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Passions in Poetry

Does God evolve?

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serenity blaze
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0 posted 02-05-2004 02:49 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Assuming that you have belief in God, and not according to any name/sexual designation you might choose to call that God, I would like to know your thoughts on whether or not "God" evolves.

I'd like to use a scriptural example from The Old Testament of the Bible (though there are corresponding mythologies in texts from other religions as well, I am admittedly not well-versed enough in those to quote from them at this time.)

In Genesis 6:7, God demonstrates regret. "This race of men whom I have created, I will wipe them off the face of the earth--man and beast, reptiles and birds. I am sorry that I ever made them."

God then shows favor to one just man and his family, and commences to destroy much of his creation by flood. After the deluge, God makes a promise to mankind:

"Never again will I curse the ground because of man, however evil his inclinations may be from his youth upwards. I will never again kill every living creature, as I have just done. While the earth lasts seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall never cease" (Gen.8: 21,22)

This promise to God's creation(s) is further established in chapter nine:

"I now make my covenant with you and with your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, all birds and cattle, all the wild animals with you on earth, all that have come out of the ark." (Gen.9: 9,10)

There are various other covenants following, not the least of which is the covenant of the New Testament.

Do you believe this illustrates an imperfect God that makes mistakes, or does it illustrate a God who evolves in a compensatory evolution to meet with the evolving needs of his own creation(s)?

*    *    *

And one question more--does discussion of philosophy require that I have a pre-disposed opinion regarding my question, or can I just ask something here in the spirit of exploration? (I dropped philosophy in college after three weeks, because I am self-indulgently lazy in matters of intellectual discipline.)

sigh.

Yanno? It has come to my attention recently that because of my reputation here for sarcastic humor, some people don't take me seriously. I accept full responsibility for that, and I am simply asking questions here in a spirit of exploration, because I do, in fact, respect the opinions of all of you. End of disclaimer.



Susan Caldwell
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1 posted 02-05-2004 03:32 PM       View Profile for Susan Caldwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Susan Caldwell

Karen,

I hope all you are looking for are opinions, because certainly I don't think any of the questions you ask have actual proof one way or another.  

I consider myself agnostic.  I believe there is a higher power.  Not sure what or who it is.  I believe the bible is a wonderful collection of fiction.  

I have found many contradictions in the Bible and you point out one.  The bible eludes that God is perfect, yet as you have quoted, regretful.  The bible also says God is love, yet goes on to say if you don't do right you will burn in an everlasting hell.  Can you imagine doing that to your own child no matter what they have done?

I guess my point is that I don't have an answer.  Who knows?  If the Bible is true, then how do you explain the contradictions?

I think it would be nice to just think that the higher power learns and evolves just like a parent.  

And lady?  Glad you are feeling better.  Love ya!

"sit on top of the world and tell me how you feel...'cause what you feel is what I feel for you.."
~Dido~

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2 posted 02-05-2004 04:18 PM       View Profile for Ringo   Email Ringo   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Ringo

Karen- It is my belief that the Father/Earth Mother/Allah/whatever, is required to evolve around the creation in order to remain viable... just as there is a creation required for there to be a "Higher" form.

As for the question of asking something in the spirit of exploration... if anyone STOPS exploring their faith, and their understanding of whomever/whatever then that person has stopped living (IMHO) and is disrespecting their Creator of choice.

But now the animal is in pain...
And now it's starting to rain...
But I'm still the same.

Ron
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3 posted 02-05-2004 04:23 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
And one question more--does discussion of philosophy require that I have a pre-disposed opinion regarding my question, or can I just ask something here in the spirit of exploration?

Absolutely. And, frankly, even if you have an opinion formed, I feel everything posted in here is in the spirit of exploration.

quote:
Do you believe this illustrates an imperfect God that makes mistakes, or does it illustrate a God who evolves in a compensatory evolution to meet with the evolving needs of his own creation(s)?

Uh, but those aren't the only alternatives.

The answers I gave me three-year-old about sex were quite a bit different than those I offered when she was eleven. Doesn't mean I changed, certainly doesn't mean sex changed, it only means I chose to give her what I felt was best for her at any given time.

Not incidentally, if she were to ask the same questions at thirty, my answers would reflect her continued growth. Personally, I rather strongly suspect God's revelations didn't end 2,000 years ago. The other shoe is still in the air.  

Asking if God evolves is as paradoxical as asking if God can create a rock too heavy for Him to lift. Evolution, after all, implies living within the limitations and confines of Time. Only in the last hundred years, since Einstein, have we begun to realize that time isn't immutable to human perception. And only when we can "see" God outside of time can we begin to understand the limits we otherwise accept as "common sense."

