IS GOD PERFECT?

Most believers in God claim that God is "perfect." Usually they do not seem to draw the ultimate conclusions from saying that, but simply use the word without thinking of the implications.

What does "perfect" mean, anyway? The Hebrew and Greek words in the Bible which are usually translated as "perfect" mean complete, faultless, whole, plain, finished, honest.

The same believers usually claim that God has always existed. That is, there was never a time when God did not exist. And, we must assume, there was never a time in God's existence when he was not perfect. Believers insist that God never changes, so he must have always been perfect.

Believers can cite scriptural passages to support all these claims: God is perfect, God has always been perfect, God does not change.

But then believers go on to say things about God that deny his being perfect.

Why would a perfect God create a universe? Imagine God, in the eternities before he created the universe. What was he doing? Remember, he was perfect. He needed nothing, he wanted for nothing. He was perfectly content, since if he was not content with himself, it would imply that he was needing something else. What would a perfect being, perfectly content, need? Nothing. It would be inconsistent with the idea of perfection to use the verb "want" with a perfect being as the subject, as in "God wanted to create mankind..." Merely saying that amounts to an admission that God was not perfect.

Even if God's wanting to create something he did not already have does not make us doubt God's perfection, how about the universe that he created? One would think that a perfect creator would create a perfect creation. But everyone admits, even believers, that the universe is not perfect. It is riddled with problems, not the least of which is the existence of evil. Can a perfect God create evil? (Some Bible passages even admit that God can do evil: Ex 32:14, Job 42:11, Amos 3:6.) Or (just as bad) allow evil to exist and to continue to exist? Believers try to excuse God for creating (or allowing) evil by asserting that God gave his creatures "free will" and is therefore not responsible for the evil done by his creations. But would a perfect being deserve to be called perfect (especially "perfectly good") to have created such imperfect creatures that they were not also perfectly good, and thus incapable of doing evil?

Let's look again at the perfect God before he created anything. What was he doing? Since he had not yet created anything, there was nothing for him to be acting upon or even contemplating. He was the only thing that existed. Was he just thinking? About what? He can only have been thinking about himself. (Can you be perfect and narcissistic?) He cannot have gotten bored, since that would imply dissatisfaction and incompleteness. Perhaps time did not yet exist. That would have helped, since nothing - absolutely nothing - would have been happening. There would have been no "moment to moment." Was God simply planning something in his mind? Not possible, since God does not change. What was in his mind cannot have varied - it must have always been there. And change can take place only over time, and time did not yet exist. Or maybe it did.

So why did God decide at some particular moment to create the universe? If he was perfect, and unchanging, he cannot have decided anything of the sort. He would have simply remained the perfect, complete, solitary, timeless being that he was, frozen, immobile, in a single timeless state.

It seems that the existence of the universe, rather than being evidence for the existence of God (as many believers assert) is instead evidence that the perfect God they believe in does not exist, and never did.


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