Re: God and nature; miracles

From: Howard J. Van Till (
Date: Thu May 15 2003 - 20:12:40 EDT

  • Next message: Jay Willingham: "RE: God and nature; miracles"

    >From: "D. F. Siemens, Jr." <>

    > What I said about "little men" does not diminish anyone's humanity. The
    > petty egotist is neither more nor less human than the great
    > philanthropist or the widow who gave her mite. But some have a better
    > insight than others.

    It's still difficult for me to see how words like "little" and "petty" would
    function as anything other than terms of diminishment. The generous widow,
    for instance, is to me a greater (bigger) example of what God intended
    humanity to be. But we seem to be using some of these words in differing
    ways. Time to move on....

    I had asked:

    >> Is it really the case that the only reason a person might have for positing
    >> such an idea is the limitation of our own personal experience?

    You replied:

    > I believe the answer to your first question is "Yes."

    OK, we disagree. I also asked:

    >> Is it only
    >> "little men" who portray God as the Creator of a universe that has been
    >> given such authentic being and such genuine freedom that not even
    >> God can know in advance what these authentic and free beings will do?

    You replied:

    > Your second question I place in the same category as "Can God create a
    > rock so big that he can't lift it?"

    No, I was still on the issue of whether it was only "lesser people" who
    posed concepts of this sort. Furthermore, I was not dealing with the
    question of whether or not divine foreknowledge was equivalent to divine
    causation. Once again, we disagree. OK, let's move on again....

    Finally, I suggested:

    >> Perhaps the God who is "us writ large" is something like this:
    >> We humans value power, so God must be omnipotent -- all powerful,
    >> able to overpower and control any other being.
    >> We humans value the capacity to act, so God must be omnicompetent --
    >> able to do anything.
    >> We humans value knowledge, so God must be omniscient -- knowing
    >> everything, even the outcome of contingent events that have not yet occurred.
    >> We humans value our presence in a place, so God must be omnipresent
    >> -- everywhere.
    >> Etc.

    You replied:

    > I know of no one who constructs a deity this way.


    Howard Van Till

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