Monday, May 21, 2007

A Question I can’t get my mitts on…

How does an eternal being create fear of death?

I often see theists make claims that “because WE have such-and-such a trait, GOD must likewise.” A very common one is that we are social and desire relationships, therefore God must be more than one person. Or that we have an innate sense of Justice that reflects God must be just.

But isn’t this picking and choosing what attributes to attach to a god, and avoiding some problematic ones?

One of the most convenient reasons for being theistic at all is to answer that question, “Where did ___ come from?” “How did the universe come into being?” Why is there anything instead of nothing? And for this “god” is created as a reason. A god that is necessary (non-contingent) and eternal (without beginning or ending.)

To be honest, I haven’t wrapped my hands around the idea of how time can begin. (With or without a god). But assuming that somehow god is outside of time, or can start time without time already existing, this would mean god would have the requisite knowledge of what time was. That god may not be able to experience what it is to have time pass, but has the knowledge of what that would look like.

That is hard enough to grasp.

Yet even with that knowledge, in order to create entities that had the fear of the passing of time, god must have that knowledge too. Unless we are going to say that god fears its own death (!) then we must limit God’s understanding to being head-knowledge only, and not experience-knowledge.

By way of an inadequate analogy, I may have knowledge of what it means to give birth, but I have no experience in that regard. (“Inadequate” because my knowledge comes through interaction with women who have. Where would a god get knowledge of fear of death from?)

However, if there are items in which god has knowledge, but no experience, isn’t it possible this includes the ability to have relationships? To be just? To love? That the creator of the universe understands the existence of such things, but has never experienced them for itself?

The question I can’t get my mitts around is this: if we experience it, MUST a creator as well? If “yes” what does a god experience that we do, if “no” then what can we say about a god that has any meaning?


  1. Dagoods,
    Beats me. Same with the beginning of, well, anything.

    I'll throw out the obvious, for lack of the profound. God didn't create fear of death, people did when they sinned. Maybe if God had created it, people wouldn't have sinned. The death penalty as a determent? But that doesn't work, does it, since God created man is his image? Maybe there was no fear period, not even the "fear of God... [that] is the beginning of wisdom." If great, great, great, (ad infinitum) mom and dad had had that fear, we might not be in this fine mess because they would have had the wisdom to not choose knowledge.

    I guess when God created man in His image, He really was creating an image dumb as stone, which seems to break Gods law of making images. I cannot figure God out.

  2. **I often see theists make claims that “because WE have such-and-such a trait, GOD must likewise.” A very common one is that we are social and desire relationships, therefore God must be more than one person. Or that we have an innate sense of Justice that reflects God must be just.** I just posted a similar comment on another blog, in that God in the Old Testament seems to come across as a human with above-human powers. In a way, it's like the writers looked to themselves to see what God was, since they are in God's image. And your comment above just makes it even more ironic, given how often some are accused of following a God made in their own image.

    On a side note, and I can understand if you don't want to answer, but what part of Michigan are you from? Because that's where I live.

  3. Paul,

    I guess when God created man in His image, He really was creating an image dumb as stone, which seems to break Gods law of making images. I cannot figure God out.

    :) That's because he's mysterious and moves in mysterious ways.


  4. I am not sure why a creator would have to have experienced all that his creation has experienced. Nor do I see the logic in "we God must be.."
    The human fear of death doesn't necessitate God's fear of death. We fear death because it has the power to separate us from what we love. It has power over us because sin does, and the result of sin is death. ('For the wages of sin is death...' Romans 6:23)
    Death overtakes us, but it doesn't overtake God. In Jesus, he defeated death.
    According to the Bible, Jesus took on death, as humans cannot. He voluntarily dismissed his own spirit. Then he rose again, proving himself the victor.
    'Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death - that is, the devil - and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.' (Hebrews 2:14-15)

  5. Paul,

    The more I consider “making humans in God’s own image” the more I realize how little that means. We have no concept or clue what that entails. Is it a soul? Free will? A moral center? (Nope—can’t be that. More in a minute.) An ability to be eternal?

