Saturday, April 28, 2018

Are The Gods Perfect?

Sometimes, I get the question, Do you think the Gods are perfect? The problem with this question first and foremost, is that humans have no idea what perfection is. Not a single mortal on this planet can look at a forest and tell me which tree is perfect, or look at the sky and tell me which cloud doesn't have any imperfections. No one can tell me which blade of grass is better, the tall or short one. No human can even tell me which human being is perfect and which one isn't, and more so, explain why. Which color of hair, eyes or skin is perfect? What height is perfect? Which sex is perfect? If you get where I'm going with this, good.

Are the Gods perfect? The plain answer is, I couldn't say, because as a human, and like every other human around me, I have no idea what perfection is. There are, however, a few ideas we might entertain. One, perhaps everything is indeed perfect because everything is exactly the way it's supposed to be. And/or two, if there is no perfection, perhaps there doesn't even need to be. Do the Gods have to be perfect? No, they don't. But they are undoubtedly the highest level of perfection that could possibly exist. In other words, if they're not perfect, they are certainly as close to it as you can get, completely unmatched in the universe. When I praise the Gods, or invoke them for something, what I am literally doing is praising or asking for that highest level of something. Their power doesn't have to be perfect in order to be unsurpassed. The idea that a God must be perfect really more so comes from the Judeo-Christian mythos than anything else. In order for the early Christians to claim theological superiority over everyone, they had to create a perfect deity. It's not really something that existed a lot in Pagan culture, and yet the Pagans still loved their Gods all the same. It does not, by any means, indicate that the Gods are not excellent.

Then the final question begs, if the Gods aren't perfect, why worship them? The answer is simple, because they are the Gods. Your parents may not be perfect, but you still love them. Your boss may not be perfect, but you still respect him or her. Your spouse may not be perfect, but you're still devoted to them until the end. Why should the Gods, who are far greater than anything else, not be given the same respect, obedience, and loyalty? It makes no sense to be devoted to imperfect humans, but refuse to worship a God on the grounds that they may not be perfect. A human is far weaker and less wise than a God, whereas a God will exceed the human in all things. To adore the human and reject the God isn't logical. 

So, are the Gods perfect? My answer is, it doesn't matter.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.


Anonymous said...

I think people do need to challenge you. Yes, it does matter. Because in monotheism, the God (and His Holy Begotten Son) are claimed to be perfect. If your Gods don't live up to this standard, they will be considered lesser Gods or "demons".

Chris said...

Not at all. The entire point of the post is to say that I have no idea, because no human knows what perfection is. The Gods may indeed be perfect, or they may not be. As a human, there's no way for me to know that. That's the bigger picture. So if you believe them to be perfect, fine. You may be right.

Chris said...

But Gods don't have to be perfect in order to be the highest reigning supreme Divine beings. By what authority of knowledge do you claim to know that? How do you know that perfection must exist in a Deity? How can you, as a human, even begin to know that?

Chris said...

And more so, if we judge the Judeo-Christian god by what we assume is perfection, and by what his followers claim is his infallible word, he is anything but a perfect deity himself. For one, he knowingly created an evil being to work against all his plans, when he could have just as easily not created him and had everything go exactly as he wanted. Then he created Hell to send people there who don't obey him. It's not his will that anyone go there, yet he creates people he knows will go there, when he could just as easily create people who wouldn't. He also creates people that he knows will offend him, and then gets mad when they do. These are not the characteristics of an intelligent human, let alone an intelligent god.

Anonymous said...

I found this blog entry to be very interesting. I also enjoyed your rational behind your stance on such a common theological question. My only issue is the point you raise in the comments in response to another person. You stated that the Judeo-Christian God creates people who defy Him or creates evil beings. Yet theologically, such a stance is not actually accurate. From the Judeo-Christian theological view, God created mankind (alongside angels) and gave His creations free will. God knew (and therefore limited Himself) that such free will could be used for the wrong purposes. From the Judeo-Christian view, God didn't create evil, evil is a perversion of good. Evil is the result of beings using their free will to make bad decisions that have disastrous consequences for themselves and others. Following this theological view, God limited Himself in that He clearly did not want a race of robots who followed Him like slaves. He wanted people who could explore His creation and think for themselves. From the Judeo-Christian view, God does not hate or get mad at humans exercising free will, He is disappointed by the choices some humans make. Following this theology, God does not send people to Hell, rather people choose to go to Hell based on their life choices. Now we can look at the history of Heaven and Hell. Hell and the afterlife in general, was actually heavily influenced by Neo-Platonic beliefs. The Jews really didn't put much thought into the afterlife although some did have a view which involve the soul (whether good or evil) going into Sheol (the underworld). Eventually, Greek thought would influence this idea and Sheol would have both evil and good souls separated into different areas based on whether they were good or evil. I know this is a lot to read in a simple comment response, but I felt it appropriate to point out that traditional Christian theology (and Jewish theology) does not take the view that God created evil or that God hates people who make evil choices, rather it takes the view that God is disappointed that His children would choose to exercise free will for the wrong reasons and thus choose a path to what is commonly called Hell. Your more evangelical types will disagree with traditional theology and insist that God is a hateful God who smites everyone and everything that isn't right in the evangelical eyes, but this fire and brimstone view is not compatible with traditional theology. Truth be told, I love theology in general not just Christian theology. I find the Greek Gods fascinating and I enjoy reading and studying about different religions. I firmly believe in interfaith dialogue. Keep posting these awesome articles, I love learning from them!

Chris said...

It doesn't matter if he gave his creations free will. He still knew what they would do, and therefore, he created evil and sin himself, then punishes people for what he created. If he doesn't know, then he's not all knowing. He most certainly does get mad. The bible talks about many times when his anger was released onto people. Since most Christians believe the bible is the authority for Christians, there's really no getting away from that.

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