25 May, 2006

Letter to a philosopher

Ray from church (he did read the bible study on Rom 8:4, btw. I will get feedback from him and another soon and post it up) has an athiest philosopher who leaves him things to read. He shared one with me. I don't feel like transcribing the letter, and I lost it anyway, so I have an excuse for not putting it up. ;-)

Anyway, if you have an interest, here is what I wrote back to Ray's philosopher.

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Hello Sir,

Ray gave me the opportunity to read your paper on whether God was able to make 2+2=5. I enjoyed it. I'm afraid I have since mislaid it, so I will not be able to quote it in my little note here, but I think I remember the gist.

Keep in mind, I am no philosopher - I'm an ex-diesel mechanic who found his way into the software world - so I won't be chatting about this from a deeply philosophical perspective. Maybe a blue collar cogitator's perspective.

I appreciated your reasoning. The number 2 certainly cannot swim the English Channel, and a square root is not yellow. God cannot make these things be, or they would be other things. We use language to attach words to perceptions, so that we can communicate with each other. If we perceive a thing, we must be able to describe it, in order to share its experience to some degree.

So, you talk about a little island on which 2+2=5. Given our language, I expected you to describe a situation in which two people, each holding one coconut in each hand come together and combine their coconuts to end up with one more coconut than their 4 hands could carry.

You did not do that.

You described a situation in which 2 people each carrying 2 coconuts combine their coconuts and end up with one coconut in each hand but use the word/number "5" to describe the situation.

OK. That's odd, but if they can understand each other, who am I to whine. If they are able to communicate in such a way, then I will be the last to change their language. Just don't require me to understand it.

The denouement comes only in the last paragraph.

You admonish the reader not to drop their most cherished beliefs merely because their human understanding of God might lead them to doubt those beliefs. It may happen that God is simply trying to teach us how 2+2=5, and we are too busy being "right"to listen.

Again, a very cool thought. One with which I agree. I hold some views of God that are very unpopular, both with those who love Him, and with those who do not. In order to hold these beliefs, though, I had to drop some other cherished beliefs.

There are cherished beliefs that are wrong, and dropping them is required to lay hold of freedom. It is important to know how to discern between cherished truths and cherished falsehoods. Combining 4 coconuts does not create a 5th from nothing, and distributing the energy of this universe by a big bang does not create intelligence. Yellow cannot swim to Australia, and God cannot be created by my conception of Him.

Jesus Christ changed everything when He rose bodily from death. Things about which there once was legitimate doubt are now beyond disbelief. God cares for people, to the extreme of dying to transform them. Now is the time of learning what that transformation is.

May the Holy Spirit bless your contemplation of these things.

Kevin

11 comments:

Milly said...

Interesting.
My son and I have discussed the scientific beliefs of how life began, we both agree that God gave us adaptation. He gave us life and a way to sustain it.

You did a great job in pointing out just how his analogy or what ever it was is wrong.

You also gave a nice talk on changing his heart.

You’re a good man Cowboy others might have simple blasted him. :-}

DugALug said...

Codepoke,

I see the train of thought, but I would have loved to see the original letter.

Just a thought, neither science, nor math, conflict with God: it is man.

There are only three points in all of History that really matter: The begining, where you are now, and where you are going. God began everything, we are where we are, and eternity is covered by God too.

Milly,

I also wanted to say that God created and the rest is details and triviality. Whether it be adaption, evolution, or instantaneosly, creation only occured because God willed it, Apart from Him it couldn't happen.

God Bless
Doug

codepoke said...

Milly,

You did a great job in pointing out just how his analogy or what ever it was is wrong.

It was pretty funny. I had to read his paper twice to figure out that it was not just random, self-contradictory statements. Then I had to read it a third time to gather his point and figure out how to answer it.

My son and I have discussed the scientific beliefs of how life began, we both agree that God gave us adaptation.

Huge issue. And I see very little biblical reason to pick an answer. I have not come to a definite answer yet, but it sure seems like the young-earth crowd is more likely to ignore facts.

No matter what else I may believe, I cannot see any path to truth that does not include Eden, Adam and Eve as literal. Even if I picture evolution as true, I see a wild planet, hundreds of millions of years old, into which God drops a garden, a man and a woman who might never die.

I also see "de-evolution" from the fall. Before the fall, whether created or evolved, all creatures were at a higher state of being than they are today. Humans were certainly smarter, stronger and more perceptive. I think we have spent the last 6+ thousand years devolving.

It's just an opinion, but it's mine - all mine! ;-)

codepoke said...

DugALug,

Just a thought, neither science, nor math, conflict with God: it is man.

Great point, Doug.

I would have to type out this guy's 2 page letter, and frankly I'm just too lazy. Sorry to you both. :-)

DugALug said...

I would have to type out this guy's 2 page letter, and frankly I'm just too lazy. Sorry to you both.

Lazy, my eye, you've certainly typed plenty these last few weeks. (I've made sure of that). I am sorry to say that my work has been affected by inability to pull away from these posts. I need to flog my work tasks a little bit more.

God Bless
Doug

Danny Kaye said...

Sweet post, Codepoke. You took a typical, useless argument presented in the typical immature "Ah HA!! Now I gotcha" kind of way and actually made it make sense. Wonderfully done.

Yellow cannot swim to Australia,
Actually, I used to live with Yellow. He came pretty close once.But you're right, so far Yellow has not done it. I hear tell his cousin Green did it, though.

"it sure seems like the young-earth crowd is more likely to ignore facts."

I was pleasently surprised to read this from you. I mistook you as a Young-earther.
I apologize for my rush to the wrong concluson.

There is a thread on another site I go to where this was discussed just yesterday. I found the greatest question ever asked about this. A guy namd Rob asked:
"Is there any such thing as a atheistic or agnostic young-earther?"

(*insert cricket soundtrack here*)

Anyway, I thought you would like that if you hadn't heard it already. It was a first for me.

Milly said...

It's just an opinion, but it's mine - all mine! ;-)

Just as adaptation is mine! ALL MINE! :-] Actually we do have scientific facts behind it. And of course God would give us and his creatures the ability to adapt to our surroundings as they change other wise we become like the woolly mammoth and die. He isn’t ready for all of us yet. He will be, just not yet. That’s my theory and I’m a stick’n to it.

Milly said...

I was talking to my son and he said the same thing God's not ready so he keeps giving us the ability to adapt. Then he added other scientific stuff. :-}

japhy said...

C. S. Lewis's approach to questions like "Can God make a rock so heavy He can't lift it?" is to explain that it is not in God's nature to be contradictory. That is, being X and being NOT X is outside the definition of God. If a thing CAN exist, God can make it. A rock so heavy God cannot lift it cannot exist, so God is under no burden to produce it.

codepoke said...

Yeah, Japhy.

This philosopher was taking the big stone argument to an extreme. His point was that if God has put into your heart to believe that God can make a stone too large to lift, then you should not reject that belief just to satisfy your imagination of God.

From his paper, it was quite clear that this argument was very familar to him, so I tried to go a different direction. Maybe some day I will hear whether it helped.

DugALug said...

Japhy, Codepoke,

C.S. Lewis used this, but I think this was Socrates' argument, and as such, has been a common argument of philosophers for many thousands of years.

God Bless