Photograph Copyright Warner Bros. Pictures
In the latest DC Comics movie, Superman Versus Batman, Lex Luthor said “God is tribal, God takes sides! If God is all-powerful He can not be good, if God is good He can not be all-powerful!”
I feel that this philosophy derived from Platonicism and mixed with Medieval Catholic theology has sort of slipped its boundaries like a slippery skateboard powered by a lightning storm and become sort of like a free roving cloud of idiotic sentences that replaces an understanding with God with fumbling attempts to misunderstand God that are centuries out of date.
This assertion of God being all-powerful etc, has the axiom that if God exists, he would be forcibly intervening in his creation and in human matters as a sort of super-parent. If he is good and all powerful, he therefore would always be helicopter parenting us adults. In otherwords it attempts to shame God for failing to prevent us from doing the wrong that we (or others) want to do.
John Watson’s Tricycle
However this completely undermines the concept that as adults we have received a tremendous gift of a habitable world and a responsibility to live wisely and treat others well. If we did, almost all problems could be erased. If you give a gift of a bicycle to a child and they smash it into a tree, is the parent really responsible? Humanity complaining that God should have stopped them, is like a man complaining he is hitting himself in the nose and complaining God did not stop him. Perhaps God collectively is waiting on us to actually take responsibility for our earth and our lives and collectivity work in charitable love for the betterment of all? Perhaps it is not God’s responsibility for the earth to be set a’right, but our own? Perhaps the communists got it wrong- it is not God’s responsibility to prevent famine or evil, it is ours. Perhaps we already have as a species the collective intelligence and power needed to really combat evil and human suffering and hunger. But we chose not to. Is that really God’s problem, our collective decisions, or the handful of decisions decided upon by evil doers?
Do gift givers like God really need to control and police those to whom they give gifts? Apparently God should by this spurious logic immediately intervene into our life in the world and send evil people into a ‘time-out’ in the corner so that ‘good’ people would not be harmed by them as if we as adults and humans did not have a collective responsibility for this already. However this belief as well as the belief that the primary attributes of God are, “all-powerful, all-good, all-knowing.” are not to be found in scripture.
Yuxuan Wang’s Photograph of Bust of Plato
They are however, found in non-christian greek philosophy. In platonic philosophy (which is non-christian) there is the idea that all things come from a higher more spiritual abstract ideal. For example, for all chairs there is the idea that they come from an ideal ‘chairness’ which is metaphysical and outside of our reality. Therefore from a pagan perspective the being known as ‘God’ must have certain attributes they have decided upon as their primary attributes. It is like asking people who have never read a Batman comic, to decide upon what his nature and personality would be by trying to figure out first what would be in his toolbelt. Even knowing the actual toolbelt of the fictional character of Batman it would still be impossible to extrapolate his personality and priorities from it.
Image Courtesy DC Comics
Here is an image of the Batman Utility belt. If we attempt to define God by hanging our perception around three priorities (omni-potence, omnipresence, omniscience) then it is as ridiculous as someone who doesn’t know anything about Batman attempting to understand who he is by brainstorming what may be the three most important things to be on his utility belt instead of actually reading the comic books and understanding his personality and changing methods.
If someone decided that there was no comic book about ‘Batman’ and attempted to make up three items contradictory that should be on Batman’s utility belt that a ‘Batman’ should have to disprove the existence of this fictional Batman, then what would they be?
- A high-tech Joker-Be-Gone ray which would dispel any criminal, instantly.
- A mind-reading circlet which fits on his temple which would allow him to read the minds of everyone in Gotham to know who was a criminal and who was not and to instantly solve any crime.
- A malleable nano-foam which could instantly form any tool or device or weapon from a ladder to a lockpick depending on his command.
And so this fictional disprover of Batman comics ever existing could state, ‘If there was a fictional Batman then he must have these things, because if he is fictional then he can have any tool imaginable to help in his mission, and if he does not have the tools as I have imagined, then there cannot be a Batman comic book. Batman’s mission is to dispel crime, if he is fictional he could have any tool, and therefore he must have these tools because they would be most effective. And therefore Batman’s primary personality is that of Criminal Dispelling Ray, Mind-Reading, and Nano-Foam’. By doing so this fictional objection obliterates any attempt to form an accurate perception of the personality of Batman and reduces it to just what they could imagine being on his teoolbelt. And so it goes with those who imagine first what God must have in order to be God, and utilize the contradictions within their used up perspectives of God in a vain attempt to disprove his existence in doing so. Both Batman and our perception of God often relies on text (although Batman’s text comics with images) and so our interpretation of both can be studied through textual analysis. Both are gift giving characters.
