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NuttyKaks

What does God look like?

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Karasu

What does God look like? I've always wondered this question. Anyone have any good theories? :unsure2:

(Atheists, I already know what you'll say... I've already heard it billions of times that God doesn't exist. Just don't post it please. Thanks...)

http://thechive.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/ron-swanson-3.jpg

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Jeanne dArc

Why should I? I am not that fallacious to appeal to authorities whom I cannot feed back. If you have read them, you must know. So, give me yourself an answer to my question or admit you don't know.

Um... you should because they can explain the concepts far better than I can. It's not an argument from authority, it's a plea to go and actually listen to the experts in this particular field: I'm a biologist, I don't do physics, etc. I have some understanding, but they can explain things far more eloquently than I ever could. Reluctance to listen to them because you insist that for some reason I have to explain it to you personally is simply ludicrous. Answers don't have to be given directly, Ben: I can give you a book for you to read rather than reciting it to you myself, that's a far more prudent method. Sorta why books and such were invented, haha

I don't personally have the time, knowledge, or stamina to present every little answer to every little question you might have: but fortunately in this case, I know where you can go to get some of it, without having to directly give it to you. I admit I don't know everything, certainly not about physics: shocker :lol: Neither do you. But I have enough understanding to actually comprehend, for the most part, what the people who are experts on the subject. Again: Krauss, Kaku, Hawking. Your insistence that I do all the legwork of reciting what they've already said is baffling: just listen to them, haha

Because the universe is made out of caused elements. If the Primal Cause was caused, It could no longer be the Primal Cause and, the universe cannot be composed of only caused elements without a cause.

I did not say that the "primal cause" was caused: that's an oxymoron.

Are you part of the universe or are you not? Have been caused or have you not? How can the universe be composed of caused parts and be uncaused itself? I think you have a hard time to understand Logic.

Haha, I think you are in fact the one struggling with logic here :lol: But then, that doesn't really get us anywhere.

I have been caused. The universe as a whole contains things that have been caused. That does not indicate by any means that the universe itself was necessarily caused. A container needn't be comparable to its contents.

In any case, your rigid focus on causality is unwarranted and pointless: if there was a "primal cause", it has not been identified (though the pre-Big Bang singularity is the strongest candidate, bar none). You don't seem to account for the physics of retrocausality, which may be a part of our universe as well.

Please, explain what you know about singularity and I will tell you how much it is related to matter.

Um... okay?

A singularity is roughly defined as an infinitely small point of zero dimensions inside of which physics as we understand it breaks down utterly and ceases to apply. That's a very rough definition, but yeah.

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Ben Masada
Um... you should because they can explain the concepts far better than I can. It's not an argument from authority, it's a plea to go and actually listen to the experts in this particular field: I'm a biologist, I don't do physics, etc. I have some understanding, but they can explain things far more eloquently than I ever could. Reluctance to listen to them because you insist that for some reason I have to explain it to you personally is simply ludicrous. Answers don't have to be given directly, Ben: I can give you a book for you to read rather than reciting it to you myself, that's a far more prudent method. Sorta why books and such were invented, haha

You have read the book, haven't you? Yes. So share with me what you have comprehended from it. Never mind the lack of expertise. If you were interested to learn some thing from the Bible, I would not send you to it but would explain to you what I comprehend from it. That 's what enhances discussions.

I don't personally have the time, knowledge, or stamina to present every little answer to every little question you might have: but fortunately in this case, I know where you can go to get some of it, without having to directly give it to you. I admit I don't know everything, certainly not about physics: shocker :lol: Neither do you. But I have enough understanding to actually comprehend, for the most part, what the people who are experts on the subject. Again: Krauss, Kaku, Hawking. Your insistence that I do all the legwork of reciting what they've already said is baffling: just listen to them, haha

That's what I have implied above. The forum medium is the right place to discuss what we know and to learn what we lack as an expert.

I did not say that the "primal cause" was caused: that's an oxymoron.

Indeed it is. But the question is almost in every atheistic mind when they feel cornered.

