What is Creation?
(These are the comments from the first day's portion of the "What is Creation" section - Lesson 321)
The question itself is one that often comes up for Course students. The Course speaks often of "your creations," and yet never seems to clearly say exactly what those creations are. It tells us that our creation process continues unabated despite our unawareness of our creations, and that they are all saved for us by the Holy Spirit. There is an image of us entering Heaven and being greeted by all our creations, as if they were living beings.
We have a fundamental misconception that makes it difficult for us to understand what creations are. For instance, we think God created this world. When we think of creation, therefore, we think of something physical and material. We think our creations must be something in this world. Yet the Course clearly tells us this entire world is an illusion, a mis-creation of our mind. How could our creations be here?
My creations, then, cannot be something like a book I write, a relationship I form, a family, or a business. My creations are not objects at all. They must be thoughts.
"Creation is the sum of all God's Thoughts, in number infinite, and everywhere without all limit" (1:1).
"Thoughts" is capitalized, so we know this refers to God's Son. The Christ. Again, we are not used to equating thoughts and living beings. We do not think of thoughts as beings who are alive; we do not think of living beings as "only" thoughts. The Course teaches us that we are thoughts in God's Mind. We automatically assume some kind of material existence when we think of a living being. The Course, all through, is trying to teach us that living beings are indeed thoughts, or spirits, and not material at all. "You are not your body" means more than just an admonition not to be limited by our body; it means that I am something wholly other than material. I, the essential me, am not material at all. I am spirit. I am thought.
"Only Love creates, and only like itself" (1:2).
From just this much it should be clear that "creations" are "thoughts of love." If only Love creates, creations must be the effects of Love. If creations are thoughts, then they must be thoughts of love.
"Only Love creates, and only like itself." Love always creates more love. Creation, it seems to me, is a circular thing, like a self-sustaining energy field, each part of which is upholding the other part, an endless cycle of creation.
The Text teaches us that God, being Love, has no need except to extend Himself. Since we are extensions of His Being, we have a similar unique need: "With love in you, you have no need except to extend it" (T-15.V.11:3). "...like your Father, you are an idea. And like Him, you can give yourself completely, wholly without loss and only with gain" (T-15.VI.4:5-6). This is what we learn through the experience of a holy instant. We are thoughts of Love, with no need except to extend love. In our relationships, we are learning to let go of our imagined "personal" needs, and to dedicate our relationships to "the only need the Sons of God share equally"--the extension of love. Through this reflection of love here on earth, we learn to take our place again in the eternal creation of Heaven.
(These are the comments from the second day's portion of the "What is Creation" section - Lesson 322)
"There was no time when all that [Love] created was not there. Nor will there be a time when anything that It created suffers any loss" (1:3-4). It is very difficult, if not impossible, for our minds to comprehend something that is outside of time. We can conceive of the idea, but to actually grasp it or to feel it is beyond minds that think solely in terms of time. The creations of Love are beyond time; they have always been, and they always will be. There is no before or after with Love and Its creations; it is an eternal now.
We think of creation as bringing into existence something that never was. But the Course's conception of creation is something that is always complete, and that always exists now. All of creation has always been there, and always will be, and yet creation is continuous. Creation is a constant upsurge of beingness, never less, never more, never old and always fresh. "Forever and forever are God's Thoughts exactly as they were and as they are, unchanged through time and after time is done" (1:5).
God's creations are unaffected by time. Time is part of our illusion, a way of making lack seem real by having things be "in the future," and not now; or to make loss real by seeing them as "past." When the lesson speaks of "God's Thoughts" it is speaking of us. "We are creation; we the Sons of God" (4:1). It is saying, in other words, "I am as God created me." You and I are those creations, "unchanged through time and after time is done." We are not beings under construction, with our reality still in the future, nor are we beings of corruption, with our purity past and gone. What we are is now, was before time, and will be when time is done. What changes is not me. To see ourselves as God's creations is thus to free ourselves from the tyranny of time.
"Father, I seek the peace You gave as mine in my creation. What was given then must be here now, for my creation was apart from time, and still remains beyond all change. The peace in which Your Son was born into Your Mind is shining there unchanged. I am as You created me" (W-pII.230.2:1-4).
