How can God be lonely if the separation never happened?

Q. How can God be lonely if the separation never happened? Doesn’t that idea make the separation totally real? It implies that God is out there somewhere lonely and I am here lonely and we need to be reunited. It doesn’t say that this is my experience, it says this is how it is. Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that everything is complete with in itself, because every part includes the whole, instead of saying the part is incomplete and lonely?

A. Your question is one that naturally comes up, for the Course does indeed say several times (five times by my count) that God is lonely while we dream of separation. I have heard that we should obviously understand this idea as a metaphor, but I believe that we have to take it seriously, both because of how many times it is said and because it is said in such a straightforward way; it is not treated as a metaphor, in other words. Here, for example, is part of one of the Course’s most technical discussions of the separation:

The constant going out of His Love is blocked when His channels are closed, and He is lonely when the minds He created do not communicate fully with Him. (T-4.VII.6:7).

Yet your point is well-taken. How could God feel lonely unless we had in fact separated from Him? The answer, I believe, is that we need to respect both sides of the Course’s view of reality. One side of that view is that reality (i.e., Heaven) is completely changeless and absolutely unified. There are no separate parts and no actual doing. There is no room for any change from that perfect unified state.

The other side of the Course’s view, however, is that reality is inherently dynamic and relational. Indeed, the Course often talks about our “relationship” with God and implies that the word “dynamic” only applies to Heaven, because nothing really happens in this world (see T-11.V.3:3). In this view, God creates (creation being a dynamic concept) an infinite number of Sons, with whom He is in perfect relationship. God and His Sons forever share a love of unearthly depth and intensity, and express this love in an outpouring of continual creation.

This relational view of Heaven, I believe, is an incredibly positive thing. We all long for the perfect relationship, and the Course says that we already have that: “God created the only relationship that has meaning, and that is His relationship with you” (T-15.VIII.6:6).

However, all relationship comes with a potential downside. In relationship, there is always the possibility that one party will exercise its free will and close off to the other. And that is the Course’s story of the separation: We used our free will to close off to God’s Love. We didn’t actually separate, since there was nowhere else to go. But we fell asleep to God and entered into a dream of a godless world in which our fantasy of being apart from Him became “reality.”

If God didn’t miss us while we were asleep to Him, that would imply that He receives no enjoyment from us being awake to Him. It would mean, in other words, that He didn’t care. Such a God may be the perfect picture of nonduality, but could we really call Him loving? Love, after all, is a relational term.

The two sides of the Course’s view of Heaven do present us with a paradox. Changeless unity does not seem to fit with dynamic relationship. Yet the Course weaves them seamlessly together and never implies that it doesn’t really mean one side or the other. It clearly means both.

This is hard to wrap our minds around, but who is to say that these minds can stretch far enough to wrap themselves around infinity? Once unlimited mind has filtered through these tiny brains, only a “measly trickle” comes out, as Aldous Huxley put it. Is that measly trickle really broad enough to encompass the ocean?

Perhaps, then, it is possible that God is still complete, yet also desires completion through full communion with our waking minds. This may sound contradictory, yet we can sometimes see the Course sound much like this when it struggles to explain the paradoxes of Heaven. For example, note this convoluted passage, which is talking about “true creation,” our act of extension in Heaven:

It adds to all that is complete already, not in simple terms of adding more, for that implies that it was less before. It adds by letting what cannot contain itself fulfill its aim of giving everything it has away, securing it forever for itself. (W-pI.105.4:4-5)

So if creation can “add” to what “is complete already,” is it possible that separation can “take away” from is complete still? Is it possible, in other words, that God can miss us even while He knows that He and His Sons are forever complete and at one?

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