Life: Tragedy or Comedy?

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The book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible talks about how everything that happens has already happened before, and that there is nothing new under the sun. If this is true, it might be immensely frustrating for God. For if God cannot do anything new, how can He remain inspired, excited, and stimulated for billions upon billions of years?

I find in creation significant evidence that God has been playing the game of life for an extremely long time. When we look, for instance, at the way global affairs unfold, and the way technology advances, there is a gradual and systematic unfolding of the events in history that is surely the work of an experienced Master Craftsman.

Consider for a moment the history of the last two thousand years, and the billions of people who have lived and died in that time, all contributing something different to God’s plan for Earth. And then consider that we are inhabitants of one planet out of possibly billions. The story of the universe is so epic that it puts a Tolkien or Lucas story to shame.

The countless stories within stories, and the way in which complex and diverse storylines fit together in the microcosm and the macrocosm, reveal a kind of intelligence so vast that it baffles the mind. And yet, I suspect that the story of the entire evolution of our planet is a relatively simple thing to God, because where we experience novelty and change, really God is employing the same techniques over and over again with only superficial variations. This might be compared to an aged composer who, having studied the intervals between notes for a lifetime, has become a master of the mechanics of the way in which musical notes communicate, and is able to churn out song after song with great ease.

If God has essentially created everything which it is possible to create, I consider that there are two possibilities. One is that God is bored to the point of agony, and yet continues to create simply for something to do. This would be rather tragic. The other possibility is that creation forever remains an interesting, exciting, and joyful process for God, and that He delights ceaselessly in the new iterations of beings and things that He creates. This would make life more of a comedy.

Which of these two possibilities represents the truth about God is in my view one of the most important questions for philosophically inclined theologians to consider. For if God suffers, it makes sense that we suffer, because God has frustration which He needs to vent. On the other hand, if God doesn’t suffer, and all is perpetually joyful for Him, then our suffering is much more likely to be only a stepping stone towards a happy resolution which God will manifest — and that we will enjoy — at a time in the future when our particular storyline in God’s Grand Game is brought to a conclusion.

If you’re interested in how the views expressed in this article relate to Christianity and other religions, as well as to the scientific worldview, I recommend exploring this blog further or reading my book ‘God’s Grand Game: Divine Sovereignty and the Cosmic Playground’, which is available here. Thank you for reading.