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God's power

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by Corban, Jun 13, 2004.

  1. dan

    dan Well-Known Member

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    Please don't make assumptions about what I imply with my words. God chooses to comply with the rules that He Himself has proscribed. He has rules for Himself.

    Which is why our language is pitifully inadequate to encapsulate all that is God. God has rules for Himself, as do we.

    I don't feel offended in the least, and I apologize if I've come off as offensive; I get a little sarcastic sometimes, and this medium is hardly condusive to sarcasm, so please accept my apology.
     
  2. Corban

    Corban Member

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    That's an interesting way to put it Mr. Sprinkles, as the logic you are applying goes right to the root of the nature of my initial question.

    First lets look at what is being said. I think you are misunderstanding Dan to a degree and this is what i want to look at. He says he agrees that God could force us to be good, as God is all powerful. But what is at stake is the results of that forced behavior, if God forces us to be good that would destroy our individual agency, we are individuals who can think for ourselves if God, who is all powerful says we have to be good, then He is at the same time taking our ability to decide what types of people we want to be and what type of actions we want to take.

    This is exactly the meaning of my original question. Dan is not saying God can't make everyone be good, he is saying God wouldn't because, more than being good He wants us to have our agency and that is the perpose of our lives, for us to grow and develop.

    So the real question you need to address, and this would also answer my original question, is can God make us be good, and still keep our agency.

    Logic of course says no, and it says it in the same way that one plus one equals two.

    Now when you answer this don't go off and change the nature of the question, as it appears people have when trying to reply to what answer God would put on His math test, (of how everything is one so adding doesn't change the one so five is one, because that again changes the nature of the question) I ask very simply can God defy logic. Lets examine by looking at this new question that has arisen with your debate with Dan. Can God make everyone be good, withought destroying our individual agency?
     
  3. Mr Spinkles

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    Can God defy logic?

    If God is all powerful, then yes He can defy logic, because He is more powerful than logic--He gets to decide what is and what is not logical. If, on the other hand, God cannot defy logic, that would mean that logic is more powerful than God, and therefore God's power is limited by it, and He is not all powerful.

    Can God make everyone be good, without destroying individual agency?

    Well, if God is all powerful then the answer is definitely yes, because if He is all powerful He can do anything, whether or not it is logical. But even if God cannot defy logic, He could still prevent us from doing evil without destroying free will. Here's why:

    1) Our "free will" is already limited by God in many, many ways. We cannot do anything we want, we have innumerable constraints. Yet, these contraints aside, we still do not feel "forced" to do anything because there are still an infinite number of choices to choose from. Even if all our evil choices were taken away, we would STILL have free will because there would STILL be an infinite number of good things we can do (will I have steak or chicken or fish tonight? what TV show will I watch? etc.).

    2) We want to do "good" and not do "evil". The problem is, we are not strong enough to always do good and always resist evil, and some people have difficulty realizing the difference between good and evil. If God took away our option for doing evil, we would be grateful to Him, not mad at the encroachment on our freedom (which would be minimal).

    3) Some might argue that such a world would be boring and meaningless. However, if you believe God is all powerful, you must admit that He has the power to create a world that is devoid of evil but still exciting and meaningful, so that argument only holds up if God is not all powerful (God doesn't have the power to make us feel a certain way? Is He less powerful than anti-depressant medication?) Also, such an argument can also be used to say that heaven cannot exist (if heaven is devoid of evil, it is meaningless, boring, etc.).

    4) One last point: by definition, there is nothing more evil than evil. Evil is as bad as it gets. So if we have to decide which is worse, "no evil" or "no free will", the obvious choice is "no evil"! Evil is much worse than a limited free will.

    Now, if limited free will is considered an evil thing in its own right, then either

    A)it is impossible to completely destroy evil, as destroying some evil would restrict free will and therefore create more evil. If this is true, God is not all powerful.

    OR B)it is possible to completely destroy evil, since God is all powerful. Even though by our logic it is illogical to destroy evil completely, God decides what is logical in the first place--so He has the power to destroy all evil (or to have never allowed it in the first place).

    If B) is true (and if we agree that evil exists), then God is not all good, because He wills evil.
     
  4. kc8tbe

    kc8tbe Member

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    I agree

    Sorry about the confusion; I was paraphrasing. To argue that God's love for us would compel him to create suffering so that we may appreciate joy and to create evil so that we may appreciate good is to argue that God's love is subjective. In this instance, "subjective" most nearly means "tough love". If I have misinterpreted your argument, please tell me.

