Why did God create the universe?

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
Fanman
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Re: Why did God create the universe?

Post by Fanman »

Steve3007,
I don't know, but on the face of it, you'd think they'd be mutually exclusive wouldn't you? As evidenced by Consul's comments. But I just don't think most people concern themselves with that. It's always struck me that for the vast majority of religious believers (the ones who don't bother much with philosophical discussions!) these classic questions about the nature of omnipotence, omniscience and omnibenevolence are beside the point. The arguments in which Man says "Aha! ..." and God says "Oh dear, I hadn't thought of that" and promptly disappears in a puff of logic are irrelevant and antithetical to the whole concept of religious faith. Discussions like this one are fun, but not relevant to the day-to-day business of most people's religious faith. At least, that's true of the few religious people I've known (mostly elderly relatives, now deceased.)
I agree.

I thought that they were most likely mutually exclusive, but I figured that you might be able to frame them in a way that I couldn’t see. Consul’s description of God denotes a being that we could never understand even by way of analogy. Because it is so different to our experience - objectively perfect (if that makes sense). But with the Biblical God, we can have some kind of insight into his motivations because he has emotions like us. The Bible says that God doesn’t need anything, but he seeks many things. Why would that be the case if he didn’t have needs or desires? That God is purported to be perfect by believers, but we’d be hard-pressed to find anyone outside of Christianity that believes he is. The God concept is outdated, but as long as it can be exploited for financial and political gain, and pondering minds conceive of reality having a purpose. He will be there waving the "I am relevant" flag.
Theists believe, agnostics ponder, atheists compute. A little bit of each should get us the right answer.
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Thomyum2
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Re: Why did God create the universe?

Post by Thomyum2 »

gad-fly wrote: June 8th, 2021, 5:43 pm Yours is among the best replies I have received so far.

The answer to a question depends on its premises. Agreed. I could have posed the question as: "Assuming God has created the universe, why did he do it?" On the other hand, if I ask why, the premises should be taken a priori. I am in no position to defend the premises even if some has found it offensive. I can also understand why some are awe-struck when we ponder on the motivation of a super being. "You can never understand him, or Big Brother, or Dear Leader. Who do you think you are?" Fine. But I can try.
Thank you, I'm glad you find my post of value.

I do think it is worthwhile to try. While it may be true that we can never completely know or understand a being that is so infinitely greater than ourselves, we can begin to know God, and grow in that knowledge - and in most faith traditions it's understood that it is intended that we do exactly that.

gad-fly wrote: June 8th, 2021, 5:43 pm "The short answer in scripture is that God created the universe for his greater glory." If so, my question is reductant, though I would be grateful if you can enlighten me in this respect by quoting the Bible. The purpose of creation is vain self-glorification? Surely it must be more noble than that.
I was going to try to answer this myself, but in the process of looking for the references from scripture I came across these articles which I think say it better than I could, and include the quotes that you've asked for:
https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/ ... s-glory--2
https://ses.edu/why-did-god-create-anything/

I think the first writer puts it well that what's referred to as God's 'glory' is not vanity or need for flattery, but rather the 'the infinite beauty and greatness of God’s manifold perfections' - it's a recognition of God's great goodness and worth for what He is. That's very different from human vanity, which is the desire to have others see you as something more than you are.

gad-fly wrote: June 8th, 2021, 5:43 pm My suggestion to God's enjoyment as the reason trivializes it? I don't think so. human creates toy and keep pets. Why not God for the same reason? At this juncture le me bring in the reason of curiosity and interest in the product of creation. Loneliness and companionship may be among the reasons too. Imagine God being all alone for ever. Companionship would conform with your suggestion that God need to communicate goodness and love.

Wouldn't it be nice to have a fun-loving, humanitarian, and sensual creator, with the capacity to be sad, disappointed, and challenged, rather than a stone wall?
As I see it, you're describing God here in human terms - forming an idea about God with descriptions based on human experiences - enjoyment, loneliness, sadness, disappointment, and so forth. It's natural to do this since that is what we know, and we all do it, but I think that doing so is only useful in a sort of allegorical and non-literal way.

