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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Imagine God Before Creation (This One Works)

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Comments: 6
Imagine God before creation and don't give me any bullshit about how there was no time or you can't imagine god or any of that evasive bullshit because we both know damn ****ing well that you can conceive of god before creation.

Scenario A.
Imagine God before creation. This God is not omniscient. It can create the universe in any way it chooses, there are presumably unlimited options. If it creates the universe in a certain way, the creatures will behave in a certain way, but the god might not necessarily know how they will behave. No conflict here.

Scenario B
Imagine God before creation. This God is not omniscient. It can create the universe in any way it choses, and so on. Unlike God A, God B cares very much about how its creatures should behave, but like God A, God B does not necessarily know how they will behave. If the creatures behave in a way that upsets God B, God B will punish them. Does this seem fair to the creatures? No. Does God B seem like a responsible, admirable being? Absolutely not. Is this scenario self-contradictory? Not at all.

Scenario C
Imagine God before creation. This God is omniscient. Like Gods A and B, God C can create the universe in any way it chooses, but God C is unique in that not only does it have unlimited options, but because it has the property of being omniscient, it knows BEFORE TAKING ANY ACTION what EVERY result of whatever it does will be. This God will then know how every individual creature that comes about as a result of its creation will interact with the world in which it was created. To paraphrase Leibniz, our world is but one of infinitely many that exist in the mind of God. God sees all these possible realities in their entirety and chooses one in particular to actualize.
Imagine that God C does not really care how its creatures act, and is merely an observer. Imagine a squirrel in God C's universe that drops an acorn off a tree, which falls and crushes a moth. Flash back to before creation. God C KNEW that if it chose that particular creation out of the limitless options, that moth would be crushed. How can one say that it was not God C's fault? What arguments could be made to alleviate God C of the blame? If one suggests that it is not the fault of God C, one could not possibly argue that it was the fault of the squirrel, for if God is not responsible for the actions of the squirrel that it created, why would the squirrel be responsible for the actions of the acorn?

Ah, but what if the squirrel purposefully dropped the acorn, knowing it would crush the moth? It would seem reasonable to place the blame on the squirrel, then.

But why not on God C? God C dropped the acorn when it created the universe, and God C dropped it with the intent to kill the moth because God C knew in advance that it would land on the moth.

The same applies to any other sin or any other action that any human being takes. If I hit someone with my car, God C hit someone with my car because God C created me, created the car, and knew that someone would be hit. When God C, in preparing for creation, surveyed the limitless options, it saw specifically the one wherein I hit someone as the most desirable. God C initiated the chain of causation with intent. Every time an acorn drops, God C dropped it - for better or for worse.

But of course the theist will then claim that the squirrel had a choice, it could have held on to the acorn. This is simply an illusion. Regardless of whether the squirrel or anyone else is aware, the future events have already been set in stone by God C when it foresaw creation before creating it and created it the way it did. I might think I have the choice of taking the elevator or the stairs, and I can sit and ponder my options for days, but no matter how much deliberation I exercise, the ultimate choice that I would make was known before God C created anything at all. The choice was made by God C when it saw the possible worlds wherein I take the elevator and those in which I take the stairs, and God C knowingly picked one specifically. Before I even had a mind with which to deliberate, the choice was known, and the choice was made, but not by me.

Is God C cruel? Is God C benevolent? Maybe, it's hard to say. One thing that is certain, however, is that the creatures created by God C could not possibly perform any action that God C was not directly responsible for. Is this self-contradictory? No. Is God C a responsible, caring creator? Maybe.

Scenario D
Imagine a God exactly similar to God C. The only difference is that God D will punish horrifically any creature acts in a way unsatisfactory to God D. Could there be more cruel a being? Could there be more evil a villain than such a God? No, there certainly could not be.

Can free will exist when the Creator chose what actions would be taken by every creature? Can there be spontaneity when the movements of every atom where known before atoms existed? Certainly not, and to think so is absurd. There are three possibilities:

1)Non-omniscient creator: not directly responsible for actions of its creations. Free will can exist, but the creator will always be indirectly responsible.

2)Omniscient creator: directly responsible for actions of its creations. Free will cannot exist.

3)Omniscient being, not the creator of all: not responsible for the actions of any creatures, free will can exist, but this being is not the creator of the universe.

