What if God Forgot About Us?

Creative Commons photo (also, isn’t it curious how few freely available photos there are to represent the idea of God?).

There are a lot of theories, as it were, on the existence or nonexistence of God.

That is, perhaps God is dead, which brings up a whole host questions itself, mainly, how? Maybe God doesn’t exist at all, which a number of rabid atheist types (and the minority of more mellow ones) will be quick to tell you. Or it’s more the Buddhist conception, where there is no personal god, but that life is, nevertheless, endless and impermanent. Perhaps God is a God in the pantheistic way, as in, god is everything and in all things, and in this way, God also doesn’t “exist” in a sense. Or maybe God isn’t the one God, but there are multiple gods and deities, like is explicitly argued in Mormonism (but they mean the Trinity) and Hinduism? Or the monotheistic God does exist, but is the vengeful God of the Old Testament — think more hellfire and brimstone than heaven. To take that a sinister step further, maybe God is all powerful, all knowing, but crucially, not all Good (I capitalize the “g” to indicate the goodness is absolute)? More optimistically to a lot of people, maybe God is the loving God of the New Testament, thanks to Jesus’ sacrifice, but doesn’t get involved in human affairs due to free will; there’s a wider plan we can’t possibly comprehend, and that explains some incidents on Earth that seem to us to be tragic, and this is also a loophole way of explaining away the problem of evil (i.e., if God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-Good, then why isn’t God eliminating evil from the world?). There are those who see God as the New Testament God and that God is involved in our lives, an active participant in a way, and that’s why we can explain certain incidents on Earth as “miracles.” Maybe God exists as the monotheistic religions think of him — as in, there is only one all-powerful, all-knowing God — but this God is apathetic, neither caring enough to be vengeful or caring enough to be loving? Or maybe God does exist, but is not actually all-powerful and all-knowing, which I have a hard time conceiving of whatever that is as being godlike since all-powerful and all-knowing seems part of the deal.

There’s also agnosticism, of which I would belong to, where we simply don’t know the answer to any of these questions (and some agnostics would argue that it’s not as if the answers are out there somewhere, but that we are quite literally incapable of answering them), but, as a philosophy geek (and again, I have to throat-clear that I was an awful philosophy student), it sure is fun to theorize and think through these issues!

Those are, in an abbreviated version, all the theories about God that I am familiar with offhand. I’m also not a religious studies expert or anything, although those were some of my favorite courses in college, but again, I do find it fun to think through these theories. So, my apologies if any of those abbreviated conceptions of God(s) are off-base to your understanding and worldview.

That said, the reason I’m even thinking about this on a Wednesday morning is because I encountered a passage from noted American poet Mary Ruefle, which introduced, rather inadvertently, I must say, a new theory of God I had never considered before, and I’m fascinated by it. Here’s the passage:

I must remark, too, on how beautiful from a language standpoint this passage is.

Now, to be sure, the passage itself seems to be making a point of not being judgmental (both us as humans and God, that the point about this particular God is not judgmental), and it doesn’t dwell on the question, per se, of God having forgotten the things God made, like a pear, a vase, a shoe. But I’m fascinated by that! What if God exists (in the monotheistic way, and let’s also stipulate that this God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-Good), but has forgotten having made us? Granted, being forgetful seems to be a chink in the “all-powerful and all-knowing” armor, but that seems a more devastating conception of God than many of the other negative ones, being dead, vengeful or actively evil. That this being actually exists within our reality, but has forgotten us. Why? Are we that insignificant by comparison? Has God made infinite worlds like ours and we fell through the proverbial cracks in existence? Is God off doing other things that are so incomprehensible to our human brains and has left us behind like an abandoned toy on a closet shelf to collect our existential dust?

What do you make of this theory of God or any of the aforementioned theories of God, for that matter?

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