Deconstructing the God of the gaps

When Steven Hawking wrote, “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing.” (“The Grand Design“), he was concluding that God did not create the universe and the “Big Bang” was an inevitable consequence of the laws of physics. Ironically, he was arguing against a pagan “god of the gaps,” not the God of the Bible. 

What’s also ironic about his statement is that when Sir Isaac Newton first discovered the law of gravity, he didn’t say, “We understand gravity now, we don’t need God.” He attributed his discovery to a creator who designed gravity to work that way:

“Gravity may put the planets into motion, but without the divine Power, it could never put them into such a circulating motion as they have about the Sun; and therefore, for this as well as other reasons, I am compelled to ascribe the frame of this System to an intelligent Agent.”

What Newton understood seems to be lost on modern atheists, as the great philosopher, Ludwig Wittgenstein succinctly put it:

The great delusion of modernity is that the laws of nature explain the universe for us. The laws of nature describe the regularities. But they explain nothing.”

For instance, while Newton’s law of gravity can successfully send a rocket to the moon and back, it cannot tell us what gravity actually is.

This “science supplants God” argument seems to be the mindset of many atheists. Whatever we can explain with science eliminates the need for God. But it’s a false dichotomy that only refutes gods of Greek mythology and other pagan deities. These ancient cultures didn’t have modern science to explain phenomenon like thunder or tsunamis, so they created gods, like Zeus and Neptune, to explain what they didn’t understand. These are the “gods” that science displaces, but it has nothing to do with the theist’s argument for a creator.

Here’s an analogy to explain what I mean. In my younger engineering days when I was working for a computer company in Chicago, my job was to reverse-engineer midrange computer systems (this was before pc’s took over the corporate world) so that we could fix these multi-million dollar systems more cheaply than buying very expensive circuit boards from the manufacturer. I eventually learned all there was to know about these system’s hardware, how they worked, how to fix them, and I created standard operating procedures for our techs to follow. All mysteries had been solved. But not for one minute did I ever think that because I now fully understood these massive computer systems that they weren’t designed by companies like Wang, Xerox, and IBM. My point is, even if we eventually know all there is to know about the natural world, it does not displace God as creator and sustainer of all things.

And it doesn’t really matter if the biological process is blind, as John Lennox said to Richard Dawkins in a debate at Oxford, referring to Dawkins’s “blind watchmaker” analogy:

“Just because we can show that something is blind, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t designed. My watch is blind but it was designed. You don’t argue away an agent by showing that there is a mechanism. God is not the mechanism, He is the agent behind the mechanism. God and science are not alternative explanations.” (You can see the debate here).

As Lennox also said at a recent discussion that actually took place near me (UW-Madison) with atheist professor of philosophy, Larry Shapiro (Veritas Forum: “Is There Truth Beyond Science?“):

“Genesis doesn’t begin by saying that God created the “bits” we don’t understand. He created the whole show, the bits we don’t understand as well as the ones we do understand.”

The whole discussion is good, but you can watch the part where Lennox talks about the “God of the gaps” fallacy in the clip below:

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About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 37 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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275 Responses to Deconstructing the God of the gaps

  1. john zande says:

    “Just because we can show that something is blind, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t designed.”

    To use your analogy, a computer was constructed according to a plan, with a goal in mind.

    Can you demonstrate that evolution is goal-orientated, adaptively directed?

    • Mel Wild says:

      It doesn’t matter. My point is that having all knowledge of how something works, goal-oriented or not, doesn’t negate a designer. And to Lennox’s point, whether it’s blind or not has nothing to do with the question of design. Besides, a central tenet of evolution is natural selection, which is goal-oriented. It’s goal is to propagate the most successful genes, right?

      • john zande says:

        It doesn’t matter.

        Yes, it does matter.

      • tildeb says:

        When the mechanism itself accounts for the design aspect, then it does matter, Mel. All you’re doing is placing an agency of Oogity Boogity! to ’cause’ the’design’ through the mechanism and then claim intention or goal or purpose. That’s making shit up. And it’s making shit up because the point you keep missing is that the mechanism ITSELF is accounted for by the properties of matter.

        Bummer.

        So you then claim the same agency of Oogity Boogity! you want to assign as a ‘designer’ is now the cause of the properties from which the mechanisms arise. You are exercising the god-of-the-gaps argument by constantly shifting your god further and further and further away from the ‘design’ you claim with ZERO evidence that any such ‘design’ is linked or connected in any way to some effect caused by Oogity Boogity!.

        So then you turn this slam dunk argument against design around, and whine “You can’t DISprove my Oogity Boogity! Therefore, you stupidly keep claiming it’s the BEST explanation for the cause of properties.

        Listen to yourself: Oogity Boogity! is the BEST explanation you keep insisting , and from this ‘discovery’ we can then ‘answer’ all of our ‘why’ questions! No, seriously. This si what you’re saying! You’re arguing that every last ‘why’ question can be answered with Oogity Boogity! and that we can know stuff about Oogity Boogity!

        Good grief. The stupid, it burns.

        No, Mel.

        Let me help you here. Hawking explains what you and your apologetic ilk can’t, won’t or refuse to grasp: it’s gravity that establishes these properties. There’s your best explanation to date, and there’s still a ways to go in physics before gravity itself is explained.

        Now surprise me and don’t resume your god-of-the-gaps argument by claiming Oogity Boogity! is now responsible for gravity. Your Karen Armstrong-ian apologetics – you know, god is the god behind the god, you see – is so far removed from rationality and logic and knowledge that it becomes a just another example of Poe’s Law in action.

        • Mel Wild says:

          When the mechanism itself accounts for the design aspect, then it does matter, Mel.

          So, tell me, Tildeb, where did the mechanism itself come from? In this example, why does gravity exist at all? And how does the mechanism accounting for the design negate an intelligent agency? You are still looking at the process and missing the point. You have not said anything about God.

          You remind me of the joke about the scientist who told God, we don’t need you anymore, we can create life from dust without you. To which, God replied, okay, but use your own dust.

          No, there’s nothing surprising about your typical anti-theist apologetics.

        • john zande says:

          So, tell me, Tildeb, where did the mechanism itself come from?

          Behold, God-of-the-Gaps.

          Textbook example, Mel. Thank you.

          Why does hydrogen freely react with carbon dioxide, creating organic molecules such as methane, formate and acetate that can be further catalysed by iron-sulphur?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Behold, God-of-the-Gaps.

          Thanks for another example of totally missing the point, John. God of the gaps is talking about explaining gaps in understanding NATURAL phenomenon and MECHANISMS in nature. That has nothing whatsoever to do with our position on God. God is not a mechanism! Why don’t you get this? I am not asking you to show me a gap in the natural process; I’m asking you why nature exists in the first place. The fact that you don’t know the difference is pretty astounding.

          Let me put it this way. Even if you construe that I’m positing a supernatural “god of the gaps,” the point is still valid. Science will never be able to displace God. It cannot because it is, and always will be, limited to nature. This is nothing against science. Science is perfect for exploring natural phenomenon. I’m all for that. But when it becomes a metaphysical worldview, it fails.

          Why does hydrogen freely react with carbon dioxide, creating organic molecules such as methane, formate and acetate that can be further catalysed by iron-Sulphur?

          And this is a perfect example of why the point of this post is lost on you, John. Again, I would ask, why does hydrogen exist in the first place? You can bring up any question about process you want, the answer is still the same. You are not addressing our position on God. And you cannot do so with science.

        • john zande says:

          Again, I would ask, why does hydrogen exist in the first place?

          And another textbook God-of-the-Gaps!

          You’re on a role, Mel.

        • Hello Mel,

          It doesn’t seem to me you’re fully inferring what John Z is purposing or challenging. Perhaps one introductory investigation & examination (ironically Wikipedia) with fair sufficient comparing & constrasting teleological arguments for or against a Designer/Creator(s) can be clarified and better understood here (I presume you know all of your teleological arguments for a Designer/Creator(s) so these are the rebuttals):

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teleological_argument#Does_not_prove_the_existence_of_God

          Also, it really balances fairly these arguments & debates when proponents of Design-Creator(s) genuinely study and understand Emergent Systems in biological, neural and social sciences. Please, PLEASE closely examine these systems because when Christians try to utilize the teleological arguments for their God, it only gets you as far as a Creator. It does not support the existence of Yahweh any better than it supports a million other possible Creators. And given how much bad design there is in the world — e.g. Kakapos, Turkeys, Cane toads, and Pandas to name just four out of hundreds/thousands, not to mention thousands/millions of extinct animals and organisms! — I think it’s more likely to have been designed by a confused committee of gods than a single, all-knowing, all-powerful, all-good God/Yahweh. Our world looks like the work of Congress or Keystone Cops, especially when you also factor in Guevedoces, or 5-alpha Reductase definciency found in several nations around the world!

          Thanks Mel and kind regards to you.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Hi Professor Taboo. The only point I’m making in this post is that science cannot displace “God” by explaining anything in nature because God is not in nature. It’s a category mistake. The erroneous “God of the gaps” is some explanatory “X” that holds a space until science comes up with a better explanation. But this is not what Newton understood about God at all. He saw God IN the scientific explanation. The theist says we need God because without Him nothing would exist. We would have no gravity, no universe, no evolution. So it’s irrelevant to us how well we can explain the natural process. When we say God created ex nillo we mean that without Him there would be no universe to begin with.

          And, btw, it doesn’t matter if the universe is eternal or it had a beginning. Thomas Aquinas argued for a creator ex nillo back in the thirteenth century, during the time when the dominant cosmology was Aristotle’s eternal universe. Aquinas argued that even if it’s eternal it doesn’t mean it’s self-existent. It’s not self-explanatory. It doesn’t answer why it exists. Science cannot answer these questions.

        • john zande says:

          Thomas Aquinas argued for a creator ex nillo back in the thirteenth century

          Aquinas argued bonum diffusivum sui, ‘goodness spilled out.’

          This suggestion (that creation was some sort of an inevitable accident) is, however, fatally flawed; a victim of Christianity’s own laboured definition of the nature of their god, Yhwh. According to the Christian philosopher, Yhwh is an aseitic being, meaning fully contained and existing in and of itself. Nothing is, or can be, outside God. God is all, and all is God. Pantheism and aseity are inseparable, and because they are inseparable, there can be no spill-over. An aseitic being has neither the capacity to grow, nor the means to leak and spread out into something new, for that would contradict the very definition of aseity.

          Self-evidently, the Dominican friar was wrong. Creation could not have been an accident. Something wholly unique—something artificial—was created.

          A “constructed” world is a false world. It is an unnatural, synthetic contrivance; a petri dish quarantined from the actual world (all that which is the aseitic Creator), and we know this because this world is sealed between the three things an aseitic being could never directly experience, but could impose on an artificial scape: a beginning, a middle, and an end, and for the theist this inevitably means we’re 1) outside the (eternal) Creator, and 2) inside an artificial scape; a world which did not have to be created, but was, and that leaves the greatest religious question still unanswered… Why?