I have to admit I was a little startled, for personal reasons, to see this topic broached. A few years or decades from now, should my novel ever get written, we'll have to talk about it again.  

quote:
The bible also says God is love, yet goes on to say if you don't do right you will burn in an everlasting hell. Can you imagine doing that to your own child no matter what they have done?


Many parents find it equally repelling, Susan, to spank a child.

I'm certainly not comparing spanking to burning in Hell, largely because I really have no idea what the latter entails. Is it literal? Is it a metaphor? Anyone who has loved deeply knows the unbearable pain of forever losing that love, so maybe Hell is finally and personally discovering the infinite love of God, only to realize our choices have damned us to an eternity of living apart from that love? I really don't know.

My comparison is not between the punishments, but rather between the motivation behind the punishment. Often, I think, the things we do in the best interests of those we love are the most difficult to do, the most painful to accept. Spanking is trivial. Refusing to enable a substance-abuser we dearly love is less so. Neither, I think, is provoked by hate or vengeance, but rather by our love.

Love seems to never be demonstrated as much by the freedoms given as by the limitations imposed. Kids seem to intuitively know that, too.  
serenity blaze
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4 posted 02-05-2004 06:19 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

What I am concerned with is, assuming God does not evolve, is understanding how a creative force can be static.
Ron
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5 posted 02-05-2004 07:45 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

LOL. Is that all, Karen? In the world we know, I can't understand how anything can be static.

The real question is, should I interpret that as a limitation of the Universe. Or of my understanding?
serenity blaze
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6 posted 02-05-2004 07:51 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

LOL m'self, Ron.

I am still somehow optimistic, or I wouldn't have posed the question anyhow.

I like to think that neither the universe nor my understanding is limited.

(But then, I don't know the difference between truth and rationalizations anyhow.)

And that's the truth!
serenity blaze
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7 posted 02-05-2004 07:58 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Hopefully I am not trying your patience here, but just so that I am very clear--

your answer to the question is?


(and forgive my confusion--it's not that I'm new to this, it's that I am bad at this stuff.)

tapping toe and smiling,

so...

yes or no?

Does God evolve?

KristieSue
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8 posted 02-05-2004 08:00 PM       View Profile for KristieSue   Email KristieSue   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit KristieSue's Home Page   View IP for KristieSue

hmmm...first off Karen...In my opinion, you are quite educated, talented...etc.  Your sense of humor is just another part of your talent :-)  This topic doesn't surprise me coming from you... :-)

and, I came prepared to write a full essay, but find myself agreeing with 99.9% of what Ron said :-)
Ron
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9 posted 02-05-2004 09:27 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
your answer to the question is?

Can perfection be perfected?

How about if we try to rephrase your question, Karen, into an equivalent declarative sentence?

This sentence is a lie.

Yep. That's the same.
Krawdad
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10 posted 02-05-2004 10:14 PM       View Profile for Krawdad   Email Krawdad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Krawdad

You say:
"Assuming that you have belief in God, and not according to any name/sexual designation you might choose to call that God, I would like to know your thoughts on whether or not "God" evolves."

Other folks don't have thoughts about this?
Or, you wouldn't want to hear them if they did?
Christopher
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11 posted 02-05-2004 10:55 PM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

"If God didn't exist, man would invent him." - Voltaire.

Consider the implications.
serenity blaze
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12 posted 02-05-2004 11:00 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Smiles, with a "fair enough" nod to Ron.

And Kraw? I hope I didn't phrase my question in a manner that would preclude anyone from joining in, as that wasn't my intent. (If I'm understanding your question correctly)

If I'm not understanding you, let me sleep on it. I may have sprained something in the brain again.

C? Yep, that's what I was doing...

whew.

My one half hour of concentration has long been up for the day--but I will be back tomorrow!



Thanks all. I appreciate the consideration.
Denise
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13 posted 02-06-2004 12:15 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

No Karen, I don't think God evolves given that He is timeless and is therefore not subject to time constraints, and He also says of Himself that He is the same yesterday today and forever, but I think He has to present Himself to us within the reference of the time framework since that is all we are familiar with, sort of like Him 'speaking our language' so we can relate to Him in some measure, given our finite abilities, does that make any sense? I hope so!
quote:
  The bible also says God is love, yet goes on to say if you don't do right you will burn in an everlasting hell.  Can you imagine doing that to your own child no matter what they have done?


Susan, No, I couldn't, which led me to start studying this topic extensively and I think you would be very pleasantly surprised if you checked out a literal word for word translation from the available ancient manuscripts, such as Young's Literal Translation or Concordant Literal New Testament. You won't be able to find  'hell' or 'eternal' or 'everlasting' connected with punishment or torment. What you will find are terms like Hades (which simply means grave or the unseen), Gehenna (a burning trash dump near Jerusalem) and Tartarus (a place devoid of light where the angels who gave up their sovereignty, i.e, neglected their high position) are held until judgment. You would also see that any punishment mentioned is qualifed by a time reference (age, eon, age-abiding, age-lasting, etc.) and it is not punitive in nature, but cleansing, purifying, purpose driven and redemptive.

