The Game of God

By Arthur B. Hancock and Kathleen J. Brugger

Note: What follows is the first installment from The Game of God, a 320-page book which is half cartoons. Every right-hand page of text, which is formatted like poetry, is faced on the left by a full-page cartoon drawn by Arthur Hancock.



A friend recently told us that, of all the funerals he had ever attended, he had yet to hear a minister satisfactorily answer the question, "Why did God create death?" He went on to say that, in fact, he had yet to hear a minister (priest, rabbi, etc.) make any sense of why God had created anything at all. Our friend concluded that the most sensible explanation for this dangerous and mysterious universe is simply that there is no God.

We live on a tiny planet lost in a huge and seemingly indifferent universe. Life is a continuous struggle which inevitable ends with death. Life is a terminal disease.

What kind of universe is this any way? Does life have any meaning or purpose? If there is a "God," why did God create the universe? Many religions have tried to explain God's motives for creating the universe, a universe filled with suffering and death, but these theologies are often illogical and filled with contradictions, and thus fail to provide comfort when a true test arises: when real disaster strikes.

A minister once told us that, in his experience, the death of a child was particularly difficult to "explain," and often resulted in expressions of hatred for God by the parents, and even the abandonment of their faith.

Whatever "His-Her-Its" motives (let us not sex-type the Creator!), how could a "loving" God knowingly create a universe which is capable of this kind of cruelty: death, concentration camps, torture, child molesting, murder, rape, war, disease, mental illness, starvation, greed, addiction, violence, racism, gossip, sexism, etc., etc., etc.?

The child's question, "Why did God let my puppy die?" cannot be satisfactorily answered by most of the theologies of the world. We are told we must "love" the Creator, but how can we when we behold His-Her-Its creation a creation which lacks any sensible explanation for suffering, ignorance, and death?

It might be argued that the "positive" aspects of life are reason enough to love God, but the question remains: Can all the good in the world justify the suffering of a single one of God's creatures?

It would seem that the best we could do would be to fear our Creator, and to suppress our anger towards a Supreme Being Who chooses to remain silent and aloof while humanity writhes in ceaseless agony.

Some religions believe that the ultimate horror comes after life to those who, after a brief lifetime in a world of total confusion, fail to locate and "correctly" believe in God. These "sinners," "infidels," etc., wind up in a place of never-ending torture, called "hell."

Other religions believe in an endless cycle of birth and rebirth that unless we live an exemplary life, we are doomed to return to the hellish struggle for "another round."

Both theologies appear to have one thing in common: wretched humanity is held hostage by the whim of God.

Saints throughout the ages have declared: WE MUST LOVE GOD, and the only way we can know we are loving God is when we are loving all of creation.

The loveless state of the world shows that "love of God" is, to put it mildly, exceedingly rare. There is a reason for this: there is something blocking our love for God. This "something" could only be fear, thus anger, towards God.

The basis of all fear is the unknown. The basis of all hatred is fear. What we fear is what we hate. What we hate is what we fear. We are afraid of a mysterious God Who would make a universe of suffering, and we are angry at this God for putting US in it!

We cannot love God until we can forgive God.

As long as we see the Creator as separate from creation, as many do, we can only be resentful toward the Creator (no matter how deeply we deny and suppress it) because She-He-It must have KNOWINGLY created suffering in others (THIS MEANS US).

As all-powerful Creators Who deliberately create suffering in inferior creatures is a monster. The notion of "free will" (self-inflicted suffering) is ludicrous because God, as creator of all, must have created evil in order to give us a "choice"! Observably, God created humans with an overwhelming inclination to "choose" evil (count the true saints). Therefore, to be punished by God, for succumbing to the tempting evil She-He-It created, is.

It is quite impossible to fear and hate God and love God at the same time. We fear and hate God because we are misunderstanding God's nature. Until we face the existence of our fear and anger towards God, and relinquish it by gaining a deeper understanding of God, we can never love God.

This book is about recovery in the ultimate sense of the word: in the sense of universal recovery. What most of us think of as the evolving universe will be presented as the recovering universe. What the universe is recovering is consciousness that was intentionally lost. What the universe is recovering from is the pain that is the intentional result of intentionally lost consciousness.

We will present the theory that paradise was intentionally lost for the pleasure of regaining it. The universe was created as a Game...for the experience of hell and for the experience of recovering heaven.

