Genesis / Mathew

The Philosophy of God’s Purpose

Jinasenna:

If he is perfect, he does not strive for the three aims of man, so what advantage would he gain by creating the universe?

Response:

The three aims of man according Jain philosophy are ahimsa (non-violence), anekantavada (non-absolutism), and aparigraha (non-attachment). As mentioned in the previous section, why would a Creator God seek to follow these three aims? Why would He be subject to Jain philosophy?

These three aims form the framework of Jain philosophy and the soul’s quest to be liberated. But why would a Creator God seek liberation in the first place? From what is He seeking to be liberated from?

The real question here is why did God create the universe? To what purpose?

Of course, to adequately answer the question, one must claim to know the mind of God. I place no such claim. However, there are clear clues in our universe as to why a Creator would do such a thing.

In the previous section it was stated that the creation of the Universe is an act of love, much like the love between a man and a woman creates a child. The family unit is our first clue of God’s sovereign purpose, as He has endowed man with the ability to reproduce.

So let’s zero in on this ecosystem which only contains a man, a woman, and the child they have created. The joy the parents feel when the child is born, is the same joy God must have felt for His creation. Man is different from any of other of God’s creations. We have this ability to think and to make decisions which are separate from instincts.

Surely we have instincts but we also have a rational and emotional mind, which is both animalistic and intellectual, capable of true critical thinking. Genesis 1:27 states that God created man in His own image. Both male and female, He created in His image.

Think about that for a moment. Jains desire godhood, and yet the Bible states that God has already endowed use with the honor of His image.

Consider what this means. That we possess certain knowledge and abilities and the opportunity to act and use this knowledge within the created world.

Just as parents birth a child, take care of that child, give rules to that child and yet the child still possesses the ability to rebel against our rules, to engage in curiosity that may be harmful to him or her, and to cry and tell use how much he or she hates us because we as parents have stepped in to discipline the child.

This scenario mirrors our relationship to God, and the reason for our existence. If you were to create a robot who was 100% perfect according to your standards, perhaps you would feel joy in the fact that you created, but the joy you feel when your child begins to understands the world around him, begins to grow on his or her own, and takes their own decisions, is something completely different.

Absolutely this is the realm of attachment, the very thing that karma theory states is sinful. We are part of a Creator-created relationship. God is our parent, and we are His children.

C.S Lewis, Christian apologist and author explains it best: “Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

The New Testament records a series of sermons given by Jesus Christ, known as the Sermon on the Mount. These sermons describe a moral code similar to Jainism. Matthew 5:21-22 records,“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder,[a] and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister[b][c] will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’[d] is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.”

Jesus clearly states that we are responsible for our thoughts and our words, as our thoughts and our words lead to action. However, we are given something known as Grace, which is the ability to 1) recognize our mistakes 2) repent for our mistakes, 3) and seek God’s help in correcting course.

According to Karmic Law, however, karma is attached quite immediately to the soul, and it is up to you to reverse and correct course. Yet, there is no guarantee that the attached Karma will be unbound. You may still have to pay for the deed in your next life.

Imagine leaving your child out to fend for themselves. Would you not want guide them, even if they rebel against you? Would you not want to save them, even if they do not desire your help?

Timothy Keller takes this idea to the next step: “Christianity teaches that, contra fatalism, suffering is overwhelming; contra Buddhism, suffering is real; contra karma, suffering is often unfair; but contra secularism, suffering is meaningful. There is a purpose to it, and if faced rightly, it can drive us like a nail deep into the love of God and into more stability and spiritual power than you can imagine.”

Karmic Law does a good job of teaching that attachment leads to pain and suffering. Christianity agrees with this, but it does not agree that the this suffering is permanent or absolute. Just as birthing pains produce a child giving the mother joy and happiness, suffering in and of itself is not a negative nor purposeless.

On a micro level, which we can observe, and on a macro level, which we may not be able to observe, this process of suffering and regeneration is where God’s hand commands, guides, and lives.

Perhaps God would not gain any advantage by creating the Universe. Call Christian philosophers agree that Creation is a purely selfish act of God. Just as a parent understands that a child will experience both joy and suffering in his or her life, God understands the challenges His creation will face.

This selfish act really has only one purpose: to Glorify God. If there was no creation, or if Creation was not sentient then the existence of God would not be known.

Just as an artist signs their name on a painting, and a website developer inserts a piece of identifying code which is distinctly their own, God has painted the universe with His image.

That image is us.

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