The Relation

The most accurate description

of the relation between God and man

is not that of cause to effect

but that

of creator to created.

If we think of God merely as a cause

and ourselves as merely an effect

we bring in the idea

of a physical pre-motion

working like a line of domino’s

where one falls just because the one before

hits it.

This leads to two errors –

The first

is of God acting in time, and doing things

one after another

(first he thinks of what to do

and then he does it).

This splits up his being

since he is limited in doing and feeling

only one thing at once

(and what would limit him?

a limit must come from some place

above or outside.)

Further,

what reason would there be

that God changed this way

rather than that?

If this reason itself is changing,

then the same question can again be put,

and so on

infinitely.

But if not,

then we at last arrive

at an unchanging principle

which just eternally is

what it is

and acts itself to establish and ground

all changing things.

Second of all,

thinking of God as cause

and us as his effect

makes us think that things

are “pre” determined

and that what we do “now”

is “already” decided.

And so we call his plans irresistible

and conclude that what we do

doesn’t matter

or is no different than a play

already written by a Cosmic director.

The truth is that God does all he does

at once:

between him and us

there is no “pre” or before.

What he does

is not cause some effect

like some billiard ball

that strikes another

and moves it to its destination.

Rather, all at once,

without any intermediary or middle tool

(he does not use a billiard ball,

or even a cue stick)

God acts as creator

and timelessly brings about,

spontaneously

and with full energy

something created.

The very content of God’s creative act

just is our free selves

doing what we do.

Simply put

God creates us

acting.

And since he operates on a higher plane

he does not compete with what he makes.

There is no sense in which

his causative powers

take anything away from our own.

For his causative powers

create our own

like how the artist

in painting the image

creates the reality of the image

in the very painting.

Milton talked of wanting

to justify the ways of God to man.

But justification is the wrong word

once we realize

that the relation between us and God

is not that between physical cause and effect

but rather between a creator

to a thing created.

Does it make sense

to speak of a work of art

being “justified”

or of asking

of a work of free

and creative genius

why such and such a thing was made

rather than another?

It just is

what it is.

There is no deciding

or deliberating

or weighing options

in an act of spontaneous creation.

Does this mean that

since God creates all

he also creates the bad?

Well no one can deny

that whatever bad exists

must have first existed in the creator’s mind

at least as a potential happening.

Everything that happens

is ultimately rooted in

the metaphysical playground of his mind

from which springs every

particular possibility.

Could a good God create

suffering?

Well there is suffering

of that there is no denying.

But why would he create the universe

his cherished piece of art

his love

which such a stain

with such moans and groans

and shrieks and tortures?

Perhaps because

in so creating

he pours himself into his work

such that he takes up all suffering

all bad

vicariously

and lives through it and in it.

Perhaps

of his own choice

he deigns to experience it all,

the whole creation,

just such a thing,

like how an artist or a writer

or a Father

becomes one with the emotions

of his painting or his novel

or his child

and is most fully united and alive

and himself

in so doing.

Perhaps God so takes up a project

of creating a universe with suffering

to partake of the experience

and

along with his creatures

triumph over it all

and so relish his being

and expand theirs

with a far greater multiplicity of notes

of meaning and existence.

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