The Nature of Man and God, a New Look: How We Can Know Our Self, Our God, and Our Life's Purpose


233 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-4120-0693-7
DDC 231.7




Reviewed by A.J. Pell

A.J. Pell is rector of Christ Church in Hope, B.C., editor of the
Canadian Evangelical Review, and an instructor of Liturgy, Anglican
Studies Programme at Regent College in Vancouver, B.C.


Simon Godfrey is a retired psychologist who describes himself as an
atheist. Yet The Nature of Man and God, a New Look is an attempt to come
to theism through grappling with the human self. In essence, he sees the
summit of selfhood as the “transcendental self,” and thus his
concept of God is “the universal Self.” It’s a very idiosyncratic
representation of scientism and religion that seems like a New Age blend
of Transcendental Meditation and Paul Tillich’s Ground of Being.
Godfrey claims that “[he] has something to say ... that to [his]
knowledge, no one else has delved into sufficiently,” yet his
bibliography shows a lack of thorough research, for he depends heavily
on a mixture of encyclopedic works and rather dated materials. He would
have profited from reading some classic mid-20th-century authors such as
O. Hobart Mowrer and Karl Menninger, or contemporary works in the field
of clinical pastoral education.

In Dreams and Reality, Godfrey moves on to claim that the
transcendental self of each human being is connected to and receives
communication from the “universal Self” through the medium of
dreams. Underlying this thesis is a basic but unproven assumption:
“The hallmark of dreams is the fact that they are the source of truth
... They cannot be manipulated ... and they are impervious to
prejudices, myths, misrepresentations, and the influences of
learning.” Throughout the book he relies on inadequate and dated
bibliographic sources and a selection of his own dreams over a 30-year
period, a self-obsession that leaves the reader tired of Godfrey’s
confined world and longing for the fresh air of a wider metaphysical


Godfrey, Simon S., “The Nature of Man and God, a New Look: How We Can Know Our Self, Our God, and Our Life's Purpose,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 21, 2024,