Why Does Anything Exist?
A Manifesto humbly submitted by Christopher Andrus
Introductory note: As a manifesto, what follows is only a statement of a position. It is not a full explanation of the position, nor is it a complete defense of it against all challenges. However, this does not mean it isn’t rationally-sound and fully defensible.
As the very first verse of the Bible implies, Christianity is based on the understanding that The Creator God must have always existed, The Necessary Being Who would create everything else that exists (all of which would be contingent entities, dependent on the Creator as the effects of which He was The Cause). This is both Biblical and logically necessary, as an endless series of contingent causes and effects is illogical. All cause and effect relationships must have a first cause. And this is no less true of the entire universe than it is of things within the universe.
It is also fundamental and unique to Christian Theology to view God as completely Self-sufficient within the relationships of the Trinity before “He” created anything. Because of this “He” had no need to create anything. (See note 1.) It is important to realize that this would not be the case if “He” was just One Person, as Islam and other monotheistic approaches insist. Before anything else existed, each Person of the Trinity was in a Perfect relationship of love for each of the other Two, with love being understood as being the state in which one cares about and for another or others rather than one’s self. So, this leads to the question: Why did God create anything? Since the existence of anything requires a cause, this is the proper way to ask the question: Why does anything exist? And, especially, why do we exist?
Although God had no need for anything or anyone else, it should be understood that God freely decided to create the universe and, especially, angelic and human-beings mainly for the purpose of enlarging His “Circle of Love”. Being completely Self-sufficient, God had no need to manifest His Glory, Goodness, Love, Beauty or any of His other qualities by creating other beings. Furthermore, having created such beings He does not even seek the increase of such from the beings He has created. This, too, is entailed in His complete Self-sufficiency. So, regardless of how widespread it is, the idea that God desires that we worship and glorify Him is actually a case of projecting sinful, selfish human tendencies onto our Creator. In other words, to make God in our image is an error not only by those who worship false idols, it is also a misunderstanding of the Nature of The True God by many true believers.
It is entirely fitting that God’s creatures should worship and glorify Him. But what God really seeks is to love us and invite us to love Him back. And this is entirely for our sake, not for His. Once again, this is because God has always been completely Self-sufficient. And it is also because God’s loving Nature means that He is always outwardly-directed, originally in the Trinitarian relationships, and, even, in His subsequent relationships with human-beings and angelic beings, although this love would not be returned by some of both.
Amazingly, this means that the “Triune” God wishes to have the same loving relationship with human-beings as the Three Divine Persons had with each other for all eternity. And even more amazing is the fact that God’s Perfect Love means that He always loves others, especially those who love Him, more than He loves Himself. In actuality, though, no being, not even God (with respect to each Person of the Trinity), really loves himself or herself. For it is the nature of love that it is always outwardly-directed rather than having any focus on or concern for one’s self. (See note 2.)
But, in order for such a relationship to be possible between God and created beings, God had to make us as free moral beings like Him. This entailed the possibility that we could reject Him, which, of course, is what happened with the first human-beings and, prior to this, also happened among the angelic beings. The rejection of God by the first human-beings would be continued in all subsequent humanity.
It is also important to realize that the same possibility of rejection always existed within the Trinity. But it never occurs because, unlike us, God’s Nature is Perfectly Good, Beautiful and Loving. This is not true by definition, in the sense that everything God does is good, beautiful and loving by definition. For, this would be arbitrary. (See note 3.) Nor is it the case that God obeys a Standard of Goodness and Love which is somehow above Him. This is impossible because, contrary to Idealism (either in its classical Greek form or in the Karmic Idealism of the Asian traditions), Goodness, Love and Beauty are inherently personal and relational qualities and there can be no Person higher than or prior to the Triune God.
The real existence of such qualities also proves that the philosophical Materialism which has dominated the developed world for over a century must be wrong, as Materialism also denies that personality is part of what originally and ultimately exists. Materialism is the metaphysical component of the comprehensive philosophy of Humanism, which emerged (along with its epistemological partner – Empiricism) during the 19th century and gradually conquered the academic world and, consequently, all of “Western” civilization. At its core, Humanism is based on the assumption that we determine what is true, good and beautiful. These things do not come from outside of us. In all of these ways Humanism is a rejection both of the Biblical God and the worldview found in the Bible, developed and advanced by people who had rejected both.
