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God And Intervention?


BillM
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I posted this on a deist board earlier today but thought, seeing as we have quite a few participants here that are not strict theists, it might be good "conversation starter" here also.

 

Disclaimer: My thoughts on this subject do not represent those of any deists, deism, Christian deists, or Christian deism that I am aware of. These are only my thoughts. YMMV.

 

Frankly, I am somewhat irritated at the allegation towards deists that we think that God “created the universe and then walked away” or that God “doesn’t intervene in his creation.” I think these allegations reflect a severe and important misunderstanding of how I, as a deist, view both God and God’s intervention. So I’d like to set the record straight as to how I understand God and God’s intervention in his creation.

 

When I was a traditional Christian, God was, for me, a Being “out there.” God, according to the Genesis account, created the universe separate from Himself. God, being God, could enter His creation and interact with it if He wanted to, but He didn’t live here. He was “in heaven,” wherever that was, usually thought of by me as a place beyond time and space. For reasons that were only fully known to God, He would sometimes “intervene” in order to accomplish His will, which usually consisted of giving someone a message, doing a miracle to get someone’s attention, or punishing someone for really screwing up. But after God was done intervening, He left the earth to go live in heaven again, probably because He just couldn’t stand being in a sinful world filled with sinful human beings. Again, because God was separate from His creation, the only way He could change anything about it was to visit it, do what He wanted to do, and then leave again until, at some point in the future, God would fix things so He could actually live here.

 

As I’m becoming more and more a deist, my views both of God and of creation are changing. Therefore, what I think now may change next week. But I have to go with what I currently understand and that is this: creation is not separate from God. God created everything within God’s-self. The apostle Paul may have been hinting at this when he told the philosophers on Mars Hill that, “In him (God), we live and move and have our being.” I, and others, call this panendeism. It is the notion that God is the Spirit or the More or the Divine in which the whole universe dwells. Put crudely in anthropomorphic terms, God is pregnant with his creation. If this is true, if we are all “in God,” then the notion of intervention (interfering from without) is a false one. God doesn’t interfere from without because there is no “without.” So how does God, again put crudely, interact? From within. Not interference, but influence. But the influence is “part of the program,” built into the universe itself. We may (or may not) even be cognitively aware of God’s influence, mainly because we no longer see the separation between ourselves, creation, and God that religions tout so highly. Or maybe, to put it another way, we are the hardware running God’s software. This doesn’t mean we are robots, it just means that something of God is part of us – always has been, always will be.

 

I’ll close this with a quick illustration, ridiculous though it may be: You see a child who looks hungry and has filthy, torn clothes on her. As a traditional Christian, you pray to God that God will intervene and help this poor child. You make God aware of her situation through "prayer" and you ask that he intervene on her behalf. As an atheist, you may help the poor child because you don’t believe in a God who intervenes. If anyone is going to help her, you, not God, must do it. As a deist, I would do the same thing as the atheist, I would help the poor child. But I would also believe that God had put enough of God’s self – which is love – into me that I responded to that influence. It is not that God created all of this and then walked away, refusing to ever intervene or interfere with his creation. It is that God created all of this in God’s self and interacts with his creation through his creation. Why pray for God to do something when he has already put it within our hearts what should be done? If Jesus' "incarnation" teaches us anything, it should be that God acts through humans, not through skyhooks. This, to me, is how God interacts with creation. It’s not intervention. But neither is it abandonment. It is active cooperation – the Creator inside his creations.

 

Any thoughts? I am just crazy?

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God created everything within God’s-self.

God is pregnant with his creation.

 

I like these images. Your thoughts have much in common with process thought so I, any way, don't think you are crazy. God's influence or God's allurement - we drawn toward what we understand to be God's values.

 

For me God has given birth to creation. Creation is other to God so that God can learn about God's self through relationship.

 

"Panentheism is a belief system which posits that God exists and interpenetrates every part of nature, and timelessly extends beyond as well." this definition from Wikipedia seems to fit very well with the pregnant God image. Is the difference between panentheism and panendeism that knowledge of God in panentheism is arrived at through revelation and that in panendeism knowledge of God is arrived at through rational thought?

