Saturday, June 04, 2005

Is God practical?

Have you ever wondered why God made mosquitoes? Or garden slugs? If you were God, would you have done things differently? Do you ever think that the universe is too big? After all, why do we need all those galaxies and stars?

If you think this way, may I suggest that you don't understand what creation is all about. Think back to the the scriptural accounts of God's creative activity. Is it ever described in terms of praxis? Is God ever creating for some purpose? Humans make things for a purpose, and so we only put things in whatever we make that serve the purpose. Form follows function, after all. But God doesn't create for a purpose. There isn't any function to creation. Think back to Genesis. Does it give any reason for God to create? The only motive is the goodness of creation (and the "very goodness" of humans). Or consider Revelation 4:11: "Worthy art thou, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for thou didst create all things, and by thy will they existed and were created." The phrase "by thy will" has the sense in Greek of "for thy pleasure", as indeed the King James version translates it. God creates for his own will, his own delight. Or Psalm 104:26: "There go the ships, and Leviathan which thou didst form to sport in it." Creation is play.

If it is in fact divine play, that means that God didn't create for some purpose. This means that there aren't an impractical bits to it. There doesn't need to be a reason for mosquitoes, or garden slugs, or vast expanses of stars, any more than there needs to be a reason for four downs in football. Or compare it to musical composition, which is another species of play. One doesn't say of Mozart that there are "too many notes." The music doesn't have a purpose beyond the delight that it provides, and so there isn't any measure of the right amount of notes. Music gives delight. Creation gives delight.

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