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Eric Sabelman
On Science (November 2022)
Inward Light

Here is a strange simile: God is like the parallel plates of a capacitor, and we are the molecules of dielectric between them.

A capacitor is formed from two flat sheets of metal; they do not contact each other, but are connected through a source of power. Electrons from one plate move to the other, impelled by the voltage across the plates.

The plate from which electrons are drawn is often called the ground plane; it represents the tangible world that God has made. The charged plate on which the electrons accumulate is at a higher potential; it represents aspects of God that we call spiritual - compassion, justice, love.

But God is not the plates of the capacitor nor the power source alone. Between the plates, even if nothing but empty space is there, is an electric field that is the essence of God, joining all into a single circuit. There is no need for anything to flow across the space between the plates, God’s essence simply is.

If we could be separated from God’s essence, we would be like molecules of an inert substance - wax or plastic, a film of oil, a layer of metal oxides. We would have no direction, no polarity, no up nor down, no high nor low.

Place us in the field between the plates of the capacitor, and we are changed. The free electrons in us (and they are necessarily few) are moved by the field. We are transformed by the essence, oriented with feet toward the ground and head toward the spirit.  We reach, we stretch, we are made new, now having polarity that mirrors God.

But, though God remains God, and the field remains within the space between the plates, God is not entirely unchanged by our presence. Because we are there, polarized and reaching upward, more charge can be stored on the plate of higher potential.  We are made new, but God becomes more of what God always is.

Eric Sabelman is a member of Palo Alto Friends Meeting and also worships with Friends in Santa Rosa (PacYM).


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