The Bible defines God as Love in 1 John 4 and YHWH defines Godself as Free and Sovereign, I AM WHO I AM, so freedom and love are not arbitrary values, but characteristics revealed by God. I find Power and Control to be characteristics of God determined by philosophy rather than theology.
Your interpretation (the one you’re pushing ) is that we have only hearsay, not actual testimony. I for one don’t share that belief or interpretation.
Moreover, if it were in fact true that God provided no testimony about himself, then we could know practically nothing about him, whether he was or wasn’t loving, was or wasn’t making choices, was or wasn’t omnipresent, or pretty much anything significant. Any beliefs about these things would be totally blind shot-in-the-dark guesses.
If you are correct that we have no actual testimony about God’s being from himself, then we should all be essentially agnostic about his character, rather than pushing ideas that is derived merely from our own personal preferences.
Mitchell you keep saying this but forget to heed John 14:17, 15:26 & 16:13 and 1 John 4. There is plenty of testimony, not from me, in addition to the Bible that is not heresy.
In a tribute to language arts teachers everywhere allow me to nit-pick at the following exchange of language to give an encouragement that I often give to my students: “use your words!” [usually my reply after a student in science class says something like “well - it’s because of the stuff in the thingy…”]
Not that it makes much difference to the exchange here, but it is fascinating that “heresy” is only one letter off from Mitchell’s typo: heresay [where I’m pretty sure he meant “hearsay”], and indeed Shawn now misquotes it as “heresy”. Whisper game anyone? I bet by the end of this thread we can have Mitchell accused of worshiping a Hershey Bar. “Hearsay”, “Heresy” - maybe it’s all the same to some, but there is a reason we have such a great variety of different words!
Okay. Yes - it must be a slow night on the forum here. Tune in next hour for my scintillating lecture on the proper use of the semicolon. [Not that I really know about that - I’m just pretending temporarily to be an English major here. leaving my own trail of sins behind too of course.]
I blame my mistakes on my iPad. It really is hard for my fingers to hit the right keys at times.
Hmm, is it just a coincidence that an association exists? Courtesy of wikipedia:
Teilhard’s theory is maintained by four formal properties:
- Humans will escape the heat death of the universe. Scientifically, this means that intelligence cannot survive. He theorizes that since radial energy is non-compliant with entropy, it escapes the collapses of forces at world’s end.
- The Omega Point does not exist within the timeline of the universe, it occurs at the exact edge of the end of time. From that point, all sequence of existence is sucked into its being.
- The Omega Point can be understood as a volume shaped as a cone in which each section taken from the base to its summit decreases until it diminishes into a final point.
- The volume described in the Third Property must be understood as an entity with finite boundaries. Teilhard explains:
… what would have become of humanity, if, by some remote chance, it had been free to spread indefinitely on an unlimited surface, that is to say left only to the devices of its internal affinities? Something unimaginable. … Perhaps even nothing at all, when we think of the extreme important of the role played in its development by the forces of compression.
Thankfully we escape the heat death. But that’s long after we lose all observable trace of the universe. Maybe it doesn’t matter.
I presumed our final eschatological realm exists outside of the universe, but we get there sometime before the physical end. I do think there is consistency in thinking of evolution as a continuum from physical origin giving rise to an emergent realm and nonphysical endpoint.
[didn’t tag to previous reply]
Wouldn’t it be best to assume that God “shaped” our embodied evolutionary experiences with the intent of providing the correct context for understanding what he’s about?
I wouldn’t assume that, because God is so ‘other’ compared to us, and we aren’t the main characters in the story, God is. I think he became human to completely understand what we are about. So it’s not so much about God shaping our human experience to be like his own, but sharing our human experience and making it his own.
Yes, I am an agnostic with respect to objective knowledge about God. I don’t think that is possible. And yet I am a theist with respect to belief about God – 1.5 on the Dawkins scale. Only subjective knowledge about God is possible, because God is not something you can measure or put under a microscope. He can never be an object of control, manipulation, or isolation. We can only approach Him with submission, acceptance, and faith.
We do not have testimony in the court of law sense (what amounts to an interrogation), but we have testimony which a court of law would call hearsay. It is not my intention to say that it has no value because it does not live up to the standards of a court of law. It is only that a claim of objectivity for this testimony is unfounded, not that we cannot believe that testimony if we so choose.
