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God creating life and then taking a break:

I sometimes get confused reading Christian doctrine detailing about how God creating all life on the world and then just sits back and doesn't do anything else until the end times (or tribulation). Even though he's guiding life above, there's no indication in scripture that he's going to create any new life forms in the future (disregarding artificial selection). It just seems like BEGINNING -> END, nothing in between.

Remember I'm not saying this based on reality, but on what different Christian (and admittedly other monotheistic) sects say about the passage of time between creation and destruction (usually with the world ending due to the Second Coming or other and becoming a new paradise).
 
 2 Blurring, Tue, 2nd Oct '12 6:32:51 AM from Ampang, Selangor, Malaysia.
Come see the roboteching.
I say I have a red car and a blue car in my garage. I have a yellow motorcycle in there too but I don't mention it. Does it means I deny the motorcycle's existence? Sorry, it's late here.
If that is a wave motion gun, then what in the world is its intended target?
to be fair. Broadly speaking, if God simply created the mechanism of evolution, all he'd have to do is set things in motion and go get a sandwich.

Its really elegant that way.

edited 2nd Oct '12 9:07:15 AM by Midgetsnowman

Going Forth!
 4 Aceof Spades, Tue, 2nd Oct '12 9:04:27 AM from The Wild Blue Yonder Relationship Status: I wanna know about these strangers like me
The idea that God creates the world and then doesn't do anything is pretty specific to Deists, actually. God was all over the place doing shit and interfering in the Bible. Most Christians/Muslims/Jews think that God intervenes in less showy and fantastic ways these days.

And that's not getting into the idea that some scholars think that the Revelations is a reference to a king that was alive at the time/reference to current events at the time the chapter was written. And that thus we don't actually have a Doomsday waiting for us.

[up]This is also true. The world has a pretty solid set up for the continuation of life.

edited 2nd Oct '12 9:05:05 AM by AceofSpades

 5 Fighteer, Tue, 2nd Oct '12 9:12:03 AM from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
If the question is why God ceased any further acts of Creation after the "six days" and instead settled down to play with His toys, I don't really see it as meaningful. Most (all?) Creation myths talk about this world only, not any other hypothetical worlds that the deities involved might be working on. The world self-evidently exists and has some form of ontological permanence, ergo God is not creating new things willy-nilly. The question of "why" is irrelevant.

For all we know, God could be toying around with life on millions of planets and/or alternate realities, but we have no way of knowing this and it makes no difference to us either way.

Well, I suppose it makes a difference in that we would no longer be God's "only children", His Chosen, beloved above all others. It would make us more of an experiment among many, a box on a shelf, a minor part of a much bigger picture. What that would do for people of a strongly religious mindset were it to be discovered? I have no idea.

edited 2nd Oct '12 9:25:59 AM by Fighteer

Neoclassicism, AKA the Tinkerbell school of economics.
 6 Barkey, Tue, 2nd Oct '12 9:16:08 AM from Bunker 051 Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War Profiteer
I just know that if I were God, I'd create life with a pre-scripted set of rules, and sit back and watch it for my own amusement. If things start to really go off the rails and do shit I don't like, I'd step in and help it along in the direction I wanted a bit more, but that's it.
The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.
Is that cake frosting?
One idea I've read somewhere (I think it was in a book by Herbert McCabe, a most excellent Dominican theologian, but don't quote me on that) and that I really like is that it is a mistake to think of the Creation as a quasi-"magical" act that happened at the beginning of time and made everything else appear. Rather, one should think of Creation as a continuous process through which God, who exists beyond time itself and is not affected by it, breathes raw existence into all that exists. We are not any "further away" from the Creation now than at the time of the Big Bang; and, that same text goes on, it is theologically irrelevant whether there even was a Big Bang — if, say, we discovered that Steady State Theories are true and the universe as we know it has always existed (that seems really quite unlikely by now, but it was a solid cosmological hypothesis for a while), that would not affect the Christian idea of the universe having been created by God in the least.

So no, God did not "take a break". He is as active in the Universe now as He has always been, and as He will always be.

edited 2nd Oct '12 9:33:20 AM by Carciofus

But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.

 8 Blurring, Tue, 2nd Oct '12 9:33:47 AM from Ampang, Selangor, Malaysia.
Come see the roboteching.
God is the Lord of all worlds. So really, there's nothing wrong with knowing that God creates other worlds.
If that is a wave motion gun, then what in the world is its intended target?
 9 Joesolo, Tue, 2nd Oct '12 9:33:54 AM Relationship Status: watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ
It's like what midget said. IMO, God's kind of like the people who play "hands off" games of EU 3. he set it up just right and wants to see what happens. I think he does interfere a little bit though- eg, sending Jesus down, miracles, ect. I see to much good luck or coincidences in life to not believe God has a hand in it.

