Theodicy (Introduction)

by dhw, Saturday, November 07, 2020, 08:23 (24 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: (Under "Junk DNA: goodbye!"): As usual the 'dark areas' of DNA are purposeful. I cannot image a designing God who created a bunch of useless DNA. God, as I view Him, is purely purposeful, and never shows frivolous human thoughts or desires.

I don’t know what you mean by “purely” purposeful. You have explained the clearly defined purpose of this “area” of DNA. So why do you think he did not have a clearly defined purpose in designing every life form, or in designing humans? And since you are sure your God watches us with interest, why is it more “frivolous” for him to have created life in order to watch it with interest than, for instance, to set us a challenge by leaving us to combat the bad bugs he has created (one of your own theories)? Why would he set us a challenge?

dhw: You agree that his logic, thought patterns, emotions and other attributes are probably similar to ours, and so it remains utterly absurd to dismiss a theory on the grounds that it has God thinking like us, although you agree that God probably thinks like us.

DAVID: Same trickery. I will grant God uses logic as we do but admit no more comparisons of thought which you try to imply to sneak in your humanizing comments about experimentation and spectacle.

There is no "trickery" or “sneaking”. These are two alternative, concrete proposals to explain your God’s possible reason for designing every life form, or for giving evolution free rein. I’m happy to drop the “frivolous” term “spectacle” and stick to your own positive statement that he is interested in us.

DAVID: I cannot fully solve the problem. You keep forgetting our interpretation of evil comes from our human assumption that God is benevolent. He may not be and we may have to accept that point, and deny religion's propaganda about His characteristics.

You and I are clearly not bound by religion’s propaganda (though how anyone can read the Old Testament and see nothing but benevolence is beyond my comprehension!). And so you are right, in addition to my “interest” theory, we must reckon with the theory of a malevolent or sadistic God. However, you also rightly point out all the good things he has done (and I must confess that my own view is that the world really is a mixture of wondrous beauty and love, and sheer horror), and so it is also possible that just like us he is a mixture of “good” and “bad”. We are making progress in our search for possible reasons why your God – if he exists – might have created or allowed evil.

DAVID: God may desire the bad is the possibility! And for undiscovered reasons. Which is why I follow scientific findings. I may not live long enough to have an answer.

I don’t think science has ever attempted to explain why your God produced or allowed evil, any more than it has informed us that he directly designed every species, and did so as “part of the goal of evolving [= directly designing] humans.”

DAVID: The prime issue is why do we exist? It cannot be by chance. Therefore, from my standpoint, God exists.

The problem of theodicy only arises if we accept the premise that God exists! His existence is not the subject we are discussing!

DAVID: And we are here to look at what we consider evil He allowed. I am not considering the evil humans do with their free will. We do that, not God.

Are you telling us that your God didn’t know evil existed until – according to you - he specially designed us and gave us free will? How could the very concept of evil come into being if God – according to you, the source of everything – didn’t know about the self-interest which lies at the heart of most human evils?

DAVID: Metabolic mistakes have excellent, if not perfect editing system, which I believe is the best God can do to create life. God has reasons for the bad bugs I do not understand, but accept He wanted them and gave us the brains to fight them.

See earlier posts concerning his inability to correct mistakes, and see above concerning your theory of “challenge”.

DAVID: That is as far as I can go. The bold is your same humanizing silliness. We do not know if He is interested. But He has made our lives very interesting, at our human level, a good not an evil.

You have already gone much further, with your certainty that he is watching us with interest, with your theory that he may have designed the bad bugs as a challenge, and now with your acknowledgement that for all we know, he is not benevolent, to which I have added the possibility that just like us, he is a mixture. After all, it is perfectly possible that he made us in his own image, i.e. as you have put it, that he thinks like us, has logic, thought patterns, emotions and other attributes similar to ours. Thank you for your gradually increasing open-mindedness. We are certainly making progress in our various attempts to solve the theodicy problem.;-)

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