another example, let’s say that Rabbi Kushner’s statement is true and God is like a mirror. In this mirror we see a reflection of who we really are. But this mirror, as we see it, can only show us a two dimensional image. Maybe the mirror is stained, warped, foggy, broken, too small, too far away, and what we see is either distorted or at the very least incomplete. In other words we are inhibited by our view of and in the mirror.

The other question that this survey raises is where do these views of God come from? Why do we see God the way that we do?

We can only see what our eyes show us, we can only hear what ears can pick up, we can only experience life through the senses that we have been given. We put together our view of reality based on what we see, hear, touch, feel, taste, and perceive. We take the pieces that we have experienced and then construct a view of reality based on what we know. This is exactly true when it comes to God. We take the things we have experienced, the things we have been told, the things we have seen in nature and in the lives of others, and we construct a view of God consistent to our experiences. God has become the ultimate jigsaw puzzle for our human minds.

There is a danger in this, of course. What if all the information my senses told me was not true? What if my eyes thought there was water in the desert, but what I actually saw was an illusion? What if what I thought I heard is not even close to what was actually said? Then I construct a false reality around those things that I think I know. I make something that is not really there. Again, what if the evidence from my senses is incomplete? What if I only see a part of what is there? What if I only experience a piece of what is real? Then I attempt to construct the whole based on the parts that I have. As a result what I have constructed may not be accurate at all. I could have made a sincere effort to make something consistent with all the information that I have collected, but I could be sincerely wrong.

This is exactly where our views of God come from. We take all the things that we have seen of God (nature, images), all that we have heard or read, all that we have felt with our emotions, all that we have experienced, and all that we have learned and we make a picture of who God is. Is this picture accurate? What if we haven’t always seen or heard or read the truth concerning God and who He is? What if we were wrong or our information is wrong? Then our view of God is false. What if our information is incomplete? Then so is our view of God.

The point is that these views of God come from us and our human minds trying to grasp the holy and the divine. As a result these views are at best incomplete and at worst completely false. The only thing that is certain about these views is that we made them. We created them. We see God as we want to see Him, as we have understood him. Therefore we try to look at ourselves through the mirror and reflection of ourselves and what we see amounts to visual feedback. It’s just the same thing bouncing back and forth like two mirrors facing each other. All we see is ourselves.

This is where the last quote of Anais Nin becomes so true and important. “We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are.” In other words if I have created the light source and placed it where I think it should be than I have influenced my views so that of course they cannot possibly be accurate. If I have created a mirror that makes sense to me, out of my own two hands, with my own ideas, then of course I have altered the image that the mirror reflects. In other words, we have begun to make God in our image, in the way that we think that He should be and as a result our view of everything is affected, distorted, and not necessarily what is really there.

So which view of God is correct? How do we need to see Him in order to have a correct view of Him? Is it even possible to have a clear picture of who God is? If we can’t see God for who He is, than how can we hope to see ourselves and the world as it really is? Of course, we cannot hope to give a pad answer to these deep questions. But we can start a journey of discovery that might lead us to understand and see a bit more of God, His place and His character. As we continue on this journey we’ll discover that there is more to this God than we ever imagined and that it is not just a possibility that we won’t understand it all, it is a cold, hard fact. We will never have a complete view of God, but that does not mean that we don’t strive to see as much as our puny human minds can grasp.

May you strive to deepen your understanding of who God is and what He is like so that you may see yourself and the world around you in his light. Work out your salvation with fear and trembling as we dive in to learn more.

Introduction - A Moment in the Waves

Psalm 8:1

O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Thy name in all the earth!

The waves roll in with a steady rhythm one after the other, each coming a bit further in as the tide is waxing. They rise with the pressure of their breaking and spill over at the top, white foam on a blue-green base, before they crash into the ground. Can you smell the salt water? Do you feel the sand between your toes? The heat of the sun is on your back, the kiss of the breeze is in your hair, and the call of the ocean is in your ears. Wading into the waves you feel the sand pulled from beneath your feet in the constant shifting of the beach. You travel deeper and further into the ocean, traveling slowly, moving against the current. As a wave comes in and strikes you, you brace for the impact, awaiting the push of the water. You continue deeper till you stand with the water splashing around your collarbone, just at your shoulders, and you wait. Looking out into that endless horizon you see it. Right now it is just a ripple in the water that is yards and yards away from you, but it is coming. It comes closer, moving quickly, and you know that this is it. You brace yourself against the soggy ocean floor as the wave grows in front of you. The water around you recedes as it is being pulled back to join the force of this breaking wave. There is the sight of blue and white and green and then it happens. Crash! In an instant you are swept off your feet and tumbled. For a moment you have lost all control. The wave has you and wave will move you, just as it is moving this sea. The wave will have its way. You can not stand in the force of it, but you know that. You let the wave toss you and carry you. There is fear in this moment, there is danger, and there is also thrill; the thrill of letting go, of going for “the ride”, letting something else dictate where you are going and how you will get there. Of course, it is just a moment, and then the wave blows past and once again you stand awaiting the next to come.

Have you ever done that? Gone “body surfing”? It’s great for those of us that have no idea what to do with a board and can never get up on a pair of water-skis. When I visit the ocean I always get this sense that there is something bigger than me, something greater. And I wade into the water, and I play in the waves, because maybe then I can be one with this thing that is so much larger than me. Maybe if I walk into the ancient water that has been here since the beginning I can feel like somehow I am a part of it. This is not mysticism, it is sensitivity.

When I began this journey of trying to understand God, to get a picture of Him, an image in my mind, this is what it felt like. It was like wading into a vast endless ocean, so much larger, greater, more powerful than I can ever comprehend. Each step into the water drawing me deeper into the mystery and further away from the dry land that I understood so well. The very ground beneath my feet doesn’t stay still, because the ocean is not like the land. The land doesn’t move and shift like this. The ocean is alive! And as I travel further in, I begin to lose control. As the waves of this ocean crash against me I find it hard to move in my own will. And then there is that moment, the moment when the wave takes over and breaks over my head. That’s when I have lost all sense of control that I ever had. There is fear in this, there is respect, awe, wonder, danger, and greatest thrill that I have ever known.

So many people paint an image of God, an image of the Angry Taskmaster, or Benevolent Father, the Critical Judge, or the Distant Creator. But none of these images even comes close to describing the comprehensive ocean of God and who “He” is. Like a liquid, God will break down every barrier, beat down the breakers, and flow wherever He wills. To attempt to understand Him is to dive headlong into a mystery greater than you and I even have the ability to imagine.

As we begin this journey together in these pages. May you step with me into the ocean of the unknown. Experience the pull of something far greater than you. And maybe even let go and let the will of the water take you. Allow the waves to crash over your head. Lose your will to the will of this mystery, this all-consuming, all-powerful, ocean of God.