[up][up] That too. Scientists know happened up to a fraction of a second after Creation/the big bang. before that, they have no idea. IMO, support for God's creating everything.

edited 2nd Oct '12 9:35:54 AM by Joesolo

I am going to shove the sunshine so far up where the sun don't shine that you will vomit nothing but warm summer days -Belkar
[up]

The problem with that is whether or not God set off the big Bang is a whole lot of impossible to prove either way given science and physics as we know it don't exist outside our universe.
Going Forth!
Is that cake frosting?
I must admit, I really don't like the idea of God setting up the rules, starting the Universe, and then just hovering around and letting things go as they will (barring occasional outside interventions.)

I think that this kind of perspective fails to take in consideration properly the absolute transcendence of the monotheist God, the way in which He cannot be contained by the universe(s) He creates. To use a comparison I am fond of*, if the universe is a song then God is the singer. Now, sure, the song (and the universe) obeys rules of harmony, rhythm and internal coherence, and, to a degree, you can predict where it is going (although it might still surprise you very much at times, just like the universe can do); but to suggest that singer "set up the musical rules" at the beginning of the song and then let the music just do its own thing is to misunderstand at a very deep level what the role of the singer is; and it would be even a bigger misunderstanding to identify God with the initial tune of the music, the one from which the song started.

There cannot be a song without the sustained activity of the singer; and, I think, there cannot be an universe without a perpetual, transcendent act of Creation.

edited 2nd Oct '12 9:49:27 AM by Carciofus

But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.

[up]

well, I'm comfortable with it. But then, I'm a strictly agnostic/deistic type who doesn't believe in the christian ideal of a god.

if anything, I subscribe to not a "song" but to the clockmaker ideal.

You don't have to constantly wind a clock once you build it, after all.

edited 2nd Oct '12 9:49:27 AM by Midgetsnowman

Going Forth!
It's funny how different the unchanging, distant God of theologians is from the flawed and very human God of the Bible.
Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.
 14 Fighteer, Tue, 2nd Oct '12 9:52:06 AM from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
The idea of the universe requiring the constant presence (influence, thought, whatever you call it) of God to continue existing is rather disturbing, actually. Sort of like the ultimate form of No Ontological Inertia in that He could one day turn us off as easily as we'd flip a light switch.

I like to think that I have ontological permanence without a deity actively willing me to exist.
Neoclassicism, AKA the Tinkerbell school of economics.
Is that cake frosting?
[up][up][up]But a clockmaker and a clock are entities on the same level, in a sense. A clock may owe its structure to the clockmaker; but its components do not owe their existence to the clockmaker, and are not recognizably different from the material components of the clockmaker. Ultimately, the clock does not really owe its existence to the clockmaker; and because of this, it can keep existing without the need for the clockmaker's activity.

It's funny how different the unchanging, distant God of theologians is from the flawed and very human God of the Bible.
You could say that. But the Bible is full of statements about how much God is transcendent, distant and beyond human comprehension; and on the other hand, according to the point of view I describe God is, in a way, perpetually active in the universe, which would make Him extremely close. The interplay between God's distance and His closeness is something that is definitely present in both the Bible and in theology; and, I think (but I don't know either well enough to be really able to discuss this, of course), the Biblical approach and the theological one are not only compatible, but either can be used to clarify the most obscure points of the other.

edited 2nd Oct '12 9:57:55 AM by Carciofus

But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.

 16 Aceof Spades, Tue, 2nd Oct '12 9:59:37 AM from The Wild Blue Yonder Relationship Status: I wanna know about these strangers like me
Personally I don't think God would want us to stop existing just because he's not focusing on us for the moment, either. After all, a watch needs repairs occasionally, but once you wind it up it can go on by itself for a good amount of time.

Course, this goes in with a larger theory I have about God waiting for us to grow up as a species. *shrug*
 17 Fighteer, Tue, 2nd Oct '12 10:00:59 AM from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
[up][up] I don't accept the dichotomy. It seems like too large a contradiction to hold within a single belief structure: that God is the master clockmaker of the Universe who holds all of Creation in His mind, yet at the same time will stoop to turning a woman into a pillar of salt for looking back, or answering a prayer to heal little Timmy's grandma.

