Jesus' genome


#154

What makes you think that?

LOL! Over 2018 I have attended many lectures on music, history, and science. I have heard dozens of sermons. All from men!


(Edward T Babinski) #155

I don’t think you realize that you are the one creating ad hoc excuses in response to obvious questions. But we both agree concerning where the questions lie. And the questions are not going anywhere. All the ad hoc excuses in the world do not erase the original questions.

An omniscient omnipotent good God need not have built aggression competition, pain, death and extinction, right into his system of “creation.” That is like building in obsolescence and sin. Also consider that you admit such a God can indeed create a place that involves none of those things, i.e., heaven. But let me point out yet more obvious questions…

Consider the “anger reaction,” aggressive outbursts that we all lapse into from time to time. Those are to be expected evolutionarily speaking, because our threat system has evolved so that it is activated rapidly, because defenses that come on too slowly may be too late. We have been prey more than predators, even for most of human evolutionary prehistory, and there isnʼt much time to react when the tiger is about to pounce, or a fellow primate is coming at us to keep us away from his food, or his mate, or even his harem in case of Pan chimpanzees (though Bonobos are certainly different in not having harems, and having sex freely with other chimps). Is having a rapid-response amygdala for threat response our “sinful” fault; or is it part of the way our brains evolved to function?

Christian apologists object that such a biological interpretation tends to reduce sin or evil merely to our acting on long evolved biological impulses, ignoring forms of evil made possible by our transcendence—evils such as idolatry of self, viewing other people as mere objects, and the like. But such traits could just as well be explained as being rooted in our survival instincts. As the anatomist and Christian Daryl Domning admits, our “sinful” human behaviors do appear to exist because they promote the survival and reproduction of those individuals that perform(ed) them. He adds that “there is virtually no known human behavior that we call ‘sin’ that is not also found among nonhuman animals. Even pride, proverbially the deadliest sin of all, is not absent.” Domningʼs “conclusion” is that animals are “doing things that would be sinful if done by morally reflective human beings.” Moreover… “Logical parsimony and the formal methods of inference used in modern studies of biological diversity affirm that these patterns of behavior are displayed in common by humans and other animals because they have been inherited from a common ancestor which also possessed them. In biologistsʼ jargon, these behaviors are homologous. Needless to say, this common ancestor long predated the first humans and cannot be identified with the biblical Adam.”

Or to quote Sally Carrighar, “A preacher thundering from his pulpit about the uniqueness of human beings with their God-given souls would not like to realize that his very gestures, the hairs that rose on his neck, the deepened tones of his outraged voice, and the perspiration that probably ran down his skin under clerical vestments are all manifestations of anger in mammals. If he was sneering at Darwin a bit (one does not need a mirror to know that one sneers), did he remember uncomfortably that a sneer is derived from an animalʼs lifting its lip to remind an enemy of its fangs? Even while he was denying the principle of evolution, how could a vehement man doubt such intimate evidence?”

Many Protestant and Catholic theistic evolutionists believe that at some point a soul appeared in two (or more) of our animal ancestors. One of these, or perhaps their representative, was assigned the name “Adam.” These ensouled humans were spiritual orphans, apparently. Their parents would have looked and acted much like them, with only a handful of DNA mutations distinguishing them, biologically, but these first ensouled humans would have suckled at the breasts of a soulless mother, and picked up their first lessons on how to behave by observing and interacting with soulless parents and friends. Does such a view make much sense?

And having acquired a “soul” that, according to Christian theology, now needed to be “saved,” what kind of salvation was available to our ancient ancestors who first chipped stones, carved spears, built fires, and later drew pictures of animals on the walls of caves in France? They seemed pretty involved in simply staying alive and noticing animal life, perhaps practicing some sort of religion involving the recognition of animal spirits. Which reminds me that besides the cave paintings from long ago, the oldest known human-made religious structure was built about 12,000 years ago, and is decorated with graven images of animals which would be prohibited by Exodus 20:4 thousands of years later. Early human artists also left behind carved images of large breasted women. No doubt the folks who pursued the healthiest women that could also keep their man warm at night, not necessarily the most “sinless” women, gave birth to the most offspring, leading to our species with its genes and behaviors.

“Are we really so splendid as to justify such a long prologue?.. If I were granted omnipotence, and millions of years to experiment in, I should not think Man much to boast of as the final result of all my efforts.”

