God – A Pure Spirit
Sep 28, 2021 / Written by: Gary Isbell
Mr. Phelps, Allen’s father, had folded his newspaper and taken a book from one of the shelves in his small library; it was a catechism. He had promised his son just before he went out to play that, on his return, he would explain to him about God being a pure spirit. He had already explained to Allen about the existence of God. Allen had said he was going to bring a friend along, so how to explain the concept of “spirit” to two ten year olds?
Just then several doors banged and a pair of very hot and panting boys made their tornado-like entrance.
“Dad, here we are! I brought Johnny, too. I told him all about how God exists and, and…how He made the world and, and…how the ‘big bang’ thing really doesn’t work. He agreed that what you said makes much more sense than what he was told before. Now, will you tell us about God being a pure spirit? What is a spirit, anyway?”
Allen seated himself on half of the stool by his father’s recliner and beckoned Johnny to sit on the other half.
“Do you have any idea what a spirit is, boys?” asked Allen’s father as he removed his glasses. “Something we cannot see?” ventured Johnny shyly.
“Or touch?” asked Allen.
“Yes,” answered their instructor, “but if we cannot see or touch or taste or smell or hear something, can it still exist?”
Both boys, gazing intently, shrugged their shoulders. They weren’t sure. “Let’s put it this way,” said Mr. Phelps, “both of you have very good mothers, true?”
Both boys nodded emphatically.
“Now, you are sure they are good and full of kindness, right?”
Again, both heads nodded with enthusiasm.
“Now, can you see, touch, or smell their goodness?”
“No,” said both simultaneously.
“Yet, they are full of goodness.”
“Yes!” they both almost shouted.
“Now, can you see and touch and even smell the leather cover on this book I am holding?”
“Yes,” they said while instinctively stretching out their hands to touch the catechism.
“Does this book exist?”
“Does you mother’s goodness exist?”
“Very well. Now, things that we can see and touch and smell are called material things and they surely exist. What we cannot see or touch or smell, like goodness or kindness, are spiritual things, but they exist just the same.”
"Oh!” exclaimed Johnny and Allen slowly, as the idea began to sink in.
“Now, what makes your mothers good and kind and loving is their spirits, what we usually call souls. The soul is that part of us that causes us to feel, think, and love, and to want good or bad things, to wish good or evil for others. We cannot see our souls, but they exist. Not only do they exist, but they are so much stronger than our bodies that if they were gone, our bodies would die”
“You can see your mothers because they have bodies, they are not just souls. This is how we humans are made, in two parts: body and spirit. Now, God has no body like ours. He is only a spirit and one so powerful that He not only never dies but He gives life to everything on this earth that is alive. He is Life itself. He is a spirit that is so perfect and so good that if we were to put together all the goodness of all the good mothers in the world, it would nearly disappear next to God, Who is Goodness itself.”
“I see,” said Johnny slowly. “But, Mr. Phelps, if we can’t see God or touch Him…I mean, well,…wouldn’t it be better if He had a body?”
“Do you mean that God is incomplete or defective for not having a body?”
“I…guess so… “No, not really. If we were to think that God is incomplete or defective because He has no body, we would be thinking like, say, a monkey if he looked at a man and thought, ‘"What a defective creature man is. He has no tail like mine!’”
The two boys giggled.
“For a monkey,” continued Allen’s father, “it is proper to have a tail, but not for a man. In much the same way, it is good and proper for a man to have a body, for it is part of the human nature that God gave him. But it is not proper for God. He is very different from a man because he has an incomparably higher nature, a divine nature. If God had a body, He would be limited. A body has a certain weight, a certain size; it can be hurt and it can grow old. It can even die, that is, the soul or spirit can be separated from the body. But God is infinite; He has no limits of size or weight. God cannot die. He cannot be destroyed. To die is the same as being destroyed, separated. God cannot be destroyed because He has no parts.”
“Here are some big words for you: God is indivisible, meaning that He cannot be separated into parts; immortal, meaning that He cannot die; indestructible, meaning that He cannot be destroyed.”
“Wow!” exclaimed both at the same time.
“Powerful!” added Allen(his favorite word). “And to think, as you said, Dad, that this same God, this same spirit, is full of goodness, more than all the mothers together… Is that right? Are you sure, Dad? That would be an awfully good person!”
“Hahummm,” mused Johnny.
Now it was Mr. Phelps’ turn to chuckle.
“God is not only good. He is Goodness. Goodness in Him is not only great but infinite. And so are all the other virtues in Him. And the fact that God is a pure spirit is something that should make us understand, a least in someway, how great He is. So, we should go to Him; to this God Who is infinite and infinitely powerful, good, wise, merciful, just, and loving. He is our Father. From God we should expect everything. Only in God will we find perfect happiness. He wants us to be happy because He is our Father, and He can give us happiness because He is infinitely perfect. Only an infinitely perfect Being can give us perfect happiness.”
“Now, if we cannot perceive God through our senses, that is, through our sight, our touch, our smell, our taste, or our hearing, how can we perceive Him? We can perceive God or know Him through His works, just as we can know the goodness of our mothers by what they do for us, how they act toward us, by what they give us.”
Allen and Johnny had become serious and pensive. Their young minds had a glimpse of something so immense that it left them pondering, yet, so good that it attracted them.
After a moment, Johnny spoke: “Mr. Phelps, my mother always taught me to say morning prayer. But I wish I could have a prayer that would say to God all this that you just taught us.”
“Well,” replied Mr. Phelps as he flipped through the book in his hand,“ what about this prayer written by a very good priest:
“‘My God, my Father, my eyes cannot see You; my ears can not hear You; my hands can not touch You; my tongue cannot taste You; my sense of smell cannot perceive You. Yet, I know You exist and I know that I am before You and that You know all my thoughts and all my actions and all my feelings because the whole universe proclaims that You created it and all good things come to me from You. I adore You, I thank You, I ask Your forgiveness for all my sins, and I ask You to help me. Amen.’”
At that moment, the doorbell rang. Standing up, Mr. Phelps lay the open book in front of the boys.
“Why don’t you two copy this prayer? You will find paper and pencils in the desk.”
As he left, all that could be heard was the sound of pencils scratching on paper as Allen and Johnny wrote with full concentration. Let’s hope they are saying that prayer every morning.