Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Tree that Fell in the Forest: Why God Created?

There's an old brain-teaser of sorts: "If a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it, does it still make a sound?" People can have a few moments' mind-sport debating over whether the "sound" is the air-carried disturbance or the perception of it, debating whether we can prove a thing with no witnesses, debating whether it matters if nobody is aware of it.

In relation to God: if there were no creatures capable of perceiving awesomeness, would God be an awesome God? If God had not created, he would not be Creator (or Redeemer, or Sustainer). If there were no Time, he would not be Ancient of Days. If there were no creatures with families, he would not be Our Father. If there were no earth, he would not be Our Rock. If no one could see, he would not be our Light; if no one had ever walked, he would not be our Way. If there were no minds to perceive reality, would not be our Truth. If he were all that existed, he would not be the Lord of Hosts. Without a flock, he would not be the Good Shepherd. If there were no places, would he be Omnipresent? If nobody else existed and nothing ever happened, would it mean anything to be Omniscient? If he never did anything, would it matter whether he were Omnipotent? Without creation, God could be compared to the tree in the forest -- the one that nobody heard.

When God said, "It is not good for man to be alone," I wonder whether he spoke from experience there. Without Eve, then Adam was the tree that fell in the forest. And as God sends us to love our neighbors, I think that's part of what we do for our neighbors. We see them, we know they're there, we take notice of them, and when they fall we remember them. The more we do that for our neighbors, the more they matter. So they are not the tree that falls in the forest, and neither are we.


Martin LaBar said...

That's deep!

Weekend Fisher said...

Said the man who has done so much to make sure that this blog isn't the blog that fell in the forest ...

Thank you!

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF

Aron Wall said...

Nicely written post, but I can't say I agree with it. I would say that God is completely self-sufficient, that he has no needs at all (Psalm 50, Acts 17:25), not even a need to be "recognized" for who he is. He commands us to worship him not because he needs it but because WE need it. He cares for creation and grieves over it, but for its sake, not because he has any lack within himself.

God says I AM, meaning his existence does not need to be defined with reference to anything outside of himself. He is already Truth and Life. He is all-full and purely giving, complete love. His creative acts may glorify his Name, but they cannot add to him something that was missing. As for God being alone, he is never alone, he always has his Son and Holy Spirit proceeding from him and resting in his bosom, in eternal blissful holy joy. If he does not already have joy, he cannot give it to us either.

We humans, on the other hand, crave recognition and status precisely because we are of the earth and insignificant. This is why we need God, and each other. But there is a danger that we project our own loneliness onto the divine nature. Perhaps because we experience the need for him most, when we ourselves are lonely.

This makes it all the more remarkable that, even though God has no needs of himself, he freely chose to be united to a human nature which did have unsatisfied wants and needs, in order to draw close to us and save us.

Weekend Fisher said...

I wouldn't say that God has "needs". I would say that God's greatness, in all its fullness (as creator, as Lord of Hosts, etc) is unrealized without creation. And if "Truth" is "the mind's map of reality" and there is no other mind into which to map ...

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF