How to create a universe in 7 days ...

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Re: How to create a universe in 7 days ...

Postby marcuspnw » Sat Dec 10, 2016 2:24 am

Rian wrote:
Marcuspnw wrote:First of all, why should you create anything? I am assuming you are a perfect God.

I'd like to hear why you put those two sentences together, marcuspnw. Do you see a relationship between the two? I'm guessing that you're saying what I've heard others say, that if you are perfect, that means you don't need or want anything, so there's no need to create anything; is that what you mean?


We can postulate any number of properties regarding God. If you imagine that a Creator has needs or desires, then obviously the motivation to create is there and under such circumstances, my question would not apply. If God is perfect then creating a universe is a deliberate choice but not of any need and we can try to evaluate reasons for this decision.

Rian wrote:I think with the onset of technology, the idea of a machine-type of thing being "perfect" has lead to a view of God that is more like he's the perfect machine. However, I just don't see that in the Bible. I see God as very relational; his very essence is a Trinity, in fact, so even before creating the universe (and I'm using a simplistic view of time) God is in relationship. And I think that just as people love to create, so does God; in fact, I think that's one way we are made in his image. So the way I see God, creating a universe is a natural thing to do, both relationally and creatively. Intriguing question!


I believe the idea of perfect forms came to fruition with the Greeks especially Plato. Philosophers so influenced included Philo, Augustine and Aquinas who in turn helped shape Christianity. Could you provide an example where this idea of God as perfect machine was/is promoted? I don't know what you mean by machine-type perfection as every machine I've experienced seems to break down especially after any use by teenagers!

Regardless and if I understand you correctly , then you are saying that God's relational essence serves as a natural motivation to create but not out of any imperfection.

Rian wrote:However, as several people brought up, there is definitely a question of good/bad options. I think what expresses it really well for me is in Milton's Paradise Lost where there is a scene where God is in Heaven, kind of musing out loud about whether or not he should create people with free will. It's kind of a "I know this will be a glorious and wonderful thing, yet there will be terrible tragedy and sorrow which will hurt people and separate people from me; is it worth it, and who will step in and repair the breach?" Milton then portrays a silence, until Jesus speaks up and says, basically, "I will be the one; I will enter creation as a man, and I will take the responsibility of the creation upon myself."

It's really beautiful poetry. and it expresses, for me, the answer to the statement that I've heard often - "If God made creation, then He should take responsibility for it!" He did take responsibility for it, in the person of Jesus.


The Christian God takes responsibility not by eliminating suffering but suffering along side His creation by taking physical form with the purpose of sacrificing His physical life. Somehow this restores the broken relationship between His sinless Self and His sinful creation. On the other hand, such a God is not essentially physical but spirit. A physical universe then seems redundant as being can entirely occur in the spiritual world.

Rian wrote:And free will is SO important for anything meaningful, IMO - I think love is the greatest thing, and love, IMO, is meaningless without free will. So many things are meaningless without free will.


To paraphrase Woody Allen, as meaningless things go, robotic love is probably one of the best.

We have no choice in our births so personal free will is limited at the start. But for philosophers like Nietzsche or Sartre, the death of God opens up possibilities associated with free will along with the responsibility for the choices made. With a theistic God, we instead try to discover God's purpose for us, what goal or mission are we designed to accomplish in this life with free will then being the ability to resist or disobey. People will disagree over which is more desirable and where the greater meaning is found.

We do want to place limits on free will. For example, we don't want earth to have free will regarding its orbit of the sun! We need both predictably deterministic and random possible actions in this universe. But chance is lethal at times so it robs as well as enriches. There is certainly meaningfulness displayed in art and science where order and predictable actions are displayed. Think of your harp, the balance from structure of rhythm and harmony and yet the freedom of choice in melody, tempo and volume.

Rian wrote:I don't know about the question of eternal beings or not; is it better to create humans eternal, or is it better to create them where they live and then die and they are permanently gone but there are memories of them? I haven't thought much on that, so I'll have to think about that one.


If some or all of created life has an enduring, eternal quality to it, then why go through a temporal, physical phase? Is it a game or a test? "A chance for Faramir, Captain of Gondor, to show his quality"? :wink:
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Re: How to create a universe in 7 days ...

Postby Rian » Fri Dec 16, 2016 3:45 pm

marcuspnw wrote:
Rian wrote:
Marcuspnw wrote:First of all, why should you create anything? I am assuming you are a perfect God.

