posted on Feb, 19 2006 @ 02:00 PM
[When I am using the pronoun He, I am merely catering to the Christian custom of referring to God as He.]
Why do we pray? Is it to induce God to placate our desires? Is it to beg for absolution? Is it to gain favor? Is it to somehow lessen the severity
of our sins? Is it to beseech salvation? Is it to make God happy?
People pray for many reasons - some more noble than others. A mother might seek a miracle cure for her cancer-stricken infant; a millionaire
basketball player might bequest God to use His powers to make a rival miss a free-throw. The one common thread among most prayers is that they almost
exclusively endeavor to improve our temporal condition on earth. And I don’t think God - if He truly exists - pays any attention to these sorts of
prayers. I don’t believe He cares if the mother’s baby dies or if the Lakers prevail over the Bulls, for reasons I shall explain.
If there is one singular God, than His decisions are made without peer review or the input of a celestial steering committee. He alone created the
divine blueprint for the cosmos and He alone instilled meaning in each of His creations. Presumably, this means that each of God’s creations
possesses a separate and unique purpose within this omnipotent blueprint. And since God is perfect and thus perfectly efficient, there wouldn’t be
wasted space or redundant creations.
Therefore, it’s safe to assume that the Godly purpose of earth and heaven are completely separate.
I’ve never set foot or brandished a halo in heaven but there are certain assumptions I have about what heaven must be like. First, in heaven the
inhabitants experience a closeness to God that’s unmatched by that of earth. Second, in heaven there isn’t the pain, chaos, and destruction that
we witness on this terrestrial plane. Third, the inhabitants in heaven are happy, peaceful, and everlasting. Fourth and finally, life in heaven is
preferable to life on earth.
There cannot be any wasted effort in God’s divine brush, for perfect beings do not inefficiently utilize their resources. Heaven is what it is
because it suits God’s purpose - and the same could be said about the earth. Their differences and not their similarities must be examined, for it
is these differences that reveal why God deemed it necessary to create each separate entity.
So what are the differences between heaven and earth?
While we can only assume the properties of heaven, we know definitively the dynamics of earth. Here on this bluish-green rock, we’re mortal, finite
creations who experience great pain and sorrow when tragedy strikes. Our closeness to God cannot be considered intimate, since our only knowledge of
His very existence is via reasoning, deductive thought, and indirect evidence such as “signs,” historic accounts, and correlations we draw from
events. The ambiguity of evidence is a major reason why so many contrasting religious ideologies exist - including atheism.
But back to earth: We know that our days on this planet are rife with war, carnage, and an assorted array of unpleasantries. We know that armies are
required to protect countries from villains and prisons are needed to incarcerate those who seek to exploit their fellow man. We know that adoption
agencies exist to care for abandoned children, the death penalty is used to kill exceptionally wicked people, and abortion is widely utilized to end
the lives of unwanted fetuses. We know that over a billion humans are either severely malnourished or starving. We know that all living things die
and disintegrate. We know that it’s impossible to forge bonds with other humans or animals without also being subjected to agony, fear, and anger.
We know that no matter how happy we are at any moment in time... the happiness will eventually be replaced with something loathsome.
For better or worse, these are the truths of terrestrial life. Unpleasantness is inextricably a part of earth. In fact, these devastating
unpleasantries are so mind-bogglingly overwhelming; many high schools are actually compelled to teach children - even those from well-to-do families -
not to commit suicide.
Therefore, isn’t it logical to assume that the characteristics of earth were installed for a reason? And that God’s divine plan, for whatever the
purpose, demands those “created in His image” to be subjected to the horrors of earth?
God’s motives are subject to widespread dispute amongst the various ideologies. Some view our duration on earth as a protracted test to separate
those ready for heaven from those damned to hell. Others view earthly life as a single step in a long cycle of existence, with Nirvana the ultimate
destination. But God’s reason really doesn’t matter in this discussion; what matters are the undeniable difference between heaven and earth.
God wants bad things to happen to good people. God wants pain and suffering. God wants death and disintegration. As an immortal, all-powerful
being, God surely has the power to alter the base properties of terrestrial existence... yet pain, suffering, death, and disintegration remain. This
is the purpose - the reason of earth.
Prayer might he self-therapeutic. It may hold a meditative purpose or help us better understand the nature of God. But it’s useless to pray for
God to abandon the properties of earth, for doing so would clash with God’s divine plan. This is why God can’t answer the heartfelt prayers of a
mother wailing for her baby to be delivered from cancer; everything dies and everything experiences pain. It’s the uniform divine plan of the earth
and her inhabitants; the only difference is on the margin, in the degrees.
If your prayers aren’t answered, it’s because your wishes aren’t a part of God’s divine plan. Nothing more, nothing less. And perhaps
there’s comfort in this.