(These are the comments from the third day's portion of the "What is Creation" section - Lesson 323)
"God's Thoughts" refers to us. We are the Thoughts of God, and Creation is "the sum of all God's Thoughts" (1:1), the sum total of all beings of all time.
The Course makes an amazing assertion here: "God's Thoughts are given all the power that their Creator has" (2:1). In the Bible it is recorded that Jesus said, toward the end of his life, "All power is given to me in heaven and in earth" (Matthew 28:18). The Course says all power is given to us as the Sonship, not just to Jesus. What this is saying is that, what God can do, we can do. We are simply His extensions. Therefore, as He creates, we create also.
The reason God shares His power with us is that "He would add to Love by its extension" (2:2). In other words, we have power in order to extend love. One short definition of creation might be the extension of love. But the form of love we share in this world is not Love's reality; it is only a reflection of Heaven's love. Our earthly experience of love is always in the context of separate beings exchanging love; in Heaven there is only the awareness of perfect oneness. We can only imagine what love is like in that context. We can have glimpses of it in a holy instant, when the barriers between minds seem to disappear. In that moment, there is an awareness that the other person is you and you are the other person. You are the love in 'you' extending to them; you are the love in 'the other person' extending towards 'you;' and you are the love in yourself loving yourself. It can be a disorienting experience because you literally start to lose track of who you are, in the context of individuals, while simultaneously you become aware of something much larger and more all-inclusive that is what you really are.
Those experiences are wonderful, and asking for them is encouraged in the Course. But the main thing to realize here is that Creation, as the Course talks about it, is not an experience on earth; it is an experience in Heaven. It is something that is always going on, and our dream of separation has not interrupted Creation at all. Nothing has been lost or stopped by our illusion of separation. That is why the Course can tell us, as in last week's topic [Last Judgment], that the final judgment on this world is, "It is meaningless and does not exist."
If Creation in Heaven means the extension of Love, what is its parallel in our earthly experience? The Course says that the parallel to the extension of Love is forgiveness (W-pI.60.1:4-5; pI.186.14:2). When we forgive, we are recognizing Creation and thus reflecting it on earth.
(These are the comments from the fourth day's portion of the "What is Creation" section - Lesson 324)
"What God has willed to be forever One will still be One when time is over; and will not be changed throughout the course of time, remaining as it was before the thought of time began."
God has willed all Creation to be one. Therefore it is one. Time cannot change what God created in any way. Time and change seem inextricably related: change is what signifies the passage of time, and it seems impossible that time should pass without change. It is impossible that God's creation should change. God's creation is outside of the realm of time entirely, and time is simply an illusion, a dream in which change is possible.
What we are, together, as the one Son of God, existed before time was thought of, still exists during the apparent course of time, and will exist, still one, when time is over. The Son of God is as unaffected by what seems to occur during time as the sun is unaffected by my passing a few of its rays through a magnifying glass, and deflecting their path, or as the ocean is unaffected by a child who throws a stick into the water. In other words, not at all. That is the power of Creation. It is immutable. Therefore, I am immutable when I recognize my Creator.
"Your Self is radiant in this holy joy, unchanged, unchanging and unchangeable, forever and forever" (W-pI.190.6:5).
(These are the comments from the fifth day's portion of the "What is Creation" section - Lesson 325)
"Creation is the opposite of all illusions, for creation is the truth" (3:1).
The Course's general theory about creation holds certain facts as fundamental: only what is created by God is real or true; all that God creates is real, true and eternal. Therefore, anything that is not eternal and changeless is not real, and not true. Based on these assumptions, the Course concludes that all things of this world--the Earth itself, the entire physical universe, and especially our bodies and our apparent "life" here on Earth, cannot be God's creations because they are not eternal and changeless. Everything we can see with our eyes, even the seemingly ageless stars, has an end. What ends is simply not real, in the Course's sense of the word. All of it, every bit of it, falls into the category of "illusions."
Furthermore, God's creation is holographic: "every part container of the Whole" (3:2). This is a concept that defies matter-based logic. The nearest analog I know of is the hologram. Once a holographic image has been captured on a photographic plate, light shined on the plate will produce a three-dimensional image of the hologram. If it is the picture of an apple, it will be a 3-D apple, and you can view different angles of the apple by moving the angle of light shining into the image. Now, if that holographic plate is broken into four pieces, you do not end up with four images of parts of an apple; instead, you have four smaller images of the entire apple. The whole is in every part.