And what is the testimony which have? Is it “God is power” or “God is love.” What is the testimony of the Bible about whether God is defined by nature or by His own choices? The testimony we have is that God has power by nature but He can set that aside to become a helpless human infant. Love on the other hand, is something God chooses (part of the very definition of love itself), and this rather than power is what defines Him.
God is definitely the main character and we can’t assume anything of the human experience being like God’s. But what we do know about him is through the way we were created to experience and appreciate revelations and the Logos. We study the Bible in the Judaic context to get the full meaning in the cultural embodiment. Our biological embodiment not only gives us the basis to understand God as Father, Jesus as his Son, (Holy Spirit… not so much), that He is the light, etc., but the neurobiological embodiment of consciousness shaped by evolution at least gave precursors to morality and higher things. “God is love” – were we meant to comprehend this astounding character of God, or is he in actuality so “other” that we are hopeless to comprehend the real essence of God?
That Jesus came to earth is the ultimate embodiment the other way round, and in some ways he contradicts our biological imperatives (in saying “die to fully live”, “be last to be first”, etc.), but our imperfect biological existence gives the basis to understanding the virtues put forth.
I do like to ponder how Jesus came up with his messages throughout his life as a human being. What was it like for him to learn human language and read the earthy scrolls that spoke of his realm? Perhaps it informed him on the task at hand. And in experiencing the world through human eyes, he must have been compelled to craft speech that faithfully explained what the Kingdom of God is like. Perhaps the resulting parables (similar to the stories of Genesis) encapsulated the greatest essence of truth that he wanted broadcast, much like seeds scattered … oh, a parable.
Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;
I am not a Calvinist but I am told that they ascribe to predestination. Time is a funny thing. I am an adherent to Einstein’s block universe that all things happen at once from an outside the universe perspective. This allows God to know all and see all from a perspective outside of time. From our perspective Time appears to occur. The Bible is full of premonitions of the future and dream interpretation predicting future events. (Joseph, Daniel).
It is my view that such a “block universe” would have no more conscious living beings in it than a video tape/DVD and I don’t think that adding 3d and more sensory information to that changes anything. Einstein was wrong about a few things, and science has demonstrated that things can exist in a superposition of possible state which collapses upon measurement with no possibility of some unknown (like an already existent future) to determine the result of such a measurement.
Yes and people are getting pretty good at predicting the weather. Just because some things can be predicted doesn’t mean the future is already written. People enslaved to sin can be very predictable. The same thing goes for quantum physics. Only some things are undetermined, other things can be predicted with great precision.
The problem with this is consciousness and the observer affecting causality. We don’t really know what consciousness is and how this effects or creates our perception of time.
I am not sure do you prescribe to The evolving block universe where the past is determinate and the future is indeterminate? I don’t think that the Bible is describing predictions or educated guessing. There is more to it than that. I think of it in this way that my present is the future to my past and somehow the present can influence the past. This is what I was getting at in part by describing Ellis’s Top Down causation theory in another topic.
The problem with what? If you mean quantum measurements that is a total misunderstanding of the physics clearly demonstrated to be false. The only way that observers affect reality is by physical actions including when they turn measuring devices on or off.
Doesn’t change the fact that video tapes/DVDs are no more than inanimate objects, so if you equate reality to a fancy video like that then we have no reason to expect the result to be any different.
Yep. The past is not without superposition states. It is only when particles become entangled with large numbers of particles that such superposition states “collapse” or decohere. But at the very least the Everett interpretation means that for us the past is singular and the future is a superposition of possibilities.
Yeah, I am well aware that many people want to make the Bible and Jesus all about superpowers. That with excessive literalism regarding Genesis makes the whole book sound like a comic book. But comic books are just for entertainment and no help with reality. Besides, a more honest look at the Bible doesn’t support this superpower thinking. John 14:12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do." So superpowers has nothing to do with any of it. Yeah God is real and God does interact with the world, and so with faith a great deal is possible that we haven’t imagined yet. At one time, nobody imagined what modern medicine can do. Miracles yes. Magic no.
So without the magic what we have are the predictions we make from understanding how things work. Dismissing this is unreasonable because modern technology depends upon it – and we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.
Sure… the victors write history, and people typically remember the past they way they prefer. But no I don’t think such historical revisionism really changes what happened.
