Throughout the history of spiritual and theological reflection there have been certain staples of thought about the Divine. These include; God is all powerful, God is all knowing, or God is perfect. Reflection on the nature of the Divine literally fills many libraries with thousands of volumes. Part of the problem with our efforts to approach the Divine is that we are using finite human words to describe the infinite and ineffable. It is easy to forget that all our words, spoken and written, are metaphors and nothing in spiritual teaching should be taken literally. All teachings are merely tools to explain the ultimate mystery in terms we can understand. But, for the most part we are like a person without sight sitting near a fire, the most we know about that fire is it keeps us warm other things are speculation.
One of the ways to work with this, to learn more about the fire we sit near but cannot see, is to see the spiritual conundrums and logical riddles that are involved. This posting shares a series of these enigmas which can twist our brains into pretzel shape until they burst wide open as we try to understand. Some of these are formal questions which have occupied theologians for thousands of years. Others are just sort of nutty little things I made up as I thought about the traditional ones.
- It is often said that “God is love.” Well, if God is love, does the reciprocal hold? Is love God?
- If God is all powerful can he choose to limit himself? If he does, he is no longer all powerful and if he can’t there is a limit to his power.
- If God is perfect, she can have no needs. But she created the universe and must have had some need to do so. How can God be both perfect and creator?
- Did God create the universe out of nothing, ex nihilo, or take an original primordial soup, remix it and then blow it up in the big bang? The traditional view is the former, The Quantum view, to the extent to which it makes room for God is the later. From nothing or from what was already there?
- If the universe began with the big bang was rap music implied from the very start? Were Monet’s water lilies envisioned from the beginning? Was humanity itself intended from the start? Or are there new things that get created as the universe coasts along? What energy creates these new things? The more traditional way to ask this is: on the first day of creation when according to Genesis, God said, “Let there be light,” did he have a vision of what would be made on the fifth and sixth day? Was it planned out or did he improvise as he went along?
- If it is all implied or present from the beginning how much is determined and how much is free? How many of our choices are predetermined before our birth? Was this blog itself present before I wrote anything. If so why am I bothering? Is this a creative effort or am I just following divine DNA?
- If God rested on the seventh day, what did she do? A massage, hot tub, a little scotch, perhaps sacred mushrooms? If she listened to music, I wonder what kind? (Remember, if she is all knowing she knew what was coming so she has a lot of variety to pick from.)
- Do things have to occur for God to know of them? If he doesn’t know the future, is he still all knowing?
It is my hope that these little conundrums permitted a bit of opening of the mind to wider questions and images. And if you wish to add some of your own please feel free to do so in the space for comments.
(This posting is closely aligned with two others: The Nothingness of God 11/4/18 and Apophatic/Cataphatic Meditation 10/14/18. Reading those will add to the understanding and context of this one.)