Axver (axver) wrote,

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Late September's Theological Ponderings, Part I

I've found myself doing a lot of theological pondering lately, as I suppose past entries have made abundantly clear. I feel I've been in a sort of spiritual wilderness, seeking answers that aren't necessarily willing to show themselves. I think it would be a good idea to jot down where my thoughts are currently, as writing tends to provide a sense of order and clarity for me. It can take away a measure of confusion. I make no claims that this is any sort of final or absolute position; I've long since learnt such claims, even when made with a feeling of total certainty, can be as meaningless as "ewgiow4h jrgkj-''2wapo kew/-ag", and I have no feelings of total certainty right now! Furthermore, if anything seems contradictory, that's because I have been entertaining many concepts that, at first glance at least, appear contradictory and mutually exclusive. I just want to get down what's in my head.

I feel as if I have reached a point that could be characterised as "deist Christianity". I believe there is a creator deity, as it seems to me to be the most logical and reasonable explanation for the universe's existence. I find it to be less absurd than the idea of the universe just coming into existence, and less absurd than the idea of an infinite number of universes stretching back in a chain of big bangs and crunches. Of course, I'm no scientist and I dare not speak with authority on such issues, but I find it very difficult to conceive of the possibility of the universe's existence without a creator deity. Furthermore, I conceive of this deity as monotheistic as I again believe that to be the most logical (or least absurd, depending upon the perspective) position to take. I've explained my stance on monotheism versus polytheism and pantheism before and I do not feel the need to rehash that explanation again.

So, now that I have established for myself that, at some point in time, there was a creator deity, I find myself asking: did he do more than just create? Does he interact in his creation, or is he the "cosmic watchmaker", who has made the universe and left it to run in the manner a watchmaker makes a watch and then leaves it to run without having to interfere? I see interaction beyond a mere single creation point; although I can comprehend and conceive non-theistic evolutionary accounts as plausible, it is my perspective that, in some way at least, this deity interacted in creation to achieve a desired result. Allow me to present an analogy that may not correlate perfectly but hopefully conveys my general point. If you'd like some mashed potatoes, you don't just throw some seeds in the ground and hope they grow into potatoes, jump out of the ground, throw themselves in a pot, and mash themselves. You interact in the process, cultivating the potatoes, picking them, and mashing them to achieve your desired goal. In a similar way, I believe that the creator deity interacted in its creation; it did not just create the necessary prerequisites for a big bang and let everything go from there, it interacted with this creation to achieve a desired goal.

I do not wish to present some argument from awe; i.e. it is so improbable for Earth to have been created in such a way and for humans to evolve in the manner they have that a creator deity has to exist. I acknowledge that given the gigantic size of the universe, it could be quite reasonable to expect that on at least one planet, all the conditions fall into place sufficiently enough for life to exist without any creator deity. However, as I assert the existence of a creator deity, I think that the more probable and plausible explanation for the existence of intelligent, sentient life on Earth despite the massive improbabilities against it is interaction by this deity rather than random chance set off by the deity's initial establishment of the prerequisites for the universe to come into existence.

So, in the creation of humans, I see interaction from a creator deity. However, we're still at the point of a "cosmic watchmaker", which I will again illustrate with an analogy. After the interactive process of baking a cake, you will leave it to cool for a while before eating. Has the creator deity made the universe (specifically humans), and now that it has made them, left them to "cool" without interaction? Has this deity interacted in human history? I suggest that it has, at points. I particularly see this manifested in the life of Jesus. Despite textual difficulties and the ravages of the passage of time, I accept enough of the accounts of his life to believe that he not only existed, but was a representative of the creator deity. In which case, I will now refer to the creator deity as God and as "he", simply as those are current norms of conversation (I find it ridiculous to refer to a deity obviously beyond gender as "he", but I feel such a reference is the most readily understood).

This is roughly where I am now. I assert the existence of God, and I see God interacting in history through the process of creation and Jesus. However, beyond these points, I come unstuck. Some other instances in history may also be categorisable as interventions and I will have to research and ponder some more, but generally, I perceive God as being rather absent. In this sense, I see him as the cosmic watchmaker who created the world and occasionally interacts with it, like a watchmaker makes a watch and, although he left it to run without his continual interference, will nonetheless occasionally interact to make repairs. Why do I think this? Because otherwise, if God were continually present, that would make him history's most evil, despicable monster. I cannot believe that God as preached by Jesus would possibly permit the horrors of the Holocaust. A God of goodness, love, and justice would not allow six million people to be slaughtered, as that is contrary to his nature; as he would have foreknowledge of the crime, plus as he would have witnessed the crime, he would be guilty as an accessory for not halting the crime, which is contrary to his nature as being good and just. My argument is essentially that a good and just God would never have permitted the Holocaust, the purges of the Khmer Rouge, the Srebrenica massacre, the Rwandan genocide, Ronald Reagan, the tyranny of Joseph Stalin's "five year plans" or Mao Tse-Tung's "great leap forward", et cetera, and thus, like a watchmaker, God must be absent at least some of the time. Alternatively, he is evil, or at least not good and just, but that is contrary to the testimony of his representative, Jesus Christ, and I accept that testimony.

Wow, I didn't realise I had written so much. More tomorrow.
Tags: belief, christianity, creation, god, religion, theology
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