 

Take Care

 

Dutch

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God's influence or God's allurement -

 

An amazing vision of this is the domestication of foxes accomplished by the Institute of Cytology and genetics in Russia. Foxes were selected for human friendly behavior only. But the shape of the foxes changed: ears stayed floppy longer as they grew from puppies, coat coloring changed to piebald, tails curled up and grew shorter - in some cases at the 16th generation the tail had fewer vertebrae. In addition to outward appearances the genetics of the foxes changed. (Current issue of National Geographic)

 

As we respond to God's allurement or influence not just our behavior, not just our outer appearance, but our deepest self is changed.

 

Speaking theoretically. :)

 

Take Care

 

Dutch

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Is the difference between panentheism and panendeism that knowledge of God in panentheism is arrived at through revelation and that in panendeism knowledge of God is arrived at through rational thought?

 

Yes, I think that is pretty close, Dutch, though I'm by no means at expert on the subject. But I do think that most theists believe that God's primarily revelation of God's self is through a supernatural means available to a select few (a chosen person or a chosen people) while deists believe it is through natural means to everyone willing to observe and ponder. One thing I appreciate about deism is that it respects experience, as does mysticism, as a way of knowledge also.

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I believe what you guys wrote is true. To put it in Christian terms I believe God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."

I think we are like a mirror facing God, our microcosmic mind being more outward and objective and God's macrocosmic mind being inward and subjective. As ordinary men and women we see everything in its outward appearance. God the Father or pure consciousness sees everything in an inward appearance because all of creation is within Him. All that exists in this world from the vast universe down to the minutest atom exists in God so only the form changes. God the Father, the all pervading pure consciousness is the eternal witness seeing everything inwardly, and in reference to us he sees everything internally and externally through our eyes. Pure consciousness pervades everything and is the linking force of all that is. Therefore, I feel my duty is to expand my mind and make contact with this force that maintains our life. I feel everyone is a part of God so everyone is God. In my mind everyone is in touch with the pure consciousness, but responds in different ways.

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When we think of the Biblical passage of God creating humans in his/her/its own image, are we speaking of physical image or are we speaking of spiritual image? The ancient gnostics, whether Egyptian or Christian, believed that we are each in possession of an internal Light or Spark of God. The NT also has passages alluding to this in John 1:9, although the translations can lead to various interpretations as is the case with anything in The Bible. To me, the point of this passage is not whether Jesus is/was the carrier of this True Light, but that this True Light is within 'everyman'. If we understand that each one of us is created in the Spiritual Image of God, then John 1:9 makes sense...that we all have within us the one True Light. This is the real meaning of being Children of God. It is because of this Truth that we look upon each other as being Of God, just as we ourselves are Of God. The Spirit of God flows through us all, connects us all, is within us all...whether we are homeless and depressed, wealthy and arrogant, kind and compassionate, addicted and insane, or killing each other on battlefields or city streets. Our human behavior does not negate this fact, but simply indicates our depth of knowledge of the True Light Within. Most people are unaware, 'asleep', to this fact and constantly are led to believe or search outside of themselves for this Truth. To me, this constant reference to external sources of salvation, to images, to statues, even to the claims that a human can be God, is the failure and futility of religion. The gnostics used to say that there are two kinds of people in this world...those who Know and those who don't Know. It is our own very real ability to seek out and experience this True Light that has brought us this far upon our own Journeys. People of God Journey Within...and reach out to aid and comfort others as they, too, are People of God. We are the same in the Light...we are One with the One and to that One we shall return.

Edited by Quaker Way
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Not crazy :)

Lots of fascinating stuff.

 

In the Christian tradition I'm most familiar with, there is talk about the Union in Christ: when you are experiencing the state of grace, your will is God's will. Seeing a poor person and asking God to do something about it, as opposed to doing something oneself, is antithetical to this idea. Be an instrument of good, be a witness to love, and act accordingly.

