Bekah: That is not a loogical reply. For His own Glory? If you believe in the concept of angels, then they are perfect and they glorify Him. Even birds, during the morning, glorify him. So why create bumbling, meddling humans?
Half Note: That's is not what I was asking. Why did He create us in the first instance? If He is not temporal, then why has He any need to create us?
(I haven't converted to atheism, and I have the answer, but lets see how everyone else's faring)
About quantum fluctuations: I really don't know enough about science to properly reply to this, but that doesn't mean there isn't an answer. Perhaps God himself is creating this matter, or maybe the scientists are just misinterpreting data. I don’t know.
I can understand your objections. I hope I can answer them.
Let's see if I can reason it out somehow:
You said that "we only have God to tell us that he's God". This is kind of true, because if he did create us, then everything we can possibly perceive is all given by God. But if an intelligent being didn’t create us, then how is it possible that such complexity, which we see in planetary orbits and our own hearts, is all coincidence?
That’s what I find hard to believe when denying the existence of God. Without God to “fill in the gaps” we end up with an insanely impossible chain of coincidences which allow planets to stay in their orbits and our hearts to provide our bodies with blood.
If you don’t believe in God, you are believing in coincidences.
(I have something to add on this topic, but I think I’ll post it in “Convert Me” like you suggested. Look for it there.)
Anyway, it’s not really a matter of whether God is more advanced than us. Either our creation is coincidence, or God was powerful enough and intelligent enough to create us. He went beyond showing his cell phone to the cavemen: He gave them life.
Hmmm, a challenge.
Hint, please? *smiles hopefully*
Oh, I think I got it:
Why does a painter create a painting? Why does a writer write a story?
God created us because he could.
Just like a painter will spend the time and effort to create art, so too did God spend the time to lovingly create us.
On that note, I think Bekah's answer makes sense.
Sure, humans are sinful right now, but God is showing his glory by giving us a chance to be free of sin. He even gave his “only begotten son” to die so that we might live.
We messed up; not God. And now God is giving us the opportunity to clean up our mistakes. If that doesn’t glorify him, I don’t know what does.
Halfnote: Here is a hint, I support the concept of God as a source.
Btw, I don't believe in this idea of "only begotten son" (You know I don't. Seriously:)).
Breece: Wow, your position is one that I've never encountered before. My argument probably will not get very far in a thread that has become so dedicated to logic, but here it goes. How do we know God is omnipotent?
You're right- we have only his word for it. Like most things about God (say, His very existance) it cannot be conclusively proven or disproven using logic alone. So really, the question comes down to this- do you trust God? Do you trust him to tell us the truth?
This is not a question you can prove by logic. It's a question that can only be answered by examining your relationship with God. I hope I don't sound too preachy, but since you seem to be operating under the premise that He exists, I think it's worth a shot.
Alternately, even if he is not all-powerful, he is certainly very powerful. Maybe He cannot do everything (like make that big rock) but the evidence of Him running the universe tells me that He is powerful enough.
Hmmm... I'll have to think about this.
Was I even a little bit close?
Oh, sorry about that. I must have "forgotten" (*does air quotes*) that you were Muslim. ;)
It was worth a shot though, right? *smiles innocently*
Your post made me laugh.
Not in a mean way, but I just thought it was funny that I didn't think of this before.
Because you're right: no one can believe in God unless they choose to have faith in him.
We can't come to know or understand God by logic alone; it requires faith. We need a desire to know Him. Only then can he reveal Himself to us.
*pats Imagine on the back*
But you don't get off that easy, Breece. I still have hope for you. Perhaps logic will help you realize that you need faith, or something. :)
Halfnote: You were thinking in the opposite direction. Oh yeah, it was worth a shot but didn't get me:)
Imagine: I think omnipresence, omnipotence and omniscience are related. And I can provide a real-life example to prove my claim, but since many people don't believe in religion, so that won't suffice.
