The ideas we have about God are not God.
Any idea, thought, or concept never was and never will be God. They may be helpful symbols that point to God, metaphors, analogies, allegories, images, but they are not God as God is. They will inevitably conflict with one another and are fallible, as every symbol eventually fails at actually being the thing it is supposed to represent. The symbol is never the thing-in-itself.
Ideas are not God. Thoughts are not God. No amount of knowledge about God that we put into our minds will allow us to know God, because that is not how God is known. God is not a particular fact or figure, or even a host of facts and figures that fill up volumes on library shelves. They can guide us towards God, but they will never reveal God in them. This is perhaps why “consuming” of the “Tree of Knowledge” is symbolically what leads humanity out of the “Garden” and out of the Oneness or Nondual Presence of God/Reality/Transcendent/One/Logos.
God can only be known through direct experience of God, beyond all thoughts and ideas, even in the absence of our particular thoughts and ideas (see Isaiah 55:8-9). It is a direct, intuitive, holistic, aesthetic, empathetic, love-saturated, peaceful, energizing, clarifying, uplifting, purifying, transfiguring, selfless (egoless), awareness experience of the nature of our real Self and of the Reality in which we are embedded and from which we are eternally inseparable.
We must move past all of the ideas, concepts, thoughts, and knowledge that swim constantly around in our minds to become aware of and experience Reality directly, things “as they really are,” and only then will we be able to experience God as God is. It is always in the experience of God that God is known, prior to all thoughts about God. This is what happens in the many forms of contemplation and meditation in the world’s religious and spiritual traditions. It is coming to see things as they really are (spiritual eye), and not as we want them to be, or as our minds interpret or translate them (natural eye). As soon as our minds start to categorize, judge, interpret, classify, separate, label, distinguish, differentiate, name, or otherwise make our experience of Reality a duality, a subject of me here (ego) with separate objects out there, we have metaphorically exited the “Garden.” We have entered the world of duality, of separation, of division, of alienation, of 2+ things not One. It is a duality of the “Knowledge of Good and Evil,” and many other opposites, Light/Dark, Day/Night, Up/Down, Left/Right, Space/Object, Bitter/Sweet, Happiness/Sadness, Right/Wrong, etc.
Of course, the world of duality is not inherently bad. Operating from a centered subject outwards toward external objects is how we get things done in the world, how we navigate the world, how we communicate in the world, how we come to know creation and are creative. But it is a layer of reality that sits on top of the base nondual Reality of God, and it proceeds forth from out of that nondual Reality.
In the various spiritual or philosophical traditions and even scientific perspectives this process is called by various terms: form from the formless, or world of substances from the world of forms, or multiplicity from nonduality, or explicate (unfolded) order from implicate (enfolded) order, or material world created from a spiritual world, or physical world created ex nihilo (out of nothing), or content-filled consciousness from pure consciousness. These all are referring to the same phenomenon, in my opinion. It is what is, or Truth, prior to our (or “Adam’s”) naming it, prior to it becoming some named thing in our minds. Once it becomes a thing, a substance, a form, a material/physical item, we can get so captured by this surface layer of reality, the reality of our egoic object-oriented minds, that we cannot perceive the deeper unified reality underneath it all. We can get trapped in the world of duality, imprisoned, stuck, isolated, alone, believing that our subject is forever distant and separated from every other object in existence.
But this separation is an illusion. It is an illusion that is generated by our minds so that we can operate as individuals in the world, but it is not Reality as it is. It is not how things really are. There is an exquisitely beautiful Reality that sits beneath that of duality, of multiplicity, of categorization and division, of subjects and objects, and this Reality is unnamed, uncreated, formless, undivided, pure, and is perfectly Peaceful, Good, Whole (Holy), and purely at Rest in itself forever and ever. It has been called by many names such as God, Reality, Truth, Nature, Love, Life, the Eternal, the Divine, the Good, the One, the Nondual.
That is what we really are and will always be. All the rest we see is a manifestation or emanation from that One, in that One, including the “selves” that we think we are, this subject of “self” in our consciousness. Knowing more and more objects in manifestation (whether physical or mental), and which adds to our subjective conceptualization of “self,” doesn’t lead us to know the One from which all those objects emanate. That is why contemplation and meditation are so valuable. These practices allow us to sit back, rest from all worldly egoic thoughts and cares, and perceive Reality as it is, just as it is, nothing added, nothing subtracted. We experience the Present Reality of experience just as experience is. Nothing more. We experience the Light of our conscious awareness, our Being, Being itself. And this is Divine, and fills us to overflowing with Spirit, Energy, Awakening, Life, Peace, and Love for all things which emanate from and in that One which we all are.
Knowing about God is different than knowing God. Knowing God is knowing our Self, it is experiencing our deepest true universal Self, the undivided base of Reality, the One in which we are embedded and from which we are forever inseparable, and from which our temporal mortal psychological “self” and all other apparent surface-level phenomena, objects, things, and beings emanate, grow, are created, and made manifest to do Good in the world, to know the world, to Love the world in its Self, as our Self.
The ideas we have about God are not God. Any idea, thought, or concept never was and never will be God. They may be helpful symbols that point to God, metaphors, analogies, allegories, images, but they are not God as God is. They will inevitably conflict with one another and be fallible, as every symbol eventually fails at actually being the thing it is supposed to represent. The symbol is never the thing-in-itself.
The ideas we have about God are not God.