To be clear, I am not suggesting that I know God’s motivation. I’m just saying that clearly He had one.
No that sounds like you replacing my words with your own.
I too say that God had a motivation and I also say what that motivation is. In fact, a while ago I started a whole thread on the topic. Here is the link.
How could I know such a thing? A creator’s purpose is quite often rather evident in the thing he has created.
He started 13.8 billion years ago in our time, when the universe began. He has been working on it ever since. Though there has been “times of rest” not because He was tired but because there was was a need for Him to step back and let us do our own part.
Before Genesis: why did God do it?
I think that there is a legitimate distinction between wanting to do something and needing to do something. If I need to do something, then there is some compulsion to do it. If I want to do something, then it is a subjective choice that I do it.
God (YHWH, I AM WHO I AM) is as always a special case. We believe that God does not have to do anything. That means that God what God chooses to do. That being the case God loves because God chooses to love. It is God’s character to love.
Can God do something besides love? Theoretically yes, but why would God do something other than what God wants to do?
The problem with saying God can do anything God chooses to do, is that it leaves open the possibility that God might hate, might lie. That should be okay because we trust in God not because God cannot deceive us, but because we believe that God will not lie to us. .
About 13.8 billion years ago
My answer to Mitchell got posted in another thread so I’ll tell you, “fair enough” as well. I actually did mis-word the question. How do we establish the 13.8 billion years ago to any length of time that it took God to create the Universe? We have no idea how long God was “here” in relation to the Universe. Always here, right? How do “long” or “short” have any real meaning in infinite time? They don’t.
God is infinite. The universe is 13.8 billion years old, about. Our species has only been here about 200 k years. So I don’t think God really needs us.
Since the 13.8 billion has been tossed around recently, I thought I would jump in on your comment of us only being around for 200K. If you can stretch you mind somewhat, consider this. Genesis 1 to 3:24 happened before the 13.8 billion started…
So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. (Genesis 3:24)
The Cherubim with the flaming sword is not to be found in the material world. On my calendar, it was 200K years ago (or so) when Adam and Eve hit the real world in Genesis 4:1.
God was alone before the beginning in John 1:1, but He was not alone before the beginning in Genesis 1:1. Trying to put a timescale on these two beginnings in the nonmaterial world of Heaven is not possible.
That is no answer at all. Any atheist could say the same thing, be happy one is alive at all, and one must learn to take the good with the bad.
The actual question involves an all good omniscient omnipotent God who can create more humans out of thin air if need be but chose to squeeze them out of a lengthy natural history of pain, competition, aggression, death and extinctions galore. Such a process is not necessary for a good omnipotent God.
Nor does it appear obvious that arriving at the present species of human was some sort of natural goal to the process. In fact it all looks like tinkering of some sort.
Nor is there any indication in nature that the cosmos will shift greatly once our species is gone. The stars and planets can easily go on without us for as many billions of years as they did before us.
Our species might also change into something else via natural means if we continue to survive, and look back at the present species as we look back at Australopithecus. Or we might raise the consciousness of other species to levels equal to or exceeding our own via genetic engineering. Or we might invent AI that outlives our species. The cosmos seems to contain lots of possibilities and possible futures and raise many questions, rather than all the evidence leading one to come to a strictly orthodox Christian point of view.
And on top of that, blaming humans for their long line of inherited ancestral tendencies that aimed toward aggression and survival in a dangerous world, and claiming we are all damned to eternal hell, as so many Christian churches teach (unless we discover the correct denomination of the correct religion, which only arose a mere 2000 years ago, and then underwent numerous schisms) only compounds the questions.
“Tossed around” because that’s what scientists calculated. But I’m open to any new evidence you have.
No the results are not independent of the means. God’s omnipotence does not mean that He can do anything you say by whatever means you care to dictate. Humans are living organisms and as such they are created by a lengthy natural history of pain, competition, learning, and yes extinctions galore. Such a process is absolutely necessary or the result isn’t human at all. Insist on a literal interpretation of Genesis and the results are magical golems of dust and bone, not human beings.
It is more likely that it was neither a natural goal of evolution nor purely the product of divine tinkering, but rather a product of both the self-organizing process of life and some stimulation to push us towards goals which interested God like the ability to use language.
Indeed. And there is no reason to think that Earth and humanity are the only projects God has going in the universe.
Yes, all those look like reasonable possibilities to me also. But since I don’t equate humanity with a biological species, none of these necessarily means an end to humanity as far as I am concerned.
But perhaps Christianity will change. It has before. Not quickly though. And not always for the worse.
To be clear, you are suggesting that God is NOT omnipotent and omniscient? Neither of those qualities fit the “tinkering” image you and Mitchell keep bringing up.
I’m not sure that He is both either but I don’t think the Grand Cosmic Tinkerer is right.