 

I agree that a religion that says that revelation and TRUTH! are only available to a select few is deeply problematic. IMO, it almost is a kind of 'have your cake and eat it too' situation: they don't want science and reason to be the path to truth, but they still want concrete practices to get the TRUTH! and identify the elect. I like Barth on this point because he's very consistent: God is constantly veiling and unveiling, offering revelations to people. How people react to those, however, is up to them. Also, and just as importantly, it's up to them to decide how to react when God pulls the veil and one stops experiencing grace. Where Calvin sees two types of people, the elect and the reprobate, Barth sees two experiences (veiling/unveiling, giving and withdrawing grace) that everybody has.

 

EDIT: ARGH... I really have to get better at adding another sentence or two to all my mosts. Anyway, as I read the OP, these seem to be points of common ground... maybe? Kinda sorta? :)

Edited by Nick the Nevermet
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Many philosophers have pondered the question of the existence of a God or Supreme Being. I think we all intuitively know there is a higher power but the question remains just what that higher power is.

 

I am not a Christian by most standards people use today. My understanding of God is based on reason and my reason tells me that there is a universal, natural, immutable force governing all that exists, all that has ever happened and all that will happen. I call it the life force; a triune force of consciousness, truth and love. I don't think life force has human characteristics. I think humans have life force characteristics. I've discussed this force at length in past posts here on January 3, 2010 and elsewhere.

 

I think life force permeates everything and guides evolution toward ultimate perfection. The force I describe is called God by most people but the force doesn't love any of us, it is love; it doesn't give life, it is life; it doesn't know truth, it is truth. The force is in us all and all we need to do to be in harmony with it is accept it, and learn to understand it. We all exist because of the life force and the evolution of DNA.

 

The bible stories about the mythical Jesus speak of his understanding of the life Force and how he understood himself as being one with it. (Like Luke Skywalker in Star Wars) Jesus understood the truth of life and love, the life of truth and love and the love of truth and life.

 

I think many of us like to hang labels on different belief systems for the sake of discussing their merits or flaws. This in my opinion is an academic exercise that will increase our understanding of who we are as individuals and how we understand where we fit in. If I were to label myself I suppose it would be some type or combination of deist, theist, atheist, or agnostic. Whatever it is I know I'm a part of something very big and interconnected. I also know this material existence is temporary.

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I appreciate everyone’s input on this topic. It’s always interesting to learn how others view and interpret these important things such as God, life, humanity, etc. Your responses (from all of you) got my neurons firing a bit more this morning (which is good since I stayed up way too late last night) and I wanted to share another thought about this.

 

For me, this topic is important, not just for conceptual value, but for pragmatic reasons. Many of you know of my religious past and how I incessantly struggled with what I would call the ineffectiveness of prayer. In my particular tradition, or at least in the way I interpreted it, prayer came down to informing God of a situation that he wasn’t aware of and asking that he take a certain course of action. Although we might have conceded that he would always intervene according to his divine will, we nonetheless presupposed that we knew what that will was and that our prayers somehow motivated God to intervene and “do something.” The catch-phrase for all of this was, “Prayer changes things.” No prayer? Things stayed as they were. Prayer? God acts and changes things.

 

While the more moderate form of Christianity that I am surrounded by now says that “Prayer doesn’t change God, it changes us,” the reality is that even this tradition spends most of its prayer time in supplication or intercessory prayer. And I don’t doubt that this works for some people. On the other hand, the constant mantra in my church after every sentence in prayer of, “Lord, hear our prayers” makes me suspect that we think God is going deaf. B)

 

But what I really wanted to say about this is that when it comes to intercession, I am more aligned with the atheists than I am with traditional Christians in my approach. While I am now rather agnostic on the “power of prayer,” I very much think we should do what we can as God’s creatures to help our world in whatever ways we think we can. If someone is thirsty, don’t pray for the “Heavenly Father” to provide rain. Instead, give them a cup of water. As someone wise once said, “Do as much good as you can for everyone that you can for as long as you can.” This, to me, is how God interacts in our world – through us.