    First God says, “let us make man in our image.” (Gen. 1:26) However, after gaining the knowledge of the difference between good and evil (i.e. a moral center) God says, “Hey, man has become like us in knowing good and evil.” (Gen. 3:22)

    Apparently the first image was less or different than the second image. Then God tells Christians to imitate Christ. Conform to THAT image. 1 Cor. 11:1. To be merciful like God is merciful. Luke 6:36 So our second image is attempting to become a third image. (Or revert back to the first image?) However, we are going to die. Meaning that part is not like God, either.

    Leaving us in the muddled mess of various images that we either are or are not a reflection of God.

  6. jennypo: I am not sure why a creator would have to have experienced all that his creation has experienced.

    Mmm…I would dearly love to give this one to you. It only helps my discussions with theists. Unfortunately, there is an almost insurmountable problem that I do not see how it can conform to a god.

    There are two (2) reasons I would love to agree to this.

    First, if the creator need not experience what we have experienced, then nothing positive, or negative or neutral can be said about this creator. We cannot know anything about it! Because the only way in which we relate is by our experience. This does not help the person who is attempting to make any claims about such a creature.

    Look, if we have a fear of death in us, but God does not, then this necessarily means there are things we experience that God does not. Without any ability to verify whether there is only one thing, 100 things or a million—how can you make any statement about God that is similar to what we experience?

    We equally find “Love your neighbor” to be a beneficial statement. If our experience of that is not God’s experience, perhaps he does not. Our experience is that child sacrifice is wrong. Perhaps God does not experience the same problem. Our experience is that logic is a useful tool for communicating. God may not.

    How can you make any statement whatsoever about God, if a basic premise is that God does not experience what his creation experiences? Where can you draw any line?

    Secondly, this would mean there are things that God has knowledge of, and could create (at least the potential) but never experience. Where did God obtain that knowledge? Was it just “it is”? See, we obtain knowledge through experience—either communicating to others or observation. Does God have an ability to learn? With whom would he have communicated to learn? What could he observe to determine?

    He would have to have the knowledge of fear of death prior to creation. But where did that come from? How does a necessary and non-contingent being become aware of the concept of being UNnecessary and contingent?

    The only resolution I see is a claim that a being which we have no verification, that does not experience what we do, just had (by definitional fiat) the knowledge of things it could not do or be.

    Can you understand why “Well, that’s simply my definition of what God is in order to get out of this mess” is not very persuasive? Especially when we have to abandon God being anything like us at all!

    However, as helpful as that is to my position, I see something worse…

    Assuming God does not experience fear of death. I, clearly, can. That experience is something that exists. It is real. It is verifiable. It is in the universe.

    This is something beyond just the knowledge; it is the actual experience itself. It is living it.

    By creating a category of things God does not experience, we now have two items in the universe—God and experiences God does not have. That experience must come from somewhere—if not from God; where? This creates another item in existence in addition to God that is non-contingent. In other words, a category of items that exist without needing a God for their existence.

    This means that we don’t need a God for certain things to exist. Making god…er…no longer necessary. A severe undercutting of the theist concept, indeed!

    The only resolution that I see is to claim that God can experience the fear of death, but hasn’t. He has the unexercised ability. However, to have that ability, the possibility of death must be real. If that possibility is real, God is no longer eternal.

    The reason, jennypo, that this particular question is baking my noodle at the moment is that “fear” element. Notice I did not ask, “How does an eternal being create death?” I can almost grasp the idea that an eternal being can conceptualize a non-eternal being.

    What is troubling is the extra step of “fear of death.” If God sees creation, especially souls, as eternal, how would it know to make any fear in the picture? Why would God consider a transition from life to eternal after-life as “fearful”?

    What I see are humans that have unanswered questions, so they create the concept of a “god” in order to provide a partial answer to those questions. Yet this concept creates even more questions, requiring clauses, exceptions, qualifications, exemptions and exclusions within the God idea itself. We build “I don’t know’s” on “I don’t know.”

    If God doesn’t experience what we experience, there really is not much to say about him.

