1. Standard memberHalitose
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    21 Sep '05 21:061 edit
    Okay Tel. I see that other thread, "The Lords Name" has been hijacked beyond repair, therefore I've opened a new thread.

    In making my case, there are a few basic assumptions I want to address first.

    1. Why did God create humans?
    2. Why create a physical dimension? (nature)
    3. How did God's objectives fit within this world?
    4. What is evil?

    1. Why did God create humans?

    1. God wants eternal fellowship with humans.
    Therefore:
    2a. God needed to create beings that He could love.
    2b. God created beings that would likewise love Him in return.

    2. Why did God create a world(nature).

    I'm gonna stray off the one-liners here.

    The laws of Nature which operate in defiance of human suffering and exertion seem at first sight to supply a strong argument against the goodness and power of God.

    There is no reason to suppose that self-consciousness, the recognition of a being by itself as a "self", to exist except when contrasted with an "other"; a something that is not the self.

    This would create a difficulty about the consciousness of God if I were a mere theist, but as a Trinitarian I believe in something analogous to 'society' that exists within the Divine being from all eternity.

    The freedom of a creature must mean the freedom to choose; and choice implies the existance of things to choose between. A creature without an environment would have no choices to make, so that freedom again demands the presence to the self of something other than the self.

    The minimum condition of self consciousness and freedom then, would be that the creature should apprehend God, and therefore itself as distinct from God. It is possible that such a creature exists, aware only of God and itself. If so, its freedom is simply that of making a single choice - loving God more than the self, or the self more than God. Of course a life so reduced to essentials is quite unimaginable.

    As soon as we introduce the mutual knowledge of fellow-creatures, we run up against the necessity of "Nature".

    Its seems like nothing would be easier than for two minds to meet and become aware of each other. I, however contend that I see no possiblity of this except in a common medium, which forms their external world or environment (Nature). Even our vague attempts to imagine such a spiritual meeting surreptitiously slip in the idea, of at least, common space and common time, to give the co- in co-existance.

    If your thoughts and emotions were directly present to me, like my own, without a mark of externality or otherness, how would I distinguish them from my own? What thoughts and emotions could we begin to have without objects to think and feel about?

    Nature: the medium through which the "self" experiences the "other".

    3. How did God's objectives fit within this world?

    1. Assumption no.1
    2. Assumption no.2
    3. God created Humans for the purposes stated in 1 and therefore they required a free will. Fellowship also requires an element of love. Love, however would not exist without the freedom to choose. Without free will, the humans would be merely God-directed "robots". You can program your mobile phone to say:"I love you" when you switch it on, but it has just as much love for you as your toothbrush.

    4. What is evil?

    1. If God created man truly seperate and free to choose his own actions, then that very creative act allows the possibility of circumstances which God deems unacceptable.
    2. These cirsumstances deemed unacceptible by God are called evil.
    3. Hence, if anything other than God exists, then the possibility of evil must also exist.

    Therefore I contend that evil is in its essense a perversion of good.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The assumptions for now.
    Just my 2 cents, feel free to bash and rebut as you wish.
  2. Standard memberfrogstomp
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    21 Sep '05 22:55
    Originally posted by Halitose
    Okay Tel. I see that other thread, "The Lords Name" has been hijacked beyond repair, therefore I've opened a new thread.

    In making my case, there are a few basic assumptions I want to address first.

    1. Why did God create humans?
    2. Why create a physical dimension? (nature)
    3. How did God's objectives fit within this world?
    4. What is evil?
    ...[text shortened]... --------

    The assumptions for now.
    Just my 2 cents, feel free to bash and rebut as you wish.
    What I don't see is why the first 2 assumptions would be the starting point.
    Wouldn't they require prior assumptions of existentiality and causality?
    Conceding the former doesn't concede the latter. And both of these assumptions are needed before you can reach the points you start at. They might just as easily be non-Abelian propositions and that no creation occured and space, time, energy/matter and God are just instantiations of the nature of the universe.
  3. Standard memberHalitose
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    22 Sep '05 06:14
    Originally posted by frogstomp
    What I don't see is why the first 2 assumptions would be the starting point.
    Wouldn't they require prior assumptions of existentiality and causality?
    Conceding the former doesn't concede the latter. And both of these assumptions are needed before you can reach the points you start at. They might just as e ...[text shortened]... ce, time, energy/matter and God are just instantiations of the nature of the universe.
    You are quite right FS. I was actually continuing a discussion with Tel, and the 2 assumptions you stated were already a given.
  4. Standard memberOmnislash
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    22 Sep '05 07:14
    Originally posted by Halitose
    Okay Tel. I see that other thread, "The Lords Name" has been hijacked beyond repair, therefore I've opened a new thread.

