Thursday, 13 January 2011

2 Answers...

...of a sort. I really asked 2 questions without firm answers in my last post, rather intentionally as an intellectual exercise. They were just examples of the sorts of things I think about on a day to day basis as I'm driving my train around in circles. However, I was shocked and gratified by the number of responses I received, mostly face to face but also via email or right here in the comments section. I didn't even know that many people read my blog! So thanks for those who expressed interest and opinions.

And on to my answers. Incidentally I reserve the right to change my mind about this or anything I say, ever, at any given time. I do my best to tell the truth as I see it in this moment of time only and refuse to write anything in stone. Just so you know.

Okay, question 1 was Does God know the future?

I am somewhat undecided on this issue. I'd like to answer that he does not (although this opinion seems unpopular). The future is yet to be written and even a supreme being cannot see for certain what lies ahead. At least since He gave us free will. However, I will allow that God is an expert on cause and effect and can see the most likely outcomes. It's just that, looking at the world, reading the bible and other texts about the nature of God, I think it is safe to say that mistakes have been made. I mean, according to the bible, God's on at least plan C by now. (Please note that I am basing this on the Judeo-Christian version of God as that's the one I know the most about and is most commonly referenced in Western culture. Just in case you thought I might be talking about Zeus or Allah or something).

Let's explain.

Plan A: Drop humans in paradise. Live happily ever after. Clearly that didn't work out. Here we have an inexperienced deity who had faith in humanity to do the right thing. A more jaded God of the 21st century would NEVER make this mistake.

Plan B: Life sucks but at least you live a long time and there's lots of space. This of course got out of hand right away and "Angry God" had to come smite the crap out of humanity over and over...finally rebooting us with a big flood and saving only a handful of people. Of course that won't work either. Human nature 101...if there's a rule and a human in the same room, the rule will soon be broken.

Plan C: Jesus is the answer. Taking matter into his own hands, God gives up on us behaving and simply incarnates himself as an avatar on Earth, dies, goes to hell, and basically pays off on all our sins. Seems overly complicated to me...since it's his choice anyway why not just say "Hey, forget it...I forgive you." Instead, he puts himself (now his son? So much for monotheism) through hell, literally, to help us out. This is very nice of him. However, it seems like it could be easily avoided with just a little forethought, never mind the ability to already know it would happen.

Perhaps the future is set in stone to the point that things HAVE to happen because they already did? This is the way it is in such excellent fiction as "Watchmen" and "The Time Traveler's Wife." That doesn't negate the fact that mistakes have been made though. And why would God make it that way if he knew universal suffering would result?

Anyway so I'd like to think that God is all knowing as far as past and present are concerned, but doesn't have a solid grasp on the future. That just makes the most sense to me. It also puts me firmly in charge of my own fate, which, while scary (I'm definitely under-qualified), seems more desirable than to consider myself a puppet performing a script laid out billions of years before I was born for a purpose I can never know (unless I die. Maybe).

Anyway I could go on and on but this is already a long post. Let's move on to question 2.

"What if we all disappeared..."

First off, my friend assures me that most things that would catastrophically explode have fail safes to prevent such an occurrence (at least in North America). While this is comforting, I have to think that billions of cars, gas stations, small power stations, etc would still create a lot of toxic explosions almost immediately. Smoke from fires on a global scale would certainly drop Earth into a perilous state, probably resulting in a new Ice Age and the mass extinction of plant and animal life around the globe. At this point in human history, as much as I hate to say it, I think the Earth needs us to keep moving forward as a viable ecosystem. While we hurt the planet every day, unless we all shut down everything before we left, we'd hurt it a lot more by going. Sad but true. Of course at this point the idea of Earth as a viable and sustainable ecosystem may very well be a fool's dream, with or without humanity. I guess we'll find out soon enough.

And what of the aliens who've landed in our deserted streets, trying to make sense and garner meaning from the objects we've left behind? I don't think they could do it. They'd certainly figure out what it's all for, given enough time, but I suspect that they would be completely baffled by the whys behind the way we live. I can't really prove this, it's just a gut reaction. Mainly based on the fact that I am personally completely and continually baffled by the way that humans live and behave. If I don't understand it, how could an alien being who may not even perceive things on the same level?

As for meaning? Author Douglas Coupland claims that the only way to interject meaning into one's life is to make your life like a story. I don't know if this is the truth, but it seems like a good starting point. Without humanity, there are no more stories and thus no more meaning. Perhaps aliens would make up stories and thus inject us with meaning that we never saw, but it seems more likely that they would just be baffled. At the end of the day, I see an alien landing party looking around, shaking their heads and thinking to themselves "better them than us."

That seems fairly negative. It's not meant to be. All I am saying is that IF there is meaning to be found here, it will have to be found by human beings for human beings. So now you have a job to do. Go find meaning, and tell me about it.

Well, what are you waiting for???


  1. i heard about your blog so i thought id read it.So hear is my answer.
    God allows everything to happen for a reason. Circumstances will either direct you, correct you, or perfect you.
    What does the future hold its totally up to you.Its how we make our future in our attitude towards things. we can make it suck or we can turn things around & make it better.The world has its problems but it doesn't mean we have to be part of that problem.Be positive we have lots to be thankful for.

  2. Christine I certainly agree with you, particularly about being positive and thankful...thanks for the post