There is an ongoing PBS TV series (also several books and also a website) called “Closer to Truth”. It is hosted by neuroscientist Robert Lawrence Kuhn. He’s featured in one-on-one interviews and panel discussions with the cream of the cream of today’s cosmologists, physicists, philosophers, theologians, psychologists, etc. on all of the Big Questions surrounding a trilogy of broad topics – Cosmos; Consciousness; Meaning. The trilogy collectively dealt with reality, space and time, mind and consciousness, aliens, theology and on and on and on. Here are a few more of my comments on one of the general topics covered, the Almighty.
Arguments about God?
When it comes down to providing arguments for the existence of God, I find totally incredible the statement by [“Closer to Truth” contributor] Alvin Plantinga that “Well, first of all I’d like to reiterate – I don’t think you need arguments. I think you can be perfectly sensible, rational, reasonable, justified, intellectually okay, meeting your responsibilities, etcetera, believing in God without believing on the basis of arguments even if you don’t think there are any good arguments. I think that’s how actually most people do believe in God and I think that’s a perfectly proper way.”
Excuse me, but if you propose the existence of something, anything, then the burden is on you to provide at the minimum some evidence even if you can’t provide proof. Evidence can be intellectual as in the form of arguments, but you’d better provide something to back up your belief. Plantinga does then provide arguments, but only after being prodded to do so. He’d rather just use his fallback position that you don’t need any arguments to believe in the existence of God. Of course I’ve come to except such nonsense from theologians or philosophers who dabble in religious philosophy. What a crock of bovine fertilizer it is to state that XYZ exists without the need to back up your claim. Obviously the Earth is flat and I don’t need any arguments to back that up!
Arguments about God 2?
The apparent fine-tuning of the laws, principles and relationships of physics that translates into a bio-friendly cosmos is indeed compelling evidence that there is an intelligence behind it all, even if most of the cosmos is bio-unfriendly. However, rather than postulate a supernatural intelligence, I suggest the odds favor a flesh-and-blood intelligence, in fact a computer programmer that has designed a Simulated (Virtual Reality) Universe, and we are part and parcel of that simulated landscape. That simulation would of course have to be fine-tuned to allow for a habitable albeit virtual landscape, in the exact same way as our video games are fine-tuned in order to make the game-playing logical in its depiction of ‘reality’. Fine-tuning might be an argument for intelligence, but it’s not of necessity an argument for God.
Is God Outside of Time?
There is one scenario where being outside of space and time makes perfect sense. If we ‘exist’ as virtual beings in a simulated landscape, if we survive and thrive as just a computer program, as software created by a Supreme Programmer, then as far as we are concerned, that Supreme Programmer exists outside our virtual space and our simulated time. That’s akin to how we are outside of the space and time inhabited by our virtual characters in our video games and related simulations. However, the bottom line is that we still exist in a virtually real space and in a virtually real time, and presumably, in fact of necessity, our Supreme Programmer, assuming we ‘live’ in a Simulated (Virtual Reality) Universe, would therefore exist in some sort of real space and time that would be a space and time separate and apart from our virtual space and time reality. Time and space could be different for programmer and those programmed, but certainly it could never be of a non-existent nature for either.
If God Knows the Future, What is Free Will?
The obvious answer #1 to this paradox is that God does not know the future.
The obvious answer #2 to this paradox is that we have no free will.
The best answer to this paradox is the following:
We may, or may not, have free will but that has no relevance to God knowing the future because there is no God that can either know or not know the future. No God – no problem. In other words, there is no problem and no paradox because God is as fictional a character as Captain James T. Kirk, Harry Potter and Sherlock Holmes.
Do Humans have Free Will?
I really wish someone would pin down exactly what [God] being “out of time” actually means. I think it is a nonsense phrase. Because time is just change, if you are outside of time then you are unchanging and if you can’t change you can’t accomplish anything since that would result in a change. Even if there is no before (and then you would be hard pressed to explain your birth) and no after, there still is the present or the now. Now exists in time since change happens now or in the present.
Do Humans have Free Will 2?
As I have stated elsewhere here on “Closer to Truth”, God (of the Old Testament) is very much in time, as in say the six ‘days’ of creation; as in God talking to Himself as well as having chin-wags with others. God does things in time, nasty things admittedly but still things that had a beginning, a middle and a end.
What is Immortality?
It would appear that there is yet another religious authority figure, [“Closer to Truth” contributor] Gregory A. Boyd, who either has never read the Old Testament or pretends that text and what it says about the Almighty doesn’t exist. The evidence is contained within the interview he gives here. Boyd states:
“We participate in the divine nature by participating in His love because God is love. Love is the defining characteristic of the creator. And so Heaven is a matter of us dancing with God, dancing, participating in His perfect love, the love that we receive from Him.”
Oh boy! How any theologian can say “God is love” in light of the massive amounts of evidence to the contrary as stated in the Old Testament is to my way of logical thinking quite a puzzlement. IMHO, the phrase “God is love” is an oxymoron.
Source: John Prytz