Sunday, April 15, 2007

Morally superior to God?

The paradox of freedom at the core of Being (oh, so mysterious Being!) requires everything—that there be hunger as well as satiety, drought as well as rainfall, death as well as birth, deformity as well as perfection. The same paradox permits everything—that we murder as well as aid, rape as well as love, lie as well as say true, waste as well as conserve. Shall we, therefore, choose to do anything whatsoever? What is to stop us?

If indeed the world was "made by the Being his beings into Being prayed" (to quote Howard Nemerov's couplet on "The Myth of Creation on a Moebius Band"), perhaps His beings prayed Him into Being as much to protect them from themselves (and from others) as to be able to believe that they would live forever. Were they not sure enough of themselves to be good without the fear of punishment to keep them from being bad? (It's easy to see, certainly, that they might not have been sure enough of others if their choices weren't regulated by a fear of divine punishment.)

But since we are free to choose—at least to the extent that we are able to exercise the choice—I say let's choose to do good without being constrained to do it by fear of punishment. Why, just because everything is permitted, should we imitate God?

2 comments:

  1. But since we are free to choose—at least to the extent that we are able to exercise the choice—I say let's choose to do good without being constrained to do it by fear of punishment. Why, just because everything is permitted, should we imitate God?
    Maybe good is in the eye of the beholder. I kill in the name of God; so that is good. I don't kill in the name of God; so that is good. Are the sins listed by man of any concern to God. Does he really care if two men marry. Or a bomb kills twenty people. If it's true, that a better life awaits after death; wouldn't God think us silly to cry about dying? Just a thought. ed

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  2. Thank you, Ed (as I say in today's post) for these provocative and fruitful questions! You're a veritable muse, man!

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