  7. DagoodS,

    That's eerie, for I live very close to that area.

  8. Roopster,
    lol, Why, of course He is, my bad.

    "The more I consider “making humans in God’s own image” the more I realize how little that means."

    Ditto. The list you start goes on and on. Why would God choose to judge someone He created in His own image, when that image exercises it's God given free will (just like God does). Isn't the exercise of free will a God given right?
    Warning: to those who don't know me, the following is tongue in cheek.
    To your original question: there does seem to be that theme in scripture that God at least wants to experience what we do. Enter Jesus. Did God realize at some point that He didn't quite relate? Couldn't relate to temptation for instance. So, God took on human form and became lower than the angels. But, not quite. He didn't really come as a human. Was Jesus the first invitro birth? Was he a clone? Was he Gods sperm and Marys egg? No, couldn't have had any Mary in him or he would've gotten some sin nature. Something had to be missing from his humanity in order for him to be born without a sin nature that subjects one to the dreaded "law of sin." If Jesus had been human, he would have been subject to that law spoken of in Romans 7 and would have ended up doing that which he would not (i.e., sin). After all "man is born into trouble as the sparks fly upward...." I guess the missing link was the human element. One has to wonder, if God was going to leave out that most crucial element, why he went to the trouble of being born in the first place. Why not just show up? Was he just putting on a show?

  9. Well, Paul, it may be “tongue-in-cheek” but I have had this persistent nagging feeling that Jesus was created (in least in part) to “humanize” God. To make a God more accessible.

    Think about that history. YHWH is a cold and distant God. One that has holy ground. No one can see his face. Only one priest once a year enters the Holy of Holies to even have remote communication with God. (And that could kill ‘im!) A God that rewards you or punishes you with stringent justice. We see little compassion with the Jewish God.

    Paul’s God is equally harsh (Romans 9:15-16), albeit we have an intermediary in the form of Jesus. A Jesus that is not very fleshed out. No real facts to latch on to. At best, as you point out, we have him humbled enough to be in the form of a human. (Phil. 2:7) but not much else.

    We have this YHWH with a non-descript intermediary, in a society with gods who have sex with humans, get angry like humans, fight like humans, resolve like humans…I could see the temptation to play “catch up” with the Roman/Greek mythos, rather than maintain this impersonal being.

    Mark writes a fictitious novel about Paul’s Jesus.

    The Christian community grabs on with both hands. NOW they have an intermediary (that becomes a son of God) who is also angry, and tempted and walks and eats and intermingles with people. Of course Matthew follows suit, and the rest, as they say, is history.

    In retrospect, it does almost seem as if the Christian God doesn’t quite “get” humanity, or quite understand it, until after Jesus comes along. Was Jesus written for the part?

    Nagging questions that the answers appear elusive.

    (I saw a post on iidb the other day which accurately reflects my feelings in this regard. Someone had noted they saw a Billboard which proudly proclaimed, “Jesus is the Answer.” And underneath someone else had scrawled, “We KNOW that, but what is the question?” That seems to be the perpetual headache—what is the correct question?)

  10. Hi Dagood
    Interesting questions, all logical. In your response to Jenny, you said**By creating a category of things God does not experience, we now have two items in the universe—God and experiences God does not have.**

    You and Jenny make a leap there that God is somehow unaware of those experiences. Note: "By him, through him, and for him are all things" - Rom 11:36

    Does God fear? No, but he certainly knows what it is, and he knows what it feels like.

    **The more I consider “making humans in God’s own image” the more I realize how little that means.**

    God's spiritual image. We are able to reason mechanically and abstractly and we have a soul.

    The "fear of the passing of time" is something that arose from our natural circumstances after the fall. The goal of Jesus Christ was to give people the ability and the hope to reclaim that original quality in their God image of eternal life as God enjoys.

    God knows our experiences as intimately as we know them. The fact that he is not essentially changed by them as we are is a result of him being the Great I Am.

    I recently wrote on how this name, I Am (Yahweh), is the essential name of the God that must exist, and to my knowledge only appears in the scriptures (Mohammed batted 0 for 99 on this score). I don't see how I Am could be some cultural projection. It seems the other way around, we are the projection of that God, the one that makes sense in every instance.

