Proof #36: Realize that God is Impossible

February 20, 2008 at 6:48 pm 8 comments

This proof is another recounting of the problem of pain and misunderstands the cosmological argument.  I’m not going to even touch the section on omniscience being equated, yet again, to fatalism, since I’ve already answered that charge here.

Let’s start with Marshall Brain’s recounting of Epicures:

The gods can either take away evil from the world and will not, or, being willing to do so, cannot; or they neither can nor will, or lastly, they are both able and willing. If they have the will to remove evil and cannot, then they are not omnipotent. If they can, but will not, than they are not benevolent. If they are neither able nor willing, then they are neither omnipotent nor benevolent. Lastly, if they are both able and willing to annihilate evil, how does it exist?

The problem of pain may be the single greatest obstacle to belief in God for many people.  It definitely seems to be the greatest contributor to Brain’s atheism, since he harps on the issue over and over again.  This paradox fails to prove that God is imaginary because it never takes into account a hidden third option: What if God has a higher purpose for pain and suffering, and that is why it exists in the world?

Consider my daughter, Ashleigh.  She is getting very good at manipulating things with her hands now, and she is starting to discover her feet.  While she is on her quests for greater understanding, sometimes her fingers get into her eyes.  I know that if she scratches her eyes, she will hurt herself.  Am I a cruel father if I allow her to do that, knowing that actually hurting herself will drive the lesson home in a more dramatic way than simply removing her hand and saying “No” ever could?

I think of evil in the same way.  It can teach us things, the way that 9/11 dramatically taught the United States how lax its airline security was or how terrible its job screening processes were.  But consider the patriotism that came out of that terrible event.  Consider how many volunteers from all across the United States came to sift through the rubble and help rebuild.  Same with Hurricane Katrina in the south.

What we perceive as evil not only teaches us things, but it also offers us an opportunity to do true moral good.  Consider the starving children in Ethiopia.  This is an opportunity to share the immense wealth and comfort that we have in the United States with these poor children.  If everyone in this country sponsored a child or gave some of their excess food each month, we would have no widespread problem.

But the fact is that we do, and the fact is that exists as an opportunity for us to do something about it.  Why should God eliminate the problem when people aren’t even doing anything about it?  We are called to be good stewards of the resources of the planet, and starving children is evidence that we aren’t doing our jobs in that respect.

Here is another way to understand the impossibility of God. If you look at the definition of God, you can see that he is defined as the “originator and ruler of the universe”. Why does the universe need an originator — a creator? Because, according to religious logic, the universe cannot exist unless it has a creator. A believer will say, “nothing can exist unless it is created.” However, that satement immediately constructs a contradiction, because we must then wonder who created God. For a believer the answer to that is simple — “God is the one thing that does not need a creator. God is timeless and has always existed.” How can it be that the everything MUST have a creator, while God must NOT? The contradiction in the definition of God is palpable.

This is a fundamental misunderstanding of the cosmological argument.  First, the rhetorical question that isn’t so rhetorical: “Why does the universe need an originator–a creator?”  Why doesn’t it?  Even scientists agree that the universe originated–that it came into being at some point in the finite past.  The believer will not say “nothing can exist unless it is created,” the believer says “whatever begins to exist has a cause.”  The universe must, therefore, have a cause.

Since God is eternal, He never “began to exist,” He always existed.  Since He never began to exist, He needs no creator.  Therefore, this argument creates no contradiction within itself.

The problem of pain, while real, is a divine way of teaching us important lessons and a symptom that we are not good stewards of this planet.  It doesn’t show that God is impossible.  The cosmological argument is not contradictory, so it does not show that God is impossible.  This proof, therefore, has failed to show the impossibility of God.

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Entry filed under: God.

Proof #35: Notice Jesus’ Myopia Proof #37: Think About DNA

8 Comments

  • 1. Luke  |  May 26, 2008 at 10:04 am

    “Since God is eternal, He never “began to exist,” He always existed. Since He never began to exist, He needs no creator. Therefore, this argument creates no contradiction within itself.”

    –Look at the 3 supposed aspects of God. Existence, which requires a body. Intelligence, which requires the existence of a body to house the mind, and creation power which requires… uhh… “God.” I see the contradictions already.

    How can all these aspect of God have always been in existence in one living, conscious entity?

    Where does the energy, which matter is made of, come from when he speaks/wills something into existence? You would say “nothing.” Then ask yourself these questions:

    Where do his powers come from? Where does his consciousness and intelligence come from? Ours comes from our brains, which consist of physical matter. Where did the matter or “energy” for God’s brain come from? What created the matter for his physical shape, or where did the energy or the spiritual energy for his energy or spirit form come from? What created those attributes separately and put them all into one being? What created the conditions for the creation of those attributes? What created the conditions for the conditions of creating those attributes? One could answer God for all those questions, but it doesn’t make any of them right. In fact, answering God to all of those questions sound out right silly. So why does it make more sense when you use God to answer the question of “What created the Universe?”

    It’s amazing how people automatically assume that the conditions for the creation of the Universe had to be a “someone,” and not a “something.”