The specifics don't really matter to be honest, the point I was making was that creation doesn't absolutely have to neccessitate God.
Regardless, I still don't buy the "complexity of the universe" argument, we don't have anything to compare the universe to so we don't really know how complex it is.
I do like your analogy at the end, the one with the cellpone and life thing, that was cool :P
However, I think it brings up another question, how do we know "God" really created us? The man with the cell-phone could have easily used a megaphone from a high ledge and said "I have created you my children" (of course this is still analogical) I see no direct evidence we were created by a divine being.
I understand what you're saying. I've gone more into it in my other thread, but I think the real problem I've been having is that my inborn sense of morality is not matching up with any of the "Gods" I hear people talking about, even the Christian one.
And your mention about God being powerful enough is exactly what I was saying, a modern man (in the analogy me and half.note have been dancing back and forth in) would be powerful enough to control simple cavemen, but I don't see why he should have the right to play with them or force them to believe he is their God or force them to believe a certain set of morals.
Thanks again for all your replies, great discussion so far!
OK, I have a question for you:
I realize that you’re kind of on the fence right now, but I was just wandering which “yard” you’re leaning towards. Are you trying to renew your faith, change it, or find a reason to give up on it completely?
And thanks, I kind of liked my analogy as well. ;)
Are you asking if God is merely a powerful being who stepped in and claimed to create us? How did we come into existence then?
I’d also like to add my thoughts about the questions you asked Imagine, if that’s okay?
I mostly wanted to address what you said about the “modern man” controlling the cavemen and “forcing them to believe he is their God”. What I have to say is this: God doesn’t control us. If he did then you would be reading your Bible and praising His name right now. The reason so many people don’t believe in God is because he has given them freewill, and they’re choosing not to follow Him.
Okay, you left me no choice: I'm going to have to cheat.
*looks question up on Google*
"God created us so that we might serve Him and know His name." Or "creation of this universe stems from neccessity." Is that it?
And yeah, I didn't think it would work on you. But you know me: always preaching.
God bless. <3
In regards to your first question, I really don't know. I'm learning a lot through these discussions though, maybe I'll be able to answer that soon.
As for "How did we come into existance"
1) That argument is called "God of the Gaps" and basically means you're filling in things you don't understand with God. I'm not sure how we came to be, but I personally don't think we should assume a God is the reason
2) More specifically, if you want to do more reading into the "quantum fluctuations" thing I mentioned earlier it might provide insight into at least some alternate possibilities.
And as for God giving us freewill, how do we know he gave us it? What if free will is an innate part of us? What evidence do you have to support that free will is only possible through God? The man talking to the caveman didn't give the caveman freewill, but he can say he did.
No it still isn't. I kinda like playing this game. And what necessity led to the creation of universe? God is free from all needs. And He created us to know his name and serve Him? That's not at all logical and that (if you consider it) is what we are supposed to do, not the purpose of our creation.:)
I agree, the man talking to the cavemen has no right to play with them. But the modern man has the right (or even, depending on who you ask, the responsibility) to better the cavemen's lives. (Sitting in a cave with a bunch of rocks isn't exactly the most fulfilling existance.)
Once again, we can only trust His motives; we can't know them for absolute certain. But (looking at the religious people I know vs. the nonreligious) I think that he's trying to improve our lives, not toy with us. (I'm not saying religious people are automatically superior, just that in my opinion they tend to be happier. This is an extremely nonscientific study. :)
OKAY! I'm answering this as I read along. I'm only skimming over other people's replies, being short of time. Bear in mind that I half agree with you, so my reply will probably mostly be devil's advocate.
Anyways, first we need to define "power". Does power = the ability to control something? Does "power" mean GRANTING the ability to do things? Does power mean causing everything (and to what extent, since this would interfere with choice)? Omnipotence is a tricky concept to deal with. I'd like you to elaborate on what you think omnipotence is so that we're clear on definitions.
