Did God create man or did man create God?

I’m not a believer myself but that is one more thing I disagree with Freud over. His thinking is simplistic in the way it is for most pioneers. I don’t see how that explains why God belief should have been selected for long before there was institutional religion. Would a psychological comfort blanket really serve so well as a cultural foundation?

Let’s not forget that evolutionary spandrels are a real thing. I’m not saying that religious belief is a spandrel, but we shouldn’t assume that all characteristics are the result of direct selection for that characteristic.

2 Likes

I guess the most we can say is the trait seemingly favored was at least less of a handicap than the alternative(s).

Do you agree that culture is a vehicle for evolution for our kind now, and probably the more important one as it allows for much quicker adaption.

In other words, the driving force of evolution is variation, NOT natural selection. Selection is a filter and rather loose one at that. Sometimes a population with all its wonderful genes is wiped out by a local disaster, while another group just gets lucky – so sometimes natural selection survival advantages have very little to do with it.

Before Gregory arrives with rhetorical fists swinging in outrage, I will say that I certainly do. It might not be quite as mechanistic as the biological process, less random and with much more intention and design involved. But think they are both examples of the basic trial and error learning process.

1 Like

Freud’s thesis is that all these created gods of nature were ultimately combined and in time became one god. I would think from Freud’s perspective this created god loses significance as man progresses. He would give an example like this: Previously, sailors prayed to the god of the seas before a voyage… Today Boeing 707 pilots don’t pray before flying he or she checks the charts, radar, and weather - they have no fear of the storm or a storm god that doesn’t exist > science has defeated the storm god.

What is interesting is that this logic didn’t work for the disciples in Mark 4 where Jesus silences the waves. Freud cant answer that

1 Like

We also have other objective evidence, modern-day firsthand factual reporting of God’s providential interventions, actually consistent with Jesus calming the sea, as noted elsewhere recently.

We enjoy having fresh perspectives to grapple with! I resonate with your praise for a Creator whose thoughts are indeed higher than any thoughts we could hope to have. Along with Romans 11:33, I also like passages (like found in Job 28) where it is acknowledged that man searches out the ways of God too - with some success!

Just a note to help you as you interact around here: If you wish to react to a bit of someone else’s post, just highlight a selection in their post and a grey “quote” box will appear there beside your selection. Click it, and it inserts that quote into your response (or even starts up a response for you if you haven’t already begun one.) This does a couple things. It shows others what specific thing you are reacting to which really helps provide context for your continued discussion, and it also notifies the person whose post you quoted so that they know somebody (you!) have responded to something they wrote.

2 Likes

What I am saying is that it may not be the trait, but an aggregate of multiple traits. If religious beliefs are actually detrimental (and I’m not saying they are) it could be offset by much stronger beneficial trait caused by the same genetic changes that give rise to religious belief.

I very much agree. I think feral children are a really great example. These are kids that grow up from a young age without being part of human society, and they suffer from cognitive issues. The human brain needs human culture, society, and language in order to develop properly. That’s just one facet, and there are probably many more.

1 Like

Variation, natural selection, and and neutral drift are all important mechanisms. It’s not a matter of one reigning supreme over the others. However, an evolutionary spandrel can be the product of natural selection, just not the selection of a specific trait in isolation. For example, a mutation can greatly increase human intelligence, but it also comes with religious belief. If the aggregate increase in fitness between the increase in intelligence and the formation of religious beliefs is beneficial then the trait will be selected for, even if religious beliefs in isolation are detrimental (as stated in previous post, I am not saying that religious beliefs are actually detrimental, just using this as a hypothetical).

1 Like

We see the material world and use our five senses to explore and explain our investigations. Many years examiners have attempted to explain the natural and spiritual worlds as antipole. Some scientists desperately sought to disprove the existence of GOD and Theologians often rejected science. However, the Holy Bible advocates both worlds originated for GOD! Therefore, researchers needed to expand their knowledge and each needed to dig deeper!

