A scholar explained the memory of God with an analogy of birth. The following is as I understand and reason it:
God has sent us here, in this life, as an examination. Part of the examination is the belief in the unseen God. He explained that it is in our unconscious, even if we our not consciously aware of it in our memory. He explained that just like we have no memory of being born, of our mother delivering us, yet its a part of our Unconscious (beyond subconscious),we accept it as a fact, and give due respect to our parents for being our parents; similarly, though we do not remember God, yet it is part of our very nature and we realize and accept the existence and presence of Him.
As and when the baby grows up, though there is no conscious memory of being born, yet he/she accepts and acknowledges this fact and respects and honours his/her parents, and is dutiful. Those who do not, the general consensus of society is that they are ungrateful people.Similarly, though we have no memory of God, as we live our lives, we feel His existence and presence, and then use all faculties to search Him and His message, and then try to live accordingly. That is the trial_ to discover the purpose of this life, to be grateful for the gift of life, and to prepare for eternity, or so I understand. And perhaps that's why, actions are judged by intentions.
If we were to see God or His angels, the trial would be over.
I think we are all focussing on different parts of the truth, each have some pieces of the puzzle, and together we can come close to an understanding of the truth. May we all find the truth we seek.
A friend asked: Regardless of the trial's objective, my question is why try the human race for anything? I mean there is absolutely no comparison between God and human. Then whats the point in trying the humans for anything? Would you try an ant for something? and then punish him as well if he fails? Doesnt it feel unwarranted (if not unjustified)?
My response: Instead of the ant, let us consider a robot or a software that we've wired / programmed to do certain things. What if it rebels and refuses to do what its created to do? Also, what if its own good / life depends on doing what it was supposed to be do, and behaving in the rebellious manner is actually a self-destructive behaviour? And what if the human inventor stays in a control room and controls the robot/software remotely, such that they never see each other, then what if the robot / software turns around and says "sorry but I honestly do not think you human could or did make me, in fact I'm here as a part of nature, an evolutionary process, and that's just about it; in fact the question is 'do you human actually exist, or are you just a figment of my imagination?' "...
The friend responded: Is the relation between God and humans similar to that between a 'programmed' robot and its owner? If thats the case then worshipping becomes a mere mechanical task. Instead of that, I would like to be informed that worship, the way humans worship God must be significantly different from a similar act by a robot to his owner.
My response: A robot/creation with a free-will, with permission to choose his/her thoughts, intentions, course of action. (think Matrix, for example)The problem is we are just focussing on how dreadful the thought of punishment is. Judgement Day is not primarily about punishing... it is about rewarding and recompensating, about establishing justice, about vindicating those who have suffered and persevered, otherwise how can we reconcile the sufferings we see in this world and the attribute of God that He is Most Compassionate, Most Merciful, Most Loving? That those who deserve/have earned/justified/proven that they deserve punishment will be punished is but an inevitable consequence of it. Think of it as quality-control, that only those who meet Heaven's standards will be allowed in there. In God's complete knowledge and wisdom, He knows who will or will not qualify, and could have just sorted us without trial, yet He has given us a chance, an opportunity to prove ourselves, and the best part is, its an open-book exam (trial)! Instead of raising a hue and cry about how the Examiner can declare someone Fail, the examinees should focus on how wonderful it would be if they study, strive and pray that they pass the exam. Isn't that our attitude towards worldly exams??
The friend responded: In my opinion, a robot can never have a free will. Everything that it does has actually been imagined by his creator (yes, that includes any 'random' paths in the program execution thread)...
My response: Isn't this what we're repeatedly reminded of: that all things good or bad are from God. And no, it doesn't create a 'major issue' if we remember that its not the outcomes of our choices and actions, rather our intentions that we are being judged on. We tend to place a lot of emphasis on the outcome, as to us mortals, this life appears to be the et all... if we remember that this is but a mere passing phase, in our journey towards the final, eternal reality, then do the outcomes in this world really matter? To my mind, what matters is whether we qualify for Heaven or not, as our Eternity depends upon it!
Our life-paths are pre-programmed... ie all that happens happens according to the divine plan.But we all have been blessed with thoughts and intentions, which is basically what we call 'free-will'. It is this 'free-will', this ability to think and have intentions to do such and such actions, based on certain motives, that we will be judged on. Action alone will not be the determinant... it is what's in the heart that will matter. We can choose for ourselves, but from the given set of possible choices only... and all those choices have already been programmed by God.
A Christian friend eloquently responded to the above discussion:
I think I understand the point you are making. If God has set the absolute boundaries in which our behaviour can operate, then we are the ones responsible for our intentions and actions within those pre set boundaries.
Speaking as a person who has seen and experienced unspeakable acts of human stupidity, cruelty, and sheer bloody evil, I do find myself sometimes wondering why God has set such wide boundaries ???
But I guess that it is by learning from our combined mistakes as a species, that somehow a greater good will eventually emerge either on this planet or in our spiritual afterlife ???
Surely the ways of God defy human reasoning, but I for one am grateful to God for the Blessing of a curious brain and a robust faith, although I must admit that they do not always get on well !! :)