Haha, I think you are in fact the one struggling with logic here :lol: But then, that doesn't really get us anywhere. I have been caused. The universe as a whole contains things that have been caused. That does not indicate by any means that the universe itself was necessarily caused. A container needn't be comparable to its contents.

Would you be able to give me an example of some thing in the universe which has not been caused? If the universe itself was not caused why would it take a cosmologist of the size of Carl Sagan to declare in his book "Cosmos" that the big bang caused the beginning of the universe? If the universe had a beginning, it was caused since it could not have caused itself to exist.

In any case, your rigid focus on causality is unwarranted and pointless: if there was a "primal cause", it has not been identified (though the pre-Big Bang singularity is the strongest candidate, bar none). You don't seem to account for the physics of retrocausality, which may be a part of our universe as well.

You have all the right in the world to take my understanding of the concept of Causality as pointless if you can provide me with an option. Retrocausality to me is the same as Causality because the only direction Causality takes is retroactively. Retrocausality is not part of our universe but a concept to describe a universal process.

Um... okay? A singularity is roughly defined as an infinitely small point of zero dimensions inside of which physics as we understand it breaks down utterly and ceases to apply. That's a very rough definition, but yeah.

Then, that singularity inflated itself up to the point of an explosion that became known as the big bang? And since the big bang it has been in the process of expansion to this day? Don't you see this as akin to Science fiction? Truly, does this make any sense to you? What you are saying is no different from "creation ex nihilo."

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Jeanne dArc

You have read the book, haven't you? Yes. So share with me what you have comprehended from it. Never mind the lack of expertise. If you were interested to learn some thing from the Bible, I would not send you to it but would explain to you what I comprehend from it. That 's what enhances discussions.

That's what I have implied above. The forum medium is the right place to discuss what we know and to learn what we lack as an expert.

And I've described a small part of it. Much like I would do if I were explaining part of the Bible though, I give you my own abbreviated interpretation, and then direct you to the actual text. Same here.

Indeed it is. But the question is almost in every atheistic mind when they feel cornered.

Hardly, haha :rolleyes:

Would you be able to give me an example of some thing in the universe which has not been caused? If the universe itself was not caused why would it take a cosmologist of the size of Carl Sagan to declare in his book "Cosmos" that the big bang caused the beginning of the universe? If the universe had a beginning, it was caused since it could not have caused itself to exist.

Sagan did not state that the Big Bang "caused" the universe: the Big Bang was simply the beginning of the macroscopic universe. Yes, the universe could indeed have "caused itself to exist": your assertion that it could not is simply unfounded.

You have all the right in the world to take my understanding of the concept of Causality as pointless if you can provide me with an option. Retrocausality to me is the same as Causality because the only direction Causality takes is retroactively. Retrocausality is not part of our universe but a concept to describe a universal process.

You're aware what retrocausality is, yes? Reverse causality: effect preceding cause. According to some models, antimatter behaves retrocausally.

Then, that singularity inflated itself up to the point of an explosion that became known as the big bang? And since the big bang it has been in the process of expansion to this day? Don't you see this as akin to Science fiction? Truly, does this make any sense to you? What you are saying is no different from "creation ex nihilo."

The Big Bang was not an "explosion". And no, it is not "akin to science fiction", in any respect: because there is irrefutable evidence of it. And no, it is not akin to "creatio ex nihilo" either: because where "creatio ex nihilo" suggests the existence of absolute nothingness prior to the Big Bang, our modern cosmology need not make such assumptions of absolute nothing. Quantum mechanics and gravity are quite sufficient to allow the universe to create itself.

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DieChecker

New International Version

Hebrews 13:8

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."

People like to say this about God also. I wonder if the same is true of the Universe? Will the Universe always be the same Universe? If so, then couldn't the God of 4000 years ago be the same God as today?

The Universe has changed enormously over time, and so has God seemingly. The Universe will continue to expand/grow, and so will God. What is true today might be changed by God tomorrow.

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Jeanne dArc

New International Version

Hebrews 13:8

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."

