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Is he watching Arda 24/7? Fraternizing with the Ainur who stayed with him? Any indication of his motives or what he actually does?

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  • 2
    He spends much of his time contemplating ironic fates and figuring out how to weave them into millennia long song-narratives. Nov 2, 2015 at 19:55
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    Constantly asks everyone what time it is, because he has a terrible sense of humor but everyone has to laugh at his jokes because he's god.
    – Wad Cheber
    Nov 2, 2015 at 21:19
  • What does God do in Heaven? Who the h*ll knows :-)
    – Ron Smith
    Nov 3, 2015 at 17:09

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We have exactly one indication of what he does in the Infinite Timeless Nothing (emphasis mine):

For it is said that after the departure of the Valar there was silence, and for an age Ilúvatar sat alone in thought. Then he spoke and said: 'Behold I love the Earth, which shall be a mansion for the Quendi and the Atani! But the Quendi shall be the fairest of all earthly creatures, and they shall have and shall conceive and bring forth more beauty than all my Children; and they shall have the greater bliss in this world. But to the Atani I will give a new gift.'

The Silmarillion III Quenta Silmarillion Chapter 1: "Of the Beginning of Days"

So that's pretty boring, but it's all we have; this brief aside is the only piece of writing, other than the Ainulindalë, that takes place in the Timeless Halls.

Whatever else he may be doing, we know that he at least pays attention to the goings-on of Eä; we see him interceding in the world on a number of occasions, mostly involving giving counsel to Manwë, some of the most memorable of which include (but are not limited to):

  • He grants the Flame Imperishable to the Dwarves
  • Through Manwë, he declares the coming of the Ents
  • He counseled Manwë to bring the Eldar to the Undying Lands
  • He counseled Manwë on the fate of Beren and Lúthien
  • He sank Númenor, and all of that other stuff at the time
  • He resurrected Gandalf
  • He tripped Gollum
  • The essay Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth, published in Morgoth's Ring, indicates that he spoke to Men in the early days, before they turned from him and began worshiping Melkor. Whether or not this is true is debatable; it's a centuries-old oral history, passed down among notoriously fallible Men

A complete list of Ilúvatar's intercessions (direct and indirect) throughout the Legendarium is a bit broad, but it's clear from the above sample, which spans 11,000 years of in-universe time, that at least a portion of his infinite wisdom is keeping track of his creation. What he does with the rest of it is anyone's guess.

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