Ep22-The Attributes of God - A Critique



Back when the book was released in 2001 there was a Sunstone "Author Meets Critics" session for this book. The speakers took most of the time leaving my dad only a few minutes to reply to the critiques offered. Well obviously that isn't enough time so I thought we could go more in depth on answers to issues brought up as well as in some other sessions that are about the topics in the book.

Links:
God's Ultimacy:
sunstonemagazine.com/audio/SL00375.mp3

Author Meets Critics:
sunstonemagazine.com/audio/SL01231.mp3

God's Relation to the Universe:
http://www.newcoolthang.com/index.php/2010/01/god-and-the-universe-before-after-or-with/1853/

Topics Discussed:

• God's Ultimacy
• God's Power
• God Knowing All Possibilities
• God and Time



Show Notes:

God's Ultimacy:

Why doesn't something like process thought suffice. Or just the 'finite' advanced spiritual scientist God?

Clarify your most beautiful wife analogy...you say I wouldn't want to tell my wife that I only love her because she is most beautiful and if I found another more beautiful I would love the other....Well that is exactly what you are claiming about God. That if you found another God more powerful you would worship him. The way I see it in a real relationship it doesn't matter if there is someone 'better'....this is the relationship you choose to value. To you this is the best relationship despite how great or powerful other beings may be. This is the one to follow. It is more the ideals we that identify with. God said love is the ultimate in the universe and we agree. That doesn't mean nothing else can have a following or power given to it....Satan is a prime example....free will experience vs forced experience. We don't worship him because he has the most power, but because he has the best ideals and vision for the future.

What is 'worship' to you? Let's say they are due honor and reverence and obedience. Sounds like a respected leader. Let's say you have a cool boss that you like. They only have authority over you because you have bought into their vision. Is worship best described or performed by emulation?

What if he had just enough power to bring salvation to those who choose it. What is 'salvation'? I see it as getting to that higher level that God lives at. Knowledge and relationship to the universe.

You say the source of his power is that everything trusts him...excepts us...First can elements the way you describe them trust? Is the power he has dependent on everything else...so basically he has no power unless everything trusts him? Then his true 'power' is being a really awesome trustworthy character......if this is true then to trust you must have had to earn trust at some point. You can't trust essentially...trust is a decision. Decisions entail a fork in the road and a time before the decision and its effects.

God's Power:

What is more powerful unilateral power to force someone to do something pr persuading them that they should do something....so that they want to do it?

Free will-What are the limits on God influencing people? He can't unilaterally make them choose something, but can he enhance an existing emotion? Can he make a thought come into someone's mind? Isn't that a form of mind control?

Concurring power. So if God can withdraw it the elements will go back to their natural chaotic state, but entropy doesn't work that fast. Thinks take time to break down. Also once something is put to chaos it can't just snap back in an instant.

Concurring power seems to explain few if any miracles from scripture. Multiplying bread and fish, healing the sick, water to wine, raising the dead etc. you mentioned God being able to stop my arm from moving. How can this be? Withdraw concurrence from my arm obliterates it.

You say "The view that I have adopted differs from process thought in asserting that God can suspend the natural laws because they require his concurrence to manifest their inherent natural tendencies."

Well how can one say something has natural tendencies if they require something else to have these tendencies? I don’t see why we can so quickly discount self-organization.

Matt W. Quote:

I agree with A. Davis- I think your God with does not escape being fundamentally the same as God Before the universe model (absolutism). Unless of course you added the balancing effect, which would be that God can also do nothing save the universe concurs.

The options would then be:

1. God trumps universe “God before”
2. Universe trumps God “God after”
3. God and Universe both trump one another. “God With”

What you have proposed seems to say God trumps universe only, so God before. I can pick nits at that all day.

God knowing all possibilities:

Problems with probability...

equally incoherent with knowing the future infallibly.

Chess example is used in book....but if I understand you are saying that god knows every possible things that the elements can do. Let's say that is true this does not tell him enough about probability. For example he could know that humans could make computers highly advanced and spaceships highly advanced, but he can't know when and it what order and in what way things will advance. Or if it will. It is possible that it we can populate the galaxy, but whether or not that happens is up to us.

I am confused because you say in one place that God already has his interventions planned no matter what we do because he knows all possibilities, then later you say that is not how it is because that would be impersonal and that God act/reacts on a personal level....which is it?

God can have a plan for humanity in general, but not really for individuals.

How can God the know probability of out comes for agent A  unless he knows the future circumstances that make a probabilistic prediction possible. You would have to have definite knowledge of future events surrounding the actions of agent A.

For example to make a prediction you would have to have set facts about agents B and C as they relate to the actions of agent A. God does not know the actions of agents B and C though so therefore he cannot make any predictions of have any meaningful data to calculate probabilities for agent A.

Example: Determine the probability of me seeing my wife and children later this evening?  How can God the know outcome of a causal chain of free human choices that could result in me not seeing my wife and kids like a very slight turn that causes me to run over a nail that pops my tire and causes me to crash?

Possible outcomes- To know what is probable in circumstance A You would have to have knowledge of actual outcomes of related circumstances B and C.

God's plan- just what is god's plan? Why is he intervening at all. If we are here to learn to love one another how can there be an overall plan? Isn't it just to let intelligences come to earth and learn whatever they can from this experience?

-Clarify being subordinate to God eternally.

God and Time

....Is God stuck in his frame of reference? You criticize Timeless God entering time so can your God leave or enter into our frame of reference any more coherently?

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