Before Genesis: why did God do it?


(Mitchell W McKain) #1

By all means, feel free to address, from your own perspective, the questions of what went before Genesis and why God did it? Meanwhile here is my perspective for your consideration.

God lacks nothing, thus His most natural motivation is to give of Himself to others. So God set out to create others apart from Himself. Thus He designed spiritual beings we call angels who were very much like Him in many ways with vast knowledge and abilities. But the only thing which design can create are tools – entities who are and never will be any more than what God made them to be. The result is, in many ways, merely an extension of Himself in much the way a hammer or a car is an extension of those who use them. So God set out on a much more difficult and ambitious task to create something that would not simply be what He made them to be because they would grow, learn, and create themselves according to their own choices.

Now many might wonder at the wisdom of creating something He did not control. Others question the morality of creating things who would suffer in the process of learning or die when they failed. Well I think there is only one answer to both of these questions. God chose to value love and freedom over power and control. In seeking to share with others, it wasn’t enough to simply make beings who would simply be and do whatever he wanted like the angels. The sharing involved is a little superficial when you don’t have to share any of control and responsibility for things, so that you will always only have your own way in everything. Instead God envisioned a more profound idea of love and sharing which requires risk, sacrifice, and a trust which even gives the other person some privacy to live their own life and make their own choices.

But how was an all-powerful all-knowing God supposed to create something that wouldn’t be what He made them to be? It would only work if they had a basis for existence apart from Him and so created a place and time with a system of rules complex enough to support self-organizing phenomenon. And maybe it was with a little tinkering or maybe it even happened elsewhere in an area he hadn’t expected, but some group of self-organizing materials acquired the ability to learn and adapt itself to changes in the environment. Maybe that got his attention or maybe it was only one of billions of such event so when he was tinkering elsewhere, the organisms on this planet developed a means of recording what they learned in the chemical symbolism of RNA and DNA.

Regardless of how much he tinkered with things, some of these creatures eventually developed the neurological machinery for the complex communication of abstract language so that He could speak to them and begin sharing Himself with them directly.


Jesus' genome
How do you Reconcile Evolution with Genesis?
(Mitchell W McKain) #2

This was actually written as a preface to a discussion of Genesis. So if you are curious about the continuation of the story you can find it here.


(Mitchell W McKain) #3

@Theo_Book

This is very similar to my thinking except for the idea that God created out of need and feeling alone. Also since science no longer supports the idea of absolute time there is no reason whatsoever to talk about an age of God related to the age of the universe. God can employ a temporal ordering with no relationship to the temporal ordering of the physical universe.


(Mitchell W McKain) #4

By this I do not intend to imply that God could not pay attention to every event in the universe. He certainly could. But considering His objective to not be in control of everything, it is possible He chose not to, or to give events in much of the universe only the attention which would notice if something interesting happened. The point here is only that there is much we do not know. But it is certainly the Judeo-Christian belief that at some point God started paying a great deal of attention to our development and became actively involved. I don’t even think this is limited to just the one nation of Israel. They are just the ones who chronicled God’s involvement with them with a considerable degree of detail and honesty.


(Cindy) #5

I quoted you.

OK, fair enough.

When and how the Angels fit into His Motivations is a unknowable question as well. I remember reading your belief about his “natural motivation”. If it is a natural motivation, it seems to me that is pretty dad-gum close to a “need”. I mean, those “others” were not there until He created them. If God is just as complete before us as He will be after us, this whole Universe thing seems like rather a big waste of time. Doodling on a cosmic scale!


(Cindy) #6

But that’s not what happen with the angels. A third rebelled, obviously they have some sort of free-will.


(Mitchell W McKain) #7

Nope. I don’t accept the authority of pseudopigripha or the fantasies of Christian authors. A third fell with the serpent because he was an archangel, a leader of angels, and they were under his authority. And this all happened because God commanded Lucifer to be the adversary of mankind.


(Mitchell W McKain) #8

Incorrect. Just because you don’t know something doesn’t make it unknowable. If you said objectively unknowable (that which can be proven and/or demonstrated) then I would agree with you and include the existence of God in that category. With respect to the objective knowledge of the existence of God I am an agnostic in the classic sense of thinking that such knowledge is impossible. But it is demonstrable that knowledge is possible even when you don’t have a shred of proof or evidence – all such a lack means is that you cannot reasonably expect other people to agree with you.

