Posts Tagged ‘game designer’

YHVH as Game Designer

Friday, July 4th, 2014

The last chapter of the Book of Daniel (12:4) is one of several prophecies which are said to be “sealed”, “until the time of the end,” when, among other things, “knowledge shall increase.” Sometimes it seems that we might today be getting very close to the unsealing of those prophecies, for a number of reasons.

The “nature of the Godhead” has been a source of conflict, division, and even war for the better part of two millenia at this point. Is He “three persons”, or only One? “Fully God and fully man,” or can we even wrap our minds around the distinction? This author has long stated that I will not “break fellowship over mathematics,” whether one has difficulty with differential calculus, or, more to the point, even how 3 == 1. After all, the Hebrew word echad, as in, “YHVH our Elohim, YHVH is echad,” (Deut. 6:4) can mean the cardinal number “one”, or even “unity.”

Is there a way to reconcile what seems totally contradictory? Or to begin to at least establish a picture of something now that might have eluded description in a way mere mortals could comprehend for centuries? I suggest that as “knowledge has increased,” that might be more achievable now than it has ever been. And while no analogy, or metaphor, is ever quite perfect, our familiarity now with computers, computer languages, hardware, operating systems, and even computer GAMES may now give us a bit of insight into that mystery that has divided believers since certain ‘creeds’ were written – and too often enforced at the point of a sword.

How can YHVH be “outside time” as we know it? How did He (Gen. 1, and later, John 1:1) speak the world into existence? We know that the “power of the tongue,” is immense, and that our vows really matter. Now we even know that computer languages, and programs written in them, can be likewise used for great good, or tremendous evil. It is no longer a giant leap to imagine a programmer ‘speaking’ (or writing) a whole virtual world into existence.   It is what game designers do.

When the designer(s) [it takes more of us, clearly, to do something far less sophisticated, and infinitely less complex than His creation!] sit down to create a new adventure-type game, a number of things must happen. The torah, or instruction, about how the game is to be played, and what the rules are for that particular virtual universe, must be laid out. What kinds of creatures populate the world? What are their strengths and weaknesses?  What are the “Laws of nature” there?  How does one “win”?

And all of that follows other, “lower-level” aspects of the design, everything from the nature of the operating system to the type of graphics system and computer hardware required. The first step truly might be likened to something analogous to “let there be light,” after which the rest of the creation follows.

Once the “Yah as Game Designer” metaphor is clear, certain other pieces begin to fall into place. How can the Creator be “outside of time?” That one’s easy: He just hits the ‘pause’ button. Those who populate His universe never know any difference. He can look “forward” or “behind” in time just as easily, run “simulations”, or do any number of things with His world that earlier theologians cannot have imagined, and modern ones might find disturbing. Thankfully, our Elohim has made it clear that He does NOT like to “break the rules” that He Wrote; He is in fact, the same, yesterday, today, and tomorrow, whether we understand His notion about “time” or not.

How might such a Designer choose to interact with those inside His creation? An array of choices present themselves, both in Scripture, and now, even our imaginations. He might choose to talk to them in dreams and visions, or via ‘messengers’ (malakim), or even from within a burning bush or a thundering mountain. But the form that would be most familiar to people who have ever played a modern “adventure” game would be to enter into His creation as a player, just like those within that universe. Would that character be both “fully man” and yet echad with the Designer Himself? Certainly it could truthfully be said that He “does the will of the One Who sent Him.” And just as certainly, it would be true that ‘no one has seen Him’ – indeed, those within that virtual world have no real conception of what the Creator might be, other than perhaps the knowledge they were somehow ‘created in His image.’

Finally, how could such an incredible Designer even begin to describe Himself to the inhabitants of the world He created?  That, too, should be obvious.  In terms, and with concepts, from His  ‘game’ itself; including by describing Himself as a Father, or King, or Master, or Husband.

Certainly, no analogy is perfect, and the most sophisticated virtual universe men have ever assembled pales in comparison to what YHVH has created for us.  And yet the imitations, limited as they might be, are now good enough — in movies, or flight simulations for example — to be real enough for training, or even for propaganda and deception.  That, too, is something that fits with any number of Biblical prophecies.

