God the Grandfather

Photo by Zahra Amiri on Unsplash

Some time ago, someone educated me on something about spirituality that, at the time, I found to be truly ridiculous. He was a well-read Filipino occultist, acquainted with local folk Christian traditions. He said that if there is a “God the Father” and a “God the Son”, then it follows that there is a “God the Mother”, “God the Grandfather”, and “God the Grandmother”. He said that this came from a book of secret wisdom. When I asked what the wisdom was, he replied sarcastically, “I just said that it was secret!” I didn’t like that time with him. I felt spiritually dirty afterwards, and in fact had to ask someone to pray over me. There was a lot of spiritual tension in me that I let out through tears.

Nevertheless, it’s an interesting thought. In the Philippines — and I don’t know how true this is anywhere else — we seem to treat religious figures as family members. Here are a few manifestations of this:

  • We dress up the statue of the Sto. Niño, or the Child Jesus, in fun little outfits, similar to how parents would dress up their toddlers.
  • It’s not uncommon to hear the term “Papa Jesus”, despite the fact that Jesus is the son.
  • We like to think of Mother Mary as our own spiritual mother. We believe that the father would be more lenient to his wife, so by praying through Mary, we are tapping into the soft side of God.
  • When we blaspheme or do something bad, God might feel tampo with us. He would withhold affection because he feels offended. Like anyone who feels tampo, we do suyo, or we try to regain their affection through offerings or acts of service.
  • Images of saints are sometimes placed beside portraits of family members.

Our relationship with spiritual figures is inspired by our relationship with our family members. The psychologist M. Scott Peck, author of “The Road Less Travelled”, suggested that how we see God is based on our experience with our parents. I think there’s some truth in that. God is, in some way, an authority figure. When our primary caregivers withhold affection or are incapable of properly providing for us, we tend to project this onto our Cosmic Parents. I don’t know about God the Grandfather. This might represent a more ancient force, as in gods who are older than the Christian God.

But take these things as mere observations, and draw your own conclusions.

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