 

Granted, considering how small our world is becoming and the overwhelming needs that we face, there is only so much that we can do. But we can all do something. When I am sick, I would much rather believe and trust that the Divine is working through my doctor than to go to the elders of my church for prayer. The science of medicine, which I think God gave us, is much more reliable than “the power of prayer.” Yes, I know that there seem to be “exceptions” to this. Some doctors are not very good at their “practice.” And sometimes things do happen that seem to coincide with prayer. But if prayer really worked, our hospitals would be staffed with clergy instead of with doctors and nurses. In fact, if the promise of health found in the books of James was really effectual, we would need no hospitals. ;)

 

So all of this to say that this subject of God and intervention is more than theologizing for me. My understanding of God calls me to be his agent in our world to do what I can to make our world a better place. The truth of the matter is that I hardly pray anymore except for maybe a “thank You” in gratitude for life, love, opportunities, relationships, etc. I cannot bring myself to offer prayers asking for God to intervene, even though Jesus seemed to teach this. I no longer believe in the “power of prayer.” I think the “power of compassion” is much more effectual.

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Hi Sbnr1,

 

I really enjoyed reading that post. It seemed to be from the heart. In my view, prayer is nothing more than communion with our very source. For all practical purposes it doesn't even seem to require words but words do seem to edify the thinking mind. Since we know that our source must already know in advance our needs and wants etc.. then it does seem to me that the purpose is to change us and not the mind of God. And when we are changed in mind, a transformation takes place that appears to many as an answer or miraculous. In that sense, i think one can say that prayers do get answered yet God has not changed anything.

 

Just some of my thoughts on the subject,

Joseph

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I agree that we must experience the truth and pure consciousness. Mechanical prayers and blind faith can't satisfy everyone, there must be some realization. This can be seen in the stillness of a realized person at work in the stillness of a mind anchored in pure consciousness. Religion has become a matter of family tradition, a moral habit with some social benefit because it appeals to the emotions and the mind, but I feel true religion satisfies the unit consciousness not by words, but by action and reflection as others have said so elegantly. It not only gives emotional energy and intellectual stimulation, but also takes the sincere beyond the mind to experience the soul. Therefore, I feel we should not be lost in the words alone, but in the experience, the realization of those words. The spoken and written words are not the goal; the end is not in the words themselves because they are just the finger pointing, the standards that show the way to a blissful, loving experience in life. Contemplation teaches without the noise of words because its obvious goal is the intimate union with the all pervading pure consciousness. This union I feel is like a drop of water losing itself in the ocean, yet there are as many approaches to this ocean of pure consciousness as there are rain drops. I feel as others suggested that prayers are sometimes used to manipulate the people they are recited to in ear shot of the verse. I don't think we can manipulate the pure consciousness, it just is. A prayer might be a level one needs to go through to change him/herself, but I don't think it changes God. Actually I think we are all saying the same thing from experience in different words.

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These are some very interesting thoughts on G-d and intervention.

 

For myself, I tend to avoid theological words to describe how the divine intersects with - what; the non-divine?

 

I don't imagine G-d as an entity either outside or inside of what we call creation. When I was a growing up, my parents - being good Christians and all - encouraged (nay; required) us to read the Bible from cover to cover in the course of a year's time. What I noticed mostly was how very different G-d was portrayed within the very same book which declares G-d immovable and unchanging! One minute G-d is protector of all things living, and in a blink of an eye; It is wiping everything "creeping upon the face of the earth" into oblivion.

 

It is no surprise to me that there is every flavor and brand of doctrine swirling about the Christian franchise.

 

So, being familiar with the various, sundry lessons taught within these traditions (and from my Jewish background as well), I've forged a secular philosophy loosely based around the character of Jesus of Nazareth, whom I imagine as a swashbuckling, itinerant, Jewish reformer gathering fisher-folk, publicans, drunkards, prostitutes and salesmen (Paul) round about in order to shake the foundations of kingdoms and empires.

 

Since theology, I believe, is a product of the human mind and spirit, I feel we are free to evolve and construct a worldview that works best for all concerned. I am Toto pulling back the curtain revealing the fact that the Great and Powerful Oz (G-d) is nothing more than a carnival huckster wishing to be something bigger than life.

