Questioning what it means to be a creator

Of course! It’s rational and there is no desire to the contrary. Unless people have to believe that God changes, that there has to be a ‘Once upon a time…’.

May I suggest you read something on the Cambrian Explosion that puts it in context of the overall development of life on the planet. One recommendation is Gerald L Schroeder’s “The Science of God”.

This is a really great point. But it leads me to wonder about the inanimate building blocks that make up living things??

Ah, I see now how what you are saying is different from gbob’s caves.

I haven’t thought of reproduction in quite that way before. Interesting. I will have to think about it more. But what you are basically saying is that we are not free in the sense have having a choice about existence, etc but once here we “act on our own” (aka free will)?

Hello, thank you! Yes, after reading the articles I am really thinking that I just need a book. The articles are leaving too many things open for me. :slight_smile: I will add this to my TBR shelf.

No I am saying that automation is the first step towards free will but not free will yet. This would explain why we live in a physical universe with natural laws. That is indeed all about automation. But what I have been suggesting all along is that there is something more to the universe than automation – life, consciousness, and free will. But to get there you have to start with automation.

The next step is self-organization. And incidentally, this is another phenomenon which we see plenty of in the universe. When a system of rules is complex enough to be nonlinear, it not only enables infinite complexity, but you can also see things establish a self-reinforcing pattern. Such systems become part of their own cause. A well known example is the red spot on Jupiter. It is not caused by some external thing. Rather once such a thing gets started, it absorbs energy from its environment to keep itself going endlessly. This is not life yet. Just another step along the way. The implications for the beginning of life is the suggestion that cyclical chemical processes in the early Earth environment with similar self-reinforcing characteristics could set the stage for development of life.

Can you venture to guess what the next step is? What is the difference between a self-reinforcing system and a living organism? There are a few things in answer to that question, some of which you might get from an understanding of evolution. But perhaps you can deduce which has to come first? And there is another phenomenon in the science of chaotic dynamics which can provide it.

P.S. I am playing a bit of a Socratic game here of leading the way with questions. The reason for this is that previous attempts to explain this all at once have tended to leave people without comprehension of it. So I thought maybe slowing the explanation down in this way might work better.

Well, I love Plato so I don’t mind playing along. However, I have only recently begun to study evolution so please understand when I don’t follow.

I don’t understand why natural laws would follow under your first step and not the second, “self-orginzation” step??

Ok, that a system of rules can enable infinite complexity (though I thought evolutionists were against that??? Or is that only in relation to Intelligent design??) makes sense to me. What I am a little confused about is the second law of thermodynamics. Earth is an open and closed system, right? But I have no idea how the other planets are viewed. So I am wondering how Jupiter’s spot sustains itself…

Well, I had to go read about chaos theory first, which was really interesting because I had no idea that it had deterministic elements. (This also kind of blew my mind because it turns out that Lucretius’ “swerve” was kind of right??). Anyway, I cannot venture to guess what’s next.

Well I suppose it would make more sense to divide the laws of nature into the classical system which lead Descartes to think a demon knowing the initial conditions could predict everything which is going to happen, and the later discoveries quantum physics and then chaotic dynamics after that.

The creationists were claiming cases of irreducible complexity which required an intelligent designer. I am saying the opposite that infinite complexity can be generated by a simple system of rules. To be sure the ID creationists wouldn’t like that but since this is easily demonstrable their objections don’t work. Now we know for a fact that evolutionary algorithms can easily surpass the accomplishments of the best engineers and designers.

The second law doesn’t apply because all of this is happening in constant flow of energy and greatly increasing entropy, rather than any kind of equilibrium. Both the Earth and Jupiter are very far from a closed system in terms of energy and entropy. In the case of Jupiter, you not only have the flow of energy from the sun but the fact that Jupiter itself is generating heat due to slow gravitational collapse.

We are pretty sure that life can only develop in far from equilibrium environments.

It is only deterministic in computer simulations. This doesn’t work in the real world because of the fundamental discovery of Ilya Prigogine that calculations of results in non-linear systems can require the specification of initial conditions to an infinite degree of precision. In the real word, such a thing does not exist because of quantum mechanics. In other words, non-linear systems amplify the indeterminism of quantum physics to macroscopic results.

My hints was pointing to a connection to the two fundamentals of evolution which are variation and natural selection. Obviously variation has to come first. This is provided in the science of chaotic dynamics by the phenomenon of bifurcation.

