God and evolution (Evolution)

by David Turell @, Friday, March 24, 2017, 19:47 (150 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I do not accept limitations out of God's control as you imply. I merely suggest it as one approach to interpretation of the history.

I thought you had offered it as a hypothesis to explain why, although his purpose was to produce humans, he waited 3.X billion years - designing countless other life forms, lifestyles and natural wonders - before doing the one thing he wanted to do. ...You are therefore left with only one hypothesis: namely, that he is all-powerful and chose to wait 3.X billion years before doing what he wanted to do. But you cannot find any reason for this.

Yes, I try to explain God's actions, but all I can do is make intelligent guesses. I know humans did not appear for 3.78 byo, so the two logical explanations are what has been proposed, He has limits or part of His preferred plan. Why struggle with that conclusion.


dhw: The pantheist God is without attributes, and might just as well be called Nature. Some folk regard pantheism as a form of atheism, since it denies the existence of a personal God. That is the sort of God which most of the time you are advocating. Supposing for a moment, then, we substitute “Nature” for God, so that we rid ourselves entirely of attributes. Nature is impersonal. It does what it does, and we cannot always explain why it does what it does. It has produced billions of life forms, lifestyles and natural wonders extant and extinct. And it has produced humans.

We are mostly together. Remember I am not well educated in philosophy and make up what I think without worrying about the precedent of the exact representations of panenthesism. As you know what I accept is God is within and without this universe and is pure energy.


dhw: So far, this would appear to fit in with your own concept of God. But you want to go further. Your God is a “He” and your God “wants” something, and (in yesterday’s post) you are sure not only that what your God wanted was to produce humans, but also that he had a reason for doing so. This is the point at which you abandon the pantheist concept and embrace a personal God – personal in the sense that it has a specific intention in its mind.

God is not personal because He wants humans. It does not necessarily means He wants to answer our prayers, Adler's main point. God may well be impersonal in a complete sense. We hope He is not. Do not invoke that hope to make him personal.

dhw: And this is where the two subjects overlap: 1) Why has evolution proceeded in the way it has? 2) If your God is not just impersonal Nature but is manipulating Nature (your panentheistic God is outside as well as inside), what IS his purpose? And the moment you give God a purpose, you have to humanize him, and you plunge into the two problems we keep being confronted with: 1) if all he wanted was humans, why the delay? 2) If he has a purpose in creating humans, what is it? This is when you the panentheist scurry back to impersonal pantheism, because although you are happy to offer possible purposes (wanting a relationship, wanting us to solve problems, alleviating his own loneliness)...well, I’ll leave it to you to explain why you acknowledge that “He” must have a purpose but you would rather not discuss it.

As usual you scurry back to trying to humanize Him. We cannot know that. We can only guess at purpose from our human vantage point, and precisely, our humanized form of thinking. When you have asked it, I've suggested possibilities, but I never leave my position of "we cannot know". "Delay" is the way we look at the time involved. He may well not see it that way. That is obvious. Back to either/or.


dhw: It seems to me that this leaves two possibilities. Either 1) you settle for the pantheistic God of Nature, without personal attributes, and so without a personal plan hatched for personal reasons right from the start, with all of creation geared to that one personal desire. Or 2) you settle for a personal God who designed life for personal reasons. If it’s the latter, any one of my three theistic hypotheses will explain why evolution took the course it did, all three allow for your God being in charge, and all three provide a clear explanation for the late arrival of humans – which did not “make sense” to you, by which you meant you could not find a clear explanation.

I appreciate your attempt to summarize where we are and your attempt to define me without an overlay of your own approach. I've said your three hypotheses do fit the history, but lack the emphasis points I make: the rapid evolution of conscious humans, with their special anatomy, contrary to every other example of animal evolution. You do not accept that humans are a goal. Until we agree on that point, we will never reach a meeting of the minds.


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