I’ve been thinking about this lately. I’m not religious (not Deist or Christian, I kind of have my own type of agnosticism), but I do still think about what the existence of a creator would mean. When I talk about a creator in this post, I am speaking about one that is Perfect, created the universe, and who exists independent of the universe (since otherwise how would He create it?). I recognize that not all religions have these classifications for God, so just remember I’m only talking about those religions. If God created the universe there are really only two options that I see. That the universe follows a discrete set of rules, and all particles must follow these rules at all times. Basically the unified theory of the universe. The other option is that God makes each decision for each particle at every unit of time. I think that the second options does not fit with most religions, as it would mean that God does not just allow suffering, but is the direct source of suffering. That and the fact that if God makes every decision, free-will not be non-existent. So if God created these rules, then they must be followed, or God would not have created perfect rules. However, that would require that something outside of the universe can not effect the universe or the rules would not be followed. So if God is independent of the universe, He can not effect it. This is kind of the conclusion I’ve reached after about a day. I realize that this conclusion is based off of a lot of assumptions that you might not agree with, but I’d like to hear what you think of it.
quote:So if God created these rules, then they must be followed, or God would not have created perfect rules. However, that would require that something outside of the universe can not affect the universe or the rules would not be followed. So if God is independent of the universe, He can not affect it. (edited slightly)
Unless the "perfect" (or best possible) set of rules included a group of beings possessed of independant wills, which would allow for all kinds of chaos *and* for a Good God to choose to interfere in some or all situations... which is the solution most non-Calvinist Christian religions take, AFAIK.
I tend to agree with your first option in describing God, but I do not agree with many of your assumptions that lead to your conclusion.
You assume God creates all the rules that exist, that they are all perfect, but then you say that God is bound by his own perfect rules and can in no way continue to act with his creation. You paint the picture of a one-time creator now bound by his creations. The perfection of the rules is superior to the perfection of the rule-giver. You also assume that existing independant of the univese means that he is unable to affect it.
I, too, think that the universe follows a discrete set of rules, but I see two options for the creation of those rules: either God made those rules, or he acted in accordance with his perfect knowledge of these pre-existant rules. I tend to take the second option - that there are rules that exist independant of God.
As for the interaction between Creator and creation, I do not think that God's independant existance requires that he not affect or interefere with that which he exists independant of (does that even make any sense?! ). For example - My parents (my physical creators) exist independantly of me. That does not mean that they have no influence or affect or that they are divorced from my existance. As my creators, they are all that much more interested in interacting with me.
What if God was trying to impress the other Gods and, while speeding through the void in His God-Truck, simply looked over at the others and yelled "Hey y'all, watch this!"
And there you have it...
Okay, seriously, if God created the universe without actually controlling it, what's the problem? Why would that be anti-deist? He'd still be the creator and everything in the Universe would follow from that initial creative event. But perhaps God is not omnipotent, you know. Perhaps He is omnipotent but the process for creating a Universe necessarily involves some guess work and a fair amount of randomness...
"If God created the universe there are really only two options that I see. That the universe follows a discrete set of rules, and all particles must follow these rules at all times. Basically the unified theory of the universe. The other option is that God makes each decision for each particle at every unit of time."
That can't rightly be true, because there are even ways that humans can write specific sets of rules that can, in some cases, override or contradict each other, or make decisions on an instance-by-instance basis regularly. The computer you type posts on is a fine example of such a thing, albeit on a much, much smaller scale than the universe. So, your criteria are a bit too narrow or simple to really apply to the divine, assuming the divine is greater than the universe.
quote:That can't rightly be true, because there are even ways that humans can write specific sets of rules that can, in some cases, override or contradict each other, or make decisions on an instance-by-instance basis regularly
Argèn†~: Either I misunderstood you, or what your saying doesn't really hjave relevance. It's true that humans have created many rules that condrict each other, but I don't see how that does anything other than prove that we as humans have an imperfect understanding of the universe, which really doesn't come of much of a suprise to me.
quote:Okay, seriously, if God created the universe without actually controlling it, what's the problem? Why would that be anti-deist?
Bob: It isn't a probelm, it is Deism. Which is kind of what I'm saying, if God does not interact with the universe then the Deists are (at least partly) correct. Not a problem.
quote:The perfection of the rules is superior to the perfection of the rule-giver.
Ludosti: I'm saying that the perfection of the rules is superior to that of the Creator, but that a perfect creator creates only perfect things. Perhaps this is something that you don't agree with, but if we take that defenition as standered (which of course you don't have to ) then that would mean that even the Creator could not break the rules he created or the rules would be proved imprefect.
I just realizied that may first response was actually pretty poorly thought out. I actually did think through this option of why my theory would be inccoret, and as I recall I decided that there was a way around it.....only I can't remember it now. <sheepish grin>. I'll think about this for a while and try to get that reason back.
