God's Omnipotence and the Problem of Evil

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Re: God's Omnipotence and the Problem of Evil

#31

Post by Byblos » Sat Oct 30, 2010 7:46 am

DannyM wrote:J,

No, God did not create a fallen world. Just as God did not create evil.

Danny
Nor did God create a perfect world; it was good and very good (suggesting degrees) but never perfect (no degrees).
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Re: God's Omnipotence and the Problem of Evil

#32

Post by jlay » Sat Oct 30, 2010 8:11 am

Danny,

First regarding Smiley. Apparently he was a wolf in sheeps clothing. At least according to some Matlock type investigating that went down. Regardless, I think he pointed out some weak positions and rebuttals regarding this issue and others. I was also critical of the guy on several threads. Apparently that has been dealt with and we can move on.

Regarding the other. God's foreknowledge does not discount the state of the earth-universe when God created them. God's foreknowledge also permits Him to know every possible fork in the road, every alternate possibility, and every variable. But in reality, I don't think this is how God 'processed' the thing. He simply created, as He is THE creator. And He created it as the Word says, Good. God made no error. So, I guess that is where I see the friction. I see the fallen state not as part of God's plan, but God's plan soveriegn over the fallen state. I don't know if that makes sense to you, but I do see it as a significant difference. The difference being seeing a little child starving to death as being part the plan of God, versus knowing God is working all things together despite these things that are not part of His plan.

Byb,
Not sure I'm want to get into a discussion about perfect vs. good. But since you brought it up. I think you are misapplying the text. After each day God sees it as good, But then in Gen. 1:31 God surveys ALL (the total) that He has made and declares it VERY GOOD. How much? Some? No, all of it. Then in 2:1 we read why. Because it was complete. Not lacking. Done, finished. Guess what the Hebrew word is for perfect? Kalal. Sharing the same root word (Kalah) used in 2:1 to say, "thus the heavens and the earth were FINISHED."
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Re: God's Omnipotence and the Problem of Evil

#33

Post by Echoside » Sat Oct 30, 2010 12:27 pm

DannyM wrote:Echoside,
You not understanding does nothing to my point. Let's put it your way, although I fail to see much difference.

According to the definition of the Christian God there should be less suffering in the world than we find.

Now before I go on, I wish to point out that it is difficult to see what the force of 'should' is here apart from a moral one. The atheist is using this, not the Christian. I'll be back to clear up your post as soon as you've addressed this.

Danny
First off, I'm not sure what you mean by your first sentence. When I say I do not understand your position, i'm asking for clarification. It obviously is not an argument itself. Why does that statement have any relevance to my post?

The first part of your point about the premise is a little murky still, at least to me, so forgive me if i miss what you are trying to say.

There "should" be less suffering in the world in this argument is saying that, if god exists, he "should" conform to his own standards. Anything else is illogical. You could indeed call this a "moral" should. But it's not the atheist's morals, the atheist has no morals. There's a difference between an atheist saying that god would be "wrong" in the sense of there is an objective standard they appeal to and actually believe, and an atheist saying god would be "wrong" using god's own standards, while not believing in morality themselves. I may be mistaken, but I think you are failing to distinguish between the atheist who makes this argument , and the argument itself. Many atheists use this argument, and at the same time commit the fallacy of BELIEVING in an objective morality their worldview does not support. However, when you take the argument for what it is, without the motivations of who is behind it, it's clearly straightforward.


1. God cannot lie
2. In the bible, god's inspired word, god reveals his character, limits himself, etc.
3.God goes back upon his word

therefore, god does not exist. Now obviously you can show that number 3 is wrong , and how he did not lie because certain things like a world with evil is still compatible with how god structured the world and who he is. I do not understand how being an atheist makes the argument all of a sudden invalid. Would this argument be fine if a christian used it? if so what's the difference?

Now, maybe i've missed your point. It's possible. If you can clarify what you mean, perhaps say it in a different way, and refute the point, i'd be glad to hear it. I'm not here to appease my ego, or win a debate. I'm sincerely looking for your stance on the question, and if it truly invalidates it.

