Who, or what, is God?

We cannot know precisely, because God is infinite and beyond our understanding. God is the Omega Point, the asymptote approached by an exponentially increasing function of Purpose, Meaning and Reason.

Our minds can't comprehend God, but we can gradually climb the curve of improving notions about God's attributes, and we have been so climbing the curve for thousands of years. For example, the Jewish people's early anthropomorphic ideas about God were honed through hundreds of years as prophets gradually saw that charity, love, and good behavior were more important than ritual. Then, Jesus continued this ascent by asserting a law of love, saying that love of God and love of one's fellow humans were at the core of the law.

So, in some sense, God is about love. The first part of the law of love is to love God with all one's heart, with all one's mind and with all one's soul, to put God at the head and top of all hierarchies. Humans are inherently hierarchical, and it is much better that we worship a transcendent God than to worship ourselves, another human being, an organization, a tribe or a nation-state.

So God is about love. Then why so much suffering and evil in His creation, and why do bad things happen to good people? Why do children die of cancer and other horrible diseases, why do natural disasters kill thousands of people, why the Holocaust? It is clear that God allows evil to exist in the universe He created.

Let us go back to the beginning. God is love, and so God desires other beings to love. God begat His son, and the Holy Spirit emanated forth from them and they became a loving Trinity. Then God created the angels, pure spirits that God created from whole cloth, from scratch, in their final form. They did not evolve to become what they are. And this was good, even though some of them rebelled.

But God, in His wisdom, conceived of another kind of being and so He created an evolving, lawful universe that would evolve stars, galaxies and eventually life and human beings. There were important characteristics that couldn't be created ex nihilo, but that had to evolve in a contingent universe. This evolving creation required some evil in the mix, in order to evolve as God desired and to create such complex life forms and humans. Yes, God could have created “humans” from scratch, like He did the angels, but those humans would have been different than we are. God judged that beings forged in the fire of self-determination, involving tough decisions, ultimate risks, suffering and trials, would have superior qualities, and in the end, be worth the costs.

God created us such that we would be more richly rewarded by helping to find our own way, by working hard to help create the good, the true and the beautiful, and by learning to value hard, creative work towards meaningful goals.

God, being just, and supremely loving His created beings, agonized over the costs and rewards, and determined that He Himself should share in this created, contingent world and its sufferings. How could He expose His created beings to such suffering if He were not willing to expose Himself? So, He decided that He should also suffer, in the form of His only begotten Son, and that the sufferings of Himself, His Son and of people were worth the costs.

Maybe God knew before creating the world that He would ultimately create a better world, and better humans, if He Himself were willing to sacrifice and suffer, and that humanity could attain a better state through some sacrifice and suffering than if they were placed in an ideal, pain free world right from the beginning. Maybe God could have created a world with absolutely no evil and no suffering, but in His wisdom, He foresaw that He could create an even greater world through some suffering and sacrifice. Maybe a propensity to suffer and sacrifice in order to create transcendent value is a core attribute of God.

Perhaps God sacrificed Herself, in whole or in part, for the benefit of the creatures (S)He was creating. Specifically, (S)He may have, for reasons unknown to us, decided to sacrifice Her ability to continually intervene in the created world to stop bad things from happening. In other words, (S)He may have needed to give up Her absolute ongoing omnipotence. (S)He could still influence creation, not only by Her setting of the initial conditions, but also through Her Holy Spirit, and by the Incarnation of Her only begotten Son, the Perfect human being, Jesus Christ. This may help explain the existence of evil in a world created by a good God. Maybe, They even require help from Their creatures in completing Their evolving creation, and maybe even in re-creating Their effective omnipotence.

We don't fully understand yet why suffering is necessary. But God is love, and sometimes the best love is tough love. And sometimes tough love requires suffering, but the suffering cannot be compared to the glory that is to be.

Maybe God, Itself, sacrificed Itself, for Us.