          An aseitic being, after all, wants for nothing, and needs for nothing. So… Why did the Creator create? For what purpose was this artificial world intended?

        • Mel Wild says:

          John, it doesn’t matter if Aquinas’s answer for how the creator does it is faulty. My point is that you have to answer the question, why is there something instead of nothing. And even having an eternal universe doesn’t make it self-explanatory. You can argue all you want that the theist is wrong about their particular inference, and give endless examples of minutia about the natural process, but you’re still left with having to have an explanation. And science explains nothing here. As long as you’re talking about “something” (gravity, inflation, etc.), you’re still not addressing the question. Asking “why a creator creates” is a different question. The question here is, how did something come from absolutely nothing.

          Btw, I will be gone most of the day so I won’t see your comments, probably until tonight or tomorrow.

        • john zande says:

          why is there something instead of nothing

          This is not the subject of this post.

          And science explains nothing here

          OK, so… Why did the Creator create?

          For what purpose was this artificial world intended?

          If you can’t answer these two questions Mel, your entire position is reduced to utter nonsense.

          Can you answer these two questions without any further evasion and diversion?

          how did something come from absolutely nothing

          In another post, you’ve already admitted, Mel, that there was never “nothing.”

        • tildeb says:

          (John Z), you’re still not addressing the question. Asking “why a creator creates” is a different question. The question here is, how did something come from absolutely nothing.

          Oogity Boogity! does answer the question, JZ. It answers all questions about absolutely everything… for those who are perfectly fine with pretending this non-answer ‘answer’s anything about anything, including ‘why’ questions. Go ahead. Try it. Any question at all. See? One size fits all.

        • john zande says:

          Well, I am hoping Mel does address the question/s… Properly, which he hasn’t. Yet.

          What is critical here is understanding that an aseitic being did not have to create anything, but, according to the Christian, did create something; something artificial.

          WHY?

          Why, when there was no apparent reason or need to?

          Now, Mel has repeatedly acknowledged that this world is a synthetic construct. He seems to grasp the point that this world is not “natural,” and for the theist who believes this, it is singularly the most important question standing before them… WHY?

          Why did an aseitic being create an artificial world when it didn’t have to?

          What was its motivation?

          What is the purpose of this artificial construct?

          If I were a theist, believing as someone like Mel believes, then this UNANSWERED question would haunt my every waking moment. It would drive me categorically nuts not knowing, and I would not be able to rest until I had an answer.

        • The only point I’m making in this post is that science cannot displace “God” by explaining anything in nature because God is not in nature.

          I disagree and therefor disagree with this post’s point. And what John, myself, and thousands/millions other Secularists are proposing — IF I may speak on their behalf? LOL — is that assuming a Designer/Creator of Nature, Animals, Earth, and humans as his (perfect? flawed? depraved?) the overwhelming empirical data/evidence strongly suggests (proves?) that the Designer/Creator did a horrible job with horrible foresight and forethought… whether he/it/she are “in nature” or not. The final product today, including what science now knows over all of history, exhibits a terrible creation by a Designer.

        • john zande says:

          It does not support the existence of Yahweh any better than it supports a million other possible Creators

          I’d disagree with you here, Professor. While you’re correct in saying design inference could lead to anything from wise aliens, an ancestor simulation, or a supernatural being of any flavour, Yhwh has a quite specific character which we can compare to (and contrast with) 13.8 billion years of cosmic evolutionary history. Ignoring the attached cosmogony (which disproves that particular god immediately), we’re told Yhwh is good, merciful, wise, righteousness, loving, kind, just, and compassionate. All good traits, but are they borne out when superimposed over history?

          Many moons ago, Mel and I started on this conversation, but he refused to be drawn on the actual details. That post was about “design,” but Mel didn’t want to talk about THE design. Principally, though, I pointed him to Paley’s observation:

          “Contrivance proves design, and the predominant tendency of the contrivance indicates the disposition of the designer.”

          I asked Mel: What is the predominant tendency of the contrivance? What does 13.8 billion years reveal?

          He refused to answer this. Flatly refused, even though the question comes from a celebrated Christian apologist, one of the greatest natural theologians to have lived. And I can understand why he refused. The predominant tendency of the contrivance does not speak to goodness, mercy, kindness, or even competence. The predominant tendency of the contrivance points to (if one is determined to posit a “designer”) something that exhibits traits which can only be described as the complete opposite of those traits ascribed to Yhwh.

          That, unfortunately, was a conversation Mel did not want to have, and started presenting excuse after excuse after excuse for why he would not be drawn on the matter.

        • Yes, apologies John. I was being too hasty — busy, busy day for me yesterday & again today — when I wrote that comment and then did not thoroughly go back and recheck my intended content/structure. You correctly carried my hasty initial sentence further regarding the Hebrew god’s character traits as narrated in the Tanakh. History paints a very different picture/character. Sorry. 😉

          For the sake of argument I should’ve clarified that presumed “Design” in the world demonstrates nothing about the Hebrew god, divine revelations, incarnations, sin(?), paranormal activity called miracles, the benefit or uselessness of prayers, much less all the bad designs found everywhere, which I immediately jumped to up above — AND of course as you are pointing out John: the handywork showing the Designer’s dispostion with the plethora of BAD designs everywhere.

          Thank you for the further and correct clarification.

        • john zande says:

          No need to apologise.

          If the apologist for a “creator” wishes to posit some disinterested, aloof, careless deistic notion, then your point is perfectly accurate.

    • John Branyan says:

      Oooo! Oooo! I can answer this! Then, you can jump to a totally unrelated new question, Windbag!

      Natural selection demonstrates that evolution is goal-oriented! Selection is not ‘random’ but determined by survivability. The goal is for the fittest to survive and reproduce.

      The question that you should answer (but won’t) is how the fittest is determined in the absence of intelligence.

  2. tildeb says:

    No, what Newton ‘understood’ is not lost on atheists; we understand perfectly well that into his gap of knowledge about the cause of starting the circular orbits of planets around our sun he placed a divine causal agent. That is exactly how the god-of-the-gaps argument is defined inserting a god where knowledge is lacking.

    Duh.

    What Hawking points out is that gravity alone – fully a property of matter – causes even the start of this motion. Again, there is no need to posit a ‘designer’ any more than you have to ‘design’ how your body metabolizes food; these processes are a property of your biology – local units obeying local rules fully caused by chemical and physical properties. No Oogity Boogity! is required. Inserting some divine causal agent, some agent of Oogity Boogity! whether by a smart guy like Newton or an idiot like a religious apologist, answers absolutely nothing about anything but gives the appearance of knowing something that apologists clearly do not know. It’s just making shit up and inserting it in a religious guise as if that makes it somehow more reasonable.

    • john zande says:

      Nature doesn’t obey laws – it exhibits them.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Right on cue, Tildeb, giving us a perfect case in point. This is most definitely lost on you. You totally missed the point. It has nothing whatsoever to do with Newton’s “gap of knowledge.” You can start anywhere in the process, know all things about it, and it still doesn’t displace God. All Hawking is doing is going further back into the mystery of gravity than Newton could go. Let’s say they finally figure gravity out completely. There’s no mystery whatsoever about it anymore. It STILL doesn’t touch the subject of God. It’s still describing a natural process, a mechanism. And the theist’s argument is that God, by definition, is not a mechanism.

      You have proven by your comments that you also argue against a god of the gaps, not the God of the Bible. You are arguing against some created god in the natural world, like in Greek mythology. You think that just because we can explain something, we’ve dispatched God. But that’s not even relevant to the theist’s argument. I don’t think the religious apologists are the idiots here.

      Tell me, Tildeb, since you’re vastly superior to us dumb theists, where did gravity come from? What causes gravity? Why does gravity exist at all? We’re not just making stuff up. We’re inferring to the best explanation something that science will never be able to answer. Because gravity is still “something,” which means Hawking’s statement is totally irrelevant to the need for a creator. It’s just intellectual hubris to the most foolish degree to say this proves we don’t need God. It proves nothing at all.

      You can’t see the forest for the trees here. But I guess we’re just stupid. Oh well…

    • That was an OUTSTANDING clarification tildeb. 👍

  3. Well said, Mel.

    Something I always find interesting about Steven Hawking, he spent the first half of his life proving one theory and the second half disproving it. That’s perfectly reasonable in the realm of theories, it just speaks to the fact that science is not written in stone, that it is not based on rigid ideas that one must “believe,” as if science were a matter of faith. These are crazy times we’re living in, we demand faith and belief for our science and hard core,cut and dry facts for our religious faith. We’ve gone and inverted the whole thing.

    • Mel Wild says:

      That’s true, IB. It’s not a problem trying to falsify your own hypothesis, that’s good science. The problem comes when you say, that’s why we don’t need God. Since science cannot possibly answer that question, it takes blind faith to make such a conclusion. Yes, truly crazy times we are living in!

  4. Is there any particular reason why science affects the Greek understanding of deities and not the Christian description? Just as there are natural explanations which rule out Greek theological explanations of reality, there are natural explanations which rule out biblical descriptions of reality. For example, to use your example of gravity, we know that day and night couldn’t have been created before the sun because day and night are functions of the Earth’s rotation around the sun. Despite this, Genesis has an account detailing otherwise.

    In other words, I’m asking if there’s any reason one should forgive biblical assertions over any other theological assertions (I’m mentioning Greek because that was mentioned above). Thanks for any response you have on the matter!

    • Mel Wild says:

      Is there any particular reason why science affects the Greek understanding of deities and not the Christian description? Just as there are natural explanations which rule out Greek theological explanations of reality,

      Thanks for your questions. I would think the difference would be obvious from the post. The Greek notion of natural phenomenon they didn’t understand was that there was some god who did it. This is classic “god of the gaps.” These gods existed in nature. That is not the theist’s argument for God at all. Whether something can be explained by nature or not has nothing to do whether God exists or not. He is not a mechanism in nature so you can’t displace Him by discovering a process in nature. So, no matter where you look in nature you’re not going to prove or disprove that God exists.

      For example, to use your example of gravity, we know that day and night couldn’t have been created before the sun because day and night are functions of the Earth’s rotation around the sun. Despite this, Genesis has an account detailing otherwise.
      In other words, I’m asking if there’s any reason one should forgive biblical assertions over any other theological assertions.

      That would be true if the Genesis account was to be taken with wooden literalism. Obviously, it cannot be taken that way for the reasons you mentioned. Church leaders understood this as far back as the second Century with Origen and later with Augustine. Genesis one cannot be giving us a literal chronological account. It goes much deeper than this superficial reading, written in beautiful parallelism to counter the creation myths of the surrounding ancient cultures that worshiped the sun and the moon.

      Tremper Longman has a good explanation for how to understand Genesis here:

      • Thanks for the reply, Mel!

        Your position that Genesis (and perhaps other biblical assertions which might conflict with natural explanations) isn’t to be taken with wooden literalism seems to have a couple other implications. First, if at least one part of Genesis isn’t to be taken literally, how does one know which other parts – if any – ought to be taken literally? What comes to mind is the establishment of sin which later plays an important part in Jesus’s death and resurrection. It strikes me that without a literal interpretation here, it might diminish or otherwise alter the concept of salvation. If that’s the case, how is one supposed to figure out which stuff is literal and which stuff isn’t?

