Hello everyone.  I have watched a number of Craig's debates (and other faith dialogues) and this question  pops up in some of them (usually in the Q&A).  However, if I may, I have a question about this.  Suppose an omnipotent being came to Earth and presented evidence that he was the one true god (defying natural laws and corporeal limitations, acts which some atheists saw as persuasive enough to make them believers).  Are we equipped enough to accurately interpret this being and his evidence given our limitations as finite, corporeal beings? 

In terms of Christian theology, people only truly know God and his reality of infinite serenity once they die and transcend to eternity (conclusively verifying and knowing God's love and peace).  Hence, truth is ultimately verified to them in the afterlife? Therefore, is it honestly possible to answer the above question as earthly beings given our inability to fully and accurately interpret objective reality?

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loganonekenobi

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the short answer is no.  In truth any being that is of sufficient power greater than us will be considered a god. Still I have some faith in humanity to be able to reason away some being that simply is able to kill us more efficiently than we can kill them.
However, if some entity can break enough physics in front us then by all means it must be a god.

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jayceeii

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Are we equipped enough to accurately interpret this being and his evidence given our limitations as finite, corporeal beings? 

Therefore, is it honestly possible to answer the above question as earthly beings given our inability to fully and accurately interpret objective reality?
You might ask what kind of “money” you are exchanging. That is to say, the presumption has been man is in a position to choose to believe or not to believe, with God meting out punishment or beatitude as the consequence. This places man in a position of merely marshalling his belief, regarding it to be a very significant power that is worth chasing. Both theists and atheists agree God is a kind of standoff God, and that man is important.

Imagine instead a scenario where a particular man gains concern and abilities beyond the rest. Who or what God is no longer has to be forced down his throat, for he has discovered by inner enquiry that he has a created soul. Furthermore he has learned to enjoy his life deeply, and recognizing he is not his own source, he starts looking around for the Maker for reassurances about his immortality. For such a one the Lord merely needs to walk nearby or express His thoughts, and he can see the Lord is without a soul.

He reasons rightly that someone without a created soul could be the Creator embodied, and if he’s lucky Jesus might feel like answering questions, to further prove the case. This type of scenario reverses things and puts man in his correct existential position, which is to say a debtor rather than a conqueror. Unfortunately every man I’ve ever met regards his own right arm to be the real God. He worships his own physical power, ready to persecute the prophets in the sad unrelenting story Jesus related, and became a part of.

God seeks man only at His own peril, for men are haughty, like tigers, and like to choose their own way, as the Garden of Eden fable foretells. All good things come from God, but the creatures need to find their own meaning, by and large, alongside the other creatures. The Lord may be inspiring and is the only Source of immortality, but to build a peaceful society has been beyond human capacity so far. Men must become more than they have been, and as the Buddha said, the impetus is upon man to evolve, not to opine about God.

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Wretch

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The very question presupposes the divine being.  It refers to "evidence" which presupposes objective fact/truth, reason, and the universal laws of logic.  Where do you get any of that absent the divine being? 

So many are happy to just hand-wave this problem away, but it is not so easily dismissed.  If you do not have a solid basis for absolute or objective truth, knowledge, reason, logic and your own consciousness and free will, then you have no objective basis from which to make any truth claims whatsoever, which is absurdity. 


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jayceeii

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The very question presupposes the divine being.  It refers to "evidence" which presupposes objective fact/truth, reason, and the universal laws of logic.  Where do you get any of that absent the divine being? 

So many are happy to just hand-wave this problem away, but it is not so easily dismissed.  If you do not have a solid basis for absolute or objective truth, knowledge, reason, logic and your own consciousness and free will, then you have no objective basis from which to make any truth claims whatsoever, which is absurdity.
The presumption of atheists is that all this came naturally to man by evolution, and further that consciousness has a material cause which naturally doesn’t mind being extinguished at death. So to counter the atheists properly, would require proofs these things can only have come from the Creator. You seem to accept it intuitively, but have you seen the soul, and can you verify by personal testimony it bears the stamp of the Maker’s hand? If you can construct arguments about the exact nature of knowledge and the rational function, you’d be doing more than hand-waving yourself. I’ve been noticing that no one, including the theists, has a serious self-enquiry to determine these things. No one knows (or cares) what a thought is in its essence, where it comes from, how it is stored and how recalled. No one has catalogued the mind’s exact rational powers. In particular I’d say, once selfless traits appear, it’s proof the mind isn’t due to evolution.