    And if God is limited by these rules in such a way that he cannot achieve a desireable outcome then he is not all powerful. Let's recap what's been discussed so far:

    Point: If God must abide by his own rules, then he is not all powerful.
    Counterpoint: God created the rules so that he would never have a need to violate them. When God abides by these rules, it confirms his omnipotence.

    However this argument breaks down if God has an incentive to break one of his own rules. Suppose God actually did make a rule that would prohibit him from eliminating all evil from the world (I am not aware of any scripture than explicitly states such a rule). This rule would be an error on God's part, since God does not like evil and wishes to eliminate it. If God made an error in creating this rule for himself, then God is not all powerful. Think of this as a part (C) to Dan's argument (above).
     
  5. Paraprakrti

    Paraprakrti Custom User

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    God=Good
    For example, God could descend upon you and chop off your head. Still, that would not compromise God being Good. His position transcends relative good and evil.

    Suffering is good. You need to suffer. God makes it so because He knows that you want to be happy, and that the only way to truly be happy is in His Personal association. Therefore, God has you kicked continuously by material nature to remind you to wake up.
     
  6. Paraprakrti

    Paraprakrti Custom User

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    Answer: God can break His own rules. I already answered that in my first post. He can, but He may not.


    This is a philosophy I was making an example of with mathematics. In the relative world everything is different from everything else. Everything is of a different constitution, various positions. On the absolute, spiritual platform, everything is non-different from every other thing. Everything is ONE. Simultaneously one and variegated. This is just a philosophy. I used mathematics because the initial thread post was asking if God can make one plus one equal five.
     
  7. Corban

    Corban Member

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  8. Mr Spinkles

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    Corban--

    Well said. Let me try to see if I understand you correctly: truth exists in its own right, apart from God, but because God is a god of truth, He chooses to not go against truth (although He could choose to disobey truth if He wanted to). Is that correct?

    If so, I would pose a couple questions: who or what created truth in the first place?

    Also, can God do something that is "not true"? In other words, if God decided to make 1+1=3 (and theoretically He could, if He is all powerful) would this automatically become "truth" since God does it? Or would 1+1=3 still not be truth, but God can go against truth? Or, could God make 1+1=3 happen, and decide for Himself whether it is "true" or not?
     
  9. Corban

    Corban Member

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    That's exactly what i'm saying, but let me give you my thoughts on your question. first who or what created truth? I don't belive that has an aswer. I think, just as I believe matter can not be created or destroyed because it is eternal, truth can not be created or destroyed, at least in the eternal sense. I can create the truth that i like ice cream, but truths such as 1+1=2, did not need to be created it only needed to be discovered, it has always existed and always will. A billion years from now if some being has one apple and gets one more apple he will still have three apples. It is not a truth like my liking ice cream that needs to be created, it only needs to be discovered and understood. I believe that these truths are what we need to discern, accept and live by. I believe lying is wrong, not because God just decided to make that wrong but because it is inherantly wrong. and again a billion years from now if someone lies it will still be wrong. Since that is an eternal truth, God would not change it, but will accept accept it and always live according to it, because He is a God of truth and eternal truths that He follows do not change. I believe that is what He is talking about when He says, He does not change. God does not change because as an all knowing being He knows all eternal truths and will always follow them, not as a slave to them, but as someone empowered by knowledge that does not change
     
  10. kc8tbe

    kc8tbe Member

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    Ummm... if truth and matter didn't need to be created, then what purpose does God serve?

    Also, you cannot "create the truth" that you like ice cream. Maybe when you were little you liked ice cream, but then you grew up and stopped liking it. But at any given instant, you either like it or you don't.
     
  11. Corban

    Corban Member

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    That's what i mean by my creating it, i decide at what moment it is true or not, like right now i decide that the statement "I like ice cream" is false because i just ate and right now ice cream doesn't sound good at all. Later i'll be able to decide if it is true or not. so that truth is subjective. Many others are. Let me ask you, is it true that i am sitting down? I get to decide if it is true or not, because i can choose to sit or make it false by standing. Some truths are eternal, i can't decide right now if i want 1+1 to equal 2. that's an eternal truth, just like i can't decide if God exists, or if Jesus is the Christ, or if matter can be created, i only get to decide if i want to believe those things or not.
     
  12. maxpower

    maxpower Member

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    I agree, i don't believe God created truth (as long as you determine between eternal truths and subjective truths), i think He knows all truth, and acts according to those truths, so we can come to know God by understanding truths, and knowing God will always follow those things that are true
     
  13. Mr Spinkles

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    Corban: I am still not clear on some things. Does God choose not to go against truth, or is He unable to?

