And God said unto Moses, I Am that I Am. And he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you. Exo 3:14
Lately, I read up some about consciousness. Consciousness is one of the remaining unknowns of our time that cannot be explained. One theory: consciousness is fundamental just as energy is.
But what is consciousness? There is this 3D movie playing at any time in your head – and other than a Hollywood movie, it has smell and touch and taste in addition to sound and vision. It is also complemented with associations and this commentator in the off – yourself. You can find an interesting talk here. But still – we do not know how we do that. Without consciousness, we would not recognize the world we live in. There would be no memories of the past, recognition of the presence, nor hope for the future. Well, I would say that past and future need self-awareness in addition, consciousness of consciousness. This is what differentiates us from animals.
All this made me think of how God introduced himself to Moses. He told Moses: I am the I AM. Tell the people, I AM has sent you. Jesus called himself with the same name when they ask for him in the garden of Gethsemane. I AM.
This is the definition of self-awarness. To know that I am. Understanding both principles of existence and self. God could have used some of his previously known names to identify himself. Yahweh Jireh, as he was called by Abraham. The Israelites would have known that name from the stories and tales about Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their twelve tribal fathers. But God chooses to give his people THE name. The name he used instead of the ones he was called by the ancestors because of his character traits. Or better, because of the way they had experienced him. El Shaddai, Yahweh Nissi. Names describing God. But not his inner most being.
He is. On a basic level that means: he exists. He lives. He is alive. And he knows.
He is. He is the ever existing. No beginning and no end. And he is awareness itself. The first to know that he existed. The first to have a concept of self. Consciousness.
The amazing thing is that we are made in his image. One of the results of this is that we are conscious and self-aware. That is the basis of so many a thing:
- Love. To love means to be aware of something.
- Meaningful relationships.
- Conscience. Only he who is conscious of his doings and self-aware can be responsible.
- Semantics. How could anything make sense without consciousness and self-awareness. Without self-awareness, best we reach is reward and punishment.
- Hope and faith. Hope needs a concept of future, and faith needs awareness beyond the visible.
Human life no doubt would not be possible without this deeply godly feature of self-awareness. I AM.
Just as in language, all other traits follow from the I AM.
- I am peace.
- I am freedom.
- I am your redeemer.
- I am your provider.
- I am he who heals.
- I am your banner.
Just to name a few of God’s names again. And it’s the same for ourselves. Since I am, I am peace. I am a child of God, even a son of God.
Well – provided I am in relationship with God obviously. Or really?
We are the children of God. But too often we are self-aware, but not aware of our father in heaven. Thus I am not conscious of the godly attributes flowing from the I am. And therefore, others fill the void, having us think differently about ourselves:
- I am a lawyer. We define ourselves by what we do. Shortsighted self-awareness.
- I am senseless. My life makes no sense, and one day it just will be over.
- I am a sinner. No matter how hard I try, I never measure up.
- I am ugly. Just look at all those (photoshopped) models.
Since Adam and Eve decided to forfeit the relationship with God, there is a void to be filled following the I am. And there are many ready to fill that void. Call it culture, media, peer pressure, or, on a deeper level, the enemy, the devil.
Nature does not like a vacuum. It can only be sustained with specialized machinery. But given the chance, matter will fill the void, at times with even an implosion or explosion.
The same here. The void has to be filled. Some times with an implosion – depression comes to mind, giving up on self – or an explosion – violence, hatred, destruction.
From all this, let me define consciousness.
Consciousness, and especially consciousness of consciousness or self-awareness, is the godly spark in man sending him off on a quest to define himself, with the goal to lead him into a deep relationship with the source of awareness, God the father himself.
Using this definition, consciousness is much more than a dimension like space-time. Dimensions become the habitation for two defining and basic – what should I call it, as I am at a lack for words seeing the greatness of the concept – defining and basic elements: life and consciousness.
Are you aware of yourself? Of course you are, you are human. But are you aware of the source as well as the quest your awareness comes from and sends you on? Let me know.