Is only mind can create mind?

Hello Family!

During my mini-debate with atheist-friend of mine, I managed to point his way of thinking on more, lets say, truthfully path. But there are a couple of question arose that I myself had not thought of before in a logical way, and i really stuck on those. So as my friend defended last “pillars” of his point, he stated this:
Why should God, as a creature, be rational/minded/intellectual?

He cropped out parts from Bible, Old Testament, i suppose mainly about Moses and laws, stated that it just was wise man who wanted to save his people, avoid anarchy and so on… Well, cropping parts is wrong too, but i suspect even so there is an answer on it.

I found statements like “Only mind can create mind” or “The impersonal cannot create personality” on gotquestions, and if it true, it is an answer, but i don`t really understand that statements. Are there any links/books on those statements i can read or watch (or even debates on this particular theme)?

By the way, at the end of the discussion his point of view was like “God exists. He created everything. But there is no reasoning of it. Like God is some unthinking element/or even he created us occasionally”. So i can disprove this way of thinking, but question above seems like have to be answered…

PS. It is my first topic, so I`m not sure wether it should be in science or somewhere else…

Sincerely, Emil

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Hi Emil,
welcome to the forum, and so glad to hear you are reaching out to share Jesus with your friend. :slight_smile:

The premise of this statement says that God is a creature. The Bible says that God is the eternal uncreated first cause.

Your friend seems to have a view of god (I will use little g), is a projection of his mind, an idea. He then asks why should this projection of his mind have rationality. The problem is if your friend is simply matter/energy, his mind is simply neurons firing which doesn’t lead to truth, and it undermines his own rationality.

Lennox, one of my favorite writers and speakers says this:

Do atheists have faith?
This confusion about the nature of faith leads many people to another serious error: thinking that neither atheism nor science involves faith. Yet, the irony is that atheism is a belief system and science cannot do without faith.

Physicist Paul Davies says that the right scientific attitude is essentially theological: “Science can proceed only if the scientist adopts an essentially theological worldview”. He points out that “even the most atheistic scientist accepts as an act of faith [emphasis mine] … a law-like order in nature that is at least in part comprehensible to us”.

Albert Einstein famously said:
“… science can only be created by those who are thoroughly imbued with the aspiration towards truth and understanding. This source of feeling, however, springs from the sphere of religion. To this there also belongs the faith in the possibility that the regulations valid for the world of existence are rational, that is, comprehensible to reason. I cannot conceive a genuine man of science without that profound faith [emphasis mine]. The situation may be expressed by an image: science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”

Einstein evidently did not suffer from Dawkins’ delusion that all faith is blind faith. Einstein speaks of the “profound faith” of the scientist in the rational intelligibility of the universe. He could not imagine a scientist without it. For instance, scientists believe (= have faith) that electrons electrons exist and that Einstein’s theory of relativity holds because both are supported by evidence based on observation and experimentation.

My lecturer in quantum mechanics at Cambridge, Professor Sir John Polkinghorne, wrote, “Science does not explain the mathematical intelligibility of the physical world, for it is part of science’s founding faith [notice his explicit use of the word] that this is so…”[30] for the simple reason that you cannot begin to do physics without believing in that intelligibility. On what evidence, therefore, do scientists base their faith in the rational intelligibility of the universe, which allows them to do science? The first thing to notice is that human reason did not create the universe. This point is so obvious that at first it might seem trivial; but it is, in fact, of fundamental importance when we come to assess the validity of our cognitive faculties. Not only did we not create the universe, but we did not create our own powers of reason either. We can develop our rational faculties by use; but we did not originate them. How can it be, then, that what goes on in our tiny heads can give us anything near a true account of reality? How can it be that a mathematical equation thought up in the mind of a mathematician can correspond to the workings of the universe?

It was this very question that led Einstein to say, “The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible”. Similarly the Nobel Prize winning physicist Eugene Wigner once wrote a famous paper entitled, “The unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in the natural sciences”.[31] But it is only unreasonable from an atheistic perspective. From the biblical point of view, it resonates perfectly with the statements: “In the beginning was the Word … and the Word was God … All things came to be through him” (John 1 v 1, 3).

