“The Great Apes Are Wonderful Creatures . . . So Close But Yet So Far.”


“And so, Lord, You call forth the first human beings?”

Yes, the first inklings, forerunners, of man.  The great apes are wonderful creatures, full of intelligence, energy, and drive.  But it is frustrating to interact with them.  They are so close and yet so far from having full interactive personalities.  They have teleological urges but they are only effective, for the most part, at the biological level.  Their social life is rudimentary and their spiritual awareness is diffuse and inarticulate.  They lack a symbolic order.  They can’t project ideals beyond the sensual.  They can’t respond to Me either.

“But they evolved?”

The transition to early man is both slow and sudden.  Remember what the first two years of a child’s life is like, and (then) imagine each day to be a century.  In a sense, nothing is happening.  One day looks much like the last, and there is no single great leap forward.

So imagine My excitement when the first protohumans arrived.  At first, you couldn’t tell them from animals but I could see their potential.  They didn’t have language but their sounds and marks had representative purposes.  They could connect one thing to another, one thought to another.  They could remember their past and replay it in their minds.  They slowly developed a sense of the future.

The Right Way to Ask

“Walsch reports You as saying, ‘God will grant whatever is asked, without fail.’  Whatever is asked!”

The trick is in “ask.”  Not everything you “want” has been “asked” in the right way, with fulsomeness of soul.

“But then the statement is completely misleading.  It depends on a verbal sleight of hand.”

Not so.  Some might be confused by it, but it is a way of focusing attention on the right way to ask, to believe and feel fully, and to motivate this change in people.  But it is not a lie, not even a Noble Lie.  It is the direct truth.  When you come into the fullness of Being, of partnership with God, everything you truly seek will be granted.  That may seem like a bait and switch, but that is not the way you will see it when you get there.  You will see that this is indeed what you really wanted all along.


“I Came to All Peoples”

I have told you that there are many gods but only one God and I am He.

“What do You mean by many gods?”

In a sense, the wind and seas are gods.  The elemental forces of nature are gods.

“Why gods rather than impersonal forces?”

They are not impersonal.  They are agents of Me.  They help direct the world toward its goal.

“What is Your relation to the God of Israel?”

The God of Israel is one face of Me.  It is really Me, and I really did undergo the development recorded pretty accurately in the Hebrew Bible.

“You have other ‘faces’?”

Of course.  I came to all peoples, but arrived in different guises.  I came to the American Indians as the Great Spirit, to the Muslems as Allah, and so on.  I came to the Hindus in many different forms, and hence their many stories.

“Let Me Tell You What the Story Is.”

In a few days, I asked again about God’s story.

The story begins with creation, the evolution up to life, animals, early man.  Then to the very ancient communications that require language and memory.

They (My communications) occurred rather simultaneously, and each communication was tailored to and by the recipients.  So the precise sequence for telling My story is more a question of narrative strategy than of accuracy or significance.

“But I will have to tell a story that makes sense.”

That makes sense to whom?  Let Me tell you what the story is.  I am burgeoning forth, reaching out to matter, plants, animals, activating their interiority, giving them direction.

As I have explained, I grew as a Self in response to the interiority of others, and I wanted to communicate, interact, more fully and at a higher level.  This (communication) is somewhat possible with early man, who recognized My presence in nature, in life, and also heard, if somewhat dimly and inchoately, My other promptings such as conscience, (the sense of) right and wrong, fine sensibility, appreciation of nature and beauty, love amongst creatures, and mystical union.

“Early people saw my presence everywhere…”

As early peoples caught glimpses of the divine in art or in nature, it must have been natural to think there were gods in things.  In fact, I had been told.

Some elements of polytheism are merely superstitious, but other aspects are genuinely responsive to the many ways in which I present myself.  It may seem odd to your modern mind to think of fire as a god, but why do you think I made fire mysterious and fascinating?  It is a physical metaphor in itself—it is created out of nothing and disappears into nothing, grows and dies, gives life and warmth as well as pain and destruction, and it looks both hypnotically attractive and frightening.

