The Nature of God
God is the Ultimate Reality, Truth, Wisdom and Eternal Law. God is pure spirit; eternal essence and uncreated energies; a single entity without division. God’s eternal essence transcends the created cosmos and exists outside of time and space as we know it. But the uncreated energies are immanent in the created world, existing within and throughout all matter, a concept known as Panenthesim. God is neither male nor female in the human sense, but rather the dynamic unity of both. God’s nature is love, compassion and justice.
The underlying nature of God is made up of attributes such as love, order and creativity. It is literally God’s Law, the natural law which governs the creation. Our ancestors called this, Wyrd or Orlog, which literally means the primal law. The way we interact with it affects the unfolding of creation, both positively and negatively. In this way, our past actions collectively and individually affect our present and future. It is our spiritual and moral duty to align ourselves with God’s nature to lead positive lives and to help the positive evolution of creation.
The mind of God is part of God’s uncreated energies and called the Logos; God’s inner voice of thought, reason and logic. Logos is the ‘logic’ which governs creation and speaks to us both through our ability to experience events and make logical conclusions about them, but also speaks to us more directly. The Logos, as active in our world to this day, is sometimes called the ‘Cosmic Christ.’
The Spirit is also part of God’s uncreated energies that permeate this world; the divine force that animates all life. It is this force that spoke to our ancient ancestors, even before the birth of Jesus. The Greeks called God’s word the Christos or ‘Spirit of Truth’, who spoke to the ancient seers and prophets. God’s spirit is the divine animating force that is active within our world and permeates all of creation. In Greek mythology, the Spirit is depicted as ‘Sophia’ the embodiment of Wisdom. Our ancient North European ancestors saw the Spirit as a force they associated with the God Odin, representing both power and wisdom.
Jesus of Nazareth
Jesus was a real person and we believe that in him, the divine Logos took form to speak directly to us. We do not speculate as to exactly how this came about or what precisely was the relationship between the human Jesus and the divine Logos, but we consider his virgin birth to be a myth and leave his precise nature as a mystery.
Jesus taught the natural law of God that had been handed down to the Israelites and which we believe was also understood by the Druids and Gothis of North Western Europe and the Brahmins of India. The basis of his teaching was love, compassion and reciprocity (treating others as you would wish them to treat you). However, our Jesus is not the weak sacrificial lamb of Judaeo-Christianity. As with our ancestors in the early Christian period in England and other Saxon lands, we identify Jesus as a Saxon Saviour, a brave warrior for good, who teaches ‘compassionate strength’.
The EFC teaches that Jesus died on the cross and was reborn to demonstrate his power over death. We do not hold as doctrine that this was a literal, physical event. It may be metaphor. Either way, God is showing us His power to overcome the darkness and death and to raise us all up in the mystical Body of Christ.
Angels and Guardians
Angels are celestial beings that act as messengers for God and can intervene in human affairs. A popular belief is that we all have a Guardian Angel, not just as individuals but entire nations. The Old Testament refers to a Divine Council ruled over by God and to which the lesser gods are appointed as Guardians over the different peoples of the world, Yahweh being appointed to Israel. The EFC believes that the Guardians appointed to the English and other Germanic peoples are the old pantheon of pre-Christian gods and goddesses. There are two main groupings, the Ese (Aesir) and the Wanes (Vanir). Some of the Wanes are also known as Aelfe (Elfs), beings of light. Do not think of the popular perception of Elfs as ‘fairy folk’ or Dobby the House Elf in Harry Potter. They are more like the Elfs of Lord of the Rings, bright shining ‘Wise Ones’, of great beauty, wisdom and holiness.
The Guardians were created by God and reflect some of the divine attributes. Some embody the divine principles of natural law, whilst others embody and maintain the on-going process of creation. They shaped our particular ethnic and cultural form, literally breathing life and their ‘godly hue’ into us making us their literal kin. We honour them as such, but do not worship them.
We also acknowledge the spirits and wights of land and water referred to in our mythology. These dwell in the forests and woodland, in the landscape of our earth and in rivers, streams and marshland. The Ents are the great primordial spirits of the forest, such as Treebeard from Lord of the Rings. Wights may be friendly to humans, but some may be mischievous or even unfriendly to us, especially where we harm the natural world they inhabit and protect. Grendel is a Wight of the eastern marshes.
The Saints are the faithful departed who have attained spiritual completion or perfection and who dwell in heaven. Sainthood is therefore the aspiration of every faithful Christian, which is why we pray for the faithful departed that if they have not yet become perfected that they will do so soon. Some Saints have led notable, holy and honourable lives and are revered amongst our people. We may pray to these and other Saints known to us to ask for their prayers in heaven, but they have no power to grant us blessings or benefits themselves. The EFC particularly venerates English Saints and recognises King Alfred the Great as one of our most important.
The word ‘bible’ simply means book and that is what it is, a collection of books. The ‘Old Testament’ is mainly the story of the relationship between God and the ancient Israelites. As such, it is not the story of the Angelcyn and so large parts of it have little to say to us. The New Testament Gospels contain divine wisdom and inspiration. However, they have been written down by the hands of men and should not be seen as infallible or to be interpreted literally in every instance. We also recognise the importance of inspired poems in our own tradition, especially those written around the conversion times, such as the ‘Dream of the Rood’ and ‘The Heliand’ which we value as a ‘Saxon Gospel’.
Whilst most of us are used to thinking of ‘Church’ as a building we attend services in, or at least the group of people we worship with, it does have a much deeper meaning. Essentially, it is referring to the ‘Body of Christ’, the sum total of all Christian people, living and dead. As such, it is not a single institution and never has been.
We are not bound to the doctrines of the various Churches which were formulated by men. Instead, we look to the wisdom taught by Jesus and apply this to our knowledge and experience of the natural world around us.
Mythology and the Holy Runes
Our mythology contains a great deal of profound wisdom that we believe is given to us by God before the incarnation of the Logos in Jesus of Nazareth. However, we need to be careful with myth as much has been lost down the ages and much has been altered so that its original meaning is not clear. Other stories have also been written to look as though they are myth, but are not, and often seek only to ridicule the Guardians as part of the attempts by the Church to replace them.
Mythology tells us that Woden (Odin) brought the Runes from the depths of the Well of Wyrd, deep below the roots of the ‘World Tree’ Yggdrasil. This can be considered as a Shamanic experience in which Woden acquired the hidden knowledge of the Holy Runes. This knowledge has been embedded in a number of ‘Rune Poems’ within the Germanic world, one of the best known of which is the ‘Anglo Saxon Rune Poem.’ This poem contains much wisdom from our pre-Christian religion, but has been partially Christianised which makes it invaluable for the English Folk Christian. We believe that the hidden knowledge of the cosmos that lies in the Holy Runes makes them at least as important as the Gospels themselves.
Sin is a Greek word that implies ‘missing the mark’ in the sense of missing the target in archery. It is referring to thoughts and deeds which are not fully in line with God’s laws and so are missing the mark.
We do not teach the doctrine of original sin, but rather that we are born into a state of imperfection reflecting the incompleteness of creation as a whole. This condition is perfected through the teaching, healing and knowledge of the Christos that gently draws us closer to God. By leading positive lives, and responding to the Christos, we can move towards a higher level of spiritual evolution and perfection until we finally achieve wholeness in God. For most people, this process continues beyond our mortal, earthly lives.
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