It's important to remember that in this faith, God is not created in our image - we are created in God's image. The challenge to us is not to figure out what God is like based on who we are, but to know God for what He actually is, and thereby come to better know ourselves as we were created to be. In other words, not to think about God, but to get to know God directly and recognize Him as a living being. And we do this by opening ourselves to Him and recognizing His goodness - the Truth, Beauty and Love - that is in us and all around us.

In my experience, it's in doing this that we can begin to understand some of the 'why' questions like yours. But with something that is so much greater than ourselves, a part of it remains beyond the ability of our small minds to completely grasp, and beyond the limits of language to completely capture. I don't know if that makes any sense, and hopefully doesn't sound like I'm preaching, but maybe I've been able to show some of my perspective.
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Re: Why did God create the universe?

Post by Fanman »

You write beautifully Thomyum2. It is nice to see someone speaking from the heart. In our quest for philosophical answers, that is overlooked. People are a merger of the heart and mind, but consideration for what the heart understands is often dismissed in favour of what can be demonstrated with facts.
Theists believe, agnostics ponder, atheists compute. A little bit of each should get us the right answer.
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Re: Why did God create the universe?

Post by gad-fly »

Consul wrote: June 8th, 2021, 9:33 pm Recommended reading:

R. T. Mullins: The Problem of Arbitrary Creation for Impassibility

QUOTE>
Abstract: There is a particular question that has plagued classical Christian theism over the centuries. What reason could God have for creating a universe? In this article, I shall articulate the unique claims of classical theism that other rival models of God lack. I shall argue that classical theism’s unique commitments entail that God cannot create the universe for a reason. Thus, any nonclassical model of God can claim to have the advantage over classical theism because they can affirm that God creates the universe for a reason. In Section 1, I shall articulate classical theism. In Section 2, I shall lay the groundwork for the debate by explaining what a reason is and what a creation is. In Section 3, I shall argue that a classical theist cannot affirm that God creates the universe for a reason, thus conflicting with God’s perfect rationality.
<QUOTE
Your recommended reading has provided excellent contribution to the discussion, highly recommended for Thomyum2 and others to go through.

"Conclusion
In this article, I have articulated classical theism and offered an argument that the classical theist cannot provide a reason for God to create the universe. The nonclassical theist has no problem identifying a reason for God to create the universe. Thus, suggesting that the nonclassical models of God have a clear advantage here over the classical theist."

The classical theist, taking God to be perfect and complete, is caught in a paradox when it comes to creation which he cannot explain. We are left with the non-classical to tackle the problem, unless God forbid him to do so. He may be expected to take a more humanistic approach, probably the only approach known to him.

You may, of course, blame him for not getting closer to God, or trying to evade direct contact, but that is another story.
Tegularius
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Re: Why did God create the universe?

Post by Tegularius »

Thomyum2 wrote: June 6th, 2021, 11:26 amMy belief is that Man holds a unique place in creation in that Man was made to enter into a relationship with God - that we were created 'in His image' means to me that we join in creation - we are like God in that we have the ability to love, to seek truth, to create things of beauty, and inasmuch as we do this we are in a sense 'co-creators' with God in bringing this goodness into existence - that is how we 'glorify' God.
Assuming that god even exists, the lack of which evidence is beyond dispute, let's stop destroying the planet which he supposedly created and the creatures on it BEFORE we indulge in these honey-laden silly sentimentalities.
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Thomyum2
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Re: Why did God create the universe?

Post by Thomyum2 »

Fanman wrote: June 9th, 2021, 3:20 pm You write beautifully Thomyum2. It is nice to see someone speaking from the heart. In our quest for philosophical answers, that is overlooked. People are a merger of the heart and mind, but consideration for what the heart understands is often dismissed in favour of what can be demonstrated with facts.
Thank you Fanman, I think that might be the nicest thing anyone has ever said about one of my posts. We spend a lot of time of these forums knocking down each others' ideas - it's always encouraging to hear something positive.

I agree with you about the importance of involving the 'heart' in philosophy. I think that which we value and care about most deeply is inextricably linked to the intellectuals tools that we develop to live in the world. As you say, we are a merger of both heart and mind.
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Thomyum2
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Re: Why did God create the universe?