 

I am reminded of Sir Issac Newton's response when asked to explain his role in "solving" the puzzles of creation:

 

"I was like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me."

 

The same goes for religious Truth. We can only examine the shiny pebbles on our own sea-shore.

 

NORM

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  • 2 weeks later...

 

As I’m becoming more and more a deist, my views both of God and of creation are changing. Therefore, what I think now may change next week. But I have to go with what I currently understand and that is this: creation is not separate from God. God created everything within God’s-self. The apostle Paul may have been hinting at this when he told the philosophers on Mars Hill that, “In him (God), we live and move and have our being.” I, and others, call this panendeism. It is the notion that God is the Spirit or the More or the Divine in which the whole universe dwells. Put crudely in anthropomorphic terms, God is pregnant with his creation. If this is true, if we are all “in God,” then the notion of intervention (interfering from without) is a false one. God doesn’t interfere from without because there is no “without.” So how does God, again put crudely, interact? From within. Not interference, but influence. But the influence is “part of the program,” built into the universe itself. We may (or may not) even be cognitively aware of God’s influence, mainly because we no longer see the separation between ourselves, creation, and God that religions tout so highly. Or maybe, to put it another way, we are the hardware running God’s software. This doesn’t mean we are robots, it just means that something of God is part of us – always has been, always will be.

 

 

In response to the original topic, I don't know if there is a god or not, but I agree with you that if there is god, then God works through people rather than supernatural means. We have this idea in our heads that God answers prayers in a flashy magical way like the magic in Harry Potter, but even in the bible, God often answer prayers in unexpected ways we weren't looking for. When Elijah sought the voice of God, he didn't find her voice in the but he heard her small, still voice, in the sound of sheer silence. "Traditional" theists seem to want it both ways when it comes to God. On the one hand, they argue the universe was perfectly fine tuned by God for our benefit and this complex perfection is proof of the existence of God. Simultaneously, they claim God sometimes answers our prayers by performing supernatural miracles, but doing so implies the universe isn't perfect and that we need God to intervene in this universe to fix something imperfect about it.

 

Either the universe is the perfect idle creation of God and she can't intervene with it because there's nothing imperfect about it to improve or if God does intervene with the universe, this means there was something imperfect she had to improve but traditional theists can't have it both ways. Also, not all deists may not believe in an impersonal god but there are some deists who are anti-religious and believe God is an impersonal, non-intervening god like Thomas Paine. I don't think there's any thing as "true" deism the same way that there's no such thing as "true" theism. Just a sidenote: Maybe we should split the two topics in this thread? I've been enjoying reading both topics but it seems like the original topic is getting lost and I would like to discuss this topic more.

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In response to the original topic, I don't know if there is a god or not, but I agree with you that if there is god, then God works through people rather than supernatural means. We have this idea in our heads that God answers prayers in a flashy magical way like the magic in Harry Potter, but even in the bible, God often answer prayers in unexpected ways we weren't looking for.

 

This is a very Reformed Jewish perspective. In Minyan discussions I've taken part in, it is not even necessary to believe in G-d to embrace the concept of YHWH.

 

Very many years ago, while still a confessional Christian, I eschewed the belief in miracles or the supernatural. You can imagine the controversy in Bible Study groups! Well, it wasn't too terribly long before I was on the outside looking in. The "Leadership Team" abolished me from teaching Sunday School class and totally embarrassed the Rabbi I invited to our small group in order to learn about another faith group (my words). Their words? Unbelievers.

 

Now, at the same time, I was emphasizing that while I didn't believe the miracles were true, I believed in the teaching of Jesus. My whole reason for bringing a Rabbi in was because Jesus was a Jew and the Christian faith (I thought at the time) evolved from Judaism.

 

I very naively thought that no one would have a problem with that!

 

You can water down the message of Jesus all you want. Just don't mess with the magic!

