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Author Topic:   Why'd you do it that way, God?
Meldinoor
Member (Idle past 3096 days)
Posts: 400
From: Colorado, USA
Joined: 02-16-2009


Message 1 of 137 (527886)
10-03-2009 4:24 AM


As I suffer from a condition called "theism", I occassionally ponder the question of why God chose naturalistic means to create the world we live in today. Naturally, the answer can only be speculative, but I thought it would be interesting to phrase it here, since we have members of many different -isms and backgrounds.

Now, a few guidelines.

1. This thread assumes that the universe is ~14 billion years old, and that the scientific consensus regarding life's origins and diversity is an accurate description of reality.

2. This thread also assumes that there is an omnipotent Creator of some sort, who is fully capable of creating a complete universe by any means He (or She or It) chooses.

3. The Creator in question, created the universe with the express purpose of producing the human race, and to be worshipped by said humans.

A rather general description of a Creator for most theistic (at least monotheistic) religions I imagine.

So, if you had to make these assumptions, what reasons do you see for the Creator to choose gradual naturalistic processes, as opposed to an undeniably divine creation event?

It'll be particularly interesting to see what the theistic evolutionists think about the question.

Not sure if this is much of a debate topic, so coffee house perhaps?


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Message 2 of 137 (527895)
10-03-2009 7:45 AM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Why'd you do it that way, God? thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.

    
Larni
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From: Liverpool
Joined: 09-16-2005


Message 3 of 137 (527900)
10-03-2009 8:48 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Meldinoor
10-03-2009 4:24 AM


I like the idea set out in the 'Preacher' comics:

God feeds on love and delights in knowing that no matter how much he visits people with plagues and atrocities people will always love him even when he has given us no real evidence he exists.

He made the universe because he was lonely and wants to have things that love him.

Making him a bit of a narcissist, really.

Edited by Larni, : Spelling


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NosyNed
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Member Rating: 4.6


Message 4 of 137 (527935)
10-03-2009 11:02 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Meldinoor
10-03-2009 4:24 AM


The Interesting Way to Go
If I try to imagine a god who created the universe the only way I can conceive of it* wanting to do things is by the (mostly) naturalistic process it seems to have used.

If it guided every step and poofed things into place it would be totally uninteresting to it. This way there is a fascinating unfolding of things running on the initial conditions set up.

The choice the creator has is more boredom or an interlude of entertainment.

The universe then becomes analogous to a game of Conway's life automaton game just on a grander scale.

Any other way of doing it would be, in my opinion, much much less fun to watch.


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Taz
Member (Idle past 1579 days)
Posts: 5069
From: Zerus
Joined: 07-18-2006


(2)
Message 5 of 137 (527945)
10-03-2009 12:43 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Meldinoor
10-03-2009 4:24 AM


I have a problem with the 3rd assumption. It presupposes a deity that is narcissistic, selfish, and absolutely unworthy of our worship. Can you imagine such a condition made by the parent of a child? If and when I have children, I certainly will not do it just because I want my children to worship me or love me. They can hate me if they want. Wouldn't make a difference whether I'd allow them to exist or not. And if they turn out to hate me, I wouldn't throw them into a dungeon either.

But anyway, my answer would be god chose naturalistic means to create the universe for it to be interesting. I have come back to the following analogy many times in the past.

I have plenty of nephews and nieces, and right now the oldest one is in 5th grade while the youngest is still crawling. Every year during easter, their parents would hide eggs everywhere in the yard and they'd hunt for the eggs. The hunt for the easter eggs always brightens their day.

Religious people are like the parents that insist on simply hand the kids the easter eggs. What's the fun in that for the kids, to be handed the eggs rather than go around looking for them.

Mel, look up at the sky. The universe is a big ass mother fucking place. Just here on earth, we've discovered more wonders than any one person can imagine, and we continue to make new discoveries. And some of those discoveries are how the past came to be.

Are you a parent? I certainly hope that you will not simply spoon feed your children everything they need in life. This will undoubtedly assure a dead end in their purpose in life.

A creator that poofed everything into existence by magic and then throw the created that are "rebellious" into the pit of eternal damnation is a narcissistic creator and thus does not deserve to be worshiped or loved.

Added by edit.

Now, let's take a look at the religious version of the universe.

God poofed everything into existence 6k years ago. God also poofed an infinitely big ass universe into existence at the same time. The rapture happens on 2012. 7 years later, the world ends and all of humanity are wiped out. The big ass mother fucking universe continues to exist.

So, according to the religious doctrine, why did god create a big ass mother fucking universe? Wouldn't a sun and an earth sufficient if he just wanted to be worshiped?

