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).