People like to say this about God also. I wonder if the same is true of the Universe? Will the Universe always be the same Universe? If so, then couldn't the God of 4000 years ago be the same God as today?

The Universe has changed enormously over time, and so has God seemingly. The Universe will continue to expand/grow, and so will God. What is true today might be changed by God tomorrow.

Wait, so what are you saying? What it sounds like it that you're saying that God is "the same" eternally: which somehow therefore means that he's changed over time? I honestly don't know what you're trying to say: but on the face of it, it sounds like a colossal contradiction.

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Paranoid Android

Wait, so what are you saying? What it sounds like it that you're saying that God is "the same" eternally: which somehow therefore means that he's changed over time? I honestly don't know what you're trying to say: but on the face of it, it sounds like a colossal contradiction.

Allow me an anlogy, Jeanne. You weren't replying to me but I'd like to respond anyway. Today is Wednesday. If I get called in to work tomorrow I'll be having an early night. Let's say my friend gives me a call and asks me to go to the pub for a few beers tonight. I'd say "no". Two days from now it's Friday. On Friday night my friend might call me up and ask me to go for a few beers. Since Saturday is the weekend there's every chance I may say "yes".

Now, the question is - have I changed in the two scenarios? I'm still the same person, albeit two days later. The only reasonable thing that has changed is the circumstances. A question is asked on both days - "do you want to catch up for beers at the pub"? But because the situation is different I respond differently.

So when we think of God, the universe thousands of years ago was one situation. The universe 2000 years ago was another situation. And the universe in the 21st Century is yet again another situation. Does God acting and reacting differently today than two thousand years ago and differently again four thousand years ago mean that God has changed? Or has the situation changed? God is still the same today as yesterday as tomorrow and forever, but his actions are different because the situations are different.

Does that clarify things?

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Jeanne dArc

Allow me an anlogy, Jeanne. You weren't replying to me but I'd like to respond anyway. Today is Wednesday. If I get called in to work tomorrow I'll be having an early night. Let's say my friend gives me a call and asks me to go to the pub for a few beers tonight. I'd say "no". Two days from now it's Friday. On Friday night my friend might call me up and ask me to go for a few beers. Since Saturday is the weekend there's every chance I may say "yes".

Now, the question is - have I changed in the two scenarios? I'm still the same person, albeit two days later. The only reasonable thing that has changed is the circumstances. A question is asked on both days - "do you want to catch up for beers at the pub"? But because the situation is different I respond differently.

So when we think of God, the universe thousands of years ago was one situation. The universe 2000 years ago was another situation. And the universe in the 21st Century is yet again another situation. Does God acting and reacting differently today than two thousand years ago and differently again four thousand years ago mean that God has changed? Or has the situation changed? God is still the same today as yesterday as tomorrow and forever, but his actions are different because the situations are different.

Does that clarify things?

A bit. Alas, if I'm asked the same question (for example, whether I think beer is good or bad; or something similar), you can expect the same answer. True, I can change my mind over time perhaps, because I am not omniscient: can the same be said of God? An omniscient being cannot learn, and thus cannot change its mind, unless its views are purely arbitrary. So if 4000 years ago, God said that genocide was good, 2000 years ago said that it was probably not so good, and 2000 years after that decides that he's firmly against it: what has happened? Has an allegedly omniscient, eternally-consistent god changed its mind? Or have the minds of the people who invented him simply changed over time? God should not be able to change his mind. People, on the other hand, can.

Edited by Jeanne dArc

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Paranoid Android

A bit. Alas, if I'm asked the same question (for example, whether I think beer is good or bad; or something similar), you can expect the same answer. True, I can change my mind over time perhaps, because I am not omniscient: can the same be said of God? An omniscient being cannot learn, and thus cannot change its mind, unless its views are purely arbitrary. So if 4000 years ago, God said that genocide was good, 2000 years ago said that it was probably not so good, and 2000 years after that decides that he's firmly against it: what has happened? Has an allegedly omniscient, eternally-consistent god changed its mind? Or have the minds of the people who invented him simply changed over time? God should not be able to change his mind. People, on the other hand, can.

