Theodicy (Introduction)

by dhw, Wednesday, October 07, 2020, 11:26 (15 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Explaining God's allowing biological mistakes and permitting dangerous organisms, viruses and bacteria to exist.

DAVID: As explained genetic congenital errors are not God's fault. His editing mechanisms don't always catch molecular errors. Molecules are free to make improper reactions for the sake of speed in the production of life itself. And they do make mistakes at that level that escape editing.

You have, however, told us that in the case of errors that cause disease, he has provided “backups”, but these don’t always work, and so he has left it to humans to try and correct what he himself couldn’t correct. You also assume that this is the only system your God was able to produce. In both cases, you are limiting his powers, and yet one of my alternative explanations of evolution’s history is that he experimented, and another is that he didn’t want absolute control. You complain that this makes him namby-pamby. Why is it more namby-pamby than a God who can’t prevent mistakes in the system he designed, and can’t even correct them but has to leave it to humans to do what he can’t do?

DAVID: As for dangerous organisms, we have been given the brain capacity to learn how to fight them. Bacteria and viruses have beneficial roles usually, but some are nasty. I do not know why God created them, but He may have a purpose we do not yet recognize.

God deliberately designed bad things and we don’t know why. Not much of an explanation, is it? How about: God didn’t design them, but wanted to avoid the dull predictability of a Garden of Eden, and therefore invented a system whereby living organisms would design themselves in an endless variety of forms, all of which would find different ways (which we judge to be good or bad) of surviving in the on-going process we know as evolution?

DAVID: Evil among humans beings is explained because God gave us free will.

Just as in the above proposal he would have given organisms “free will” to find their own methods of survival. If we continue the Garden of Eden metaphor, he was the one who created the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and stuck a snake in there for good measure. Why create it in the first place? I suggest that he knew perfectly well what would happen if he gave organisms the freedom to conduct their own affairs: the result would be a mixture of good and evil. Not so dull as good all on its own.

DAVID: Dangerous environmental events: storms, volcanic eruption, flooding, earthquakes, etc. are all part of the beneficial processes of Earth that allows life to appear.

So did God design them or didn’t he? If he didn’t, he was dependent on chance for all these “beneficial processes”. If he did, are you saying that he couldn’t have directly designed life and living conditions without them? He couldn’t have created a Garden of Eden? Once again, you show scant respect for an all-powerful God whose powers are so limited that he can’t prevent or correct mistakes in his life system, and he can’t create living conditions without creating killing conditions as well. Since our topic is theodicy – so we can’t consider any explanation other than God’s intentions – I would suggest that all these natural disasters also result from a system designed to fulfil his desire for endless and unpredictable variety, as epitomized by us humans and all our activities. Please remember our agreement that you need the dark to fully appreciate the light. But he would also have retained the option of intervening (dabbling) at any time, e.g. Chixculub.

DAVID: dhw will bring up other issues, I'm sure.

Phew, that’s enough to be getting on with! Thank you for separating this as a new thread. Although arguments overlap,it is sometimes helpful to stick to one single, central topic.


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