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Wretch

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The point is that if you don't start with God, you get absurdity.  The only way we can truly know anything is if we are omnicient, which clearly we're not, or if we are provided revelation from one who is omnicient.

With God, mind created matter and life and more minds,

Absent God, one must propose the scientific absurdity/impossibility that absolutely nothing created everything, and then that non-life beget life, and that matter beget mind, which is yet more absurdity.

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jayceeii

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The point is that if you don't start with God, you get absurdity.  The only way we can truly know anything is if we are omnicient, which clearly we're not, or if we are provided revelation from one who is omnicient.

With God, mind created matter and life and more minds,

Absent God, one must propose the scientific absurdity/impossibility that absolutely nothing created everything, and then that non-life beget life, and that matter beget mind, which is yet more absurdity.
The reason your argument does not convince atheists or secular scientists, is that the atomic realm has mysterious properties, and many papers having complex math that proves successful in predicting many phenomena in the cosmos, suggest that a “big bang” was possible, something appearing from nothing. You are not an authority to say otherwise. You have a superstition about it, and can you tell the origin of the superstition? Was it from childhood experiences? Are you a product of your lineage?

Until the advanced math of the physicists is refuted, we cannot win arguments against them on their grounds. Besides, it is not clear they’d be valuable companions or friends. Lacking any feeling of depths in spirit, they’re bound to be uncooperative and shallow. Why are you fighting this war? What did you hope to gain, swinging atheists to your side? Were it enough to shout, “Absurd, absurd!” the battle would’ve been over long ago. No one except God (the Lord) can speak authoritatively of the creation of the universe.

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palewine

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Besides, it is not clear they’d be valuable companions or friends. Lacking any feeling of depths in spirit, they’re bound to be uncooperative and shallow. Why are you fighting this war? What did you hope to gain, swinging atheists to your side?

What an utterly ridiculous, and profoundly un-Christian thing to say. Are you not a believer? Have you not been saved yourself? Do you have no compassion for a soul that is, in your view, bound for Hell? Have you read the parable where Jesus condemns the servant who was shown mercy, but then refuses to show mercy to others?

Why in the world would you NOT rejoice at the prospect of a soul - any soul - coming into the kingdom?

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jayceeii

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What an utterly ridiculous, and profoundly un-Christian thing to say. Are you not a believer? Have you not been saved yourself? Do you have no compassion for a soul that is, in your view, bound for Hell? Have you read the parable where Jesus condemns the servant who was shown mercy, but then refuses to show mercy to others?

Why in the world would you NOT rejoice at the prospect of a soul - any soul - coming into the kingdom?
pw: What an utterly ridiculous, and profoundly un-Christian thing to say.

jc: It is true that religion has seemed all-inclusive before now, but in the end man falls from his raw cantankerousness, that can be called a bellicose, rebellious, or warlike nature. None can make friends with the tiger. It isn’t a question of how much compassion God or the angels have, when friendliness is expressed men reject it. This is the strange thing about Judgment. In the end it is friendly.

pw:  Are you not a believer?

jc: If you believe Jesus is Lord, then you must believe He has the power to take on a human body, and could do so again. Yet the Christians teach Jesus cannot do this again. I thus assert the two billion Christians are not believers, but of course Jesus has self-belief.

pw: Have you not been saved yourself?

jc: I need salvation from corrupt men, and I have seen certain channels, particular friends. All is theory presently. The Greek and Roman mythologies would’ve been more accurate, to assert that to dwell among men is hell for the gods.

pw: Do you have no compassion for a soul that is, in your view, bound for Hell?

jc: Again, compassion isn’t relevant when intense hatred extends throughout the entire soul, as is the case with the human entities. If they see your love, they mock and ridicule.

pw: Have you read the parable where Jesus condemns the servant who was shown mercy, but then refuses to show mercy to others?

jc: How have I failed to show mercy to others? The tigers have their place, but not in my living room. And who has shown mercy to me? I count no one.

pw: Why in the world would you NOT rejoice at the prospect of a soul - any soul - coming into the kingdom?

jc: Humans would immediately ruin Heaven, or any new planets God bestowed to them.