It may very well be that as “knowledge has increased,” we find ourselves more able to at least conceive of how some of the Scriptures which once seemed confusing and even contradictory can really reflect a better, albeit still limited, understanding of the nature of our reality, and what YHVH is teaching us.  That, in turn, might help us to focus on the ‘weightier matters‘ of His Word, rather than disputing among ourselves over “doubtful things.”  If time does indeed draw short, and  the kind of tribulation we can see coming is only the ‘beginning of sorrows’ — then we’ve all got far more important things to do than “argue about the math.”

God as Game Designer

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Arguments about the “nature of God” have divided men for millenia, often to the point of bloodshed, war, and inquisition.  And although Shaul (Paul) distinguished the Biblical Yahushua from “another Jesus, whom we have not preached” in epistles like that to the Galatians, disputes about whether He could be “fully God and fully man” still abound.  Finally, while this author is familiar with differential equations and integral calculus, the math behind “is three identically equal to one” is still beyond my understanding.   But I learned long ago not to ‘divide’ from those who follow Him just because we do the math differently!   At least I have a better grasp of what the Hebrew word “echad” (Deut. 6:4) means in context.

The problem seems to rest on the concept of metaphor.  Torah, or His instruction, includes stories and examples, as well as His “statutes, judgments, and commandments.”  Yahushua taught using parables, among other things.  YHVH is described in a number of ways that humans can relate to — King, Master, Father, Husband, Judge, Lawgiver, Savior, and Creator among them — but He is clearly more than even all of these.   “As the heavens are higher than the earth, My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” *

Some time ago, I came across another, more “modern” metaphor that many people have found helpful, perhaps because it helps avoid certain traditional stereotypes, and may even have some parallels to quantum physics, since most of us struggle with concepts like, “how can the Creator be outside space and even time?”

Consider a brand new computer video/interactive game, like Worlds of Warcraft or countless others.  How does the designer go about developing a whole new “fantasy world”?  There are literally many layers to the effort – from what kind of computer hardware and operating system will run it, to crafting the rules of the game, the types of characters who will inhabit it, and, of course, deciding the purpose of the game itself.**

What the designer does, up front, in other words, is to literally outline the “torah” for this virtual universe — the instruction, even the laws of nature and the rules for the inhabitants.

But more to the point, how does the creator of a world interact with his creation?  How does he test the game, and communicate with its inhabitants?  Does He talk to some of the people – say, from a burning bush or cloud – or does He speak with a voice that rattles the mountains?  Might He even choose to participate in the game in the same form as one of those within it, by literally becoming a player, entering His creation as a character within it, subject to the rules He Himself Wrote?

Think about the implications of the metaphor of YHVH as “Game Designer.”

What do those creatures inside the electronic universe think?  Can they even begin to conceive of how the very fabric of their entire world runs on a computer system that is utterly outside their ability to perceive?  And how much more so, then, the mind and capabilities of the Creator of that entire system?  (Could one even, “see His face and live?”  Certainly not in any way they could understand.)  Even their perception of time is utterly different from the Creator, who is “outside” their time reckoning.  (He can hit the pause button, for example — and they’d never know it.)

So, when the Creator chooses to enter that world as a participant — what is the nature of the entity those WITHIN that universe see?  Certainly an aspect of Him they can relate to.  And it is one which “does the will of the One Who sent Him,” too.  Literally, in the Hebraic meaning of the term, that person “comes in His Name,” and does exactly as He directs.

But, would they say that the representation of the Creator they see from their perspective is “identically equal” to the very person of the Creator ‘Himself’?  And does it really matter?

In THIS Universe, our own Creator has given us His instruction about how to “win the game.”  That instruction includes the fact that we must t’shuvah, or “return to Him,” and seek to obey Him, as we would a Father, King, or Master, so that we might dwell in His house forever.  He even says, “if you love Me, keep My commandments.”  But thankfully, He doesn’t require us to know exactly how His design works, or to understand His nature in full.

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*  Isaiah 55:9

**  How does one save the fairy princess, or liberate the forces of Good from the Dark Tower?  Are there angels and demons, evil armies, orcs, dwarves, and hobbits, or flying monkeys and dragons to lead or to fight?  What powers, capabilities, limitations, and authorities to each have, and so on, and so on.