I made no mention in my analogy of people changing their mind. I certainly didn't say whether beer was good or not (though I certainly love a schooner or ten every now and then) or whether I'll ever feel differently about it. What I said was that the situation changed. On Wednesday I wouldn't go to the pub because tomorrow could easily be a work day if I get a call early tomorrow morning (and when I get a permanent placement it WILL be a work day). Friday is different, Saturday is not a work day so what I choose to do on Friday is easily very different to what I'd choose on Wednesday. Even on Wednesday there are exceptions. In Australia, we hold the Rugby League State of Origin matches on Wednesdays (there are three games every year). On these three Wednesday I could easily make an exception to the "no pub" rule and deal with the pain on Thursday morning. At no point in any of this am I changing. The circumstances are changing, and therefore I act differently depending on that.

So to go to your comments on genocide, firstly I'd like to point out that God never (as far as I know) says that genocide is "good". What he does say is that Judgement is necessary and that at that time in history, his commands to bring such judgement to others are necessary at that time. Four thousand years ago, such judgements were necessary for God to complete his plans - the Hebrews were his chosen people to (among other things) bring forth the Messiah, thus when nations tempted the Hebrews away from their path of destiny and into worship of false gods, God brought judgement on them and intervened to bring the Hebrews back on the path that he wants for them. His plans became complete two thousand years ago when the promised Messiah did come, and therefore now he has no need to act in the way he did before. God has not changed a bit, he is still the same. But the circumstances are different. It's not about "learning" new things, it's about circumstances and how a being like God can act differently at one point in history than he does in another and it is not in any way a matter of God changing. Just like I can act differently on Wednesday as I would on Friday and still remain essentially the same person.

Now, does that clarify the clarification?

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Jeanne dArc

I made no mention in my analogy of people changing their mind. I certainly didn't say whether beer was good or not (though I certainly love a schooner or ten every now and then) or whether I'll ever feel differently about it. What I said was that the situation changed. On Wednesday I wouldn't go to the pub because tomorrow could easily be a work day if I get a call early tomorrow morning (and when I get a permanent placement it WILL be a work day). Friday is different, Saturday is not a work day so what I choose to do on Friday is easily very different to what I'd choose on Wednesday. Even on Wednesday there are exceptions. In Australia, we hold the Rugby League State of Origin matches on Wednesdays (there are three games every year). On these three Wednesday I could easily make an exception to the "no pub" rule and deal with the pain on Thursday morning. At no point in any of this am I changing. The circumstances are changing, and therefore I act differently depending on that.

So to go to your comments on genocide, firstly I'd like to point out that God never (as far as I know) says that genocide is "good". What he does say is that Judgement is necessary and that at that time in history, his commands to bring such judgement to others are necessary at that time. Four thousand years ago, such judgements were necessary for God to complete his plans - the Hebrews were his chosen people to (among other things) bring forth the Messiah, thus when nations tempted the Hebrews away from their path of destiny and into worship of false gods, God brought judgement on them and intervened to bring the Hebrews back on the path that he wants for them. His plans became complete two thousand years ago when the promised Messiah did come, and therefore now he has no need to act in the way he did before. God has not changed a bit, he is still the same. But the circumstances are different. It's not about "learning" new things, it's about circumstances and how a being like God can act differently at one point in history than he does in another and it is not in any way a matter of God changing. Just like I can act differently on Wednesday as I would on Friday and still remain essentially the same person.

Now, does that clarify the clarification?

As for the "good" or "bad" thing, it would perhaps be simpler to say that at the very least, God at some time regarded genocide as acceptable, whether or not he found it truly good. All the same, he never forbade it, or made any indication that he found it disagreeable: quite the contrary.

