God's involvement or not

(Peter Waller) #21

I really like that thought that there has been a slow beautification of God’s creation over billions of years.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #22

Michael, I don’t know how you separate speculation and knowledge. There is speculation as to what was the primary cause of the climate change that killed off the dinosaurs, whether it was asteroids, volcanic activity, or another natural cause, but the evidence all indicates that cold weather eliminated the ecologic niche of the dinosaurs. The “bird” dinosaurs are the exceptions that prove the rule. Of we cannot know something unless we experience it directly, then we truly do not know much of anything.

Evolution refers to the genetic change of living creatures. Ecology drives genetic change, rather than genetic change drives the changes in the earth’s ecology. Am I right?

Yes. Most definitely. Evolution favored bigger brains because our ancestors were able to use them to better adapt to the transition from cold to temperate weather. The Neanderthals it seems were better adapted to cold weather. Also it appears that homo sapiens were more cooperative than others.

(Peter Waller) #23

What do you think about the possibility that God might have intervened in some type of way (spiritual or DNA) in the Blombos culture of South Africa about 75 kya, thus creating humans in his image. This seems to be the point at which religion entered human culture and was also the point at which humans began to dominate the environment, killing off many species in their wake as they subsequently spread around the world.

(Phil) #24

Or maybe more tribal and aggressive towards outsiders.

(Paul Allen) #25

Phil you appear to be having it two ways - allowing the laws of the universe (not sure which laws they are?) VS nothing is independent of God’s sovereignty (nothing according to scripture is independent of God - no even one single atom - otherwise God is not sovereign nor God) …but then its a mystery.

(Mitchell W McKain) #26

For those who believe in a God not enslaved to theology by a long list of things their god cannot do…

  1. God CAN relinquish absolute control over everything and take a risk by giving some of the control to others in order to have a relationship of love with them.
  2. God CAN create something apart from Himself which not only holds together without His support but which functions on its own according to how He designed it to function.
  3. God CAN choose love and freedom over power and control to create something alive with a will of its own, making its own choices not only of what to do but of what to become. And thus becomes more than simply what God has made it to be, but also what it has made of itself.
  4. God CAN give privacy to others by choosing not to know things, such as not knowing what they will do before they choose what to do. And this way they have a freedom of will which is more than just illusion because their future has not be written ahead of time but is written cooperatively by both them and God together.

But of course this means those God has created can choose to value power and control more than anything else, and thus recreate God in their own image with their own values who would never relinquish control for any reason, would never create something that has any existence of its own apart from his continued support, would never create something which would spoil his plans and make him sorry that he made them, and would never fail to know absolutely everything that was, is, or will be, because he is the only author of events, completely and absolutely sovereign, ruler over every breath and thought. They may even justify all this by claiming that God must be this way because he cannot do these things in 1-4. But… whether by a choice of values or by an enslavement to theology, this would not be the God of the Bible and this god would certainly leave a bad taste in my mouth just like in the picture above.

(George Brooks) #27


Metaphysics is pretty “plastic”, don’t you think? And by plastic I don’t mean artificial or cheap. Plastic Surgery was a phrase coined because the word plastic originally meant “mold-able”… something that could be easily re-shaped.

The best part of metaphysics is you can construe any hypothesis … and there really isn’t anyone who can prove you wrong!!!

(Mitchell W McKain) #28

Certainly. This is why academic philosophers pretty much let the science of physics take the lead in metaphysics, in order to give it some solidity. This doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to accept the naturalist premise that the scientific view defines reality. But it does mean that even if we reject that premise and go beyond then we are well advised to start with what science has discovered about the aspects of reality which can be measured and tested.

(Phil) #29

No doubt there is a tension there. However, you imply a false division between the laws of the universe vs God’s sovereignty which I and I presume you do not really accept.

A little more accurate picture of me before my first cup of coffee.

(George Brooks) #30

Perfectly well-stated, @mitchellmckain.

But I believe your list of things that God can or cannot do is colored by a heaping cup full of Hope.

