Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Thoughts on God (Part 1)

As a Christian, Naturalistic Intelligent Design Advocate , and Panentheist (the most logical conclusion of course, IMO) I see God as perfectly personal, even though He "merely" engineered the universe to such fine tuned precision that it unfolded according to his plan. It seems rather obvious to me, that God operates through the creation of laws -- both spiritual and natural. Those laws, once created, operate "of their own accord." Does this mean God is impersonal? Of course not. As a panentheist, I see God as actually *being* those laws and also existing far beyond those laws at the same time. If God truly is God, how can anything exist apart from him (unless free-will is given, which is a different topic)?

How does this fit into me still being an ID advocate? Well, it is obvious, IMO, that we can scientifically determine the effects of intelligence. IOW, a mere random set of laws and variables (absent intelligence) acted upon by chance will not produce information processing systems or CSI. Thus an intelligence is necessary to cause the production of life within an overarching program.


Alaninnont said...

I've also come to the conclusion that it is probable that some kind of creator was involved in the process of making the universe and life. I am still struggling as to how much that involvement was/is. It seems to me that the increase in organization in species over the eons must have needed some tweaking due to the second law of thermodynamics, the lack of beneficial mutations (not natural selection) that lead to a more advance organism, and gaps in the fossil record. How much do you think the creator was/is involved in the evolutionary process and in everyday life?

CJYman said...

Hello Alaninnont,

I am pretty much a methodological, albeit not philosophical, naturalist and a panentheist as I have stated. Thus, I see the Laws of God as perfectly capable of designing life themselves, but only because those laws are merely an extension of the very nature of God. In essence I am a theistic evolutionist that see ID Theory as both scientific and correct. As an aside, because of the necessity of the subjective (which can never be objective by definition) in order to apprehend the objective and because of the nature of logic (and its foundational axioms) as also being neither material nor objective, I am by no means a materialist.

You ask how much tweaking I think was necessary. All the tweaking of laws necessary to produce life and evolution could have easily happened at the moment of or "before" the universe's inception. We see this idea in first creating a program (as a set of laws [describable in terms of information] to produce highly improbable and specified results) and then running the program after its creation.

Of course, that tweaking would have required foresight until someone can provide evidence that chance (background noise) operating in conjunction with an arbitrarily chosen set of laws/necessity (laws absent any regard for future consequences) will produce CSI, an EA, or intelligence (system able to apply foresight) itself.

However, I'm not sure if "tweaking" is the right term, since if God is eternal and it is in his nature to creatively use foresight then no tweaking has to be done as the potential for life and evolution would have always existed from God's own perspective. Of course, this nature of foresight is still necessary to produce life and evolution. That's where the science (observation and testing) of ID Theory comes in to play.

"How much do you think the creator was/is involved in the evolutionary process and in everyday life?"

I've thought about this much and it is a difficult question since it necessarily brings up the problem of evil and suffering (especially of the innocent). From my POV it would seem that God (as eternal and the ultimate originator of all law that exists) must be responsible and intricately linked to everything from the bonding of hydrogen atoms to evil and suffering unless somehow God has indeed provided us with some sort of free will which is then subsequently responsible for the evil in the world. In this case we share a part of the nature of God -- the freedom to create and be responsible for our creation.

The only problem left then (and I happen to think it unresolvable unless this is indeed the best of all possible worlds, which we could never know) is that of suffering at the hands of nature -- earthquakes, tornadoes, volcanoes, etc. However, this metaphysical problem neither overwhelms nor negates all the positive evidence of an intelligent foundation for our universe, life, and evolution.

As to God interacting with man, I think that He does that through our conscience all the time. What troubles me though, is how some people seem to re-program their own conscience in order to allow themselves to see no wrong in doing what most people would see as horrific evils.

I think a good answer to this has been given by C.S. Lewis when he discusses that although people might have slightly different ideas of right and wrong, they still feel compelled to defend their position as right. Thus there may be a moral standard provided by God that people are constantly striving to achieve to the point of defending their actions as OK or right (even at the expense of disagreeing with everyone else). How often do you hear someone say, "I don't care if it's right or wrong, I'm doing it anyway" ... even Hitler provided a justification for doing what he did.

Our Founding Truth said...

CJYman: In essence I am a theistic evolutionist that see ID Theory as both scientific and correct.

I'm fairly certain the several instances the word "create" in Genesis, is the hebrew "bara" which means created out of nothing. If the hebrew is correct, there can be no evolving. Paul affirmed the same?:

I Cor 15
38But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.

39All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.

40There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.

41There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.