In any case: surely an omnipotent, omniscient being would be smart enough to find some way of bringing about his Messiah without genocide? Better yet: dispose of the idiotic "savior" plan, think of something better. If forgiveness is not possible on its own (why not?), why develop such a convoluted and implausible scheme as the alleged "Messiah"? On that point: if he knows everything, the future included, then he clearly knew that the circumstances would be such that he would demand genocide. Given his omnipotence, he would have had the power to cause the circumstances to be otherwise, yet he did not. Ultimately that really does come back to a sort of "predetermination" versus "free will" conversation. If God created the universe and knows its entire history intrinsically, beginning to end, then presumably everything which transpires within it is his intent: if not everything within it is to his liking, why is that? If he is omnipotent and wants all to be according to his ultimate will, then he should have no difficulty achieving such a state. Unless he does not desire that things happen according to his will.

There is also of course the hypothesis that God is an evil entity, desiring destruction and mayhem: an explanation which frankly works better for your given scenarios than a benevolent god does.

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Paranoid Android

You're right, Jeanne, God could have done it different. But he didn't. I don't know why, and considering the theology of Christianity, I can't see how God couldn't have done it without a saviour figure. But that's really a different question than the one you asked. The question is about whether God changed. I've answered that and shown that while circumstances change and therefore God's actions can change without fundamentally changing the nature of that God, I'm not going to keep going on about what you think God should or should not have done differently, and once that's discussed to something else again, so I'll just leave it there, I've explained my point.

Best wishes,

~ Regards, PA

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Jeanne dArc

You're right, Jeanne, God could have done it different. But he didn't. I don't know why, and considering the theology of Christianity, I can't see how God couldn't have done it without a saviour figure. But that's really a different question than the one you asked. The question is about whether God changed. I've answered that and shown that while circumstances change and therefore God's actions can change without fundamentally changing the nature of that God, I'm not going to keep going on about what you think God should or should not have done differently, and once that's discussed to something else again, so I'll just leave it there, I've explained my point.

Best wishes,

~ Regards, PA

True enough, that was a bit of a tangent. I maintain that God's alleged omniscience and omnipotence make any attempted comparison to human nature implausible at best: for the views or behavior of a being possessing such extreme qualities to change, regardless of circumstance, would appear to be illogical, at best.

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J. K.

Don't forget that God exists in a higher dimension than our own. It may not be that God changed His mind, but rather we're seeing parts of His plan that we didn't see before. A finite human cannot fully understand an infinite God.

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DieChecker

Wait, so what are you saying? What it sounds like it that you're saying that God is "the same" eternally: which somehow therefore means that he's changed over time? I honestly don't know what you're trying to say: but on the face of it, it sounds like a colossal contradiction.

I think Android set out a good example. What God desires to happen depends on the context. Yet He is the same being. Each choice would be made the same in that same TIME and place.

True enough, that was a bit of a tangent. I maintain that God's alleged omniscience and omnipotence make any attempted comparison to human nature implausible at best: for the views or behavior of a being possessing such extreme qualities to change, regardless of circumstance, would appear to be illogical, at best.

Since humans are not omniscient and omnipotent, we really can't say what is possible and not possible for such a being. At least that is the argument from logic.

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Jeanne dArc

Don't forget that God exists in a higher dimension than our own. It may not be that God changed His mind, but rather we're seeing parts of His plan that we didn't see before. A finite human cannot fully understand an infinite God.

Where in the Bible does it say that?

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Jeanne dArc

I think Android set out a good example. What God desires to happen depends on the context. Yet He is the same being. Each choice would be made the same in that same TIME and place.

But can an omniscient being really make a choice? It is possible for an almighty, all-knowing entity to make choices, other than entirely arbitrary ones? Logically, no. Hence the problem.

Since humans are not omniscient and omnipotent, we really can't say what is possible and not possible for such a being. At least that is the argument from logic.

Actually, we can: by definition, everything should be possible for an omnipotent, omniscient being. Granted, those concepts are logically impossible, but the definitions of the concepts are quite straightforward.

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DieChecker

But can an omniscient being really make a choice? It is possible for an almighty, all-knowing entity to make choices, other than entirely arbitrary ones? Logically, no. Hence the problem.

A computer does just that. It takes input data, and computes billions of numbers per second and gives out results based on the input data. God takes what is happening and automatically (Just like an "IF -> THEN" statement) moves toward a result. The exception to this is when people pray, God will sometimes take that input and alter the result from what normally would happen.