Sometimes, when in conversation with my fellow scientists, I ask them
“What do you do science with?”
“My mind,” say some, and others, who hold the view that the mind is the brain, say, “My brain”.
“Tell me about your brain? How does it come to exist?”
“By means of natural, mindless, unguided processes.”
“Why, then, do you trust it?” I ask. “If you thought that your computer was the end product of mindless unguided processes, would you trust it?”
“Not in a million years,” comes the reply.
“You clearly have a problem then.”

After a pregnant pause they sometimes ask me where I got this argument—they find the answer rather surprising: Charles Darwin. He wrote: …with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy.

For thought is replaced by electrochemical neural events. Two such events cannot confront each other in rational discourse. They are neither right nor wrong—they simply happen. The world of rational discourse disappears into the absurd chatter of firing synapses. Quite frankly that can’t be right and none of us believe it to be so.

Lennox, John. Can Science Explain Everything? . The Good Book Company. Kindle Edition.

Maybe buy your friend a copy of this book? It’s brilliant and very understandable, and builds a very good case, and in the second last chapter shares the Gospel in ‘conversation on a train’. I keep a copy in my car glove box in case I can give it to someone as a follow up to a conversation.

Lennox has written two other goods books which are more in-depth which your friend could read after. ‘Gunning for God: Why the New Atheists have missed the mark’; and 'God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God".

Hopefully this is a helpful start… :slight_smile:
Kind regards
Matt

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Hello, Emil. This topic caught my eye. I wonder if your friend could give any observable example of a non-intelligent force or object creating an intelligent being? I can’t think of any.

Also, if God is an unthinking element or force, how did He/It have the awareness to know what to create, and then the intricately-designed mechanisms to maintain that universe’s existence and operations?

Seems much more plausible that an all-knowing, or at least extremely knowledgeable Being designed and created the exquisitely orderly space/time/matter/energy environment, complete with self-aware beings. An ignorant force would be expected to generate an ignorant product.

Of course, the Supreme Being’s “thought” would be of a superior quality and quantity than ours, or we could create Him instead of the other way around. Anyway, fascinating area to consider, especially since the ultimate logical conclusion of the investigation, as i see it, is a Creator Who is intimately involved in His creations.

And then there is the question of the “fruit of a belief”. The possibility of a benevolent Highest Power leads to the available experience of a (primarily, not perfectly perhaps) serene trust, and gratitude, that we are being taken care of, day by day.

On the other hand, an impersonal, unknowing and unknowable force or power would not likely be trustworthy to take care of its resultant objects, nor would it likely inspire gratitude. What the real question may be is whether we can trust the Power that gives us the breath of life and all we need to survive in this world, and in whatever may be the next.

Keep us posted, OK?

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It`s been awhile since i posted this. Thanks to @matthew.western for recommending Can Science Explain Everything? by J. Lennox, i have read that book, brilliant book, as he said! I keep reading, but about other topics, since I already established reasoning on that question for me.

So, I must say first - there is no answer I found for me for WHY that should be true, not because there is none of them (I believe there are), but because that question not leading to the point anyway. I mean we`re “moving” wrong, we have to move FROM results/evidences, not TO them…

So here is an example:
Youre in the closed room. There is a possibility that someone/something behind the door. But at the moment we dont have anything to prove either that thing is alive or not / minded or not… But only after it knocked the door or even gave a voice we have evidential material to think about.
Same works with my friend asking is that being behind the door rational. Well, since it not “initialized” itself correct answer (at least for me) would be “I don`t know”. But since we have some evidential arguments…
Same with Jesus. In facts, He have done pretty much the same for teachers of the law in Matthew 9:3-7

3 At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!”
4 Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?
5 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?
6 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.”

So the only thing he (my friend I debated with) have to accept now - is not that (for example) Moses spoke to God or to himself, but that this situation really occured (same would work with Jesus and all the miracles). And since this historical question would be raised even if the answer to the question above would be received as yes or no, i think we dealt with that good enough.