That is what God's creation is like. Fragment it as you will, and the Whole of creation is still reflected in every tiny part. All of creation is in you, and in me. The "wholly whole" creation is what the Course refers to as "the holy Son of God" (3:2). God's Will is complete in every aspect (another word for "part;" the Course will often use different words for "part" such as "aspect" or "fragment," but the unspoken assumption is always that every aspect contains the whole. The word refers to what we think of as "individuals" or "persons.") You are an aspect or part of the Son of God, and yet somehow, at the same time, you are also the Whole.
One symptom of our mistaken belief in separation is that we have over-identified with our partness, and have lost touch with our Wholeness. For instance, I tend to think of myself primarily as Allen Watson. You tend to think of yourself as your individuality. In fact, our primary reality is a shared Self, a Wholeness. Much of the learning process through which the Course is leading us is to change that primary sense of identification from partness to Wholeness. The learning environment of the holy relationship is designed to break down our sense of isolation, or partness, and to strengthen our identification with the Whole by demonstrating to us that what we think of as "the other person" in the relationship is, in fact, a part of our shared Self. We experience the same thoughts. What affects one affects the other. What I think affects you, and vice versa. What I give to you is given to myself. When I forgive you, I am released. As this breakdown of partness and realization of Wholeness is learned in the holy relationship, it begins to be generalized and transferred to all the other "aspects" of creation, all that we have thought of as "not me."
(These are the comments from the sixth day's portion of the "What is Creation" section - Lesson 326)
"Its [Creation's] oneness is forever guaranteed inviolate; forever held within His holy Will, beyond all possibility of harm, of separation, imperfection and of any spot upon its sinlessness."
To put this in a short, simple sentence: Separation is impossible. What God created One cannot ever become separate parts; only in mad illusions can this seem to occur. The Wholeness or Oneness is the expression of God's Will, and that cannot be opposed because there is nothing to oppose it. Everything that exists is part of this Oneness, part of this single expression of God's Will. There is no other, no opponent, no enemy, no contrary will. God would not and did not create something opposite to Himself. How could God will something opposite to His own will? All that is truly real, therefore, must be an expression of His Will.
The Wholeness is "beyond all possibility of harm" because nothing outside it exists to oppose it. This is one of the characteristics of what is referred to as "non-dual" cosmology. "Non-dual" means, simply, not two; only one. There is no opposite to God, and no opposite to God's one creation.
The Course often says that if an opposite to God exists, if sin (opposing God's Will) is truly possible, then God must have created His own opposite, which makes Him insane. If we think that, we must be insane. Either God is insane, or we are. And of the two, which is more likely?
(These are the comments from the seventh day's portion of the "What is Creation" section - Lesson 327)
"We are creation; we the Sons of God" (4:1). We exist. Therefore, since all that exists is God's creation, and creation is the Son of God (3:2), we must be creation. We must be aspects of the Whole, "Sons" who are aspects of the Son.
"We seem to be discrete, and unaware of our eternal unity with Him" (4:2). All of our experience in this world has taught us that we are "discrete," separate beings, distinct from and unconnected to one another. We are aware of our partness to the exclusion of our Wholeness, "our eternal unity with Him." Yet we only "seem" to be separate beings; in reality we are not. Our struggle with the Course, our struggle with all true spirituality, is the struggle of insanely trying to preserve this wholly illusory sense of separateness. We are trying to make "partness" the only truth about ourselves, by excluding the awareness of Wholeness. And in so doing we have cut ourselves off from our Self.
"Yet back of all our doubts, past all our fears, there still is certainty" (4:3). We doubt the Wholeness because we have made up circumstances (this whole world) in which partness seems to be the only reality. We fear the Wholeness because it seems to threaten our partness. (It does not, really, because in the Wholeness there is some kind of partness, but it is a partness in which every part contains the Whole, rather than excludes it.) Despite this insanity of identification only with partness, we are still the Whole. The Whole is "inviolate." It cannot be divided nor damaged in any way. So the Wholeness still exists, and still calls to us.
