So, here’s an idea that’s been hounding me lately: Maybe God needs us to question Him/Her/It/Them. Bear with me on this. You won’t find any research or evidence here. This is purely a construction of my own reason and imagination.
LDS (Mormon) theology teaches God is in a state of eternal progression. The same state we are trying to achieve. We always strive to be better, cultivate our talents, become more Christlike, and—dare I say—Godlike. On the other hand, LDS theology is firm in the assurance that God is perfect in every way. Now, we can get into all sorts of discussions about what perfect means, and what every way means. I’ve heard this interpreted to mean when God plays golf, He shoots a hole in 1 every time. Seriously, I did not make that up. On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve heard people theorize that God’s perfection is more in a strictly spiritual sense, i.e. He does not necessarily have the body of Ed Quinn (you’re welcome ladies), but He knows everything and always acts perfectly.
I find these two versions of God difficult to reconcile. If a being is perfect, then that being by definition cannot improve. It’s possible that the word progression refers to some other aspect besides personal improvement, but I don’t want to argue semantics right now. While I’m not saying it’s impossible, it is difficult for me, personally, to understand how one can progress without becoming a better individual. I’ve heard various theories that seek to reconcile these conflicting notions. For example, when we say God is all-knowing we don’t mean God knows everything that ever can be, we mean compared to us God knows so much we might as well call Him/Her/It/Them all-knowing. I find this easier to comprehend, but in order for this to be the case we have to fundamentally change our view of what and who God is. That’s an issue for another time though.
The easiest way to reconcile these things is also found in LDS theology, in the Book of Mormon itself. Okay, I lied, there’s going to be a little bit of research. Various passages within the Book of Mormon contain the notion that if God were to somehow ‘sin’ then God would “cease to be God.” This scripture itself is open to numerous interpretations, but for now let’s assume that it refers to the very real possibility of God making some sort of dumb mistake that would revoke His/Her/Its/Their Godhood. If we accept this as a possibility—and again I’m not saying this is the case, I’m merely stating this as a theory—we must also accept that it’s possible for God to make some sort of mistake that would not revoke His/Her/Its/Their Godhood. This could be a simple error in judgment, like say, sending that rainstorm over Southern California instead of Northern California. In the long run it won’t cause major problems, but it could still be a mistake. Suppose God could commit greater errors while remaining God. In short, perhaps absolute perfection is not a requirement for Godhood, or perhaps absolute perfection doesn’t actually mean entirely without error.
I realize now that I’m getting into some pretty radical stuff here. I’m not attempting to undermine God or religion or faith. I’m merely saying, what if? If this were the case, that God could make a mistake yet continue to be God, it would provide an answer for quite a few religious problems. First off, it would effectively solve the perfect vs progressing nature of God. If God could be perfect, but not entirely faultless, it stands to reason that He/She/It/They could continue progressing. If God is really just an exalted human (also part of LDS theology, although you’ll find people uncomfortable discussing it with non-believers) this would make perfect sense. Perhaps our human flaws didn’t begin when Adam fell. Perhaps they are a fundamental part of our souls.
Now, this is where it gets really interesting. If God is simply an exalted human, and fallible yet still God, how does He/She/It/They progress? I have a goal to one day be a published author. To that end, when I write something I share it with people. When I share it with people I often get lots of praise. (The people in this scenario are usually my mother and my wife.) I love getting praise, and it’s extremely valuable to my fragile, untested author feelings. However, to really grow as a writer I need censure and criticism. I need someone to say, “I don’t understand this part,” or “Why did Rick do that there?” I grow through opposition. It is one of the most important resources I have in helping me be a better writer. If God is like me—and in our theoretical exercise we’ve show how this can be the case—He/She/It/They also need censure and criticism in order to be a better God. Another thought strikes me as I write this; perhaps God is totally perfect, but perhaps He/She/It/They have never had to deal with me being who I am in this moment and place. Perhaps in this way God can fumble in regards to me, but still be perfect. He/She/It/They are just as new to being my God as I am to being God’s subject.
Anyway, to get back to my previous line of thought, if this is an accurate profile of God, then it stands to reason that God needs me to question Him/Her/It/Them. If God tells me to kill my firstborn son, and I disagree with that decision, it seems perfectly reasonable for me to question why it needs to happen. And maybe, just maybe, after some reflection and discussion and even argument, maybe God will realize that this was the wrong decision. Maybe God will send an Angel and a ram at the last moment and say, “Sorry. This was just a test. *wink*” Again, don’t mistake my allusion here for blasphemy. I am not saying that this is exactly how it happened. I’m still only saying what if.
But wouldn’t that make sense? If, as taught in yet more LDS theology, people can strive for and attain the rank of Godhood themselves, shouldn’t we start practicing now? Shouldn’t we be constantly questioning God, and in so doing receiving answers from Him/Her/It/Them about why something is the way it is? And if all this is true, isn’t it possible that we could change the mind of God? Or am I just completely wrong?