An original unique theory of mine. It explains miracles, quantum mechanics, the new heavens and new earth, how souls control their body and the physical environment, how God maintains the universe, and everything else. It's rather detailed so please read on...
Some points to note...
The Creative Frames view explains how evil spirit beings influence the world. Before they fell from grace, God granted them creative power over certain aspects of the universe. Likely, God created the universe based on specifications provided by Lucifer after he rebelled — Lucifer (Satan) meant it for evil, but God uses it for good. We will only finally enjoy the full benefits of this design of the universe in the new heavens and new earth.
As Creator, God is continuously creating.
I suppose the Creative Frames view is a type of occasionalism: that God is the cause of all events; previous events do not cause subsequent events because matter cannot cause anything.
One day during my commute to work I had an insight into the nature of the universe, time, and the natural laws. For entertainment I had been studying Calculus and stumbled on something I already knew — that there are rational and irrational numbers between each pair of rational or irrational numbers no matter how close. I wondered if this holds in real space and whether there is some tiny distance at which space is not continuous — whether space is granular.
if space is granular then at some very tiny size, matter does not flow continuously from one location to the next as time progresses — it jumps across these very small spaces. Not only that but time also jumps; it is jerky, like a motion picture film which displays one frame at a time. At a very tiny interval of time, the subsequent moment in time does not flow continuously but jumps.
As I was pondering all that, the following idea popped into my mind...
The material universe is created (by God with the help of his created creatures) from scratch out of nothing (ex nihilo) each instant; a tiny interval of time later it dissolves. This, like a motion picture film composed of static images each illuminated for a brief moment of time then the screen goes dark for a brief instant.
I refer to each of these creative acts of God as a creative frame. God chooses and wills where to place each particle and out of nothing it appears. A brief moment later it disappears to be followed a brief moment later by another creative frame. Thus, God sustains the universe by the same creative power he used to create the universe the very first time.
In the natural universe we notice that objects obey the natural laws which for the most part can be described by mathematics. We usually think the natural laws are guiding the material objects of the universe but, in my view, God uses mathematics and the natural laws (which he also created) to determine where to place each object, each elementary particle, in each successive creative frame. I always wondered why mathematics seemed so cosmic and why it could be used to describe the universe.
The bizarre effects of quantum mechanics are explained by this scheme. For example, quantum mechanics implies that the electrons circling around a nucleus of an atom do not travel in a continuous path. The best we can know about their motion is that for each point around the atom there is a certain probability that we will find the electron there when we look for it; this is the probability field. In my scheme God uses a probability field equation to determine where to place the electron for each creative frame. There is no need for electrons to travel in a continuous path at all: they can appear in one place in one creative frame and on the other side of the nucleus in the next.
God chooses at which moment an atom will experience radioactive decay. For each particle, he chooses when to do this based on the half-life for that kind of particle. Similar for the location of a particle when the quantum mechanics wave function collapses.
Therefore, there is no such thing as randomness in nature. All phenomena considered random are not random at all, such things as: (1) the timing of when a radioactive substance will decay, (2) the direction of the resultant particles and energies, and (3) so-called random mutations in which biological chemical process misbehave or are interfered with by radiation.
Particles can pop into existence whenever God chooses.
Our experience that objects move in a continuous motion is just an illusion as when we watch a motion picture film and believe we are seeing continuous motion. The soul is the observer who watches each creative frame and interprets the differences from one frame to the next as motion. In addition the soul has access to the "script" God uses in determining where to place each object; it knows something of God's plan and purpose and uses that information to interpret what is going on.
Physical time is an illusion; time in the physical universe doesn't exist. The time that does exist is the time within which the soul resides in the spiritual realm (there is time in the spiritual realm). Thus the soul experiences change. One moment the soul has one set of experiences and the next instant the soul experiences a new set of experiences. The soul is capable of noticing the differences and interpreting them. Thus, what we think of as time as a property of the physical universe is actually time as a property of the spiritual realm. The physical universe has no time. The fourth dimension of space-time is an illusion.
Miracles are easy to explain with this scheme. There is no violation of the laws of physics for objects to suddenly appear in unexpected locations since these laws merely provide a guide that God uses in determining where to place each object — but he is under no obligation to place them there.
For example, in one creative frame God could create the earth on the opposite side of the sun so that it was suddenly winter instead of summer. This would not violate the natural laws because God merely uses these natural laws as a guide for where he usually places objects during a creative frame. All the objections about why a certain miracle can't occur because it would have physical consequences are therefore meaningless. For example, God can create a rock hovering in mid-air without any concern for how it could displace the air occupying the same space a moment before. The air in that space is recreated in every creative frame and God is under no obligation to create this soon-to-be displaced air from one instant to the next.
