I have often thought about this very topic and I do have my own ideas, but most don't follow your guidelines.
One idea I have thought about is that if God is Order and God created the Universe out of chaos, then it would only be natural to include within that Universe a set of rules, rules like Thermodynamics, Motion, Relativity, etc. Those rules would set the very foundation upon which our Universe was created.
Because God is Omnipotent and Omniscient, according to the Judeo-Christian tradition, the rules would've been created perfectly the first time. And because God is Order (read lawful) and Good, God would be loathe to interfere directly in God's own creation. To interfere directly would be to break the rules of the Universe, which would not be lawful in the slightest.
To put it into D&D terms, God is Lawful Good, and so is unwilling to break the rules of Universe except, perhaps, in the direst of circumstances. More than likely, God will work within the framework of the rules of the Universe to accomplish what needs to be accomplished.
And then there's the fact that knowing what the outcome might be is different than seeing it happen before your eyes. Perhaps God started from the Big Bang just to see what kind of life would arise.
Would that perfection include humanity that, according to the Bible, pissed God off so much that he committed genocide apart from Noah and a few relatives?
Actually, I personally believe that the Bible, as far as the Old Testament is concerned, while having a nice set of stories, is not true. Thus the stories of creation, the flood, Job and whatnot, in my mind are not historical fact, except those that can be backed by historical data.
Also, my idea of God is a bit different than the Judeo-Christian belief. I hesitate to speculate upon the nature of God, and Meldinoor's #2 point assumed a Omnipotent God, but my belief is that while God is an extremely powerful being, God might not be perfect and maybe even God makes mistakes. Perhaps God, like us, does the best that God can with what God has.
God interferes a lot in the Bible. Maybe these questions don't bother you because you are a deist? I don't know what you believe but I'm assuming you're a Christian since you seem to be going along with aspects of God described in that faith.
Since I don't really believe in the Old Testament, except for those parts that can be historically verified, I don't think about it much. The truth is, I believe in God, but I don't know what God is or know that God exists. And I admire the teachings of Christ because what I've read makes sense. Things like helping the poor, and the guy who prays on the street is not a better person than the person who prays in private, and that it's not how strictly you follow the rules but how you live your life that matters. But was Jesus divine? I believe it, but I'd be hard-pressed to explain why without resorting to "it's what I've been taught."
I wonder how you would define "the direst of circumstances." Slevesque has asked about a God that can allow evil and suffering to occur, sometimes on grand scales. If God made the rules himself then he has the power to break them. Did he not think that the Holocaust was a dire circumstance? This is one reason why I would have difficulty believing in a personified God. If he loves everyone then how can he allow them to suffer? What is the point of a baby being born to a starving, impoverished family and living a hungry, sickly, unloved existence for a few days before going back to where it came from?
I think the quote from God in Futurama is one of the best I've heard. When Bender meets God, they have a little chat. Bender tells God how he had an opportunity to be God, but nothing he did seemed to go right. When he interfered, he increased the suffering of his people. When he didn't do anything, the people wiped themselves out in nuclear war because of differences in belief. It's quite an amusing episode - the Futurama episode is entitled, "Godfellas." Then the exchange goes like this
quote:God: "Bender, being God isn't easy. If you do too much, people get dependent on you. And if you do nothing, they lose hope. You have to use a light touch, like a safecracker or a pickpocket." Bender: "Or a guy who burns down a bar for the insurance money!" God: "Yes, if you make it look like an electrical thing. When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all."
Why did I go into that story? I couldn't tell you how powerful God is. I do believe that while God can, and probably does, interfere with our lives in small ways, in the end, we need to rely upon ourselves. And perhaps that's what God does - God provides opportunities. Again, going to the entertainment industry, a quote from the movie "Evan Almighty":
quote:God: Let me ask you something. If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other?
God provides the opportunities and it is up to us to act upon them. To quote Bender once again, "You can't count on God for jack, he pretty much told me so himself!"
But if God is omniscient, then he already knows the outcome of any such experiment.
I don't really believe in an omniscient God.
Also, I'm always happy to talk about religion in a dignified manner. My beliefs have evolved quite a bit and aren't what you would call mainstream. And I'm always willing to consider new ideas. In fact, I really like the Buddhist philosophy of the Middle Way. So don't be afraid to ask questions, even about your own faith. Otherwise, if we didn't ask questions, how would we learn and grow?
Also, this can describe why a Deity might create the Universe the way it is now. A Deity, being a little wiser than us, would feel doing too much or too little is bad, and that perhaps only a light touch is needed, allowing the creations to make the right choices.
in order to avoid being soft and mushy and unsuitable to life, it was created "Ready to go".
No one is arguing that the earth could have been made 6000 years ago. What people want to know is why God would apparently create a place with the appearance of having been lived in for 4.5 billion years. You know, the fossils, the sediment, the apparent 4.5 billion year decay of radioactive isotopes, and the other things that seem unnecessary.
I appreciate God building a house that is more than walls and is not ready to live in. It's just that apparently God created a house with a cracked foundation, mildew between the walls, a rusty screen door, a leaky roof, scribbles of the children of the previous owners left on the wall, etc. That is to say, instead of creating a brand-spanking new house, God created a house with all the appearances of having been around for a long time with evidence everywhere of the previous inhabitants.