  11. Jim Jordan,

    These are simply interesting questions to ponder. None of us have any way to validate any of the possible answers, so speculation can run rampant. If you look at a few verses before Rom. 11:36, Paul correctly states that God’s ways are mysterious, and his mind unknowable.

    Maybe the only frustrating aspect of this is the numerous occasions in which a theist makes a claim about God, and when we start to unpack it, they retreat to “God’s ways are mysterious.” How can a person make a claim about God, and without taking a breath state we cannot know anything about God? It undercuts the claim entirely.

    However, that being said, there is a point in this exercise. Too many “God claims” are made solely by definition, without any demonstration of the viability, and yet the theist seems to think this should be persuasive in some manner. Let me demonstrate that by using another topic, and putting the shoe on the other foot…

    Shifting gears for a moment to abiogenesis. Imagine I made the following claim:

    “Natural abiogenesis must have occurred because we know at one point the Earth only had non-life, and it now has life, so life must have developed. We know it was natural, because the Earth developed naturally over time.”

    Now, realizing how little we know about abiogenesis, not to mention a certain prejudice toward naturalism, is my claim convincing? Not really—it is at best simply a definition, with no foundation, no verification, and no argument. Yet that is exactly the types of claims that are presented to me about God. If the “argument solely by definition” is not persuasive to you, why should it be persuasive to me?

    Not to pick on ya, but look at this statement:

    Jim Jordan: Does God fear? No, but he certainly knows what it is, and he knows what it feels like.

    Obviously, the first thing to point out is that there is no way to know this. None. No way to verify it in any way. Secondly, if God does not experience fear, then how can he have knowledge of what it feels like? This statement is as compelling to me, as mine about natural abiogenesis would be to you.

    Think about a small child who comes running into your room at night terrified of the proverbial “monster under the bed.” You can turn on the light, you can inspect under the bed, you can even drop the mattress to the floor. Yet despite all those precautions--the fear remains. “Fear” is not something we logically process, we cannot argue it away.

    As a parent we learn to deal with the fear on its own grounds, and not try to convince the child by reason and information as to why they should not be afraid. Without ever experiencing that, the actual going through of “I know there is no monster, I know there is no monster, I know there is no monster…yet I fear the monster” can we say that we “know” what fear is? In the words of Dr. Seuss:

    “’I am not afraid of Pale Green Pants with No Body Inside Them’
    I said and said and said those words (but I lied ‘em)”

    Think about God before creation. Just God. Hanging out wherever a God can hang out. What is He afraid of? What does he experience as fear? What monster is under God’s bed? If he has no experience of fear, he has no knowledge of fear.

    The only way to get around this is to have God see fear in others. Either in his own mind, or in the future. But that makes the future predetermined for God.

    Which brings us the question—how do we get “surprise”?

    Your statement about our “image of God” being reason and soul raises other questions. The first question would be—“Does God have a soul?” Does God have two (or three if you include “Spirit”) separate essences within his being? He didn’t have physical. Does soul “come into existence” or does it always exist? Simply claiming we have a soul is what being the “image” does not really progress the answer to the question.

    Reasoning is more problematic. Paul says that the wisdom of the world is foolishness to God, and God uses the foolishness of the world to put the wise to shame, the weak to put to shame the mighty, and the things that are not to bring to nothing the things that are. 1 Cor. 1:17-29.

    So I am made in God’s image partially by use of my reason. Yet when I use my reason in debating with Christians in particular, and things are not going so well for the Christian, the second most commonly used verse when debating non-believers pops out—1 Cor. 1. They tell my all my “wisdom” is foolishness. O.K.—then how, again, was I made in the image of God by virtue of my ability to reason?

    (Of course, out pops the fall, which apparently gave me both MORE similarity to God, and LESS ability to reason. All of which starts to look more like excuses than argument.)

    Jim Jordan, I had read your blog entry on God’s essential name. The etymology of “Yahweh” is a convoluted one. Interesting study, if you are inclined.

