What if God ... Part 1 - Introduction
What if God ... Part 1 - by P.K.Odendaal - March 2014.
There are at least a million such questions being asked everyday by millions of people, and some have the form of :Why did God ... or Why did God not ...
I am also quite sure that these questions can all be answered by a few short answers, and I will venture into this domain to find answers to some which bother me, but which I am sure have answers. I am also quite sure that I can compile a series of articles on this, which I am willing to venture out to do.
When Jesus Christ was asked very complex and loaded questions, He was always ready with a short and meaningful answer. Mine will be not so short and meaningful, but still worth the try. I am also sure that I may ask these questions and venture into them because scripture says: Pro 25:2 It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.
My first thought would thus be why God conceals Himself and the things He knows and especially those things which concerns us and which we want to know. Although I will delve quite deep into this, the superficial simpler answer is that because revealing those things to us is detrimental to us. Not everything is detrimental, because there are things which He reveals to us for our benefit and well-being. And that begs the next question. What would be detrimental to us and what would be beneficial to us? We know that knowing the future is detrimental to us, as it severely limits our free will and causes fear in us - especially when He reveals to us when we will die and how it will happen. I know of countless people to whom this was revealed, but then it was revealed more in the form as a warning than as a prophecy, although some were prophetic.
You can see from the above that these questions generate new questions - even more than the one which was asked first - and that is the dilemma we sit with. But still, the kernel of the case stems from one general principle, which can be asked in may ways.
Questions which people ask me frequently are: Who am I, where do I come from, where am I going to, why do I have to suffer and why is the world full of suffering. Why is this world not perfect.
In a previous article I have elaborated almost fully on why this world is not perfect, and my conclusion was that a perfect world would not need our free will and our creativity as it cannot be improved. So why would God give us something we do not need - that is not typical of Him.
In every argument or subject or science we have to start out with an axiom to build on. In maths it is the axiom that one plus one is equal to two. If you do not accept that as an unprovable axiom, you can never advance to the next step. The most popular formulation of this axiom is the following assertion which is taken by almost everyone as a basic axiom:
If two things are equal to each other and the first thing is equal to a third thing, then the second thing is also equal to the third thing. In maths: if A and B are equal to each other and if A is also equal to Z, then B is equal to Z. This is unprovable but believed widely as a true statement and forms the basis of mathematics, science and a million other fields.
In this venture, I also need an axiom as a basic tenet to start with and that is: We were created with a Free Will. That is all we need for our elaborate excursion into this realm.
I would also quickly like to say, as a start, that many people do not believe in that axiom, and some philosophers have even become famous for believing the contrary. The dogma of determinism is an example of this. However, this series is not about determinism or proving the existence of free will, although determinism has been proved false almost a century ago.
On the other hand, I cannot prove this axiom of free will, plainly because it is an axiom. But it forms the basis of this series. As partial mitigation for my belief in free will, I can say that believing the opposite is even more difficult than believing free will. It is true that I am not free to do as I like from day to day, but that is not because of the absence of free will, but because I have exercised my free will previously in such a way as to prevent myself from exercising a certain option now.
I do not want to go into the morally bankrupt statement of Sartre that we are free every time and anytime to do and decide anything, and that we are not compromised by any of our previous decisions or actions, as that is an extreme view of free will that is not commensurate with our day to day living which is based on norms of behaviour which was laid down over many centuries and even millennia by our predecessors.
My view, which I will also expound on in a next article, is that God has free will and He has created us in His image and therefore we have free will ... remember the axiom stated above: if A and B are equal to each other .... So why would I doubt this?