Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Why Would a Supreme Being Even Care?

Our discussion today concerning Superman's invulnerability reminded of a theme I've seen time and time again: the notion of a once human (or humanoid) being that achieves so much power that said being starts to lose touch with humanity. In no particular order, here's where I've seen this theme:
You also see aspects of this theme in science fiction and fantasy adventure. Three that come to mind are:
In class we briefly touched on the fact that one version of Superman portrays an almost all-powerful being that always does good, and always tries to protect humanity. However, if you really think about it, does this model of super being have to follow the Superman philosophy? Is it even realistic? I'm going to argue probably not. Remember: we are coloring this tale with a very "human" perspective.

A recent example is the Watchman's Dr. Manhattan--as he becomes more God-like he soon starts to lose his concern for humanity.
"A live body and a dead body contain the same number of particles. Structurally, there's no discernible difference. Life and death are unquantifiable abstracts. Why should I be concerned?" - Dr. Manhattan

Galactus (and not that non-canonical version that you see in the last Fantastic Four movie) is another prime example:
"Beyond good and evil, forced to destroy entire worlds to survive, Galactus is intimately tied to the nature of the universe. He believes it is his destiny to ultimately give back to the universe much more than he has taken."
Now the next question I'm about to pose could run the risk of offending some of you who are close to your faith tradition. Offense is not my intent. However, I do think that the intersection of science fiction and religion is a perfect place to ask this question so here goes!

Why would a supreme being aka a "God" even care about us? From said being's perspective we are less than ants in the grand scheme of things. Some of these comic book and science fiction characters skirt the question but I'm asking it straight out. Some entity that is all-powerful and all-knowing (or, at least, more knowing than humans on a factor of at least 10,000) would probably not even notice us.

I've heard some religious figures try to answer this question by stating that this only shows how great God's love is. Unfortunately that answer only ducks the question, too.

So, I'd be very curious to hear how some in class would attempt to answer this question.



Scott said...

If you haven't watched the original "Star Trek's" "Where No Man Has Gone Before", it hits all the notes you talk about in your post.

BSM said...

I have but it's been a while. Did you have particular episode in mind?