        Second, why can’t anyone make the same allowances for other faith traditions? Instead of reading Greek myths as literal tales, one could see them as a literary feature describing the arbitrariness of life in that time. This could certainly give enough leeway for people to believe in Greek deities again. Is that an undesirable outcome? Would there be any reason to suppose a more figurative Greek belief system is better or worse than a figurative Christian belief system?

        • Mel Wild says:

          First, if at least one part of Genesis isn’t to be taken literally, how does one know which other parts – if any – ought to be taken literally?

          On all points, we cannot just read the Bible as a textbook, it must be interpreted. We understand how to read Scripture by finding the interpretation that provides explanatory scope and power, taking all texts into account. If a literal interpretation makes other points on the same subject, we know we cannot take it literally. We must also recognize literary devices like anthropomorphisms, anthropopathisms, parallelisms, and hyperbole, which was common in ancient literature. We must interpret the culture it was written to as well as the text and not smuggle our modern understanding into the text. Otherwise, we may be saving the appearance of the text but are misinterpreting what it’s actually saying to us. Genesis one is easy because it interprets itself. It is clearly not talking about successive literal days by the way it’s structured. Culturally, we can proffer that it was probably a polemic against the Sumerian, Babylonian, and Egyptian creator gods. As Longman said, the argument is not against Darwin, but against there being other gods besides Yhwh.

          My point is not whether it’s valid to infer Greek gods, but that their mythology promoted them as the mechanisms for natural phenomenon. That is not the theist’s argument. God is not the mechanism. Nature is the mechanism. Whatever we discover about nature does not saying anything about whether God exists or not. Conversely, the Greek gods are the “gods of the gap,” not the theist’s God. They disappear when we discover the process behind natural phenomenon. That has nothing to do with our view of God.

        • I should probably clarify that my point also is not to validate belief in Greek deities. Rather, I’m getting at this notion of how you’ve gone from supposing there’s a creator deity to specifically that it must be the deity described in biblical texts (in the original post). From what I’m gathering, an argument could be made for any deity as a creator deity so long as one makes the same allowances for its religious assertions as Christians make for theirs. It doesn’t have to exclusively be a Christian creator deity; your position would also work for Hinduism or even people resurrecting Norse and Egyptian religions.

        • Mel Wild says:

          You make a valid point. But then this would be a question of comparing various theistic positions, which is not the point of this post. My point is that discoveries about nature do not displace God in the least bit.

        • EXACTLY SB! The teleological argument for Yahweh, is false or horribly incomplete. It only gets one (badly) to any number of possible creators.

        • Just my brief two-cents here Sirius Bizinus, if I may… 🙂

          Earliest organized (The Way) Christianity from Judeo-Christianity was increasingly becoming a cocktail of Greco-Roman Mithraism, to Judeo-Christian (which were essentially exterminated by 73 CE), then allowing full-blown Constantinian Roman Catholicism versus “heretical” Gnosticism via Paulinian theology, and the rest is history as they say. Everything by 400 CE and after is a convoluted fog — most modern Xians have no clue about — of Nasorean-Essean-Mandaeism practices and theology from the 1st century BCE – 1st centure CE Levant.

          It is SO GOOD you keep mentioning “Greek” because their cultural beliefs/mythology greatly influenced modern Abrahamic religions. Great stuff SB! 😉

    • Good day Sirius Bizinus. With respect to the records of day and night coming up before the creation of the sun as recorded in Genesis 1, it is easy to see that God was working in supernatural creative abilities throughout the six recorded days of creation.

      If you are not bothered about God calling light into existence, then you should not be bothered about God making day and night time distinct without attributing them to external light sources (the sun and the moon…I know why I have included the moon here).

      We will only be trying to set a limit to the omnipotent God by believing that the only way day and night could exist is when there is a sun out there.

      The six days days of creation where full of supernatural activities. Anything could have happened as much as Genesis records.

  5. Nan says:

    These ancient cultures didn’t have modern science to explain phenomenon like thunder or tsunamis, so they created gods, like Zeus and Neptune, to explain what they didn’t understand.

    And modern cultures concocted a “Creator God” to explain the same things.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Nan, that would be a somewhat derogatory mischaracterization of the theist’s position. We are not “concocting” anything in the way you mean, we are making an inference to the best explanation, which is the only way you can talk about something outside of nature. And not making any inference at all doesn’t make the problem go away. You are still left with no answer for how nature came into existence in the first place.

      As Wittgenstein said, we may be successfully describing regularities in nature, but we not explaining anything.

      • tildeb says:

        Wittgenstein also said that “What we can say at all can be said clearly. Anything beyond that—religion, ethics, aesthetics, the mystical—cannot be discussed. They are not in themselves nonsensical, but any statement about them must be.”

        And yet here you are…

      • Nan says:

        No, it’s not derogatory. It’s truth. Perhaps you don’t like the word “concoct” (even though it’s defined as “devised or invent”) so I’ll substitute your word, “created.”

        And yes. You are correct about their being no (definitive) answer for how nature came into existence. But to credit it to a supernatural entity is a choice you have made. There is no evidence of such a being except what you yourself (and others who have chosen to believe) have given it.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Of course, the inference is no evidence. I’ve never said this proves God’s existence. But we make our inference on the evidence of that we exist in the first place. And as Romans 1 says, creation itself shows the attributes of an invisible creator. And, unless the atheist has a better explanation, they are in no position to mock our beliefs. They are still left without an answer to the most important question of all. Why we exist. And if we’re waiting for science to answer that question, we’ll be waiting forever.

      • Nan says:

        I guess my question is … why does it matter why we exist? For me, it’s simply not an important question. I really don’t care why I’m here — but since I am, I intend to enjoy each and every moment of my existence.

        I realize some people need more than that … and even more importantly, they need, as Tillich pointed out, something to overcome their existential angst, i.e., their fear of death. For many, a supernatural entity spoken of in a centuries old book does the trick.

        What’s important, in all this, at least in my opinion, is we respect each other’s perspective on life since none of us has the final answer.

        • Mel Wild says:

          The simple answer would be because to believe that there is no purpose to our meaningless existence and there is nothing beyond death is not a satisfying answer to most (non-scientific) people. And it doesn’t resolve the problem of injustice and evil. You just have a bad meaningless life and die.

          I do agree that we have to respect our differences. To me, it takes just as much faith to not believe in a creator as it does to believe in once since, as you correctly pointed out, neither can prove their conclusion. I just personally like my explanation better. 🙂

        • Nan says:

          I had to leave for awhile and am just now getting back on my computer, so …

          Much of what you wrote is expected; however, I really did not like your comment that “you just have a bad meaningless life and die.” My life is most certainly not bad or meaningless! This, to me, was a comment unworthy of you, Mel.

          And your statement that it takes “just as much faith to not believe in a creator as it does to believe in one” is an opinion statement … which you are entitled to, but it would be more worthy of you to preface it with “in my opinion” or “it’s my belief” when communicating with non-believers.

          I’ve tried to be appreciative/respectful of your position and your beliefs, Mel. I would hope you would do the same for me.

        • Mel Wild says:

          I really did not like your comment that “you just have a bad meaningless life and die. My life is most certainly not bad or meaningless! This, to me, was a comment unworthy of you, Mel.

          Nan, sorry about not making this clearer. Sometimes I don’t nuance my statements in the comments. I wasn’t pointing that statement at you in particular. If you have a wonderful meaningful, life, that’s great. Many in the West would agree. Our first world problems are miniscule in the scheme of things. And I could argue that this is at least partially because of basic Christian values embedded in the culture (you’re free disagree). Of course, this is my opinion. But most people in the world don’t have such a great life. This life is actually full of injustice, sorrows, and death. My point is that atheism does not resolve that injustice. “They” just suffer and die. Jesus said we would have trouble in this life and addressed the marginalized and told us to treat them as if we were doing it to Him. That can mitigate the human suffering, but I believe that, ultimately, all injustices will be made right.

          I’ve tried to be appreciative/respectful of your position and your beliefs, Mel. I would hope you would do the same for me.

          And I yours, Nan. I hope I cleared up what I meant. I don’t mean to offend and I try to remember to put “In my opinion” but just know that it’s always implied. 🙂

          Now, I have to leave. Have a great weekend.

        • tildeb says:

          “This life is actually full of injustice, sorrows, and death. My point is that atheism does not resolve that injustice. “They” just suffer and die. Jesus said we would have trouble in this life and addressed the marginalized and told us to treat them as if we were doing it to Him. That can mitigate the human suffering, but I believe that, ultimately, all injustices will be made right.”

          You imply the ideology YOU attach of not believing on gods or a god somehow impairs caring about those who suffer and die because it somehow needs belief in Oogity Boogity! to recognize any life to have value, that if one rejects Oogity Boogity!, one must also reject having good reasons to uphold this value, that by acting as if the person suffering or dying was Jesus can we help motivate the dullards who don’t grasp why compassion and aid should be offered. You’ve implied this over and over again. So this apologetic gem of a anti-atheist trope (which is why you keep using it) will be news those who populate a non-religious organization like Médecins Sans Frontières… you know, non believers actually doing what you think non believers have no good reasons to do without religious ‘explanations’ even in war zones because, you know, because individual lives cannot have any purpose or meaning unless this purpose or meaning is believed to be somehow derived from the great Dear Leader who instills it in us but who exists outside of time and space and the universe. Funny how well explained is this explanation is that explains exactly nothing about why we help others. Goddiditjustcause sure covers a lot of questions with such informative knowledge.

        • I’m totally there with you Nan! Taking FULL ownership for my own happiness, purpose, serving others for THEIR SAKE, choices, and outcomes — instead of passing it off or shirking my responsibilities onto a unproveable Proxy for MY actions and behavior… has been the most LIBERATING, life-changing, life-saving decision (in 1989) I have ever made in life for myself and all those I come in contact!!! I am the happiest I could ever be, come good AND bad and people constantly tell me it shows!!! I’m just “real” they say… human, an Earthling like all of us!!! HAH! 😁 ❤

        • Mel Wild says:

          @ Nan, Tildeb, Professor Taboo.
          You’re still not seeing my point about injustice. Yes, I have no doubt an atheist can have a happy full life…mostly in the affluent West. It’s very easy to be an atheist in relative comfort and freedom. We have the luxury of making our own decisions and arguing abstract ideas. But that’s not possible in many parts of the world where people live in constant fear, starvation, being tortured, sold into slavery, fleeing their homes from despots, living in horrible squalor beyond imagination. Not to mention, disease and other forms of chronic suffering. They will live their whole life without ever seeing freedom, happiness, or justice, having no chance for the life you enjoy, and then they just die. Many die before their lives even get started. In my opinion, this shines the light on an area where atheism fails. If this life is all there is, there’s no resolution, no justice, no freedom for literally millions of people, just live a horrible life that ends with death. This is one of the many reasons why a purely naturalistic answer will never be a satisfactory answer.