    You can use the Catholic Encyclopedia if you want to springboard a pursuit in that endeavor.

  12. Hello, Dagood
    You say that abiogenesis and God are easy to make sense of with the corresponding presuppositions, but pressupositions are not arguments. Fair enough.

    Back to your original question:How does an eternal being create fear of death?
    It is true that God cannot die so He would have no fear of death. Did He create the fear of death, or is it a construct of our own flawed psyches? What do you think?

    But isn’t this picking and choosing what attributes to attach to a god, and avoiding some problematic ones?

    We have as evidence the good that we know can exist in ourselves (that cannot be explained with a presupposition of a Darwinian reality) combined with the logical attributes that a creator God would have.

    I see no conflict in saying God has certain attributes but he is so vast much of him remains a mystery. Likewise, I know my Lexus is great, but raise up the hood and I have no idea what I'm looking at. Although I couldn't tell you, aside from generalizations, how it runs, I know my Lexus and I know that it is awesome. Same with God.

    The answer to that original question is easy. An eternal being creates finite beings, and they create a fear of death. God is aware of our fear, but he cannot be changed by it. That was my point.

    I respectfully disagree that the "I Am" translation is convoluted. The Hebrew verb is clearly the same as our "to be".

    BTW, your explanation of 1 Cor 1:1 is off; our wisdom is foolishness to God by comparison. This idea of the fall seems to insult your intelligence. To that I apologize. Howevewr, if there is no fall, there is no separation from God, therefore you must see him often...

    Another point you made was that there was no way to prove that God would know what fear is. If God exists, how could he not know? I do not see why participation in fear is necessary.

    You have a problem in that in order for the universe to have come about, you need an uncaused cause. Matter cannot come from nothing. If that uncaused cause is God, then we CAN know some of his mandatory attributes, no?

    May you soon get your mitts around these big ideas. :-)

  13. Jim Jordan,

    Thank you for your pleasant reply.

    Jim Jordan: It is true that God cannot die so He would have no fear of death. Did He create the fear of death, or is it a construct of our own flawed psyches? What do you think?

    I see a problem with a creator that has no ability to die, having the requisite knowledge of the experience of the fear of death in order to create it. As I said, I sorta have a handle on the idea that if there was only one eternal being (*cough, cough* “by definition”) then anything it creates would be non-eternal. That just because God is eternal, he would still have the knowledge to make something that is finite in time.

    What I don’t get is how that same God would have enough knowledge to create the experience of fear of that limitation in time. It is a step beyond making things cease—it is creating a feeling, an event, coupled with that limitation.

    Jim Jordan—have you ever been in danger of losing your life? Not some dark alley at 1 a.m. where you were scared because you didn’t know who was lurking in the shadows, but rather a situation in which you were firmly convinced that at the end of the day—you would be dead. A rope broke and someone happened to catch you, or a heart attack where you were rushed to the hospital—something where you knew you were going to die.

    I haven’t. I have not experienced that rush, that sweat, that grip of fear. The only way I can even remotely understand it is to recall other events in which I was very scared, and talk to people who HAVE been fully convinced they were going to die.

    But God didn’t have that. Neither the experience of being afraid, or the humans to talk to about what that is like. Where would a God even come up with the idea of fear of death?

    While I disagree that 1 Cor. 1 is solely about our wisdom being less than God’s (Paul starts off that way, but works himself up to saying human wisdom is foolishness) even taking your interpretation, this leaves us in a pickle. All I can use is my human wisdom. All I can use is talking to other humans with their wisdom. (Hence this blog entry.) And this issue of an eternal being creating fear of death remains a problem. To me.

    I see the “uncaused cause” argument as actually hurting your position that God knows, but does not experience. Look, I think we all agree that the fear of death exists. That it is real. However one wants to analyze it from the terms of psyche, or soul or chemical reactions—it is something that occurs.

    Where did it come from? If it came into existence on its own—then it is an “uncaused cause.” We now have something, besides God which can exist without a cause. There is slippery slope that if one (1) thing can exist without a god—why not all things?