In every part, no matter how strong the illusion of separation, the Whole still is there. And the Whole, our true Self, is still certain of Itself. It is only the part, falsely imagined to be separate from the Whole, that doubts and fears. The Whole has no doubts, and no fears. What I am and what you are (which is the Same) knows Itself with unshakeable knowledge. That certainty which lies in our Wholeness is what we are trying to re-connect with. The memory of God and of what we are lies within us, in the Wholeness we have denied and excluded in our mad attempt to be completely separate parts. Through reconnecting with one another, we reconnect with that Wholeness, and in so doing, we remember God.
(These are the comments from the eighth day's portion of the "What is Creation" section - Lesson 328)
Love created us like Itself. As parts, each of which contains the Whole, we are Thoughts of Love. And "Love remains with all Its Thoughts, Its sureness being theirs" (4:4). The certainty of God is our certainty. It was given us in creation and is still there within us; it has never left us, although we have obscured it. God's memory is in our minds (4:5). Although we seem to be separate parts we are not; we are parts, but not separate, like droplets of water in the ocean. So we still contain all that was in the original creation. What belongs to the ocean belongs to each drop. Each of us still retains our oneness and our unity with our Creator (4:5).
"Let our function be only to let this memory return, only to let God's Will be done on earth, only to be restored to sanity, and to be but as God created us" (4:6). Our whole purpose in life is to be nothing but this, nothing but the restoration to our awareness of our Wholeness, and our partness-in-Wholeness. This is why we are here. This is the purpose behind every direction taken by the Holy Spirit's guidance in our lives. We are not here to bolster our partness, to meet goals belonging only to the part. We are here to let the memory of God return to our conscious minds, and to fulfill our purpose as the extensions of the Will of Love.
(These are the comments from the ninth day's portion of the "What is Creation" section - Lesson 329)
"Our Father calls to us."
"Father" is a personal synonym for "Creator," the One Who gave us being. Perhaps, after this time thinking about what creation is, the word "Father" may have a little more meaning for us. Our Father is the One Who thought us into existence. "Only Love creates" (1:2), and so our Father is Love Itself, Which has created us like Itself. This One desired to add to Love by Its extension, and so, out of that desire, we were created, to be held forever in His holy Will.
That immortal desire of God still stands! With all that infinite desire of His Will, He calls to us to be what He created us to be: the extension of His Love, creating as He does through extending love, forever one with His holy Will, sharing in It, glorying in It, exuding it from every pore of our being. God's Love remains with us. Our minds remember Him, remember our function. From within our minds He calls to us, drawing us with His Love to be the very Love that draws us.
He is our Father, our Creator. We cannot escape that fact, nor can we escape the fact of what we are. "I am as God created me" (W-pI.110). He calls to us constantly, continually, patiently, unceasingly, and until we end our mad attempt to be "something else," something other than Love, and respond to His call, we can only delay our happiness and postpone our joy.
Father, let me hear Your call today, and answer.
(These are the comments from the tenth day's portion of the "What is Creation" section - Lesson 330)
"We hear His Voice, and we forgive creation in the Name of its Creator, Holiness Itself, Whose holiness His Own creation shares; Whose holiness is still a part of us."
His Voice is calling us to "forgive creation." We have looked on God's creation--ourselves, our brothers and sisters, and all the rest that makes up creation--and we have pronounced judgment on it. We have seen guilt and ugliness where God created only beauty and holiness. In this world, we cannot truly create nor extend love in the purity that belongs only to Heaven, but we can forgive. We can end our fault-finding, and lift our judgment and condemnation from everything we see. Every moment offers us an opportunity to do this; every encounter is a chance to practice forgiveness.
Whatever we look upon without seeing the holiness of God in it, we need to forgive. To see anything other than God's holiness reflected everywhere is an act of unforgiveness, a condemnation of God's creation. When we do see something that appears unholy, we need to ask the help of the Holy Spirit to see past appearances to the truth of God's holiness those appearances are hiding. Sin is an illusion, and only holiness is true.
In a sense, then, all that the Course is teaching us is to acknowledge God's creation everywhere, in everything, and above all, in ourselves. Our Creator's "holiness is still a part of us." Let us say to everyone we meet (in our thoughts, our words, and our actions), "I would behold you with the eyes of Christ, and see my perfect sinlessness in you" (W-pI.161.11:8).