God can suddenly create bone in a person's body to restore their health if he wishes to. He can suddenly repair irreparable nerve damage. There is no limit to God's miraculous creative power.
God has a plan and purpose for deciding the form of the universe in each instant.
All aspects of the material universe which appear to be random are actually controlled by God. Examples: (1) the decay of a radioactive particle — when it decays and which direction the resulting particles and energy travel, (2) where particles are after the quantum mechanics wave function collapses, and (3) complexity of chaos theory which is seemingly random.
Time is spiritual, not physical. Since each creative frame of the universe is unrelated to each other creative frame, there is no causality within the physical universe. The physical state of the universe at one instant does not influence subsequent states of the universe. All causality exists in the spiritual realm, in the mind and volition of God. Thus, each event occurs because God wills it, not because of the influence of previous events. God is in total control, instant by instant.
We perceive time in the universe because our souls experience time in the spiritual realm and extrapolate this experience of time to the sense perceptions of the physical universe. But time itself is an attribute of the spiritual world, not the physical world.
The soul has a continuous existence. It exists in the spiritual realm and experiences a flow of time. Because the soul is currently constrained by the body it experiences things via the senses and interprets them using the powers of the soul. It sees the state of each creative frame and interprets changes as motion. It even provides meaning for these changes: this movement occurred because of such-and-such.
I should point out that we are not the Lord God Almighty; rather, God has created us with certain powers and abilities. One of these is the power to participate in God's moment-by-moment creative activity.
We can influence God through our will and desires, through prayer and other forms of supplication. God loves us and wishes to grant us the desires of our hearts and so he modifies what he creates in each creative frame based on our wishes. In this sense it can be said that God's will is done without violating our free will. We participate by influencing God.
I think there is another aspect to this. I think God gives us authority and stewardship over certain aspects of the physical universe (and over other created beings in this universe). He allows us to directly participate with him in each creative frame: our souls actually create some part of the physical universe in each creative frame. Some souls have greater authority than others (and a corresponding greater responsibility) and thus create more objects in each creative frame.
This scheme explains why God allows evil in the world. When he creates souls he gives them free will and he gives them a certain piece of the universe over which they have control. When God created Lucifer he gave him the power and authority to create a whole universe. Lucifer created this universe (with God's help) having built-in pain and suffering. Lucifer created the universe this way because it expressed his rebellion against God; because he wanted to prove something to God.
God allowed Lucifer to use his God-given creative power in this way and God is honoring Lucifer's choices for as long as he is allowing Lucifer to roam about unjudged.
It is noteworthy that the image of eternal punishment is the lake of fire. Peter describes the end of the world with the image of great heat and dissolving. Perhaps this occurs at the end of each creative frame: God dissolves the universe in great heat. We don't notice the effects of this dissolving because in the next instant God recreates the universe again. Perhaps we also don't notice the heat because our souls become disengaged from the universe in each creative frame before the dissolving period begins. Perhaps the lake of fire is merely the dissolving period of each creative frame.
Based on this, in the lake of fire the total experience will be that of continuous annihilation. The annihilationists are correct in one sense; the wicked who are judged are annihilated. But this annihilation is continuously experienced by the damned souls who weep and gnash their teeth in anger and hatred toward God. Their souls are not annihilated but, rather, their souls experience continuous annihilation.
So the answer to the question of why God created a universe of pain, suffering, and evil is that he didn't: Lucifer did, just as each one of us creates our part of the universe to be a cosmos of pain, suffering, and evil when we sin. Our sin affects others because it causes the part of the universe, the cosmos over which we have creative power, to be created frame-by-frame with pain, suffering, and evil.
The new heavens and new earth is merely this same universe with some important differences. The souls who are involved in the frame-by-frame creation of this universe have all sin purged out (via living a perfect, holy life; or in purgatory; or by martyrdom). Thus, only good and holy events will occur in the new heavens and new earth. Tree branches will not fall off to crush people (and animals). There will be no wars. Plus, God will give each of us greater creative powers. We can create planets and galaxies at our whim. We can create the perfect wave to surf. We can float in the air and travel instantaneously through space.
This scheme explains various aspects of other religions. I believe that other religions got certain things right because their revelations are partially from God. Thus, the universe is an illusion as Hinduism and Buddhism teach. Desire is the source of pain and suffering as Buddhism teaches. But I should mention, no one can enjoy the eternal benefits of redemption apart from Jesus' redemptive work in his incarnation, sacrificial death by crucifixion, and resurrection.