          Btw, I will be away from my computer most of the day.

        • Mel,

          I cannot speak for Nan or Tildeb regarding this/your grouping of us, but I must respectfully correct you and clarify why I do not belong in that group’s paradigm as YOU described it.

          Since I am a Freethinking Humanist (a member of Earth’s human family) and an adamant, living advocate of the Minimalist lifestyle, you are categorically and unequivocally wrong about these descriptions of me and my life:

          “It’s very easy to be an atheist in relative comfort and freedom. We have the luxury of making our own decisions and arguing abstract ideas.

          […] (Me: the following stuff is merely obvious that most everyone with technology already knows)

          In my opinion, this shines the light on an area where atheism fails. If this life is all there is, there’s no resolution, no justice, no freedom for literally millions of people, just live a horrible life that ends with death. This is one of the many reasons why a purely naturalistic answer will never be a satisfactory answer.”

          Perhaps you were speaking in EXTREME general terms (stereotyping), but if you’d like to truthfully know the REAL Professor Taboo, Mel, I courteously offer my About pages, in particular these two: 1) my Freethinking Humanist page, and 2) my Organizations page listing all charities and activism I have been part of and supporting almost 3-decades. I definitely take exception to the implications you assert about us ‘affluent Westerners.’ Having lived-in and travelled to 4 of the 6 inhabitable continents on the planet (via futebol/soccer), consumed myself in their cultures, traditions, and lives, I have deeply longed to go back. Two or three foreign countries I want to reside permanently for many reasons, one I’ll only briefly mention here, but my petitions — for religious asylum — to my state government have all fallen on deaf-ears and into “File 13.” Hence, in several ways right here in your country Mel, I DO NOT have the type of “freedom” you describe foreigners not having!

          I hope you’ll get to know people much better before stereotyping them as you’ve done me here.

          Thanks Mel.

        • Mel Wild says:

          I hope you’ll get to know people much better before stereotyping them as you’ve done me here.

          First, let me apologize if I offended you, Professor Taboo. I’m obviously not making my point clear here. I’ve already said this to Nan, but I’ll briefly reiterate my point here.

          I’m not making a character evaluation at all. I’m not even talking about justice in this life. I’m saying that there are people in the world who live marginalized, nightmarish lives who will die and never find justice if this life is all there is. However, if there is an afterlife, and there is a righteous judge, then they will find rectification for what they went through in this life. As I mentioned to Nan, this was how Jesus addressed it with his parables, like Lazarus and the Rich Man (Luke 16:19-31). It wasn’t in this life that Lazarus found justice for what was done to him. It was in the next. Whatever he was robbed of in this life he was given much more in the next. But if, on the other hand, there is no afterlife, then these people will find no justice at all. They will just be dead. Of course, this is not an argument to prove the afterlife, or anything else. We can’t do that. I’m only saying that this is a better answer to the problem and it can affect how we live this life. I hope that makes sense. 🙂 This is way off topic so I’ll leave it there.

        • I wasn’t offended Mel. I was giving you a more correct demarcation for myself because your comment was addressed specifically to me — and Nan and tildeb — implying and incorrectly grouping me inside your atheist definition, beliefs, lifestyle, etc, of which I do not belong at all. None of what you described applies to me — though it could somewhere else, maybe with others, but not to me.

          Regarding the rest of your response (2nd paragraph), I am thoroughly familiar with all that theology, exegesis, and ideology, but none of it applies to me and I’m quite sure it does not apply to millions of other humans, perhaps not even to 70% +/- of the entire human race since they are non-Christians. Then you also have a significant proportion of Christians who say other Christians are NOT real Christians; Closet-Christians? Many say their “faith” is a very personal intimate relationship that no one on this planet knows of such personal intimate details with their “God.” Who knows when so many Christians (other faiths too) know how to wear the righteous robes, talk the talk, yet privately are very much “of the world” and not bearing any true “fruit”… “disciples” of Christ-ley distinction as their New Testament commands (Matthew 7:21-24, John 17). To close our discussion here…

          The point is you wrongly stereotyped. In order to accurately and factually define an atheist or atheists, you must know them intimately… like you (should?) intimately know your fellow Believers and Flock guided by Scripture.

          Thanks Mel for a needed expanded discussion on this post’s topic.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Regarding the rest of your response (2nd paragraph), I am thoroughly familiar with all that theology, exegesis, and ideology, but none of it applies to me and I’m quite sure it does not apply to millions of other humans, perhaps not even to 70% +/- of the entire human race since they are non-Christians.

          Yes, but it does apply to most people in the world who do believe in an after-life, which was my point about resolving injustice. To just die is not a satisfactory answer for most people in the world.

          In fact, what’s interesting about that is that more people in the US believe in an after-life now than before, even though less believe in God or religion. So they might have a problem with their experience with religion or ideas about God, but it doesn’t follow that they don’t hope there’s more to life than this life.
          https://www.nbcnews.com/better/wellness/fewer-americans-believe-god-yet-they-still-believe-afterlife-n542966

        • “Yes, but it does apply to [SOME, not most] people in the world who do believe in an after-life, which was my point about resolving injustice. To just die is not a satisfactory answer for most people in the world.”

          Okay, but keep in mind Mel regarding justice/injustice, after-life/no after-life… that a “wish” is not a definitive answer for everyone when the specific details, framework, function, etc, of ANY after-life are still unknown or inconclusive at best at this point in time. The Judeo-Christian version of heaven, as the 4th-century CE canonical bible might narrate it and a millenia of fluctuating traditions and theology, is most definitively NOT the correct version. Over the last century/half-century many of the advanced and advancing medical sciences and Quantum Physics/Mechanics have amply shown any possible after-life is not as the Judeo-Christians believe.

          Personally, I’m wide-open to some sort of after-life based upon current metaphysics, medical sciences, and Quantum Physics/Mechanics. But if there is not, what tha hell can I do about it!? No pun intended. 😉 😛

          Enjoy your day Mel.

        • Mel Wild says:

          I would agree that we cannot know for certain. But I don’t think science can answer it one way or the other. We can only infer an explanation that seems satisfactory to us.
          Thanks for your respectful response. I wish you the best.

        • It’s perfectly fine that we agree to disagree on the blueprint or mechanics of a possible after-life. And I certainly give the Open Systems of Quantum Physics/Mechanics, medical sciences, and some Metaphysics a much better chance of answering the question of an after-life or not than the rigid Closed System of Christianity and Islam. The former is allowed to breath, grow, err, correct, and evolve. The latter does NOT enjoy the exact same freedom; that is why I like/love my Sciences. They offer much more hope, IMPO. 🙂

          Likewise, thank you Mel.

        • Mel Wild says:

          I would agree that a closed worldview is not as good as an open one. I do believe there is an ultimate, objective truth, but it’s hubris to think we understand it fully. That’s why I don’t like a rigid, closed-system religion either, and I do think science has an important part to play. I just believe science has inherent limits. But, regardless, we can all learn from one another and grow as human beings. Thanks again for the thoughtful conversation.

        • “I would agree that a closed worldview is not as good as an open one. I do believe there is an ultimate, objective truth, but it’s hubris to think we understand it fully.”

          I agree with you there, for the most part Mel. And this is clearly where Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Hindus reside: “Faith.” As a Freethinking Humanist who does indeed genuinely care about his Human Earthling Family, I would call that “embracing our humanity”… good and bad, genuis and atrocious, but diligently striving and collaborating for more peacefulness and contentment, LESS harm and hate!

          That’s why I don’t like a rigid, closed-system religion either, and I do think science has an important part to play. I just believe science has inherent limits.”

          But Christianity is unequivocally a Closed-System Mel, according to the 4th-century CE canonical bible and Church history. You cannot avoid it if you suscribe to Christendom, to its canonical bible, and long, long-standing traditions and theologies. You simply cannot. I hope you do realize that.

          Sciences absolutely have a HUGE part to play! Thank you. Primarily because they are Open-Systems. And yes, they will have their limits, sometimes not always, but Christianity will undoubtedly have a LOT MORE (ALWAYS?) because — again, according to their canonical Scriptures, Church traditions and theologies, Satan and his demons have been given way too much power and domain to “risk(?)” beguilement or forms/levels of beguilement that challenge a Believer’s (uncertain?) “faith.” Hence, out of FEAR it is a rigid Closed-System. I hope you see the differences.

          Thanks again Mel.

        • Mel Wild says:

          But Christianity is unequivocally a Closed-System Mel, according to the 4th-century CE canonical bible and Church history.

          I guess that depends on what you mean by closed systems, but I would disagree. I would say that history only shows us a trajectory of human understanding of Christian theology. In my view, there are closed versions of Christian theology and open ones. I prefer the latter. I would not define a Christian worldview by fourth century understanding of reality at all. While there are certain central tenets of the faith that remain, we have moved way beyond that understanding in Christian philosophy. For us, there is God and truth, and there is our inadequate but hopefully growing understanding of that truth. Honest theology adapts and grows much like honest science does. Contrary to anti-Christian stereotyping, our theology, in many ways, is not static. This is why it’s a myth that science threatens Christianity. It only threatens rigid Fundamentalist religion, which I don’t subscribe to. For instance, Christianity, like science, believed in Ptolemaic geocentricism for centuries. But both science and Christianity found that out to be wrong and both changed. I personally believe science and faith can be beneficial to each other as long as both stay open.

          While the Enlightenment view of Christianity, like that of Isaac Newton, indeed held to a closed mechanical universe, that view is largely not held by many theologians today. Our worldview would be closer to the quantum reality than that of a closed system.

          My point is, the only closed system of Christianity is a rigid Fundamentalist version that stays stuck in a particular interpretation and understanding of truth rather than continuing on the trajectory toward truth. And I don’t believe in fear-based religion, because my faith says “perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18).

        • Okay. I understand how you are using Scripture, Church tradition/history, theology, exegesis, etc, and I will ASSUME it’s from the 4th-century CE Canonical Bible. Question…

          How large or small a proportion of Christian Believers in the world do you think you belong to with your particular ‘Closed-System‘ of “continuing [a pseudo-Open System?] on the trajectory toward truth” of Christian faith? 0.5%, 2%, 5%, 10%, 20%? Any idea?

          I ask because there are seemingly ENDLESS variations and interpretations of Scripture — which theologians purport to narrate the nature of Yahweh — and many of those would assert that you are wrong Mel, that Christendom IS CLEARLY a Closed-System and proveable via Scripture. For example these denominations:

          • Reformed Baptist Churches
          • Presbyterian Churches (PCA, not so much PCUSA)
          • United Church of Christ
          • Dutch Reformed Church or Reformed Church in America
          • Protestant Reformed Churches in America

          To name just five denominations, NOT including certain “Non-denominational” churches scattered everywhere in the U.S. These are a very significant amount of “Faith-followers” in Christ and the 4th-century CE canonical bible.

        • Mel Wild says:

          I would first have to know exactly what you mean by my particular “closed system” in order to answer that question. I don’t want to assume something that you don’t mean.

          Btw, it’s interesting that you list mostly Calvinist-based denominations. Not sure why, but I am not Calvinist.

