Ep97-Questions & Answers for God Can't with Thomas Jay Oord

 

Previous episodes on this topic:

http://www.exploringmormonthought.com/2019/01/069-god-cant-thomas-jay-oord.html

http://www.exploringmormonthought.com/2019/03/ep74-conspiring-prayer-with-mark-karris.html

Show Notes:

What made you want to write this book? What led you to believe there was a want/need for it for people who read your other books?

Is God really free at all on your view? He has to love. I assume he has to always do the maximally loving thing. The creatures seem to determine the situation, but no matter what it is God is by nature forced to do the maximally loving thing. Therefore he is not free to choose 'how to love' as you put it....it is determined by the choices of the creature and the circumstances. God is a slave to his ethical code whatever that is and who gave it to him?

Why do you prefer a God limited by his loving nature rather than the general process view of a God limited by the nature of reality/other existence? I just ask because that seems to have the same outcome, but avoids some of the issues with God's freedom and making love sound like the think that makes it so God can't help you or fix your problems..."I just love too much."

It is said that process thought ( and your view) is less like reading a piece of music and playing it, and more like jazz musicians playing off one another and making nice sounding improv music. What if one of the musicians was deaf? Or didn't know how to play well...it wouldn't work. We can't seem to clearly hear Gods part and so we will inevitably create something that doesn't sound good.


If God can’t control, why pray? Come back to this last. We need to answer some other things before we can ask this question.

If I pray for someone to be healed from the Coronavirus I am praying for their body to fight off/kill/weaken the virus...I am praying for God to favor my well-being over the virus' well-being. I pray to get a job I am inadvertently praying that other people who applied to not get that job. How does God choose whose well-being is his priority? What if the prey doesn't want to be eaten and somehow prays about that. The predator needs to eat....something has to die for life to go on so how does God choose. Let's say the well-being of Earth is better served by not letting humans thrive...is it then loving to kill them with a disease or something?


If God is uncontrolling, how do we explain miracles? (The Bible seems to depict a God who can do supernatural things at will...)

"Miracles are unusual and good events that involve God’s causal action in relation to creation." explain.....

"In each moment, God responds to each creature and situation by providing new possibilities for action. God does this for complex creatures, simple creatures, and the smallest entities of existence. Each set of new possibilities is relevant for each being in each situation. " What does that mean? In what way is he 'providing new possibilities for action'?....answer:  God calls, commands, persuades, or inspires creatures of all complexities to choose the best among the possible.

So based on that I take it that all miracles are things that could occur naturally, but the fact that they did occur is 'miraculous' and unusual. Like not getting crushed in a car accident is possible, but unlikely...so do we praise God in these situations or the metal for listening to the possibility God gave then not to give way?

If miracles in healing can happen, but sometimes don't...can you give an example of the difference between the two scenarios? Can non-thinking things really resist or 'not cooperate' with God? Or are they just doing what they were going to do anyway? Aren't things like the law of physics determining the outcome and God would be silly to try to accomplish anything against that?

Does the well-being of the whole outweigh the wellbeing of the individual....Is that all loving....God still has moral conundrums. If your God followed a code of ethics what model best represents that code? Like maybe the well-being of Earth would best be fulfilled by humanity being wiped out...  We all need to kill to survive. All animals eat other animals. Does God want them to be nice to each other and starve...is the character development more important or does he want them to kill each other and the overall well being of the population is what is most important?...Does he care about the individual or the whole when they conflict?

Inanimate objects and aggregates. So they can't really respond.....99.99999999999999% of the universe falls into this category.....Does God really have much say then in how the universe is turning out? Can it be influenced?

Miracles and scripture: explain your view then....What is your view of scripture? Do you really think that the biblical authors thought of God's power as being limited the way that you do, or that if they didn't explicitly say God controlled metaphysically that they had something like your view in mind? Or just that in light of what the Bible says it doesn't make your view impossible?


Can God try harder? Good reads review..."If God cannot influence, speak, nudge human beings in some way, then yes, the theodicy problem is solved. But this would make God's love superfluous and it would be even harder to somehow line this God up with the God of the Hebrew Bible, in which a fundamental assumption throughout is God can communicate.


I guess the problem I have, is if God exists and can do anything, then with the tiny bit he can do, it seems conceivable he could do more to lessen evil, and therefore, the problem Oord sets out to solve still exists."


So like he asks....in the bible God is clearly communicating with people: Visions, dreams, actual voice, voice in head....and what's more is he can send messengers...angels. If he can do this then he could do a lot more to prevent evil. If he can't then he is not the God worshipped by the Hebrews or Christians. Mary in NT saw an angel. Sure people cooperated, but God seems to have given them a vision unbidden and they could choose to obey it or not. If he can't communicate then how is he 'luring' anything?

MATERIAL-MENTAL MONISM...explain:

If all creation has some metal pole or panpsychic like ability then why isn't that the reason God can't control. If these creatures/things have any kind of eternal ability/nature to be able to be persuaded or not that would imply that God doesn't have the power to take it away from them.


What does an uncontrolling God do?

Does God have a mind/personality or is he more like a force of nature?

What is a universal spirit...what is spirit in general and how does it interact with physical things? It is physical? Is it like my mind to my body...but my mind can control at least some things in my body.

You say 'Although we cannot perceive God with our five senses, we can directly perceive God through our minds and bodies. ' What do you mean by that?

God being a causal agent....explain 'a necessary but not Sufficient cause'. 

So in order for creation to exist...God has to exist and vice versa?