I think you should take human beings apart from all other things in the universe. And consider human beings as the only (material) beings that have a free will that is boundless. All other things in the universe must obey the rules. They have limited choice within the rules. Human beings however are capable of breaking all the rules, thereby destroying the material world, the universe, to finally come to God and be set free.
Isn't that stereotype of Texas just that--a stereotype which very few Texans probably fit?
Sorry. I just HATE stereotyping by geographic region. When you point out that you live in Arkansas (which I do--on a farm), many people assume your IQ drops by about 50 points just with that admission. Thus, I understand how a lot of people in Texas must feel about that stereotype. Makes me want to pat poor little Texas on the head.
Besides, Dallas rules. ^_~ Awesome, very diverse city.
what if God was one of us? just a slob like some of us?
you know your first option and your second option could be interperted in the same way, it would just depend on what those rules were, no matter how descrete. if this perfect God did have a little mean streak (how are we to know what Godly perfection really entails), than suffering and pain would simply be part of these perfect rules. its like trying to figure out what Gods intention would be, God character. why would a perfect being create sentient life, have that life live in a paradise (debatable in these days, but the good definatly outweigh the bad. ) only to have them fear the inevitable death? death is part of this perfection?
God is perfect, so than everything God makes is perfect...even our doubt of perfection. we are always trying to see perfection as something better than ourselves, when God created us "in his image", so however we turned out was the perfect way.
if we are perfect then, then our actions are perfect, according to God, but maybe not to us. pain, suffering, death, is all part of perfection. if you theory goes on the basis on the ONE God, than you can't justify people acting horribly to another omnipotent (contradictory, i know) being trying to corrupt our souls. its all ONE God.
so it would eliminate non-deist religions (if i have the definition right), and it would also have to eliminate *human* perception of what perfection is.
Hobbes: “So if God created these rules, then they must be followed, or God would not have created perfect rules. However, that would require that something outside of the universe can not effect the universe or the rules would not be followed. So if God is independent of the universe, He can not effect it.”
If God created this universe, perfect or not, and we are in this universe, it is safe to say that we were created by God (this is a given I think you would agree with for arguments sake thus far); but if we were created by God, then as his creation can we accurately define what is possible within the scope of the supernatural? I mean, since we reside within the rules God prescribed…can we look out at God and distinguish what is perfect or not perfect, and what is possible or impossible? In short, can we define God’s rules with God’s own rules? That’s kind of like defining a word using that word, right? Thus, if our “perfect” God created these “perfect” rules, it is not outside reason (which again, is our innate ability to define the supernatural within natural terms) that God is able, and does, interact with His creation.
ginettet: “Human beings however are capable of breaking all the rules, thereby destroying the material world, the universe, to finally come to God and be set free.”
Beautifully spoken, but I must disagree. I don’t think human beings are capable of breaking all the rules, some maybe, but most certainly not all; nor are they capable of destroying the material world (in any form for that matter). Could you clarify something? You come across as saying that by destroying the material world we can come to God. Are you suggesting that by our own hands we can come to God? (just curious)
dr. manhattan: “God is perfect, so than everything God makes is perfect...even our doubt of perfection. we are always trying to see perfection as something better than ourselves, when God created us "in his image", so however we turned out was the perfect way.”
To use the human definition of perfect…why would a perfect God HAVE to create everything perfect? He wouldn’t loose His status as perfect, right? Could it be possible that God create something not so perfect, or better put as “open-ended”? (Considering He’s perfect, and thus has the initiative to choose whether or not his creation is at it’s finest) Shoot, for that matter, free-will itself is not perfect (rather, the ultimate “open-ended ness” due in no small part to it’s randomness. I do agree, though, that our societies limited view on perfection is just that, limited, and that you hit on a much larger idea on our perception of perfection.
I too am a pilgrim on this never-ending journey of truth. I do not, in any way, want to come across that my ideas, or rather theories, are absolute and all-inclusive, for they are surely not. (Although I leave the door open for a later date when they might just be, but hey, doesn’t everyone?) Since I am a newcomer here, and this is my first post (might as well get that right out) I am unsure of what formalities all of you bypass, so in short, I did not mean to offend but rather spur on a discussion that I would like to see continue.
My original theory is that since God created the laws of physical interaction, and God is perfect, the laws are perfect. Thus, any differentiation from these laws must lead to non-perfection; and if God is the one doing it he can’t really be perfect. Right?
Well in the intervening months between when I started this thread and now I’ve come to agree most with Jon Boy’s original post. Assuming a Christian type God exists (not necessarily Christian, but the same general idea of souls and whatnot) the laws of physics must be incomplete.
Physics models purely material interactions, meaning not only will it be unable to calculate the interaction between two spiritual entities (whatever that may mean) but also the interaction between the spiritual and the physical. If there are souls then that means that there must be some interaction between the two “dimensions” (the spiritual and the material). The part that is lacking from physics is the bridge between these two realities. Somehow our bodies must be controlled my exterior forces (since we’re assuming Christian like truths), thus there must be a way of transmitting spiritual decisions into physical forces.
