Rather than the conventional way, of starting writing about God, I start with writing about us, because that is ``where we are''.

I believe that there is more to us than the physical body and the nervous system activity that it supports.

In particular, I believe that we are conscious, in a way that is not simply emergent from the body and its processes; that is, when we experience something, there is a real ``we'' that is not part of this physical world. This experiencer is what we call the soul.

The soul feels emotions, and, at least technically, has free will (although it seems that many souls do not exercise this to any great extent).

I believe that there are connections between souls, other than the communications mediated through the body. Some researchers (Sheldrake, for example) claim scientific evidence for this.

See also Souls for more on this.

God: the great soul

I believe that the world (space-time system) came into being because of something outside it.

I believe that that which caused the world to come into being is a soul, with attributes such as emotion and free will.

I believe that our souls have some of the same nature as the great soul; or, as the Bible puts it, we are made in His image.

God's presence in the world

I believe that in some extraordinary way, God has been particularly directly and observably present in the physical world at particular times and places (``theophanies''); in particular, as the Shekinah, the visible cloud of God's presence in the temple, and on Mt Sinai, and in the Burning Bush, and in the earthly life of Jesus of Nazareth.

I believe that God can also be present within us in a particularly direct way, in prophecy and sometimes (perhaps always) in our prayer.

I believe that God can intervene in the physical world; but it seems that he does not usually do so.

The nature of the world


Some people refuse to believe anything that cannot be proved using a set of instruments, or a set of rules, that they have chosen. I consider such chosen sets to be essentially arbitrary, and believe that there are things that cannot be measured by such systems.


I believe that God can intervene in the physical world; but it seems that he does not usually do so. I myself have experienced at least one thing that is much more consistent with this than with other explanations.

Classic examples are some of the miracles of Jesus, such as the stilling of a storm [John 6].

I think it may also be possible that the human mind or soul can intervene in the physical world (that is, psychokinesis or telekineses), but I'm not at all sure about this. If it is possible, it may not necessarily be advisable.

My earlier writings about my beliefs

I think my religious beliefs are fairly conventional Christian ones; perhaps some of the emphasis is a little non-conventional, but still, as far as I know, ``sound''. (I should probably be worried by that. Is soundness a heresy? At least, believing that one is sound is probably a heresy.)


I believe in one God, who is three equal persons:

who created everything that is, whether abstract or material, and who was not created
who, while remaining fully divine, became also fully human, and died in atonement for our sins and our sinfulness, and who was not created but begotten
Holy Spirit
who inspires us (and has inspired the prophets of all ages, including the human writers of the Bible) and prays in us; and who was neither created nor begotten, but proceeding

See my tabular presentation of this to see the structure of it.

Things that I consider to be attributes of God include:

Our relationship with God

The ways in which God relates to us include as Creator, Saviour and Preserver, which can be seen as characterizing God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, although, the Trinity being undivided, I would not really divide the rôles in this manner. Although many try to keep these ideas simple (and there is somethign to be said for that) they are also ideas of fascinating complexity and great depth, and I've started to look into them with reading and writing.


I believe that God was not created, and that He created all that is. I'm not a ``literal creationist''; it looks to me like He set things up such that life develops through evolution. I don't think that our consciousness could arise in an evolutionary system in which it was not provided for, but that from a given start, a particular range of possible states may be reached, and that therefore our consciousness must have been provided for in the way the initial creation was set up. I consider this to be one of my most important original ideas, and was very excited when I first thought of it, although now it seems very natural. The logic of the relationship between Creator and creatures is an area that fascinates me (developing partly as a spin-off from my PhD work on towers of levels of meaning) and I wrote an article for a discussion list, called The significant non-emergence of self-awareness.


I believe that salvation is by faith, not by works, but would prefer to say that it is by grace. Let's look at those in more detail:

This is our response to God's grace: that we believe in Him who He has sent, and that this belief is not as hearers only, but that we keep his commands.
Good that we do of our own ability is not able to compensate for our sinfulness; we are saved by God's action, not ours, as we are not ourselves capable of living up to the standards of the Kingdom of Heaven. However, living faith will lead us into doing good works.
This is a collective term for God's gifts to us; the highest points of grace are the creation of the universe, the incarnation of Christ, and the sending of the Holy Spirit. There are many other gifts in grace; each person who becomes a Christian does so through an act of God's grace as well as through an act of their faith (the latter is possible only because of the former).


I believe that God dwells, works, and suffers and in and with His people, through his Creation of all that we are, the Incarnation of Yeshua the Messiah, and the sending of His Holy Spirit.

[John's Christianity page]
John C. G. Sturdy

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