God only makes choices when people ask Him to. Otherwise things move automatically based on the where, when and who. Birds fly, fish swim, rain falls..... People fight, disease spread, lies are told....

Actually, we can: by definition, everything should be possible for an omnipotent, omniscient being. Granted, those concepts are logically impossible, but the definitions of the concepts are quite straightforward.

Can a person chose to stick their hand into a fire, or cut off their own fingers, or drink poison? How can they if it will hurt them or kill them? God has the ability to ignore His omniscience in any situation He requires. Even if it allows for Evil, or harm to come to people, or nations.

Edited by DieChecker

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Jeanne dArc

A computer does just that. It takes input data, and computes billions of numbers per second and gives out results based on the input data. God takes what is happening and automatically (Just like an "IF -> THEN" statement) moves toward a result. The exception to this is when people pray, God will sometimes take that input and alter the result from what normally would happen.

God only makes choices when people ask Him to. Otherwise things move automatically based on the where, when and who. Birds fly, fish swim, rain falls..... People fight, disease spread, lies are told....

Interesting, because at the moment, computers don't have consciousness. Perhaps they will eventually, but they will cease to be simply computing machines at that point. So is your god simply a mindless force that reacts to the universe's changes like a machine? That doesn't sound much like the god of the Bible. Nor does a god that only makes choices when prompted.

Can a person chose to stick their hand into a fire, or cut off their own fingers, or drink poison? How can they if it will hurt them or kill them? God has the ability to ignore His omniscience in any situation He requires. Even if it allows for Evil, or harm to come to people, or nations.

If your god can willingly ignore omniscience and omnipotence, and thus allow evil to exist, then your god is evil. There is no way around that, logically. If your god is willing to allow evil to exist, even though he ought to have all the knowledge and power needed to prevent it, then what causes him to allow it? This decision must be either arbitrary or malevolent.

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Paranoid Android

Interesting, because at the moment, computers don't have consciousness. Perhaps they will eventually, but they will cease to be simply computing machines at that point. So is your god simply a mindless force that reacts to the universe's changes like a machine? That doesn't sound much like the god of the Bible. Nor does a god that only makes choices when prompted.

I wouldn't describe God like a computer, so I suppose I'm in agreement with you on this point.

If your god can willingly ignore omniscience and omnipotence, and thus allow evil to exist, then your god is evil. There is no way around that, logically. If your god is willing to allow evil to exist, even though he ought to have all the knowledge and power needed to prevent it, then what causes him to allow it? This decision must be either arbitrary or malevolent.

Your whole premise here leans on the assumption that if God exists and cares for us then he would remove all evil from the world. This is further propped up by the assumption that God wants us to be happy and healthy in this life, 100% of the time.

What if that assumption is in error? After all, Jesus died a painful death, if it seemed necessary to God that his own son should suffer horribly and die then perhaps he has a different view beyond basic humanism on the nature of evil and suffering. To paraphrase, what good is it to a person to gain the whole world but forfeit his soul?

Edited by Paranoid Android

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Jeanne dArc

Your whole premise here leans on the assumption that if God exists and cares for us then he would remove all evil from the world. This is further propped up by the assumption that God wants us to be happy and healthy in this life, 100% of the time.

What if that assumption is in error? After all, Jesus died a painful death, if it seemed necessary to God that his own son should suffer horribly and die then perhaps he has a different view beyond basic humanism on the nature of evil and suffering. To paraphrase, what good is it to a person to gain the whole world but forfeit his soul?

That premise is rather predicated on the notion that there is a soul, and that what is good to the body is apparently detrimental somehow to that soul. Jesus is said to have died a painful death, but as an alleged sacrifice (not that I consider it a remotely valid "sacrifice", but whatever). At the very least, by describing God's morality as something other than humanistic, he automatically must be considered immoral by basic human standards. I'd be curious as to what morality he subscribes: is it an objective morality to which he is subject (meaning he presumably did not create it), or did he invent his own morality (making it arbitrary). Is something allegedly "good" simply because he declares it so (which makes morality arbitrary and subject to his whim), or is it good on a more objective level (meaning that he is not truly supreme, being subject to a morality which is independent of him)? Certainly by human standards the god of the Bible is evil: if he is somehow "good" in some alternate form of morality, how is it relevant to humanity, and on what basis is it considered "moral"? If it runs contrary to human morality, then who defines it as "moral"? If it is God, then by what standard does he declare it so? Either he is immoral, or he is amoral.