Without intentionality, that is, without a deliberate Creator, the universe is devoid of all purpose and meaning. In a Godless universe the life of a saint and the life of a hired murderer would be equally "worthy" and equally pointless. We hold that an intentionless universe is the stuff of madness. Sanity demands a Purpose. Intentionality requires a Conscious Creator.

We will offer a theoretical model of Creator and creation as ONE. The universe, we will assert, is a Game of God. We hold that this model allows us to absolutely forgive, and thus absolutely love, God.

Loving God is the only way to win the Game.


Why would God create the Universe?

In order to attempt to answer this essential question we need to first try and imagine who God is. The word God is surely the most misunderstood thus abused word in any language. For the sake of our argument, let us agree on this definition of "God": the conscious creator of the universe. We will use the word "God" throughout this book.

While it seems presumptuous folly to attempt to understand God from our ant-like perspective, the truth is that we are all attempting it anyway (believer and non-believer alike). Therefore, let us consider the following theory and see how well it holds up logically.

"In the beginning" was God. God is absolute awareness. God is the absolute awareness of absolute reality. God is eternal and all-knowing. God has no limits. God is absolutely unlimited.

What does having no limits look like? As all of us are limited this is very difficult to visualize, but let's try anyway. Let us attempt to make you, for example, as unlimited as we can. To get things rolling, let's imagine that you have one billion trillion dollars. At an interest rate of 5% per year, you would have an income of nearly one million trillion dollars a week without touching the principal...let us guarantee that you would always be this rich.

Now let's make you the most physically beautiful, intelligent, talented, happy person on Earth. We'll also give you

You never make a mistake, you are never afraid or in doubt. You have complete power, you are made King or Queen of the Earth. You are at perfect peace, you love everyone and everyone loves you.

In short, you have no problems whatsoever.

Sounds good, right?

As illogical as this might sound, can you see any limitations to being unlimited? Any limitations to being: all- knowing, immortal, wealthy, healthy, loving, satisfied, wise, and problem-free? Let's look.

Remember a time when you really wanted something...but couldn't afford it. Remember how you saved your money to buy this desired thing, how you anticipated ownership, how you spent countless hours dreaming about it, how happy you thought you would be when the day finally arrived when you would own it?

As a sextillionaire, it would soon be absolutely impossible for you to experience anticipation or longing for anything with a price tag. Price could literally never be an object.

"What's wrong with this?" you might ask. There's nothing "wrong" with it in and of itself, we are merely pointing out a "limitation" to be incredibly wealthy: the inability to experience poverty and deprivation.

It is an interesting and observable truth that anticipation is often more pleasurable than possession. (The object of one's desire, once attained, can often become commonplace and routine.) Therefore, to be denied the experience of anticipation is no small thing.

Might there be some other experiences denied to you, the "person who has it all"?

How about the inability to fall in love? "But," you might say, "I thought you said I was already in love with everyone?" Exactly, because you are in love with everyone, it is impossible for you to ever experience falling in love (suddenly shifting from a loveless state into the experience of love).

Another interesting and observable truth is that the experience of falling in love is made precious, like a diamond, due to its rarity. Again, to be denied the experience of this ecstatic shift, from lovelessness to love, is no small limitation.

Let us see if we can detect other limitations that are the inevitable consequence of "having it all."

If you never make a mistake and never have a problem, it is impossible for you to ever have the experience of defeat, or the experience of struggle required to overcome an obstacle, or the experience of triumph when the obstacle is overcome.

The process: the risking of defeat, the struggle against it, the sting of failure, or the triumph of success, virtually defines life as we know it, and to be denied the experience of this process is no small thing.

Finally (though we could easily go on), your state of immortality would make it impossible for you to experience that perpetual fear of death which haunts all living things...as well as the experience of death itself.

"Surely," you might say, "there could be nothing negative about this!" Let's see. With your survival assured, you could never be afraid of anything, you would have nothing to lose, there would not be the slightest tension or risk in all of life.

You would be like a person who "gambled" for eternity and could not lose: who won every game every time. "Winning" would lose all meaning, as "life" without death would lose all meaning.

Death is the ultimate unknown and being denied the experience of fearing it (the unknown is the source of all fear), as well as the very experience of death, is, again, no small thing.

Looking, then, at "having it all" we see that you do not really "have it all" after all that any number of very high- quality experiences are utterly denied to you.

But again you might ask, "Why bother with all of these 'negative' categories?"

These "negatives" are the obstacles which make the experience of life interesting. A life comprised of all "positives" would be a life without challenge...there would be no growth because there would be no incentive to grow. There would be no need to change because everything would be fine exactly the way it is.