—Bertrand Russell, “Cosmic Purpose” in his book Religion and Science

“Suppose that upon some island we should find a man a million years of age, and suppose we found him living in an elegant mansion, and he should inform us that he lived in that house for five hundred thousand years before he thought of putting on a roof, and that he but recently invented windows and doors; would we say that from the beginning he had been an infinitely accomplished and scientific architect?”

—Robert Ingersoll

Knowing the remarkable varieties of species that arose over hundreds of millions of years prior to humanityʼs last minute arrival on the scene, it seems less than spectacularly wise or beneficent to design a cosmos that destroys the majority of them, sometimes slowly, sometimes in vast catastrophes. Like knocking over a game table. What kind of a “game plan” is that? While humanity puzzles over their bones?

“The present surviving species of human has been here over 100 thousand years. That it took billions of years to prepare the world for him is proof that that is what it was done for. I suppose it is. I dunno. If the Eiffel tower were now representing the worldʼs age, the skin of paint on the pinnacle-knob at its summit would represent humanity’s share of that age; and anybody would perceive that that skin was what the tower was built for. I reckon they would, I dunno.”

—Mark Twain

If our species lasts for 130 million years like the dinosaurs, weʼll be lucky, and if we survive that long, what will human beings look like by then? Maybe weʼll have added genetic features via bioengineering? Or weʼll build silicon brains or hybrid silicone/bio brains that keep track of far more knowledge. Or, some species that ours has helped create (robotic, or bio-engineered species) will replace humanity? Or some meteors, cosmic rays, solar flares, passing star, black hole or nearby nova will extinguish life on earth and some other civilized race traveling through our solar system will merely cite “the story of life on earth” as an object lesson concerning the dangers inherent in the cosmos? The cosmos has not even reached its maximum number of stars and planets yet, and we know stars are capable of burning for billions more years. So one can easily imagine a cosmos empty of our species for as long or longer than it was prior to our evolution.

“It has often been said that, if the human species fails to make a go of it here on Earth, some other species will take over the running. In the sense of developing high intelligence this is not correct. We have, or soon will have, exhausted the necessary physical prerequisites so far as this planet is concerned. With coal gone, oil gone, high-grade metallic ores gone, no species however competent can make the long climb from primitive conditions to high-level technology. This is a one-shot affair. If we fail, this planetary system fails so far as intelligence is concerned. The same will be true of other planetary systems. On each of them there will be one chance, and one chance only.”

—Hoyle, 1964

What if evidence of simple living organisms are found elsewhere in our solar system or beyond it? Such simple organisms elsewhere in the cosmos don’t need to exist at all, theologically speaking, per the earth-centered allegory in Genesis.

There are too many questions inherent in living in a cosmos that seems at best merely in equilibrium with life/death, evolution/extinction. Positing an omnipotent, omniscient, all-good God seems like one might be overshooting possible explanations based on the above observations of natural history. And trying to reconcile such a cosmos (and prehistoric human history) with a belief in one true religion (or be damned, as most orthodox sects teach) seems questionable.


(Edward T Babinski) #156

True, “Original mover” doesn’t necessarily include all the other alleged attributes of God according to classical theism. The questions are obvious, and laid out more fully in this comment: Jesus' genome


(Edward T Babinski) #157

You raise good questions related to the doctrine of divine “impassibiliy.” Classical Christian theologians often argue that God as God does not take risks, nor can God as God be moved or changed by anything or anyone, nor suffer. Look up the Christian doctrine known as “impassibility” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impassibility But if you surrender impassibility then other attributes start to unravel, as the Christian philosopher Wolterstorff admits, “Once you pull on the thread of impassibility, a lot of other threads come along… One also has to give up immutability (changelessness) and eternity. If God responds, then God is not metaphysically immutable; and if not metaphysically immutable, then not eternal.”

“The doctrine of divine impassibility was widely assumed by Christian theologians throughout the history of the church. But that consensus was fractured in the twentieth century with the decline of a widely held theological model belatedly known as ‘classical theism.’ With the fracturing of a consensus on the classical theist model, several divine attributes were called into question, among them omniscience, atemporal eternity, and simplicity.”
—Randal Rauser, Christian apologist

Speaking of “The fracturing of a consensus on the classical theist model” the fractures have always been visible in the fuzzy region in which theologians and philosophers attempt to reconcile the God of the Bible with the God of the philosophers.

