Question: Is God an egomaniac?  

Answer: I would agree with the statement that God has an ego. But I would not agree with the statement that God is an egomaniac. Here is why.

As a first and overarching principle, we must always be careful when postulating about God that we are not building a “straw-god” to knock down. What do I mean by that? It is possible for a person to build a picture of God in his mind that cannot exist in reality… and then make complaints about that non-real god! This usually occurs in two ways. First, a person might try to attach a negative characteristic (like egomania) to God. Second, he might try to remove a positive aspect (like aseity) from him. So here is the rule: even people who do not believe in God must postulate a normalized God for the purposes of argument. If they do not, everything that follows is built upon at least one false premise, and such arguments have no merit.

(See more about the Straw Man Argument at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man).

So, what’s the problem with your particular question? To ask it, you must have a god in mind for whom it is possible to have a mental or emotional defect (of which, egomania, is merely one example). But since there can be no such God—not by the common understanding of what the Supreme Being must be like—you have built a straw man by merely asking the question. This puts the “definition” of God in question. And it is critical that every party in an argument agrees about the terms used in the argument—and that its elements reflect the truth as best as we can know it. As for God, enough information exists so that even non-believers can postulate a credible God.

Although it is technically true that we finite human beings cannot “define” an infinite God, we can agree on a definition for the purposes of our arguments. Now, if we were arguing about the gods of classical mythology, assigning attributes would be relatively easy: they were merely humans-on-steroids… but this is troubling. A super-human (but essentially-human) god had the power to cause human-like mayhem—but on a grand scale! (And a survey of mythology reveals just that.) But the true God is not petty—he is not like them at all.

Sure, our God is more powerful than we are—but that’s not the point. He is infinitely powerful—that’s the point. In like manner, God knows more than we do. But the fact that he knows everything eclipses any notion of our mental capacities… and we could run down a list of his attributes with the same result for each. But God has been very careful to reveal himself to us, and he did so in such a way that all could understand (Rom. 1:18-25): we know who he is through the peculiar energy of our minds, through the testimony of the cosmos and through the Scripture. Therefore, he is “knowable enough” for believers and non-believers alike to enter into legitimate discussion without building a straw-god. What about God’s ego then? Does he have one at all?

Yes—God has a perfect ego—one in which we can see his aseity. God’s aseity means that he is the Self-Existent One. Being self-existent means that God never “came into being”—and it also means that he self-sustains (he does not rely on anyone or anything for sustenance). Therefore, God “merely” exists (understanding merely to mean “without any other factors”). Once we understand God’s aseity, then we can see where God is the only being who has a right to the term “ego.” He alone could describe himself with the bare bones phrase “…I am who I am…” (Exodus 3:14). As you can see, his aseity eclipses all other notions of ego. As such, his is the only one worth talking about.

We also know (from Scripture, nature and logic) that God is eternal, holy, immutable, impassable, infinite, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient… and the list goes on. So, if we want to postulate that God is an egomaniac, we would run up against at least two logical objections.

First, “egomaniac” is always a pejorative term. That is, it only describes a sickness, and can never describe anything good (like an acceptable level of self-interest). Since God is infinitely perfect in all his ways (this by definition: c.f. the above list, “omni…” and “infinite”) he cannot “own” any pejoratives.

Second, if we consider that God is also impassable, that is, he is not driven by passion (which was a hallmark of the mythological gods), we could see where a term like “egomaniac” could never apply to him. Egomaniacs are passionately self-absorbed to the point of being social pariahs; they are driven to extremes by their sickness. But God’s actions are only the consequences of his purposes; they do not reflect a rise in the holy blood-pressure.

So, does God have an ego? You bet! And he put the world on notice! But is God an egomaniac? No. That would be contrary to his nature.

(End).  

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