(Stephen Matheson) #31

That’s not quite right. “Cold weather” not thought to be the main issue, and it is certainly wrong to say that “the evidence all indicates” this. Instead, the evidence shows catastrophic habitat destruction along with–or mostly due to–loss of sunlight. Forests were destroyed. The extinction affected lots of lineages, and not just the dinosaurs. In fact, the survival of the avian lineage is just one interesting open question, and the latest (see paper below) is focused on how that lineage made it through despite global deforestation. Point being that it’s really not accurate to say that “climate change” caused the mass extinction, because it doesn’t communicate the catastrophic (and “sudden”) destruction of whole ecosystems.


(Mitchell W McKain) #32

It has more to do with a feeling of contempt for the god enslaved to limitations in order to make the theology concocted by men work logically. I see no reason in the world why I should believe in such a god made so convenient to their agenda, especially when the fact is that it contradicts the text of the Bible.

(George Brooks) #33


Let’s compare your reactions to the usual reactions to polytheism:

The contempt for polytheism comes more from the silliness of some of the polytheistic systems encountered by men in the classic period. Even the Romans were frequently skeptical of THEIR Gods, derived from the Greeks in many cases.

And so now you have contempt for any LIMITATIONS on our magnificent single God.

But it’s really not a single God, is it? it’s a single CREATOR God… but if he made angels, he made LOTS of “smaller” gods… the definition of God being: an immortal being with powers greater than human abilities.

To me, God wants “what he can do”… nothing more and nothing less.

@Jonathan_Burke writes on this theme most cogently!

And so we really have no idea what this single Creator God really IS or really WANTS to be.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #34

[quote=“gbrooks9, post:27, topic:40234”]
The best part of metaphysics is you can construe any hypothesis … and there really isn’t anyone who can prove you wrong!!!

You are right. There is a problem with metaphysics. The problem with philosophy here is that it does not govern theology. The study of God is governed by the rules of theology. The rules of theology say that God IS WHO GOD IS.

That does not mean that God does not obey any laws or rules, but they are God laws and not our laws. We discover them as God reveals them to us, just as we learn nature’s laws and rules as we discover them, not invent them.

Again we have three fundamental; disciplines of knowledge, theology, philosophy, and science, which study the Spiritual, the Rational, and the Physical. We need all three to really understand life. One or two give a distorted point of view, which is why we have some many issues here.

(Shawn T Murphy) #35

Dear Roger,
For me there are only two fundamentals: logic and wisdom. Theology has no foundation when its principle is something that we cannot know - God. This allows theologians, scribes or Pharisees (See Jeremiah 8:8-9, Ezekiel 2:1-7 and Malachi 2:7-9) the ability to create doctrine with illogical foundations. Whereas logic and wisdom allows us to find characteristics of a Creator that has created the natural laws and that has inspired thousands of various religious beliefs. Logically they all cannot be correct, so therefore, none truly describes God. And there, there is no logical basis for the speculations made about God using God IS WHO GOD IS.


Perhaps no logical basis, but there is a basis to hold to something like that based upon revelation. "God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” (Exodus 3:14). The name Yahweh, though difficult to understand and translate - seems to be understood to mean something approximating that.

(Dominik Kowalski) #37

And you are absolutely sure, that your rejection of metaphysics has nothing to do with 1) your obviously wrong definition of what metaphysics is and/or supposed to do and 2) the fact that under rigorous metaphysical analysis your anthropomorphized way of picturing God/speaking about him and his attributes would collapse like a house of cards, since it brings up problems that the great thinker of the church like Aquinas and Augustine with their picture of God as a necessary being just didn´t had, at least not in the way we think about it today (e.g. Theodicy)?

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #38

Theology is not based on speculations, but on the history of God and God’s Covenant People as through Moses and the Exodus.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #39

I appreciate your filling in some of the details of this important event. The fact remains that this important event must be considered ecological, and while natural in form, must be considered divine in content when taking the long history of how the ecology shaped humanity in particular and nature in general to form the beautiful world we live in with some exceptions.

(George Brooks) #40


Is this question really to me?

I’m a Unitarian Universalist… I don’t think God has a mouth… or speaks in the middle of outer space.

I reject arbitrary metaphysics… but I suppose mileage will vary on that issue…