We now understand, those of us which are not lost at sea, theology encompasses the natural and spiritual worlds. The spiritual tells us what God did in the material or physical world, and the natural explains how GOD did it to a point. We call this reasoning and logic - Natural and Spiritual Theologies, but if they cannot use their five senses to explain GOD, then to them HE is not Real! HOW DO WE DEFINE REAL? WHAT IS REAL? WHEN DO WE FIND IT?

Living in the natural world, one could not ever know GOD in HIS Infinite Glory and Wisdom! Is it not interesting how the Cosmos introduces us to GOD but does not tell us how to meet HIM or reach HIM?. No! Man did not create the GOD of the Universe! GOD was not created! However, men who reject the GOD of the Universe wanted a GOD which they could manipulate! Men opposing GOD do so, because they do not want to be accountable to HIM. Therefore, they advocate “autonomy” (a ton of me) not a Ton of GOD!

Here in the first five minutes and 12 seconds is one rationale for saying that we/God create each other. I may have to fiddle with it to see if I can limit the video to just that section. No this will do, the portion of the original video of interest here begins at the 1:17:48 point in the original video I watched and ends when the interviewer speaks again after just a little more than five minutes. I would like to ask @jstump, @Mervin_Bitikofer, @mitchellmckain, @Jay313 and @Christy with whom I discussed a quote from his first book, along with anyone else interested, what they think about the compatibility of what he says with Christianity.

The person being interviewed here is Iain McGilchrist, author of The Master and His Emissary. A book in which he never says much explicitly about God even though the book has been of interest to a number of theologians. This interview is about his next one, The Matter With Things, in which apparently he does try to say something about God. I think it interesting that he thinks isn’t possible to say anything adequate and yet it is too important a topic not to try. I wonder if that resonates with anyone else here?

I watched (I think) the segment you described and heard nothing that that would dissuade me from the conclusion that what he thinks is incompatible with Christianity, especially since he considers himself to be panentheistic, or so I understand. God is a separate entity from the physical, and personal, not some hypothesized and ambiguous ‘something’ which proceeds from the entirety of our spacetime cosmos.

Ok, I watched from 1:12:00 to 1:27:00 and here are my comments…

He says he doesn’t believe in the engineering God, which sounds a lot like my own complaint about how so many have replaced the shepherd concept of God in the Bible with the Deist conception of God as a great watchmaker. But in my case this is about the incompatibility between the nature of living organisms as self-organizing processes and the idea of design. I also don’t think much of the idea of God creating the universe like an artist paints or sculpts, for it is clear that the things of the universe have also come into being (and are as they are) through natural processes. Though I have no problem with the idea of God as a designer of the laws nature themselves.

The suggestion that God is a force is incompatible with Christianity and I have explained why I have rejected this. A God which best serves the faith that life is worth living is one who can interact with us fully as a person with all of our capabilities and more, not something less which I must think the word “force” as referring to.

McGilchrist concludes God is relational in nature…

No. and… yes.

God is in some sense the least relational of all things. It is we and everything in the universe which is relational, because our very existence derives and subsists in relationships. And this is certainly not true of God in Himself …but it is true of God as we can know Him. God will never be some objective thing we can examine in a microscope. The contact between us finite beings and the infinite being of God will always be highly relational.

In general I get the idea that McGilchrist gets his notion of God from what science has learned of nature. So all this stuff about the universe being a web of relationship rather than a collection of things is spot on accurate. But it is precisely the reduction of reality to the natural world alone that inspires me and many others to believe in God and NOT just a complaint against the reductionism of antiquated science.

I am sorry but I think his notion that by speaking about God you betray “it” is complete nonsense. Would it be true to say that if I speak of my wife then I betray her? Do you imagine that these two case are really that different – that I can capture and give the sum total of my wife any more than I can do so of God? Say rather that when people confuse the reality of God with a theology of God then they have done such a disservice to God. And since we know this would be a ridiculous thing to do with people, then doing such a thing with God has made Him less of a person than the people we know.

