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The interpretation that god is omnibenevolent and omnipotent suggests that the universe was created with the eventual goal of humanity to come into existence. If this were the case, what was the purpose of the early universe when it lacked humans? Certainly it would have been easier for an omnipotent god to introduce humans from the outset with conditions fit for human life as they are now? And if not then what was the early period of the universe serve?

Assumptions: the Big Bang occurred and was done by the first-mover.

Many thanks!

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    It is not just the age of the Universe but its size also- rather like buying trillions of cat baskets thirteen billion years before you buy a single cat to put in one of them. Commented Dec 8, 2023 at 21:22
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    What's the necessary connection you perceive between a Good and Powerful God and the eventual goal of creating humanity? And for that matter, what's a trillion year wait to an immortal? I'm not sure you've outlined your dilemma clearly enough here to have it be answerable. Commented Dec 8, 2023 at 21:36
  • A trillion extra years to a creator who is ambivalent to time and creation is perfectly reasonable. But if that creator had the characteristic of being omnibenevolent towards humanity, and it created the universe for them, then I’d assume that everything that they did had the purpose of progressing this goal, no? And for an omnipotent creator this can all be done instantly, so what would be the purpose of a trillion years of faff when the creator’s goal is humanity?
    – Hooman
    Commented Dec 8, 2023 at 21:46
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    But a trillion years is an instant in the context of eternity. It just seems like a long time to us. Commented Dec 8, 2023 at 21:51
  • But why would a creator do nothing for a a trillion years? Does that not imply that the creator had no purpose?
    – Hooman
    Commented Dec 8, 2023 at 21:59

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Michael Hall's answer is good for addressing the question as posed, but I think the question as posed rests on a weak premise to begin with if it's supposed to relate to real-life religions.

The premise that the universe was created for humans is bad theology in any of Judaism, Christianity, or Islam. God did not create the universe for humans, God created the universe and the humans in it for God.

We could start with Genesis (observing that the most straightforward interpretation for why God created was because it was good), but for something explicit and literal, we can start with the Tanakh:

But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, [descendants of] Jacob, he who formed you, Israel [...] everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made... (Isaiah 43)

An examination of the early Christian scriptures shows the idea is firmly entrenched by the 1st century:

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory for ever. (Romans 11)

In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. (Hebrews 2)

Early Christians attributed the same properties to Jesus:

He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1)

The Quran of course jettisoned the idea of Jesus being the eternal co-original image of the invisible God, but doubles down on humans being created for God:

And I [God] did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. (Quran 51:56)

In fact, they aren't even the most important part of the creation:

The creation of the heavens and earth is greater than the creation of mankind, but most of the people do not know. (Quran 40:57)

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But who said they did nothing?

Realize that our scale and concept of time is completely meaningless to such a being.

The question is like a transient quark, flickering into and out of existence, and in that brief flash pondering why you took the time to yawn this morning when you woke up, or why you stirred your coffee for 3 seconds before sipping it. You weren't doing nothing, you were preparing for your day.

Perhaps a great many things were being accomplished during this time to prepare for the eventual arrival of humans. Or perhaps it wasn't as long as we think it was. Processes we can measure at a certain rate now may have happened much more rapidly in the past.

In any case, the exact reasons for whatever happened or didn't happen during the time before humans cannot be known.

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  • Yeah, the cats knocked over my coffee this morning, so I had to create some more.
    – Scott Rowe
    Commented Dec 8, 2023 at 23:52
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    – Community Bot
    Commented Dec 9, 2023 at 13:13
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Your question does not seem conclusive to me. Do you suppose that creating human beings is an act of benevolence? Being benevolent to whom?

Before their creation humans did not exist. One cannot compare “non-existent” humans before the creation with existent humans after the creation.

As a consequence, the cause to ponder - under the aspect of benevolence - about the billions of years, where the universe existed without humans, fell away.

Please correct me if I missunderstand your question.

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At least 3 viable fetuses:

  1. The world was created, as the biblia sacra says, 10,000 years ago.
  2. The biblia sacra is ... obviously ... a pack of lies.
  3. This is the most intriguing of the possibilities ... 10,000 biblical "years" is 14 billion solar years OR, if you're a down-to-earth person, 10,000 *biblical "years" is 4 billion solar years.

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