Theodicy (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Monday, November 02, 2020, 18:17 (644 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Nothing can tell us (a) whether God exists, or (b) what might be the reasons for his actions. That is why we theorize. And for nth time, it is absurd to dismiss a perfectly logical theory on the grounds that it involves “logical thought” like ours, when you have told us that “his logic is like ours”, and elsewhere, he “very well could think like us”, and he probably has thought patterns and emotions and other attributes similar to ours.

The usual non-answer to the point we have no direct knowledge of His reasons for His actions, no matter how similar ours and His thought patterns are.

DAVID: No equivalence here. Free will is at the thought level, not the design of increasing complexities in evolution.

dhw: The equivalence lies in God deliberately giving up control.

Yes giving up control is equivalent if you ignore, as you have, which controls of what process. All organisms are free living. God can theoretically only exert control over their evolution and maybe Chixculub events. Poor analogy at best.

DAVID: You've missed my point. Whether He cares of not is at the point where we are created by His intended design and how we live our lives thereafter.

dhw: You said you were sure your God was interested in us. The theodicy theory I proposed was based on God being interested in us. You then said maybe he was not interested in us and “may not care”. I therefore proposed a theodicy theory based on the premise that he did not care. That too fits in with the facts of life’s history.

Nice to be in full agreement. You are absolutely correct. We have no idea how much He cares as Adler discusses.

dhw: As for my view of his personality and purposes, I don’t even know if he exists, but if he does, I have no doubt that he would be extremely powerful, would have had his own purpose(s)/reason(s) for creating life, and would have designed whatever he wanted to design. From that point on, I have a variety of alternative theories concerning his personality and his purposes, all of which you agree are logically based on the few facts we know. […]

DAVID: Your first sentence describes a God with powerful purposeful personality, which is my view of Him. Then you drift off into your usual namby-pamby humanizing possibilities and your view of Him weakens Him. They are all consistent with the facts we know if we grant Him humanized thinking. To define humanizing, in my approach, any deviation from pure purpose is exactly that. Giving Him interests like entertainment, spectacle, etc. is pure humanization. Our discussion about Garden of Eden vs. problems to enliven interest in solving living problems borders on humanization. We do not know if God is interested in how we enjoy life. Until you read Adler's warnings , as a highly respected philosopher of religion, we will continue to battle.

dhw: I am discussing this with you and not with Adler, who apparently warns us not to think of God as if he were human. I do not think of him as if he were human. No human that I know of is capable of creating a universe, or a mechanism that will evolve bacteria into humans. But I agree with you that your God probably has thought patterns similar to ours, “very well may think like us”, and “his logic is like ours”. We do not “know” anything about him. We theorize, and any purpose we give him is sure to be “humanized” and unprovable. What do you mean by “pure purpose”. How can you have purpose without a definable purpose? Our discussion about Garden of Eden does not “border on” humanization – “enhanced interest” is a perfectly logical “humanized” explanation for your God’s actions, and if you want to explain theodicy, you have no choice other than to speculate on your God’s purpose(s). WE CAN’T KNOW THE TRUTH.

I start from Adler's warning. We have discussed and explored all theodicy issues at length. As for 'purpose' as a personality topic I view God, as stated, as highly purposeful, as a primary characteristic, deciding on the goals of His present creation (as eternal, there may well have been other previous universes with similar or different goals) and proceeding to produce it, without experimenting or looking for spectacles. Look at your descriptions of God. Not the same. Strictly theodicy looks at what is bad that God seems to have produced. It is our interpretation of bad at the basis of discussion. All the evidence shows God knew of many problems for which He devised the best editing systems He could, and considering the required speed of reactions, they are remarkably good. Our living biology is the only living system we know, so the judgement I've made is from analyzing how it works.

An example of how our judgement about good and bad is the discussion of bad human body designs. The disrespected appendix is now shown to have very important immunity processes. The backward retina is better than all others and etc. The Plasmodium that caused your blackwater fever was cured by a compound derived from a natural substance in tree bark. Did God provide the parasites and the cure? But the challenge using the big brain He gave us was to find the combination of the two natural products. Did He purposely give us challenges out of His interest in how we would handle it, or without interest for Himself (your failing) simply gave us a challenge to keep life interesting for us?

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