If we were born and raised in a primitive society we would probably ascribe powers and being to natural objects and natural forces just as they did. We would not be able to understand such assertions as, "Christ died for our sins" or "Love all people, since all are created by God" any more than they could. The question I am leading to is this: Did God as we understand him/her/it exist less during pre-Christian times? Or are we not, have we not been all along in an evolving view of God, so that our present definitions or even experience need not be viewed as real or final?

The history of humankind's view of God is a progression from an animistic view of nature, through a polytheism with many gods and goddesses, to a henotheism wherein each group or tribe worships a special god, to a monotheism wherein there is one God over all people and all things. In former times men and women could speak of God's words to them, and their experiences may even have been of a vision qnd a voice. In recent times men, including George Fox, also spoke of revelations from God, but did not couch them in details such as voices and visions, but rather as "openings" or "insights" which were felt to be directly from God. God had become immanent not exterior.

Each prophet speaks in the images he is familiar with to people who can grasp those images. Thus the Old Testament prophets spoke in terms of a God-ruler demanding obedience, then mercy and justice; John the Baptizer spoke in the apocalyptic imagery of his time a baptism by fire and the axe laid to the root of the trees; George Fox spoke of God dwelling not in temples made with hands but in the hearts of people, and God (Christ) coming to teach his people himself, without th.e need for priests or ritual. Today a prophet speaking in traditional theological terms finds a resistant ear; God as a "being" who "dwells" or "teaches" seems too anthropomorphic. Nevertheless a God who is simply moral or natural law is too remote and impersonal, and we seek something more.

I wish to speak now to try to create a modern theology. My starting place is a slight reversal of George Fox's phrase: that of God in every person, which I will change into: Every person is a part of God. (I do not wish to exclude other forms of life, nor even inanimate objects, so that.a broader statement would be: Every being is a part of God, or most broadly, Every thing is a part of God; but for the purposes of humanity the narrowest statement is most useful.) Thus, if every person is a part of God, then God is incomplete without each person, and this means each person I meet or see or know of or have never met or will never see or know of is a part of God, just as I am myself. Once this is understood and felt, the next step is clear: I must be just as concerned for each other person !as I am for myself, since damage to either of us damages that whole of which we are a part. The tough part is, what do I feel or do when one of those every persons acts or speaks in a way which violates myself or some other person or many other persons? It is at these vital points in living that the importance of these premises emerges; if we remember that we are all a part of God then we can speak lovingly and acceptingly to an every person who is so acting. If these situations involve harm to others, or to ourselves the difficulty increases; it is not easy to have as much concern or patience or love for the one of us who is being harmful as for the one of us who is being harmed, but that is our task. Is it after all certain that one who harms is less important to God than one who is harmed or one who does not harm? In today's violence-ridden'times it is easy to think that there are persons who are so harmful that their importance as persons is less, and that the whole will be better or stronger or that other every persons will be happier without those harmful persons. That is the modern moral dilemma: how do we cope with the destructive people in our society without ourselves being destructive or continuing the spread of destructiveness?

It is vitally important that we remember that each person is a part of God, even as we try to stop or restrain that person from harmful acts. Perhaps we need to remember that George Fox when his detractors were beating him with clubs stood again and said, Here is my back and head and cheeks, strong in a faith that he was a part of God and they were a part of God, and his spirit was safe from their clubbing, and their spirits could be reached by his love for and patience with them. Or do we today doubt the principles and effectiveness of that method of action? and is there another course of action consistent with our major premise? I cannot find one, nor do I think there is one.

(originally published under the name of John Fitz)