Rian wrote:Marcuspnw wrote:First of all, why should you create anything? I am assuming you are a perfect God.
I'd like to hear why you put those two sentences together, marcuspnw. Do you see a relationship between the two? I'm guessing that you're saying what I've heard others say, that if you are perfect, that means you don't need or want anything, so there's no need to create anything; is that what you mean?
We can postulate any number of properties regarding God. If you imagine that a Creator has needs or desires, then obviously the motivation to create is there and under such circumstances, my question would not apply. If God is perfect then creating a universe is a deliberate choice but not of any need and we can try to evaluate reasons for this decision.
Rian wrote:I think with the onset of technology, the idea of a machine-type of thing being "perfect" has lead to a view of God that is more like he's the perfect machine. However, I just don't see that in the Bible. I see God as very relational; his very essence is a Trinity, in fact, so even before creating the universe (and I'm using a simplistic view of time) God is in relationship. And I think that just as people love to create, so does God; in fact, I think that's one way we are made in his image. So the way I see God, creating a universe is a natural thing to do, both relationally and creatively. Intriguing question!
I believe the idea of perfect forms came to fruition with the Greeks especially Plato. Philosophers so influenced included Philo, Augustine and Aquinas who in turn helped shape Christianity. Could you provide an example where this idea of God as perfect machine was/is promoted? I don't know what you mean by machine-type perfection as every machine I've experienced seems to break down especially after any use by teenagers!
Regardless and if I understand you correctly , then you are saying that God's relational essence serves as a natural motivation to create but not out of any imperfection.
Rian wrote:However, as several people brought up, there is definitely a question of good/bad options. I think what expresses it really well for me is in Milton's Paradise Lost where there is a scene where God is in Heaven, kind of musing out loud about whether or not he should create people with free will. It's kind of a "I know this will be a glorious and wonderful thing, yet there will be terrible tragedy and sorrow which will hurt people and separate people from me; is it worth it, and who will step in and repair the breach?" Milton then portrays a silence, until Jesus speaks up and says, basically, "I will be the one; I will enter creation as a man, and I will take the responsibility of the creation upon myself."
It's really beautiful poetry. and it expresses, for me, the answer to the statement that I've heard often - "If God made creation, then He should take responsibility for it!" He did take responsibility for it, in the person of Jesus.
The Christian God takes responsibility not by eliminating suffering but suffering along side His creation by taking physical form with the purpose of sacrificing His physical life. Somehow this restores the broken relationship between His sinless Self and His sinful creation. On the other hand, such a God is not essentially physical but spirit. A physical universe then seems redundant as being can entirely occur in the spiritual world.
Rian wrote:And free will is SO important for anything meaningful, IMO - I think love is the greatest thing, and love, IMO, is meaningless without free will. So many things are meaningless without free will.
To paraphrase Woody Allen, as meaningless things go, robotic love is probably one of the best.
We have no choice in our births so personal free will is limited at the start. But for philosophers like Nietzsche or Sartre, the death of God opens up possibilities associated with free will along with the responsibility for the choices made. With a theistic God, we instead try to discover God's purpose for us, what goal or mission are we designed to accomplish in this life with free will then being the ability to resist or disobey. People will disagree over which is more desirable and where the greater meaning is found.
We do want to place limits on free will. For example, we don't want earth to have free will regarding its orbit of the sun! We need both predictably deterministic and random possible actions in this universe. But chance is lethal at times so it robs as well as enriches. There is certainly meaningfulness displayed in art and science where order and predictable actions are displayed. Think of your harp, the balance from structure of rhythm and harmony and yet the freedom of choice in melody, tempo and volume.
Rian wrote:I don't know about the question of eternal beings or not; is it better to create humans eternal, or is it better to create them where they live and then die and they are permanently gone but there are memories of them? I haven't thought much on that, so I'll have to think about that one.
If some or all of created life has an enduring, eternal quality to it, then why go through a temporal, physical phase? Is it a game or a test? "A chance for Faramir, Captain of Gondor, to show his quality"?