Learn about God

This verse may or may not be representative of God’s nature, but what are the Biblical authors saying about God?

Matthew 10:28 “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

21 Replies to “Learn about God”

  1. I agree with Perry. The Bible says that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. This word “fear” can mean “to be in awe of; to reverence,” but the context seems to imply a bit more than that. Jesus was speaking to people who would soon be persecuted for their faith. And His message was, “Don’t forsake your trust in me because of some temporal persecution. Fear the one who will bring eternal consequences to those those who reject me and the forgiveness I offer.”

  2. Many people would prefer a less coercive god, but just as we don’t get to choose our parents we don’t get to choose our god either. We also don’t get to choose whether he exists or not.

  3. Unfortunately, you are right that many people would prefer a less coercive God. I believe that therein lies the ultimate source of all of mankind’s problems. Someone once asked me why I didn’t think God was arrogant for demanding to be worshiped. At the time I didn’t have an answer for him, but now I believe that question is like asking if a gardener is arrogant for planting a tree in his yard without consulting the tree to see if it wants to be planted in the neighbor’s yard instead!

  4. Isaiah 45:9 “Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?”

    I’m not sure what the bit about “He hath no hands” means but the rest of this quote seams pretty simple to me. If there is a sovereign God then who are we to say what he can and can’t do. Christians say that God is “good”. Atheists say, “The world is full of evil so there must be no God.” God, if he exists, must be both evil and good, if he can even possess such traits.

  5. @dedwarmo – I disagree Atheists would say that evil in the world indicates there is no God. There is no God because there is no evidence the God exists.

    The concept of good/evil is also not so simple to define. I would be hard-pressed to find anything that is purely good or purely evil.

  6. @Perry
    I’ve heard many atheists use the existence of evil as an argument against the existence of God. It’s actually quite commonly used, but it sounds like we both agree that it’s not a good argument :-)

    I’m not sure that your statement, “There is no God because there is no evidence the God exists” is rationally justifiable. In fact, in a comment to Dedwarmo’s post,
    “Proof that God Exists,” you said that “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” So, by your own standard, the lack of evidence for God’s existence (which I would challenge in any case) does not constitute evidence that God does not exist.

    You said that you would be hard-pressed to find anything that is purely good or purely evil. Can you find anything that is partly good or partly evil? Or anything that is morally superior or morally inferior to something else?

  7. The lack of evidence of God’s existence does not prove God doesn’t exist. This is something that can’t be proven as you can’t prove a negative. Similarly, I also can’t prove that Santa Claus doesn’t exist.

    There just isn’t any evidence that God or Santa Clause do exist.

    “Can you find anything that is partly good or partly evil?” This depends on what constitutes ‘good’ or ‘evil’. What do you mean by these terms?

  8. Perry, you’re waffling a bit on both of your statements about God and evil. You said that there is no God because there is no evidence that God exists. This statement is clearly false.

    (By the way, your statement that one cannot prove a negative is not necessarily correct either. Some negatives can be easily proven. For instance, it can be easily demonstrated that there are no 4-sided triangles, married bachelors, or two-horned unicorns.)

    There are also many good arguments for God’s existence (I provided one of them in my comments on Dedwarmo’s post on The nature of existence.)

    There is also evidence that Santa Clause does not exist, at least the Santa Clause we commonly believed in as children. Something’s non-existence can be proven if its existence leads to a contradiction, or if its existence would lead to things we otherwise know to be untrue.

    About good and evil, you brought up the term “evil” and said that you have a problem with it, and now you are asking me to define it. Since you used the modifier “purely,” you implied that your issue was with this modified term. In the same way, if I said that I didn’t like yellow Mustangs, that would imply that I do like some Mustangs, or why would I use the term yellow? So, my question is what did you mean by the term, and is there anything partly good or partly evil, using your definition?

  9. Perry, you’re waffling a bit on both of your statements about God and evil. You said that there is no God because there is no evidence that God exists. This statement is clearly false, as you seemed to acknowledge in your last comment.

    About good and evil, since you brought up the term “purely evil,” I think you should define it. When you used the modifier “purely,” you implied that your issue was with this modified term. Likewise, if I said that I didn’t like yellow Mustangs, that would imply that I do like some Mustangs, or why would I use the term yellow? So, my question is is there anything partly good or partly evil, using your definition?

    By the way, your statement that one cannot prove a negative is not necessarily correct either. Some negatives can be proven. Something’s non-existence can be proven if its existence leads to a contradiction. For instance, it can be easily demonstrated that there are no 4-sided triangles, married bachelors, or two-horned unicorns. I can also positively affirm that there are no elephants in this room, since the existence of one would contradict other evidence (my ability to see the whole room, for instance).

    There is evidence for God’s existence (I provided an argument from the beginning of the universe in my comments on Dedwarmo’s post on The nature of existence.) That was a deductive argument, which means that you must either deny one of the premises or show how the conclusion does not follow to invalidate the argument. You did not do either of these.