Okay, so you said in a reply addressed to half.note:
1. "We assumed everything needs to be created...perhaps our conception that everything msut have a beginning" is just because we cannot imagine anything being different because we ourselves are contrained by time."
I disagree here. Agreed that we are constrained by time, but obviously since we can imagine "eternity" (or timelessness), we are able to conceive of something being eternal, i.e. not needing a beginning.
Incidentally, how far does this argument carry? We are bound by a lot of things. We're bound by gravity, but we understand flight (though not experentially). In terms of imagination and theorizing, we can imagine a lot of things, just not experience them. Timelessness being one of them.
I'd like you to tell me what you are certain of. We can work from there on how we become certain of something, the nature of knowledge (epistemology), etc.
"Why can't something be eternal and not all powerful?"
It can be. Theoretically speaking.
"What's your definition of perfect?'
Not needing any change to improve.
Again, sorry if this has been addressed by some other member, but I'm just responding to your posts as they come along. You said:
"If he's all powerful why can't he create something else that's all powerful?"
Limited by himself. Is that really a limitation? Let's remember that this is (theoretically speaking) part of His NATURE. If it's your nature to help an old lady across the street, are you limited because you help them? If you're smart, are you limited cuz you can't be dumb? Limitations mean different things if they're coerced upon you (e.g. a traffic limitation) or if they occur due to your own choices, which necessarily emanate from your nature.
You said: "How do we know He's not a tyrannous monster who's playing with us like some kind of sick toyset?"
While I theoretically agree with you, does the nature/organizaton of the world imply that it's a game? Or does it imply purpose?
You said: "We're completely dependent on God to know whether He is all powerful or even morally just."
I'd like you to define morality for me please as you see it. I'd also like you to note that while God as a concept may be above REASONING, He is not above REASON. (Which is what people often say about the Qur'an. Totally stole that line from them haha.) By that I mean that while a person may not be able to sit down and think, "Wow, God must be the Most Merciful" [reason it], the concept of God being Most Merciful is not something that a person can disagree with.
The best analogy I can think of (and I really do apologise, but it is the best I can think of) is that when I was a Muslim, the concept of the Trinity seemed impossible. But God being Most Merciful does not seem impossible.
Incidentally, I don't think God being all-powerful and all-knowing are above reasoning. But I'd like you to reply to my question in the previous reply before I elaborate :)
You said: "How do we know God's not lying other than what He says to us." I agree about this. But this boils down to trust, I think....how do you know He IS lying to you? If you accept scripture as being from God, then you obviously have some conception of God (so as to recognise it's from Him). There is some stuff we figure out outside of scripture, scripture being an affirmation and elaboration more than a replacement for thinking.
I guess I think you'd have to be agnostic theist, or agnostic atheist. But you gotta be one of them. Why disbelieve instead of believe? If you don't know if God is lying, or if He's not, it's equally likely no? So which way to toss the coin? Which one to choose? You getting me?
Incidentally, most Muslims believe in the Qur'an because they think it is inimitable.
OK, I'm tired now. Here's something for you to muse over while I sleep:
I don't agree with all of it, but it's a good starting point I think. Cheers!
I was reading an article about how two arab christians tried to make a book with 70 chapters(in Arabic) and they declared it the equivalent of the Quran and a response to the verse pertaining to the challenge of creating even a single verse bearing likeliness of Quran. Their book was reviewed by Arab scholars and they almost laughed; the book was a hub of mistakes both grammatical and logical. So the book was abrogated and the guys were put to shame. That was an interesting read, I say:)
The omnipotence of God can be understood by the fact that human sense and logic and imagination (all of which are limited) cannot think that a higher power that can be toyed with or that is idiotic can exist. Even atheistic writers picture a semblance of some great power which is all good and which has matchless power. Therefore our limited perception means that we cannot think of God being a monster, coz God is pictured as good and whatever happens, even in the day-to-day routine of our monotonous and stereotypical lives, good always prevails in the end.