Post by Thomyum2 »

Tegularius wrote: June 9th, 2021, 9:16 pm
Thomyum2 wrote: June 6th, 2021, 11:26 amMy belief is that Man holds a unique place in creation in that Man was made to enter into a relationship with God - that we were created 'in His image' means to me that we join in creation - we are like God in that we have the ability to love, to seek truth, to create things of beauty, and inasmuch as we do this we are in a sense 'co-creators' with God in bringing this goodness into existence - that is how we 'glorify' God.
Assuming that god even exists, the lack of which evidence is beyond dispute, let's stop destroying the planet which he supposedly created and the creatures on it BEFORE we indulge in these honey-laden silly sentimentalities.
Hi Tegularius,

I'm not sure what about my post sounded came across that way - I mean these things sincerely and it certainly was not my intention to express sentimentality. Perhaps it's the religious language - I normally avoid that unless it's on a thread or question specifically about religion as this one is.

However it sounded in my post, I do believe that our ability to learn to love each other and have an honest commitment to pursue justice and truth is urgent and essential to the future of our world, the survival of which I consider of utmost importance. I don't see these things as emotional indulgences that are secondary or separable from that.
Fanman
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Re: Why did God create the universe?

Post by Fanman »

Tegularius,
Assuming that god even exists, the lack of which evidence is beyond dispute, let's stop destroying the planet which he supposedly created and the creatures on it BEFORE we indulge in these honey-laden silly sentimentalities.
There is evidence for God, but not empirical evidence. I think there's possibly a reason for that, but that is another discussion. What you say seems more pragmatic than we can be as a species. Unless faced with a 100% extinction-level event I don't think we'll ever see such a degree of pragmatism. We tend to put our own desires above those of others. Some people don't care what happens as long as they are satisfied.
Theists believe, agnostics ponder, atheists compute. A little bit of each should get us the right answer.
Tegularius
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Re: Why did God create the universe?

Post by Tegularius »

Thomyum2 wrote: June 10th, 2021, 7:56 am
Tegularius wrote: June 9th, 2021, 9:16 pm
Thomyum2 wrote: June 6th, 2021, 11:26 amMy belief is that Man holds a unique place in creation in that Man was made to enter into a relationship with God - that we were created 'in His image' means to me that we join in creation - we are like God in that we have the ability to love, to seek truth, to create things of beauty, and inasmuch as we do this we are in a sense 'co-creators' with God in bringing this goodness into existence - that is how we 'glorify' God.
Assuming that god even exists, the lack of which evidence is beyond dispute, let's stop destroying the planet which he supposedly created and the creatures on it BEFORE we indulge in these honey-laden silly sentimentalities.
Hi Tegularius,

I'm not sure what about my post sounded came across that way - I mean these things sincerely and it certainly was not my intention to express sentimentality. Perhaps it's the religious language - I normally avoid that unless it's on a thread or question specifically about religion as this one is.

However it sounded in my post, I do believe that our ability to learn to love each other and have an honest commitment to pursue justice and truth is urgent and essential to the future of our world, the survival of which I consider of utmost importance. I don't see these things as emotional indulgences that are secondary or separable from that.
My response was somewhat heavy-handed for which I apologize. I'm certain you meant it sincerely but from the way I see it love and justice are abstractions and unattainable while truth remains a variable. Such semi-religious sentiments are hard to take considering what a monstrosity humans been on the planet. So far, history has never negated this direction in human affairs. More than loving each other, which frankly always sounds phony, respect is the fundamental attribute which keeps us decent vis-à-vis each other including all other compatriots on the planet. Instead, we've lost two-thirds of wildlife in the last 50 years. So you'll have to forgive me if I think all this love, truth and beauty rings extremely hollow, especially so when facing a climate catastrophe of his own making which no war has ever equalled. Then will be the time when this reprobate species will pray to god both overtly and silently like he never prayed before...including many who never prayed even once!
Tegularius
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Re: Why did God create the universe?

