Re: God the tinkerer

From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. <>
Date: Mon Aug 22 2005 - 22:16:21 EDT

On Mon, 22 Aug 2005 13:17:47 -0600 Carol or John Burgeson
<> writes:
> Dave, commenting to Bill Hamilton, observed: "I think you've
> overlooked a
> problem. If God likes to tinker, then he must be temporal"
> Sorry Dave, I do not at all see that the two are necessarily
> connected.
> Burgy
Let me try to run the contrast to clarify the point. I am in time,
limited in my understanding and in my capacity to manipulate matter. So,
if I try to work out something to perform a task, whether practical or
simply for enjoyment, I have to work things out step by step, with the
probability that I won't get it right the first time. Indeed, I may find
myself having to follow directions, akin to paint by number, rather than
being creative. Some of my fellow human beings know more than I and will
at least come closer to right more quickly, but they have to work in
time. Note how long it took to get from horseless carriages through Model
Ts and electric cars to contemporary gasoline, diesel and hybrid models.
Nobody at the beginning of the 20th century could design contemporary

In contrast, God, as viewed orthodoxly, is eternal, thus not in time
except in the incarnation, which involves his eternal purpose. God is
also omniscient and omnipotent. This means that what he does is fully
understood and unrestricted by any characteristic of the material. He
does not have to take steps to get it right, test and revise. He does not
work in time, which he created as a part of the spatio-material universe.
In contrast, he understood all time "before" its creation.

If, as described in the orthodox way, all is foreseen from the beginning,
there is no room for tinkering, for it is all "built in." A tinkering
deity is one in the image of humanity, one acting as you and I have to
act because we are in time by necessity. We are so totally creatures of
time that we find it extremely difficult to recognize when we read out
state into where it does not belong.

Received on Mon Aug 22 23:01:52 2005

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Mon Aug 22 2005 - 23:01:53 EDT