There were literal words that God could have chosen in place of the time qualifying words that He did choose to use if 'eternal' or 'unending' were what He wished to convey, but He didn't.  Poor translations by imperfect people and traditions of men and religion have given us a tyrant instead of a true revelation into the heart of God and of His purposes.

I've recently learned that God deals with mankind through time designations. He mentions a period before the eons, past eons, present eons, portions of eons, impending eons, the eon of the eons, and the Consummation, which is the end of all time designations.

In a literal translation you will find that believers are not given 'eternal' life through faith, they are given the blessings of aionian (Greek word pertaining to time) life, beginning in the here and now, the present eon, and continuing into the two future remaining eons following their receiving immortality upon Christ's returning in the clouds to take them to be with Him forever prior to His establishing His earthly Kingdom in Jerusalem (the next eon on the timeline), followed by the New Heavens and the New Earth (the last eon mentioned).

To my understanding from my studies so far, it seems that unbelievers will miss out on these blessings (the peace and joy in this present life that comes from knowing God as a Father and not as a Judge, and they will still be in the grave during the next two eons) after which time they will be raised from the dead, judged according to their deeds, and will receive some sort of chastisement that culminates in the second death (Lake of Fire, which could be figurative, as sulphur and fire are used in the Bible to represent God's purification), whereafter the second death is abolished, everything is subjected to Christ and then Christ in turn subjects everything to God the Father and then God becomes All and in All (1 Corinthians 15:22-28). This is called the Consummation, when every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord, to the praise of His glory (I forget the chapter and verse at the moment). Some believe now and are saved through faith, and some will not believe until they see God face to face. But I believe that all will eventually be reconciled to Him. And all of this is made possible only because of the redemptive work of Christ for all mankind.

My own perception of God has greatly improved since I began studying with a literal word for literal word translation. So much of what caused confusion before has been cleared up for me. And if God could be understood this way through a literal translation, instead of in the fearful tyranical presentation found in most church creeds, why would anyone not want it to be true, or at least study it out for themselves, in the hope that it might be? I don't know, but I do know that eternal torment seems to be a concept that most people don't want to part with.

LOL Sorry for the book!

p.s. God loving and embracing even His enemies, wow, what a concept!   
Masked Intruder
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14 posted 02-06-2004 02:36 AM       View Profile for Masked Intruder   Email Masked Intruder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Masked Intruder

My question is, would God still embrace his enemies if they had a small chance of actually BEING an enemy?  I mean, really.  How can you be the enemy of something you cannot hurt in any feasible manner?  I wouldn't mind meeting a true enemy of God (except this enemy would probably vaporize me in my shoes), the implication of power behind that is slightly dumbfounding.  

As for your questin, Karen...I firmly believe that a higher being evolves every second, simply because that higher being generally is a creation of what people believe in her.  Those people's thoughts change so rapidly and so differently, I can't imagine how many times per second said higher being is changing.

Or something along those lines.  

serenity blaze
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15 posted 02-06-2004 02:45 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Couldn't sleep.

But thank you for the "book" Denise, I'm hoping that I understand the gist of it, but all the references I'll have to knit together later.

But let's see...

Okay. So it is paradox.

And while I was "out", I was thinking, that even if it's true that we create our God in our own image, I really don't have a problem with that either. Either way I would be the microcosm of the macro, right?

So therefore in order to know "God" to the best of my human ability I would first have to know myself. (This is also backed up scripturally, I know, but that laziness thing is plaguing me.)

I think if I think in those terms, I can understand how a creative force can also be static. My DNA, for example, is a static blueprint of myself. But I am unquestionably evolving at the same time.

(Or is that analogy too simplistic?)
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16 posted 02-06-2004 08:31 AM       View Profile for KristieSue   Email KristieSue   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit KristieSue's Home Page   View IP for KristieSue

My question is, would God still embrace his enemies if they had a small chance of actually BEING an enemy?  I mean, really.  How can you be the enemy of something you cannot hurt in any feasible manner?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
God embraced Judas.  HE took Judas under his wings, spent years with him teaching him, breaking bread, sleeping, travelling...and from the very beginning -before Judas even knew- Jesus knew that Judas was going to betray him.

