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Fraser Trevor Fraser Trevor Author
Title: THE HIGHER POWER STEPS Four of the Steps (3, 5, 6, and 11)
Author: Fraser Trevor
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THE HIGHER POWER STEPS Four of the Steps (3, 5, 6, and 11) explicitly mention God, and two more of them refer to God indirectly, either as ...
THE HIGHER POWER STEPS Four of the Steps (3, 5, 6, and 11) explicitly mention God, and two more of them refer to God indirectly, either as “a Power greater than ourselves” (Step Two) or by the pronoun “Him” (Step Seven).

The use of the word “God” four times throughout the Steps—a work that contains only about two hundred words—constitutes a ubiquitous usage. (Indeed, excluding any pronouns, prepositions, and definite or indefinite articles, God is the most repeated word in the Steps.) As such, it’s difficult to imagine that the Steps do not offer some notion of who or what this God is. Moreover, although, as mentioned earlier, it often serves a convenient purpose to act as if the program takes no distinct theological position, to persist in this assertion is simply to discount the facts.

The Steps don’t just refer to God, they also tell us about Him. First, they let us know that He is a Power, and that this Power is greater than ourselves. God is not an idea or an abstraction. He is a force, and He is active. And this force is more powerful than we are. Further, we are told that this Power can actually do something for us—something quite big. It can “restore us to our sanity.” These are all theological statements, and these are all contained just in Step Two. In other words, right away in the Second Step, we have already been told quite a lot about God—not just that He exists, but also about how He manifests Himself in our lives.

The next Step, in which we are told to turn over our will and our lives to His care, tells us even more about God—He cares. That’s another distinct theological position. One can believe in God and not believe that He cares, but this Step tells us, at least implicitly, that He does indeed care. In Step Five, we are told that we can talk to Him; we can speak to Him openly and honestly about ourselves. In Steps 6 and 7, we are told that God can change us, and that we can ask Him to do so. In Step Eleven, we are told that we can consciously engage Him, and that we can ask Him for knowledge of His will, and the power to carry out this will. This, incidentally, also sets forth another very big idea—God has a will. That’s a strong theological statement. And not only does He have a will, but He has a will for us, things He specifically desires from the individual.

Hence, far from existing in a theological vacuum, the Steps actually convey several key ideas about God. These are not to be taken for granted. They are by no means universal to all systems of belief. Not all theologies hold these views, but the program does. He is a Power; He can affect our lives; He is caring; He has a will.

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