Freyashawk: This is the response of God to my question about so-called 'Divine Punishment':
Human beings tend to confuse 'Cause and Effect' with 'Punishment'. There are laws of Cause and Effect that I set in motion. This is not Punishment. This is simply the laws of Motion and Natural Change.
Balance has been mistaken for Punishment as well. Creation and Destruction are simply two sides of the same coin and a balance between the two must be maintained if the Universe is to operate.
There is a natural span for things and there are natural reasons why creatures die or cease to function and are born or brought into creation.
Let me use an example from humanity to show how the end of something does not constitute Punishment. A man trims his nails so that he is better able to use his hands. When a fingernail is trimmed or cut, you would not declare that the man has punished the nail by cutting it away from the body or by sanding it down. He simply is performing a natural act to keep all things in balance.
Humanity's sorrow where Death is concerned is primarily egocentric in nature. It results from a misunderstanding of the nature of the Universe I created. The death of one is not the death of all. Those who perceive that a death is simply a method by which a specific creature is reincorporated into the whole understand the Universe best.
Death is the cessation of a specific creature or organism but in most cases, there are residual elements that continue. In the case of any human being, there are physical remnants and incorporeal remnants. A man or woman who is remembered lives on after the death of his/her body. Indeed, if the story of the person is told by some one else, one could perceive that the man or woman has continued to grow and change for the perception of another mind has given the individual new vitality.
Even in the case of a person's creations, the input of others can cause the story or work to continue, mutate and grow. 'Lord of the Rings' by Tolkien is a case in point. I mention this because it is one of your favourites, Freyashawk. It was Tolkien's creation initially but he would be the first to give credit to all the myths and tales that he wove into the tale.
Tolkien died. The books were completed and read by others and yet, when Peter Jackson made films from the books, they were reborn. His vision changed them and caused them to grow beyond the boundaries of the original book covers. In similar fashion, the human beings and creatures I have created are not limited to their original substance but can continue to exist beyond their own lives.
A body that is buried in the soil lends its bones and marrow to the growth of plant life and other living creatures. How can it be entirely dead when a flower grows from its bones? How can a man or woman be entirely dead when his/her DNA continues in the children or grandchildren? A person often will catch a glimpse of some one who died in the way his/her grandchild smiles or walks or even in the workings of the intellect.
Selfishness has its uses and motivates human beings and other creatures but it is not the most enlightened state of being. A creature should be willing to die to yield place to others. In some cultures of humankind, the old people would walk out into the cold in the winter to die in order that the newborn would have sufficient food. That sort of Death never could be perceived as 'God's punishment' and yet, is it any different when Nature makes room for new life by winnowing out the old?