Many’s the time I questioned God on this one.
”I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.” Exodus 20:2-3
See my problem here is that he is not quoted as saying that “there are no other gods.” Which is what I was always told this is supposed to mean. Instead by saying, “. . . no other gods before Me,” I always felt like this was a confirmation or admission that “hey, yeah, there are other gods.” I mean how can I rightly put this one God first if there are no other gods? I asked Him.
(Listening.) (No answer.)
So then I looked at the beginning, “ . . . brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the land of bondage.” Well, no, I’ve never been to Egypt nor have my ancestors, and no, I have never been a slave nor have my ancestors. Maybe I don’t understand because I am not who He meant, nor were my ancestors. Maybe you have to be Jewish? What about Christians I wonder? And Hindus ? Are only Jewish people your chosen people?
(Listening.) “No.” whispers a voice. “All are chosen. All are mine.”
So is it true then, there is only one God?
(Listening.) (No answer.)
Are there many gods?
(Listening.) “Yes and no.”
(Listening.) “That is all you need know, now”
And that was all the answer I would get for thirty years, until the dream.
When I looked in God’s eye, I saw it all, Earth shrinking to other planets, planets shrinking in the solar system, the solar system shrinking in the Milky Way, the milky Way shrinking amid many galaxies, galaxies shrinking . . . yet He was still beyond, bigger. I felt as though my brain would explode with the immensity of it.
Stop! Please no more, I begged. It stopped and suddenly, infinite threads appeared attached to all the many galaxies. I touched one. Instantly, it carried me home to a mote of dust on a table in my basement.
Then I stepped back out of His eye and I knew so many things.
“Yes and no.”
Now I understand. Greater than the galaxies of the universe and more numerous than every mote of dust, the threads that bind everything to every other thing are many and one both at the same time. The meaning behind the first commandment of the Hebrew bible is to teach us that though there are many gods, they are each but a part of a larger whole. It is that Whole, that One, who gave Moses that commandment and who whispers to me. He chose me. He asked me to tell everyone to put down their weapons and words of hate and knowing we are all one in His eyes, embrace each other in love, compassion, mercy and forgiveness.
I thought I heard him crying (it tore me to hear it), for all the hate crimes committed due to the misinterpretation of this one commandment. No wonder he is so slow to speak to us.