An Untame God vs an Amoral, Meaningless, Irrational Existence


(SeanO) #1

I have recently come to the conclusion that a large portion of the arguments against Christianity can be explained merely by the fact that God is not tame - His ways our higher than our ways. Yes, God allows sufferings and He has His reasons. We cannot prove petitionary prayer works in a laboratory because God does not come at our beck and call. Yes, God judged the Canaanites, just as He will judge you and me on the Day of Judgment when we stand before Christ. Ultimately all of these objects have to do with God being untame - uncontrollable - greater than us - being God. By definition He ought to be greater than us.

A child does not demand power over their parent to stick them in a laboratory and verify that they will heed their every whim. A child does not understand a parent’s reason for doing all that they do. The Christians quandaries have to do with fallen creatures attempting to comprehend the decisions of a holy and righteous Creator and Father. It is perfectly rational that God, if real, would not be the sort of Person who we could or would have the right to dissect and cross-examine.

Unbelief, on the other hand, is fundamentally broken i- it leaves us in an amoral, meaningless and irrational world. Naked children of chaos seeking to eek out an existence in a cold and purposeless universe.

So it seems to me the choice is between a God of love who is, after all, God and therefore untame and outside our control. Or an amoral, meaningless and ultimately irrational existence.

What are your thoughts? Is this line of thinking fair to both sides?

Amoral

When you say there is evil, aren’t you admitting there is good? When you accept the existence of goodness, you must affirm a moral law on the basis of which to differentiate between good and evil. But when you admit to a moral law, you must posit a moral lawgiver. Ravi Zacharias

If we are merely the product of evolution on what basis can we object to powerful people oppressing marginalized ones? Tim Keller

Meaningless

Thomas Nagel - Even if you produce a great work of literature that is read for thousands of years - eventually the solar system will cool or the universe wind down and all traces of your effort will vanish. It wouldn’t matter if you had never existed. And after you die, it won’t matter that you did exist.

Mark Twain, became morose and weary of life. Shortly before his death, he wrote, “A myriad of men are born; they labor and sweat and struggle;…they squabble and scold and fight; they scramble for little mean advantages over each other; age creeps upon them; infirmities follow; …those they love are taken from them, and the joy of life is turned to aching grief. In the end they vanish from a world where they were of no consequence,…a world which will lament them a day and forget them forever.”

C. S. Lewis - You can’t really love a woman while remembering that all the beauties of her person and her character are a momentary and accidental pattern produced by a collision of atoms and that your response to her is a psychic phosphorescence arising from the behavior of your genes. In order to move from cold, animal like sensuality to love while remembering this fact you must recognize the hopeless disharmony between your emotions and the universe in which you think you live.

Irrational

I read a few counterarguments to Lewis’ argument here and they all ran along the same lines - evolution is not entirely random. However, it must be recognized that even if our brains developed according to some pattern - like we see some natural patterns develop according to the fibonacci sequence - that if we are purely material beings (with no soul) then our thoughts are inevitably influenced by this shaping process. And therefore, while our mind may be trusted with accomplishing the tasks for which it expressly evolved, we could not likewise trust it to reach correct conclusions with regard to any question that it did not explicitly evolve to solve.

“Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative mind. In that case, nobody designed my brain for the purpose of thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen, for physical or chemical reasons, to arrange themselves in a certain way, this gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought. But, if so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? It’s like upsetting a milk jug and hoping that the way it splashes itself will give you a map of London. But if I can’t trust my own thinking, of course I can’t trust the arguments leading to Atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an Atheist, or anything else. Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God.” C. S. Lewis


(Dennis Gladden) #2

@SeanO Your proposition that God is not tame is interesting. You are right, we cannot domesticate Him. He is greater than us, He is beyond our control, He is not a genie that we can stuff in a bottle.

In a similar vein, I think it is interesting that scripture likens false teachers and prophets to “brute beasts” (2 Peter 2:12). Those who adhere to the lie are actually the “wild” ones but, true to our corrupt nature, we perceive God as “foolish” and weak. The Greek makes the difference especially clear. God is the Logos and “brute” in 2 Peter 2:12 is its opposite — alogos — meaning unreasonable or irrational.

It is unreasonable to think we can master God but when we believe “I think, therefore I am” then our thoughts become supreme, we esteem our thoughts higher than God’s.

You’re right, we have flipped the truth and think God is out of control. Interestingly, a fruit of God’s Spirit is self-control, something we need desperately. How gracious is God that the Logos should say to the alogos, “Come, let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18). That we can even have this discussion in a post like this is evidence of His grace.


(SeanO) #3

@dennis.gladden Whoa - I had never realized that ‘irrational’ in Greek was ‘alogos’ - that is very interesting. It would be neat to do a word study and see if the Biblical authors ever use that word play intentionally - Logos vs alogos. And yes, it is a privilege beyond imagining that we can ‘reason’ with the God of all creation and know and walk with Him!