Purpose and design (Evolution)

by dhw, Monday, April 17, 2017, 13:26 (42 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

TONY: I keep seeing this debate over God's enjoyment versus human [enjoy]ment, as if they are mutually exclusive. That is puzzling to me. Further, what craftsman does not delight in the work of his hand? The bible often refers to the fact that God yearns and delights in the work of his hands. Why shouldn't he? Why does that mean that he wouldn't want his creations to love and enjoy the works of his hands as well?

This is addressed to me, but is actually a criticism of David’s approach, because he is the one who until now has refused to accept the possibility that his God might have created life for his own enjoyment. He sees that as humanization (and as “a frivolous waste of time and effort”). I do not regard God’s enjoyment and human enjoyment as “mutually exclusive”. On the contrary, I see enjoyment as a key element of human life, and see no reason at all why that should not be a reflection of God’s own attitude towards life (if he exists).

TONY: The idea of God doing magic like Jimminy Cricket or Santa Clause is as amusing as it is frustrating. God obeys the laws he puts in place. Imagine that, a lawmaker that follows his own laws!! So, if I read this right, you think he could just pop all of creation out in a single instant, like a miraculous passing of gas upon which blew in all of existance. Oh the wonders of Devine flatulance!

I’m afraid you do not read it right at all. I believe in evolution, and if God exists I can well believe that he deliberately set that whole process in motion and knew precisely what he was doing. What I do not believe is David’s insistence that he started out with the sole purpose of creating humans. If his sole purpose had been to create humans, I believe he would have been able to do so without personally designing the weaverbird’s nest (plus countless other examples). And so with my theist’s hat on, I suggest that either he did not design the nest but gave organisms the ability to do their own designing, or if he did design it, he did so for his own enjoyment and not simply to keep life going until he produced humans. All done by science, not by magic, and no suggestion that God should have done things differently. David and I agree that he used evolution, and the disagreement concerns his God’s one and only purpose (the production of humans), which in my view makes nonsense of the history of life as we know it.

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