 

 

When Elijah sought the voice of God, he didn't find her voice in the but he heard her small, still voice, in the sound of sheer silence. "Traditional" theists seem to want it both ways when it comes to God. On the one hand, they argue the universe was perfectly fine tuned by God for our benefit and this complex perfection is proof of the existence of God. Simultaneously, they claim God sometimes answers our prayers by performing supernatural miracles, but doing so implies the universe isn't perfect and that we need God to intervene in this universe to fix something imperfect about it.

 

Either the universe is the perfect idle creation of God and she can't intervene with it because there's nothing imperfect about it to improve or if God does intervene with the universe, this means there was something imperfect she had to improve but traditional theists can't have it both ways. Also, not all deists may not believe in an impersonal god but there are some deists who are anti-religious and believe God is an impersonal, non-intervening god like Thomas Paine. I don't think there's any thing as "true" deism the same way that there's no such thing as "true" theism. Just a sidenote: Maybe we should split the two topics in this thread? I've been enjoying reading both topics but it seems like the original topic is getting lost and I would like to discuss this topic more.

 

Very good points, Neon G! Personally, I believe in a creation that just is. It isn't good, perfect, corrupt, fallen, bad, sinful, whatever... It just IS. I still sense that there is an intelligence behind the beginnings, but it doesn't ultimately matter what I think. I exert my efforts in trying to enjoy my days on this rock and making it a little better off for having me around.

 

NORM

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In response to the original topic, I don't know if there is a god or not, but I agree with you that if there is god, then God works through people rather than supernatural means. We have this idea in our heads that God answers prayers in a flashy magical way like the magic in Harry Potter, but even in the bible, God often answer prayers in unexpected ways we weren't looking for. When Elijah sought the voice of God, he didn't find her voice in the but he heard her small, still voice, in the sound of sheer silence. "Traditional" theists seem to want it both ways when it comes to God. On the one hand, they argue the universe was perfectly fine tuned by God for our benefit and this complex perfection is proof of the existence of God. Simultaneously, they claim God sometimes answers our prayers by performing supernatural miracles, but doing so implies the universe isn't perfect and that we need God to intervene in this universe to fix something imperfect about it.

 

Either the universe is the perfect idle creation of God and she can't intervene with it because there's nothing imperfect about it to improve or if God does intervene with the universe, this means there was something imperfect she had to improve but traditional theists can't have it both ways. Also, not all deists may not believe in an impersonal god but there are some deists who are anti-religious and believe God is an impersonal, non-intervening god like Thomas Paine. I don't think there's any thing as "true" deism the same way that there's no such thing as "true" theism. Just a sidenote: Maybe we should split the two topics in this thread? I've been enjoying reading both topics but it seems like the original topic is getting lost and I would like to discuss this topic more.

 

I meant to reply to this a few hours ago when I made my other post in this thread, but got distracted.

 

In either case, I definitely think there is often a shell game regarding God's ability to intervene in the world & God's omnipotence, or his lack of either. The idea that if we're good enough, maybe this time God will do what we ask him to transforms God from being a supreme being (or ground of being, etc.) into a super power for the morally pure. To say I'm not a fan of this would be an understatement.

 

I don't fully agree with him, there is something interesting about Calvin's understanding of what is prayer: it is a moment where the individual gets to contemplate what they deeply, truly, desire in life, and how to best express that in a way that. My problem with Calvin is that he's got a bit of that superpower idea in his theology: if your desires are in line with God's will, you get what you want. Otherwise, you need to figure out what about your desire wasn't in line, and go back to the drawing board. I think that spending time contemplating what one desires is a good idea, and linking that to a spiritual activity is an interesting idea. The idea that prayers coming true is proof-in-the-pudding... eh, not so much.

 

Also, the idea of union in Christ has a long pedigree in Christianity, going back to at least St. Bernard, and includes Calvin and Barth as well. That notion, the idea of being within Christ and therefore in harmony with God's will, seems very similar to the idea you are talking about regarding God working through people. I'm quite sure where to go with that (especially since I'm not an expert on unio Christo), but I felt I should mention it.

