Damascene Cosmology – Does the act of creation prove God is mutable?

A third objection one could bring up about God is that by creating he proves himself mutable. A popular argument is that God needed to create us. Many people say that God was lonely or that God wanted to display his glory to intelligent creatures, thus he needed to create us in order to eradicate his loneliness or display his glory to intelligent creatures.

Certainly modern Christianity has helped perpetuate this myth. We act as though God created us out of some need or that he needs us to act on his behalf this side of eternity. We hear sermons about how God created us because he needed creatures to see his glory. Other sermons speak of how God needs us so he can carry out his will on earth.

The problem is that if God needs us, then that mean he was absent of something prior to creation. To be absent of something means that one has the capacity to add something. For instance, if I am missing a tooth, I have the capacity to gain a tooth. If I am missing an eye, I have the capacity to gain an eye. Were I to gain an eye then something about my being would change. Thus, if I have the capacity to gain something, I have the capacity to change (if A then B, if B, then C, therefore if A then C). If God had a need then he had the capacity to fulfill that need and therefore had the capacity to change.

Popular Christianity aside, the God of the Bible (who is the true Christian God) is in need of nothing. The idea that God created based upon some need misconstrues what Christianity actually teaches.

Both the Bible and early Christian writings are explicitly clear that God created for two reasons. First, he created for the glory of the Son. Everything that was created was to display the glory of God and in that display, the Son was to be glorified. This was not out of some need to be glorified or some need to add glory to God. God is infinite and his glory comes from him and is not external to his nature, therefore no one, including God, can add to or take away from his glory.

The second reason listed for God creating is his love. God did not do this because he needs creatures to love – love already existed within the Trinity – but simply because he wanted to love. In other words, creation was done simply because God wanted to create. This may unsettle people because the implication is that our entire existence rests upon God simply deciding that he wanted to create creatures that he could show love to.

But now that we are created, does this indicate that God needs us? The critic could say that while God did not initially need humanity, because of how he has designed his plan he does need us. This would indicate that while God was able to bring us about, he is not able to fulfill his plans without human involvement, again indicating that he is imperfect and subject to change.

While admittedly is seems that God needs us, we are simply looking at his purpose and plan from our perspective and not considering the greater perspective of Scripture. God calls upon us to do certain things and will sometimes refrain from intervening in human affairs when human action is absent. However, the mystical teaching of theosis answers why God does this. It is not that God needs us to accomplish his ends, but instead that he invites us to participate in accomplishing these ends so that we might become like him in all aspects except essence and being.

A good way to imagine the above is to think of a father working on a car. Imagine that the father is a mechanic who has an intimate understanding of the vehicle because he built the vehicle. Though he is perfectly capable of working on the car himself, he invites his son out to help him with the car. He has his son move hoses, put fluid in the car, and work on the vehicle, not because the father needs the son’s help, but because the father wishes to help the son grow in his knowledge of the vehicle.

Likewise, God calls upon us to aid him in his will not because he needs our help, but because he wants us to grow in our knowledge of his workings. By growing in knowledge of God, we grow closer to him. Thus, God’s calling upon us to help him in accomplishing his will does not show a need in God, but rather shows his mercy to teach us and shows a need in us to grow in knowledge.