    • 2. JDSTATS  |  May 6, 2009 at 8:43 pm

      So I don’t see your logic here. You are saying that you have to have material to exist, but that evidently is only true in our universe. The universe started from nothingness and came to be. Where did the matter, material, energy come from? Was it eternal? Does it have a beginning? You approach this argument using the laws of the universe to explain God, but the fact that known universe as it is cannot be explained by its own laws does not bother you?

      Why do you continually ask for God to be limited to a temporal and spatial understanding, when we are saying that God created time and space? Why would god be limited by time and space if God created time and space.

      You dismiss the fact that random processes cannot explain abiogenesis, but say that ” we just don’t have an explaination yet.”
      It is not that we do not have an explanation, but that we will never have an explanation using our current limited naturalistic explanations. The probabilities come from knowing what random processes are capable of doing.

      Consider the words you’ve written. If you wrote in pencil, then the pencil lead wouldn’t be the thought that you have written down. Neither are the electron streaming through the computer, thus the media for thoughts can completely change, why is it so hard to grasp that the medium might not be necessary at all. Descartes axiom states I think therefore I am. God shortened it to I am. The thinking is not necessasry because it is implied with I am. All of the universe is actually based on energy with no matter, as matter is solely one shape that energy has taken. All energy has taken a very complex purposeful shape. If all that is required for energy to take a suitable shape is thought, then perhaps God is solely thought that needs no medium and can completely form energy into what we see. As a concept, while it would be necessary for thought to have a beginning, this hardly because a problem when time is no longer a factor. You would therefore be unable to point to a time when God came to be because time was meaningless before it was thought of.

      For the someone or something, concept, I actually entirely agree with you. It is more comfortable to think of God as a person as oppose to a concept or a force or just pure thought. What would you expect out of humans? If we were just pure thought, we would think of God as just pure thought.

  • 3. Cory Tucholski  |  May 27, 2008 at 2:36 am

    Human existence requires a body, but it doesn’t follow that God’s existence requires a body. Making us in His image doesn’t mean that we look like Him, it means that we exercise sovereignty over the planet as a microcosmic reflection of the sovereignty that He exercises over the entire universe.

    God is eternally self-existent and requires nothing except His own nature to exist. You’re asking me “Who created the Creator?” in a very roundabout way.

  • 4. Luke  |  May 28, 2008 at 7:13 am

    Making us in His image doesn’t mean that we look like Him, it means that we exercise sovereignty over the planet as a microcosmic reflection of the sovereignty that He exercises over the entire universe.

    –What part of “he created man in his image” possibly gave you that idea of an interpretation? That is ad hoc reasoning. You have to understand the mind of the author who wrote the creation story. He was trying to explain why God made humans to look the way we do. And the only reason he could imagine is that we are God’s physical “image;” God’s “reflection of his image” in a mirror, if you will. There’s nothing else implied there at all by the author.

    God is eternally self-existent and requires nothing except His own nature to exist.

    –That’s the greatest excuse everyone uses to dodge the “who created God” question and it will always be a horrible excuse at that. It’s purely a foundational bias and there’s no way to even prove that God always existed, or even exists. That hypothesis fails. God could have came into existence in what we would consider 5 minutes before he supposedly created the universe, and while everyone is saying “he always existed,” they would be flat out wrong. The “God always existed” argument does nothing but drive people further into their delusion.

    — How can people say that our existence and consciousness need a creator, but that God’s existence and consciousness somehow escaped needing a creator? It doesn’t make any logical sense. So again I ask; How can those 3 aspects of God I pointed out in my above post simply just have ALWAYS existed in one entity? It’s impossible.

    You’re asking me “Who created the Creator?” in a very roundabout way.

    –Glad you picked up on that 🙂

  • 5. Luke  |  June 20, 2008 at 1:30 am

    Making us in His image doesn’t mean that we look like Him.
    Genesis 5:3
    And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, and after his image; and called his name Seth:

    Now what do you think that means? Sounds like Seth looks like his Daddy.

  • 6. Anti-Devil  |  July 14, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    luke- now what do you think that means?sounds like seth looks like his daddy.

    come on dude..wat are u getting at.

    Making us in his image,doesnt mean we look like him? wth?then wat look like u?
    some sons may resemble his father in a way or 2…looks wise character wise

  • 7. luke  |  July 15, 2008 at 3:00 am

    luke- now what do you think that means?sounds like seth looks like his daddy.

    come on dude..wat are u getting at.

    Making us in his image,doesnt mean we look like him? wth?then wat look like u?
    some sons may resemble his father in a way or 2…looks wise character wise

    –I think you need to read all the comments over again. I was refuting Cory Tucholski’s post where he was the one that said “Making us in his image doesn’t mean that we look like him.” But thank you for reiterating my posts.

  • 8. Anti-Devil  |  July 18, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    welcome,i lovev to reiterate ur post..for christ sake…and btw we all have to thank god,we sinful filthy humans unworthy being doesnt deserve god’s love..i am meaning ALL the humans,but god is so good,he did all these out of grace so we might have hope


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