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Re: God's Omnipotence and the Problem of Evil

#34

Post by Byblos » Sat Oct 30, 2010 4:14 pm

Echoside wrote: However, when you take the argument for what it is, without the motivations of who is behind it, it's clearly straightforward.

1. God cannot lie
2. In the bible, god's inspired word, god reveals his character, limits himself, etc.
3.God goes back upon his word

therefore, god does not exist.
It's not clear to me if you're making this argument but, regardless who is making it, the argument is faulty not just from the conclusion in 3 but from the erroneous assumption in 2. Unless one can logically show HOW God is limiting Himself by revealing his character then the argument falls apart from the get go.
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Re: God's Omnipotence and the Problem of Evil

#35

Post by Echoside » Sat Oct 30, 2010 4:44 pm

Byblos wrote:
Echoside wrote: However, when you take the argument for what it is, without the motivations of who is behind it, it's clearly straightforward.

1. God cannot lie
2. In the bible, god's inspired word, god reveals his character, limits himself, etc.
3.God goes back upon his word

therefore, god does not exist.
It's not clear to me if you're making this argument but, regardless who is making it, the argument is faulty not just from the conclusion in 3 but from the erroneous assumption in 2. Unless one can logically show HOW God is limiting Himself by revealing his character then the argument falls apart from the get go.
No i'm not making this argument, i'm basically trying to show that to make this argument it's irrelevant if you are an atheist or not. The "problem" of evil is essentially saying god is not in sync with his attributes, being omni^3, etc. I wrote that in a rather hurry, but the general debate is whether or not evil can be present in a world created by a perfect being. I think it can, you think it can, but danny isn't arguing against the argument, he's saying it's flawed from the start because an atheist has no morals, which doesn't make sense to me. Of course this may not be his position at all, I'm still not sure what it is completely, and I will wait patiently until he clearly defines it.

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Re: God's Omnipotence and the Problem of Evil

#36

Post by Byblos » Sat Oct 30, 2010 7:41 pm

Echoside wrote:No i'm not making this argument, i'm basically trying to show that to make this argument it's irrelevant if you are an atheist or not. The "problem" of evil is essentially saying god is not in sync with his attributes, being omni^3, etc. I wrote that in a rather hurry, but the general debate is whether or not evil can be present in a world created by a perfect being. I think it can, you think it can, but danny isn't arguing against the argument, he's saying it's flawed from the start because an atheist has no morals, which doesn't make sense to me. Of course this may not be his position at all, I'm still not sure what it is completely, and I will wait patiently until he clearly defines it.
Thanks for the clarification. I highly doubt Danny is claiming atheists have no morals. He may be arguing they have no basis for having objective morality without God but I'm certain that Danny will clarify his position too.
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Re: God's Omnipotence and the Problem of Evil

#37

Post by DannyM » Wed Nov 03, 2010 6:52 am

Byblos wrote:
DannyM wrote:J,

No, God did not create a fallen world. Just as God did not create evil.

Danny
Nor did God create a perfect world; it was good and very good (suggesting degrees) but never perfect (no degrees).
I concur completely.
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Re: God's Omnipotence and the Problem of Evil

#38

Post by DannyM » Wed Nov 03, 2010 6:57 am

Byblos wrote:
Echoside wrote:No i'm not making this argument, i'm basically trying to show that to make this argument it's irrelevant if you are an atheist or not. The "problem" of evil is essentially saying god is not in sync with his attributes, being omni^3, etc. I wrote that in a rather hurry, but the general debate is whether or not evil can be present in a world created by a perfect being. I think it can, you think it can, but danny isn't arguing against the argument, he's saying it's flawed from the start because an atheist has no morals, which doesn't make sense to me. Of course this may not be his position at all, I'm still not sure what it is completely, and I will wait patiently until he clearly defines it.
Thanks for the clarification. I highly doubt Danny is claiming atheists have no morals. He may be arguing they have no basis for having objective morality without God but I'm certain that Danny will clarify his position too.
Sorry for being away so long. Atheists indeed can and do have morals; morals which are parasitic on the culture within which they were raised. And Byblos is right with regards my opinion on atheism and objective morality.
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Re: God's Omnipotence and the Problem of Evil

