Paul Robeson on ‘God’ and Life Elsewhere (1929)


‘God doesn’t watch over everyone, because everyone isn’t important. But perhaps way back He created world to see if from lowest forms of life God could emerge. God says to himself: “Where did I come from? How did I get here?” He created several worlds with different forms of life on each. Well see how God can emerge. We have several stages, and on Earth man evolves. There may be man or other forms of life on other planets. But on Earth (& Mars, etc.) God is interested in those beings who more closely approach him. These God-like people emerge naturally – just like artist creates something more than he knows, so (there are) different God-like people in different epochs. Different God-like qualities. So many great kings – like Pharaohs, Alexander (the Great), Elizabeth, Alfred, Napoleon – could be God-like archangels thrown out of heaven.

God is infinite good and infinite evil, since he controls so-called Satan. Satan is other side, so Zeus (the most powerful Greek god) was not always good. But God is good, and thrusts his evil side far away. He recognises great forces of evil and good as superhuman, but he encourages good and sees evil brought to grief. So at one time Christ, Buddha, Confucius, Mohammed, Moses, David, St. Augustine, Luther; so Socrates, Aristotle, Bacon, Shakespeare, Purcell, Rowland, so founders of Democracy, etc. Emphasis on different people or classes at different times.

As a reward, he gathers good souls around him to watch others struggle – but mass return to inanimate matter or perhaps carry on humdrum life as souls elsewhere; but [I] think – since God [is} interested in finding himself – ordinary mortal [is} of no more consequence than ordinary person in this world. Anyone is born with chance to be God-like – just as any painting [has] chance to be great when artist begins.

So give all a chance, but most fall by the wayside. So if God came to Earth, all would follow – so Christ and 12 [disciples]. So people subconsciously rush to God-like people and hope to get grace from them.’


The Undiscovered Paul Robeson – An Artist’s Journey, 1898-1839, By Paul Robeson JR, Wiley, (2001), Page 161

This is part of a long extract from Paul Robeson’s personal diary dated 12.11.1929 (that is November 12th, 1929). It is written in the form of notes to himself, and is reproduced here, unedited in its original style. He does not see Christianity (or God) as unique, and recognises evolution as the driving force of physical reality. God appears to trigger evolutionary development as a means to perceive itself through the multitudes of living forms as they progress in their development. Paul Robeson even extends the argument to include extraterrestrial life elsewhere in the universe. Although not strictly Marxist in origin, it is obvious that Marxism has had its effects upon Paul Robeson’s thought processes. The inverted uniqueness of Christianity has disappeared and been replaced with the science of space exploration and other forms of life – and yet God remains to rediscover itself in the essence of its apparent creations.

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