The answer is: yes!.
I am not an expert in the field of economics or game theory, but I think the point can reveal a potential candidate for the origins of God.
I'd argue that there is plenty of evidence in the field of evolutionary biology now in favor of natural selection and our origin as descendant from Apes. While this point is not related per se to game theory, it is important to highlight an important feature of game theory models applied to human interactions: That of our moral origin stemming out of nature. While this is a bold statement (especially in the field of metaethics), we cannot deny that we as creatures come from an origin foreign to our current moral and legal systems, let's call this origin point zero.
Hobbes elaborated on this point zero and called it the original state. Without having the bank of biological knowledge we currently have nor natural selection as a weapon, Hobbes was able to imagine that humans were once in nature before becoming the kind of humans he was familiar with. He imagined that those humans were savages and cared for nothing other than themselves and satisfying their desires and instincts (if you're interested in this topic, please consider reading the following: Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins, Red Queen and Origins of Morality by Matt Ridley, and Naked Ape by Desmond Morris).
From this assumption, Hobbes moved on to construct his social contract theory which concludes that in order to escape from this original state, mankind had to find ways to cooperate, and thus legal and moral systems were born (it might be interesting to insert here that following God's command is considered a moral code, named Divine Command Theory)
How does all this connect to Game Theory (GT)? well GT in the field of philosophy and biology (originally, GT is an economic theory) is about constructing hypothetical scenarios of subjects that interact with the model, and produce results. Different parameters and variables will produce different results. From now on, I'll mostly be dealing with Prisoner's Dilemma as my model.
The reason the prisoners fail in the dilemma and pick out the bad option (that of ratting on the other) is because they are each savages motivated by selfish instinct to satisfy their desires, the desire being 'freedom'. Biologically speaking this scenario has been used to advance the argument that we have developed (or evolved) some cognitive functions which allow us to compute outcomes based on cooperation rather than selfishly pursue our interest. Morally speaking, this scenario has been used to argue for, well, morality! (for more discussion on game theory models used in morality, read Joshua Green's Moral Tribes)
Question: What would the prisoner's reasoning would be if they were to get out of prison in the shortest amount of time?
Surely, applying first order logic here would not work, both would rat resulting in 5 year sentence rather than 2 years. So, in order for them to reach the two year sentence (by not ratting), they have to apply second order logic. That which considers long term consequences as well as short term (GT would not work if it is considering just one instance), over all benefits VS costs (hello utilitarianism?) and so on.
I'd argue, and many have done before me, that one of the most obvious solutions to the prisoner's dilemma is a 'moral system'. Philosophers argue what that system is, but the agreement is that we had to create something to ensure the prisoner's do not rat on each other. These things can be called: Love, justice, equality, fairness, cooperation, respect, keeping promises, not lying, friendships, family, unions, etc. If you think about it, when all these things are on the table, they can all be considered as stepping stones to get us out of Hobbes' Original State.
So, in a very simplified and short description (fitting to that of a blog), I hope I was able to create a link between GT, and our current intuitive account of morality. Problem is, how do we enforce this moral system?
Speaking of our modern times, we have legal systems to enforce many of the 'cooperation' rules: 'Show up on time so you do your fair bit of work, you get paid for it, if we all do this then we're all equal', there is a complex judicial system to make sure criminals are fairly tried instead of judged by race or class (ironic isn't it how life does not match this?), striking rights, maternity and paternity rights, and anything you can think of. However, the old times did not have a sophisticated society to deal with. Society was much simpler and life needs were less demanding (in the technological and social sense, no globalization to worry about, nor nuclear war, nor cyber warfare, etc).
Unfortunately, not having a sophisticated interconnected societies meant chaos and no authority over a reward/punishment system for those who abide by moral rules. Meaning, there was a vague position of a ruler to come in and enforce these rules, now what would this ruler look like? Imagine a job description looking like this:
Employer: Society X
Job description: we are looking for a leader to put us straight, and help us escape our original state. We are tired of being savages and want to survive better.
1. The ruler has to be powerful in order to be able execute punishments and rewards (at this time the ruler didn't have many following since they're all selfish and don't know about his/her position just yet).
2. The ruler has to know many things in order to make proper judgements. In fact, the ruler has to know everything.
3. The ruler has to be kind and loving to ensure justice, yet hard enough to be not too soft on the wrongdoers.
4. The ruler has to have a policy to give proper motivation for others to follow (like, 100 euros per week if you're good, vs life imprisonment if you're bad). Think of this as a policy of deterrence.
Experience: preferably long, really really long experience. We don't want newbies!
If you're able to imagine such a scenario, then I would argue it would be easy for you to read in history books real life scenarios matching exactly this description (slaves in Egypt? Philistines? Quraish tribe?)
Anyways, here is a rhetorical question I asked my self long time ago, back when I was 10 or 11 and thinking hard about my religious identity, is it possible that we created God to ensure that we don't fall into the Original State articulated by Hobbes? (back then I did not know Hobbes or any of this stuff, but I knew something was up with the concept of God).
I would argue yes. Why? I'd love to have that in a conversation or debate with you !
I've encountered people who were familiar with the idea that humans created god, but don't have enough knowledge or vocabulary to articulate their ideas or refer to our cannon of knowledge. I hope through this blog I've introduced you to some mainstream ideas and a possible link between them. Regardless,
what do you think?
These are short comments I post as I navigate through waters.