Yes, I get the whole "omniscience + omnipotence" thing, but either he set the Universe in motion and is sitting back to watch, and therefore all the actions we attribute to God are merely fables and not true; or he is a petty micromanager with the whims and temper of a tinpot dictator.

edited 2nd Oct '12 10:03:15 AM by Fighteer

Neoclassicism, AKA the Tinkerbell school of economics.
 18 Blurring, Tue, 2nd Oct '12 10:01:32 AM from Ampang, Selangor, Malaysia.
Come see the roboteching.
God is close, really close, is not because God is physically near, but by having His will and knowledge everywhere in existence.

edited 2nd Oct '12 10:03:52 AM by Blurring

If that is a wave motion gun, then what in the world is its intended target?
Is that cake frosting?
He could one day turn us off as easily as we'd flip a light switch.
The idea is that Creation is not part of time; so no, it could not "stop". If I understand that theological theory correctly (but it's been a while since I read it, and it was in a text for non-theologians anyway), with respect to the universe, and as time as we can see it "from inside", you do have ontological inertia. The thing is that this whole ontological inertia is something that God is granting "from outside" — outside of the universe, and outside of time.

But I am way out of my depth here.

yet at the same time will stoop to turning a woman into a pillar of salt for looking back, or answering a prayer to heal little Timmy's grandma.
As for the "pillar of salt" thing, I am non-literalist enough to think that that is probably mythological. Other may well disagree, of course.

But as for prayers, what is the problem precisely? God's eternal, unchanging will shapes the universe; and this will may well take in consideration the wishes and the requests of the mortals who inhabit it, and who are in the image of the eternal God.

[up]That is a very good way of putting it, I think.

edited 2nd Oct '12 10:10:39 AM by Carciofus

But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.

People in the Bible often say that God is great and good (mostly while cowering as one would before a king), and God claims to be so much bigger than humans; but when God actually acts, it is as a human king writ large.

My knowledge of the Bible is mostly limited to Genesis, Exodus, Job and the Gospels; so if there's much pointing to God being this ineffable distant prime mover, rather than a powerful person, I would genuinely appreciate it if you would point me in that direction.

Less that, I put it to you that the God of theologians is primarily an unfortunate product of the need to logically prove the existence of God - most of which only work if you change the definition of God so far as to render the proof worthless.
Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.
 21 Fighteer, Tue, 2nd Oct '12 10:17:55 AM from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Biblical literalism simply cannot be reconciled with the theological concept of a Supreme Mover.
Neoclassicism, AKA the Tinkerbell school of economics.
So now you'll have to decide which parts of the Bible are supposed to be historical, and which parts are supposed to be allegorical. Genesis can easily be said to be allegorical (indeed, you have to for most of it, unless you want to jump through high logical hurdles like God faking fossils and so on), and Job is obviously so; but Exodus? Did God actually sacrifice his only beloved son to save mankind, or is that also an allegory?

And I think it's more like 'the theological concept of the Supreme Mover cannot be reconciled with the ideas represented in the Bible'.

edited 2nd Oct '12 10:24:17 AM by imadinosaur

Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.
Is that cake frosting?
Biblical literalism simply cannot be reconciled with the theological concept of a Supreme Mover.
Yeah. I don't find this a concern myself, as I am very much not a Biblical literalist; but I agree with this.

[up][up][up]There are a few passages about time being of no concern to God, about the heavens not being big enough to contain Him, and so on; but I don't feel like seeking quotes at the moment. One thing that I can say, however, is that much of what is in the Bible is, I think, poetical and written by people who did not actually understand the matter very well themselves (but then again, who does?)

[up]Without going into the details of any of the issues you mention... yeah, interpreting the Bible is no easy task. It is an incredibly complex text, and trying to understand it requires a lot of effort. I think that that's kind of the point, actually.

edited 2nd Oct '12 10:37:29 AM by Carciofus

But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.

 24 pagad, Tue, 2nd Oct '12 10:52:14 AM from perfidious Albion Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Sneering Imperialist
My problem is largely that I cannot reconcile humanity as a product of random chance after billions of years of evolutionary dead ends - including several mass extinctions, which strike me as utterly pointless in a theological context - and humanity as designed in God's image. I mean no offence, but I honestly don't understand how theists do manage that reconciliation as from my perspective God comes squarely down on the wrong side of Occam's Razor. "Guided evolution" seems as conceptually flawed to me as a four-sided triangle.

edited 2nd Oct '12 10:55:00 AM by pagad

 25 Blurring, Tue, 2nd Oct '12 10:54:35 AM from Ampang, Selangor, Malaysia.
Come see the roboteching.
I don't believe that humanity is created in God's image too. And to God, there are no random chances, dead ends are meant to be dead ends.

edited 2nd Oct '12 11:06:46 AM by Blurring

If that is a wave motion gun, then what in the world is its intended target?
Total posts: 117
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