With this the stage is set for the development of life. Not only do we have self-reinforcing systems but ones in which variation plays a role in response to environmental changes. Which means you are going to have natural selection and we can expect those self-reinforcing systems to evolve.

What about life, consciousness, and free will? These are all quantitative results of the evolutionary process. Life is more and more of these self-maintaining processes working in tandem. Consciousness is an accumulation of information gathering about self and the environment in order to facilitate self-maintenance. And free will is the continued harnessing of variation to facilitate learning and evolution.

This is all very fascinating. I definitely need to read more to get the basics of evolution down, then come back and reread all of the comments on this thread. Thank you for taking the time to share this. I’m sure I will be back with more questions. :slight_smile:

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Ok, one final comment to connect this back up to the topic and my first post.

Many theists are going to read all that and think that I have excluded God from the picture. But as I was saying in my first post, this is because they are looking for a designer. So my objection was is that they are aiming too low in a search for the divine. With evolutionary algorithms able to surpass human engineers, we can see that design is no great achievement at all unless we are looking to worship a computer. So my suggestion is instead to look for the divine in the reason God had for doing all this. Why create this universe at all? And why set it up to give rise to the self-organizing processes of life? My suggestion is that instead of it being about showing off his prowess as a great watchmaker, this is more about an intimate relationship of a teacher/parent with His students/children. It is not about design and intelligence but about guidance and love.

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Yes, I follow you and am truly fascinated by this. It’s a paradigmatic shift. And it also makes me wonder, if what you say is true, what it would look like if He ever DID take to designing. :slight_smile:

Well… LOL I think that is where the angels come from.

Hmmm…so you don’t think angels evolved also?

The angels are described in the Bible as ministering spirits and servants. I think this is more than just a job description, but a description of their essential nature. In particular they are contrasted with us who are called to be the children of God. In fact, I think it is the difference between being created for an end like a tool and being created as an end in itself for love the way children are (or should be).

So I think the angels are created spirits, simply given power and knowledge with no need to learn or grow. They are a concrete example of the logical first step, which doesn’t require the creation of a physical universe. But as such, any freedom of will they might have is without much substance, because they are in the end only what God made them to be. But by growth and learning we participate in our own creation and thus we are quite a bit more than simply what God made us to be.

I think I see how this fits in with your theory above. Because God’s role is nurturing and ministering, if they are created beings then it makes sense that they would have that role as well. But confused about some points below.

If we take your theory above, and look for divine inspiration in the growth (that eventually results in free will, consciousness, etc), then wouldn’t the angels be “lesser” in terms of designer prowess?

The free will of angels is fascinating to me. They do appear to have some (which would be the result of some sort of evolution??? not so unlike us?), but I don’t know that it is without substance because of the seemingly permanent nature of the choices they made way back when. In any case, thank goodness our free will operates differently.

Also, if God created them solely for that purpose, and some of those rejected that, then that seems to implicate God in a malicious way. (Not trying to get into the problem of evil here. I am just wondering in relation to this angel business only. :slight_smile: )

Well, there is an irony here. They are so more than we are in terms of knowledge and ability (much more like God on the face of it), and yet in essence they are less because they will never be more than what they are.

Hebrews 2:6-7
“What is man that thou art mindful of him,
or the son of man, that thou carest for him?
7 Thou didst make him for a little while lower than the angels

This is what I think it means to be made in the image of God… our infinite potentiality mirrors God’s infinite actuality. Our real greatness is not that we are so much like God, but rather than we were made for an eternal parent-child relationship with no end to what God can give and no end to what we can receive (learn, grow, become). This I believe is the meaning of eternal life.

Sure. Even computers can “appear” to have free will, especially when human beings interact with them. Programmers simply cannot anticipate every possible things that human nutters might do interacting with them. And I do think what angels have is more than that – after all, they are spirits and not machines. And yet I think there is a fundamental difference from us nevertheless, and I see no reason to think evolution has anything to do with them. I think the whole point is that angels are as far as design can take you, and to do better you need “nurturing and ministering” instead.

Which is why I don’t believe in any of that book of Enoch stuff. I believe Genesis 2-3 explains the origin of evil – it is certainly the origin of “the adversary” (Satan) – when we humans were right in the middle of it.

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