    In making my case, there are a few basic assumptions I want to address first.

    1. Why did God create humans?
    2. Why create a physical dimension? (nature)
    3. How did God's objectives fit within this world?
    4. What is evil?
    ...[text shortened]... --------

    The assumptions for now.
    Just my 2 cents, feel free to bash and rebut as you wish.
    A well thought out post. Good job.
  5. Standard memberHalitose
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    22 Sep '05 07:24
    Originally posted by Omnislash
    A well thought out post. Good job.
    Thanks.
  6. Donationbbarr
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    22 Sep '05 08:462 edits
    Originally posted by Halitose
    Okay Tel. I see that other thread, "The Lords Name" has been hijacked beyond repair, therefore I've opened a new thread.

    In making my case, there are a few basic assumptions I want to address first.

    1. Why did God create humans?
    2. Why create a physical dimension? (nature)
    3. How did God's objectives fit within this world?
    4. What is evil?
    ...[text shortened]... --------

    The assumptions for now.
    Just my 2 cents, feel free to bash and rebut as you wish.
    So, in essence, your point is as follows:

    God created humanity so that a loving relationship could obtain.

    A loving relationship can obtain if and only if the loving parties can freely choose to love one another.

    The freedom of choice required for a loving relationship does not merely extend to the choice of loving or not, but to the choice as to do good or evil.

    So, humanity necessarily has the freedom of choice to do good or evil.

    So, if one seeks to explain the existence of evil in the world, and reconcile this evil with the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient and morally perfect God, one should look towards the free choices made by humanity.

    So, there is an explanation of evil consistent with the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient and morally perfect God.


    Is that about right?

    If this is an accurate reconstruction of your thought, then, off the top of my head, here are some apparent problems:

    First, I see no reason to think that having the property of being free to choose whether to love God entails having the unrestricted property of being free to choose to do evil. It may entail having the property to freely reject God, and God may take this as an evil, but this does not entail that one have the property of being able to freely choose to rape or murder.

    Second, even if having the property of being free to choose whether to love God entails having the unrestricted property of being free to choose to do evil, this does not entail that God has no moral obligation to prevent evil. After all, one may freely choose to do evil and be unsuccessful. Suppose I come across a rape in progress. Suppose I physically disable the attacker, thus preventing the rape. I have not thereby prevented the attacker from freely choosing to engage in raping. I have merely prevented the attacker from successfully raping the victim. So, it is completely consistent with humanity being able to choose to do evil that God intervene so as to prevent evil. In short, it is not a necessary condition on freely willing X that one not be prevented from succeeding at X.

    Third, human beings have, as an empirical fact, particular characters. For instance, I happen to be much less compassionate by nature than my saintly older sister. We both have the ability to freely choose to do good or evil, yet, as a matter of fact, my sister's character is such that she chooses evil much less often than I do. So, God could have imbued each human with a character more like my sister's than mine. This would, as a matter of fact, reduce the amount of evil in the world while being consistent with our all having wills that are free. Yet, God did not create all human beings with such a character. So, God was morally negligent in his creation of humanity.

    Fourth, the explanation you provide (a version of the "free will theodicy" ) only serves (if successful) as an answer to question of why there exists evil in the world perpetrated by humans. This overlooks all sorts of natural evil (e.g., the massive suffering brought about due to purely natural causes, such as that resulting from tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, viral infections, etc.). This sort of badness in the world cannot be attributed to the free choice of humans, and hence your points above do not suffice as explanations of this sort of natural badness. Of course, you may respond that this sort of natural badness was the direct result of a free choice made in the garden of Eden. If so, then you will be committed to the claim that it is morally permissible for God to punish the descendants of a person for that person's trespasses. But this is anathema to our moral intuitions. Suppose you stole my wallet, and I not only beat you up for stealing my wallet, but I beat up your whole family, your children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews... You would take such collective punishment to be evidence against the claim that I was morally good. It would be inconsistent to fail to infer the same about God. Of course, you could claim that when it comes to God, our normal moral intutions do not apply. If so, then you are, in effect, claiming that the terms we use in moral discourse mean different things when talking about God. But if this is your claim, then why should anybody care when you claim that God is good? After all, if "good" means something different when applied to God, then we have no reason to think that God's being "good" is actually morally important.

    Best,

    Bennett
  7. Standard memberOmnislash
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    22 Sep '05 09:16
    Originally posted by bbarr
    So, in essence, your point is as follows:

    [b]God created humanity so that a loving relationship could obtain.

    A loving relationship can obtain if and only if the loving parties can freely choose to love one another.

    The freedom of choice required for a loving relationship does not merely extend to the choice of loving or not, but to the choice as to d ...[text shortened]... no reason to think that God's being "good" is actually morally important.