 

Finally, a question: my understanding of deism is that revelation is marginalized, and the focus is on reason, and humanity's ability to understand the universe as the primary vehicle for understanding God. Is this true by the definitions other people in this thread is using? Further, I think there's an interesting discussion to be had about the relationship between revelation and human thought, rather than an either/or discussion, but I'm not quite sure how to word that.

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This thread is now open with the dialog concerning the Bible as a book moved to a new thread and closed. please try and keep this thread a little closer to topic. it takes time to select and move posts.smile.gif

 

JosephM (as Moderator)

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Nick

relationship between revelation and human thought, rather than an either/or discussion, but I'm not quite sure how to word that

Dreams, visions, ideas, plans, thought, insights, intuitions - I think all these can draw us into the next moment, the indwelling of , the revealing of, the divine. so, to be specific, I think that human thought is one of several things that can be revelation.

 

Take Care

 

Dutch

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This is a very Reformed Jewish perspective. In Minyan discussions I've taken part in, it is not even necessary to believe in G-d to embrace the concept of YHWH.

 

Very many years ago, while still a confessional Christian, I eschewed the belief in miracles or the supernatural. You can imagine the controversy in Bible Study groups! Well, it wasn't too terribly long before I was on the outside looking in. The "Leadership Team" abolished me from teaching Sunday School class and totally embarrassed the Rabbi I invited to our small group in order to learn about another faith group (my words). Their words? Unbelievers.

 

Now, at the same time, I was emphasizing that while I didn't believe the miracles were true, I believed in the teaching of Jesus. My whole reason for bringing a Rabbi in was because Jesus was a Jew and the Christian faith (I thought at the time) evolved from Judaism.

 

I very naively thought that no one would have a problem with that!

 

You can water down the message of Jesus all you want. Just don't mess with the magic!

 

 

 

 

 

If God exists and is a loving god, then I don't think you even need to be a Christian for God to work through you. While the New Atheists get a bad rap in a lot of Christian circles, I think in many ways they're the new prophets of God. The New Atheists are not trying to ban religion but are trying to get religious believers to rethink literally everything they've been taught to believe by their institutions from birth. Their tendency to lump all religions in one basket is similar in ways to how the OT prophets often used rhetorical polemic against the Israelites which in many cases lead to the Israelites' reforming their ways. I don't think the New Atheists have the solutions to today's problems with organized religion, but I think if God does exist and she is using people to intervene with this world, then she is using the New Atheists to try and start another religious Reformation.
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Dreams, visions, ideas, plans, thought, insights, intuitions - I think all these can draw us into the next moment, the indwelling of , the revealing of, the divine. so, to be specific, I think that human thought is one of several things that can be revelation.

 

Correct me if I am wrong, but I think what you are saying here is that the human mind is divine.

 

If so, I would agree. I think that since it is the human mind that conceived religion and the idea of G-d, then it is logical to presume that the human mind is G-d.

 

Evolution has demonstrated that there is no need for G-d to meddle in the affairs of animals including man.

 

Quantum physics has demonstrated that there is no need for the creation to be sustained, it can bumble along quite nicely all by itself.

 

So, how do we explain religion? What motivates one to write something like "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the L-RD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your G-d.?" Where does that come from? Is it G-d whispering in someone's ear? Is it an angel coming down from heaven to reveal secrets of the gods?

 

I submit it comes from the same place that great works of art, music, architecture and literature come: the human mind.

 

So, why are we so reluctant to accept this honor? Why do we need to invent G-d?

 

NORM

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Norm,

 

Jesse Bering has said something like, "We invented God and he returned the favor." There is also the anthropologocal take on the development of religion.

 

If, in the face of the ineffable, we are making it all up, and what make up determines who we are, the it should be both humbling and empowering.

 

Dutch

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It seems to me that we have really learned something from the East when we understand that the psyche contains riches enough without having to be primed from outside, and when we feel capable of evolving out of ourselves with or without divine grace. But we cannot embark upon this ambitious enterprise until we have learned how to deal with our spiritual pride and blasphemous self-assertiveness.