Depends on what you mean by those words, because I think some of the ways they are used are fundamentally inconsistent. I think the following leads to absurdities:
- Omnipotence means God has to be in absolute control of everything.
- Omniscience means that God has to know absolutely everything.
- Omnipotence means that God can do whatever you say by whatever means you care to dictate.
The first two result in a list of things that people can do but God cannot and I consider that not only absurd but an enslavement of God to human theology replacing the God of the Bible with nothing more than a convenient tool of rhetoric for the manipulation of other people. The last caters to the inconsistent demands of child that he have his cake and eat it too, so that one can expect God to do whatever logically inconsistent nonsense one demands.
So what do they mean?
Omnipotence means God can accomplish whatever He chooses because He has both the knowledge and means by which such things are accomplished.
Omniscience means God can know whatever He chooses to know because he has the means by which the knowledge can be acquired.
But we know from science that all actions including knowledge have both requirements and consequences and so there are no implications that magical short cuts are available to these two attributes by which God can side-step inconsistencies with what He desires to know or accomplish.
I do not know why you say that Christianity blames people for wars, hate, and sin. If humans are responsible for what we do, than who is? Are you saying that God is responsible? By the way I find that there is no basis for the belief that real evolution is based on the “survival of the fittest” myth.
Christianity claims to have a solution to sin and death. Clearly you do not agree. What is you answer or is life a lost cause?
Roger, we’ve previously gone over the fact that expecting a simple “yes or no” answer to the question of God’s responsibility can only add to a believer’s confusion. God IS responsible for giving humans a conscience and the freedom to act contrary to His wishes. Furthermore, it is unrealistic to assert that Christianity claims to have the perfect solution to sin and death. As just noted, Sin is the reverse side of the “freedom coin” and refers strictly to our spiritual nature, while Death more often refers to our ceasing to exist as a biological organism. When death is meant to refer to human ‘spiritual life’, it should be carefully noted. We should learn that biological death is not an evil enemy that must be defeated, but is, rather, an integral part of God’s plan to create new life. God surely desires humans to strive to reduce, as much as they possibly can, the pain and suffering that so often accompanies biological evolution.
The real enemy that we should struggle against is lack of purpose. Very few of us will have the gifts or opportunity to become like Pasteur or Salk, making breakthroughs in the control of an illness. But, as members of a society that is essential in supporting such efforts, we must make the choices that keep our society healthy, while avoiding the clannishness that makes it difficult to recognize the fact that the neighbor we should love might live on the opposite side of the planet.
Roger, you certainly are as aware of all of this as I am. And your careful study of human evolution should give you special insights in how we should rise above the instinctual (animal) forces that are our ancestral legacy. I enjoy your posts, even the ones I am not in total agreement with.
Jesus Christ is the perfect solution for sin and death. Jesus Christ forgives sin for those who are repentant and trust in Him and He is the source of eternal life.
The real problem here is Darwin and Darwinism blames God and nature for sin. That is a serious problem for those Christians who accept Darwinism as the right understanding of evolution.
Non-believers are correct in saying that God is not good if God is the source of sin and evil.
How would God make the first life without it? DNA, RNA (including ribosomes) are required for all living things. These could not have evolved so God would have put them there from the beginning. Why couldn’t God put them into Mary with a code that could not sin?
Otherwise you may have to look at God as having a genetic code.
I just thought of another idea that may be very messed up on many levels. Because Jesus existed in this universe, when He was taken up to heaven in His ascension, His DNA could be the source of DNA and be brought back in time to fertilize Mary’s egg. When this universe was created everything existed at once, past, present, and future. Einstein showed it in his Theory of relativity and it is known as a block universe in physics. Remember I said this was messed up. But could it have worked that way?
Satan is the source of sin and evil. That is why he was also created in the beginning. This was to give us a choice to choose God. God wanted us to love Him, but choose to do it not be forced to. Satan allows that choice so our love means something (more) to Him.
If God created Satan, then God created sin and evil.
God did not create sin and evil. In so far as Satan is evil, Satan is a Liar and the Father of lies. Lies are the absence of truth. Lies are not things. God made it possible to lie by creating Truth, but did not create lies.
Jesus is not God because of His DNA. Jesus is God because He is the Messiah, the One Chosen by the Father to save God’s People.
“Jesus is Very God of Very God and Very Human of Very Human.” Humans can sin. Jesus could sin, because He is Human. Jesus is God because He did not sin.
Satan is depicted in the garden as the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Rhetoric is a mixture of good and evil - Satan is not pure evil because pure evil could not convince 1/3 of Heaven to follow him. God did not create rhetoric, but He did create free will which led to rhetoric.
Not sure I follow. Satan is the tree rather than the serpent? (I really have questions as to whether he is the serpent either, as I accept a more figurative interpretation)