    Best,

    Bennett
    I am having flashbacks from Aug. of 03' where we had a similar conversation. I am curious how Halitose will answer you.

    He he, you know, that was one of the most valuable conversations on theology I have ever had. Not for the answers, but rather for the questions. 😉

    Best Regards,
    Omnislash
  8. Donationbbarr
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    22 Sep '05 09:30
    Originally posted by Omnislash
    I am having flashbacks from Aug. of 03' where we had a similar conversation. I am curious how Halitose will answer you.

    He he, you know, that was one of the most valuable conversations on theology I have ever had. Not for the answers, but rather for the questions. 😉

    Best Regards,
    Omnislash
    For people of faith, the answers do not matter until the questions gestate sufficiently. When the questions gestate sufficiently, one is directly confronted with the mystery. When one is directly confronted with the mystery, one no longer feels the need to proselytize, because one stops second guessing the divine.

    Best to you and yours,

    Bennett
  9. Standard memberOmnislash
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    22 Sep '05 09:36
    Originally posted by bbarr
    For people of faith, the answers do not matter until the questions gestate sufficiently. When the questions gestate sufficiently, one is directly confronted with the mystery. When one is directly confronted with the mystery, one no longer feels the need to proselytize, because one stops second guessing the divine.

    Best to you and yours,

    Bennett
    Precisely and thank you. 🙂
  10. London
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    22 Sep '05 09:482 edits
    Originally posted by bbarr
    So, in essence, your point is as follows:

    [b]God created humanity so that a loving relationship could obtain.

    A loving relationship can obtain if and only if the loving parties can freely choose to love one another.

    The freedom of choice required for a loving relationship does not merely extend to the choice of loving or not, but to the choice as to d ...[text shortened]... eason to think that God's being "good" is actually morally important.

    Best,

    Bennett
    [/b]
    First, I see no reason to think that having the property of being free to choose whether to love God entails having the unrestricted property of being free to choose to do evil.

    The act of loving God also entails loving His Creation. In order to be truly free to love God, one must also be free to love His Creation. Conversely, in order to be truly free to reject God, one must also be free to do those acts that would be displeasing to God - including violating His Creation. This does not make the act any less evil (because 'evil' is defined in terms of acting against the love of and for God).

    Second, even if having the property of being free to choose whether to love God entails having the unrestricted property of being free to choose to do evil, this does not entail that God has no moral obligation to prevent evil.

    I've already responded to this in the GAFE-II thread.

    Third, human beings have, as an empirical fact, particular characters. For instance, I happen to be much less compassionate by nature than my saintly older sister. We both have the ability to freely choose to do good or evil, yet, as a matter of fact, my sister's character is such that she chooses evil much less often than I do.

    Several points:

    1. Human character, as empirically observed fact, stems from their choices and actions. It does not imply that it is intrinsically easier for good people to choose good (at least initially) than evil people.

    2. People usually find it easier to continue a course of action once they've embarked on it. So, in a way, your sister's continued propensity to choose good is as much the result of her past choices (making it easier for herself in the present) as anything else.

    3. The problem you've raised would, if true, apply to any ethical theory which assumes that human beings have free will.

    Fourth, the explanation you provide (a version of the "free will theodicy" ) only serves (if successful) as an answer to question of why there exists evil in the world perpetrated by humans. This overlooks all sorts of natural evil ... Of course, you may respond that this sort of natural badness was the direct result of a free choice made in the garden of Eden. If so, then you will be committed to the claim that it is morally permissible for God to punish the descendants of a person for that person's trespasses.

    In a "judge" model of God, you would come to that conclusion. I take a different view. Man had dominion (both "legal" and spiritual) over Nature in Eden. Any act of self-violence committed by him would be reflected in Nature as well. Further, any act of evil committed since would also be reflected in Nature - because humans still have dominion over it. So, rather than the two-step process of "man offends, God punishes, man suffers" it is a one-step process of "man sins, man suffers" that we see in natural evil as well.

    EDIT: I like to think of vistesd's image of us as fish swimming in the ocean in this context. Our actions can, and will, cause ripples that can have minor or major effects on other "fish" everywhere.
  11. London
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    22 Sep '05 09:50
    Originally posted by bbarr
    For people of faith, the answers do not matter until the questions gestate sufficiently. When the questions gestate sufficiently, one is directly confronted with the mystery. When one is directly confronted with the mystery, one no longer feels the need to proselytize, because one stops second guessing the divine.