Currently I think that the universe is discrete (see this thread) and that there are two stages to every time. A physical reaction stage and a spiritual “intervention” stage. The first being the common interaction between any two particles and the second being when spiritual decisions are taken into account in the physical process. For example, if some matter moves from point A to point B in “stage 1” and in stage 2 some spiritual force can cause it to move back. Not contradicting the laws of physics, just creating an extra step. I think of it like computer memory, the laws of the program dictate that certain memory must be set to certain values, but while a program is executing, changing the values of memory in between two steps in the program doesn’t create imperfection, merely gives new values for the program to evaluate.
Sorry, this isn’t really a response to you, but a clarification of where I stand now.
Hmmm, my best defenition is that a perfect solution is the best possible solution, not necessarily a solution that has no negative effects. That's what I think this universe is too, but that's another topic.
you and i are playing such different games that i am not sure i can even address that.
um, you know most of what i know about the game and you know where i am in the game. you know i could take up godlike powers and kingly riches at any time. why do you think i haven't?
Posts: 3956 | Registered: Jun 2001
| IP: Logged |
Hobbes: You clarified your position most generously, thank you. Although this seems almost directly opposite from your original standpoint that God does not intervene (or could not). Now you say that it is possible. Since we have now determined that it is possible for God to intervene, we must also agree that he does, in fact, intervene (or interact) with his creation. So I ask you, (and anyone else reading this thread), how much does God intervene? Is it safe to say that since this is His creation, and all rules, perfect or not (depending on your definition of perfection), he most definitely does interact with us (it, you, me, etc.) on any scale He deems worthy?
ae: I don’t think such words can be totally defined in our realm, since, like I said before, it would be like defining a word with itself. Perfection could mean totality (perfectly rounded) but that would mean God also embodies evil. This is a paradox, and I don’t believe it exists, so I don’t believe that perfection is complete total-ness (having position of all traits, characteristics, etc.) In essence, I don’t believe perfection can be defined. If you don’t mind me asking (more for curiosity sake than anything) what do you hope to gain from the answer to your question?
Again, as a disclaimer for those few who might think I hold the attitude that I am completely right, I don’t and I am not. I know just enough to know that I don’t know squat! But hey, maybe one day, and during that time I hope to learn a lot from my new Hatrackian family.
ae: Wait a sec, I hope I didn’t come across as saying that I think perfection is a meaningless word, because I don’t. But looking back, I guess one could draw that conclusion from what I wrote. I just think perfection is a word that we will not fully comprehend in this realm, but that does not mean we should not try to understand it. (did I answer your question?) Plus, I just think it’s down right fun
Celia60: Well, my thought was that if God created the universe in such a way that he could interact, but then never does, than it would have been pointless to create it that way in the first place. And if God created something pointless, then He would not be perfect (using my own definition here). Personally, I don’t think God does anything purposeless, or forgets to do something. (Although I am sure that thought could be widely debated, especially when it comes down to the question of, “then who created evil?” but I don’t think I’m qualified to jump into that one.) So, for me at least, since the possibility exists, God must have meant it to be there, and thus it is there for a reason (I assume that reason is for Him to use it). Or have I completely wondered off into left field here and adding 2 + 2 to get 22?
quote: In essence, I don’t believe perfection can be defined.
quote: And if God created something pointless, then He would not be perfect (using my own definition here).
I just don't see why anyone would build a system that would need intervention if they didn't have to to start with. Surely a perfect God would see this need and eliminate it in the system design. If he left it in, would it only be so that he would have to intervene? In that case, doesn't the system just exist so that he can play with it? I think that's just as pointless an existance.
Posts: 3956 | Registered: Jun 2001
| IP: Logged |
celia60: ::laughs at his own apparent inconsistency:: To clarify, (if I need to be), I don’t think it can be defined fully, although I try every day. (Many times failing). So, I’m an optimist ::shrugs:: what can a guy do.
Hmm, I never really thought of it that way before. But, I suppose, He probably created it to do just that…”play with it” as you so eloquently put it. Here again though, I don’t think I am qualified to jump into this discussion (even though I am now waist deep). Through my mind, it’s not even possible to figure out God’s intentions. But hey, I’m intrigued. You said “In that case, doesn't the system just exist so that he can play with it? I think that's just as pointless an existence.” Why do you think so?
((Side note - is it alright here at Hatrack to stray so far from the original subject in the thread?))
Posts: 52 | Registered: Aug 2003
| IP: Logged |
Ok, first note that I said "just as pointless" and not simply "pointless", as the difference I see would be the difference between watching a movie and playing a videogame. While both may provide a certain amount of amusement or distraction, do they really have more purpose than that? Especially to the being who created them? I'm sure that some forms of entertainment have other purposes, things to be learned from them, but what does a perfect being have to learn?
Posts: 3956 | Registered: Jun 2001
| IP: Logged |