        • “Btw, it’s interesting that you list mostly Calvinist-based denominations. Not sure why, but I am not Calvinist.”

          Why? Because I knew, based on my experience and seminary graduate education, that YOU were likely not Fundamentalist, or Calvinist. You state you believe or have “faith” in a pseudo Open-System of Christendom, i.e. with no or very flexible Catechisms, which does not lend itself to the spirit of Canonical Scriptures, or “consensus Canonical Scriptures” and exegesis. A “continuing [pseudo-Open System?] on the trajectory toward [fluid?] truth.” And I suspect much more reliance on ‘the Holy Spirit’ — according to the individual’s intimate relationship with Yahweh — as opposed to the more tangible, testable, concrete exegesis of 4th-century CE canonical Scripture.

          In most all interpretations of “Yahweh’s revelations” and mission of reconciliation for the entire human race Mel, most (if not all) interpretations are either extrapolated thru the lens of the 4th-century CE canonical bible OR a combination of flowing, flexing fluidness via the Holy Spirit with only selective (cherry-picking?) canonical Scripture to aid in a more Open-System. I personally feel this posture lends itself more easily to a Fly-By-Night, fashionable theology and practices of current temporary pop trends. This seems (to me) in direct confict with the spirit of Isaiah 40:8 and the infallibility of Yahweh’s direct Word! It all begs the question, Which of Yahweh’s methods of revelation to humanity are more useful, more functional, more testable, more accurate? A person’s interpretation or extrapolation of a paranormal Holy Spirit (subjective!)… or a CANONICAL 4th-century CE collection of manuscripts (much less subjective)?

          The way I see it Mel, this should thoroughly explain WHY the Abrahamic Yahweh is either a confused/confusing, short-sighted numbskull deity or a figment of ancient man’s imaginations and dramatic storytelling traditions of dopomine. 😉

        • Mel Wild says:

          In most all interpretations of “Yahweh’s revelations” and mission of reconciliation for the entire human race Mel, most (if not all) interpretations are either extrapolated thru the lens of the 4th-century CE canonical bible OR a combination of flowing, flexing fluidness via the Holy Spirit with only selective (cherry-picking?) canonical Scripture to aid in a more Open-System.

          The problem is not with the Bible Canon, it’s with properly interpreting what’s going on in it. That’s what’s relatively open and why followers must practice humility and avoid dogmatism where there is honest disagreement. I say “relatively open” because this trajectory does not affect the central tenets of the faith that go back to the first century. And the Holy Spirit teaches us, but that’s not some feel-good, anything goes, cherry-picking. If you think that’s where I’m coming from then you are now stereotyping me and don’t know me at all.

          The Bible is not a science or history textbook. I’m sure you know the hermeneutics involved but that’s not enough either. For instance, if we read the Old Testament as if Jesus never happened, we will employ the wrong hermeneutic. And beyond that, this library of books is a spiritual in nature and must be spiritually discerned. This is why there’s room for honest disagreement on non-central things. But the central theme of Scripture in the light of Jesus Christ is very clear: other-centered, self-giving love.

          The way I see it Mel, this should thoroughly explain WHY the Abrahamic Yahweh is either a confused/confusing, short-sighted numbskull deity or a figment of ancient man’s imaginations and dramatic storytelling traditions of dopamine

          I don’t know that God at all, and it’s not the God I worship, so I wouldn’t be able to comment on that. You are free to disagree, of course. I’ve written a book and over a hundred posts here on my theology, which finds its foundation solidly in the early church fathers (but not most of Calvinism)so I won’t repeat it here. If you wish to read more I can direct you to some posts, but suffice to say if we’re not growing in our understanding of God, and growing in love for Him and our fellow man, we’re not really following Christ. For to follow Christ doesn’t make us more Fundamentalist, it makes us more fully human and gracious. That’s my take on it after over 40 years of study and coming to know God intimately.

          Professor, I’ve read some of your blog as you suggested. I really think if we sat down for coffee and talked about how we see the world, and how we are to treat one another, I actually think we would agree on a lot of things, although I’m sure we would disagree on Christianity. Maybe after several times, you would understand my view of Christianity better and find some agreement. But if not, that’s fine. Again, I do wish you well.

        • “The problem is not with the Bible Canon, it’s with properly interpreting what’s going on in it.”

          […]

          “If you think that’s where I’m coming from then you are now stereotyping me and don’t know me at all.”

          I strongly disagree; the process of Canonization was/is flawed when one trys to frame it or anachronize it with a neuvo, fluid, pseudo-Open System of Holy Spirit exegesis/hermaneutics. If your exegesis/hermaneutics is now correct Mel, then WHY was Canonization necessary and WHY is there not just ONE CHURCH, with ONE NAME, ONE THEOLOGY and they are called “The Way” Followers. Done. End of discussion and confusion to the non-Christian world; UNANIMOUS (love-) UNITY PREVAILS!?

          “…it’s with properly interpreting” — see, THERE’S the endless problem of almost 2-millenia! With due respect of course, please tell me WHO today set(s) that “proper” bar, the “proper” standard for “properly interpreting”? Is it the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel (Pentecostals) and Aimee Semple McPherson? Or was it/is it the 24-26 early “Church Fathers” who bickered and debated about the nature of Jesus, Yahweh, and a Holy Spirit for AT LEAST 400-years!? What I see as centuries and millenia of subjective conjecturing ontology, you see as avoiding risky dogmaticism and fluid ontology/theology unconcerned with why canonization even took place. I find that puzzling and honestly a bit paradoxical.

          And as a lesser significant sidenote (or is it?) — and for those reading who are unaware of earliest church history formulated during the harsh, oppressive Roman Empire and its Legions — your library of Jesus’ ‘gospels‘ are incomplete, amputated. Or in other words, the FULL nature of Yeshua/Jesus and his 33-year life is NOT settled (or closed, system) even today. This is evidenced by the constant fragmentation of his Open-minded(?) Church and Yahweh’s short-sightedness for 2-millenia. To me that is a catastrophic fact undermining the veracity of “Scripture,” human exegesis/hermaneutics, and an extremely elusive, highly subjective “Holy Spirit” that may or may not exist. 😵

          “I actually think we would agree on a lot of things, although I’m sure we would disagree on Christianity. Maybe after several times, you would understand my view of Christianity better and find some agreement. But if not, that’s fine.”

          Agreed. After all, you and I are part of the same human family: Homo sapiens. Perhaps I would understand YOUR Christendom if I don’t already understand the core principles. My Mom was a Pentecostal and of course as I’ve already stated, I also came out of Reformed Theological Seminary and 10-yrs highly active ministries around the world. Btw, if you belong to a group, church, and/or denomination, “stereotyping” or designating attributes is easier and more accurate (with degrees of error) than say being a political Independent, harder to nail down, stereotyping LESS accurate. But your final paragraph deserves mentioning an observation…

          It is very peculiar Mel that you did not mention or include that YOU would (at least try to?) understand MY world-view and happy lifestyle on something like equal terms. For me, earnestly learning about someone is always a kinetic two-way exchange, yes?

          Well wishes for you too.

        • Mel Wild says:

          I strongly disagree; the process of Canonization was/is flawed when one trys to frame it or anachronize it with a neuvo, fluid, pseudo-Open System of Holy Spirit exegesis/hermaneutics. If your exegesis/hermaneutics is now correct Mel, then WHY was Canonization necessary and WHY is there not just ONE CHURCH, with ONE NAME, ONE THEOLOGY and they are called “The Way” Followers.

          That is not what I mean. Let me try to clarify. The Canonization of Scripture and having a perfect understanding of it are two very different things. The Canonization only determined which letters/books to include in Scripture; it doesn’t mean we have perfect theological understanding of the contents of those letters/books. The very reason we have so many different ways of looking at particular parts of what it says is because we only see in part. Whenever human beings are involved any process will have flaws. Again, reason for humility and staying open.

          Unfortunately, we cannot apply the scientific method to understanding Scripture. In that way, it’s not as open-ended. It would be much easier if we could, but we are not just dealing with natural processes (or mathematics). It’s not a text book or even normal literature. Much of it is metaphysical, psychological, and philosophical. Ultimately, its spiritual and living, reading our hearts and intentions. In that way, it’s timeless. It’s inspiration is in how it reflects man’s experience with God throughout ancient history (not necessarily always expressing how God actually is), which gives us glimpses of what God is actually like (through Jesus). Its narrative is anthropocentric. Some of it is political, some is a polemic against the surrounding creation myths and worship. We can’t just pluck those narratives out of their historical and cultural context. Again, as Paul said, we only see in part. This is why we can’t be too rigid or dogmatic (which is the error of extreme fundamentalism). We have to interpret the culture it was written to as well as the original language and the literary genre, coming up with an explanation that provides explanatory scope. And there are no disinterested observers in this process. We don’t read the Bible in a vacuum, we read it through our a priori biases, paradigms, cultural perspectives, etc. It’s in this way that the Bible is fluid…to us. It doesn’t change objective truth, it just changes our subjective understanding of it. So, while the canon is fixed, our understanding of its contents are certainly not. At least, not entirely. There is room for debate and growth. I hope that makes sense.

          It is very peculiar Mel that you did not mention or include that YOU would (at least try to?) understand MY world-view and happy lifestyle on something like equal terms. For me, earnestly learning about someone is always a kinetic two-way exchange, yes?

          I certainly agree with you. The peculiarity of my comments only demonstrate the inadequacy of trying to communicate relationally on a blog. We often make short statements that lack proper nuancing. This is where sitting down face-to-face is much better for the two-way exchange you’re talking about.

        • 👍

          Have a marvelous, safe and happy holiday season Mel. 🎊🎉

        • Nan says:

          You said, To just die is not a satisfactory answer for most people in the world. And guess what! Someone named Tillich agrees with you. He noted that humans need something to overcome their “existential angst,” i.e., their fear of death. We tend to want something “out there” to save us, to help us overcome the dread of our demise.

          And as you’ve pointed out many times … science doesn’t have all the answers. But neither does religion. Both are just shots in the dark.

        • Mel Wild says:

          That’s true, Nan. When it comes to these kinds of questions, we don’t know for certain. It actually comes down to faith (confidence), either way, for us to find a satisfactory answer that works for us. Again, I personally believe an after-life provides a better answer to this particular question. But that’s me. 🙂

        • tildeb says:

          The greater the wealth inequality, the higher the religious belief. It’s not a good thing, Mel, to think this belief somehow serves those who are without but a strong indication that more human action is needed to reduce inequality. By supporting the increase in religious belief in an afterlife, you are actually helping to maintain wealth inequality… by making it seem pious.

        • Excellent comment tildeb! 👏

        • Mel Wild says:

          The greater the wealth inequality, the higher the religious belief. It’s not a good thing….By supporting the increase in religious belief in an afterlife, you are actually helping to maintain wealth inequality… by making it seem pious.