Edited by Taz, : No reason given.


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RAZD
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Posts: 20156
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 4.1


Message 6 of 137 (527949)
10-03-2009 1:11 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Meldinoor
10-03-2009 4:24 AM


Hi Meldinoor, and congrats on your recent POTM (Message 24), well said.

As I suffer from a condition called "theism", I occassionally ponder the question of why God chose naturalistic means to create the world we live in today. Naturally, the answer can only be speculative, but I thought it would be interesting to phrase it here, since we have members of many different -isms and backgrounds.

Indeed, there are quite a number of theists that do not have trouble with naturalistic means.

3. The Creator in question, created the universe with the express purpose of producing the human race, and to be worshipped by said humans.

I'm curious why you chose this particular limitation for your god/s.

If a god (set of gods) wanted to create a universe that would require the least amount of maintenance while achieving certain ends, then it would be logical

  • to put in motion a number of basic but simple systems,
  • some of which create chaos to make results as unpredictable as possible,
  • some of which create islands within the chaos of relative stability,
  • then add natural laws that create conditions for life in as diverse a manner as possible,
  • followed by seeding the universe with the basic building blocks of life, and
  • setting up a system for life to develop from the chemical seeds, and
  • putting in place the natural laws to select and drive life towards intelligence
In this system earth and humans would just be one of the anticipated results, however even we may not be the expected end result. It may be that the expected result would be the development of equals, and we are just one of many possible steps to that end.

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


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Kitsune
Member (Idle past 2587 days)
Posts: 788
From: Leicester, UK
Joined: 09-16-2007


Message 7 of 137 (527951)
10-03-2009 1:43 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Meldinoor
10-03-2009 4:24 AM


Hi Meldinoor,

Interesting topic. I agree with others here about point 3, but thought I'd add something that I've given consideration to: a series of books called Conversations with God. To simplify what Wiki says, In The Beginning, God was all there was. It was a consciousness. But being all there was, it had no capacity to know itself. Was it good? What's good without evil? Was it light? What's light without dark? So the universe, and the duality of nature, came into existence. The way this happened is consistent with everything science has, and ever will, learn, because everything that exists is part of God. God splintered itself into individual consciousnesses in order to experience physical duality. The book claims that God is still there even though there are all these splinters of it living lives around the universe.

I don't feel comfortable with the notion of a personified God but I accept that this is the easiest way for some people to understand the divine. I do like the idea that we are all part of God-consciousness and that we are here simply to exist. The books states that we are meant to be trying to evolve spiritually too, and that we can have as many lives as we need in order to do this. Once we have, we can choose to pull the blinders over ourselves and go through the cycle again, in order to help other people along, give them the experiences they're after and help they learn the lessons they need.

I don't feel certain about any of this but I think it's intriguing. If you think about it, it means that the purpose of prayer becomes connecting to our higher nature, rather than worshipping a particular god.

Edited by LindaLou, : No reason given.


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Izanagi
Member (Idle past 3504 days)
Posts: 263
Joined: 09-15-2009


Message 8 of 137 (527953)
10-03-2009 1:56 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Meldinoor
10-03-2009 4:24 AM


God is Lawful Good
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.


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slevesque
Member (Idle past 2928 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 9 of 137 (527956)
10-03-2009 2:29 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Meldinoor
10-03-2009 4:24 AM


I'll had another question for theistic evolutionists:

If God did decide to use a naturalistic mean to create humans, why did he put death, and suffering, etc. as an integral part of the process ?

Oh, and by the way, that point number 3 isn't an accurate description of the reason God created humans and in fact, it is very often represented this way by atheists as a strawman as to make God look Narcisist etc.

God created humans as to be in perfect relationship with them and see them grow etc. etc. just for the same reason parents want to have children. In this regard, I doubt anyone would call parents Narcisists.


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Taz
Member (Idle past 1579 days)
Posts: 5069
From: Zerus
Joined: 07-18-2006


Message 10 of 137 (527958)
10-03-2009 2:56 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by slevesque
10-03-2009 2:29 PM


slevesque writes:

God created humans as to be in perfect relationship with them and see them grow etc. etc. just for the same reason parents want to have children. In this regard, I doubt anyone would call parents Narcisists.


Let's follow this train of thought. Would a loving parent build a dungeon with robots as self sustained torturers and throw in the dungeon the rebellious children with no possibility of parole?

{My impression is that Taz took the least on-topic (off-topic?) portion of the message and responded with something equally little on-topic (off-topic?). Sort of like a goal post moving. - Adminnemooseus}

Edited by Adminnemooseus, : Off-topic banner etc.