Also see the questions found in this comment: Jesus' genome


(Mitchell W McKain) #158

Yes. I reject the doctrine of impassibility (as well as atemporal eternity). Always have and always will. A God who cannot take risks, who cannot limit himself, who cannot give privacy, who cannot learn, and who cannot regret is a God who cannot love and is really nothing more than a slave to human theologians. The most important power of all and thus the most important part of omnipotence is a power over yourself to be whatever and whoever you choose to be. Impassibility is an invention of human theology to make God a slave their definitions, so that God cannot be any other than what the theologian decides. Pathetic! Furthermore this is NOT the God of the Bible – not even close.

The God of the Bible takes the risk of creating life, limits Himself by our free will, gives us the privacy of our future choices, learns who we are as we make our choices, has regrets when we make the wrong choices, and love is everything to Him. For from the beginning God chose love and freedom over power and control, and those obsessed with power and control cannot understand this or why anybody would do such a thing. But such is the choice of the ONLY God I will EVER believe in.

So how does God change? He makes choices. And every choice He makes is a limitation He imposes upon Himself. But does this mean that He becomes less? No! Is God less because He chooses good over evil? The very idea is absurd. By His choices He becomes more of who He is. That is way of choices for all of us. But He is certainly different from us. His omnipotence and infinitude are found in the fact that His choices are His only limitations.

Thus we were created not in the likeness of God for we are nothing like that. We are created as an image of Him – a reflection – for the perfect relationship with Him. He is infinite actuality and we are infinite potentiality because rather than being what we are made to be, we are what we make ourselves by growth and learning. Becoming more than we are is our most basic nature and that is what makes us perfect for a relationship with God, for there is no end to what God can give to us and no end to what we can receive from Him. This is the essence of eternal life.

But what about omniscience? No, I do not reject this. I merely point out that many traditional understandings of this are inconsistent. Knowledge is just a form of power, and it makes no more sense to say that God must know everything than to say that God must do everything. Omnipotence certainly never meant anything like that. Instead knowledge like all other forms of power must be subject to His will to know whatever He chooses to know. To say that He cannot choose what to know becomes the first of choices ripped away from God in their theology in order to make Him their slave.

The problem with time is that a lot of this theology was conceived in the framework of absolute time which modern science has discarded. Thus now we can understand that being outside of OUR time, outside the spacial-temporal structure of the physical universe really says nothing about the temporal structure which God may make use of. And in that is also the answer to the claim of there being some problem with saying God is eternal – namely that time is something God makes use of as He chooses and not something external to Him to which He is subject to.

Frankly, it seems to me that it was more a manner of running away with their imagination and simply ignoring the Bible which never portrayed God as anything like or consistent with impassible! Frankly I think a lot of their theology was greatly warped by their efforts to prop up proofs for the existence of God which really didn’t work anyway. As result they so badly distorted their view of God that it would be fair to say they replaced the God of the Bible with the god of their proofs.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #159

I think the answer to your question is that God did not have to create human beings. It seems very strange that many people think that God is cruel because God created them. How is that for gratitude?

Yes, God did create heaven. Heaven is where there is no sickness, no death, and NO BIrth. God could have created the initial humans and when they died the could have found a home in heaven, that could have been it. No pain and suffering, just worshiping God forever and no need for Jesus and salvation.

Sounds good, but of course none of us would ever be born. but is life is so strenuous, maybe we don’t really want it. On the other hand sometime we have to take the good with the bad and stop complaining about what we can’t change and work to fix what we can change.


(Albert Leo) #160

When I conducted an Adult Confirmation class, this was a point that most attendees had never considered–a point that seems to refute the claim that God is unchanging. If God is not changed by my love; i.e., if cares NOT whether I do love Him or do not love him, then He cannot love me in any real sense. This is a part of Process Theology that appeals to me, but much of the rest seems too 'businesslike’ and lacking in emotion for my taste. At the age of 19, I fell “head over heels” in love with a 15 yr. old girl–a product of God’s creation. Should I not have at least as strong a feeling for her Creator? In my case, orthodox Roman Catholicism, with all its flaws, offered me a clearer path to that objective.
Al Leo


(Cindy) #161

Yes, I read that and you do pose good questions.


(Cindy) #162

Is it possible that this is why God created the universe? He needed something to interact with in order to be able to change?