God embraces all of us in the same way.  It is our choice to accept Him or not.  The reward is eternal life.  A place after this life we can go to where there is nothing but eternal joy.  No pain or tears...boy can I deal with that.  The second choice is Hell.  I don't believe God is going to throw us into a big vat of raging fire...no, much worse.  I believe we are going to be in void.  We won't be able to see a thing because it will be so dark.  We won't have anyone to talk to, anywhere to go...all we will be able to hear are the sobs and wails of others.  I can't think of anything more horrifying really...than an eternity of that.  I wouldn't say God is unfair in punishing mankind in such a way....those who end up there are CHOOSING that way.  They have told Him to take His gift and shove it...We aren't His puppets, He can't make us do what He wants...or we'd all be going to heaven.
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17 posted 02-06-2004 10:01 AM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

"If God didn't exist..."

Extrapolated from that, one could say: "If God didn't evolve, Man would evolve [him]."

It's a question of perception, not actuality. Along the lines of what Ron was saying. You're house wasn't really larger when you were younger, but as you grow, it seems different.

Why then, wouldn't God?
Susan Caldwell
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18 posted 02-06-2004 10:26 AM       View Profile for Susan Caldwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Susan Caldwell

"Never again will I curse the ground because of man, however evil his inclinations may be from his youth upwards. I will never again kill every living creature, as I have just done. While the earth lasts seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall never cease" (Gen.8: 21,22)

Okay, but above, God seems to regret what he had done and promises not to do it again.  How would that be a perception on our part?  Isn't that God evolving?

(And I do admit I tend to take things very literally, it's a character flaw).
Brad
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19 posted 02-06-2004 11:26 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

It's not a character flaw. It's a good thing.
Essorant
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20 posted 02-06-2004 01:11 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

All things must have both heat and cold to evolve or they freeze eternally to ice, or burn eternally to fire.  And though I'm open minded I have difficulty picturing a God as a big inferno, or one big icecub!    

He must have "temperatures" as We.  But this doesn't mean that there are infinite "compounds" of heat and cold, and evolving may not be revolving.  

There may be simply too many "compounds" for anyone to count but a God.  

If God is such as is everywhere and all knowing he must have counted all of them and knows all possibilities and wieldings.  

He must be to all Temperatures, Temperer        

[This message has been edited by Essorant (02-06-2004 02:06 PM).]

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21 posted 02-06-2004 01:28 PM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

men wrote The Book.

perception. assigned qualites as an explanation.
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22 posted 02-06-2004 10:07 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
Okay, but above, God seems to regret what he had done and promises not to do it again.  How would that be a perception on our part?  Isn't that God evolving?

I don't think regret  (in the sense of having made a mistake) was the context with Noah's flood.  I think regret is having to do what is just, yet not necessarily finding in that action the joy of your heart.  Some things have to be done.  No parent enjoys spanking their kids, as Ron said.  I think this "regret" as recorded in the scriptures is akin to something like that.  

It also tells us that a dispensation of "mercy" follows after judgement ... For example, Christ had to die for our sins, before the Gospel could be preached to anyone.  It is Jewish tradition that a day is described as "Evening and then morning".  Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning.  Punishing for sin is God's "strange work".  His heart is to forgive and bless.  But no forgiving and blessing can come until sin has been dealt with, through punishment, or through vicarious punishment.  


So I don't think God must be seen as "changing", if you can see the following:

1)  These actions reveal eternal truths to us about God, and his attitude toward sin and forgiveness.


2)  God is a "living God", and not an algorithm.  He can decree one thing to demonstrate something, and then decree something else following.  This doesn't mean that he contradicts his character at all.  It just means he has done things in his determined order.  (in other words, the two determinate statements in Genesis are not irreconcilable apart from error on God's part)


3) Anthropomorphizing ... or God acting human, is consistent with the whole incarnation.  Jesus, was the "lamb slain from the foundation of the world".  And even we are created "in his image".  Maybe the humanness of God, as seen in apparent regrets, is that we may understand him better.  Maybe it is just such "foolishness" of God that will always prove "wiser than men".  We always want to make God into a kind of mechanistic system that is predictable and tidy.  But none of us are like that either.       But again that doesn't mean God makes errors, sins, or "evolves".  


Just some thoughts.


Stephen.

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23 posted 02-10-2004 08:41 AM       View Profile for berengar   Email berengar   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for berengar

And good thoughts they are, too, Stephen.  When expostulating on Heaven and Hell, Julian of Norwich said something along the lines of God being experienced as a radiant light or consuming fire...depending on the person (and in which case is Jesus' gift of forensic justification a means to abide in a presence that, if left unprotected, would destroy us?  The spiritual equivalent of an asbestos blanket, perhaps.)
On a more flippant (and Darwinian) note, how can God evolve if He is not subject to natural selection or genetic drift?
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24 posted 02-11-2004 02:23 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
how can God evolve if He is not subject to natural selection or genetic drift?


Boy, you're comparing apples and orange Volkswagons.  

Who said that all change comes through natural selection and genetic drift?  The sky changes, does it have "genes"?

Not even all human change is genetically related.


Stephen.
 
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