Re: human bias

Adam Crowl (qraal@hotmail.com)
Fri, 26 Feb 1999 05:32:10 PST

Hi ASA,

>From: ArvesonPT@nswccd.navy.mil
>To: asa@calvin.edu
>Subject: human bias
>Date: Tue, 23 Feb 1999 09:31:41 -0500
>
>David Campbell wrote:
>
>If He is sovereign over the outcome of casting lots, the long-range
>weather, and other random or chaotic (in the mathematical sense)
events,
>then it seems that randomness does not constrain Him. Whether there is
a
>pattern yet hidden to us, or whether He simply directly chooses the
outcome
>is moot.
>
>David C.
>
>Thanks for this. I think much of the confusion in discussions about
>creation and providence is artificially restrained by our naive
assumption
>that
>in some way God is like a human.

I don't actually operate with such a bias. I know that God isn't human,
but there must be some mapping between God and Man which allows us to
call God personal. If omniscient beings can be simulated in Game Theory
then we must be able to say something about God. If God is personal and
subject to logical laws [since by his nature he is Logos/Reason, the
foundation of logic] then we can potentially say quite a bit.

You can say that God isn't like this, but i then ask "in what way is he
then personal? rational? How can we be the image of the wholly Other?

We equate 'person' with 'human'.
>Humans have physical attributes such as existence in a 4-dimensional
>space-time, with severe constraints on travel in space and time, bias
for
>the size
>of things on the order of a meter; bias for electromagnetic radiation
>in a narrow wavelength band around .5 microns, a tendency to ignore or
>approximate all the microscopic complexity of our surroundings,
limitations
>on awareness of events happening now, even more so for events in the
past
>and
>practically no awareness of the future.
>
>In light of all these handicaps, biases, disabilities, and parochial
>conceits,
>it's a wonder we are able to say anything valid about God at all.

It is a wonder, usually called "revelation", muddied by something called
"interpretation" which is often fuelled by shoddy hermeneutics. What we
bring into the reading of a text will guide or blind us - if we're
idiots then it will be an idiot's reading. Like so many wild ideas I had
when I was almost a YEC.

>[S]cholars who have
>assembled the Scriptures systematically have discovered that although
God
>is clearly said to be personal, He is not human, and in fact even His
>personality
>is not like that of humans -- it is multiple, so that there is not a
>one-to-one
>correspondence between bodies and personalities.

Sorry I take issue with such a simplification of psychology and
theology! I'm convinced that we are more than one "personality" - maybe
one is conscious at any one time, but that says nothing about the rest
of our psyches... this is just an opinion shared with various AI
researchers. Is God more than one consciousness? Paul tells us that the
Spirit knows God's Mind, just as a man's spirit knows his mind. Sounds
like unitary consciousness to me, with the added complication of the
Incarnation.

I'm just saying all this to illustrate the complexity of what you're
invoking.

We cannot even make
>a picture or model of such a Being.
>
We're almost commanded not to. Why? Because the image is already before
us - our fellow human beings, whom we're commanded to love. Not a
rational argument, perhaps, but I'm thinking laterally just as you seem
to have done. My original question was about the nature of creativity,
novelty and freedom - we can either believe that such are real, or all
events are determined. If God is Personal and is Love, then freedom must
be real or else there should be no evil. Creation should be eternally
perfect, since "freedom" is unreal and then makes irrelevant to any
theodicy which posits "free-will creations" in comparison to "robots",
which might then go-wrong and become evil.

If all is caused by God then God is evil, since evil exists. Only if
novelty and freedom are ontologically real is free-will possible and
relevant to discussions about theodicy. I'm specifically directing my
ire at the endless fall-back of Calvinists, the Sovereignty of God,
which must never be violated regardless of how absurd God then becomes.
A doctrine which has no real place in Christian theology and is instead
an Aristotelian hold-over that Newtonian mechanics should have
destroyed. But that's another issue.

If Man was free at the Fall, where did that freedom come from? Was God
NOT sovereign for some brief moment? Why did God MAKE us fall if he was
sovereign?

I apologise if I seem to be baiting for an argument. Presently I'm going
through a whole lot of self-examination and wondering about everything I
once believed. I wrote my original question in the hope of some insight
beyond the usual proclamations from the Bible. Yes God decides the
outcome of the fall of lots, but such a system is potentially
predictable and at least sensitive enough to perturbations for God to
tip it his way. It answers nothing about what I'm asking.

Adam
>
>

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