    So it would seem that the only safe position for a Christian would have to be that the “fear of death” is a cause that goes back to the uncaused cause—God. Which leaves me in the same pickle—if the uncaused cause cannot experience fear of death, how can it “cause” the experience of the fear of death?

    Maybe the simpler question is this—are there things that humans do that God cannot? If so, where did God get the knowledge of these things? Another one that is equally enigmatic to me is “surprise.” If you hold that God knows the future, how did God conceptualize “surprise”?

    As I say, the only way around this that I see is to merely define God as “knowing” things without the ability to “experience” the things, but this is a definitional argument, and not very persuasive to a skeptic. “It is because I say it is” doesn’t draw great support from a questioning crowd.

    I enjoyed your example of your Lexus. Let me draw further on it. Like you, if I opened a hood of a car, I would not know what I am looking at. However, all that is, is a limitation of time and material. If I (or you) truly wanted to know how your Lexus works, we could discuss with the engineers, read the materials, inspect, test, observe and perform experiments, all with the intention of learning how it works.

    Given time and resource, we can learn. The difference between your Lexus and God is observation and verification. What human can I turn to, who has seen God? What experiment can I perform on God? What can I observe about God? What resources and manuals do I have about God?

    This question I asked has been around for millennium—with never an answer. While we have gained information about the universe surrounding us, we have gained no new information about God. With your Lexus, we can learn and grow and even improve our information. With God it is speculation, hypothesis and guess.

    I know you are already itching to tell me of Paul seeing God, or the Bible being the manual, etc. However, you have it easier—you only have one particular God in your view. As a skeptic, I look to all sorts of Gods, and all sorts of options.

    See (still using your Lexus) I have some telling me that it is a radio with wheels. Some that it is a noise maker. Some that it is storage. Some that it generates heat. Some that it is transported by gas. Some say it is transported by gravity. Some say that it is red, some that it is green, etc.

    Your Lexus we can verify. All the engineers, whether from G.M. or Ford or Lexus, will confirm its colors, its mode of operation, its construction, etc. Yet when it comes to God-Lexus, all the engineers disagree as to just about everything to do with it!

    When we refer to “God” you have only one image as the “true God” in your mind. When I ask for a manual, you only think of your particular Bible. But as a skeptic, when I say there is no manual, it is because I am seeing the plethora of other theists all pointing out their particular “manual” to me, while equally pointing out other manuals as being wrong.

    A few rabbit trails of fun…

    Evolutionary explanation of ethics What books have your read, written by scientists who hold to evolution, about how ethics came into existence? I was a little surprised that you would say “Darwinian reality” (presumably evolution) cannot explain morality. I’ve only read very little on the subject, but am somewhat familiar with the various explanations.

    So, before I go off—have you read books by evolutionists who explain it? If so—which ones?

    Logical attributes of creator Did God create logic? If so, could he use logical constructs in the creation of logic?

    Is God bound by logic? How could God be bound by something he created? Or, if it is greater than him, how can something be greater than a God? If it is part of him, what parts are NOT logical?

    Another question that opens Pandora’s box of problems with difficult solutions and no verifiable ones

    The Fall The story of the fall does not insult my intelligence. I am a bit ambivalent to it. Seems to be a tale, created by Judaism, to explain the morality of humans. Other cultures have similar tales. Like Pandora’s box.

    The idea, however, does seem a bit silly. We have this AWESOME, ETERNAL, HOLY creator who made a universe consisting of billions of galaxies, each with billions of stars, and almost countless asteroids, moons, planets, and comets. A creator that, from nothing, creates energy. Creates light. Creates matter. A Creator that that makes the concept of decision-making.

    On the other hand, we have the created. A fragile, gangly, dependant creature who can only hope to exist for 120 years on the extreme outside. More likely 60-80 years.

    Yet the weak created, somehow, manages to screw things up so badly, that the only way by which the AWESOME creator can rectify the situation, and then only partially, is by committing suicide!

