Theodicy (Introduction)

by dhw, Sunday, December 06, 2020, 12:47 (410 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: The fault is you describing a God who wants something to watch as if He gets bored. Think about it. Was He bored during the ten billion years from the origin of the universe to the start of life? You are describing a humanized God as usual. God is not a person you can imagine.

dhw: I would imagine that if, as you believe, he set out to design a universe that would contain life, he would have a reason for doing so. In answer to your question, I imagine that far from being bored, he would find the whole process extremely interesting. And I would imagine part of the interest would be finding out what did and didn’t work. And once he’d mastered the art of inventing a living organism that could reproduce and change its structures to create all kinds of life forms, I would imagine he would find that more interesting than just boring old bacteria doing the same things over and over again as he instructs.

DAVID: Once again you present a vast difference in how you view God as compared to me. First, He don't need interests. He knows exactly what to do, made life easily, just as He made the universe easily. Your usual human God.

Even if he made life easily, how does that come to mean that he wasn’t interested in the process of making life and the product of the process? You go on and on about your God being purposeful, and complaining that my own theories are not purposeful. Two questions for you: 1) what do you think was your purposeful God’s purpose in creating life? 2) What do you think was your God’s purpose in creating bad bugs (i.e. give us your solution to the problem of “theodicy”)? So far your answer to 1) has been “to create H. sapiens”. This is only one third of an answer, because your purposeful God must have had a purpose in creating H. sapiens plus food supply, and he must have had a purpose in creating all the organisms and food supplies that had no connection with H. sapiens. And the answer to 2) is you don’t know. I’m surprised you haven’t yet argued that doing something with a purpose is too “human”!

dhw: I offer different explanations of his possible purposes and methods in the context of evolution [and theodicy], all of which you agree are logical, and the fact that they involve thought patterns similar to ours is no reason for rejecting them, so please drop this silly objection.

DAVID: It is about time you accept the concession I have given you. Your reasoning about God is logical if we both assume a very human personality for God. I don't.

dhw: I do accept the concession, and I don’t understand why you keep trying to take it back by moaning that a God who has human thought patterns can't be interested, can't give free rein to his invention, can have a particular goal in mind but can't experiment to get it, or can't learn and get new ideas as he goes along, because those thought patterns are “very human”. Do you know the range of your God's human thought patterns so well that you can reject all of these logical theories?

DAVID: All these humanizing theories do not fit my concept of who God is personally. We will always disagree about the sort of person God is, recognizing He is a person like no other person.

The very proposal that he is a person like no other person suggests that he is a person, i.e. that he has personality, attributes, or as you so aptly put it: thought patterns and emotions similar to ours. But of course if he exists, he is not a two-legged, white-bearded, ageing, ultimately dying lump of flesh like us, and he has vast powers that we can never aspire to having. But it would be interesting if once and for all you would tell us exactly what IS your concept of God “personally”.

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