Why Does God Bother?
So, why bother at all? Is it so important that I come up with some tendentious new slant on the same old rant? Am I like the federal government, which must continue to function, because if it doesn't, everyone will realize how irrelevant it is? Am I worried that no one will notice if there's no gnosis here?
To be honest, I am plagued by a kind of creeping uselessness if I fail to post. The main thing that makes my life extra-ordinary is it's focus on the trans-ordinary, on what surpasses me.
Or rather, the reverse: the task is essentially to refract eternity through time; or in other words, to elevate the mundane via the transmundane. Only in so doing does life become a true adventure of consciousness, through which we participate in God's own adventure.
Speaking of which, there are a lot of things I don't like about process theology, but a few others to which I am strongly attracted. The question before the house is whether this attraction is really coming from the Attractor, or whether it is just the way I'd prefer reality to be.
In particular, I'm referring to the idea of true creativity, spontaneity, and adventure -- and therefore, change -- existing in God.
After all, if God isn't "changed" by his creation, why does he bother? What's the point? If he truly knows how it will all end, in every detail, then I don't get it. Yes, you could affirm the traditional idea that he creates as pure gift, but again, isn't the point of a gift a transfer of feeling? A gift is just the signifier of a transaction.
But the traditional view holds that God gives without getting or needing anything in return. Frankly, he can't receive anything, because he's already complete. Just as you can't make water wetter by adding more water, you can't make God lovelier by adding more love.
Well, I don't care. I don't like that vision of God, and that's all there is to it.
Yes, you can go too far in the opposite direction, and make God too human, but that's not what we're talking about. Rather, as Hartshorne suggests, there is simply no possibility of determinism on any level of reality. Determinism is an impossibility, an absurdity, a nothing. If it existed, then surely we couldn't know it, because the knowledge wouldn't be distinct from the determined. Everything would be exactly as it is, with no possibility of change, novelty, or surprise. While something might superficially appear to undergo change, if the change is determined, then it isn't really change.
But without the possibility of change, I don't see why human existence is worth the trouble. And if determinism is the case, then life is neither worth nor not worth the trouble. Rather, it just is. It's something to endure in all its absurdity until the curtain closes.
However, if we participate in the Absolute -- or the Absolute participates in us -- then this changes everything.
In process theology, God is still "the supreme cause and influence," but he is also "affected by the contingent world, a world which is external as well as internal to him." In short -- and for some reason this is heretical -- "God influences us eminently, but we also influence God, something that devout worshipers have always believed [see, I'm not the only one], or at least hoped" (McMurrin).
Now, I do believe that we need to be supremely cautious in entering these waters, for there is abundant room for error. But Hartshorne echoes what I alluded to above, in writing that "if we could not influence God, our existence would be simply vain."
Of course, that doesn't prove it's true, but another thing I've never understood is why God would want us to internalize a belief system that makes to sense to us, and violates both our reason and our experience.
If God is a person, then he is a thou to our I. The corollary to this is that he is an I to our thou. In other words, there is a dia-logue, and "this dialogue is religion. God creates us as free creatures, but in our free creativity we add to the divine life. Our creativity is God's potentiality being actualized" (ooh, I like that, which is why I emphasized it).
Now, I realize that this appears to erode God's omniscience, but not necessarily. Rather, we just need to think of omniscience in a different way. God, of course, knows all there is to know about all there is. But some things isn't, at least not yet. If we are truly free and the future isn't written in stone, it's not yet knowable. Therefore, it is still the case that "nothing surpasses God." It's just that God eternally surpasses himself.
Nor does it mean God doesn't "have a plan." But a plan is not identical to the way we fulfill it. The blueprint isn't the building.
I like the idea of God surpassing himself. I just find it very appealing, and it seems to me that this would be a good explanation for why the Trinity is the Way It Is -- or Are, rather. God is still very much necessary existence. But instead of necessary being, he is necessary becoming. To say that God is in any way necessary seems to limit him, but this isn't true. "Necessary being" is just a way of saying that it is impossible for God to not exist.
The only difference is again that God's being eternally surpasses itself. In that sense he is "static," in that ever-surpassing trinitarian LoveTruthBeauty is the universal reality.
So, that's why I blog. "Freedom is 'becoming,' which is the creation of definiteness where causation has made alternatives possible to free decision or action. The future is open, indefinite, and indeterminate, The past is closed, definite, and, I presume, determined" (McMurrin).
And yes, "in the last analysis all knowledge is circular; it is simply a question of who has the biggest circle." So all this cosmic expounding is my little way to keep the cosmos expanding, i.e, to keep growing in O, as O grows in I.