Post by Tegularius »

Fanman wrote: June 10th, 2021, 12:26 pm Tegularius,
Assuming that god even exists, the lack of which evidence is beyond dispute, let's stop destroying the planet which he supposedly created and the creatures on it BEFORE we indulge in these honey-laden silly sentimentalities.
There is evidence for God, but not empirical evidence. I think there's possibly a reason for that, but that is another discussion. What you say seems more pragmatic than we can be as a species. Unless faced with a 100% extinction-level event I don't think we'll ever see such a degree of pragmatism. We tend to put our own desires above those of others. Some people don't care what happens as long as they are satisfied.
The only empirical evidence which remains absolute is there never was any evidence for god's existence. If nothing in history supplied even the most miniscule authentication for any such existence except as imagined and created by humans for reasons of their own, then no other conclusion is possible. Any assertion made requires credentials of some kind and there are none where god is concerned.

If there is evidence for God, but not empirical evidence, it would be interesting to know by what methodology that idea could be given credence.
Fanman
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Re: Why did God create the universe?

Post by Fanman »

Tegularius,
The only empirical evidence which remains absolute is there never was any evidence for god's existence. If nothing in history supplied even the most miniscule authentication for any such existence except as imagined and created by humans for reasons of their own, then no other conclusion is possible. Any assertion made requires credentials of some kind and there are none where god is concerned.

If there is evidence for God, but not empirical evidence, it would be interesting to know by what methodology that idea could be given credence.
I will endeavour to intrigue you.

I posted the following argument for the Biblical God’s existence on another forum and it was not completely destroyed funnily enough. The idea came to me when I was a theist, but I'm a bit more articulate now so I put this together. I’m not going to start a new topic, because I don’t really want to defend it. So I’ll post it in this thread and hope that the author doesn’t mind. It’s not long at all.

Introduction: the fact that we cannot prove or disprove God’s existence empirically; could be because we are not supposed to. Since it would not be congruent with his New Covenant - If the faculty of choice were removed by demonstrating God’s or Jesus Christ’s existence empirically, there was evidence of his miracles; the New Covenant would be void. The New Covenant expressly states, “anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life (John 3:36 NLT)”, which is the core tenet. The nature of proof is that it removes the requirement for belief. Therefore why would God void his own New Covenant by allowing us to prove his existence empirically? That would cause belief; in Jesus Christ to be unnecessary and would result in God contradicting himself.

Discussion: on this basis, which is logical, we can argue God will not allow his existence to be proved or disproved - empirically because he is honouring the choice that the New Covenant presents. A recognisable characteristic of God in the Bible. Viz Christ’s sacrifice for the lives of people. It is necessary for God’s plan of salvation that the New Covenant remains valid. Necessity implies agency. I do not think chance or coincidence would constitute a refutation. There is not to my perception any remit for chance or coincidence within my argument. Therefore, his agency would seem to be the only logical answer. Given the consensus is that God’s existence cannot be proved or disproved. I propose this is the case because he wants the choice of belief in Jesus Christ to remain.

Conclusion: that would demonstrate that God upholds his New Covenant and is congruent with his portrayal in the Bible. Thus, I believe I have established a valid reason for God, not allowing us to prove or disprove his existence. That he is justified in doing so for the retention of choice and belief in Jesus Christ. He also has a cause for doing so; he wants people to believe in Jesus Christ. So there are grounds of validity, justification, and cause supporting my argument. Therefore, I think that what I am proposing is logical. Although inconsistent with what I have argued and the consensus. If God did not want us to do something, in this case, prove or disprove his existence. It would logically follow that his prevention would necessitate him existing. I do not claim to know if this is by design or logical inconsistency in the Bible.
Theists believe, agnostics ponder, atheists compute. A little bit of each should get us the right answer.
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Re: Why did God create the universe?

Post by Zosimus »

Tegularius wrote: June 10th, 2021, 3:36 pmThe only empirical evidence which remains absolute is there never was any evidence for god's existence. If nothing in history supplied even the most miniscule authentication for any such existence except as imagined and created by humans for reasons of their own, then no other conclusion is possible. Any assertion made requires credentials of some kind and there are none where god is concerned.
Your post seems strange to me. My apologies for butting into a conversation that hasn't included me up till now, but I wish to discuss something much more basic. Why is evidence important?

Maybe you think I am being flippant, but I ask very seriously: What evidence is there to support the idea that evidence is important? The reason I ask is that I usually get the answer of "Well, it's obvious that evidence is important and why!"

It just seems to me that this is an argument that the non-believer's sense of what is obvious and right is valid whereas a believer's sense of what is obvious and right is invalid.
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Re: Why did God create the universe?

