Weblog of a Christian philosophy student

Weblog of a Christian philosophy student. Please feel free to comment. All of my posts are public domain. Subscribe to posts [Atom]. Email me at countaltair [at] yahoo.com.au. I also run a Chinese to English translation business at www.willfanyi.com.

Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The 'problem of evil' can never disprove God

God is infinite (1 Kings 8:27; Psalm 147:5)
God = infinity, and from infinity comes all of what God is like, which we cannot see with our finite reasoning (interesting assumption from a Christian worldview)
God-infinity = Everything (Col 1:17)
God-infinity = 1 (there can be only one God; one infinity) - Deu 6:4
Finiteness = something infinitely less than God, that can admit of distinctions (e.g. 1, 2, 3 and so on)
To make beings like Him God had to make us partly infinite and partly finite, rather than completely infinite, because all of infinity = God
= We have to be made partly infinite and partly finite (Ecc 3:11)
The infinite part of humans = our soul
Our reasoning had to be made finite
Finite reasoning is infinitely less than the reasoning of God
= Finite reasoning can't understand the things of God
= We can never understand the things of the soul
= We can never fully understand the things of God and the soul like e.g. why there must be a God-infinity rather than nothing, why God must be the way that He is, suffering, free will, consciousness, morality and so on through our reason (but only through revelation and faith). God literally *cannot* tell us the answer to these questions in a comprehensive way to finite reasoning

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Why Did God Create Hell?

A lot of Christian thinkers say that God is infinite. Here's an interesting thought: what if God IS infinity in a way that we don't or can't understand? What if infinity and God are the same thing observed from different vantage points?

An interesting fact about infinity is that it is always a whole that cannot be divided into parts (infinity - 10 = infinity, infinity + a billion = infinity.) So you can't separate some of infinity from infinity.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that God has placed infinity in the human heart, which makes us in His image as He is an infinite God. I think what this means is that through His power God allows our brain to 'draw on' infinity somehow, which gives us a 'soul'. We're creatures because we're also finite - our brain contributes to who we are, and the brain is finite. We have to be partly finite because there can only be one infinity/one God.

Somehow, we get our *own* personality when our brain draws on infinity. So we aren't God, even though our soul is one with God. How this can be is a mystery.

So we sin through what is, ultimately, one with God - a soul.

Picture that helps illustrate this [click to enlarge]

This means that when a soul sins God can't disconnect Himself from that soul, because souls are infinite and infinity is always one (it cannot be divided). Therefore, to protect Himself from the sinful soul God has to 'cast' that soul into 'outer darkness' (in a sense), to the very periphery of God. Otherwise, because infinity is always together, the soul's choice to sin would spread to God and make God sin as well. This causes the sinner to suffer because they ARE that soul, and being 'pushed' away from God is very painful (Romans 5:12-14). That's why we suffer: it's a side-effect of God shielding Himself from our soul's choice to sin, which He has to do because our soul (being infinite) is one with God.

Having said that, I don't know why we suffer in the way that we do (i.e. from earthquakes, diseases and so on). That's a mystery.

This also explains why hell exists: if a person never becomes sinless then they must live at the very 'edge' of God forever. A soul, being taken from God, must have an eternally living nature (I think this accounts for the strong Biblical link between suffering and hell - "And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him" Rev 6:8)

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Podcast: Understanding Suffering and the Answer to Job

Podcast notes:

-This is a 40 minute podcast I recorded on suffering, God, and God's answer to Job in the Bible.
-This podcast relates a lot of the themes of this site in its discussion of suffering, and so is a good representation of this blog's theology.
-I talk about how humans are made in the image of God (it's not just about being able to reason), what this means for our ability to understand each other and God, and finally what this means for our ability to know why we suffer in a complete sense.

Title: Understanding Suffering
Time: 40:27 minutes
Size: 18.5 MB mp3

Direct link to the audio file (Right click and 'Save As')
Link to the audio file page

Further Reading:

-Here is a short (~580 word) article on the ideas in this podcast.
-A much longer (~4500 word) article fully putting down the ideas in this podcast.
-A long (~4500 word) article on free will, a shorter version.
-In this article I use the ideas in this podcast to make a case for where good and evil come from.

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Monday, December 08, 2008

Understanding Suffering (Short Version)

Note: this article is only trying to defend Christianity to those who say that it doesn't make any sense, and doesn't go beyond that and argue for its Christian assumptions... Read a longer version here, and I've recorded a podcast of it here.

How did God make us in His image (Gen 1:27)? Did God make creatures in His image by giving them reason?

We're not made in the image of God because we can reason, since computers and calculators can reason in a sense and aren't made in the image of God. So when God made us in His image He gave us something more than reason...

Let's look at the God who made us. God is infinite. How can anything finite be made in the image of the infinite? You cannot get anything more different than the finite and the infinite. If God is infinite, then how can we have anything in common with God?

And yet to say that humans are infinite like God would put us on God's level. Also, we're obviously not infinitely smart.

I think that we are made in the image of God because God puts some infinity in us, but we're not completely infinite like Him. In this way we have something in common with God, and have inferior reasoning and knowledge. See Ecc 3:11 "God has set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end".

But why wouldn't God make us completely infinite? Because only God can be completely infinite (Deu 6:4). God 'encompasses every infinity in His being', and that means that there can be only one God; God cannot make another God.

Because only God can be completely infinite, God has to make us out of finite stuff (like the brain) as well as infinite stuff. In practice, this means that we must have finite reasoning and knowledge (Matt 24:36).

We borrow from this infinite God whatever we have in common with God, like feeling, love, morality, free will and so on. What every person has borrowed from God is called their 'soul' (John 10:34).

The fact that our soul is infinite means that we can never understand it fully. Why? Because the logic of the infinite world is really different to the logic of the finite world, and we can only reason using the logic of the finite world.

Here's an example (more here): try giving infinity a value. Let's say that infinity equals the undefined value 'X'. In finite reasoning X + X must equal 2X. But infinity always remains infinity. So if we say that infinity = 'X', then X + X equals 2X... but X + X also equals X (because we're dealing with infinity). That would imply that 1 = 2.

OK, so why is this relevant to the problem of suffering?

Without our soul (something from the infinite world) there would be nobody 'in there' to feel stuff (animals also have souls but not understanding Job 39:13-17). So although we suffer because of problems like hurricanes, diseases and earthquakes, we also suffer because we have a soul that we borrow from God.

So no wonder we can't completely understand why we suffer, because we suffer through an infinite object, i.e. we suffer because of what goes on in the world of the soul (Rom 5:12-14)... creatures with finite reasoning just can't understand that stuff.

So the problem of suffering shouldn't be seen as a problem just because we don't know the answer in a way that would explain everything. We should feel able to rely on what the Bible says about it because it's impossible to get close to the answer using finite reasoning any other way.

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