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Liquid Gardens

I think Android set out a good example. What God desires to happen depends on the context. Yet He is the same being. Each choice would be made the same in that same TIME and place.

It seems then that the corollary of this argument is that no one can evaluate whether God or anyone really 'changes', outside of the entity themselves stating that they have changed. A heroin addict who appears to have changed their ways based on them turning down an offer for a fix can't really said to have been changed by an outside observer, it's just that they react differently in different situations, which all situations are in this world since time is apparently only moving in one direction. Only if the heroin addict says in this situation, "a month ago I would have accepted that offer, but now that I've changed I'm turning it down", can we say that they have changed.

That's fine, but I don't know how satisfying a response it is, it's essentially just setting things up to make the idea that God or anyone has changed to be unfalsifiable and thus a meaningless question. I think there is a similar problem with evaluating whether God does 'evil', based on the usual responses I get. 'Maybe' the things God has done that appear evil are ultimately good in some way, thereby reducing the question of whether God or any person does evil, or good for that matter, to be only answerable by faith, short of them outright stating it.

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J. K.

Where in the Bible does it say that?

I'm going to assume you're referring to the higher dimension statement. If you prefer "different" instead of "higher", I could go with that.

God is described a spirit who is normally invisible to us, but can manifest Himself in our world. I don't remember the exact references and can't look them up at the moment.

Other spiritual beings are mentioned as well. The spiritual dimension is simply another portion of existence which we cannot yet detect scientifically.

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Paranoid Android

You ask a lot of questions in this short paragraph, Jeanne. I'll try and answer as much of it as I can.

That premise is rather predicated on the notion that there is a soul,

Well the premise is also predicated on the notion that there is a God, as well.

and that what is good to the body is apparently detrimental somehow to that soul.

You're reading into that something I didn't say. I never said anything about a detriment to the soul.

Jesus is said to have died a painful death, but as an alleged sacrifice (not that I consider it a remotely valid "sacrifice", but whatever).

Exactly, as a sacrifice. If there were no pain it wouldn't exactly be a sacrifice, would it?

At the very least, by describing God's morality as something other than humanistic, he automatically must be considered immoral by basic human standards.

I wouldn't say that. "Supra-moral" would be an equally appropriate term. Morals aren't exactly an easy topic to discuss. My point in bringing up assumptions is that it is entirely insular on this physical existence on earth. For about seventy years (rough average estimate), and rarely longer than a hundred years (and far more often, tragically many decades less) humans will be born, live and die. The universe is over 13 billion years old, and God is older by far than that. In 13 billion years from now, God will still be around. His plan is that one day, humans will be resurrected and live an eternity alongside him. In the context of this eternal view, some suffering in the here and now pales into insignificance.

That's not to say that God doesn't care what happens, but I'm just putting some level of context onto this. In this view, is it more important to make mankind happy and carefree for a few decades, or allow suffering and take an eternal view into question. I know you'd argue "why not both", but God didn't work that way. Suffering is part of his creation, I don't see that as an "evil" act.

Then there's the argument that without suffering humanity couldn't grow. If God removed every bad consequence would humanity ever evolve? Or would we be as blissfully ignorant as the Eloi in The Time Machine?

I'd be curious as to what morality he subscribes: is it an objective morality to which he is subject (meaning he presumably did not create it), or did he invent his own morality (making it arbitrary). Is something allegedly "good" simply because he declares it so (which makes morality arbitrary and subject to his whim), or is it good on a more objective level (meaning that he is not truly supreme, being subject to a morality which is independent of him)?

God, by virtue of being God, defines what morality is. This makes morality subject to his whim (what is good is from God), but God is not a creature of "whim", his morality is true and eternal.

