Wednesday, September 2, 2015

And Dog Created Man

One of the most troubling questions brought before pastors, priests or any other apologist for God is this: Why did God create mankind? While I would argue some things just are the case, to say God did create man with no further explanation would be disturbing to any believer who wishes to assume there is a perfect being that at the same time has reasons for its actions. (It seems odd to me a perfect being would have reasons for its actions, that is to say, has desires.) Apologists hate this question primarily because the faithful hate being challenged on their beliefs and secondarily because they simply don’t know. But asking why God created mankind is important if we’re to be inclined to follow the dictates of any creator of ours. The answer to such a question would give human life direction, a direction we would be able to say we might be compelled to follow if we also hold the belief that we should listen to our parents for no other reason than they created us.

The fact that apologists don’t know the answer to this question is evidenced by pages and pages of Google searches that turn out the same few unsatisfactory explanations or dodge the question entirely, as if you had put the question to a nearly deaf lunatic. Here are some of the explanations: is of the opinion that mankind was created to play a rule in some ultimate plan God has for the universe. However, prior to this revelation, the author of the article, Dawson McAllister, acknowledges that God has no need of us per se, but decided to make us out of His love for us, a love which preceded our very existence. (How is McAllister sure our creation wasn’t done out of malice? This would seem more consistent with the world we actually live in.) BUT since God did make mankind, we might as well serve some purpose for Him. While we don’t know this purpose, we can help fulfil this purpose by worshipping God, first of all. Nevermind that McAllister states earlier that God did not make us out of some vain need to be worshipped. The explanation ends with the unfounded assertion that we need God, not the other way around. Please note that this decrepit reasoning doesn’t necessarily make McAllister a bad person, just a poor thinker.’s explanation, given by an M.D. (allegedly) is that our existence is necessary for the redemption of our spirits from sin by dying. Feel free to read that again. Apparently God cannot stop or redeem the sins of eternal beings – such as, say, a fallen angel – so God had to make mankind so that someone could be saved from sinning by choosing to follow God. "Thus humanity is made the vehicle through which the reconciling of the universe is to be effected, even though all efforts of humanity itself are in vain and come to nothing, and it is left to God to provide, in the person of His Son, the one effectual means by which this reconciliation is to be accomplished." So it seems God is not omnipotent after all. God isn’t much of an architect either, if He’s relying on mankind to redeem the entire universe. Should of just created the universe right the first time, God. Just sayin.’

 John D. Morris of the Institute of Creation Research is a bit more humble and is inclined to say, in part, that this is a sufficiently difficult question to fully answer. But Morris tries anyway, saying that God is love and (for some reason) showers love upon things that deserve punishment. (I know, I know.) Morris continues: “But in His love He desired reciprocal love, so He created man in His own image. Man was given the ability to respond to God's love or reject it. In the beginning man enjoyed full fellowship with God, but soon rejected Him, bringing the ruination of all creation. This wasn't God's intention, so He implemented His plan for creation to fulfill its intended purpose.” Morris begins his piece by saying we don’t know why we were created, then says he does know why. But if what Morris is saying is right, God is fallible. Moreover, Morris’ claims conflicts with other apologists who insist that God did not create us in order to be worshipped. But, in being consistent with other apologists, Morris claims our existence is part of some greater plan though whatever this plan is is never fleshed out. Morris claims to be a PhD, but his institution’s website will not say of what. No surprise there.

One of the more (?) baffling answers is given to us by Their short answer is that God desires worship even though God doesn’t need it because God is perfect. Question: As I hinted at earlier, wouldn’t a perfect being be free of desire, of the need to please itself? And, for no apparent reason speaking on God’s perfection, the anonymous author goes on to illogically conclude that in God’s perfection, He cannot make anything greater or even equal to himself because than God would not be the One true God. That’s the equivalent of saying I could not have a son who is better than me because then I would not be the one true Theory Parker. The answer provided eventually concludes that we were created to have the pleasure of knowing God, which surely does not speak to the vanity of God which so many other apologists avoid saying. 

