Personal introduction and first post: Musings about God's limitations, creation, theodicy and eschatology

Alex your musings cover just about all Christian theology (wow :innocent:). I think one point needs to be included in these musings that is imo central to musings on God, and that is we fail to speak correctly when we attribute human characteristics to God - I think the doctrine of simplicity may be useful. For example, limitations are understood within human experiences - Christians use either negative terms when speaking about God (ie God is not limited the way we may be, in terms of doing this or that). The creation is good in that it serves God’s purpose and allows us to be free to make choices, yet when we sin we impose bad outcomes to ourselves.

In any event, this outlook may be of interest to you.

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That’s a fair argument too, of course. :slight_smile:

Because I don’t believe that everything “that is” operates according to the laws of nature. God is outside of the laws of nature because He is outside of the universe. I believe that the laws of nature operate necessarily within the confines of the universe (but not necessarily outside) and He created the universe, which means He’s outside of the universe. And inside of it. Because He is both transcendent and immanent.

That’s a fair argument.

I’m not a physicist, to be certain. But no, I don’t believe He is either of those things. Rather, the universe He made operates according to those things. Though I am perfectly willing to believe that mathematics is a language that He created. Perhaps it was the first language, or even an eternal language because it is the language of God and God is forever.

“Stuck” may not have been a fair word. That’s my mistake–it was based on my perception of the position of God in that situation.

Haha, fair enough!

I am hesitant to admit this, if I’m going to be frank. I remember getting into a bit of trouble in a systematic theology class at a pretty conservative Christian Bible college because I said that God could do something contrary to His nature if He wanted, but He has no desire to do so, so He won’t. For example, He could choose to not be good. Needless to say, the professor didn’t like that and I got points taken off for it, lol.

I am hesitant to say that God is limited by His nature, but I also acknowledge the logic of it, and I recognize the potential conundrums of saying that God is limited by absolutely nothing, including His characteristics.

Suffering with a purpose, though. As opposed to a universe without God. I’ve never been too concerned about “the problem of evil” or “the problem of suffering” when it comes to God. What’s the alternative? That suffering is ultimately meaningless? Without purpose? No thanks.

EDIT: I misspoke when I said “I’ve never been too concerned”. I take the problem of evil very seriously, and suffering too. I simply don’t think that turning to atheism because of it is all that helpful.

You are correct. Thanks be to God.

@Alex. Physics and love are real regardless of whether God is. If He is, then He instantiates them. From forever. He has no choice. My faith looked like it was flatlining again most recently. Kierkegaard realized that existence is absurd. Leibniz’ Contingency Argument asks why is there something rather than nothing, why is there anything at all. That is primary. That comes first. The absurdity, the meaninglessness of existence. Even asking the question is meaningless. Physics and philosophy can’t help and neither can God. Ah HAH! That allows for a shadow of doubt in the darkness. Existence is beyond rationality. So it might as well be grounded by God : ) The unreasonableness, the improbability of God is secondary to that of anything at all. And here we are. The view is made possible by Jesus the lens.

Just a thought.

TIme for one of my linguistics tangents. When we talk about God creating love or evil or sin or physical laws, we need to remember that our language likes to nominalize EVENTS to create abstract nouns. These nouns are not essentially THINGS (even though we can use them as objects in sentences), and languages that don’t have abstract nouns would express the concepts behind them as verbs with predicates. Love doesn’t exist as an entity. Someone loves an object of love. Sin is not an entity. Someone violates God’s standard. Evil is an evaluation of the effects events have on creation, it’s not a THING in and of itself. Physical laws describe observable events, using complete predicates (subjects, verbs, objects), laws are not entities themselves that have their own existence as independent THINGS.

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Sure. He is completely limited a certain sense, but what that nature is needs to then be specified, though. I don’t want walk around just saying “God is limited.” :slightly_smiling_face: He is also unlimited, and we can talk about that, too.

 

As well, those terms need qualifiers! In one sense, “the best he could do” was perfect for his intent! So to me, it is a big deal when some one says ‘the best he could do’ without specifying anything additionally, because the connotation, as is, could be disparaging, depending on the speaker.

The idea already proposed ‘earlier’ :slightly_smiling_face: that I endorse emphatically is that believers in the work of Jesus are his adoptive siblings and joint heirs, and that they have a sovereign and omnipotent Father who works for the mutual good of both himself and them.

Diversity is a feature of religion and spiritual matters that isn’t going away. The best we can do is demonstrate that answers are possible but we have no way to prove what the correct answers are. Thus I have my own answers to these questions and am thus likely to disagree with many of your conclusions.