          That’s not my point nor is it true, but thanks.
          First, according to PEW Research, in the US it’s the atheists who are generally more affluent than believers. Second, you seem to be implying that belief in the after-life becomes some opiate to keep the masses in their disadvantaged state rather than helping them improve their lives. This is a faulty argument on two counts. First, Christian missions and ministries seek to do that very thing, improve the disadvantaged’s quality of life. Second, this argument is more like that of the Roman empire that believed it was their destiny to conquer nation-states and that the vanquished should just accept their fate as being the subjugated and enslaved, which appealed to Aristotelian hyper-fatalism but has nothing whatsoever to do with a Christian worldview.

        • tildeb says:

          Ha! You could teach a thing or two to JB about how to be funny!

          Or maybe you were being serious?

          Either way, religion is all about obedience! Just look at the first 4 commandments, Mel; go refamiliarize your self with them, if it’s been a while. Being compassionate, striving to reduce inequality, heck, even being nice, doesn’t even rank! There isn’t even a Thou Shall Not Bugger Children sub-clause, for crying out loud. So to suggest the notion of equality and justice will be found in the afterlife is not just a means of approving procrastination but a terrible con job in the here and now (because you have no clue but are simply hoping according to the same scripture you seem willing to cherry pick that such is a possibility) but is used as a Big Stick against anyone who threatens to ‘leave’ the faith. And you know this perfectly well. The afterlife is a tool of obedience, and the religious use it as a doorway through which only the obedient can pass. So for those who are suffering the most, you bet this doorway seems better than none at all; you’ve designed the notion for just this bottleneck as a means of control and authority over the weakest and most vulnerable. Well, aren’t you a peach.

          I think promoting this idea of a religiously sanctioned afterlife is truly reprehensible when it’s falsely advertised as a good thing, and downright execrable to then try to defend it as ‘better than nothing’… unless you like being lied to when you are the most vulnerable…. with false promises and wishful thinking. As in, “Don’t worry about that debt, sinner… just buy this here special lottery ticket that always pays out when you die, even though you can’t afford it now… 10 easy payments with 1000% interest is such a good thing for me to offer. Aren’t I a wonderful human being? Such hope I sell…

        • Mel Wild says:

          Either way, religion is all about obedience! Just look at the first 4 commandments, Mel; go refamiliarize your self with them, if it’s been a while. Being compassionate, striving to reduce inequality, heck, even being nice, doesn’t even rank!

          You’re wrong, but thanks again for your condescending remarks. Besides still totally missing the point and blathering on with your anti-Christian poisonous tripe, you never cease to disappoint with your ignorant arrogance about things you know nothing about.

        • tildeb says:

          Oh… well, if you say so. I’ve only lived on 3 continents and studied comparative religion – specifically, different bibles – so obviously I must be talking about stuff I know nothing about compared to you.

          Look, Mel, the fact is that religion is all about obedience, namely, to various gods. Yahweh is the war god who won out in Judaism, as I’m sure you know (what other gods before me could he possibly be referring to, Mel?), so, hey, we must be talking about love and justice, right? And if not, then the problem must be one of ignorance from anyone knowledgeable about biblical scholarship who dares point out your fallacious religious opinions. Oh, and arrogance, too, this from the man who can’t answer simple scholarship questions without setting upon a marathon run around to avoid owning your own lack of knowledge about your own religion.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Tildeb, you may have studied comparative religions but you don’t understand a thing about the Christian faith. You pervert and twist the Scripture to put God in the worst possible light.

          First, you said that compassion was nowhere in sight with the Ten Commandments. But we only need to see what was the purpose of them to see that, clearly, it about other-centered, self-giving love.

          37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matt.22:37-40)

          12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. (Matt.7:12)

          10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Rom.13:10)

          2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Gal.6:2)

          And we love God, not because we’re commanded to do so but because He first loved us…

          19 We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19)

          14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. (2 Cor.5:14)

          God doesn’t have love, He IS love. If you don’t love you don’t know God.

          7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:7-8)

          Pure religion is looking after those who can’t look after themselves…

          27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (James 1:27)

          14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2:14-17)

          No, you don’t know what you’re talking about.

        • tildeb says:

          Many die before their lives even get started. In my opinion, this shines the light on an area where atheism fails. If this life is all there is, there’s no resolution, no justice, no freedom for literally millions of people, just live a horrible life that ends with death. This is one of the many reasons why a purely naturalistic answer will never be a satisfactory answer.

          But believing in Oogity Boogity! changes this how?

          It doesn’t.

          Why not drop the Oogity Boogity! beliefs and ‘next life’ con job altogether and get to work as people responsible for the condition of humanity here and now mitigating these as much as is humanly possible? No god is going to do this for us. And the sooner the majority of us understand this brute fact, the sooner we can mobilize out resources to stop wasting trillions on ‘honouring’ god, enforcing some ‘god’s’ laws, and get down to the business of promoting and respecting human rights, human freedom, and human dignity over and above kowtowing to superstitious nonsense.

        • Nan says:

          You’re still not seeing my point about injustice.

          What does injustice have to do with whether one is an atheist or not?

          I agree that non-believers (not all of us are “atheists”) do have the “luxury” of being who and what we are in this country … and to discuss our position with those who disagree. But simply because one lives in less fortunate circumstances does not remove a person’s desire to reject “God.” They may be unable to freely express their non-belief, but this does not take away their right to decide.

          It’s entirely possible that living in countries with less-than-desirable conditions may influence some people to turn to “God” (especially if missionaries have anything to say about it), but again, to lump all of these people together as you did is stretching the point.

          To accept or reject a belief in something “beyond ourselves” is, at the very core, a personal decision — wherever you live. It has nothing to do with “resolution, justice, or freedom.”

        • Mel Wild says:

          What does injustice have to do with whether one is an atheist or not?

          It doesn’t. That’s not the point. What I’m saying is that injustice often does not get rectified if all we have is this life. For many people in the world, life is totally unfair and actually brutal. If an atheist’s position is that there is no afterlife then they have no answer to this particular problem. That was my point. If, on the other hand, someone believes that there will be justice in the afterlife, it does rectify itself. And, again, I’m not saying that this proves an afterlife because we can’t prove it one way or the other. I’m saying it’s a better answer.

          Several of Jesus’ allegorical parables were pointing this out (Lazarus and the rich man, sheep and goats, etc.). These stories are illustrating how God rectifies the marginalized and injustice in this life. So, if one were to believe in the afterlife, like a Christian, they would have more than this life to find justice. If, like Lazarus, they were marginalized, impoverished, and despised by the culture in this life, they will find justice in the next life. For the Christian, this why we are to treat everyone like they are Jesus. We believe that there’s more than this life.

          To accept or reject a belief in something “beyond ourselves” is, at the very core, a personal decision — wherever you live. It has nothing to do with “resolution, justice, or freedom.”

          Yes, of course. But where we live will affect our quality of life. The “justice,” in this case, is not in this life so it has nothing to do with where we live. Although, believing in an afterlife will affect how we live and how we deal with our circumstances. Again, not proof of God, just talking about how justice would resolve itself. I hope this makes sense.

        • Nan, you pretty much took those words out of my head, heart, and mouth. Thank you! 🙂 ❤

        • Hi Nan. On the question of why we exist, although you may not think it to be an important question, you may be one of the very few who do not take it so.

          The universe is full of tangible and intangible entities and concepts that pop up the ‘why’ questions as we take deliberate steps to grasp them. One of them is the inborn question of personal human purpose “why am I here”? It almost is a default question associated with our human consciousness. This really is a crucial question because the answer we have to this question does influence our attitude to life, including what you mean by “enjoyment of your existence” and “why we should even consider respecting others beliefs”.

          One may enjoy His life by oppressing and eliminating other people whom he sees as weaker men and give no qualms about it because he believes he has a call to obey his ultimate authority which in his case is natural selection. At least, he has figured out a sort of purpose, even if it harms others.

          Society itself adopts the concept of purpose in many ways, including bringing children up purposefully. I am not sure you would tell your child that he/she is purposeless and should go about trying to enjoy life as much as possible. Even unconsciously, you have a sense of purpose for yourself: to enjoy every moment of your existence.

          Someone is going to give you a definition of purpose all the same.

          The Creator of all things, God, who is Living, Personal and Active has set a purpose to all of creation and has made a revelation of His Purpose in Jesus Christ. God wills for none to perish but that all should come to the knowledge of the truth. This Person of whom a centuries old book testify is not claimed to be a means of dispersing fears but the One Who has set purpose to all things and to which all creation is subject because He is supreme by virtue of Himself.

        • Hear hear Nan!!! 👏

    • John Branyan says:

      Hi Nan,

      You said, “What’s important, in all this, at least in my opinion, is we respect each other’s perspective on life since none of us has the final answer.”

      Is it possible to respect an opinion that you think is false? For example, do you respect Mel’s perspective?
      And is the statement, “none of us has the final answer” a final answer?

      • Arkenaten says:

        I can’t speak for Nan, but I have absolutely no respect for your or Mel’s religious perspective solely because you believe you must ‘spread the word’ like some sort of theological STD.
        If you kept it to yourself,or confined it to others who believed like you do and most importantly kept it away from away from kids …. no probs.!

  6. Arkenaten says:

    @ Mel

    So, no matter where you look in nature you’re not going to prove or disprove that God exists.

    On what basis, therefore, do you make the assumption that nature ( and everything this implies) is created by your god, YHWH/Jesus the Nazarene?

    • Mel Wild says:

      Once again, Ark, you ask questions that are not related to the post. Comparing various theistic explanations is a different argument altogether than the one made here. It doesn’t matter which “god” in this discussion. The point is that discovering processes in nature has nothing to do with displacing the existence of a creator.

      • Arkenaten says:

        The quote is your own …. from THIS post.
        I am asking on what basis, or by what method, or with what tools are you able to discern your god as being the creator if one cannot discern one way or another from nature.

        • Mel Wild says:

          The quote “So, no matter where you look in nature you’re not going to prove or disprove that God exists” is not relevant to your question. It has nothing to do with a particular theist position, the answer is still the same. Science does not displace a creator.

          When you have a relevant question to the post I will try to respond to it, but I don’t have all the time in the world to answer any unrelated question you want to bring up to suit your agenda.

        • Arkenaten says:

          If science does not displace a creator and according to you we cannot prove or disprove a creator from nature how do you discern s creator and specifically, your god ?

        • Mel Wild says:

          I’ve explained this before. We make an inference to the best explanation since it goes beyond the bounds of natural science. That’s the only thing you can do. What is your best explanation for why nature exists?

        • Arkenaten says:

          You have already stated that simply from looking at nature one cannot prove or disprove a god.
          Therefore, on this basis alone, based on what do you use to infer your god
          Can you, for once, please be specific.

        • Mel Wild says:

          I can infer a designer because no other answer satisfies the question of how nature got here in the first place. You are saying that “X” caused “X” from “X.” That’s a convoluted circular argument. This is why the famous atheist, Antony Flew, became a deist. He actually woke up one day and saw the obvious.

          So, Ark, how do you answer this question? Why is there a natural world? How come there is something instead of nothing?

