Can God be frivolous?


Can God be frivolous? Describing God as a being that is empty-headed or given to undue levity (definitions from dictionary.com) seems almost blasphemous, but then, looking around at the world there seems to be an awful lot of creation that serves no purpose other than to be itself, to be beautiful or intriguing or…perhaps…frivolous?

Biodiversity is obviously key to ecosystems maintaining and flourishing, it allows for survival of species as they come up against subtle and potentially fatal shifts in environment, but there seems to be an exuberance in creation that exceeds necessity. And a beauty. Think of the bizarreness of the elephant, the massive variety of ladybirds, the magnificence of butterflies.

Perhaps it is only that we can’t see the purpose of the frivolous in creation or perhaps it is something more playful going on. In “As kingfishers draw fire” Gerard Manley Hopkins expresses a different way of looking at the exuberance and individuality in creation,

“Each mortal thing does one thing and the same … myself it speaks and spells;/Crying What I do is me: for that I came”

The idea that God creates simply for the joy of seeing and loving difference is antithetical to the work ethic, where God is serious and all things have a purpose. If the purpose of creation is simply to be itself, fully and wholly, then we are starting to see God himself in the understanding of play as both frivolousness (an ancient definition of play) and as self-actualisation (a very modern sense of play).  

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2 responses to “Can God be frivolous?

  1. I would say that the Christian idea of God’s neverending capacity for forgiveness must be central to a playful christianity. A core value for play is the room for making mistakes and still be in the game. If we are forgiven, then we can keep playing.

    I’m not a christian myself, but still mu motto is: “Under the laughter of God we’re all redeemed”.

    This attitude helps me to keep a playful attitude even when I fail, when I make a fool of myself, when I hurt other people and regret it.

    In case there is such a thing as a real God, then it seems immensely boring if he has set this whole universe spinning for some specific purpose, with some kind of rigid rules (like the work ethic) and not for the sheer excitement of seeing what is going to happen next.

    Best wishes to your blog and project

    Troels Christian Jakobsen

  2. I whole heartedly agree. God’s role and relationship with us falls so often into that of the person who draws you out of yourself into a place where you are free to be yourself and the freedom that forgiveness brings is part of that.

    And currently in my spirituality I am moving towards an understanding of myself and God creating my life together, sometimes he suggests a move, sometimes I suggest a move (right or wrong) and we see what happens together. I’m definitely not following a script!

    Thanks for the kind words.

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