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Two Out Of Three


jerryb
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Greetings fellow space(inner space) travelers,

 

 

I recently came across this conundrum:

 

God is all powerful

God is all good

Terrible things happen.

 

 

Any two of these statements can be true...but not all three. What do you say?

 

 

 

Godspeed'

 

Jerryb

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Two options:

 

1 - God could fix everything for us, but I think that makes God into a cosmic bell boy who does nothing but fix our mistakes and the issues of living in a physical universe (earthquakes etc ...).

 

To me the idea of God preventing or fixing pain also begs the question of where the line is drawn? Should he prevent broken legs but not broken arms? Should he preven a child from being hit by a car but not a family pet?

 

Pain and pleasure are so close together that if we couldn't feel pain, we also wouldn't feel the warm touch of a loved one. We wouldn't feel the warning signals of stubbing our toe or putting our hand too close to the fire.

 

Cell division gives us the ability to create new life, but it also gives rise to the possibility of cancer.

 

2 - God could have created us and the universe in such a way that we could NOT harm each other and so that the world was so "fixed and static" that there would be no natural disasters, but then I think that reality would be nothing more than a 2 dimensional software program. No life.

 

Robot humans living in a robot world. No pain but no pleasure. No falling from a tree, but no climbing a tree either. No cancer, but no babies. No hurricanes, but no seasons, no nightfall, no sunrise.

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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Two options:

 

1 - God could fix everything for us, but I think that makes God into a cosmic bell boy who does nothing but fix our mistakes and the issues of living in a physical universe (earthquakes etc ...).

 

To me the idea of God preventing or fixing pain also begs the question of where the line is drawn? Should he prevent broken legs but not broken arms? Should he preven a child from being hit by a car but not a family pet?

 

Pain and pleasure are so close together that if we couldn't feel pain, we also wouldn't feel the warm touch of a loved one. We wouldn't feel the warning signals of stubbing our toe or putting our hand too close to the fire.

 

Cell division gives us the ability to create new life, but it also gives rise to the possibility of cancer.

 

2 - God could have created us and the universe in such a way that we could NOT harm each other and so that the world was so "fixed and static" that there would be no natural disasters, but then I think that reality would be nothing more than a 2 dimensional software program. No life.

 

Robot humans living in a robot world. No pain but no pleasure. No falling from a tree, but no climbing a tree either. No cancer, but no babies. No hurricanes, but no seasons, no nightfall, no sunrise.

 

 

 

Touche Aletheia,

 

Boy....you really gave me something to think about! I never thought about the idea of opposites making life have definition,but you said it quite succinctly.

Now I must trade one connundrum for another. In his book"out of the question...into the mystery",Leonard Sweet begins with these words,"I write this book with one foot on a banana peel". And I must confesss that is how I feel sometimes as I try to navigate my own spiritual path. Maybe that's why I felt drawn to this particular message board....there are banana peels all over the place.

Thank you for challenging me on this subject.

 

 

Blessings,

 

Jerryb

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To go along with what Aletheia was saying (I think), I like to think of it this way:

that creation is a violent thing. We know that from studying cosmology. Stars explode, even galaxies explode. But without creation you don't have life, the universe, or anything else. Same happens on a smaller level-- without tectonic plates you don't have a living earth, you woulld not have seas, etc.-- but without them you wouldn't have earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes. But you dont' get to chose which part of the creative energy you get. You couldn't chose creation without the energy necessary to make it destructive.

 

--des

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To go along with what Aletheia was saying (I think), I like to think of  it this way:

that creation is a violent thing. We know that from studying cosmology. Stars explode, even galaxies explode. But without creation you don't have life, the universe, or anything else. Same happens on a smaller level-- without tectonic plates you don't have a living earth, you woulld not have seas, etc.-- but without them you wouldn't have earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes. But you dont' get to chose which part of the creative energy you get. You couldn't chose creation without the energy necessary to make it destructive.

 

--

 

Hi des,

 

 

Well said...we don't get to choose which part of the creative energy we get.

But...IF we are co-creators with God,and I truly believe we are,maybe we can help God choose. What do you think?

 

 

Blessings,

 

Jerryb

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Yes, I believe in the co-creation aspect to our being, so that we have control (or could if we could claim it) in things like our histories, civilization, etc.

But the parts that pre-dated, pre-existed us, then I dont' think that is the case. We didn't/ don't/ ever will have any part of the plate teconics that created the earth the way it is. OTOH, we would have a part in, say whether we would recreate, renew, revive the wetlands in Louisana to prevent the destruction of future hurricanes. Or whether we continue to rape the earth or rebuild/renew her. And those decisions will have an impact on how destructive the earth's activities will be. It's an example at least.

