Thoughts on the Imperfections of a Perfect God


Galactic nebula

Science seeks, vainly I think, to ultimately describe a perfect universe.  From a linguist’s perspective we must first accept the limitations of our ability to describe the universe; but then we still have the problem of imperfection.  As we struggle forward with mathematics, physics, cosmology, we’re increasingly confronted with the possibility of imperfections in our universe.  Discovery of the Higgs particle (CERN 2012) is a great jumping off point.  With an extraordinary level of accuracy, we know the particle is there.  But it’s not dead-on accuracy.  There’s a possibility we really don’t know, or that we’ve stumbled upon a quirk.  Another peculiarity.  An imperfection.

Much of our mythology, including our Judeo Christian bible, says or implies we each are made in the image of our God.  Let’s not get entangled in the lower academic concept of a God whose image is different for each of us.

Instead, let’s ask ourselves if any of us is created perfectly?  Of course not!  No system of logic would allow us to safely make such a conclusion!  None of us is perfect.  We make mistakes.  By intent or accident we harm one another.  Good people suddenly do bad things, and vice versa.  Even when we rule out the wrongdoings and imperfections we bring upon ourselves after we enter the world, we still have the problem of imperfection.

Yet we are made in the image of our God.  Interesting, no?  We are imperfect yet we’re made as an exact image, like a photocopy, of our God.  Therefore, God must be imperfect.  The conclusion is so simple, we MUST give it room to play.

I’ve tried to sort this out as best I could.  Let’s imagine, shall we, that God’s happily creating another of us in His celestial workshop.  He measures and stitches, we hear whistling and sawing noises, He occasionally whacks his thumb with the hammer and shouts, “Me Damnit!”

Then out pops another of us, hardly perfect, little more than a hollow tube with a loud noise on one end and lack of control on the other – and many of us born with far more serious imperfections than those.

It is, in my mind, a comfort to know this God of my understanding makes mistakes like I do.  It allows me, maybe each of us, a more intimate relationship with God.  Kinda cool.

But here’s the kicker.  Change and evolution.  Time.

It is not possible, in my understanding, for a powerful & loving God to create any of us imperfectly without knowing He has infinite time in which to straighten out the kinks, polish the parts less shiny, replace the blown fuses, and snip off our pricklier thorns.

Think of Microsoft releasing a Windows version with full knowledge there are problems in the software that can only be resolved with the feedback and participation of the greater community of users AFTER the product is out in the world.  Sometimes several “dot releases” before the product becomes, at least, stable and useful.

This, I am almost certain, is how we came to be and what our lives are really about.  We are not perfect.  Neither is our God.  Yet we struggle and work together in partnership to be better, to be a little less imperfect, and to iron out the wrinkles in our selves and our universe.  There is no perfection.  Might never be.  Instead, we and our world are a work in progress.  God’s work for sure but constantly changing and improving, uncovering new flaws to repair, constantly evolving, becoming closer to – but never exactly – perfect.