As I see the situation: my friend accepts that there is some god, then he accepts that there is a possibility for godly invasion in our material world, but in the same time he would reject every evidence because that is illogical… So he left no chance for God to prove him that God is alive.

Ironically, even John the Baptist doubted Jesus. Human nature…

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Hi Emil,
good to hear from you again.

So is this example from your friend as an objection?

First thing that comes to mind is: Where did the closed room come from? And where did I come from? Why is there something rather than nothing?

Here is a quote from Tim Keller’s book Reason for God that might be of interest:
Specifically the CS Lewis quote about Hamlet going into the attic of his castle and expecting to find Shakespeare. God is knowable to the extent that He has revealed Himself to his creation. The Bible claims that Jesus is the full revelation of God.

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@SeanO and @boabbott and @DeanW , do you have any clarifying thoughts on this topic to help out Emil? :slight_smile:

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@blessedviper Good question :slight_smile: A few thoughts. In the Judeo-Christian worldview God is not a creature—He is the Creator. Only in pagan religions are the gods part of the natural order. We worship a God who created the entire natural order. And it is generally acknowledge that this universe is ruled by rational laws. The question is—how did those laws develop?

If God created rational laws, He Himself must be rational. For God to create personal beings, He Himself must have personhood. Stated in other words, rational laws do not come from chaos and love requires personhood. We know God is love and we know that the world is rational, so it follows that God is both rational and a Person.

Now, someone might argue that complex systems can arise from simpler processes. That is, in some cases, true. However, that is only true because those simple processes were there in the first place and had the capacity to build these complex systems built in. At some point the simple process had to come into existence and the One who created them demonstrated intelligence in their design.

You may enjoy checking out the follow videos explaining Intelligent Design and how the universe points to a personal creator. Christ grant you wisdom as you share with your friend :slight_smile:

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Those are great videos, @SeanO.

And @blessedviper, i believe even vipers can be blessed. :hugs:

I noticed that your friend said something like: if “there is some god, then he accepts that there is a possibility for godly invasion in our material world, but in the same time he would reject every evidence because that is illogical…”

How could it be illogical that an all-powerful Being could (/would) provide evidence to His creatures that He is their Creator? That seems to be the most logical thing a Creator could do, if that Being wanted His creatures to come into intimate relationship with Him.

The only way it would be illogical to provide such evidence is if the Creator did not want any relationship with, or clear proof of His existence for, His creatures. Has your friend considered that reasoning?

Perhaps what he is really saying is that he will not accept the idea of a Supreme Being / Creator, no matter what apparent evidence there may be? I once believed something similar – that there could be a “Creative Force” in the universe, but it could not have “human-type” (or anthropomorphic) personality / characteristics. What i really meant was that i didn’t want a personal God because He would have some strong requirements for my lifestyle, some limitations on my pleasures, that i didn’t want.

Could that be true of your friend?

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mmm. this is so true. And this is what some honest atheists will say too. They don’t want God to exist - we learnt this in our book discussion in Chapter 6 of ‘The Atheist that Doesn’t Exist; Andy Bannister’;

  • equally disbelief in God is equally likey to be a psychological response (a crutch) of not wanting God to exist because as the two atheists quote.

Huxley:

For myself, as, no doubt, for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation.The liberation we desired was simultaneously liberation from a certain political and economic system and liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom; we objected to the political and economic system because it was unjust. The supporters of these systems claimed that in some way they embodied the meaning (a Christian meaning, they insisted) of the world. There was one admirably simple method of confuting these people and at the same time justifying ourselves in our political and erotic revolt: we could deny that the world had any meaning whatsoever.120

Nagel:

I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.

Bannister, Andy. The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (p. 91). Lion Hudson. Kindle Edition.

and one of the quotes of the chapter that really got my attention:

One of my heroes has long been the German Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, arrested during the Second World War and eventually killed by the Third Reich for the stance that he took against them. Bonhoeffer had an unnerving knack for writing paragraphs that can make one feel profoundly uncomfortable, such as this one:

If it is I who determine where God is to be found, then I shall always find a God who corresponds to me in some way, who is obliging, who is connected with my own nature. But if God determines where he is to be found, then it will be in a place which is not immediately pleasing to my nature and which is not at all congenial to me. This place is the Cross of Christ. And whoever would find him must go to the foot of the Cross, as the Sermon on the Mount commands.

