Re: God as tinkerer

From: Don Winterstein <dfwinterstein@msn.com>
Date: Fri Aug 26 2005 - 07:42:24 EDT

Dave,

Because none of us knows what it means to be outside of time, everything we say about such a state is a product of and limited by imagination. Logic is valid within a framework of assumptions. If logic cannot allow God to act in time, then there's something wrong with one or more of the assumptions. We may not be able to determine what exactly is wrong any more than we can understand how a physical entity can be both a wave and a particle. Scientists long ago established that logic by itself did not offer a reliable route to truth.

Hence to discuss whether or not one can have an experience outside of time is irrelevant to me. "Outside of time" is not a category I deal with. (--Although I acknowledge that God as likely creator of time is unlikely to be constrained by it. [But I have no idea what this statement might mean in practice!]) Furthermore, many of the "attributes of God,"--such as omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal--I've long regarded as meaningless clutter dragged into pure religion by philosophers. Theologians have converted emotional responses of praise and adoration as recorded in the Bible into "precise" philosophical terms, whereupon, while they seem to increase abstract understanding, they lose meaning for religion. (So now you know what a tough nut I'm going to be for you to crack.) What has meaning for religion is the Word that creates and enhances relationship with God.

You correctly suggest that experience of God is far and away the most convincing evidence I have for God. Unfortunately it's not possible to bring other people in to see for themselves what I'm referring to. That's a persistent frustration. What this spiritual experience may or may not imply about what God "has to" do I have no idea. I don't see that it implies any related thing. And I'm comfortable with Romans 8:29. In fact, verse 30 says, "And those he predestined he also called...." Calling as implemented through Word and Spirit requires that God act in time.

(Note that, if there is anything such as absolute truth for us humans, it is the content of individual experience before the individual tries to give expression to such experience. As soon as one tries to express experience, he employs symbols obtained from previous experience and thereby contaminates the content. He contaminates the content because symbols only have meaning relative to other symbols; they have no absolute meaning and so cannot convey absolute truth. I cannot accurately describe my experience of God. In fact, as soon as I identify the experience for myself as being "of God," I thereby contaminate it, because the symbol "God" [with or without all those philosophical attributes!] is something quite other than the real person. That's why extended experiences were necessary for me to arrive at an acceptably accurate understanding of the experiences.)

(Is the Word an absolute symbol? Yes, but the words that attempt to convey the Word really only hint at the Word; they only suggest him. The Spirit conveys the reality.)

Don

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: D. F. Siemens, Jr.<mailto:dfsiemensjr@juno.com>
  To: dfwinterstein@msn.com<mailto:dfwinterstein@msn.com>
  Cc: asa@calvin.edu<mailto:asa@calvin.edu>
  Sent: Thursday, August 25, 2005 11:45 AM
  Subject: Re: God as tinkerer

  Don,
  Just how could you have an experience outside of time? Seems to me you're making your experience the measure of God's existence. This makes God react, with the implication that he has to wait for knowledge. How does this match up with Romans 8:29 et sq.?
  Dave

  On Thu, 25 Aug 2005 04:00:26 -0700 "Don Winterstein" <dfwinterstein@msn.com<mailto:dfwinterstein@msn.com>> writes:
    I'm not sure our logical underpinnings correctly take into account how God might (or might not) be constrained by his being outside time. As I've stated here before, I'm convinced that I've had extended personal interactions with God as Spirit. These could not have happened unless God entered my space. I conclude there's something wrong with the logic. Actually, both QM and Relativity tell us clearly that human logic is inadequate for comprehending the world. Who would be surprised if it's inadequate for comprehending God?

    As a scientist I was an experimentalist; as a man of God, likewise. Experience is by far the most concrete thing; our logic must be forced to conform or be set aside if it can't.

    Don
Received on Fri Aug 26 07:46:45 2005

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