Questions Theists Can’t Answer, Nature of God (long answers)
Posted by Cory Tucholski
More questions from the Reddit thread filled with questions theists can’t answer. These still focus on God’s nature, and require lengthier discussions than the previous questions. However, they are no less puerile. First question:
If God is perfect, why is he “a jealous God”?
God is “jealous” for one reason. He is the ultimate being and the ultimate reality, the definition of perfection, goodness, and holiness. God created life and sustains the universe that supports it. He alone is the embodiment of divinity and is worthy of worship.
Yet people refuse to do so, when it is their duty. We understand that duty, which is why human evolutionary biology is becoming such an important field. As is embryology, paleontology as it relates to the origin of earth, and cosmology. We want to understand where we came from, but we aren’t seeking the One who created us, only the culmination of perfectly natural laws that put us here.
Let’s say that Bob has a daughter named Beth, and was a perfect parent to her, never failed her, always encouraged, mentored, and uplifted her, and did everything to see that she succeeded in life. Would Bob the a-hole if he becomes jealous when Beth suddenly cuts him completely out of her life and starts calling Steve “dad,” even though Steve only became a factor in her life last Tuesday, and has literally done nothing for her? Should Bob just let it go and forget about it?
No, and therefore neither should God. He is that perfect parent, unfailing and perfect in love, upholding and sustaining our existence after having created us and blessed us abundantly. When we deny him and seek a natural explanation for our origins (or other gods), then he has every right to be jealous.
If Men (who are imperfect) does not condemn the children because of crimes commited by their parents, how can God (who is perfect) do it?
As I have argued repeatedly, that is most certainly not what is happening. Sin is both action and ontology. Adam’s sin introduced corruption and sin into the world; our own sinful natures are consequences of that. We are not condemned for the sin of Adam, but by it.
Think of this illustration. If I punch you in the face and break your nose, you didn’t ask for that. You’re mad at me. You probably wish I hadn’t done it. But, at the end of the day, you still have to suffer the consequence of my action. It’s not fair, is it? Yet it happens everyday.
Guess what? If I’m an alcoholic who beats my wife everyday just for good measure, then my daughter is going to seek a husband who beats her and my son will beat his girlfriends. Both will likely be alcoholics, as well. They didn’t ask for that; it’s not fair! But it will happen to them all the same.
Bottom line: we are not immune to the consequences of someone else’s actions. I don’t deserve hell because my grandpa killed a man just to watch him die. I deserve hell for the lies I’ve told, for the lustful staring at Angie the Anti-theist (because I’m married, not because she’s an atheist, no hate mail for this–I’m complimenting her by saying she is gorgeous), for the history paper I plagiarized in high school–I could probably go on! All of these sins leads back to Adam introducing sin into the world in the first place, but the fact that he introduced it doesn’t obligate me to join the depravity. I do that all by myself.
What would a god be doing before creating a universe?
Mind-numbingly stupid question. Time is a function of spinning masses of material that create gravity, bending space and acting on other objects contained in space. The revolution of the planetary bodies around a sun, and the revolution of these suns around a central point of a galaxy, and the spreading of the galaxies outward from a central emanation point create a chain of cause to effect, that effect becomes the cause of another effect, and so on. This creates the sensation called duration.
Take away space, and with it all the rotating, revolving masses within it, and you have eliminated the chain of cause to effect which is the cause of another effect, and so on. No more duration, itself an illusion created by linear cause and effect chains. No duration, and you don’t “do” anything to “pass the time,” because there is no time to pass!
So, God’s existence, “pondering” what to do with this existence, “deciding” to create a universe, “planning” what sort of universe to create, “mulling” possible universes over, and finally “creating the universe we see” would seem to be simultaneous actions for a timeless/spaceless being, given the absence of space-time and no way for him to experience duration.
God might have willed itself, heaven and hell all out of existence last year. How would you know?If god created man in his image, does he have a nose? If he has a nose are lungs attached to the nose? Does God breathe? If so why did he create a universe where 99.99% of it is a vacuum? If he does not breathe why does he have a nose?
I get the strange feeling that this is meant to be facetious, since I can’t prove the first portion of it, and the rest of it sounds like those goofy philosophical inquiries, like “Why do we drive on parkways and park on driveways?” So I’m tempted not to take this paragraph too seriously.
I can’t answer any of it with certainty, but I can explain why I think that the whole thing is misguided and puerile.
First, I don’t believe that God would commit “deicide.” The reason is that the Bible reveals that God not only created the universe, but he also sustains it. This is why God is a philosophically necessary being; without him, no universe, no life.
Also, given that God is timeless, he doesn’t “come into” or “go out of” existence the same way as we would be able to. “Beginning” and “end” are concepts that are functions of time, which God is not subject to. So it’s pointless to speculate about what would happen without him, or what things would look like if he wasn’t there–that can never happen. Without him, there is literal eternal nothing. The type Francis Schaeffer referred to as “nothing-nothing.”
When the Bible states that God created man in his image, what it means is that God’s basic attributes are reflected in man: moral freedom, sovereignty, intelligence, creativity, and things like that. It doesn’t refer to appearance. It isn’t a physical reference, but a mental one.
So the rest is the puerile portion. No, God doesn’t have a nose as he is immaterial: timeless and spaceless. So no lungs or breathing; God isn’t a material being with material needs. As we covered in the previous question, God has no needs; he is entirely self-existent.
I’m not even touching the rest. I’m not sure why I even took this last question seriously.
About Cory TucholskiI'm a born-again Christian, amateur apologist and philosopher, father of 3. Want to know more? Check the "About" page!
Posted on April 26, 2011, in Apologetics, God, Sin, Theology, WWGHA and tagged Divine Authority, divine decree, divine grace, divine justice, divine mercy, Nature of God, ontology, perfection. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.