#39

Post by Canuckster1127 » Wed Nov 03, 2010 7:11 am

I get on about it quite often but this is one of the key areas where Aristotilean and Platonic logic has become embedded in Christian Theology. The whole idea of "perfect" with Plato, was a theoretical norm without any flaw that couldn't be tainted by being present in our material world. All we can see are the shadows of that perfection here.

That's not what the Hebrew mind understood in terms of "perfect." Perfect implied a sense of ripeness, maturity or something that had come into its own and was all that it could be or needed to be.

Much of Christian Theology and Systematics, if you look at it carefully, starts with this concept of abstract, distant, characteristics and then goes to build Scriptural proof texts around it. There's nothing wrong with that necessarily, but I've grown very leary of that approach. I focus upon larger portions of Scripture and attempt to see the entire thought or message in context. This is how in large part I've come to notice, as an example, that many of the passages proof-texted and cited as the Bible speaking about itself, is in fact speaking about Jesus, as the "Word of God."

Plato's concept of distant perfection is completely dispelled with the incarnation. Jesus, God and a perfect man, is flesh, and dwelt among us. He who has seen Christ, has seen the Father. It's completely counter to a great deal of Greek abstract, distance and transcendency. It's in many ways the reason why the Gospel was such an offense to so many.

Yet. much of early the development of a lot of the theological structures we take for granted now, are a result of theologians such as Augustine and Aquinas, taking Greek Logical structure which carry a lot of presumed elements (such as Plato's concept of perfection) and fit the Gospel into it. It's consistent in many areas, neutral in some but then there are areas too, where I think it does violence to a lot of things that simply were understood differently than how we assumes them to be now. It's a very difficult thing to see too, because it's woven into the fabric of how we think and perceive things and often the questioning of it, provokes a very strong reaction from those who are threatened by looking that deeply into things.
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Re: God's Omnipotence and the Problem of Evil

#40

Post by DannyM » Wed Nov 03, 2010 7:16 am

jlay wrote:Danny,

First regarding Smiley. Apparently he was a wolf in sheeps clothing. At least according to some Matlock type investigating that went down. Regardless, I think he pointed out some weak positions and rebuttals regarding this issue and others. I was also critical of the guy on several threads. Apparently that has been dealt with and we can move on.
J, to my recollection I have not had many if any discussions with Smiley prior to this one here. If he is a Christian then I will rephrase things with him if given the chance.
jlay wrote:Regarding the other. God's foreknowledge does not discount the state of the earth-universe when God created them. God's foreknowledge also permits Him to know every possible fork in the road, every alternate possibility, and every variable. But in reality, I don't think this is how God 'processed' the thing. He simply created, as He is THE creator. And He created it as the Word says, Good. God made no error. So, I guess that is where I see the friction. I see the fallen state not as part of God's plan, but God's plan soveriegn over the fallen state. I don't know if that makes sense to you, but I do see it as a significant difference. The difference being seeing a little child starving to death as being part the plan of God, versus knowing God is working all things together despite these things that are not part of His plan.
I must clarify that I don't see God creating as, say, the potter creates. I don't see God doing anything in order to create. But I digress.