I'd like to hear why you put those two sentences together, marcuspnw. Do you see a relationship between the two? I'm guessing that you're saying what I've heard others say, that if you are perfect, that means you don't need or want anything, so there's no need to create anything; is that what you mean?


We can postulate any number of properties regarding God.

Yes, but some are more supported by the Bible (as an acknowledged basis book of Christianity) than others.

If you imagine that a Creator has needs or desires, then obviously the motivation to create is there and under such circumstances, my question would not apply.

I think "needs" is a strong word and would be harder to support, but I think "desires" could easily be supported. Do you think that God having desires is not supported in the Bible?

If God is perfect then creating a universe is a deliberate choice but not of any need and we can try to evaluate reasons for this decision.

Yes, that's what I think is going on.

Rian wrote:I think with the onset of technology, the idea of a machine-type of thing being "perfect" has lead to a view of God that is more like he's the perfect machine. However, I just don't see that in the Bible. I see God as very relational; his very essence is a Trinity, in fact, so even before creating the universe (and I'm using a simplistic view of time) God is in relationship. And I think that just as people love to create, so does God; in fact, I think that's one way we are made in his image. So the way I see God, creating a universe is a natural thing to do, both relationally and creatively. Intriguing question!

[quote="marcuspnw"I believe the idea of perfect forms came to fruition with the Greeks especially Plato. Philosophers so influenced included Philo, Augustine and Aquinas who in turn helped shape Christianity. Could you provide an example where this idea of God as perfect machine was/is promoted? I don't know what you mean by machine-type perfection as every machine I've experienced seems to break down especially after any use by teenagers!
[/quote]
Well, I'm talking more about the ideal concept of machines (kind of the sci-fi idea), not the actual! :D :D

The idea of perfection being embodied in machines without needs/desires is a pretty common one, IMO, especially in futuristic movies/books, sci-fi, things like that. But what is also common is that somehow those darn imperfect humans are somehow better every time! (ok, so I grew up on Star Trek! :D ) And when many atheists talk with Christians about the concept of the perfection of God, they typically argue along the lines of "Well, if God was perfect, he wouldn't need anything". And I just don't see that that necessarily follows, especially if you look into the meaning of "perfection" and similar words in the Hebrew/Greek, where it's used as more of a health/ability thing (wholeness, soundness, integrity) and even a beauty thing, not a "I'm perfect so I don't desire anything" kind of thing.

Regardless and if I understand you correctly , then you are saying that God's relational essence serves as a natural motivation to create but not out of any imperfection.

That is the concept that I see supported the most. What do you think of that? Do you see that supported?
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Re: How to create a universe in 7 days ...

Postby Rian » Fri Dec 16, 2016 4:07 pm

BTW .. mentioning LOTR and my harp - you flirt, you! ;) :D You're just trying to get on my good side! :D (you already are, btw!)

Rian wrote:However, as several people brought up, there is definitely a question of good/bad options. I think what expresses it really well for me is in Milton's Paradise Lost where there is a scene where God is in Heaven, kind of musing out loud about whether or not he should create people with free will. It's kind of a "I know this will be a glorious and wonderful thing, yet there will be terrible tragedy and sorrow which will hurt people and separate people from me; is it worth it, and who will step in and repair the breach?" Milton then portrays a silence, until Jesus speaks up and says, basically, "I will be the one; I will enter creation as a man, and I will take the responsibility of the creation upon myself."

It's really beautiful poetry. and it expresses, for me, the answer to the statement that I've heard often - "If God made creation, then He should take responsibility for it!" He did take responsibility for it, in the person of Jesus.

marcuspnw wrote:The Christian God takes responsibility not by eliminating suffering but suffering along side His creation by taking physical form with the purpose of sacrificing His physical life. Somehow this restores the broken relationship between His sinless Self and His sinful creation. On the other hand, such a God is not essentially physical but spirit. A physical universe then seems redundant as being can entirely occur in the spiritual world.

Interesting statement - I've thought about it, and I think part of it is what you say further down about Faramir, but there's more. Basically, I think that going through this physical world (and there seems to be some kind of physical essence even after death, as Jesus says about his resurrected body, although the details are going to be too much for us to comprehend at this point) gives us some benefits that we couldn't get solely from the (basically) spiritual world. My family has been through a lot of suffering, and it's horrible, but it does give us some beautiful things that perhaps can't come from anything else.

