A friend of mine named Dan Reiland, Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church, posted the following question that I was musing here on a Saturday morning after picking up the kiddos from a Youth Group All-nighter. (Hey, don’t blame me… it’s either theological reflection or watching cartoons with the kids right now)
Dan asked this:
“If God created everything all over again, from the beginning, do you imagine He might do anything different a second time? (This is just a theologically imaginative question, not a suggestion that God didn’t get it right the first time.)”
I have three answers to this question, and for me they get more interesting as you go:
1) No – The answer is no because God preordained events in time… in the beginning was the Word and God has already planned to “do things this way” and to incarnate himself so that he might redeem us. The great redemptive arc of history is the best plan possible, and it reflects God’s redeeming character so to not do it this way would not be “like-God.”
2) Yes – The answer is yes because while God would have still done everything theologically pertinent the same way (because God is a redeeming God and it reflects his character) but he is still a creative God and would have enjoyed expressing himself in great variety with another chance to create. Lions might have zebra stripes the second time and cats might bark while dogs would meow and humans might have gills (or at least Kevin Costner would, because after seeing Waterworld God would have been so offended by how horrible it was that he would have cursed Kevin with them.) God’s character is redemptive, but it is also creative, and his creative character in a creation “do-over” would be to have a great amount of joy at creating differently for his own glory and he would sit down on the seventh day and say: “It is good… and Kevin’s gills are very good. HA!”
3) Yes because he already is doing this – Okay here is the really interesting thought: Perhaps the answer is Yes because he already has done this “do over” and perhaps is continuing to “do this over” in other places in the cosmos where God’s creative power is at work creating and creating in a myriad of ways and redeeming and redeeming in the same way. Perhaps God’s creative energy cannot be constrained by time and space… and so he is not only creating new worlds at the edge of our known universe, father than the 50th version of the Hubble telescope would even see, and there, as Physicists say, the universe is mathematically expanding (even confounding the previously held opinion that the universe was contracting.) The universe seems too big for us to grasp, but it’s too small a sandbox for God to play in. Out there, God may still be creating and creating with future plans of redeeming and redeeming. Because that’s what God is like. CS Lewis basically implied this in his phenomenal Space Trilogy of books which I highly recommend all fiction lovers read (Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, & That Hideous Strength.)
But let’s go deeper even than Lewis (Spoiler: his character never left our solar system.) Some philosophers have even speculated that there are alternate universes… what if God is actually creating whole universes each week, always taking his Sabbath off to answer prayers of the faithful in every universe that he has ever created? What if God is, right now, in some universe, breathing life into the phosphorescent green dust of another planet’s first Alien Adam? What if, God, right now, is dying on a cross made of some extra-terrestrial tree out beyond the stars? What if, God, right now, is coming back to a world he created before ours, coming back after a thunderous martian-like trumpet, but that foreshadows our own future?
I guess what I’m saying is: what if God is so redemptive and creative that he’s doing it all the time?
Well, we already know that is true. We see that every day. He is redeeming and redeeming in my life all the time. He is also creating and creating. Both his creative expression and his redemptive plan reflect his character. So while it is hard for me to dream up the above–it truly is beyond my imagination–it is possible, I think.
Okay, it’s time to go back to #BeingDad by watching cartoons. I’ll leave you with this, which I think is my bottom line: God won’t get a “do over” unless he wants one. But he surely doesn’t want one. He doesn’t need one for sure. He’s so creative and redemptive he can do whatever he wants, including putting gills on Kevin Costner.
Have you heard what Dan Reiland said about my book Being Dad? Here’s his endorsement:
“I love this book. David Drury has painted a compelling picture of what it’s like to be a good dad, using engaging stories and experience-tested principles. The fact that it’s based on the real life of David and his dad makes it even more powerful. No dad is perfect, but we can all be a little better. This quick read will encourage you to be the best dad you can be!” – Dan Reiland, author of Amplified Leadership