    The idea that a God voluntarily separates itself from creation—that makes sense. The idea that the created can cause a God to do that which it does not desire—that seems a little far-fetched. The idea that this creator can only partially fix the problem—that seems more far-fetched. The idea that the creator kills itself for a rule it made itself, in order to satisfy itself for its own punishment necessitated by its own justice—well, that gets pretty hard to swallow.

    And then, after ALL this, the best it can do to communicate its desires is by the extremely limited use of a dead language, written by unknown authors, to unknown audience regarding unverified facts, which has become more muddled through other humans messing up the copies…well…sorry. But can ya blame me for being a wee bit under impressed?

    Thanks, Jim Jordan, for proposing some thoughts for my “mitts” to grapple with. :)

  14. Hi Dagood
    **I see the “uncaused cause” argument as actually hurting your position that God knows, but does not experience.**

    I had said, "God is aware of our fear, but he cannot be changed by it." The Bible says over and over that He is aware of everything, and if He is the creator of all things then that does make sense. However, how he does it and to what degree he does it is a mystery, which led me to think of what lies under the hood of a car...

    **Yet when it comes to God-Lexus, all the engineers disagree as to just about everything to do with it**

    I think most people would agree that it works extremely well, judging by the complexities in nature, ecosystems, our ability to see and hear and sometimes even our ability to reason.

    **When I ask for a manual, you only think of your particular Bible**

    Don't forget. There is the other Book, Nature.

    **have you read books by evolutionists who explain it? If so—which ones?

    The Blind Watchmaker and The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins come to mind. He stretches the meaning of the word "elegant" to a whole new level. I was entertained by his writing but I think he is better at attacking opposing ideas rather than presenting or defending his own.

    The problem with an evolutionary ethics is that we aren't doing a very good job of evolving ethically. If the 20th Century is any indication, we are actually de-evolving. :-)

    **Is God bound by logic? How could God be bound by something he created?**

    This is an interesting point. The biblical parallel to this is that while God is sovereign, we see oodles of evidence in scripture and in Nature for his self-control.

    Re: The Fall**Seems to be a tale, created by Judaism, to explain the morality of humans. Other cultures have similar tales. Like Pandora’s box.**

    Isn't it fascinating how so many traditions point to that great inadequacy of human behavior? It came from Pandora's box, or the Garden of Eden, or from people distorting the word of Allah, etc.

    Let's assume that God created this material world to play around with, like an artist creates a picture on a canvass. But there was this potential to create a being to live in this environment but also given the capability of an eternal spiritual existence. However, the beings conformed to their material existence and were corrupted by their material desires.

    But all is not lost, as there always is a remnant willing to believe in something beyond the material in the God who is not a projection of themselves (i.e. an idol). The creator makes a covenant with this people that he will live among them.

    Whether this plan was "suicide" is debatable. Jesus did not kill himself, although God did let him die on the cross. Then you throw in the historical fact that his number of followers exploded immediately after this with a fervent belief in his resurrection, and theirs.

    If this is all true, why did God choose to do it this way? Couldn't he just appear the moment we die and escort us to eternity? Perhaps, he knows us better than we know ourselves. The reason the Bible gives for Jesus' ministry is that "many more could be saved".

    This debate would have to include a discussion on the character and teachings of Jesus, but that's another post.

    I understand that you are under impressed. This would have to make sense to you in a "big picture" sort of way. It came together in my mind although I'm sure I need to get better at describing it.

    Always a pleasure dialoging. Have a great Memorial Day.

  15. Okay,
    I had a thought. It's a bit noodle baking, but hey, we are discussing "God" after all.

    God learned the human stuff, like fear, from Jesus. Jesus became a person in order to be able to relate. Jesus is the alpha and omega, and an eternal, all knowing being. So, Jesus, had already experienced (knew) the future at the time of creation. I think, for instance, it could be argued that Jesus knew fear of death. He sweat blood dealing with the prospect of death on the cross. He also experienced sin and sickness, not his own, but everyone elses (i.e., on the cross). Jesus knows what it's like to be Hitler or Ghandi. He took all the bad stuff on the cross, and he already knew the good stuff, since all good things come from him.