In an existentialist world, where everything revolves around the individual and essentially “every man is an island” (as opposed to John Donne’s “no man is an island” concept), is there any place for God? The existentialists themselves disagree on this particular point, with theist and atheist philosophers taking up stand points on either side of the argument.
Some have said that this world is too small, too constricted, for there to be two free “realities”. Human freedom cannot coexist with divine freedom, and of course it would be illogical and improbable for there to be no such freedom whatsoever. Some see a thesable tension between divine and human freedom. Sartre stated that humans are indeed free and therefore God cannot exist. Indeed, if we do believe that humans are free the notion of God becomes difficult to support. God is by definition omniscient and omnipotent, and so if we have this liberty then the whole idea of the divine being we refer to as God simply ceases to function properly. However, it is possible that we do not have complete freedom. Determinism states that everything we do is the result of a long chain of events, and so we are in fact no more free than puppets. Incidentally, determinism offers a fairly strong piece of evidence regarding the existence of God, as this chain of events must have originated from something.
Nevertheless, we are talking about an existentialist world. So the problem remains; freedom vs freedom. If God is omnipotent then we are not free and so our personal existence is detrimentally impacted. If we are free, the whole image of God becomes warped. There is however, in my opinion, a way to manouvre around this. I presume you have seen or at least heard of the comedy “Bruce Allmighty”, where Jim Carrey (or rather the man portrayed by mr. Carrey) is allowed to take on the role of God. He can do absolutely anything he chooses and has absolute power except over free will. He cannot influence human freedom. In a way, this solves the problem admirably. Consider for a moment that there are some “rules” which even God must adhere to, much like in the previously mentioned movie. Naturally, this would impact his omnipotence, but not if it was God himself who made the rules. You may have heard of this concept before, albeit on a less divine scale. It’s sometimes known as discipline. If God where to make the choice to allow us to have our freedom and restrained himself from influencing it, we could have a certain coexistence between divine and human freedom. You could still say that God’s omnipotence would be reduced in this situation, or even that he would not be completely “free” due to his self-imposed limitations. Nevertheless, they would be self-imposed restrictions. God would have exerted his freedom to put this limit into the place. This solves the problem of divine freedom clashing with human freedom rather admirably in my humble opinion.
Existentialism seems to support the idea of us all being “disconnected”; being complete and utter individuals. Perhaps this is true, perhaps this is why many of us are constantly striving to be accepted by others, in order to experience some kind of connection with other people no matter how fleeting this connection is (this is more probably due to us originally being pack animals before evolution remade us in our current model, but that is a matter to be discussed in a science essay). This would suggest that we are also disconnected from God. However, the idea of God is that he is, to a fashion, apart of us all. That we are all interconnected, even with that divine being. If we are complete individuals, entirely disconnected from everything but ourselves, is God not just some abstract concept floating around aimlessly in space? However, things do not truly need to be connected to be a part of a system. The sun does not need to be “connected” with the chlorophyll in plants in order to power their photosynthesis.
So, I believe a conclusion has been reached. Though there are certain kinks which could potentially make it impossible for God to exist in a fully existential world, with some compromises it would most certainly be possible. And, of course, it seems unlikely that a world would be fully existential to start with.
Very well, that would be all, thank you my dear readers!