Controlling your two-year old example...but what you did was not metaphysically controlling...Pushing a kid out of the way of the car or making their parts jump seems like the well being of whole child's organism is favored by getting her out of the way of the car. Why Can't God do this......sounds more like the other entities are the reason God can't and not his loving nature in this case. Why not just say God's nature is such that he doesn't have power to control. Why does it need to be his 'loving' nature...what does that add?

If God is uncontrolling why is he always trying to lure creation to his vision...why not be truly uncontrolling and let creation choose it's own destiny?

Does God want us to be like him? Can we be like him?


What does it mean to say God loves everyone and everything?

Your definition of love: "To love is to act intentionally, in relational response to God and others, to promote overall well-being.".........."When I say love promotes “overall” well-being, I’m not talking just about humans. “Overall” includes nonhuman creatures, plants, and smaller entities. It includes emotional, psychological, intellectual, social, economic, spiritual, ecological, and more dimensions. I even think our actions affect God’s well-being! "

Do you see any problems with saying that God has the essential property of being loving when being loving requires something outside of God's self? Like I can't have the essential characteristic of being best friends with Joe, because that requires Joe. Can personality traits be something considered 'essential'? Like God's being 'loving'

Can God choose what level he loves at? Like this is a nice thing that isn't unloving, but it isn't the maximally loving thing. If he has to do the maximally loving thing in all situations then he really can't choose 'how to love'? Is it not the creatures determining the situation and God is bound to assess the situation and among options always choose the 'most-loving' option. Like there is A,B,C,D and he has to answer A. Like if X then A.Most loving thing

Since God can't forsee the future or make sure things go exactly how he would want are there times when God's efforts have resulted in unintended consequences? 

DOES GOD NEED OUR PITY? 

He does sound like we could say he is omni-frustrated


How does Jesus fit in a theology of uncontrolling love?

Jesus exemplifies God's loving nature

Big differences between the two natures...

What is your christology? Who is Christ on your view? God himself or a human?

If God can appear in human form....why doesn't he do it now? It seemed miracles happened a lot easier when he was 'physical'

What does it mean to say that 'Christ died for us?'

"I believe contemporary kenosis theology better accounts for Jesus’ own witness and the Bible’s broadest themes"........What does that mean? Which aspects?


If Jesus, while humagn, didn't have 'an essential nature of love', but was still always loving and perfectly revealed God's love....why would we need God to be Essentially loving?


If God created the universe, why can’t God stop evil?

"I reject the theory God ever or even could create from absolutely nothing. But I believe God created the heavens, earth, and every living and nonliving thing. If there are other universes besides ours -- a “multiverse” -- God created them too. In fact, I think God creates in every moment in relation to creation. And God’s moment-by-moment creating activity is everlasting, without beginning or end."

How do you define the 'created' or 'to create' in relation to God if not from nothing? Like in Mormonism we tend to think of God as an organizer or builder who uses existing materials to create something greater than the sum of its parts.

This idea...."can help us affirm God as Creator and yet believe God is not directly or indirectly morally responsible for evil. And they can help answer this chapter’s question."

Even though I suppose you could say God is not 'morally' responsible for evil  I think you would still have to say that he is responsible for at least giving rise to the potential for there to be evil. Creating led to the rise of sentient creatures who could (and do) choose evil. Also giving rise to a universe you don't have control over is still why there are bad things happening to us...in some sense at least.

"I embrace the idea God created from creaturely “stuff.”...is this stuff co-eternal with God? I understand you as saying that the stuff is eternal and God is eternal. How the stuff is organized and put together is contingent...though perhaps the properties of this 'stuff' have certain parameters as to what is possible.

I call my replacement creatio ex creatione sempiternaliter en amore, which is Latin for “God always creates out of creation in love.” 

While no universe exists everlastingly, a succession of entities, creatures, or universes always exists. The everlastingly creative God creates each creature and universe in this succession. Every creature is temporary, in this sense; all creaturely others have a beginning. And no universe is co-eternal with God. ....So if 'every creature is temporary' do you think that whatever part of us survives death is also temporary? If so, what is the point of the resurrection?

Like your Jim and his eternal spouses analogy. Do the other spouses leave any trace of themselves...or is the only eternal relationship really between Jim and the most basic particles of his wife?

So you, like mormonism, have the issue of not being able to explain/answer 'why is there something instead of nothing'...not a big deal, but an epistemological conundrum that Creation ex nihilo solves to some degree.


What hope do we have if God’s love is uncontrolling?

What does God want in the end for creation? 

What is he leading it towards....does the eventual heat death of the universe pose a problem for that? What about resurrection of the body and what about eternal life? In traditional Christianity this is one of the main reasons Christ came to Earth to conquer those things.

Hell is a temporary state...possibly state of mind

Mormonism agrees that God's love is 'relentless'. Avoids the downfall of universalism because only those who choose to be saved will be. 

What is 'heaven' on your view?

"we have genuine hope all will eventually cooperate, because time is on the side of an everlasting God." Does this mean God's ultimate goal is to have all the power so that what he will is what will become actual because of the perfect obedience of all creation/creatures. Is God like the Borg?

Help me understand relentless love and the universe dying over and over of his eternal spouses...(may have answered this previously)

If God can’t control, why pray?


Do you know God can’t prevent evil?

I’m proposing a model -- a theory about who God is, how God acts, and what the world is like -- I think makes sense. The model draws from various resources, including the Bible, but not just the Bible. It seeks truth wherever it can be found....Plausible models build from arguments and experiences, various sources, and the way the world seems to work.

Doubt / faith...Your journey.....

What do you plan for the future of this idea?

The Church of the Uncontrolling God?

I imagine if you did make a church it would look different than many existing ones.

Is your view still evolving? Like are you looking at some assumptions you have because of your religious background and may need to rethink some of those too?

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