Of the three options, the Christian God best suits the 2nd. However, the Christian God is like God D, and though it is directly responsible for its creature's actions, it punishes them for acting in certain ways. Not only is free will impossible, but this God is a sadistic, evil tyrant more treacherous than any (other) villain ever imagined by the human mind.



APPENDIX:Concerning the end of that post, there would have to be a pretty complex argument to support the claim that there can be free will with an omniscient non-creator, but I think it could be made. Somewhat outside the scope of that post though. Also somewhat beyond the scope of this thread, probably.

Also, the playful theist will claim in response that God limits its own omniscience. This is a ridiculously ad hoc defense that makes one wonder where all this information about what God is and does comes from. You run into problems when you patch something up which was never established in the first place. We have this concept of God, and this concept comes with all these diverse elements. If it turns out that these elements are at odds with each other, the solution isn't to try to reconcile them with mad stipulations, but to ditch the concept.

The other alternative is to ditch the notion of omniscience attached to the concept of God. This is fine and coherent, but contradictory to the accounts of God which are supposed to be our evidence for its existence, which would leave one somewhat at a loss not only for a mythology to attach to their god, but a justification for the belief in its existence in the first place.

All this examining of the metaphysical nature of gods is nothing but an exercise in theoretical thinking. Until someone established that there is a satisfier of the concept in question, all we are doing is playing with coherency. We will never be able to make meaningful assertions about gods until we are presented with one. All anyone has ever done is develop theories -- we're still waiting for an application. The very least one could expect of the theorists is that they provide consistent accounts. If the account isn't consistent, then you drop it. The entire business of the apologists is nonsense. The glove doesn't ****ing fit.



8:09 am - 6 comments - 4 Kudos - Report!
Comments
rock freebase wrote on Jun 22nd, 2010 1:34pm

3)"Omniscient being, not the creator of all: not responsible for the actions of any creatures, free will can exist, but this being is not the creator of the universe."


How about a being (or race of beings) from another universe, that isn't omniscient (and possibly long dead), with technology vastly superior to ours, creating our universe?

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Vornika wrote on Sep 12th, 2010 11:28pm

rock freebase wrote on Jun 22nd, 2010 at 4:34am :
3)"Omniscient being, not the creator of all: not responsible for the actions of any creatures, free will can exist, but this being is not the creator of the universe."


How about a being (or race of beings) from another universe, that isn't omniscient (and possibly long dead), with technology vastly superior to ours, creating our universe?


B.

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JC13 wrote on Dec 6th, 2010 10:17am

Great read, man. Being a (first year) Philosophy major, I found it pretty damn cogent. Worthwhile.

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trueamerican wrote on Feb 28th, 2011 10:55am

1. But if all worlds and all realities and all scenarios exist in the mind of an omniscient god then all worlds and all realities and all scenarios exist. Thus, God C didn't really have a choice with the squirrel dropping the acorn or with people crucifying Jesus.

2. I firmly believe free will can exist in a world with an omniscient god. Knowledge is independent from determinism. Causing a chain of events that will lead to someone's decision isn't removing free will. If you have a friend who loves hookers, loves Asians, and is deathly allergic to nuts (and he doesn't have a death wish, he loves life) and you give him a choice between eating nuts of banging a hot Asian hooker, he's going to choose the Asian hooker. You knew that because you know HIM, but you didn't cause him to choose the hooker. You just arranged a scenario knowing which one he'd choose. This applies to god. He knows each of his creations so intimately that he knows what they'll choose. But he didn't force them to choose it.

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trueamerican wrote on Feb 28th, 2011 10:55am

3. You can disagree with all that I've said by claiming god is omnipotent, but not every religion believes that. I know that Judaism doesn't, as it says that god cannot lie, cannot take human form, as well as a host of other limitations (gets rid the stupid "can god create a rock he can't lift" question) and if Judaism defines god as such in the Torah, then Christianity must do so, as the Torah is the basis of the Christian tradition.

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trueamerican wrote on Feb 28th, 2011 10:58am

4. Also, it is impossible to conceive of god before there was time and space just as it is impossible to conceive of god now. He is an incomprehensible being (though "being" isn't the right word, because there's no word to describe it other than "god").

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