As you know, I am very powerful.  I do manifest Myself in storms and thunder, in the ocean and great waves—in the power that drives the universe and that manifests itself in each particular event.  The large cosmic forces are divine and so are their concrete manifestations in specific incidents.  That does not mean that every rainstorm is a specific communication or is there to advance or retard some particular action, but it does mean that every rainstorm expresses an aspect of Me.

Early peoples saw My presence everywhere, saw the spiritual indwelling of things, their powers and potencies and the divine element in all that.  But there was always an awareness, however dim, that there was a single spiritual reality behind them all.

“Think in a Different Way”

“Lord, I have the feeling that you want me to read and think less, and to listen more and just write down your story.”

Don’t stop thinking, but think in a different way. Don’t work so hard to figure everything out, to make it rational, to make it fit your categories. Just listen and think through the implications of what I tell you.

“But, Lord, some of what I learn from You comes from worrying over what you say.”

Sometimes yes, but often no. Sometimes your questioning just gets in the way. The main point is to open your mind, to try to understand what I am saying on its own terms, and to see ways it might be true or understandable to you.

If something doesn’t make sense to me, how can I supposed to “see ways” to make it understandable? How do you get to that vantage point?


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.

Why am I holding back?

As I worried over the changes all this would require, especially stepping back from my work and reducing my salary.  God chided me for “hoarding.”  Then He added,

Think about your intelligence.

Lord, are You suggesting that I am hoarding it too—holding it back instead of using it in Your service?”


“Out of my own fear of not being up to the task?”


“Lord, I can take actions You command, but I can’t change how I feel.”

I did not ask you to change your feelings.  You may still feel insecure if you want.  I asked you to stop hoarding your intelligence.  That is an action.

“Do you have something specific in mind?”

Yes, you could be talking to serious people with religious interests right now, and you’re not.  I’m not pushing you to work harder but you could be making notes toward articles.  But you hold back.  I am not directing you to do something different so much as not to hold back for the wrong reason, out of insecurity.



Every revelation is limited in this way.

I was praying about Neale Donald Walsch’s Conversations with God.  Walsch quotes God as having told him, “You’ve the power and the ability right now to end world hunger this minute, to cure diseases this instant.”

Not right.

Walsch asks why God doesn’t put an end to suffering and reports being told, “I have put an end to it.  You simply refuse to use the tools I have given you with which to realize that.  You see, suffering has nothing to do with events, but with one’s reaction to them.”


He asks, “why not eliminate the events?” and reports being told, “Unfortunately, I have no control over them.”


He reports God as explaining:  “Events are occurrences in time and space which you produce out of choice—and I will never interfere with choices.”

Too simple.

According to Walsch’s report, “Some events you produce willfully, and some events you draw to you—more or less unconsciously.  Some events—major natural disasters are among those you toss into this category—are written off to ‘fate.’  Yet even ‘fate’ can be an acronym for ‘from all thoughts everywhere.’  In other words, the consciousness of the planet.”


I prayed about other things Walsch attributes to God.  For example, “Thoughts are put into action.  If enough people everywhere believe something must be done to help the environment, you will save the Earth.”


And “So much damage (to the environment) has already been done, for so long.  This will take a major attitudinal shift.”


And “There is not one among you who has not made a headache disappear, or a visit to the dentist less painful, through your decision about it.  A Master simply makes the same decision about larger things.”

Yes, sort of.

“Lord, you have corrected several of Walsch’s reports.  Is this an example of how prayers and revelation generally can go wrong?  Is that part of the lesson here?”

Yes, the listener always has concepts and beliefs through which the message must be funneled.  Every revelation is limited in this way.  That is one reason new revelations are always needed.

I didn’t pray about Walsch after that.  Whatever God was or wasn’t doing with him was between him and God.

“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.