        • Arkenaten says:

          Let me remind you of your own words, Mel.~

          “So, no matter where you look in nature you’re not going to prove or disprove that God exists”

          YOU have already stated there is no evidence either way.
          Therefore your inference is simply nonsensical and has as much worth as saying:
          I can infer NO designer because no other answer satisfies the question of how nature got here in the first place.

          And that answers your question.

          But you STILL have not answered the question:
          On what basis do you infer YOUR god and what tools do you use to infer YOUR god, YHWH/Jesus the Nazarene.

          Can you please be specific with you answer.

        • Mel Wild says:

          YOU have already stated there is no evidence either way.

          Not I didn’t. I said we cannot prove God’s existence either way. The “evidence” is that we exist, that there is a visible world that works according to laws, that mathematics is predictive because of the apparent design. But to say we created ourselves from absolutely nothing whatsoever is what’s nonsensical and irrational.

          So, Ark what is your inference to the best explanation? Why are we here? Why nature?

        • Arkenaten says:

          If you cannot prove (your God) either way then one can quite easily infer no designer.

          The only evidence for our existence is evolution.
          So, please explain:
          On what basis do you infer YOUR god and what tools do you use to infer YOUR god, YHWH/Jesus the Nazarene?
          Please try to be as specific as possible.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Evolution only explains the natural process. Where did evolution come from? And why?

        • Arkenaten says:

          You have already stated one cannot prove or disprove god from nature, therefore we can only utilise the tools we have to arrive at an answer.
          You believe the answer is your god.
          Therefore, please explain what specific tools you use to discern that your god, YHWH/Jesus the Nazarene is responsible?
          And why, of course.
          Thanks.

        • Mel Wild says:

          No, we’ve only established that science cannot answer the question one way or the other. The only tools we have are to make an inference to the best explanation for why there’s something instead of nothing. So, Ark, why is there something instead of nothing?

        • Arkenaten says:

          Your words, Mel.

          “So, no matter where you look in nature you’re not going to prove or disprove that God exists”

          I don’t see the science anywhere in this statement.

          So, as we can just as easily infer no god, please explain:

          On what basis do you infer YOUR god and what tools do you use to infer YOUR god, YHWH/Jesus the Nazarene.
          Please be specific.
          Thanks.

        • Mel Wild says:

          So, what science is in the belief that science gives us the only real knowledge there is, which you stated that you believed, Ark. You can’t prove that scientifically.

        • Arkenaten says:

          I think it would help us all, Mel, if you could simply answer the question:

          On what basis do you infer YOUR god and what tools do you use to infer YOUR god, YHWH/Jesus the Nazarene.
          Please be specific.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Yes, it would help if you would answer my question, Ark. Stop trying to divert it into Christian beliefs. We are talking about why nature cannot prove or disprove a designer. So, what is your answer to why there something instead of nothing? Be specific.

        • Arkenaten says:

          I have always said that, I have no rub with deism.
          You want to believe a creator deity, go for it.
          But this is where deism stops dead in its tracks.
          As you stated, ”No matter where you look in nature you’re not going to prove or disprove that (a) God exists”.
          You take this belief to the next level and this is where you have constantly told me that we can infer YHWH/Jesus the Nazarene.
          So, please explain, on what basis do you infer YOUR god and what tools do you use to infer YOUR god, YHWH/Jesus the Nazarene.
          Thanks.

        • Mel Wild says:

          If you’re a deist then you have no relevant question here. You agree.

          I don’t write posts to answer every single thing I believe on every level of my faith. I have very little to time to answer the relevant comments as it is. I am making specific points. This post covers the subject of God not being displaced by science. I’m glad you agree.

        • Arkenaten says:

          No. This is a dishonest statement.
          You are stating that YOUR god is not displaced by science.
          And this is after you have already stated that we cannot prove YOUR god either way by looking at nature.
          So as you claim YOUR god can be inferred, I want you to explain on what basis and with what tools you use to infer your god,YHWH/Jesus the Nazarene.

          You have spent the past dozen or so comments steadfastly avoiding a direct answer and instead tap-danced around something that should be second nature to a professional pastor.
          Why do you not simply offer a straightforward answer/explanation to this question?

          How hard can it be?

        • Mel Wild says:

          How in the world is this dishonest, Ark. You keep using this word but I don’t think you know what it means. So, are you saying that science does disprove God? And, if so, how come there’s something instead of nothing?

        • tildeb says:

          No, he had a stroke.

  7. John Branyan says:

    Hey Mel,

    Another good post. I’m personally a big fan of the “God of the Gaps”. There are so many gaps it requires a divine being to fill them all.

    That’s what frustrates our atheist friends. God is the most reasonable answer to life’s most profound questions but their pride won’t let them admit it. Poor JZ is so twisted up, he started blathering about oxygen and bacteria and stars. Tildeb threw his usual tantrum when we didn’t eagerly agree that all of ‘reality’ is exactly as he describes it. And Sirius (who won’t talk to me anymore) demanded that you sum up the totality of mankind’s understanding of infinite ‘God’ in a few neat sentences.

    Nothing approaching an insight from any of the godless trolls. Just squawking at you to explain yourself, explain yourself, explain yourself and explain yourself.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks John. I will comment on one point you made here.

      That’s what frustrates our atheist friends. God is the most reasonable answer to life’s most profound questions but their pride won’t let them admit it.

      That is a stubborn thing, isn’t it. In order to get around the simple intuitive conclusion that a five-year old could make, that there may be a designer to the obvious design, they must do mental gymnastics and focus on the minutia of natural processes. Anybody who made these arguments about anything manufactured in this world would be considered crazy. Yeah, I know everything there is to know about my car down to a molecular level. That’s why it’s not designed!

      Ronald Timothy said this about our quirky delusions:

      “Paradigms can be so strong they act as psychological filters – we quite literally see the world through our paradigms. Any data that does not fit our paradigm will have a difficult time getting through our filters. We are quite literally unable to perceive the facts right before our eyes.”

      So, I guess understandable why their eyes glaze over when we ask the obvious question—the elephant in the room, if you will—why is there nature in the first place? We are such a nuisance about that, aren’t we. 🙂

      • john zande says:

        Since science cannot possibly answer that question…

        So, what is the answer, Mel?

        Why was this artificial world created?

        What function does it serve?

        Why are we here?

        • Mel Wild says:

          I already said I believe in a creator. What is your answer, John?

        • john zande says:

          That doesn’t answer the question

          Why was this artificial world created?

          What function does it serve?

          Why are we here?

        • Mel Wild says:

          So, JohnZ, do you believe that science does displace God? That science does prove God does not exist? Because that’s the only relevant question with regard to this particular post.

        • john zande says:

          Mel, please just answer the question:

          Why was this artificial world created?

          What function does it serve?

          Why are we here?

        • john zande says:

          Mel, you do claim to have the Why questions answered, don’t you?

          You keep repeating it post after post after post after post.

          So, what’s your problem?

          Why was this artificial world created?

          What function does it serve?

        • Mel Wild says:

          John, please listen this time. It has nothing to do with post after post after post. THIS post is NOT about my particular theistic beliefs. This post is about whether scientific knowledge displaces God. So, unless you can prove otherwise, stop with the red herrings please. If you can’t do this, then good-bye because I’m only going to spend what little time I have today on THIS particular subject. If you cannot address that, there is no reason to answer your questions. That’s all I’m going to say on it.

        • john zande says:

          So you can’t answer those questions.

          You have no idea.

          Why, then, do you keep lying about having the “Why” answers”?

        • Mel Wild says:

          So you can’t answer the question, does science disprove a creator.
          Why do you keep deflecting and changing the subject. Good-bye.

        • Mel Wild says:

          I’m a theist.

        • john zande says:

          You’re not a Christian?

        • Mel Wild says:

          I’m a Christian theist. How is that relevant to whether understanding a natural process displaces God? Stop wasting my time.

        • john zande says:

          Science (archaeology, cosmology, anthropology, biology, genetics, etc.) has certainly disproved Yhwh. Ask any non-orthodox Jewish rabbi.

          Stop wasting my time.

          That’s all you do… Run away.

          Mel, running away, AGAIN, from questions doesn’t make them go away.

          Why was this artificial world created?

          What function does synthetic contrivance serve?

        • Mel Wild says:

          You are running away from this post. You cannot bring yourself to stay on subject because it proves the irrationality of your scientism. You have no answer whatsoever that goes outside of science.

          Just so you know, you’re in moderation now. If you refuse to stay relevant to the post and continue to promote your personal agenda, your comments won’t see the light of day.

        • john zande says:

          Mel, you’re not a Christian?

          Is that correct?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Now you’re being ridiculous. Good-bye

        • As mentioned above, that doesn’t demonstrate which creator Mel. 🙂

      • Hey Mel!

        To be completely fair, the question of whether there’s a designer isn’t actually prickly for atheists (snarky Internet nonversations between Christians and atheists aside). The question breaks down to an issue of fairness and completeness. Five-year old children make suppositions about creation all the time, both in Christianity and in other religions. They also have a habit of believing some things obviously exist that don’t really exist. How is one to justify relying on their judgment for one but not the other?

    • Hey JB!

      “And Sirius (who won’t talk to me anymore) demanded that you sum up the totality of mankind’s understanding of infinite ‘God’ in a few neat sentences.”

      Where did I make this demand above? And where did I say I won’t talk to you anymore?

      • John Branyan says:

        I inferred from your deleting my comments that you didn’t want to talk to me. I don’t need you to explicitly say it.

        • What comments of yours have I deleted, JB?

        • John Branyan says:

          Lol
          How can I possibly answer that?

        • Well, are you referring to being banned on my blog, or are you accusing me of deleting comments of yours elsewhere? Because if it’s the latter, I can assure you I have no control over comment management on other blogs. Just mine.

          And if it’s the former, banning you just means you don’t have the privilege of leaving comments on my blog. Banning is a function of my spam filter, which automatically deals with any comments you might try to leave. It will also prevent pingbacks, which means I won’t receive notifications if you link to my blog.

          Otherwise, I don’t mind occasionally interacting with you, as evidenced by several brief comment exchanges here and elsewhere. I hope you’re doing well!

        • John Branyan says:

          Lol
          I rest my case!

        • You really shouldn’t rest your case before you make it.

        • John Branyan says:

          You made it for me.
          Banned me from your blog because you can’t deal with it.

        • “Banned me from your blog because you can’t deal with it.”

          Wait, I thought you were accusing me of just not wanting to talk to you anymore. At any rate, I’m sorry you feel that way. It’s not personal; I have to enforce my blog rules to make sure people don’t troll my threads. If you felt like it was unfair, I’m surprised you didn’t try to email me rather than waiting and airing this on someone else’s blog. I would have been happy to clear it up for you.

        • John Branyan says:

          I don’t care enough to voice a complaint. I’m happy in the knowledge that I’ve frightened so much you need to block me. It’s all good!

        • So banning people and blocking comments has to be out of fear? Why haven’t you read Mel the riot act for doing that to JZ yet?

        • John Branyan says:

          Because JZ really is a troll. I’m not.