God, of course, can make no mistake; the world, being his creation, for his purposes, must be the best possible world for his intentions. I am in complete agreement with you as regards God's foreknowledge not discounting the good state of the world at creation. None of this is incompatible with a good, all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-present God.
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Re: God's Omnipotence and the Problem of Evil

#41

Post by DannyM » Wed Nov 03, 2010 7:38 am

Echoside wrote:
There "should" be less suffering in the world in this argument is saying that, if god exists, he "should" conform to his own standards. Anything else is illogical.
What is illogical is the statement above. Can you show me how God is not conforming to his own standards? Remember that God cannot do a logical contradiction. Not because of any limt on his omnipotence; but because there is no doing a contradictory act.
Echoside wrote:You could indeed call this a "moral" should. But it's not the atheist's morals, the atheist has no morals. There's a difference between an atheist saying that god would be "wrong" in the sense of there is an objective standard they appeal to and actually believe, and an atheist saying god would be "wrong" using god's own standards, while not believing in morality themselves.
The premiss is faulty from the off simply because the atheist has no idea whether or not God could have created a material world with less suffering than we find. The premiss is couched in a monumental assumption. The amount of suffering we find is, as I have said, precisely what you'd expect of a scientifically intelligible world. No more and no less. The evidence is all around you because you see the material world you inhabit and the natural order that is its hallmark.
Echoside wrote:I may be mistaken, but I think you are failing to distinguish between the atheist who makes this argument , and the argument itself. Many atheists use this argument, and at the same time commit the fallacy of BELIEVING in an objective morality their worldview does not support. However, when you take the argument for what it is, without the motivations of who is behind it, it's clearly straightforward.
Whichever way you look at it the premiss is an appeal to suffering. Christians have been asking the question for over two thousand years. The premiss does nothing to challenge God's omnipotence, omnipresence or omniscience. You could call it a complete straw-dude.

Echoside wrote:1. God cannot lie
2. In the bible, god's inspired word, god reveals his character, limits himself, etc.
3.God goes back upon his word

therefore, god does not exist. Now obviously you can show that number 3 is wrong , and how he did not lie because certain things like a world with evil is still compatible with how god structured the world and who he is. I do not understand how being an atheist makes the argument all of a sudden invalid. Would this argument be fine if a christian used it? if so what's the difference?

Now, maybe i've missed your point. It's possible. If you can clarify what you mean, perhaps say it in a different way, and refute the point, i'd be glad to hear it.
I'm not here to appease my ego, or win a debate. I'm sincerely looking for your stance on the question, and if it truly invalidates it.
I'm totally lost on this syllogism, Echoside; would you mind informing me of its relevance? I apologise if I have missed the obvious.

Danny
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Re: God's Omnipotence and the Problem of Evil

#42

Post by jlay » Wed Nov 03, 2010 8:37 am

Bart,

Then you see how futile it is to say God did or did not create a 'perfect' world. He most certainly created a perfect world in keeping with the language used in the original Hebrew texts. Now, whether I or Byblos or whoever are imposing some other understanding of that word on to the text is another matter. I guess the question need be asked, what do you mean by perfect.

Regardless, my point to Byblos remains. There are not varying degrees of 'good' inferred or implied in the Genesis account.

Danny,
I concur completely.
Please explain how you arrive at this. Did you read my response to Byblos about the text of Gen. 1 and 2. There simply is no evidence of degrees of good. If there is please feel free to share how you are arrving at this conclusion.
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Re: God's Omnipotence and the Problem of Evil

#43

Post by Byblos » Wed Nov 03, 2010 10:15 am

jlay wrote:Bart,

Then you see how futile it is to say God did or did not create a 'perfect' world. He most certainly created a perfect world in keeping with the language used in the original Hebrew texts. Now, whether I or Byblos or whoever are imposing some other understanding of that word on to the text is another matter. I guess the question need be asked, what do you mean by perfect.

Regardless, my point to Byblos remains. There are not varying degrees of 'good' inferred or implied in the Genesis account.

Danny,
I concur completely.
Please explain how you arrive at this. Did you read my response to Byblos about the text of Gen. 1 and 2. There simply is no evidence of degrees of good. If there is please feel free to share how you are arrving at this conclusion.
jlay wrote:Byb,
Not sure I'm want to get into a discussion about perfect vs. good. But since you brought it up. I think you are misapplying the text. After each day God sees it as good, But then in Gen. 1:31 God surveys ALL (the total) that He has made and declares it VERY GOOD. How much? Some? No, all of it. Then in 2:1 we read why. Because it was complete. Not lacking. Done, finished. Guess what the Hebrew word is for perfect? Kalal. Sharing the same root word (Kalah) used in 2:1 to say, "thus the heavens and the earth were FINISHED."
(I had missed this before)

May I suggest that you might be misapplying the text too. From the Strong's Hebrew Bible Dictionary the word 'kalal' is the root word for kallah (double l) which means "from 'kalal' (3634); a bride (as if perfect); hence, a son's wife:--bride, daughter-in-law, spouse".