While it is true that the Material world exists, including our physical bodies (which include our physical brains), this world only exists, along with our minds because the Biblical God existed first as The Original Mind (not “Minds”, because the Three Persons of the Trinity, despite being distinct as Persons, can truly be said to be of One Mind). The material world is also not inherently inferior to “the spiritual” (or, if you will, Mental aspect of reality, which includes all created minds, spirits or souls, all of these being synonyms for the same thing for the purposes of this discussion). Both aspects of reality were originally good as created by God. But both also became corrupted due to the rebellion of angels and human-beings against our Creator.
So it is that the only reason that we matter is because we are not only matter. We are both mind and matter. And it must also be seen that personality could never emerge from what is impersonal. Our personality could only come from a Personal Creator. So, to deny God is to deny ourselves. And to deny the Triune God is to deny the original and ultimate existence of an essential aspect of personality – relationships.
Because humanity turned against God, it became necessary for God to reach out to us with a program and offer of restoration. Only in this way could the Divine-human relationship be like that between the Three Persons of the Trinity, a relationship of mutual-love (which was God’s original goal in creating us and other beings).
But that humanity has been created to be like God as free moral-beings not only made it possible for our original rebellion, it also means that we can either accept or reject God’s offer of restoration. This restoration not only restores us to a relationship with God, it also includes a renovation of our nature so that those who are restored become lovers both of God and others, imperfectly for now, but increasingly and, eventually, perfectly in Heaven, where God had always intended to dwell with us. But, those who persist in rejecting God’s offer until the end of the time God gives them are not really sent to Hell by God, they actually choose Hell over the offer of Heaven.
That God actually determines who will accept (“the Elect”) and who will reject His offer is only relevant from God’s point-of-view. From our point-of-view it will be the case for most people that no one can know that he or she is not of “the Elect” until the end of one’s life. For it must always be allowed to be possible that God could restore someone to Himself in the next moment. This will be the case except for the most extreme rebels, whom the Bible describes in the 9th chapter of the book of Romans as being hardened by God. But, for most people, then, we must consider that God’s offer of restoration is real for as long as we are alive in this world. And all who accept this offer will surely be saved.
On the other hand, God does want us to know that, while He is perfectly loving to those who will accept His love, ultimately, He is utterly stern and wrathful to those who won’t. And, at some point, He will just harden stubborn rebels forever. This is what He revealed through the apostle Paul when he wrote chapter 9 of his epistle to the Romans. Jacob and Esau had the same opportunities to do what is right. But God loved Jacob because he sought Him (albeit imperfectly). And God hated Esau because he rejected Him. And, although God created both and foreordained all that they would do (along with everything else in the universe He created, its history being really “His-story”), they were nonetheless responsible for their choices, as we all are. That we can’t fully understand how both of these things can be true doesn’t mean they can’t be. It only shows the limit of our perspective.
- The use of “He” here is simply a convention due to the lack of a better pronoun. Not that God is male or female. For maleness and femaleness were created by Him, although one of the Persons of the Trinity did become a man as Jesus of Nazareth.
- That God commands us to “love your neighbor as yourself” may seem to prove that self-love is a Biblical idea. But, this language can be seen to be either a concession to human selfishness or just a bad translation. That self-love is never a virtue can be seen from the fact that one who perfectly loves himself or herself would be a most selfish person indeed. But real love in the Bible is always inherently self-less. So, we are called to love others and not ourselves, with Jesus being the Ultimate Model for this and the marriage relationship between a man and a woman being the supreme human expression of this in this world.
- The distinction between God and a being who simply defines what is good can be seen in the difference between a ruler who is good and one who is evil. A good ruler, like God, does what is good because he or she is good. But an evil ruler may claim that all he or she does is good, but this is false.