Of course I quite agree with McGilchrist’s notion that we are not just passive creations… I am way past that since I believe all living things are literally participants in their own creation, for the very nature of life is that of a self-organizing process. I believe this is the ultimate distinction between living organism and machine – that which (in part) brought itself into being with its own choices rather than being a product of design.

In summary I pretty much agree with Dale in essence even though I say it somewhat differently and I do make an effort to see value in what McGilchrist has said.

2 Likes

I think it depends on what you do believe.
It reminds me Shroedinger’s cat: only “opening the box” will let you know if God really exists or people have just created him to explain inexplicable. We do not have an option of “opening the box”, which means that our thoughts on it don’t even matter. So you can believe whatever you want, because it has no sense eventually.

Your question made me remember an old joke:“How to make an atheist believe in God: let the plane fly down for 5 seconds”.

Thank you for engaging the ideas and sharing how they fit and don’t with your own. Since what we can know of Him is limited by our relational nature, when you say “God in Himself” I think you might have in mind God as Christianity invites us to imagine Him. What else can we do? My answer would be He is the mystery you leave room for and the reason you don’t leap to conclusions either about who God is or about who each of us is. Surprise is always possible.

Of course the list of characteristics which can be consensually verified in the case of your wife or any other human is huge compared to what we know of God in Himself, if indeed He has any ‘nature’ apart from what we experience relationally. Another possibility might be to think of God as the field of relationality which gives rise to all the things which do or can come to our notice. Our ‘thingness’ as unfeathered bipeds already exceeds God’s thingness since He is not a thing. That is what makes the attempt to put put Him into words so vexed. That is why any attempt to do so is a betrayal as it must demote His true nature. But I agree with Iain that ignoring Him altogether can give the false impression that it is nothing that matters, another kind of betrayal.

1 Like

I am not to all familiar with schrodinger though I’ve heard of his name and the “cat In the box” analogy is somewhat new to me

Of course he is. He is just not a material thing. Try and remember the objective evidence we’ve been given.
 

Does it demote the grandeur of a mountain to describe its features or the cosmos its enormity?

God is not some nebulous idea that we just make up. He actively intervenes in the lives of his children, as you have seen.

Here you go, Trippy:

It lead to such jokes as when the state trooper looks in your trunk, and says there is is dead body in there. And you reply, “Well, now there is.”

3 Likes

Thanks for the shout-out. You asked about compatibility with Christianity. Good question. Let me sum up the video before I react.

It started with McGilchrist describing his concept of the divine. He disagrees with the idea of God as a mechanistic “engineer” and describes the divine as a “force.” But he sees this force as relational in nature, not just an inert thing. He sees the whole of the cosmos as relational. The relationships come first, not our noticing of the patterns. He brings up the fact that it’s almost impossible to speak about God, yet we must. We are not only part of this relational cosmos, but part of creating what comes. Our task is to respond to “what is” and “encourage it more into being.”

You don’t have to agree with his left-brain, right-brain analysis to agree that God isn’t a mechanistic engineer. On the compatibility of his thinking with Christianity, offhand I’d say 100%. Classical theism sees YHWH God as ineffable. Words and concepts come close but not quite. Neither logic nor mysticism can bridge that gap. We can’t make the leap to God, but God can can reach down to us. Christianity is incarnational. Karl Barth’s theology was entirely based around the Christ-event. He interpreted the image of God as placing us in a threefold relationship: Between God and humanity, between every human and other humans, and between humanity and the creation as a whole. I prefer the “vocational” rather than the relational interpretation of the image of God, but they’re different paths to the same destination.

Maybe McGilchrist is a “Christian in progress”? Like I consider you. Haha.

2 Likes

Do you see panentheism as compatible? That denotes an impersonal amorphic and nebulous ‘it’ to me, one with no particular personhood or discrete relationships with separate individuals.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

This is a place for gracious dialogue about science and faith. Please read our FAQ/Guidelines before posting.