This is my response to this post.
Wow. A lot here. Way too much for me interact with all of it. I will deal with two aspects however:
- God’s glory in creation, and
- God’s freedom in creation
God’s Glory in Creation
God—omnipotent, omniscient, perfect in every way—created to display his own glory and worth in creation[period]. This means he gets glory from every aspect of creation, including sin. Jesus was not a divine plan b. He was Plan A, all things were created through him and for him. This is precisely the pinnacle of God’s glory in creation—the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This was the sole purpose of creation, for God to display the riches of his grace in the redemption of his people through Jesus Christ.
I would credit God with demanding glory, or as you put it, being narcissistic. He is the only being worthy of the honor to demand glory. Why? Because he created everything. Does not the potter have right over the lump of clay? Not only that, he’s perfect. I’m not arguing for some conception of a being, the “greatest conceivable being.” I’m saying that the Creator of heaven and earth is absolutely perfect, and has the right to demand total allegiance and worship. Creation is all about God.
Every other reason you proposed as a potential reason for God creating boiled down to man as the chief end of God’s purpose. This is to be denied at every turn. It is patently humanistic in every sense of the word, which really doesn’t surprise me. Our natural inclination is to think that the universe revolves around us—was created for us. We were created for his glory, which brings me to my second point.
God’s Freedom in Creation
His omniscience is complete, but not only does he know everything, he knowingly foreordains everything that comes to pass. I alluded to this above. There is nothing outside of the sovereign reach of God. You see, I wouldn’t ascribe to God the same nonchalance and passivity in his creation that you do. Mainly because he doesn’t.
You look at the various problems plaguing humanity and think the historical incidents of brutality and atrocities committed against one another—The Holocaust. Rwanda. The Japanese Rape of Nanjing. Child abuse. Worldwide starvation and extreme poverty. Medieval witch hunts. Hate crimes. Murder. Torture. Terminal illnesses. Extinction events. Ruthless competition.—somehow diminish God’s moral perfection. I look at them and say that man’s appetite for death is unending, and the effects of sin are atrocious.
At this point you may say “hold on, didn’t you just say that God does all that he pleases? How can man be faulted, for who can resist the will of God?” I agree, there is a tension between God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility. I won’t pretend to know how to resolve that tension. Suffice it to say that I will not place myself as judge over the Judge. My point is that God is completely free over his creation. I’m ok with that, his ways truly are higher than ours. This is far from a mental safe zone. In fact, it’s a very large chunk of truth to swallow.
When you suggest what type of world might have been “more moral” for God to create, I simply ask you what makes you think that God is subject to your fallen notion of fairness.
But to help you get a grasp of man’s responsibility I’ll return to your discussion of man’s “free” will. You left out one important aspect of man’s will, namely, that it is not free at all. Our will is enslaved to sin. We gave our allegiance to the enemy, and when we did we sold ourselves into slavery.
Therefore, everything we get that isn’t death is a grace, totally undeserved. We have no right to demand anything from God, especially a suffering-free life. All we deserve is suffering, for we are traitors, guilty of treason. We are utterly dependent upon God to rescue us from our rebellious will. Otherwise, we have no hope, for we will rebel against our Creator until we return to dust.
I suppose though, that I’ve written all of this for nothing anyway, because I haven’t given you proof of this God. Well to that I say that I’m sorry, I have no proof. I can’t stand with William Lane Craig and give you a “more probable god.” For me, the very fact that we are having this conversation is proof that there is a Designer. Contrary to your belief, I would say that the burden of proof is upon your shoulders. You should have to tell me why you know anything, if knowledge was not given to you.
No amount of evidence I would give to you would ever be enough to overcome the burden of proof you suppose. I would always lack sufficient evidence. You have the created order in front of you, yet you have the audacity to claim that there is no good evidence that God exists. I’m sorry, but like I said before, I will not place myself in the position to judge God, I don’t have that right. There is no neutral ground between us, for God created all of it.