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Kitsune
Member (Idle past 2587 days)
Posts: 788
From: Leicester, UK
Joined: 09-16-2007


Message 11 of 137 (527961)
10-03-2009 3:26 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Izanagi
10-03-2009 1:56 PM


Re: God is Lawful Good
Hi Izanagi,

Please don't take this the wrong way; I respect your right to your beliefs just like everyone else's here. But I thought I might try picking your brains to see how much you've thought about what you've said.

quote:
Because God is Omnipotent and Omniscient, according to the Judeo-Christian tradition, the rules would've been created perfectly the first time.

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?

quote:
To interfere directly would be to break the rules of the Universe, which would not be lawful in the slightest.

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.

quote:
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.

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?

quote:
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.

But if God is omniscient, then he already knows the outcome of any such experiment.

Like I said, please don't take offense. I'm interested in your response.

Edited by LindaLou, : No reason given.


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Meldinoor
Member (Idle past 3096 days)
Posts: 400
From: Colorado, USA
Joined: 02-16-2009


Message 12 of 137 (527964)
10-03-2009 3:54 PM


First off, I'm impressed by the number of non-theists who were willing to consider my question. Kudos to you guys.

So far I have liked all of your suggestions. I especially enjoyed the D&D twist Izanaqi put on it. It makes sense, at least for the Judeo-Christian God. So unwilling to break his own laws, he has to sacrifice his son (himself) in order to forgive our sins. I always thought that aspect of God was strange, but maybe thinking of God in D&D terms will make it easier to understand him

My own position is similar to Taz' opinion on the matter. Young Earth Creationists will sometimes argue that a god who goes about using naturalistic processes is a weak god, while I think the very opposite is true. It is far more spectacular in my mind, to create a universe which in itself, using the properties that the Creator gave it, can create a world like ours. The vastness of it, the age of it, the beauty of it, seems to represent the existence of an omnipotent, eternal Creator much better than one that was just poofed into existence 6000 years ago.

There is also far more mystery in our universe, than in one that is maintained by the divine. So far, we have not run into any natural phenomenon that warranted the supernatural. We never find the "god of the gaps" in the gaps, and hence our ability to learn is unbridled by the existence of the supernatural. It's like being given an infinitely large playground.

Some of you had problems with my third assumption. I hesitated to include it, because I knew if I left it out my assumptions would agree with more beliefs. The reason I put it in there was partly my Judeo-Christian bias, and partly because I wanted to avoid the cop-out of saying that the Creator had no particular purpose in mind when creating the universe. I also wanted to explore the scenario where the Creator has an interest in humanity, rather than being an indifferent observer. This would make our answers to the question reflect how the Creator's actions would be not only in his interest, but also in ours.

Slevesque:
You are assuming that death is a bad thing. Without the history of death on our planet we would not have soil, corals, oil or natural gas. I have never heard any reasoning suggesting why death is an objectively bad phenomenon. As for suffering, I think you'll find that the suffering we humans inflict on each other far outdoes that inflicted by nature under natural conditions.

ABE: Slevesque, if my assumptions do not match your particular understanding of God, it is only because I did not intend to describe the god of any particular religion.

-Meldinoor

Edited by Meldinoor, : No reason given.


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slevesque
Member (Idle past 2928 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 13 of 137 (527965)
10-03-2009 3:58 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Taz
10-03-2009 2:56 PM


A very superficial overview of christianity will give you this impression of the concept of Hell etc.

Unfortunately, I doubt you will find many theologians (if any) who would have made such a comparison, and as of such you making this comparison of christianity, with the further intent of discrediting the christian worldview upon this point, is another strawman.

Also note that I was adressing the particular claim that God, by his intentions of creating us, was Narcisist. Your question is a totally different issue, the one that God, by punishing us to Hell, is evil. Very different issues. (Does this fall into 'Red Herring' ? I'm not a pro at identifying fallacies)

I don't want to derail the topic at hand, but if you want to start a new thread on this, I'll gladly discuss this. It would be great simply to discuss who is the christian God, because ssooo often assertions are made about him and his intentions that are false/half-true, so that the strawman can be put down as to declare victory over the christian worldview. This is not done intentionaly usually, it only stems from a bad concept of God, and so I would think that a topic on the 'train of thought' we were having would be very fruitful, if only so that atheists can attack the christian God on what he is, rather than what he is not.


