Theodicy (Introduction)

by dhw, Tuesday, November 03, 2020, 08:17 (26 days ago) @ David Turell

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.[/b]

DAVID: 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.

Of course we have no direct knowledge. That is why we come up with our different theories. And for the n+th time, since you agree that he may think like us, it is absurd to reject a theory just because it has him thinking like us. That doesn’t mean the theory is true, but it does mean that you have not found a single flaw in its reasoning.

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.

DAVID: 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.

Your objection was that deliberately giving up control of evolution made God “weak”. Why? If it is not “weak” to allow us for instance to deny his existence and to wreck the planet, why is it weak to allow the weaverbird to design its own nest (natural wonders), or to allow the cell communities of the pre-whale to change its legs to fins (speciation)? I’m interested in what you mean by “free living”. You can’t even allow bacteria and fungi and plants and animals to form symbiotic relationships without your God stepping in to give them instructions!

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.

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

And so we formulate our theories to try and explain theodicy. I have now offered you two: one based on his interest, and one based on his not caring. You have not found a single flaw in the reasoning, and they both fit the facts of life's history as we know it.You raised the subject, so what is your theory?

dhw: 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.

DAVID: 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.

Yet again: I also see him as highly purposeful and proceeding to produce what he wants to produce. We needn’t go over the illogicalities of your theory, as dealt with under “error corrections”, and experimenting is one theory to explain all the non-human forms which you are unable to explain, while looking for something that will interest him is a purpose that fully explains the whole of evolution and theodicy.

DAVID: 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 […]

How well the body works has nothing to do with the problem of theodicy! This concerns the origin of evil.

DAVID: 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?

You seem to forget that life and bad bugs and self-interest and suffering existed long before we appeared. Now you are simply asking whether my “interest” theory might be true! Without reverting to “humanization” and “weakness” (both dealt with above), please tell us why you think it can’t be true, and do please tell us your own explanation of evil.

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