We must not jump to conclusions while reasoning philosophically. So there are two possibilities: either God is good or not. Like Dess said, its like tossing the coin. we don't know which side will appear. But We do know that if the dark side appears, it denotes the presence of a power of bad which has been given a free rein by the power of good for a short time, implying that the power of good is powerful and it wants us to try to desist the power of evil and so glorify and realize the supremacy of the power of good over the power of evil. If its the good side, that's it.
Compared to a robot, you are all-powerful (coz you have a brain). So why don't you create a robot that's all-powerful and is synchronized with the frequency of your abilities? Because it would spread chaos and then you will ultimately suffer a lot of problems. Moreover, it will destroy those under you as the robot will try to undo what has been done by you. The desire to free itsel from your debt and the desire to rule would coerce it to do so. That's why God hasn't created another all-powerful being.
I hope you get it. Any queries and I'll be delighted to respond.
Here is something for you to ponder over while I'm away:
Digger wasps follow an inherent and instinctive life pattern. A simple search on wikipedia will show you that. The question, or paradox is, from where did the first digger wasp formed learn how to carry out this pattern that is so deeply rooted in their lives? This is something what natural selection cannot answer, because while it pours informative insight in the origin of things, it does not explain the origin of behavior or instinct or any intrinsic and inherent pattern of life.
Ah, feels nice to see two huge walls of text waiting for me in the Philo forum :P
1) Power is a pretty flexible term, in this instance I'd define it as "the ability to manipulate (create and destroy being included in manipulation)" And therefore the term "omnipotent" as I use it, would mean the ability to manipulate (including create and destroy) everything, existance as we know it itself.
2) We can conveive a very basic concept of eternity. However we are still limited by our senses. Gravity is merely a force, we are constricted by plenty of forces, friction, air pressure, each other, we can conceive it because we live with it and manipulate within it every day and we can see evidence of it with our senses. However we have never been able to manipulate time before. Our concept of time is linear, going in one direction. Every imaginative concept we have related to time is usually filled with visual and audio cues, any time traveling in shows is always depicted as a visual event, or an audio event.
Think about it like this, try to imagine a color that is out of our range of sight.
Impossible? We can't imagine a color out of range of our sight, we our limited by our senses. People depict gamma rays as being green, are they really green? Is eternity really what we imagine it to be? We have no real concept of it, we just try and fill it in with concepts from our own senses.
3) What we are certain of: self existence, to an extent. I guess faith is necessary to some degree, I'll relent here.
4) My conclusion as well.
5) I'd agree with that definition.
Going to answer your next post in a next post of my own.
1) Sure. I don't have the same experience as someone with a lower or higher intellect than me because my intellect is at the specific area it is. I'd call that a limitation of sorts. As for whether choices limit you, this goes into that thing we've been discussing "illusion of choice". My point is that the concept of someone being "omnipotent" as I previously described it, is impossible.
2) Sigh, to be honest, I'm not sure whether the nature and structure of this world implies intelligent design. Guess we'd have to start there to answer that.
3) That's another problem I"ve been having lately, defining morality. Objective morality seems like a hard concept to fathom. You could say, "objective morality comes from God", but in a sense the only reason that morality is objective and not just God's subjective morality is because he has the power to enforce it. In that same vain you could say that laws are objective morality until they are changed since they have the power to be enforced.
In my current state of mind, I'd say the most probable conclusion, is that morality is a concept created by human society and communication in order to preserve itself. In other words, "this is right (good)" and "this is wrong (bad)" based on the person who decides what is good and bad. Murder is popularly considered bad in our time period, I think there's you could write an entire thesis paper on the history of what led to death being so widely regardes a "bad" thing to inflict on somebody now, whereas thousands of years ago murder and war and inflicted death were much more common.
As I said before, God being the "most merciful" is entirely possible. I just don't see a reason to believe it currently.
4) Yup, it's all entirely possible. I still don't see a lot of solid evidence to believe why though.