The Nature of God

The nature of God was indirectly discussed in a recent post by Sam Brunson.  Being a believer in evolution, he’s had to think about what this means to his ideas about God:  “I’ve always been more confortable with the idea of God mostly standing back and letting things run as they will.”

But this concept causes him some grief:

I remember fairly distinctly a discussion in Brazil where the man with whom my companion and I were speaking said that he couldn’t believe in God, because of all of the suffering in the world.  How, he asked, could an all-powerful God permit innocent people–children, even–to suffer.

At 19, I didn’t have the experience or maturity to comprehend the depth of his question.  As I’ve gotten older, though, I’ve wrestled with the question.  And I’ve found a solution that works for me.

The problem is, my solution demands a quasi-Deistic God, a God who created the world and, after creating it, rarely interferes, instead letting it run according to the laws of nature.  A God, in other words, who wouldn’t answer our insignificant prayers.

If God generally doesn’t interfere with the way the world runs, the problem of evil (largely) ceases to be a problem.

This idea is consistent with the ideas developed by Alfred North Whitehead and subsequent Process Theologians.

But Brunson is not totally comfortable with the idea that God doesn’t interfere (ie. doesn’t answer prayers).  He feels that God has answered some of his prayers.  And he did answer Joseph Smith and President Kimball’s prayers.  And thus the conumdrum.

For me, prayer is more of an introspective moment (or in the case of group prayer, a bonding moment) than it is an appeal to God for some advice or a real intervention.  Thus, the idea that God doesn’t interfere is not a problem.  I don’t have a strong feeling that God is guiding my life.  But again, I haven’t ask Him to.

What is a problem for me, is the current state of the world.  If God did have anything to do with the startup of creation, then Why are there so many babies and children dying young?  Why are there so many people in the world living hand-to-mouth?  Why are so many people living in poverty?  The ratio of rich (and I consider middle class rich) to very poor is so out of whack.

What Sort of Future Do These African Children Have?

What Sort of Future Do These African Children Have?

It’s not so much the existence of evil that bothers me.  It’s the existence of so many lives that seem essentially lost.  Why would God initiate the startup for such a process?

This entry was posted in absurdism, Creation, mormonism, Philosophy, Religion, Social Justice. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The Nature of God

  1. These questions of our creation I believe are essential to our soul’s quest for perfection. Here is what I believe that our Creator(s) wanted us to journey through this life and experience joy and sorrow. It is through these experiences that we learn how to be a better human being. Yes I believe it is sad there so much suffering but where would the world be if we were not taught the lesson of empathy and compassion for other’s who are in need. Essentially, on Earth we are following a greater plan, bigger than which are we are so one day we can live in harmony.
    As far as evil this subject still baffles me, however, I have read many books on spirituality and psychic abilities many of the renowned believes it is about balance and order. Also in the end instead of going to hell those who are pure evil, they just become nothing! Is this what I believe, not sure, after all I am still perfecting my soul.

    Great topic, I love to talk about spirituality. I look forward to following you blog. Thanks for sharing your work.

    • rogerdhansen says:

      I can sort of relate to the concept of suffering teaching us “the lesson of empathy and compassion for others who are in need.” But I can’t understand the reason for the magnitude of the problem. Why must billions suffer so I can learn compassion? What of all these billions of lives that have been lost? Their earthly experience being largely one of suffering.

      • I see your point, I have to have some faith what the creator of the Universe master plan must be. The people who suffer needs people like you and I to speak out, to be their advocate. Thanks for responding and challenge my thinking. This is a lesson as well. Have a good day.

  2. Some Christians have claimed that the problem of evil does not undermine God because we cannot understand God’s plans for humans. Unspeakable evil may bring about profound good, and humans are too shortsighted to fully understand God’s plans for the world. Of course, atheists have argued that claiming God has a master plan for the world undermines claims of free will by some theist thinkers.

  3. Tamera Hyde says:

    What is at issue is a central philosophical question of whether or not the world is predetermined or subject to chance. Philosophy walks a middle ground here, saying that God knows all things since he perceives the world in one instance of knowing, but in that instance of knowing he didn’t force the choices of all the people in the world. He just knows how it happened, all at once.

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