Theodicy (Introduction)

by dhw, Saturday, November 28, 2020, 10:46 (57 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: God had a goal of creating humans at the end point of evolving everything beforehand. Of course he created the illusion of evolution by designing each stage of it. Why does that bend your mind out of shape?

What bends my mind out of shape is the claim that he directly designed the brontosaurus plus a few million other life forms, econiches, and natural wonders which you agree had no connection with humans, although his goal was to design humans. You admit that you can’t explain it, so why do you keep pretending that I’m distorting your own mind-bending illogicality?

DAVID: It is obvious He did not plan a direct creation, but to evolve us. A thought is that He could not directly create us. We do not know how all-powerful He really is.

dhw: As for your new “thought”, it ties in with the possibility that he was experimenting – one of my logical theories which you have rejected.

DAVID: The fact that He might be limited in creative powers, in no way supports your humanizing experimenting wooliness. God would be totally aware of his limits and created what He wished within those limits.

Under “fish to land animals” you ask if I’m “trying to diminish His controls or His importance”. But in my cellular intelligence theory his creative powers are not limited. He simply doesn’t want control, whereas you now diminish his powers, just as you did when you had him designing a system containing errors which he could not control. But if he IS limited in his powers, experimentation is a logical explanation for your version of evolution: your God set out to create a being with thought patterns, emotions and other attributes similar to his own, but he didn’t know how to do it, and so he experimented with lots of different life forms and their food supplies, and then with different hominins and humans. Nothing woolly, fits in with some of your premises, and has him “totally aware of his limits and creating what he wished within those limits”. Logical flaws?

DAVID: We cannot know the degree of His interest, because we cannot know if He even wanted something interesting or not.

dhw: We can’t know this, that or the other concerning ANY of the theories, including your own, and including the existence of God. […] Not “knowing” does not invalidate the feasibility of a theory. You also harp on about how purposeful your God is, which in itself is absurd if you are not prepared to discuss what his purposes might be! Of course that will entail a degree of “humanizing”, and you were the one who was sure he was interested in us, and you said he probably has thought patterns and emotions similar to ours and could very well think like us.

DAVID: The bold is your constant distortion of past comments. The only thought pattern I'll grant you is the use of logic.

There is no distortion: “He and we probably have similar thought patterns and emotions beyond just simple logical thought”. And how can “we only know His logic is like ours” if we can find no logic behind your interpretation of his goals and methods? Why are you so anxious to disown your own statements when it is quite logical to suggest that the creator of, say, love, joy and boredom has probably experienced love, joy and boredom?

DAVID: As for the degree of interest, it obviously can be from zero to 100%, but I will maintain He cannot be seen as creating something just for His interest, because He MUST have interests to follow. That is your constant humanizing approach.

I can’t follow the logic of this statement. You are sure he is interested in his creations (then it can’t be zero interest). So please explain why it is illogical to propose that he might have created his creations in order to have something to be interested in.

dhw: I will add that even for me as an agnostic, the possibility of God’s existence throws up the question of what might be his purpose and his nature. That is why theodicy is so important for theologians, and I find it surprising that as a believer you emphasize God’s purposefulness but don’t want to discuss his purposes and object if I do. So why did you bring up the subject of theodicy if you didn’t want to discuss why your God appears to have designed evil?

DAVID: Only because it must be brought up as a valid issue. The only purpose I can be sure of is He desire to produce humans at some point in His creations. But there is no evidence of the thinking behind His desire. We'll guess if you wish.

Well, at least we now have a more flexible approach to evolution, since apparently you are no longer sure that he directly designed every life form etc. as part of the goal of designing humans. That opens the door to other theories, while “at some point” fits in neatly with the experimentation theory. But of course there is NOTHING any of us can be “sure of”. Yes, theodicy is a valid issue for believers, but I don’t recall you introducing it by saying we shouldn’t try to explain it.

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