    Best to you and yours,

    Bennett
    When one is directly confronted with the mystery, one no longer feels the need to proselytize

    I beg to differ. When a person directly encounters Truth, it is human nature to let everyone know about it - an act that is called "publishing" in the scientific world and "proselytising" in the religious.
  12. Donationbbarr
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    22 Sep '05 10:182 edits
    Originally posted by lucifershammer
    [b]First, I see no reason to think that having the property of being free to choose whether to love God entails having the unrestricted property of being free to choose to do evil.

    The act of loving God also entails loving His Creation. In order to be truly free to love God, one must also be free to love His Creation. Conversely, in orde ...[text shortened]... can, and will, cause ripples that can have minor or major effects on other "fish" everywhere.[/b]
    The act of loving God also entails loving His Creation. In order to be truly free to love God, one must also be free to love His Creation. Conversely, in order to be truly free to reject God, one must also be free to do those acts that would be displeasing to God - including violating His Creation. This does not make the act any less evil (because 'evil' is defined in terms of acting against the love of and for God).

    No, loving God does not entail loving his creation, unless you take God to be identical to His creation. If so, then loving God entails loving everything about His creation. If so, then loving God entails loving things like pestilence, disease and starvation. Further, you have provided no reason for thinking that the ability to freely love God necessarily brings with it the ability to choose to do any sort of evil. So, the ability to choose to love God does not necessarily bring with it the ability to freely choose to commit rape or murder.

    I've already responded to this in the GAFE-II thread.

    Yes, and I’ve already pointed out repeatedly your rudimentary logical error in that thread.

    Several points:

    1. Human character, as empirically observed fact, stems from their choices and actions. It does not imply that it is intrinsically easier for good people to choose good (at least initially) than evil people.


    No, this is false. Human character stems from genetic endowment, uterine environment, early experience, and the feedback from choices and actions. Many of the factors that determine character do not result from choices and action, and are such that God could tailor them so as to make it less likely that one freely choose evil

    2. People usually find it easier to continue a course of action once they've embarked on it. So, in a way, your sister's continued propensity to choose good is as much the result of her past choices (making it easier for herself in the present) as anything else.

    Follow the regress back. My sister’s past choices can explain, in part, her current choices, but her past choices themselves are in need of explanation. At the end of the regress one finds purely causal factors; factors God could influence without violating her freedom of the will, and factors God could influence in humanity at large.

    3. The problem you've raised would, if true, apply to any ethical theory which assumes that human beings have free will.

    Yep, but since other ethical theories do not postulate the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient and morally perfect God, there is an extra problem facing the theist here.

    In a "judge" model of God, you would come to that conclusion. I take a different view. Man had dominion (both "legal" and spiritual) over Nature in Eden. Any act of self-violence committed by him would be reflected in Nature as well. Further, any act of evil committed since would also be reflected in Nature - because humans still have dominion over it. So, rather than the two-step process of "man offends, God punishes, man suffers" it is a one-step process of "man sins, man suffers" that we see in natural evil as well.

    First, if man had dominion both legal and spiritual dominion over Eden, then God has no right to cast man from Eden. Second, God had it within his power to ensure that the transgression in Eden would not result in harm befalling those innocent of the transgression. Third, the assertion that it is something like a natural law that “man offends, man suffers”, ignores that God is causally responsible for the obtaining of said law and that God could have restricted the application of the law only to those morally responsible for the transgression. In short, God engages in unjust collective punishment, and hence is morally negligent.

    EDIT: The problem with the analogy is that God is disanalogous to fluid dynamics. God can choose which "ripples" effect which "fishes".
  13. Donationbbarr
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    22 Sep '05 10:19
    Originally posted by lucifershammer
    [b]When one is directly confronted with the mystery, one no longer feels the need to proselytize

    I beg to differ. When a person directly encounters Truth, it is human nature to let everyone know about it - an act that is called "publishing" in the scientific world and "proselytising" in the religious.[/b]
    This is because you think, in error, that the mystery is effable.
  14. Standard memberfrogstomp
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    22 Sep '05 11:12
    Originally posted by Halitose
    You are quite right FS. I was actually continuing a discussion with Tel, and the 2 assumptions you stated were already a given.
    I'm so sad right now.
    I was about to post all the universal answers to your fundamental questions and needed only one definition from webster's online and the pop-up there froze my I.E.
    🙁
    that forced me to close it and I lost the post with all the Truth explained in a manner that only the Spirit could have inspired 🙁
  15. Standard memberHalitose
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    22 Sep '05 12:40
    Originally posted by frogstomp
    I'm so sad right now.
    I was about to post all the universal answers to your fundamental questions and needed only one definition from webster's online and the pop-up there froze my I.E.
    🙁
    that forced me to close it and I lost the post with all the Truth explained in a manner that only the Spirit could have inspired 🙁
    :'( Darn
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