        • john zande says:

          Comment sent to Vienna… where an entire team of psychiatrists can have a good laugh at it.

        • John Branyan says:

          Ask the psychiatrists to diagnose your issue of believing a nonexistent being can hurl asteroids at the Earth.
          LOLOLOLOL

        • john zande says:

          Let me guess, you’re rethinking your cliam that Yhwh controls the environment…

        • John Branyan says:

          LOLOLOLO
          Wrong.
          I’m restating your stupid position.

        • john zande says:

          Ah, so Yhwh does control the environment…

          Therefore, the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event 66 million years ago (a bolide impact which ignited the biosphere and dramatically altered the ENVIRONMENT) was Yhwh’s work.

          Got it.

          Thanks.

        • John Branyan says:

          Ah, so you are a theist.
          Got it.

        • john zande says:

          Of course I am. I’ve written two books on it.

          Want to debate the existence of TOOAIN?

        • John Branyan says:

          Since you’re a Theist, then we can agree that God controls the whole Universe.
          Why did you take so long to admit your theology?

        • john zande says:

          TOOAIN doesn’t control the environment.

          But according to your thesis, Yhwh does, therefore you believe the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event 66 million years ago (a bolide impact which ignited the biosphere and dramatically altered the ENVIRONMENT) was Yhwh’s work.

          Is this correct?

        • John Branyan says:

          What name do you give the being that controls the universe? If not TOOAIN, or Yhwh, then who? I’m open to using whatever name you like!

        • john zande says:

          TOOAIN doesn’t control the universe, either. Read the books, you’ll understand better.

          Now, you asked earlier in this thread:

          The question that you should answer (but won’t) is how the fittest is determined in the absence of intelligence.

          Correct me if I’m wrong, but that appears to be a claim that Yhwh is the “intelligence” behind the “environment.”

          If that is correct, and I’m assuming you stand by your words, then according to your thesis, you believe, for example, the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event 66 million years ago (a bolide impact which ignited the biosphere and dramatically altered the ENVIRONMENT) was Yhwh’s work.

          Is this correct?

        • John Branyan says:

          When you stand by your word, I’ll stand by mine.
          Any Theist who has authored two books on the subject should be able to give me a name to call the God who ignited the biosphere.
          Is this correct?

        • john zande says:

          TOOAIN is the name. The Owner of All Infernal Names. A real aseitic god doesn’t have a name. Wouldn’t that be the most obvious of all things?

          Now, please stop you evasion.

          You asked earlier in this thread:

          The question that you should answer (but won’t) is how the fittest is determined in the absence of intelligence.

          Correct me if I’m wrong, but that appears to be a claim that Yhwh is the “intelligence” behind the “environment.”

          If that is correct, and I’m assuming you stand by your words, then according to your thesis, you believe, for example, the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event 66 million years ago (a bolide impact which ignited the biosphere and dramatically altered the ENVIRONMENT) was Yhwh’s work.

          Is this correct?

        • John Branyan says:

          There was no extinction 66 million years ago. That’s more of your radical, superstitious nonsense.

        • john zande says:

          TOOAIN had nothing to do with it. TOOAIN doesn’t manage the universe. But that is my thesis. If you wish to debate it, then just name the forum. I’ll be there.

          Now, again, please stop you evasion.

          You asked earlier in this thread:

          The question that you should answer (but won’t) is how the fittest is determined in the absence of intelligence.

          I answered your question: Environment.

          Correct me if I’m wrong, but that appears to be a claim that Yhwh is the “intelligence” behind the “environment.”

          If that is correct, and I’m assuming you stand by your words, then according to your thesis, you believe, for example, the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event 66 million years ago (a bolide impact which ignited the biosphere and dramatically altered the ENVIRONMENT) was Yhwh’s work.

          Is this correct?

        • John Branyan says:

          Whatever you call the intelligence behind the environment is fine with me. I am easy to get along with!

        • john zande says:

          I’m not calling, or claiming, any intelligence behind the environment.

          So… One more time

          Please stop you evasion.

          You asked earlier in this thread:

          The question that you should answer (but won’t) is how the fittest is determined in the absence of intelligence.

          I answered your question: Environment.

          Correct me if I’m wrong, but that appears to be a claim that Yhwh is the “intelligence” behind the “environment.”

          If that is correct, and I’m assuming you stand by your words, then according to your thesis, you believe, for example, the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event 66 million years ago (a bolide impact which ignited the biosphere and dramatically altered the ENVIRONMENT) was Yhwh’s work.

          Is this correct?

        • John Branyan says:

          Well, if you’re not naming an intelligence then you aren’t a Theist.
          Obviously the universe displays intelligence.

        • john zande says:

          Question a little too awkward for you, is it?

          Okay…

          Be sure to pick your self-respect up as you leave.

        • John Branyan says:

          LOLOLOLOL
          You lied about being a Theist.

        • SB,

          You might already be aware, but may I toss in words of warning for you, for this 3-ring circus dialogue (if it can be called productive dialogue! LOL)?

          Gremlin! Watch out for blogging Gremlins! They sabotoge time and space and delusionally think it’s funny! 😉

        • “Invisible Casing”! 🤣 It’s a popular, repeating, nasty habit of which several bloggers have determined originates from left-field… others say BEYOND the ballpark’s stadium in the wild blue yonder! 😛

  8. john zande says:

    Censoring comments now?

    Is it because you can’t answer these two questions, which you REALLY should be able to answer?

    Why was this artificial world created?

    What function does this synthetic contrivance serve?

    • Mel Wild says:

      I’m moderating YOU. It’s because you have proven over and over that you refuse to stay on topic. If you don’t like it, go away.

    • Mel Wild says:

      You obviously don’t understand the meaning of relevance, nor do you want to. That’s why your being moderated.

      • john zande says:

        If you would just answer the questions, with the answers you aseem to imply you have, then we can stop this ridiculous evasion-game you’re playing.

        Can you answewr those questions, yes or no?

        • Mel Wild says:

          John, you are the one being ridiculous and childishly stubborn. You refuse to respect my wishes, so why should I waste any more time with you?

          How does your question apply to the subject that understanding natural process doesn’t displace God? This has nothing to do with the Bible, Christianity, or anything else except whether a creator is displaced by scientific knowledge. WITHOUT bringing up the Bible, or particular religion, we can infer that there must be an initial cause to the natural world, and you cannot rationally argue that the world created itself from nothing. This is the ONLY subject that matters here. If you’re too dense to understand this distinction, I can’t help you.

          I have to moderate you because I end up having to waste my time on 20+ comments that are STILL irrelevant. If you don’t respect my time, or my wishes, why should your comments deserve taking up space here?

        • john zande says:

          Mel, I have a comment in moderatation.

          Could you please free it

  9. Scottie says:

    Hello Mel. I know we disagree on Nature and what science can know. I also know we have talked about this before, but I would just throw the idea back into the mix. Why add a god / deity into things they are simply not needed? Is it for the emotional comfort it brings? My own view, Nothing not in the natural universe matters, it can not be interacted with , proven, or acted on. So it might as well not be / exist. I don’t see any need anything not in the natural universe. Be well. Hugs

    • Mel Wild says:

      Hi Scottie. Two quick comments (I’m in the middle of a massive project right now). First, how do we know a god is not needed? What if God didn’t exist, we didn’t exist? Just a thought. The second one is more subjective. I think it’s important because it helps us make better sense of things, gives us purpose for existing, affirms our value, and assures us that there is more to this life than this life. Most people find that a better answer than that our life has no meaning and we just die. That’s my take on it, anyway. 🙂

      • Scottie says:

        Hello Mel. You are of course welcome to your beliefs and if they bring you comfort, well I don’t care. As long as you are not hurting anyone I feel your imaginary friends are your business. However I do question one point of your response. I do not think it helps us to make better sense of anything to add a mythical entity that has never been proven and by your own measure can not be proven. It simply is not needed and gets in the way of understanding the universe and ourselves. I also think that most people do not use religion for values ( Roy Moore anyone ) and can not assure you there is more to life as you can not show it, interact with it, nor measure it in anyway, so what kind of assurance could it be? Life has lots of meaning every day , so again adding a god where one is not needed. Actually isn’t it sad some people need a deity to make the life they have meaningful? Why do you think atheist lives have no meaning? That is something extremist Islamics say, not something I would expect from you. OK as you said , this is my feelings on it. Good luck with your project. Hugs

  10. Pingback: How is God creator? | In My Father's House

  11. Jake Byrd says:

    I really enjoyed this post. I particularly enjoy Lennox’s interactions with Dawkins regarding this topic. The volume of false dichotomy’s that atheists will sit on, as if it boosts their argument, never seizes to amaze me. I write apologetically geared articles on my blog- jakebyrd.wordpress.com and I’d love to hear your thoughts!

  12. Pingback: A question about “evidence” | In My Father's House

  13. I have been reading your endless discussion about atheism and God. It is an eternal dilemma. However I have a “foolproof” solution to your problem. I am a Pantheist with a different “twist”. The twist comes with my being able to do something never before done to my knowledge. I have actually defined the “essence of a Supreme Being” and all if Its Attributes (Trinity, Holy Spirit, and everything related to existence both temporal and eternal., God”s Will, Soul, Eternity etc. Philosophically, we are not allowed to speak definitively about any entity we cannot define. Therefore, I was compelled to define a Supreme Being (God, Yahweh, Allah, Brahma, Buddha etc). While no one can prove nor disprove Its existence, My only presumed premise is Its existence. From there, my philosophy is irrefutable, or at least has been so far. In spite of being a Pantheist, I still am able to justify Jesus and His death as salvation of the entire universe. I show why and how everything in our universe is intrinsically “evil” by virtue of its selfishness, and that Jesus death accomplished two things; removed the indebtedness of evil, and, thereby, making The Supreme Being Perfect Love. My book is entitled Wilderness Cry- a Scientific and philosophical Approach to Understanding God and the Universe. It has gotten great reviews. Amazon describes it as A REAL EYE OPENER. You and all your followers might want to read it; you will be changed forever. It shows how “religion”, in all its forms, is irrational, but “spirituality” is totally rational. Hilary Hunt handg@comcast.net. All comments welcomed

  14. John Branyan says:

    “The twist comes with my being able to do something never before done to my knowledge. I have actually defined the “essence of a Supreme Being”

    Aristotle, Socrates and a bunch of other guys did that a long time ago.

  15. I have reviewed all of those Greek philosophers. While each, in turn, attempts to describe attributes of a god, none offers an “essential definition”. Essence is that singular quality which makes something what it basically is. Accidents (attributes if you will) are those characteristics which make it the specific specimen it is. For instance, the essence of a table is its “tableness”; its accidents are what make it a specific table ( round, square, 3-legged, white, etc). I have been unable to discover any specific “essential definition” of God. I, in fact, do “define the essence” of God. That definition opens doors never before peered through. Wilderness Cry explains all

  16. Just read it John. You will be amazed. It’s small but pretty well all-inclusive

  17. Pingback: Science cannot replace God | In My Father's House

  18. Pingback: Dogmatism and the human delete key | In My Father's House

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