But would it really be "fine"? Experiences on the"negative" (adventurous and exciting?) part of the scale would be FOREVER DENIED you. Should you ever wish to experience any "negatives" you would be unable to do so...in fact you could never even have the wish!


After a few million years or so of being healthy, wealthy, and wise can you see that there might be a certain nightmarish sameness to "having it all"?

We know someone who as a small child used to have a horror not of hell, but of heaven. He would sit and think about never-ending "eternal life" and slowly begin to chant the word forever and forever, and forever...until he would be almost frozen in terror at the idea of ceaseless existence in some static location no matter how glorious and no way out!

A fine balance of positives and negatives, of weaknesses and strengths, of wisdom and foolishness, of laughter and tears, of love and hate, of life and death, is what makes for growth and action and purpose and meaning...and the possibility of a way out of SAMENESS!


Let's get back to God, and the question: why would God make the universe?

God, as opposed to our person who "has it all" (but really doesn't), is, according to our definition, truly unlimited. Surely God "has it all"! God is absolutely unlimited. The person who "has it all" for example, is still just one person who is limited to a single point of view, while God is INFINITE AWARENESS. If the experience of limitation is denied to the person who "has it all," how much more must the experience of limitation be denied to the Creator?

Let us remember our model of God as eternal, all-powerful, and all-knowing. God is the absolute awareness of everything. Nothing is hidden from God. All is known to God. Nothing is stronger than God. Therefore, there can obviously be no experience of limitation possible to God. God, as supreme awareness, is absolutely unlimited.

But if no experience of limitation is possible to God, THEN GOD IS LIMITED AFTER ALL!

The "inability" of unlimited God to experience limitation IS a limitation, and thus a contradiction. In order for God to be absolutely unlimited, God must be able to experience limitation, BUT HOW?

How could God have a quality (realistic) experience of limitation, while being absolutely unlimited at the same time? This is in keeping with the riddle: Can God create a boulder too heavy for God to lift?

Because God is truly unlimited, there is only the illusion of contradiction...God has "solved the problem." We shall soon see how...

The question will arise, "Why in the universe would the Creator wish to experience limitation?" The answer is certainly not "because God is bored." Boredom is a state of limitation and God is absolutely unlimited.

Our answer is that God has a playful nature.

The incentive to play can be found in the words of British mountain climber George Leigh Mallory, when asked why he wished to challenge the icy heights of Mt. Everest: BECAUSE IT'S THERE.

What did George Mallory mean, "because it's there"? Because the mountain is there, therefore one must climb it? No, Mallory meant because IT is there "it" being the struggle, the challenge, the obstacle, the risk, the definition of self, the potential for triumph; over the climber's limitation, and over the limitation imposed by ice and rock. This, and more, is the "it" that is there.

God cannot experience "IT" as conscious God.

There is an old song by Shel Silverstein about a millionaire who liked to go slumming. He dressed in rags, rode the rails, hung out in cheap bars, and picked up old floozies. When recognized and asked why he behaved like this, he replied (in the chorus): "After you've been eating steak a long time, beans, beans taste fine!"

Let's say that God wanted to experience poverty. Even God in the poorest rags would still be conscious God, and therefore could not possibly have the experience of what it is to be poor (the fear...the desperation...the hopelessness...). There would not be the slightest experience of quality limitation.

Some religions teach that God has created a universe of limitation and observes it from a detached perspective. This would be like looking at fish in an aquarium one has the experience of observing fish, but not of experiencing fish.

Thus an external or separate God has the experience of observing limitation, but not of experiencing limitation. This cannot be the solution to our question: How can the unlimited experience limitation?

There is logically only ONE WAY in which God could have the experience of limitation. GOD MUST, FOR THE DURATION OF THE EXPERIENCE OF LIMITATION, FORGET THAT SHE-HE-IT IS GOD.

Recall our millionaire who enjoyed a bean diet every now and again. Just as he could never forget that help was only a phone call away (which greatly diminished his "experience of poverty"), so then God, penniless and in rags, could instantly get out of any "tight spot" (which thus could never even be experienced as "tight").

Let us envision another scenario. What if the millionaire's chauffeur, before depositing his ragged master on skid row, administered a powerful drug which would utterly block the master's memory. Lost in amnesia, abandoned in rags, without identification, and thus unable to call upon vast resources, the rich man would have a quality experience of limitation indeed.

The solution, then, to the "inability" of the unlimited to experience limitation, is self-induced amnesia.


Copyright © 1996. The Light Party.