Ever since I was a little kid, I have heard of how God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. Accompanying this tidbit of information is how God has control over our destinies and how we should pray to him so that we get to lead comfortable lives. It is also necessary to do good things during one’s life, as, at the end of it all, we are all held accountable for our actions and by doing good we (or rather our souls) go to heaven, where all is fine and dandy. If we don’t be good people, then bad things happen, varying from not getting “liberated” from the material world to go to this place called hell, where we learn what it feels like to be on the wrong side of a barbecue.
The above few lines were repeated to me often, usually without further explanation. It, therefore, summarises my theological training and expertise. Over time I have developed new views that more closely match the title of this post and here is some of the reasoning behind it. If there is anyone who can punch a hole in any of my arguments, I would love to hear their ideas
Why do it?
One of the first questions that come to mind when thinking of an omniscient and omnipotent God is why would he go through the trouble of creating the universe and us humans and animals as we have been, are and will be?
There can be multiple reasons why anyone would create something so elaborate. One reason for building things their utility. We build houses because it beats living in the rain, snow, wind. Some animals sharpen their claws because it helps in getting food. People invented cars so that they could travel around. So maybe God has a use for the universe as it is, like helping him achieve some goal, or keeping an enemy at bay. That means that God needs us for some purpose and he is therefore not omnipotent, because if he were, he could have just created what he wanted or driven away whatever threatens him without going through this whole rigmarole.
Maybe he is in the process of creating whatever he needs and we are the means to the end.
But then the moment we concede that we are seriously jeopardizing his claim to omniscience as well. The fact that he needed to create the universe to get object X means that he does not know the answer to the question “how to get X without creating the universe?” and he is not omniscient anymore. If there are some factors that prevent him from getting what he wanted without creating the universe, then the claims to omnipotency look even weaker and suddenly God realizes that he isn’t really having a good day.
Sometimes people do things simply for the mental challenge of it(think jigsaws, crosswords, etc) without any specific benefit to oneself. Unfortunately, things can only be mental challenges when we initially do not know how to solve them, but then try to figure out. But we all know what happens if we said that God did not know how to create the universe and wanted to try out a method, don’t we? Yep, that’s right, omniscience gets flushed down the hole again.
Very often, things are built to do experiments. Once again, that implies a lack of knowledge and once again, we have omniscience taking a belting.
This leaves us with just one option, that God created the universe and everything in it just for the heck of it. He knew how to create it. He also knows how to make it perfect, but for some reason, he will not. He prefers to just sit back and watch everyone kill, cheat and lie to each other. He enjoys watching the injustice, the violence and the hatred go unchecked for the billions of years before he steps in and one day and decides to make things all right. If he enjoys doing that, then plainly he is a sadist. If he doesn’t care about it, then he is just a shoddy workman who can’t be bothered to do the job right. If he cares about it but does not do anything about it even when he can, then he is plain lazy.
Either way, it becomes increasingly difficult to look up to him as the paragon of excellence, doesn’t it?