Wednesday 5 February 2020

Is God's motivation for creation 'play' or 'love'?

If the primal reality of God is imagined before the beginning of creation, and if God is single and personal; then creation can be understood as God's 'play'.

This is made simple and explicit in God, the Player Friend; a rare 42 page booklet self-published by William Arkle in 1993, which I only discovered-about a couple of weeks ago, and which I am currently reading.

Typically (and valuably) Arkle boils it down to God alone becoming bored with a world in which everything was caused by himself; and from this dissatisfaction manifesting creation so that divine 'Friends' - that is, fully-developed men and women - could gradually evolve, and become genuinely independent sources of surprise and innovation.

As so often, much hinges upon the primary assumptions; and here Arkle makes the primary assumption that the beginning of everything - God - is a unity. When this is the assumption, then I think it is 'inevitable' that there is an 'arbitrary' quality of 'play' about everything in creation.

Reality is because creation is more 'fun' than no reality; as Arkle sometimes put it.

When creation is driven by something negative like boredom, and negativity is cured by the independent play of other agents or actors; then we get this kind of double-negative theology which I always regard as secondary.

Yet, if creation is dynamic, expansile (as I believe) then it must indeed be motivated by some kind of (negatively) discontent, or (positively) yearning.

My own understanding is different from Arkles, and is pretty-much the Mormon Christian theology; which is that 'in the beginning' God was two, a dyad, man and woman, Heavenly Father and Mother.

By this understanding there never was 'unity' - unless the unity is regarded as being divided in twain. The 'unity' comes from Love: love between our Heavenly Parents, which eternally 'binds' them (in a 'celestial marriage'). That is my primal reality.

The primal reality is therefore one that is dynamic, as love is dynamic; and it is one of yearning, as love contains yearning. By my understanding, then, creation is the result of an overflow of this yearning love; so that there be more autonomous, agent, independently-creative persons to love.

This is a familiar motivation arising between a loving husband and wife: the positive desire for children to expand the scope and possibility of love. The married couple's aspiration for pro-creation (and also to create a home, a family, ideally one that is ever-growing and inter-linking - with all that entails in terms of the context for such growth) is thus seen of a microcosm of the divine impulse to creation. 

The classical 'Trinitarian' formulation of Christian theology 'has it both ways' in asserting that God is both undivided-unity (with no sex) and hence of its nature static and self-sufficient; and also a triad of Father, Son and Holy Ghost (with no sex) - who are different enough to be bound together by love, hence dynamic and motivated to grow.

By this classical account; sexuality is secondary, temporary, inessential; whereas for Mormon theology sexuality is primary and causal; deriving from the nature of God - our Heavenly Parents. 

I can make no rational sense of classical Trinitarianism; but as a form of words, it covers all the bases!

However, for me, God must be either one or more-than-one; and my understanding is that God is (or rather was, primally) two. And these two were a man and a woman. And their love was the fount of creation.


Sean fowler. said...

I see the atom as a trinity.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Sean - I think you will find it is not an analogy acceptable to (Nicean) Trinitarians - indeed, no analogies work!

Sean fowler said...

I’m confused!!! That was hilarious and very well done. Thank you for that.

Nicean Christianity. That would have been the perfect name for our, virtue signaling, hand wringing, liberal, inclusive, tolerant, globohomo, multiculti, modern leftist Christianity of perverts and inverts, that preaches the vanquishing of evil through embracing and tolerating evil and generally being nice to it.

A shame that the term has already been taken.

Andrew said...

Truman Madsen: "God's very nature requires that he should have peers"