Bonhoeffer is making the point that the heart of Christianity lies not in the idea that we invent, project, create, or choose God – if we did that, what we would have would be a God of our own making, one who looks suspiciously like us.

Bannister, Andy. The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (p. 95). Lion Hudson. Kindle Edition.

there was also the quote which I’ve heard Lennox use; “Christians are afraid of the dark”; and the similar response “atheists are afraid of the light”.

I think @matthew.western, @SeanO, and @DeanW have all answered very well.

In light of that, I want to answer a little differently than I normally would. Ravi says that a worldview must have 3 elements: Empirical adequacy, Logical consistency, and Existential relevancy. I’m going to raise the question, “What does existential relevancy look like?”

Typically, the question is answered by saying something like, “It provides the framework by which we can live our day to day lives.” While I think this is true and accurate, I also think there is more for the Christian to say here.

Specifically, in the original post, your friend accepts that God could exist and communicate with us but questions how we could know, for example, that God spoke to Moses because he concludes that it would be illogical for God to speak to humans. I don’t see anything explicitly illogical so he must have some hidden assumptions that need to be flushed out. I would ask him, “Why do you think it would be irrational for God to speak to us if he existed?” If you listen well, you’ll learn a lot about the direction the conversation needs to go to overcome this objection.

The question I would want to pose your friend and to you, @blessedviper, is, “Do you think God still speaks today?” Perhaps it’s due to my background of only living in the West, but most Christians would answer this question one of two ways: 1) No, God no longer speaks to us today as he did to those in the Bible, or 2) God could speak to us, but he doesn’t do it very often. I would like to challenge those responses.

I think God speaks much more often than we realize but because our attention is often elsewhere we miss it. There are several other reasons, but this isn’t the forum for that discussion. I grew up answering this question like response 2 above, but within the last 12-24 months I have learned and I’m seeing that God does engage with us quite regularly. For example, three days ago I was sitting in the witness stand for a court trial I’m involved in, and I heard and saw God move in the courtroom.

Now imagine if your friend hears God speak. How would he respond? One of my friends, who was formerly an atheist, thought he was going crazy. However, he began asking questions and hanging out with knowledgeable Christians and he is now on the path to becoming a pastor. I think if your friend heard God’s voice and knew it was God, it would bypass his objection and we would see more change in him than just a switch in his intellectual belief. And, this might be more existential relevancy than one could ever need to know that God exists.

I think you should begin to ask God if he would speak directly and clearly to your friend. If you’re unsure about what that might look like, check out the resources in a prior post of mine (copied below). And, as always, please feel free to DM me. I love joining the journey when people want to grow :slight_smile:

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Yes, Matt, i was thinking of Huxley, also. I was “raised on” him and Bertrand Russell, another well known atheist. I prided myself on being scientific (meaning i thought i could prove the Bible wrong) and very “liberated” (meaning unlimited sex and drunkenness/drugs whenever desired).

So i concocted a highly irrational, demanding, hostile “god image”, and then set about to help eliminate all belief in “it”. But He eventually changed my mindset, and now i like to tell atheists that they are RIGHT-- the god they don’t believe in doesn’t exist.

But a much, much better One does. In fact, the real Eternal One is always “too good to be true”, or so it seems to mortal minds. And He loves us more than we can conceive or believe. So the best we can do is imagine the most wonderful, loving, fair, kind, compassionate, that we can pretend exists, and then know, for certain, that He is always better than that.

And if we will try this “re-imaginng the perfect God”, repeatedly, He begins to verify that we are on the right track, since His righteousness exceeds our best understanding. And then, to borrow a phrase from C.S. Lewis, “we are surprised by joy”.

Way cool… the perfect, flawless, Heavenly Dad we always wanted and didn’t know we already had (if we want Him like He wants us – more than anything in the world). Can we *Believers" agree on these statements? Hope so.

