Need help with answers (about God's will and law)


(Shaun) #1

I am here not to offend anyone. I’m fine with different ideas. I actually appreciate different ideas because they may help me correct my own.

The questions I am going to ask are not an atheist attack on believers, on the contrary, they may help me convinced.

I wish (my wishful thinking) God exists, and He is friendly to me, or He even helps me when I pray to Him, and he’s the most powerful will in the world, he could defeat anyone hostile to me and he can decide the state of anything. Then I would feel protected, feel safe, and my life would be full of hope, not in despair. In another word, God helps me live a life without danger, despair, sadness or sufferings.

I love to have such a god in my life.

But so far God is still playing hide and seek with me. Some people say they have met God personally. But to me, God is still a theory. It’s still something like “if you suppose someone has the super powerful will, then you can explain the world”. God still exists by logic, not by direct sense.

There are things we can only learn by logic. Being discovered only possible by logic isn’t a problem, like natural law. The questions remain unanswered are:

  1. If God created everything out of nothing, and made laws for nature (law of physics), could God change what He has made or created?
  2. God’s law and will, which one is more powerful?

Regarding the first question, if God didn’t create everything or made laws for nature, then questions will be “When, where, by or from what, for what purpose, how was the universe created or did it start, and where will it go?” and “Why should there be natural law?”
The answer “God created everything and made laws for nature” redirects the question to God. The question is not answered.

Still regarding the first question, if the answer is “God made the perfect natural law, why does He need to change something already perfect?” then it’s not the answer either, because the question is about if God COULD.

Regarding the second question, suppose I am seriously sick, dying, by natural law, I won’t live long, but by wish, I pray to God, could God let me live longer (against his own natural law?)

Any answer will be appreciated.


(Randy) #2

@gmt, God bless. Blessings in your search. I am sorry that it sounds like you are ill. May you know that my (our)prayers will be with you.
Sincerely,
Randy


(Christy Hemphill) #3

Here are my thoughts from a Christian perspective.

It doesn’t sound like you’re looking for the God of the Bible, because God as revealed in Jesus is a God who suffers and calls people to live lives of self-sacrifice. But he does offer hope, grace, and love, which are powerful things.

I also don’t think you can arrive at knowledge of God via logic or science. God isn’t a conclusion, he’s a person. The only way he can be known is through his self-revelation. Christians believe God has revealed himself in the Bible and in the person of Jesus Christ that the Bible testifies about. They also believe that God will make himself known to those who earnestly look for him.


(Shaun) #4

Hi Randy,

Thanks for your prayers. But could you explain a little bit more?

Shaun


(Shaun) #5

Thanks Christy! I love your reply.

Last month, two Christians who knew every word in the Bible refuted the idea that Jesus was God. I didn’t argue with them. I was attracted to Christianity not because of theology but the effect on people and some Christians’ leading by example practice.

I become puzzled when some people try to explain both law of physics and creationism.

Shaun


(Christy Hemphill) #6

That’s how it is supposed to be. Jesus didn’t commission his disciples to go win theology arguments, he told them to teach people to obey everything he commanded them. And his greatest commandments were to love God and love your neighbor.

I like thinking about theology because I find it intellectually stimulating and entertaining to debate with people. But I try not to confuse a hobby with God’s Kingdom, which is much more concerned with offering food to the hungry, water to the thirsty, hospitality to the stranger, clothes to the needy, care for the sick, and visits to the prisoner, and generally making the world a better place in Jesus’ name.

But, if your acquaintances who thought the Bible said that Jesus was not God showed up here, I’d have some fun times arguing with them. :wink:


(Shaun) #7

I’ve asked them to come here. Not sure if they would argue with you.


(Randy) #8

@gmt, I am sorry for your suffering. I am pretty busy throughout the day today but I’ll try to think about your good questions.

To start, I am copying from @Mervin_Bitikofer’s post under “Faith and Science Seeking Understanding,” in which he quotes from George Macdonald’s life changing sermon on “Justice,”

" Our business is not to think correctly, but to live truly; then first will there be a possibility of our thinking correctly. One chief cause of the amount of unbelief in the world is, that those who have seen something of the glory of Christ, set themselves to theorize concerning him rather than to obey him. In teaching men, they have not taught them Christ, but taught them about Christ."

If we start out remembering who God is, then we remember that he is our Father; and that Jesus was sent as a representative to teach us more about him. @Christy has a great link from Wycliffe about what the idioms were in the NT about in what God and Jesus are related, but I am not sure that the minutiae are that important (they are part of the downfall of Byzantium, I think–thus the term “Byzantine,” regarding theories on the homoousion/ God and man mixture). I think that if we realized He’s not going to bonk us on the head because of a sincerely held but mistaken belief, we get the heart of the law right without learning about the letters.

I think that God really is more just than we are–and also more merciful.

Have a blessed day.


(Shaun) #9

Thanks Randy for your explanations!

The two questions I asked was not to question the existence of God, but the supposition that God made natural laws.

We know there’s no way we could do anything against natural laws without failure. It’s no surprise that some people say God made those laws.

If it’s true, then could God change His laws? If He couldn’t, then did He truly make those laws?


(Dominik Kowalski) #10

Hello Shaun!