 

 

--des

 

>Hi des,

 

 

Well said...we don't get to choose which part of the creative energy we get.

But...IF we are co-creators with God,and I truly believe we are,maybe we can help God choose. What do you think?

 

 

Blessings,

 

jerryb

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But...IF we are co-creators with God,and I truly believe we are,maybe we can help God choose. What do you think?

Well, the notion of being "co-creators with God" is based on a conception of individual beings existing side-by-side with God in the causal manifold -- which, as I've just argued in another thread, I believe is a misconception.

 

;)

 

I think we relate to God in two kinds of ways. Firstly, we relate to God as transcendent, infinite, inexhaustible. In this case, I don't think we're in a position to offer God much of anything in the way of sage advice. Secondly, we relate to God as immanent, finite, manifest in the multiplicity of the cosmos. In this case, I don't think we "help God choose," so much as we become awakened to the reality of God's indwelling presence in all things, and learn to act -- and help others to act -- in harmony with that.

 

And yes, I really am always this argumentative. B)

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But...IF we are co-creators with God,and I truly believe we are,maybe we can help God choose. What do you think?

Well, the notion of being "co-creators with God" is based on a conception of individual beings existing side-by-side with God in the causal manifold -- which, as I've just argued in another thread, I believe is a misconception.

 

;)

 

I think we relate to God in two kinds of ways. Firstly, we relate to God as transcendent, infinite, inexhaustible. In this case, I don't think we're in a position to offer God much of anything in the way of sage advice. Secondly, we relate to God as immanent, finite, manifest in the multiplicity of the cosmos. In this case, I don't think we "help God choose," so much as we become awakened to the reality of God's indwelling presence in all things, and learn to act -- and help others to act -- in harmony with that.

 

And yes, I really am always this argumentative. B)

 

Greetings Fred......I like a good argument once in a while....but ALWAYS..hmmmm.

 

Just kidding...a good argument is a great vehicle to stimulate constructive dialogue. And then....hopefully that constructive dialogue becomes "creative" ...

then perhaps in that sense we are co-creators with God. Is that a possibility?

 

Godspeed

 

Jerry

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Think of it all this way. G-d starts things and leaves the theater immediately. And, we have to try and provide support and maintenance for what he/she started and stuck us with.

 

flow.... :)

 

 

Hi Flow....

 

I like that analogy very much.

I hope it will help me do a better job of " support and maintenance".

 

 

 

Blessings to you,

 

Jerryb

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Aw, Aletheia, not one teensy weensy mini-me joke?? :-)

 

--des

 

I like the idea that God's Spirit is in us. It's in each and every one of our cells. We are Christ's hands and eyes and feet and ears. WE do works greater than Christ did because he works through us. We are like "mini-Christs" as one website put it.  :D (No Austin Powers jokes please.)

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Greetings fellow space(inner space) travelers,

 

 

I recently came across this conundrum:

 

God is all powerful

God is all good

Terrible things happen.

 

 

Any two of these statements can be true...but not all three.  What do you say?

 

 

 

                                                                    Godspeed'

 

                                                                    Jerryb

 

I say something's WRONG! It could be a little wrong. It could be a lot wrong. The thing that puzzles me about those who try to explain this away is that the answers are always so limited in their possibilities, such as the original premise that God is all powerful. Why not nearly omnipotent, 92% omnipotent, powerless, or any point in between? I understand why people try to limit the possibilities they have to think about, but why can't people see that that is what they're doing? The universe is not black and white in any sense, no matter how strong the human tradition is to see it that way.

 

I appreciate the ideas Aletheia presented, but these are all as if things are black and white, "No cancer, but no babies." I can think of things in between the two extremes of there being absolutely no cell division and cell division just as there is now. Can't you?

 

It may very well be that there can be no water planet without hurricanes. I can live with that, but imagining a God who is omnipotent and does everything by going poof means that everything should be the best that it can be without the limitations of physics that would require there to be hurricanes on Earth. Yes some suffering is necessary to build character, but every bit of suffering we have? Not a chance. Such contradictions are inevitable for a God with absolute attributes. Why does He have to be so absolute? Would people even listen if God said that's not who He is?

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"IF we are co-creators with God,and I truly believe we are,maybe we can help God choose."

 

I don't see God as Fred sees Him, but I wonder as he does what we could have that could help God. Maybe we do. Maybe God didn't know joy before us or having joy just from doing something mundane. Maybe it's some existential darkness instead. Maybe our empirical ways are new to God. Maybe He was used to just doing things once, not experimenting, though I doubt that.

 

I'm sure God can still be something greater than me and need something from me, if only being His body parts as Aletheia said, but if He's not greater than me in some way, boy have I been off being a Christian.

