In the essay “What makes God Godlike” by Jack Miles, a former Jesuit Priest, Miles strongly argues that God’s dynamic relationship with humanity is the context for God’s own self-discovery in his personality and his desires. He traces God’s personality development showing how God moves from action to action, and how at almost every interpretive moment, Miles emphasizes the difference of God from other characters in history and other stories. Miles uses many literary examples to illustrate his point and ultimately make the reader review their outlook on God being the all-knowing and independent creator of life.
In his argument he emphasizes that God is unlike any other character in a story, in that God creates the other characters in his story and then God himself enters the scene. Miles also goes on to explain that God unlike any other character doesn’t have a distinct past. Miles says, “There are no adventures of God.” He also brings up the gods from Greek mythology, and how Zeus has his adventures and tales of his life among his fellow gods while God has no past, comes from nowhere, and has no life with anyone else other than the life which he must embark upon when he creates humanity and so is ultimately as dependent on them as humans are to him.
God’s dependency on humans comes forth from, as Miles stated, “For him, the quest for a self-image is not an idle and optional indulgence but the sole and indispensable tool of his self-understanding.” So it’s Gods quest for some self-understanding that compels him to make humans in his image so that he may observe human nature and in turn figure out who he is. Being an entity with no past, no memories, and no image of one’s self is something that no other literary character has had to deal with. Coming back to Zeus, in Zeus’ story he has a definite past, he knows who he is, and what he wants.
Therefore readers of Zeus’ exploits can foreshadow as to what Zeus will do, and the reader can see what drives him to that course of action. Unlike God from which the reader cant infer anything as to what he may want or may do because he has no past which can be looked at to determine his course of action.
Miles greatest point of argument as to God being dependent on humans has to be when he talks about God has no experience. Therefore, when God creates humanity he doesn’t really know what he wants them to do or what it is that pleases him. He in sorts has to feel his way out of the darkness, and Miles explains further when he says, “ He (God) is like a director whose actors never seem to get it right and who is, as a result, often angry but who doesn’t, himself, always know beforehand what getting it right will be.”
This is one of the more critical phrases from Miles work and it really goes into depth of how God needs humanity to figure out what God himself wants, for his lack of experience makes him not really understand who he (God) really is or what his likes and dislikes are. This is why he created humanity in his image so that in turn humanity could help him figure out who he (God) is.
Critics of Mile’s work may argue that he construed his work only to the book of genesis, and that