Post by Tegularius »

Zosimus wrote: June 11th, 2021, 8:04 pm
Tegularius wrote: June 10th, 2021, 3:36 pmThe only empirical evidence which remains absolute is there never was any evidence for god's existence. If nothing in history supplied even the most minuscule authentication for any such existence except as imagined and created by humans for reasons of their own, then no other conclusion is possible. Any assertion made requires credentials of some kind and there are none where god is concerned.
Your post seems strange to me. My apologies for butting into a conversation that hasn't included me up till now, but I wish to discuss something much more basic. Why is evidence important?

Maybe you think I am being flippant, but I ask very seriously: What evidence is there to support the idea that evidence is important? The reason I ask is that I usually get the answer of "Well, it's obvious that evidence is important and why!"

It just seems to me that this is an argument that the non-believer's sense of what is obvious and right is valid whereas a believer's sense of what is obvious and right is invalid.
No apologies necessary and I don't think you're being flippant. For me the answer is very simple, even mundane.

Evidence is not necessary to a believer or finds comfort in belief, nor should it be. However, if, theists leap the ramparts of belief as they often do, to claim a certainty and all types of moral justification for their beliefs, then a far higher testament called the historical record comes into effect which testifies to the true beginnings of all the gods ever created. In addition, what is right and wrong is not determined by anyone's belief but by its effect on us collectively and the world at large. Whenever an idea is put on trial evidence is required to confirm or deny. In the case of an actual unscriptured god appearance, nothing of the kind ever showed up.
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Re: Why did God create the universe?

Post by Zosimus »

Tegularius wrote: June 12th, 2021, 2:02 amWhenever an idea is put on trial evidence is required to confirm or deny. In the case of an actual unscriptured god appearance, nothing of the kind ever showed up.
I have highlighted the relevant portion of your quote above.

Premise 1: Whenever an idea is put on trial, evidence is required to confirm or deny.
Premise 2: Premise 1 is an idea.
Premise 3: There is no evidence to confirm premise 1.
Conclusion: If premise 1 is true, then we can never know premise 1.
==================================================
Evidence for God (the Abrahamic one).

God exists is the same as saying that everything that doesn't exist is not God.
Captain Jean-Luc Picard does not exist.
Captain Jean-Luc Picard is not God.
Therefore, there is at least one piece of evidence that God exists.
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Thomyum2
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Re: Why did God create the universe?

Post by Thomyum2 »

Tegularius wrote: June 10th, 2021, 2:57 pm
Thomyum2 wrote: June 10th, 2021, 7:56 am Hi Tegularius,

I'm not sure what about my post sounded came across that way - I mean these things sincerely and it certainly was not my intention to express sentimentality. Perhaps it's the religious language - I normally avoid that unless it's on a thread or question specifically about religion as this one is.

However it sounded in my post, I do believe that our ability to learn to love each other and have an honest commitment to pursue justice and truth is urgent and essential to the future of our world, the survival of which I consider of utmost importance. I don't see these things as emotional indulgences that are secondary or separable from that.
My response was somewhat heavy-handed for which I apologize. I'm certain you meant it sincerely but from the way I see it love and justice are abstractions and unattainable while truth remains a variable. Such semi-religious sentiments are hard to take considering what a monstrosity humans been on the planet. So far, history has never negated this direction in human affairs. More than loving each other, which frankly always sounds phony, respect is the fundamental attribute which keeps us decent vis-à-vis each other including all other compatriots on the planet. Instead, we've lost two-thirds of wildlife in the last 50 years. So you'll have to forgive me if I think all this love, truth and beauty rings extremely hollow, especially so when facing a climate catastrophe of his own making which no war has ever equalled. Then will be the time when this reprobate species will pray to god both overtly and silently like he never prayed before...including many who never prayed even once!
No problem, I can see where you're coming from. You're point is well taken, if I've understood you correctly, that lip-service is not enough to bring change - talk about 'loving each other' is indeed vacuous if it's doesn't result in a change in the way we treat each other. I've always believed that love becomes evident in how a person lives, not in how a person feels or speaks about it. And I share your feelings about the mess we've put this planet in - it's something I think about pretty much on a daily basis, and I think that grappling with it is among the biggest challenges to faith that I have.
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