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Omnipotence and absoluteness have nothing to do with "going poof" and making things happen. Omnipotence means that God is the ground and source of all power in the universe -- there is no power that comes from somewhere other than God. Absoluteness means that God is, by definition, contingent on nothing other than himself -- as opposed to everything else, which is, by definition, contingent on God.

 

For me, God's absoluteness is a matter of logical necessity, not a neurotic need to bow down before something all-powerful. I think the conception of God I've been describing addresses your concerns quite well, actually. By emptying himself out into the cosmos, God voluntarily divests himself of transcendent power over it, allowing it -- from atoms to cells to persons to societies -- to make its own discoveries and its own mistakes, and to come into its own self-realization "from the inside," as it were. There is no all-powerful monarch God who looks "down from Heaven" and says, "Gee, I could prevent this hurricane, but Billy down there needs to learn the value of cooperation, and Kelly there needs to learn about how economic injustice affects the ability of certain demographic groups to cope with disaster...." This is Sunday School theology. Suffering, disaster, and death participate in their own cosmic form of karma; they create their own punishments and rewards as long as they stay immersed in the delusion of separateness.

 

Anyway, that's my $.02, take it for what it's worth. :D

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I don't see "co-creation" as God needing our help. I see it as God allowing us to be involved in the process of bringing heaven, the kingdom, to earth for our own maturation process. God could force us to do good, to be good, but I don't think he would.

 

As far as God being less than perfect? No matter what God's level of perfection is, it is supremely perfect from our point of view. Any being that could create, give birth to or manifest such "things" as superstrings, quantum particles, black holes, etc could certainly prevent a hurricane or an earthquake even if his power wasn't ontologically total (imo).

 

I could imagine a world where there isn't so much freedom as what we have, but would I want to live there? I'm not sure. Again, what freedoms would I want to give up in order to have safety? Where would I have God draw the line?

 

For me it comes down to what Jerry said in another thread. I've found a peace with God in regards to "the problem of evil". I love God for what he is, not for what I would have him do for me or could do for me. :)

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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By emptying himself out into the cosmos, God voluntarily divests himself of transcendent power over it, allowing it -- from atoms to cells to persons to societies -- to make its own discoveries and its own mistakes, and to come into its own self-realization "from the inside," as it were.

 

A question popped into my mind.

 

Do you think God can undo what he has done with the universe? Or do you think it has to "play itself out" in a gnostic sort of way (or kabbalah); that we'll rejoin God when a critical mass of gnosis or self-awareness is attained?

 

I'm of the mind (currently but open to change at any time) that God DOES still have transcendant power over the universe. However, he's not up there deciding someone has to learn this or that lesson (I agree that is Sunday school theology, which is not necessarily a bad thing). ;)

 

I think the universe is as it is because of logical necessity. Complete free will or no free will.

 

That's not to say that God's NOT having transcendant power over the universe means we DON'T have free will. I can see that he might have divested himself of such power as well as making free will a logical necessity too. :unsure:

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Do you think God can undo what he has done with the universe?

I don't think there's any "has done"; I think for God the cosmos just IS -- the passage of time is a property pertaining to events inside it, not of God. What that means as far as the universe "playing out" with respect to God is utterly beyond me. B)

 

I'm of the mind (currently but open to change at any time) that God DOES still have transcendant power over the universe. However, he's not up there deciding someone has to learn this or that lesson (I agree that is Sunday school theology, which is not necessarily a bad thing). ;)

 

I think the universe is as it is because of logical necessity. Complete free will or no free will.

I don't THINK the cosmos is what is because of logical necessity... Perhaps some sort of grand unifying thing that transcends the apparent duality between free will and necessity in God. :blink: There are obviously senses of "freedom" and "necessity" that apply to God, that are on a completely different order of reality than the freedom and necessity that apply to us. I think here we're in a place where our words have become just about meaningless! :D

 

That's not to say that God's NOT having transcendant power over the universe means we DON'T have free will. I can see that he might have divested himself of such power as well as making free will a logical necessity too.  :unsure:

I need to eat more Wheaties before I think about this any more. :lol:

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I like the idea that God's Spirit is in us. It's in each and every one of our cells. We are Christ's hands and eyes and feet and ears. WE do works greater than Christ did because he works through us. We are like "mini-Christs" as one website put it.  :D (No Austin Powers jokes please.)

 

Hi Aletheia,

 

I like the mini-Christs analogy...and it brings to mind a "startling" verse of scripture that I'm still trying to decode ...maybe you can help. Here's the verse in question: Jesus said,"My prayer for all of them is that they will be one..JUST AS

you and I are one Father...that JUST AS you are in me and I in you,SO they will be in us...and then the world will believe".

Kind of boggles the mind...and least my feeble one.

 

 

Blessings

 

Jerryb

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