Sunday, February 26, 2006

Is the Biblical God Possible?

At some point in almost each person's life in the western world, we ask ourselves: Is the Christian God possible? I think a lot of Christians skate over this question because the apparent contradictions should make even the most devout among us a tad bit queasy. How can the creator of everything be uniquely perfect when there is so much imperfection in the world? How can an entity that is the picture of absolute love allow so much hate and misery to abound?

While web surfing the other day, I came across an interesting site, Evil Bible. Its author goes to a great deal of trouble to debunk the Christian religion. While you may not agree with that site's general thesis or you may not agree with all the points raised, it does provide some excellent fodder for discussion.

In the section, "Why the Christian God is Impossible", there are two good points I offer for consideration:
Perfection Seeks Even More Perfection

What did God do during that eternity before he created everything? If God was all that existed back then, what disturbed the eternal equilibrium and compelled him to create? Was he bored? Was he lonely? God is supposed to be perfect. If something is perfect, it is complete--it needs nothing else. We humans engage in activities because we are pursuing that elusive perfection, because there is disequilibrium caused by a difference between what we are and what we want to be. If God is perfect, there can be no disequilibrium. There is nothing he needs, nothing he desires, and nothing he must or will do. A God who is perfect does nothing except exist. A perfect creator God is impossible.

The Omniscient is Surprised

A God who knows everything cannot have emotions. The Bible says that God experiences all of the emotions of humans, including anger, sadness, and happiness. We humans experience emotions as a result of new knowledge. A man who had formerly been ignorant of his wife's infidelity will experience the emotions of anger and sadness only after he has learned what had previously been hidden. In contrast, the omniscient God is ignorant of nothing. Nothing is hidden from him, nothing new may be revealed to him, so there is no gained knowledge to which he may emotively react.

We humans experience anger and frustration when something is wrong which we cannot fix. The perfect, omnipotent God, however, can fix anything. Humans experience longing for things we lack. The perfect God lacks nothing. An omniscient, omnipotent, and perfect God who experiences emotion is impossible.

5 comments:

  1. Interesting points! Thanks.

    What is, is.
    Whatever is is.

    ReplyDelete
  2. We strive in the direction of perfection. Perfection, itself, isn't possible or quite real.

    Consider art. For centuries painters tried ever harded to paint people and items that appeared real. Bored with reality, impressionism and abstraction became popular because it was more interesting to the artist. [It was a longer time before non-realism art became appealing to the public.]

    Why shouldn't God long for variety? We do.

    Ken Wilber addresses the issue in an interview, known as "A Ticket to Athens." Here's a core paragraph:

    Here you are, the One and Only, the Alone and the Infinite. What are you going to do next? You bathe in your own glory for all eternity, you bask in your own delight for ages upon ages, and then what? Sooner or later, you might decide that it would be fun -- just fun -- to pretend that you were not you. I mean, what else are you going to do? What else can you do?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Zen unbound wrote, "Why shouldn't God long for variety? We do."

    That point is addressed at Evil Bible. Perfection means completeness. If God is perfect (complete), there is nothing to long for. Since humans aren't perfect and, therefore, not complete, we have longings.

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  4. Its the concepts and their descriptive terms that are limiting. For instance, to speak of "before creation" which is to say to apply a time related term like "before" to a term like "creation" which includes the generation of time itself, is somewhat oxymoronic. I see the "impossibilities" here as as result of the limits of language and logic and not indicative of any proof or truth.

    Also, I ask what is the basis for assuming that "perfection" means "completeness". Sez who? Why would the "striving for perfection" not be considered part of a "perfect plan" which also included "imperfection"? Would not a "perfect plan" be incomplete if there were no imperfection in it?

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  5. Interesting blog. I have added you to my blogroll. Please feel free to add my site if you so wish.

    http://beepbeepitsme.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete

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