My counterproposal: God is not limited except by His own desire and choices. But it is His desire to create something real which requires fixed rational principles by which things work. Otherwise you have nothing but a dream world which any kid down the block can create. The result is that God’s omnipotence doesn’t mean that God can do whatever you say by whatever means you care to dictate. The results are not independent of the means and God accomplishes thing by His knowledge of the way they are accomplished.

God was seeking relationships with others than Himself with more substance than what you would have with a character in a novel you write or an npc in a game you create. For that they have to have a life of their own based on laws and principles supporting a self-organizing process of life. Otherwise those you create will never be more than what you made them to be… like the angels. We on the other hand, participate in our own creation in the processes of growth, learning, and making our own choices.

I find it more likely that God created an infinite number of universes because “best conceivable universe” is not a coherent idea. It was created for a purpose and it fulfills that purpose. That is all.

And I don’t believe the future is written – not by God or the laws of nature. I don’t believe consciousness is possible otherwise.

pain and suffering is a part of what life is. The real problem is sin and evil which are self-destructive habits and a perverse opposition to life itself.

Indeed! Why in the world would we decide that God is done? That is little different than deciding God is dead.

That’s good. My faith is pretty constant, it just isn’t an endorsement of any established theological position. I remain convinced that whatever it is which gives rise to God belief is real and important.

I believe now that consciousness in its many forms goes way back and … somehow … maybe … does not depend on life forms to emerge first in order for nervous systems and neurons to become available. This is very new and provisional as an idea for me and I may yet drop it. Does it evolve alongside matter or does it direct that evolution? The cosmos is not simply mechanistic.

…but whatever it is, it can’t be God.

When you say that, I hear “whatever it is, it can’t be God as I, Dale, conceive of him”. I wouldn’t go that far, I could be mistaken. I just insist your conception could also be wrong and, like the Pharisees, you could be the one who ignores the God before you in favor of the dogma you assume to be the truth.

I understand your spin, but God is knowable,* and presently. He also changes lives, e.g., Maggie’s, and answers prayers, e.g., George’s.

 


*It’s fairly important to want to know him.

Dogma is a good thing, if it’s true, and some dogma is true.

Maybe but I’d like to think I was able to reconsider and affirm or set it aside as it seems best to me each time. I wouldn’t want that affirmation to become reflexive and unthinking, but then what we aim for and what we achieve isn’t always the same thing.

Some biases are correct, and when you have a boatload and decades of your own confirmations as well as lots of other trustworthy testimony, you don’t need to think too hard. Then you can rejoice and be thankful to the Giver when you get more of your own or learn of someone else’s.

On the other hand, thinking wrong thoughts can become habitual, too.

Do be careful, won’t you? :wink:

A cute retort doesn’t change any facts. :sunglasses:

Perhaps God created many different societies on different planets, but I think the concept of free will may be an important consideration here.

A society with members who can choose to be good or evil allows for the identification of people willing to be good.

Perhaps the plan was not to make society perfect but to find the subset of good in society.

And welcome!

The Universe you ‘see’ now is a one where evil has been allowed to enter in. It is broken. This is all in Almighty God’s Holy Plan. The answers you seek are with the Holy Spirit, it is He who reveals all Truth which is in the written Word of God. Without revelation from the Holy Spirit you will never come to understand the real Power and Perfection of Almighty God’s Plan, it is simply not accessible to you or anyone else who is not Baptised in Him. Go back to The Word, get more balance, you have the Science in part, but you need The Holy Spirit to bring you His Wisdom then you will really see how Almighty God’s creation is more perfect than you could ever have imagined. As I said you have in part what you need but you lack real understanding of our wonderful God. You may know about Him, but you do not know OF Him. “Oh tastes and see that the Lord is good.” Your mindset is trained to accept a traditional acceptance of truth, this is okay for worldly ‘stuff’ but for God’s Wisdom and Knowing you must transcend this limited perspective; round it off with faith and surrender to The Holy Spirit, then your horizons and understanding will explode into new and hitherto unknown experiences of Knowing. Almighty God ignores a proud and haughty soul, you reach ‘His Gates’ only through humility and surrender. Go and finish getting that rounded perspective, when you have this you will begin to understand the perfection of Almighty God.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
(2 Corinthians 3: 17.)

Mystery:
When Love catches fire
It burns so bright
Letting the soul and the spirit fly
High and higher
Wide and wider
No hills to climb
Or valleys to plunge
Rests now and flows in ‘Living Waters’
Chains unbound set free
Travels then beyond the edge
Where time ends
And ‘place’ no longer imprisons me.

Written by Jennie Starling: 22/11/2020.

Do you see now?

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