From: Don Perrett (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Sun Feb 16 2003 - 10:13:55 EST
Don P: God is omnipotent and exists outside of space and time, all seeing
and knowing, he knows the future, present and past.
Don W: I acknowledge that these are widely held views, but being the
nonconformist I am, I acknowledge them only as philosophy that's taken root
in theology, and to me such views don't mean much. Scriptural support for
some of these concepts, as I recall, comes mostly from expressions of
worship and adoration that were never intended to serve as bases for
theological principles. As I comprehend God, he lives in space-time like
me. I believe he existed before space-time, so to that degree you can say
he was also outside space-time.
Wait a minute. God seems to me to live in space-time like me, but he does
not occupy any particular set of loci. Maybe that's what it means to be
outside space-time. My body occupies a particular set of loci, but my
spirit does not. So spiritual beings perhaps live outside space-time by
virtue of their spirituality.
Anyway, God is a person to be known, not a philosophical principle to be
fit into some system. The kinds of comments about God's nature and
abilities that I respect are those that come from personal knowledge of him.
From the Bible and personal experience I see God continually upholding the
world but on occasion intervening in ways decidedly outside the range of
what we'd call normal. Such "abnormal" interventions are what I mean by
God's "special input."
Reply: I don't agree with most others idea of a philosophical God either.
God wants us to be in personal communion with him, but necessarily physical.
If God came in from time to time to intervene, why didn't he just show up
(physically) in Egypt. He worked through Moses. How about Abraham, Christ,
Adam, etc. God works through his creations, not on them. Knowing what God
wants, being in personal communion with him, loving his creations, including
those we disagree with, is what makes things happen in his way. From time
to time he may step in and work directly through someone however. I see why
some see it theologically and some physically, but God is somewhere in
Don P: Can't God just pre-plan any and all events needed to reach his
desired goal? All of which would have been done and set into motion prior
to creation and the events we see as God's intervention is in fact God's
pre-planned periods/events of change.
Don W: I see this as an acceptable way of intellectually harmonizing the
scientific view of the world with an acceptable Christian view.
Unfortunately, the picture of God's personality that emerges from such
concepts doesn't fit well with God as I know him. I kind of like the
biblical view, which has God changing his mind from time to time. If these
descriptions of mind-changing are mere anthropomorphisms, so be it; but a
rigid, mechanical, supercomputer-type God I do not find appealing or, to my
mind, realistic. God to me is a very personal kind of person.
Reply: I understand your view, classic in some ways. But although God
was, is and will be involved in our lives spiritually, I do not see it as
physical. Not that God cannot do so, if he choses, but it would go against
freedom of choice. Some things in the bible are literal, some not. But
literal or not, some things can be tested. All references to direct contact
with God, visual or audible, are with respect to visions, awake or not.
This is why skeptics, even in ancient times, would consider these people
crazy or heretics. But God, is not physical, by choice/design, and
therefore speaks to us, the few who have, spiritually. This is also why he
sent Christ, his physical form. Why send a son if you yourself were
physical. Why not just show up himself. To be physical does not mean
personal. Billion people on a planet and only a couple I know personally.
Personal communion with God is spiritual and much greater than our physical
shells can withstand.
Don P: What would make our WEAK minds believe that God would need to come
in and make a change after things go wrong. Wouldn't that make him
imperfect and incapable of controlling his own creation?
Don W: What is perfect, and who says God is, i.e., who besides
philosopher-theologians? My new paradigm kind of implies that God gives the
whole creation lots of opportunity to go wrong, and when it inevitably does,
he puts it back on track. So God controls his creation to a degree
consistent with his objectives; but one of his objectives is to keep the
creation as independent as possible. His greatness shows not in absolute,
universal, rigid, microscopic control but in his willingness to let the
world drift freely within the boundaries of his overall objectives.
Everyone knows, don't they, that control freaks are much smaller people than
those who allow their subordinates some latitude.
Reply: That is my point. God does not need to be all controlling. If
someone came in after you've made a mistake and then says, "Well I'm making
changes because you're doing things wrong", that is controlling. If as a
parent you set guidelines and rules for your children to follow, with
punishments for doing wrong, and they don't right, you don't need to go back
and tell what you've already told them. You only need to allow the
punishments to occur. If I know the rule of gravity, and rather than adhere
to it's rules, I decide to jump out of a plane without a parachute, my
punishment for not following the rule is to die when I hit the ground. God
created all the physical, and non-physical, laws before time began. When we
do something in opposition, the rule itself will punish us. This to me is
God's wrath. They are not forms of control, but they are guidelines.
Basically, we are saying the same thing. The only difference is that you
feel that he steps in from time to time, to control things that aren't to
his liking. I say that he stepped in long ago and from our perspective,
constrained by time, we see it as recent/present events that occur. No
control, just pre-designed, using the very laws that are written in the
Bible and those governing physics and nature. They say there is order in
chaos. Although we are free to do what we will, there is a bound limit
within we must work. To go outside of it is the "real" chaos and that is
when things go wrong. Not because God is punishing us directly, but because
we are unwilling to live inside constraints. God does not desire control,
nor does he want to force us to love him. You can force your child to
respect you, but it is better when it is given to you willingly. You can
demand respect but not love. Love MUST be giving willingly. That is why
Christ came, IMHO. Man forgot the meaning and purpose of the law and what
God wanted, our love and respect. Respect/obedience continued and things
became rigid. People did for fear of death/punishment. As todays
evangelists sometimes do, "Do or go to hell" type of statements. Christ
came to bring back the understanding that our obedience/respect/love/etc
means nothing without being giving to him willingly. It is not our actions
or bodies that make us mortal or sinful, it is our hearts and minds that
Thanks for reading my lengthy reply. I pray we all continue to search for
understanding of God. We don't have to agree, just believe.
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