Personally I´m not so interested in the creation aspect of Christianity, therefore I´m not thinking about God setting up the natural laws. Understanding creation is the point where I see science and religion go fully hand in hand, that´s why I don´t make set-in-stone-statements about it.
But to your question of God is able to change the laws, I´d answer of course he is but why would he, if it works? I fully believe though that miracles still happen today, we have enough documentated cases to support that statement, and that there are times when God is bending his rules in order to make them happen.


(Shaun) #11

Hi Dominik,

It’s interesting to think about science and religion. I wish they could be explained together in one theory or faith. But I am cautious.


(Randy) #12

Oh, sorry!
Well, I’m of the opinion consistent with @DoKo. If he’s a person, why wouldn’t he change sometimes? I know it’s a bit anthropomorphic, but makes sense to me. Have you read Oord’s book on the Uncontrolling Love of God, where he thinks God adjusts to our choices to give us free rein? It is open theology. I have the book and keep on planning on reading it, but haven’t jumped in the deep end yet.


(Mark D.) #13

I’ve often thought that is essentially how God was understood. But then that quickly gets elaborated on and eventually covered over by theology. I suspect God belief began long ago as the innocent attempt to address the intention behind the actions of our environment. For creatures like us is there really any other way to understand intentions than as emanating from a thou? And and any Thou great enough to send lightening or shake the earth was very mighty and important indeed.

Perhaps early on doing so had good survival value even though now relying on the objectivity of science allows us do even better. But having evolved psychically around a reflexive addressing of that Thou, the consciousness from which we too spring might well have produced something that still plays a role in our wellbeing. If God had no existence beyond that felt presence an argument could still be made for the value of the relationship between the manifestation of consciousness we call us and that which we call God. Nowadays survival is rarely as pressing a need as is existential meaning. Our own judgment of our value and relevance is what we should really fear and for many it is the internal Thou which tells us how we’re doing.


(Shaun) #14

No, I haven’t read the book. Just read some of the reviews. It seems Oord has tried to answer the questions I asked.


(Dominik Kowalski) #15

I think they´re both too versatile to be ever summarized into one theory. Reality has many aspects that science cannot grasp and expecting to have a complete theory of theology would mean understanding God in his completeness, which is just an incredible arrogant thought.
I personally follow Werner Heisenberg in his thought that those two fields, science and religion, have the same roots.


(Mitchell W McKain) #16

Friendliness is a rather subjective perception. Children often declare that their parents are mean and hateful even when this is the farthest thing from the truth. I believe God is motivated by love and goodness alone. But He cannot be manipulated because He knows the truth, and our childish desires do not concern Him as compared with what is truly in our best interest. It is very unlikely that he is going to defeat your enemies for you. God will not give you a life without danger, despair, sadness or sufferings – this is not in your best interest.

I think it is a scientific fact that belief in God is not in everyone’s best interest. Thus there are excellent reasons to think that making people believe in Him is not God’s highest priority. So I believe God has good reasons to be selective when He reveals Himself to people. Furthermore, this is not always an easy thing to do. Hollywood style effects like a voice from the sky, or anything of that sort, would be entirely ineffective in my case. I don’t see how that would prove anything.

Furthermore, with very few exceptions, I have never seen that God explains much of anything. And even in those few case the explanations are rather subjective and thus it is rather dubious whether they have much practical usefulness. In other words, if you are looking for something you can actual use then I believe God is the wrong direction to look. At most I expect God to play a highly personal and aesthetic role in very subjective areas of thought like personal identity. It is not that people do not find ways of using God, particularly as a tool of rhetoric and manipulation but I don’t think there is anything good or honest in this.

Yes.
Can God do evil? Yes.
Love and goodness are God’s choice.
Likewise the laws of nature, essential for the existence of life and free will, God made by choice and for a purpose. Is He so whimsical that He would act contrary to His own intentions for no good reason? No.

In one sense they are the same thing – God has integrity. Though by this I do not mean that the laws of nature have no existence apart from God’s will, for I do not believe this. But to be sure the primacy of God’s will is implicit in the description of God’s omnipotence, particularly over any imagined “nature” or “attributes” of God by which theologians imagine they can chain God to THEIR will.

God did create everything, but God did not necessarily design everything. So we cannot conclude that God is solely responsible for the way things are.

Indeed, it just changes the questions to…
For what purpose did God create the universe and its natural laws?
My answer: They are a prerequisite for life, the essence of which is free will. The whole point is to create beings which have their own existence apart from the will of God, who are what they make themselves to be rather than simply what they are made to be by someone else. Thus they are created by a process of self-organization, growth, and learning, rather than by design. The objective is the existence of beings who are truly other than God with whom He can have an authentic relationship.

Right. He could. But He won’t. God can do evil. But He will not. God could be faithless. But He is not. If we think that He has been, then it is only in our own imagination. However, I suppose you could say this is a matter of my own faith.

As a rule? No. God has no intention of changing the rules. But the rules are not so deterministic as people might imagine. Miracles can and do happen. But the rare, unexpected, and surprising nature of miracles is part of what defines them. That is why they do not constitute a change in the rules themselves.


(Randy) #17

Sorry if I misunderstood! “Suppose” I am sick!

I was wrong. Thanks for your input and thoughts.


#18

I don’t believe that God changes.


(Shaun) #19

But Randy, I didn’t misunderstand you. I appreciate what you said!


#20

What does this mean?