Theodicy (Introduction)

by dhw, Monday, November 09, 2020, 11:09 (16 days ago) @ David Turell

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.

dhw: 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.

dhw: 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.

DAVID: Again you give God a humanizing self-purpose. We disagree about His personality.

Assuming he exists, your purposeful God must have had a purpose in creating life, including humans and evil. On this thread we are trying to understand what that purpose might be. As regards his personality, so far you have stated with authority that he is not self-centred, and it is possible that he is not benevolent. But elsewhere, you have told us that – presumably out of the kindness of his heart (benevolence) – he tried to provide backups to correct the nasty errors which he could not prevent, and he may have created the bad bugs as a challenge. Quite a hotchpotch of “humanizations”. But you are sure that he is interested in his creations. That’s not a bad starting-point. And so I have offered you a theory which explains the course of evolution AND the source of evil. We can agree that your God set it all in motion (a prerequisite for discussion of theodicy), and is interested in how it proceeds, but we don’t need to say WHY he is interested - so you needn't fret about "humanizations"!

dhw:. 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.

DAVID: It's back to cells knowing how to create evolution. I fully believe the original cells at the start of life did not know by themselves how to do any future designing. They simply reacted as they were taught to do by God. It is logical only if cells really have that ability, and there is no demonstration they do.

Yes, the theory will only be true if it’s true. Nobody knows the truth, and nobody can demonstrate cells creating new species, any more than we can demonstrate your God preprogramming or dabbling them. That is why we theorize. I have dealt with your “future design” theory on the “genome complexity” thread. So disregarding the fact that I can’t prove anything, please point out any logical flaws in my proposal

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