Whereas the word 'kalah' (one l) is itself a root word meaning "a primitive root; to end, whether intransitive (to cease, be finished, perish) or transitived (to complete, prepare, consume):--accomplish, cease, consume (away), determine, destroy (utterly), be (when ... were) done, (be an) end (of), expire, (cause to) fail, faint, finish, fulfil, X fully, X have, leave (off), long, bring to pass, wholly reap, make clean riddance, spend, quite take away, waste."

You might be right though that we have to define what perfect means and in the context of this discussion (where atheists were questioning whether or not God exists because there is suffering in the world) then their (il)logic follows that ANY type of suffering disproves God, including a withering plant or a dying bacteria. So in that context we can see that the creation account in Genesis was never intended to be that perfect. It was good and very good, perhaps perfect in its imperfections but never perfect the way atheists are meaning it to be in order to advance a deeply flawed argument against God.

P.S. Just putting it out there in case this is a concern, we are not attempting to argue any OEC/YES related debates.
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Re: God's Omnipotence and the Problem of Evil

#44

Post by DannyM » Wed Nov 03, 2010 10:17 am

jlay wrote: Danny,
I concur completely.
Please explain how you arrive at this. Did you read my response to Byblos about the text of Gen. 1 and 2. There simply is no evidence of degrees of good. If there is please feel free to share how you are arrving at this conclusion.
Whoa, what have I walked into!

J,

No I have not read this particular exchange between you and Byblos. God did not create a perfect world; the problems with holding this view are immense both theologically and philosophically. I'll try to get on asap with a more satisfactory response.
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Re: God's Omnipotence and the Problem of Evil

#45

Post by Echoside » Wed Nov 03, 2010 4:40 pm

DannyM wrote:
Echoside wrote:
There "should" be less suffering in the world in this argument is saying that, if god exists, he "should" conform to his own standards. Anything else is illogical.
What is illogical is the statement above. Can you show me how God is not conforming to his own standards? Remember that God cannot do a logical contradiction. Not because of any limt on his omnipotence; but because there is no doing a contradictory act.
I don't see where we are in disagreement here. I have not, and you will not see me make the argument that god is not conforming to his own standards. I think the problem of evil is faulty, and I have no problem with suffering in a world created by god, an omni^3 deity, etc.

Now, it seems like we have similar objections to the argument itself, I suppose this paragraph is mostly where my confusion lies.
DannyM wrote:
The contradiction lies in the atheist's appeal to suffering, for an atheist to point to suffering as some argument against God's existence is merely an emotional appeal in a blind, purposeless, unemotional dog-eat-dog world. And here lies the absurdity. Emotional appeal from an atheist simply does not cut it. And, yes, if we are to ask the question why God has, nevertheless, created a world in which suffering exists, it presupposes God as creator; the question presupposes God as creator and can serve as no argument against his existence. But that is a minor point when compared to the ludicrous situation we find ourselves in when an atheist tries to appeal to suffering in an attempt to disprove God's existrence.

To me, it sounds like you are saying the atheist isn't even ALLOWED to try and argue against God, because the atheist doesn't think god exists. It's a hypothetical IF question. IF god exists, why does the world have suffering. IF zeus exists, why can't we see him on mount olympus. There's a difference between "why did god do this, and IF god exists why did he do this.

I agree with reasonings to why evil can exist, I disagree with saying that when asking the questions you presuppose god exists, and are wrong before any logical examining of the premises has even taken place. Did i misunderstand your position?

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