Just as Batman is a fictional elite mortal, who somehow bestows the gift of ‘order’ merely through combating the most ridicolously larger then life elite criminals so also does God also give gifts.
God gave the gift of life and resources to humanity. God gave us a habitable planet within an orbital zone around the Sun which is good for human life. Many plants and vegetables and fruits fit within our hand, and are digestable by most. There is copious amounts of iron and other precious minerals within the earth. There is more then enouh wealth in the earth to solve most of human’s needs. The problem is not that God did not do enough for us, it is that humanity does not do enough for itself. It is obvious that God expects humanity to behave humanly and use their resources wisely. God values us primarily solving human created problems with human solutions.
- If there is a factory leaking pollutants into a river, the solution is for men to fix the factory and not demand that God do their plumbing work for them.
- If there is violence or destruction from the hands of men, then the solution is to stop those men and not demand that God do their soldiering for them.
- If there is a particularly successful cat burglar who goes about stealing cats and giving them better homes, then the solution is for investigators to do their jobs and not asking God to descend and become a bespectacled detective for them.
The nature of God is love, to give good gifts, and to hide so that only those that seek for him find him. God is an individual with a personality. This personality leads himself to hide as if under a veil in the gift of the Eucharist so that we can find him there. It leads him to hide his person from visible creation, so that perhaps we might attempt to seek him in prayer. God wants only to have those that seek him to find him. He does not impose himself, or necessarily shout his existence to all creation.
God does not feel a need to exclaim his existence to everyone as if he were a boor at a dinner party. He much prefers just the company of those that are willing to seek his company. God doesn’t have anything new to say, because what he has already told us indirect through his represenatives about piety, faith, sin, and our human responsibilities are quite sufficient for now. Perhaps if you are quite dedicated to prayer and holiness you might feel a pleasant emotion or God’s presence and attribute to him as a gift.
We must not examine God with the philosophy of men, we must examine God with the Philosophy of God. God values humans acting humanely if it is offering food to the stranger (Genesis 18), or paying for the health care costs of a stranger (Luke 10).
God would more often use parables to explain concepts to people. The nature of the parable is that it hides the teaching underneath its external appearence. God is a hider, more then he is a exclaimer. God in many senses could be judged by us as an introvert more then an extrovert. God has a wide range of emotions ranging from sadness (Jeremiah 14, Mark 3:5, John 11:32-35, Ezekiel 18:23, Genesis 6:5-6), to anger (Ezekiel 23:20, Matthew 21-12-17, John 2:13-22), to desire (Hosea 11, Romans 5:8, Ephesians 2:4-5). Our perception of the personality of God cannot be reduced to the arid impersonal concepts of omni-potence or omni-awareness without eradicating the evidence that God is a person with personality. There are multiple examples of the emotions of God in scripture which reveal the personality of God.
This person of God has many attributes. I feel primary attribute of God is to love, to hide (Hebrews 11:6), to be indirect. God hides himself in the blessed sacrament and wants us to visit him, this has been revealed through mystical revelation as one of his most urgent desires in relationship with us. As time is for mortals and not for God, the time we spend now in adoration in prayer- or even in charitably selflessly loving- can be a consolation to God in the moment of his passion in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Platonic Solid’s by Cyp
We need to set aside these philosophies of men which have blinded us to the personality and emotions and priorities of God and actually look upon the witness of both scripture and of mysticism that God does exist and he is not a triangle. Neither is he a square. Neither is he a platonic ideal formed by pre-Christian philosophy. Neither is he a collection of idealized states imagined by pre-Christian philosophies or a mere assemblage of abilities as misunderstood by misapplication of medieval scholasticism. Neither is his primary attribute being omni anything, instead his primary attribute is love and his primary personality is not omnipotence but a wide range of emotions and wants which could be easily understood by anyone taking the time to read their bible.
Neither is he a square. Neither is his primary attribute being omni anything, In conclusion, God did not come to make us geometric perfections, but rather for us, by the power of his divinity, to better love and in doing so thereby fulfilling our humanity.