 

C. G. Jung

 

Eastern and Western Thinking, 1939

Edited by minsocal
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I like these images. Your thoughts have much in common with process thought so I, any way, don't think you are crazy. God's influence or God's allurement - we drawn toward what we understand to be God's values.

 

For me God has given birth to creation. Creation is other to God so that God can learn about God's self through relationship.

 

"Panentheism is a belief system which posits that God exists and interpenetrates every part of nature, and timelessly extends beyond as well." this definition from Wikipedia seems to fit very well with the pregnant God image. Is the difference between panentheism and panendeism that knowledge of God in panentheism is arrived at through revelation and that in panendeism knowledge of God is arrived at through rational thought?

 

Take Care

 

Dutch

 

Good point, Dutch. Not sure about the term panentheism though. It seems to infer whatever it is we speak of as God as being in the universe, whereas, it seems from the Mars Hill sermon that it's the other way around - the universe is in God. Paul says later of Christ, 'In him all things consist'. The Isa Upanishad begins, "Behold the universe in the glory of God." Would panentheism put that, "Behold the glory of God in the universe"? I guess both ways are Okay in reality.

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Good point, Dutch. Not sure about the term panentheism though. It seems to infer whatever it is we speak of as God as being in the universe, whereas, it seems from the Mars Hill sermon that it's the other way around - the universe is in God. Paul says later of Christ, 'In him all things consist'. The Isa Upanishad begins, "Behold the universe in the glory of God." Would panentheism put that, "Behold the glory of God in the universe"? I guess both ways are Okay in reality.

 

The way Marcus Borg uses the term, panentheism is exactly the idea you describe: the universe is inside God. God is therefore both immanent and transcendent.

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Brian

Good point, Dutch. Not sure about the term panentheism though. It seems to infer whatever it is we speak of as God as being in the universe, whereas, it seems from the Mars Hill sermon that it's the other way around - the universe is in God. Paul says later of Christ, 'In him all things consist'. The Isa Upanishad begins, "Behold the universe in the glory of God." Would panentheism put that, "Behold the glory of God in the universe"?

Panentheism seemed to me to fit the pregnant God image. I chose panentheism because it seems that God and the universe are not co-extensive, but because God is [larger] than the universe.

 

How about "the glory of God is the evolving of the universe" that's feeble compared to way Ilia Delio talks about Christ as the Word of love spoken in the ongoing creating of the universe (see separate topic)

 

Take Care

 

Dutch

 

 

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Dreams, visions, ideas, plans, thought, insights, intuitions - I think all these can draw us into the next moment, the indwelling of , the revealing of, the divine. so, to be specific, I think that human thought is one of several things that can be revelation.

 

Norm, I don't think I disagree with you much in the big picture, I just have to respond to these.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I think what you are saying here is that the human mind is divine.

I think that is what you want to say. What the mind does is not its essence

 

If so, I would agree. I think that since it is the human mind that conceived religion and the idea of G-d, then it is logical to presume that the human mind is G-d.

What the mind conceives is not its essence.

 

Evolution has demonstrated that there is no need for [G-d to meddle] in the affairs of animals including man.

What evolution demostrates is that there is no need for a particular kind of God - the one we ask to meddle.

 

Quantum physics has demonstrated that there is no need for the creation to be sustained, it can bumble along quite nicely all by itself.

I guess you mean sustained with outside force(s) and not self-sustaining. Again, that observation is not proof in argument against the existence of God. It might an argument against a particular kind of god.

 

So, how do we explain religion? What motivates one to write something like "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the L-RD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your G-d.?" Where does that come from? Is it G-d whispering in someone's ear? Is it an angel coming down from heaven to reveal secrets of the gods?

You present Micah 6:8 without context and interrogate its creation as if it were an unique event without relation to 100,000 years of human cultural and social development.

 

I submit it comes from the same place that great works of art, music, architecture and literature come: the human mind.

The human mind alone is too small to be the source of great works of art, music, architecture, literature, governments, democracy and, yes, religion.

 

Because it became so long I put the rest of my response in a separate post.

 

Take Care

 

Dutch

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