  10. I disagree that the arguments you provide for God’s existence are good. Just because you think they are doesn’t make it so.

    There is as much evidence that God does not exist as there is that Santa doesn’t exist.

    By your own logic, God’s non-existence is proven.

    “Something’s non-existence can be proven if its existence leads to a contradiction, or if its existence would lead to things we otherwise know to be untrue. ”

    God is all powerful.
    4 sided triangles can’t exist
    God can create 4 sided triangles or God’s power is limited?

    Logical contradiction thus no God exists.

    I didn’t bring up the topic of good/evil. Dedwarmo did. I asked you to define good/evil just to clarify that we are talking about the same thing. I can not answer your question “Can you find anything that is partly good or partly evil? ” if we do not agree on the definition of the terms.

  11. The argument I presented isn’t true simply because I think it is. It’s a sound argument because, as a deductive argument, the conclusion necessarily follows from the premises if 1) the premises are true, and 2) the conclusion follows by logical rules of inference. In order for you to deny the conclusion, you must either deny one or both of the premises, or show that the conclusion does not follow logically. You have not done either of these, so the argument stands.

    Furthermore, your own syllogism is flawed since it is based on an incorrect usage of the term “all powerful.” Your argument assumes that the term means “the ability to do something logically impossible.” Then it proceeds to argue that God can either do the impossible (create a 4 sided triangle) or He can’t (his power is limited). Therefore, He does not exist.

    But “all powerful” does not mean the ability to do something logically impossible. So in addition to the incorrect use of the term, your argument attacks a straw man by assuming that theists posit such a God. But no theist believes in a God who can do something logically contradictory. This is the old, “Can God create a rock so large He cannot lift it” scenario. It is an illogical question.

    You are correct that we must agree on the definition of terms, but you used the terms “purely good “and “purely evil,” not I nor Dedwarmo. Why should I define a term that you used? So my question is what did you mean when you used those terms?

    And since you used the term purely evil, does that mean you believe in some other form of evil that is not purely evil?

  12. Just because an argument is logical does not make it true.

    In your argument, one could replace the word “God” with “Flying Spaghetti Monster” and it would be just as valid.

    Show me how it isn’t.

  13. If a deductive argument is logically valid, but the conclusion is false — which appears to be your position — it is only because one or both of the premises is false.

    If the logic is valid and the premises are true, the argument is not only logical, the conclusion is true.

    So, since you appear to accept the logic of the argument, but not the conclusion, which premise to you deny?

    Remember, the argument I repeated attempts to prove that the universe had a cause. Once we agree on that, we can debate whether or not the cause was the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

  14. Do you believe that the premise is actually false? Or, that it’s accuracy has simply not yet been demonstrated?

    If the former, what are your reasons for that position? If the latter, wouldn’t you agree that it’s more likely true than false? And, if an argument is more plausible than its negation, is not one justified in believing it in the absence of a

    defeater

    for the argument? Can you provide such a defeater?

    I’ve given several

    reasons

    why I believe I am rational in believing that whatever begins to exist has a cause……….

  15. I did it again. I submitted my comments before I was finished. Well, the spacing is messed up, but the words are right…except for “it’s”! I’m a real stickler when it comes to punctuation and grammar, so it bugs me when I use “it’s” instead “its” as a possessive.

    By the way, a favorite site of mine is Apostrophe Catastrophes. If you enjoy reading signs with bad punctuation or bad grammar, you’ll get a kick out of the ones at this site.

  16. It is either false or it has an uncertain statues where we do not know if it’s true or false. At the very least, it is clear that we do not know that it is true.

    I wouldn’t agree that it is more likely than not to be true. In fact, the leading cosmological theories (M theory, wave function theory, etc.) posit that it is most likely that our universe came into existence without a cause.

    PS. Funny site (apostrophe catastrophes) I share your attitude about bad punctuation.

  17. Perry, how can any theory even touch the idea of “coming into existence”?

    Based on the Wave Function article in Wikipedia it seems that there is some debate over whether the wave function merely represents information in the mind of the observer or if it physically exists.

    The article says, “Whether the wave function is real, and what it represents, are major questions in the interpretation of quantum mechanics. Many famous physicists of a previous generation once puzzled over this problem, such as Erwin Schrödinger, Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr. Some formulations or variants of the Copenhagen interpretation by Bohr, Eugene Wigner, John von Neuman and others take the more classical approach and regard the wave function as representing information in the mind of the observer. Some, ranging from Schrödinger, Einstein, David Bohm and Hugh Everett III and others, argued that the wavefunction must have an objective, physical existence.”

    Pondering the beginning of the universe (if it had a beginning) is definitely fascinating. Some believe that the farther out we look with telescopes and other instruments, the further back in time we see.

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