Nope. I am not buying into this modern empty semantic rhetoric to try making self-less motivations impossible. You cannot define self-less motivations out of existence any more than theists can define God into existence.

God is infinite and perfect. He has no needs. Therefore the only motivations available to Him are self-less ones. What He does is not for Himself but for others. Thus He is motivated to create others not for any need to do so. It is not a matter of any kind of self-completion. I certainly agree that He makes choices and by this He changes in the sense of limiting Himself to those choices, and He is not becoming less but becoming more Himself. But none of this is a matter of need except by empty semantics which dictates that everything anybody does is a response to need and thereby making the claim a completely meaningless claim. When you use semantics to erase distinctions then you annihilate the meaning of the words defined by those distinctions.

God was motivated to create others so He created them in the most straightforward way, giving them various abilities and the result was the angels, beings who were exactly and no more than what God made them to be. To be sure they had as much free will as is possible for beings created that way. But this makes for a rather limited relationship requiring Him to relinquish no control over anything whatsoever. God created the universe and this phenomenon of self-organization called life because God conceived of a different kind of relationship with a more unlimited kind of giving of Himself.

Which only suggests that doing things purely for others feels like a waste of time to you. But I am not buying into your way of thinking that equates self-less actions not driven by need with being meaningless and a waste of time.

Correct, it is not a matter of being driven by the needs of these others either. Anyway I don’t see that the angels have needs any more than God does. So it certainly wasn’t a matter of any kind of needing to be needed when God created them. God created the angels in order to give of Himself, and by creating them God did give all kinds of knowledge and abilities to them. It is only in the creation of life, did this kind of existence we have, which is largely driven by needs, come into existence. But despite this way of thinking you have chosen, we are not limited to motivations derived from needs either. To be sure you can choose to think that way, but I refuse, because I don’t see that thinking that way is at all helpful.


(Shawn T Murphy) #9

In the beginning of Genesis, we see God separating the light from the dark. This give a hint as to what came before since you cannot separate light from dark without the sun, so it must be a different light and dark. the Bible was not revealed chronologically. Just as you you raise your children, God did not tell the “why’s” first. He sets out the rules first and waits to explain why until much later. It is Revelations where hints to these answers can be found.

At the beginning in John 1:1, there was only light. Darkness (separation from God) had not been created. The darkness was created when Lucifer and 1/3 of Heaven moved away from God and His laws. This is when God needed to separate the 1/3 from the light and create the barrier between them and Heaven.

The ancient enlightened Greeks taught that the universe was created as pathway of restoration for the fallen. When the dragon took 1/3 of the stars from Heaven, this was billions of trillions of beings. And this is why 13.8 billion years were invested in restoring them to Heaven so far.

It is free will that that allows 1/3 to fall from God’s light and He created the material universe for the fallen to use their free will to come back to His light.


(Matthew Pevarnik) #10

Not true. There were lots of photons before our sun ever existed. And the sun didn’t even exist until a good 9 billion years after the universe begin.

Are you suggesting that all of the stars are in some way related to these millions of trillions of beings of which you speak?


(Mitchell W McKain) #11

This is an intriguing idea – separating light and dark as in distinguishing good from evil – not because there was no such distinction before God did so, but because God would choose good over evil.

However, I cannot support this idea of a beginning of evil before the fall of Adam and Eve in some heavenly war. I feel this reduces God to the status of a comic book character, not only flubbing the task of designing servants who will follow Him, but then bringing children into a world already corrupted by evil. I cannot believe in such a God any more than I can believe in many human religious leaders who have made a mess of their own family. That is another example where I would choose atheism over such a lame theism.


(GJDS) #12

It becomes lame theism when we decide to treat God as a ‘powerful human’ who would behave better than you and me. The question of good and evil is, in one sense, the defining aspect of the human spirit, and we are admonished to choose the good at all times.

Our understanding grows when we have faith in the grace of God, His justice, and above all divine love as revealed in and by Christ. The gospel shows that Christ was tempted by Satan - this is not a failing from God, but the triumph of good over evil.