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Absolutely! it’s amazing to consider. Luke 15:10 says there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God when one sinner repents. I had always imagined the angels were rejoicing; but the verse seems to indicate that God himself rejoices when someone turns to Him.

In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

It may be a bit flippant, but I also don’t believe in the god that Richard Dawkins doesn’t believe in. :slight_smile: As you so rightly describe a hostile “god-image” to then not believe in.

Thanks, Matthew. I’m glad us re-borners can have a sense of humor, too! Can’t let those anti-“joy-to-the-world” folks have all the fun…

Ever experienced what some people are currently calling “God-winks”? I sure have.

[Topic rewording: Can only a happy God create happy children?]

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@DeanW yes, I’ve had this experience a couple of times; just enough to strengthen my own faith in dark times. I’m a bit of a skeptical person, and think logically, and generally put things down to coincidence or probabilities; so these times are few and far between.

When people say they have answered prayer about something I consider trivial like a car park on a busy shopping day; I quietly tend to think that’s just a coincidence; but don’t say anything as I don’t want to undermine others faith (or perhaps my own faith isn’t what it should be).

I’ve had two of these times in the last 2 years (one was clearly answered prayer of which is a long and personal story, but the nature of the event really brought me to my knees and showed me God is in control of circumstances); and the other really hit me like a truck (so to speak) when reading through the book by Tim Keller: walking with God through suffering. John Lennox; asks a new question to consider in suffering; “What is God doing on a cross, suffering and dying at the hands of his creation?”. It was as if I received a ‘fuller’ understanding of God’s love at that time. hard to explain to others. both times caused me to realise how small I was and how high God is and in control of all things; and yet how much His love is equally all encompassing. Maybe it’s less of a ‘wink’ and more of a ‘hug’ as God revealed a little of Himself. For me it really humbles me (and perhaps scares me a little), makes me realise how sinful I am before God; and ever more grateful for Jesus.

Yes, Matthew, i know what you mean by “God hugs”. And i have also had a whole lot of “God tugs”. But you might enjoy one of my better “God winks” – let’s see if i can keep it short (probably not).

So i was living in the Seattle area, and though i was a older man, i got addicted to kayaking with very light-weight inflatables. Great fun!

But my new addiction was consuming most all of my free time (way too much fun), so i wasn’t spending enough time with my wife, or going to 12 Step meetings.

So one day i had it all planned to float down a small river into Lake Washington, starting in a city park where the llibrary was built over the river on a bridge.

My little inflatable boat was military green, and i used my paddles in each hand for better control. I started into the water and realized it wasn’t as deep near shore as i thought, and i had to push myself out to deeper water using my paddles to push down on the bottom while i lifted myself up, boat and all.

But, in the park there at the water’s edge, a guy was training his rottweiler dog to attack things, and it spotted me. To the dog i probably looked like a big green frog hopping out into the river.

So, of course, he came running at me full-speed, tongue hanging out, eyes aglow, and took a huge bite out of my boat and started shaking his head to tear it off. I had to use my paddle to push down on his head, hard, to get him to stop.

Meanwhile, the owner of the dog could see me sinking into the water and knew i would be mad, and probably call the police. So he called the dog, put him in the truck and sped away, while i sat fuming on the bottom of the river with the remaining pieces of my boat.

I was plenty angry, as you can imagine, hauled myself and gear out of the water and took off in my car, depressed and revengeful. But as my car got to the top of the hill above the water/park, a lady was walking a very tiny dog (could fit in your palm) on a thin leash and she walked him to the side of the road i was coming on, then leaned down and picked him up, put its little paw up in the air and waved it at me as i went by them.

I was shocked, couldn’t believe it really happened, looked in the rearview mirror and saw her putting the miniature dog down on the ground and going back the way she came. I guessed it was a “God wink” and started laughing – hard (all that emotion builtup being released).

And thus i cut way back on my boating adventures, spent more time with my wife and at “meetings”, and waited for the next “wink”. Kinda cute, wouldn’t you say?

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Even a single “like” for the above posting seems like a small “God-wink” to me.

Of course, i’m beginning to see them/Him almost everywhere. Thanks, friend/Friend.