I think the point is that the past doesn’t dictate the future. And what really matters most is what you choose to do from now. Thus Jesus constantly said… “your sins are forgiven, so go and sin no more.”
Aristotle said it all three centuries before Christ with his four causes, which we are only now beginning see has more merit than we previously thought. As I said in another thread, getting past the limitation to time-ordered causality is the key to making sense of free will.
Ok. So what I am saying is that with the evolving block universe present to past is determinate then so is that past to that present. To me it’s all just information. I understand what you are saying with simple systems and entanglement. However we really don’t understand consciousness and for that matter subconsciousness and what consciousness is and what it is capable of doing. One thing that is clear is what consciousness involves is very complex information organization and processing. Perhaps one particle or whatever can entangle through space and time but we really don’t know what consciousness can do because simply said you don’t know what it is. I have no doubt of the great abilities of Jesus Christ and for that matter others in the Bible such as Joseph and Daniel. I also prefer not to explain it as magic. After all I totally agree with you we are not looking for the God of the gaps are we.
I am still trying to understand how a radio works. But much more remarkable to me is how the radio’s inventors were able to deduce how to create a radio. When you somehow think about it, if you don’t believe that you can. Then you never can. That’s the consciousness problem.
I don’t think so. Human consciousness is complex because we are complex. But the basic idea of consciousness is quite simple and EVERY living organism has it by the very nature of the life process. Living organisms MUST maintain their own structure in the face of environmental challenges and that necessitates some awareness of both environment and self (and not only the self as it is but also of the self as it desires to be). This conclusion is inescapable.
This is not to say there is no difference between the consciousness of a human being and that of a virus. Not at all! It is additive for life itself is a highly quantitative thing and we are not one simple life process but 37 trillion cells, each with billions of chemical reactions per second, all a part of the reactive cycles which respond to the environment changes and maintain the structure of the organism as well as supporting more large scale cycles with even more farther reaching sensitivity and awareness of the environment.
I believe in God rather than superpowers and I believe what Jesus of Nazareth said denying that he had any such thing, saying instead that everything that happened was just a matter of the Father telling Him what to do. Everything is explainable as magic tricks with God as the magician. Some religious might say God wouldn’t have to use tricks, while I say that God wouldn’t have to break the laws of nature which He Himself created.
Ahhh! I am well aware of this! My typical way of saying much the same things is as follows: science requires objective observation where what we want doesn’t matter, but life requires subjective participation where what we want is central. The connection I see here with consciousness, however, is the process of life itself. And a lot of it is simply trying out many different things to found out what is possible, something which evolution is very very good at. So again what you are describing isn’t some complicated human functionality but something found in even the simplest of living organisms.
[quote=“still_learning, post:10, topic:38589”]
Man was made flawed, the potential to be an image bearer, but in order to fulfill that role, one needed to obey the spirit, not the flesh, chose God’s will, not mans. Jesus, who did this even unto His death, was the true image bearer, "Col 1:15 “The Son is the image of the invisible God”
@still_learning, your answer to @David_Wood explains the reason I think that the theory of evolution is so liberating for Christians: We need NOT interpret Genesis 1,2 as God creating humankind as ‘very good’ and ‘sinless’, a condition from which they Fell, but rather that we descended from a long animal ancestry that was, by and large, selfishly trying to pass on their individual genes. With His gift of consciousness and conscience, humans were given the possibility of living according to their Creaor’s Image. Jesus shows us what humans would be like if they truly rose above animal selfishness and became co-creators.
Say rather that Jesus us shows us an example of what humans could be like. I am always uncomfortable at the implied annihilation of human diversity, and the implication that all the different dreams and talents of people are somehow sinful just because Jesus didn’t do them. I cannot approve of the ways some religions of different times and groups, have pushed people into very narrow molds.
Simon Conway Morris has said about consciousness that he thinks that the universe is learning about itself. I agree with you about some degree of consciousness being ubiquitous in life. I ascribe to a learning universe where information in matter becomes organized forming information processing systems accumulating what amounts to knowledge. That leads to life and consciousness. This learning is happening in our perspective over time exploring possibilities. When you consider a chemical reaction A + B. = C. We know that in an instant many possible outcomes and intermediates are formed but the end result is the product C. From our perspective we see all the intermediates but God from His outside different perspective sees the reactants forming the product.