Concerning Life, and the Purpose Thereof

There will be a second part to the polemic I posted last week. However, before I get into that, I want to talk about what I believe is the point to this whole game.

God is a curious creature. A being of infinite power, infinite knowledge, infinite presence. Let us accept these characteristics as given, even if they are logically inconsistent, because they are narratively useful. God is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-compassionate, but if this is true, then it brings to light two questions — why create the Cosmos in the first place, and why create a Cosmos in which evil can take root?

These are the questions that have plagued philosophers, religious and secular alike, since the dawn of recorded history. From solipsism to sacred writ, there have been many attempts to answer these questions. There are just as many who say these questions cannot be answered — that God is ineffable, and that the reasons entertained by a being of infinite power and wisdom cannot possibly be comprehended by mere mortals. Or, perhaps, there is no “why.” Perhaps things are as they are because this is how they turned out. Quantum fluctuations expanding and propagating ever outward, shaping the Cosmos as we know it with no hand to guide it, no plan to build it by.

I reject all of these theories. I believe the Reason can be known, the “why” can be apprehended. After all, we are God. Because we are God, certain other things must be true, and from these subordinate truths we may deduce the answers to our questions. But these answers will not be found in scripture or in solipsism.

I owe a large debt to two prior works in writing this article, which I will name at the start. The first is Mere Christianity, by CS Lewis; and the second is An Atheist’s Conversation with God, written by Harry Stottle. These two sources have been invaluable in shaping my thinking on this matter.

So, that being said, let’s begin. My thesis statement is this: God created the Cosmos that it might give rise to other Gods, and there is evil in the world because we are God and we do not choose to root the evil out. At least, not yet.

It’s really not that complicated — if we are God, then we are only so because God-the-Creator made us that way. Perhaps She split Herself into countless fragments to imbue each of us with free will, or perhaps She merely sits on Her throne in the Infinite World, watching and waiting. Perhaps there truly isn’t a God before us, and our freedom is an emergent quality of our manipulative intelligence. This, I do not have a definitive answer for. One thing must be certain, however: God cannot intervene.

We must regard our free will, our ability to choose, as the most precious gift — it is what makes humanity unique amongst all of the beings that inhabit this planet (and perhaps, even, this universe). Let us suppose that this is a God-given gift, that it is, as I have asserted, the way in which we are made in God’s image. But why? Why would God give us this gift? I submit that the only possible explanation is that God intended for us to shape this world. We are meant to be the Creator — and we are. But for this to be significant, for it to be meaningful, for it to be worthwhile, Creation must be ours and ours alone.

Think of it like this — you do not teach your children responsibility by cleaning up their messes for them. A child who is constantly scooped out of danger, especially danger of their own making, never grows. Helicopter parenting is harmful all around. God surely knows this, thus God will not step in to fix our problems. To do so would be to diminish the gift that God gave us.

It would also diminish us to be rescued from troubles that are not of our own making. There is not a problem we’ve encountered yet, nor one that we can imagine, that is not solvable by our own intellect and application of technology. The asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs? We have the ability to protect ourselves from such things — we just haven’t chose to fund those protections. Deadly diseases? We’ve managed to wipe out two of the worst pestilences so far, and have many, many more on lockdown — unless the anti-vaxxers get their way. Sun going nova in a few billion years? Even if we can’t manage to figure out FTL, or digitally upload our consciousness into sentient probes, we can build world-ships to move us to another star. All it takes is time, cooperation, and will.

We are God, and we have the power to shape our reality. Deliverance is not coming from on high, because the power is already in our hands. If we cannot assume control over our own destiny, then we are not worth the title “God.” God-the-Creator is rooting for us, but She will not save us.

So what about evil?

I’m not going to try to define “Evil” here and now. For context of this article, let us suppose that “evil” is any behavior that is deliberately harmful to other thinking beings, or that deliberately restricts the agency of other thinking beings against their will. Evil is a necessary consequence of agency. In order to be free, we must be free to do evil. We must be free to be evil.

Could God have created us to prefer goodness? Perhaps. But if there’s a preference coded into us, if our capacity for evil is weaker than our capacity for good, then we can never be truly free. The essence of freedom is being able to make a genuine choice, unmoved by influences external to one’s will. Any predilection towards good (or evil) would necessarily need to suborn that will. If we were programmed to be good, to prefer good, then we couldn’t rightly be said to be “free,” and could therefore not be God. That’s the most important reason.

There’s also something to be said for understanding the “why.” If, as I assert, the point of this game is to become God, then the only way it matters is if we find our way there ourselves. That is going to require us to embrace the Light — because if we do not, we will surely fall, consumed by the darkness. But it’s something that we have to figure out on our own, because, again, the choice is only a choice if we can make it independent of external influences. If we are to be God, we must be able to choose to be God. A God who cannot choose is not a God.

What, then, am I doing here? Am I not attempting to influence you, dear reader? Does this not constitute an “external force?” Well, perhaps. But I’m not forcing you to accept any of this. I’m not forcing you to take it seriously. You can take this idea, think on it, meditate on it, and decide for yourself if it rings true. You still have a choice in the matter.

Despite my pretense at logic and deduction, much of this is speculative. I am aware of this. I cannot prove that the reason God created the Cosmos is to beget other Gods — but taking all of the evidence into account, all of the premises that I have established, I believe that this is the only rational conclusion possible. God gave us Her defining characteristics — reason, technological aptitude, and free will — and turned us loose into the Garden. Ever since then, humanity has shaped that Garden. Ever since then, we have been slowly, blindly feeling our way towards first grokking, and then shaping, the Cosmos — all along building it with our choices.

Our choices have brought us to our cusp. Next time, I’ll talk about ways past it.

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