“The whole now needs to be told.”

“Lord, what exactly is my assignment?”

The world needs to understand My story, or at least to understand it better.  I have given parts of the story to different people at different times.  The whole now needs to be told.  Your effort will be part of telling that whole story.

“Do You want people to piece the whole together out of the parts?”

What I most want is for people to listen to Me.

“And to listen to what You have told various people over the ages?”

Yes, that is part of listening to Me.

“What exactly do You want me to write?”

God: An Autobiography.  My story is the history of Me—how I came to be.


God: An Autobiography, As Told to a Philosopher – is the true story of a philosopher’s conversations with God. Dr. Jerry L. Martin, a lifelong agnostic. Dr. Martin served as head of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the University of Colorado philosophy department, is the founding chairman of the Theology Without Walls group at AAR, and editor of Theology Without Walls: The Transreligious Imperative. Dr. Martin’s work has prepared him to become a serious reporter of God’s narrative, experiences, evolution, and autobiography. In addition to scholarly publications, Dr. Martin has testified before Congress on educational policy. He has appeared on “World News Tonight,” and other television news programs.


Listen to this on God: An Autobiography, The Podcast– the dramatic adaptation and continuing discussion of the book God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher by Jerry L. Martin.

He was a lifelong agnostic, but one day he had an occasion to pray. To his vast surprise, God answered- in words. Being a philosopher, he had a lot of questions, and God had a lot to tell him.

“This is not a renunciation”

I want you to model the spiritual life. Live it deeply. Theology is not just an intellectual exercise. It must be grounded in an intimate relationship with Me, an intimate openness to My Word.

“Aren’t I already open, Lord?”

Yes, but you turn away. You know the problem. You hold Me at arm’s length and listen to Me only part of the time, and only partially, not as a whole person. You need to draw Me into yourself totally—live through Me—and let Me guide you totally.

“But that sounds miserable. I couldn’t have fun and enjoy life any more.”

No, it doesn’t mean that. You will find life perfectly pleasant. This is not a renunciation. It is an affirmation, a growing in a certain direction, in a certain domain.

This reminded me of saying a sad farewell, before getting married, to all I would be giving up—having my apartment as messy as I wanted, living on pizza, watching the Late Late Show. It’s amazing what a bachelor can cherish as the good life.

“Lord, what do You want me to do?”

Nothing dramatic. Just pause in the course of the day to take Me in. It doesn’t mean you have to interrupt other things you’re doing. But I will be co-present and a co-participant. Try that now, as you eat your lunch.

“Okay, Lord.” I drew Him in and unwrapped my sandwich. “Let me share this with You, Lord.”


That day I ate lunch “with God.” But most days I do not.

“They shook your faith.”

One morning I started to ask some trivial question and was interrupted.

You stopped asking about Me because some of the answers disturbed you. They shook your faith.

That was true. When answers upset me, I would start thinking that, surely, this was not the voice of God. “Lord, why is faith like that? Why is Your interaction with us so tenuous and subject to doubt?”

First, it is not. During most times, people have not had trouble believing. Believing in Me or in some gods was—is—the most natural thing in the world.

Second, my “invisibility” has to do with the kind of Being I am. It’s like asking why we can’t see neutrinos. Nobody can see your “mind.” You believe in “other minds” with no greater “evidence.”

God was alluding to the topic of my doctoral dissertation. One of the great philosophical puzzles concerns skepticism with regard to knowledge of other minds. The problem arises from the fact that we do not have direct access to other people’s thoughts and feelings. We only observe their outer behavior. In fact, we do not have any proof that others really have inner thoughts and feelings at all. Yet it is reasonable to believe they do. Is God any more elusive than minds? Well, He certainly seems so.


“A Serious Question.”

A serious question.   

My life with Abigail was not simple.  She was still teaching full-time in New York, and I was working in Washington, D.C.  Whenever possible we would spend all-too-brief weekends together.

Come summer, we were spending more time together.  She needed a car.  I looked at the ads and found a nice little white used car.  The guy selling his car was the youth minister at a local church.  I started to explain that I was buying it for my girlfriend.  No, that would not sound right, and it was not true.  I was buying it for my future wife.  “I’m buying it for my fiancée.”

There had never been any doubt that I wanted to marry Abigail.  I never considered anything short of that.  But, in my methodical way, I had held off for six long months.  It was time to pop the question.

I took her to a dark, romantic Spanish restaurant in Alexandria.  I don’t know how we behaved in those days but the waiters called us the love-birds, and they put us in the “lovers’ cove” upstairs.  I had written her a little poem, a bad poem.  I can’t write poetry, but I thought the effort might soften her up.

But it was not our night.  A thunderstorm came up and, just as I was warming up to ask her, water started dripping right on our table.  Ink in the poem ran.  We scooted the table to the side.  And then I told her I loved her and would love her forever and would she be my wife?  I knew well the scene in Hollywood movies; the woman looks longingly into her paladin’s eyes and gushes, “oh yes, yes!”  Well, not the philosophical Abigail.  I asked, and waited.  And waited.  Then waited some more.  She seemed lost in deep thought.

Finally, I reminded her that I had asked a question and was still holding my breath for an answer.  In the gravest tones, she said Yes.  Why the long pause?  “It was a serious question and I thought I should give it a serious answer.”  She certainly had.