#163

In traditional Christianity, God has no needs and doesn’t change. The above sounds more like the meta-divine realm of paganism.


(Cindy) #164

God either has needs or at least desires otherwise the only thing that would be here is God. In other words, if God was complete without needs or desires, there’d be no reason to have created anything.


#165

Needs and desires are not the same thing. While God has no needs, he desired a universe with creatures he could love.


(Mitchell W McKain) #166

I certainly agree that God is not motivated by need. God is infinite. There is nothing which God lacks in any way whatsoever. However this dogma that God is unable to change represents an enslavement of God to theology and I disagree completely. It is only traditional in the sense that many Christians at some point in the history of Christianity bought into an argument of some theologian (probably to make some stupid proof of God work) and thereby replaced the God of the Bible with the enslaved god of that theologian.

But it is wrong to say God was motivated by a desire to change. That makes no sense. Why in the world would He do that? He is infinite, perfect, and complete in every way.

Incorrect. What does the being who has everything do? What motivation could he possibly have? There is something. There is in fact only one that I can think of that makes any sense at all. He could be motivated to give of his abundance to others… which would motivate Him to create others. But to force this into the terminology of “need” is empty semantics.

There is in Seeking-Harmony’s reply a common premise that I have heard expressed many times that everyone is necessarily selfish and everything they do is about satisfying their own needs and desires. When you look more closely at this you find nothing but empty semantics. They have simply rewritten definitions until there is no such thing as self-less behavior. And you want to ask WHY would they do such a thing. Is it self justification or are they just jaded by their experience of people pretending to self-less behavior while actually being the most selfish people of all?

God has no needs. But this does not mean that God cannot make choices and act on desires. At least not the God of the Bible, who in no way fits with this absurd impassible god of some theologians.


(Cindy) #167

So, if God did not create the Universe, would he be as happy as if he did? My guess is no. My point being, that his creation brought/is bringing him some sort of satisfaction. I believe that satisfaction could be considered a “need”.


(Mitchell W McKain) #168

My guess is quite the opposite. He is not happy. The Bible (in Genesis 6) says that He was sorry that he created man and man seems to be center piece and the whole point of it all (at least in the particular area of the universe). He was happy at first, but that is the risk inherent in any relationship, how things go depend on somebody else too. So relationships are always a bit of mixed bag, joy and sorrow together.

No. Even if you do feel some kind satisfaction. It does not follow that this feeling is why you did it in the first place.


(Cindy) #169

I’m sorry but I have a really difficult time believing that God created the Universe “just because”. When is an action ever without a desired result? What is the purpose of any action except to accomplish something?

And why, since we made him so sad; did he not just wipe us all out and call it done?

Personally, I see it as no lessening of “God-hood” for him needing us to love.


(Mitchell W McKain) #170

And who believes that? It does not follow that feeling satisfaction means that this feeling is the reason why you did it. I could be a completely different reasons and feeling satisfaction does change your motivation to this satisfaction.

  1. When it has an undesirable result.
  2. When it has a good result that is other than your desired result or in fact a result that you never imagined.

Just because you seek accomplish something doesn’t mean satisfaction with the result is the reason why you did it. It is quite possible to no expectation of satisfaction or even to expect no satisfaction and them be surprise when you do feel so. Or it is possible that having such a feeling never occurred to you and you did it for quite some other reason. In fact, I would say this is true of most of our action and what you are describing mostly applies to the work of an artist. But just because you see something artistic in the work of God doesn’t mean that He had any motivations similar to that of an artist.

He very nearly did exactly that with the flood. But then He saw some hope for us after all in Noah. And apparently, He didn’t really like having to destroy so much just to give us another chance, so He said He would never do that again. Besides, I think a significant change of strategy went along with that.

Needy love isn’t such a pretty thing to those who have experience it. It certainly doesn’t compare to a very different kind of love which is totally about giving. But this is more about what makes sense with regards to God. Furthermore, a God who is not infinite is one whom we must outgrow and cannot offer eternal life. The god you seem to be proposing sounds more like a nice alien who could be our friend. But most theists are looking for something a bit more from God.


#171

Except that satisfaction isn’t a need.But anyway, why not create the universe much sooner that what he did, if he truly needed one? But you are entitles to believe whatever you want.


(Cindy) #172

And when exactly did he create the Universe?


(Cindy) #173

This sounds like an “infinite” God to you? Doing things without cause or even knowing why?