    Refer to these questions from earlier, if they help:

    " can God do something that is "not true"? In other words, if God decided to make 1+1=3 (and theoretically He could, if He is all powerful) would this automatically become "truth" since God does it? Or would 1+1=3 still not be truth, but God can go against truth? Or, could God make 1+1=3 happen, and decide for Himself whether it is "true" or not? "
     
  14. Corban

    Corban Member

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    There are some things He theoreticaly could go against, but never would, He would never lie, but there are some things He would never do because they go against eternal truths and can't be done, can God make light and darkness exist together at the same time, in the same place? no. because darkness is the absence of light and where light is darkness can not be, not by man or God. does this mean God's power is limited? no. because His knowledge of this true principle now gives Him more power, because understanding is a form of power.
     
  15. Corban

    Corban Member

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    There are some things He theoreticaly could go against, but never would, He would never lie. the Bible say's He can not lie (i know you hate the thought that there is something God can not do that's why i'm letting God say it, not me) In Titus 1:2- "In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began" and in Hebrews 6:18, that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie"

    but there are some things He would never do because they go against eternal truths and can't be done, can God make light and darkness exist together at the same time, in the same place? no. because darkness is the absence of light and where light is darkness can not be, not by man or God. does this mean God's power is limited? no. because His knowledge of this true principle now gives Him more power, because understanding is a form of power.

    So in adrressing this now, as i'm sure you still don't agree, adress the 2 sctiptures above and the light and darkness question.
     
  16. LCMS Sprecher

    LCMS Sprecher Member

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    "but there are some things He would never do because they go against eternal truths and can't be done"- Corban

    You're whole argument is based on the assumption that matter and energy existed with God and share an eternal existence with Him. This argument is based on physical laws that are eternal and were put in place after creation not before. The physical laws are for the governing of the universe after creation. They did not exist before creation. Again, the physical laws are for our protection not to limit God. Think about matter are energy getting created at a continual rate. Before you now it we would all be stuck in a giant block matter (there would be no space). The physical laws prevent this from happening and were put in place after creation. Therefore they cannot give us a theory on what existed before or during creation. What this has to do with God lying I have no clue. If you could please expound on this "God lying issue" Corban.
     
  17. dan

    dan Well-Known Member

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    How do you know?
     
  18. LCMS Sprecher

    LCMS Sprecher Member

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    How would you know that I am wrong? If God is did not create the laws on the universe then who did? How did we come into existence, and if God did not create the physical laws of this world then He isn't God; He is just a higher form of life and we are a test tube experiment. When you get down to it, no scientist know's what the universe was like before the big bang and how it occurred (it's all speculation). If the universe expanded infinitely for several billion years from a point in the universe, then where did all that expansion energy and matter come from anyway?
     
  19. dan

    dan Well-Known Member

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    Because I have perfect knowledge of the nature of God given to me by the Holy Spirit.

    You're trying to use the our physical laws to prove that they themselves could not have existed before the creation of the world. Reasoning does not get more contradictory.

    Matter and energy are eternal, as are God and our spirits. It cannot be created or destroyed. If you want to get linguistic about it, the Hebrew word translated "create" in our Bibles refers to a shaping or fashioning of something that already exists.
     
  20. kc8tbe

    kc8tbe Member

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    You seem to be confused by the concept of instantaneous truth, so let's think of it another way. Suppose I ask you whether or not you liked ice cream at 9:32 A.M. on Jun 2, 2004. This is an eternal truth. No matter how much you like or dislike ice cream now, your affinity for ice cream at 9:32 A.M. on Jun 2, 2004 will remain constant forever. And if God were to tell you that you didn't like ice cream at that time when, in fact, you did... then under your philosophy, he'd be lying.

    The bible also says that God can do anything. If the bible says that God cannot lie AND that God can do anything, then the bible is clearly contradicting itself.

    True, the current known physical laws don't tell us exactly what happened at the moment of creation, but they do give us a pretty good idea. Your "giant block matter" sounds a lot like the Big Bang theory.
    Not if you are stuying the Gods of Greek and Roman mythology.
    This is actually a very good question, let's take it further. Who created God? Who created whoever created God? Who created whoever created whoever created God? The recursive logic can be stopped by saying something to the effect of "God was always there, nobody had to create him," but then we could just as easily say "The universe was always there, nobody needed to create it."
     
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