Lastly, for now, claims “The culmination of God's creation was to create US, man, which is what Genesis clearly states (see Genesis 1, especially 1:26),” in effect saying that mankind is the equivalent of the star you put on top of the Christmas tree, that last little touch that really makes the tree come alive. Basically, mankind is a decoration. But God also made this pinnacle of God’s creation incomplete – only a physical being – and only worshipping God makes the physical creation complete by adding its spiritual dimension. Deeper into Bilblestudy’s explanation, things get stranger and further from any rational explanation by asserting we are basically copies of God who can become equal to God if we follow God’s dictates.

Now, it can’t be the case that all of these viewpoints are correct, so one or more of them are wrong. (Likely, all of them.) If any one of them were correct it should be obvious and that would be the default answer. The plethora of answers indicates apologists are simply guessing. But we must reiterate why this question is important: We should know why we are created if we are to fulfill any purpose our creator (or creators) may have laid out for us. But would that purpose even be necessary to follow?

Imagine if you will a deep sea robot sent to record data from the ocean depths. If the robot were able to reflect upon it’s own existence, it might ask why it is doing the job laid out before it, that is, collecting data. Should the robot say to itself, “Well, this is what my creator wants me to do, so I’m going to do it”? The robot is under no obligation – simply because it was created by someone – to do the job it was programmed to do, and if it doesn’t do its job or fails in its job, it creator doesn’t condemn it to hell. If anything, the creator of the robot will say, “That’s unfortunate. I should build a better robot next time.” The creator doesn’t hold the failure of the creation against the creation, he or she holds it against themselves. [While it can be granted that the robot needn’t know why it is collecting data for the creator, a self-aware robot may not choose to follow its programming for any number of reasons. It may not like the job laid out before it or may not like the creator’s ultimate reason for creating it. Or it may not do its job due to a glitch.]

To draw the analogy closer to home, imagine you have a child and the child grows into a rebellious teenager, or heaven forbid, a ‘moral’ vegan. Is the child you created obligated to follow your rules such as eating meat simply because you created them? What if your intended purpose in having a child was to create a pro football player? If they don’t make the cut, do you hold it against the child? Surely too many people hold the acts of the child against the child, at least over the short term, but this is simply the avoidance of responsibility by their creator. Or is it? When there is a conflict between the creator and the created, who is at fault?

The only possible answer is no one. There is no reason for a creation to follow the dictates of a creator simply for the act of being created. After all, the creation usually has no say in the matter of it being created. At the same time, the creator cannot account for every action the creation might take, not unless they were omniscient. Theologically, the problem in God’s creations not following the dictates of God are God’s fault because God should have known better if God is omniscient.

Back to how this relates to the purpose of mankind from the apologist’s perspective. People ask apologists why mankind was created, but for the most part, the answers are unsatisfactory or at best, partial guesses. If God at all requires or desires worship, God is vain. This is unacceptable to most fair-minded theists, or they will at least try to avoid saying this outright. If instead mankind is part of a plan, which plan is it? If the purpose of mankind is to follow God in hopes of redemption from original sin, this is both redundant and cannot be mankind’s original purpose since there was no sin until Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden. If mankind is part of some greater plan we are not privy to, this is not very convincing in trying to get a skeptic to follow God since we can’t know that God’s ultimate plan isn’t evil. Moreover, mankind is under no obligation to follow God’s plan just because God decided to create mankind. To be obliged in such a respect, mankind would have to know the full details of the plan while at the same time universally conclude that the plan was good (insofar as we recognize goodness beyond the dictates of the creator or creators). The only other reason someone might feel obliged to praise and follow God is because their life is so good they want to thank someone. That’s all well and good, but this is not the same as being obliged in the true sense of the word.

If you’ll notice, a man or woman confident in themselves and able to give their own life direction doesn’t ask why mankind was created or what their purpose in life is. It is a person in a moment or moments of weakness (who is also the easily led on occasion) who will ask “Why am I here?” The answer is “Why do you want to be here?” Obviously, by the myriad of answers given by apologists, they have answered the question for themselves. They simply don’t realize that is exactly what they have done.

Why am I here? To tell you that you can tell yourself why you are here. If you believe God gave you free will for a reason, then use it.

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