Theodicy (Introduction)

by dhw, Sunday, November 08, 2020, 08:37 (21 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.

dhw: 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?

DAVID: I specifically said all dark areas of DNA have purpose. You continually misunderstand me as you read me from a biased mind.

That is my point! You have explained the clearly defined purpose of the dark areas. So what do you mean by him being “purely purposeful”? I am suggesting that his purpose for designing life would also be as clearly defined as his purpose for designing different parts of DNA. Hence my next question concerning a clearly defined purpose:

dhw: 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?

DAVID: To make our lives more interesting, but not for His self-purpose of some sort of enjoyment. His purposes are never self-centered as you humanize Him.

How do you know? I am proposing that your “purely purposeful God” must have had a purpose for creating life, including bugs and humans. You are sure he is interested in us. There is no logical reason for assuming that his interest in us is not connected with his purpose for creating us! Your authoritative statement that he is never self-centred makes a mockery of the next statement:

DAVID: You are 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.

He may not be benevolent, and yet you know he is not self-centred, and you know that although he is interested in his creations, he did not create them because he wanted something to be interested in.

dhw:...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: I really doubt God has an evil side. I believe what we see as evil bugs have a purpose.

But you can’t think of one. So here’s a proposal. That your God did not deliberately design bad bugs at all. He simply invented the cell, with its ability to reproduce and to cooperate and to find new responses to ever changing environmental conditions, and hence to find new methods of survival. This is the process we call evolution, and inevitably it resulted in the mixture of lovingkindness and cooperation (good) and destructive self-interest (evil) which has characterized both animal and human history from past to present. I do not ask you to believe it, and I am refraining from touching on your God’s purpose, so that you can’t moan about “humanizing”. Now please tell me what logical flaw you can find in such a theory.
I’ll skip the rest of your comments apart from the last, as they do not advance our quest for a solution to the problem of theodicy.

DAVID: I don't think He creates reality for His own self-interest. I view Him as a creator for the sake of creating. I think we both agree He follows the events His creation produces, and it is my position that He steps in to guide the course of evolution to be sure it reaches Humans.

But according to you he either “stepped in” or preprogrammed every single life form in the history of evolution! So he “steps in” to create the amphibian with the slingshot tongue and the brontosaurus for the sake of creating them, they have no direct connection to humans, and yet they are part of the goal of directly designing humans, who also have no purpose other than being created for the sake of creation. What’s more, he follows the results of his creation with interest, and yet could not possibly have created them all in order to have interesting events to follow. Your logic is becoming increasingly difficult to unravel.:-(


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