Certainly by human standards the god of the Bible is evil:

I would argue that this is a completely false view of the God of the Bible. God is love, the God of the Bible is love.

if he is somehow "good" in some alternate form of morality, how is it relevant to humanity, and on what basis is it considered "moral"?

It is not "somehow good", it is just plain good. God's eternal plan for humankind is about as good as it gets.

If it runs contrary to human morality, then who defines it as "moral"?

It isn't "contrary" to human morality. Remember that in India right this very moment someone is born into slavery, and it doesn't receive a blink of an eyelid over there but we in the West abhor it. If we humans are incapable of defining "human morality", then how can we make a judgement on eternal morality?

If it is God, then by what standard does he declare it so? Either he is immoral, or he is amoral.

God is God. That is standard enough. This makes him neither immoral nor amoral, but the only entirely moral being in existence.

And just to conclude, I know you won't agree with most of my comments, I'm not expecting this to change your mind, I'm just stating what it is that I believe.

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Ben Masada

Sagan did not state that the Big Bang "caused" the universe: the Big Bang was simply the beginning of the macroscopic universe. Yes, the universe could indeed have "caused itself to exist": your assertion that it could not is simply unfounded.

The Big Bang was not an "explosion". And no, it is not "akin to science fiction", in any respect: because there is irrefutable evidence of it. And no, it is not akin to "creatio ex nihilo" either: because where "creatio ex nihilo" suggests the existence of absolute nothingness prior to the Big Bang, our modern cosmology need not make such assumptions of absolute nothing. Quantum mechanics and gravity are quite sufficient to allow the universe to create itself.

Yes, Jeanne, the universe could not have caused itself to exist because, to have caused itself to exist, it had to exist to do so. If it already existed, there would be no need to further cause itself to exist. Did you get it?

I do not believe in absolute nothingness prior to the big bang because, if the universe was caused to exist the Primal Cause had to do so for us to have the universe we are part of.

Quantum mechanics and gravity by themselves need matter to exist as they are accidents of matter. Quantum mechanics are photons produced by the electrons in the atoms of matter which in action cause almost miraculous effect in the proper medium as the photons produced in an X-Ray tube between the cathode and the anode in the vacuum. When Mr. Rentgen discovered X-Ray radiation he was not aware that he was dealing with quantum mechanics.

Edited by Ben Masada

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Jeanne dArc

Yes, Jeanne, the universe could not have caused itself to exist because, to have caused itself to exist, it had to exist to do so. If it already existed, there would be no need to further cause itself to exist. Did you get it?

So, basically the same thing as you claim God did? :whistle: The term "caused itself to exist" needn't be wholly literal, come now. Why couldn't a pre-cosmos have been effectively eternal? After all, most models of modern cosmology indicate that time did not exist prior to the Big Bang: so there was simply nothing "before" it. Causality is contigent on time, ergo causality did not apply whatsoever prior to the Big Bang. Pretty simple.

I do not believe in absolute nothingness prior to the big bang because, if the universe was caused to exist the Primal Cause had to do so for us to have the universe we are part of.

I like your phrasing here: if the universe was caused to exist. We can't say for certain that it was.

Quantum mechanics and gravity by themselves need matter to exist as they are accidents of matter. Quantum mechanics are photons produced by the electrons in the atoms of matter which in action cause almost miraculous effect in the proper medium as the photons produced in an X-Ray tube between the cathode and the anode in the vacuum. When Mr. Rentgen discovered X-Ray radiation he was not aware that he was dealing with quantum mechanics.

That's not at all what quantum mechanics is. Quantum mechanics is not a product of matter, nor necessarily is gravity (though macroscopic gravity is certainly effected by matter; although we don't have a firm understanding yet of quantum gravity). Quantum mechanics, at its most basic, is simply the fact that virtual particles exist or do not exist on a probablistic basis: they do not readily adhere to causality. There's a whole lot more to it than that, obviously, but it is highly disingenuous to claim that quantum mechanics is contigent on matter: it is not.

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