Rian wrote:And free will is SO important for anything meaningful, IMO - I think love is the greatest thing, and love, IMO, is meaningless without free will. So many things are meaningless without free will.

marcuspnw wrote:To paraphrase Woody Allen, as meaningless things go, robotic love is probably one of the best.

We might see some day! :D

We have no choice in our births so personal free will is limited at the start.
Which I have no problem with, because I think it is a significant amount.

whoops, my son just got out of the dentist - will finish later ...
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Re: How to create a universe in 7 days ...

Postby marcuspnw » Wed Dec 21, 2016 8:12 pm

Hi Rian,

I am trying to respond to your recent comments but I am also "wrapping" up my Christmas preparations so I might not post until
after Christmas. Sorry for the delay. Merry Christmas!
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Re: How to create a universe in 7 days ...

Postby Rian » Wed Dec 21, 2016 9:35 pm

And Merry Christmas to you!

No problem with the timeframe - we're getting ready to go to California for Christmas to be with my family, so I don't know when I'll post next. But these are good conversations going on here in the CL, so I'd like to keep them up.
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Re: How to create a universe in 7 days ...

Postby marcuspnw » Wed Feb 22, 2017 4:16 pm

Good grief! I want to respond but we are in the middle of tournament basketball at the high school and select league level. Don't give up on me Rian! :D
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Re: How to create a universe in 7 days ...

Postby Rian » Fri Feb 24, 2017 12:13 am

no problem - you're talking to the queen of late posts!
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Re: How to create a universe in 7 days ...

Postby marcuspnw » Mon Mar 13, 2017 9:27 am

I am sorry Rian but all these quotes were making it difficult to wade through so I took a hatchet approach. I feel this is appropriate since anyone can go back
and find our original comments in their full context. The danger is that I might misquote you. Please note that is not my intention.

Rian wrote:Yes, but some are more supported by the Bible (as an acknowledged basis book of Christianity) than others.

The Bible represents a small subset of all God-type experiences or human meditations on the nature of God or spirit beings. Anyway, I don't see Christianity as Bible based
but centered on experiencing the person of Jesus Christ with the Bible having more of a supporting role. I imagine the Bible as growing through the lives of the saints.
Fixing the canon at 66 to 73 books of antiquity is a mistake in my opinion.

Rian wrote:
I think "needs" is a strong word and would be harder to support, but I think "desires" could easily be supported. Do you think that God having desires is not supported in the Bible?


You can support either position with referencing Scripture. The position you take will affect other beliefs so the task is to remain as reasonably
consistent since beliefs are not held in isolation but as part of a web-like fabric. However, I don't think we should discount the powerful role that
emotions play in creating a satisfactory state of well-being. I think a little rational inconsistency can be forgiven if it leads to emotional
happiness and productive commitments. So I guess I'm easy! :D If God has non-need based desires, so be it but I don't see this as a rational attribute or a
psychological condition in a perfect spiritual existence. We have to remember that God is non-spatial and non-temporal Spirit so I don't see how He is never without that which He desires.
My guess is that this is just a convenient anthropomorphism.

Rian wrote:Interesting statement - I've thought about it, and I think part of it is what you say further down about Faramir, but there's more. Basically, I think that going through this physical world (and there seems to be some kind of physical essence even after death, as Jesus says about his resurrected body, although the details are going to be too much for us to comprehend at this point) gives us some benefits that we couldn't get solely from the (basically) spiritual world. My family has been through a lot of suffering, and it's horrible, but it does give us some beautiful things that perhaps can't come from anything else.


That is an assessment that will vary from one set of circumstances to another. For example, I don't see the benefit of dementia. Well, okay maybe if I was the head of a cartel then I would no longer remember my participation in many
awful criminal acts...

Rian wrote:And when many atheists talk with Christians about the concept of the perfection of God, they typically argue along the lines of "Well, if God was perfect, he wouldn't need anything". And I just don't see that that necessarily follows, especially if you look into the meaning of "perfection" and similar words in the Hebrew/Greek, where it's used as more of a health/ability thing (wholeness, soundness, integrity) and even a beauty thing, not a "I'm perfect so I don't desire anything" kind of thing.


This is not my expertise but I think there are ten or so Hebrew variations for perfect. From the biblical perspective, "perfect" describes something that functions as it was intended to function or of someone who acts appropriately and does not have this absolutist aura about it. More of a "nothing which belongs left out" sort of vibe. However, I think it does follow that if God is sound, whole, complete or healthy then He does not need to add to His nature.

Enough from me. What do you think?
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