Extract from The Four O’Clock Talks - Discussions with John Martin Sahajananda (Brother Martin)

‘Can we prove God? Some of the saints, like Thomas Aquinas, tried to prove God.’

If we try to prove the existence of God, we will lose God, because we cannot prove God with our rational mind. The rational mind is something that is limited; we cannot prove the infinite with the finite. That is why many people who try to find God with the mind lose God; they lose faith in God. Even Thomas Aquinas, having written so much, seems to have had some realization at the end of his life. He told his companion, ‘All that I have written seems to me nothing but straw… compared to what I have seen and what has been revealed to me’. There is a deeper understanding where our intellectual concepts fall away and that really comes from the direct perception or experience of God.

Scientific theories also raise this question of whether God exists. We have this great debate in the modern world between the creation theory and the theory of evolution. Darwin proposed the theory that human beings have evolved; that from the simple and ordinary comes the complex. With this theory, we don’t need to think about God; there is no creation in the sense of God creating the world in six days, but rather a process of evolution over millions of years. The conflict for some is they feel that if they accept this theory then they have to deny God and the Bible, so there is a fight between the evolutionary and the creation theorists. The other extreme is to believe that everything in the Bible is the absolute truth, that God created this universe in six days and took rest on the seventh day. The scientific mind thinks this is a very silly approach. The problem is that scientific argument needs to be met at the level of scientific thinking for dialogue to take place, but when we discover ‘the eternal now ’we discover that we have never been absent in the past and we will always be in the future. We are timeless, eternal, and from that eternal reality, we discover that even two billion years is nothing in comparison to this eternal or true self.

We cannot reach the true self at the beginning or the end of time; we can only reach it by transcending time and space here and now. We don’t need to deny the theory of evolution, for it does not mean that the eternal within us is in the process of evolution. The theory of evolution is valid as far as the physical evolution of the universe, the physical body and even the mind is concerned, but it cannot apply to the eternal self. This eternal presence within us is beyond the evolutionary process of time and space.

It’s not only science that leads us to ask if God exists. When you study philosophy, you also have to ask whether God exists or not. In studying philosophy, you discover that maybe God does not exist. We really don’t know. We cannot prove or disprove God, and then we start doubting. I’m sharing my own experience, because I nearly lost my faith in God, especially when I studied philosophy. It was so frustrating to discover that I couldn’t prove to everybody that God exists. In a sense, we have to lose our faith in order to discover our faith. When studying philosophy and theology we need to reflect and question, and make our beliefs our own and then our faith becomes stronger. Christ himself had to go through this process or crisis. We should not take it for granted that Christ knew God from the beginning of his life. I think that is a childish way of understanding Christ and his spiritual journey. Right from the beginning he had to have questions and doubts and he had to lose his God in a way, the God of the Jews, and then he had to discover the God who was unifying and liberating for all humanity.

Taken from: The Four O’Clock Talks – Discussions with John Martin Sahajananda  - Page 220

Compiled by Carrie Lock


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