I found a very fine collection of cave paintings and other prehistoric art in Journey Through the Ice Age, by Paul G. Bahn and Jean Vertut. There is a breathtaking simplicity and grace to many of the paintings.
“Lord, these cave paintings also have an aura of holiness.”
That is right. My first approach is to give humans the sense that nature is special, sacred, that there is something more than trees and clumps of grass, that there is also a spiritual presence.
“Lord, were the cave-paintings inspired by You as a way of expressing how You saw animals?”
These questions about whether I caused something or the person did are not as valid as you think. I often think through people. Your thoughts are often My thoughts. Remember that, in a sense, everything is a manifestation, not just an effect, of Me.
In spite of my own experiences, I was still disturbed by the idea of God being present in or entering people and things. “Lord, Your spirit entered the cave artists?”
Well, if you want to put it that way. But it is not like possession or automatic writing. At times, individuals are “filled” with Me, “in-spired.” What they do at those times is therefore also something I am doing.
“So these inspired individuals saw animals the way You do?”
They saw them as they are. They saw their souls, their moving spirits, like looking into the eyes of your beloved. These animals have beautiful souls.
God and Humans
I wondered how God interacted with these first humans. “Did You communicate with them verbally?”
In a sense. Early on, they do not have what can properly be called a language.
They have sounds and gestures (and) live in a very short time-horizon—no signifiers for things distant in time or space. I communicate in grunts and such like, in their inner ears, to give them a sense of awe and My presence. Of course, their consciousness is still very undifferentiated.
This is not a criticism or insult. They are quite wonderful creatures.
Some respond in a very spiritual way. They catch the drift and are in awe, and feel the splendor of creation and My divine presence.
“Do you give them commands?”
Yes. Some “grunts” are warnings not to do something. They live on the edge of subsistence and can be very cruel.
Life is brutal and they are often brutal. They die young. But that does not keep them from responding spiritually.
“What does this mean for You, for Your life?”
For Me, it means the first spark of real interpersonal interaction, not just vague spiritual rapport.
From very early, humans—protohumans—have a sense of something more, something higher. (Their sense of) the divine is not just fear and wish-fulfillment, though there is plenty of that. There is a real sense of relating to Me as a Person, not just as the vague spirituality of nature.
It is hard to convey in retrospect but, at this point, I do not quite know I have a personality, an individual personhood.
Events pass through my consciousness. I have a sense of My intelligence pervading the world, of fulfilling a universal telos. I feel a spiritual rapport with life. But none of that constitutes a sense of personhood, of an I standing opposite a You. The protohumans gave Me that, or I developed it or became aware of it in relation to them.
For the first time, human beings mirror Me, look at Me eyeball to eyeball.
Beauty also becomes possible, as you see in prehistoric cave paintings.
Creatures from a very low level enjoy and appreciate sensory stimulation. In that sense they find a scene (though not quite a “scene” for them yet) “beautiful.” But true appreciation of beauty is seeing an ideal form in something material. What they are drawing on cave walls are ideal bulls.
“I have seen those drawings. They are amazing.”
Study the cave paintings and other artifacts.
They respond to, reflect, how I was presenting Myself to them. You will be able to see or infer what My experience was like, what I was trying to do.
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, autobiography and sparks of wisdom. In addition to scholarly publications, Dr. Martin has testified before Congress on educational policy, 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.