This may not be an exact quote (and I can’t find the passage right now), but I think Karl Barth said “God, alone in His eternity (with only the potential for change, and needing nothing from us), created and entered into time out of love, so that He could share the potential joys of existence with finite creatures.”
(I was reading Barth online last night, and I read something like that.)
Anyway, I don’t want to get into a discussion of time and eternity here, but I’m interested in the idea of God creating out of love, because He wants to share something worth sharing.
I like that idea, but someone once suggested to me that it involves a category error, because (in his words) “you couldn’t be any better or worse off if you didn’t exist, because there would be no ‘you’ to be any better or worse off.”
I don’t know how to argue with that logic, but something has always seemed wrong about it to me.
As a thought experiment (and assuming for the moment that death equals total extinction), if I suppose the building that surrounds me were to catch on fire, it’s difficult for me to believe I’d be no better off if I were to die from a sudden heart attack before the flames reached my body, than I would trapped in this chair and slowly burning to death?
But I think my old acquaintance would say (again assuming, just for the moment, that death equals total extinction) that there’d be no “me” to be any better or worse off than the me burning to death if I ceased to exist before the flames reached my body.
Again, I don’t know how to argue with that logic, but it seems wrong to me, and I’d be interested in any thoughts from those of you who may be more familiar with the rules of logic than I am.
If there is a God, could His bringing finite beings into existence be an act of love, or is Barth (and other thinkers who’ve made similar statements) making some kind of category error?
Is it at all possible to compare states of existences with non-existence?
And assuming death is the end, is it really no better to die of a sudden heart attack, than to slowly burn to death?