(Shawn T Murphy) #13

The question was what happened before genesis. The testing of Adam and Eve happened after the fall of billions of trillions from Heaven. These are ethereal beings not humans and existed before the martial universe was created. The first of these ethereal beings to climb out of the darkness were Adam and Eve. They failed their first test in the ethereal world in a place called Paradise before the 13.8 billion year clock started. Had they passed the test, there would have been no reasons for the physical universe.


(Christy Hemphill) #14

Where do these ideas come from? Is there a sect or denomination you learned them in?


(Shawn T Murphy) #15

They come from the same people who founded science in the first place. The names they used were different, but the ideas are the same. Olympus = Heaven, Hades = Hell, Poseidon = Satan, Eros = Jesus, Zeus = God. The sect is called Platonism which was taught at the Academy. The modern version of this can be found at GL Zurich if you are interested.


(George Brooks) #16

“From 1954 until the early 1960s, several trips with medium Beatrice Brunner were undertaken in Germany. In this way, the foundations for ‘circles of friends’ were laid in Germany. Until the 1970s, spirit-teacher Joseph was also holding trance addresses in various Swiss cities to gain listeners for the spiritual teachings. By the early 1980s, the community had grown to such an extent that, from 1982, the celebrations of the Communion at Whitsun and Christmas had to be conducted in the big hall of the Tonhalle Zürich.”

That’s all very interesting… but my father, who served in the Army in the final years of the war said Frau Beatrice Brunner served him and his buddies the worst beer in Germany!


(Shawn T Murphy) #17

What does this have to do with the topic? Anyway, Beatrice Brunner is common name and the one the link is referring to lived in Switzerland and worked as a seamstress.


(Mitchell W McKain) #18

I certainly agree that making God no more than a powerful human (like the gods of the Greek, Roman and Norse pantheons) would be a rather lame theism. But I most certainly do expect God to behave better than you and me. Power is irrelevant, but character matters. And the scenario proposed demonstrates a lack of character. It may not be so bad as to make it difficult to distinguish this god from a devil, which would never have any support from me of any kind. But it does make it difficult to distinguish him from a benign alien. We can certainly be friends and no doubt we can learn a lot from each other. But it is still means I am looking for God elsewhere.

I reject the impassible God, but only because I know there are changes, learning, and regrets which are purely relational and which therefore doesn’t alter the original nature of God as infinite and perfect. But to go one step further and reduce God to an Odin or Zeus is definitely not for me. And that is what I see God being made into with this heavenly war mythology derived from the Enoch pseudepigrapha (which I strongly suspect was influence by another religion like Zoroastrianism).

Agreed. But Christ is God become man, so this is completely different in many ways. Though I still don’t see any demonstration of a lack of character there.


(Quinn) #19

In my opinion God was lonely and desired relationship and thus He made the Heavens and made the angels and ministering spirits but yet for some reason this didn’t fulfill that desire. Thus he decided to make beings in His Image, Man and Woman. He created beings who are in a sense like Him, both are able to create and build things. No onto what He did before making anything at all is a huge wonder to even me. Maybe He was just chilling out with His Triune Self having deep talks maybe lol XD. But in all honesty I have no idea.


(GJDS) #20

Your comments deal with many areas, so I will confine my response initially to angels and demons.

I agree that discussions on Satan in the OT are vague and often in language that mentions humans (perhaps as metaphors eg Isiah). Nonetheless, angelic beings are mentioned, and the NT speaks of such in considerable detail.

You and I would agree however, on the poetic license used in literature and poetry (eg Milton) where Satan is spoken almost as a god-like being - I reject such treatments and I think they have relevance to pagan writings.

The question of evil stems from an indication in scripture that a spirit being considered himself as equal to God, and this error caused his downfall and he took many angels with him. My take on this is that created beings can indulge in error, and this error can spread amongst their own kind, and not be attributed to God.

We as humans may infer things from these matters, but I commence with the assumption that, as a human being subject to many limitations, I may indulge in error, and I cannot consider myself with sufficient insight to make a judgment on God regarding Satan’s error (and lack of repentance). Christ is the one who dealt with demons and His treatment is fine by me.