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slevesque
Member (Idle past 2928 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 14 of 137 (527969)
10-03-2009 4:22 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by Meldinoor
10-03-2009 3:54 PM


Young Earth Creationists will sometimes argue that a god who goes about using naturalistic processes is a weak god, while I think the very opposite is true. It is far more spectacular in my mind, to create a universe which in itself, using the properties that the Creator gave it, can create a world like ours. The vastness of it, the age of it, the beauty of it, seems to represent the existence of an omnipotent, eternal Creator much better than one that was just poofed into existence 6000 years ago.

I have never seen any recommendable creationist association saying that usign naturalistic processes would make God weak. They fully acknowledge that God could have done it anyway he had wanted to, and that he would still have been all-powerful. FOr them, it comes down to not what he 'could' have done, but what he 'said' he did. Him purposefully wanting natural selection as a way to produce humans also has theological problems for the christian worldview, because it implies that death and suffering were an integral part of God's plan for us. This goes against many other parts of the christian worldview. (The bible clearly identifies death as an enemy and an intruder in this world).

This also clears up a bit your own question further down in your post. I believe death is an intruder in the created universe, and so it is bad. I also think that this reflects quite well the reality of it. You only have to see a mourners grieving over the death of a loved one, and you can see that it brings more pain than joy. I love corals, but I'd sacrifice them any day of the week and twice on sundays so that death wouldn't be an integral part of our world. I mean, world war two and the Nazi regime brought amazing technological advancements, does it mean wasn't bad in every sense of the term ?

And even if this 'God' did make a world with death as a key feature of it, why did he make us evolved so that we mentally suffer when we lose a loved one ? At least, he could have made us indifferent to death, so that we view it as he does: just another aspect of our universe.

FInally, a 6000 year old universe is just as vast, and just as beautiful as 14billion year old universe. The only difference is the age really. And so if you think a 6000 year old universe takes away all the mystery and greatness of being able to explore it, I would suggest you say that to Newton or Galileo, or pretty much any scientist before the 19th century.

Edited by slevesque, : No reason given.


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Meldinoor
Member (Idle past 3096 days)
Posts: 400
From: Colorado, USA
Joined: 02-16-2009


Message 15 of 137 (527986)
10-03-2009 6:52 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by slevesque
10-03-2009 4:22 PM


Thank you for your reply, Slevesque.

Slevesque writes:

I have never seen any recommendable creationist association saying that usign naturalistic processes would make God weak.

http://www.creationworldview.org/articles_view.asp?id=39

quote:
Seventh, if any of these positions were true then God is not able to save a remnant. He is a weak God and His character is in question.

http://www.creationism.org/topbar/pressrelease.htm

quote:
Is evolution's main aim in fact to propose a weak god or none at all, in place of an unerring Creator behind the universe?

I don't think there's any doubt that the argument is used by many creationists.

Slevesque writes:

The bible clearly identifies death as an enemy and an intruder in this world

I don't think so.

Slevesque writes:

You only have to see a mourners grieving over the death of a loved one

Death is indeed a sad thing, for the mourners. For the dead individual it is not sad, and if you believe in an afterlife, may even be a joyous event. Just because something is sad, doesn't make it bad. A world where nobody ever died would soon become overpopulated, and that would be bad.

Slevesque writes:

And even if this 'God' did make a world with death as a key feature of it, why did he make us evolved so that we mentally suffer when we lose a loved one ? At least, he could have made us indifferent to death, so that we view it as he does: just another aspect of our universe.

Death is an integral part of our world, like it or not. Does that mean we should be indifferent to it? Cars are an integral part of the city as well. Does that mean I should be indifferent to them when I cross the road? Of course not.

Slevesque writes:

FInally, a 6000 year old universe is just as vast, and just as beautiful as 14billion year old universe. The only difference is the age really. And so if you think a 6000 year old universe takes away all the mystery and greatness of being able to explore it, I would suggest you say that to Newton or Galileo, or pretty much any scientist before the 19th century.

A universe that was created 6000yrs ago in a "finished" form would be a lot less interesting. For one, you wouldn't be able to study the natural origin of our world. Pretty much everything, mountains, canyons, rivers, stars, and species would have only a supernatural explanation, and there'd be no reason to study by what processes they originated. You're putting a lot of scientists out of work.

The possibility of finding fathomable natural explanations for how things come together and work is one of the privileges our universe (and its creator?) has to offer.

-Meldinoor

-------------------------------------

I notice that we have strayed a little off-topic regarding death and the bible. This thread was intended to discuss why any creator, not necessarily the biblical one, would choose to create a universe like the one we live in (according to the scientific consensus). Maybe you could focus your next reply on giving objective reasons why you think a creator should or should not have involved death and natural processes in the creation of the universe.


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