Thursday, 6 January 2011

2 Questions...

A couple of questions that have crossed my mind today...

1. Does God know the future?

a) If you answer yes to this question, then does it follow that the future is immutable? That everything that has happened, is happening and will ever happen is set in stone and cannot be changed? If this is the case, then what is the point of any of it happening at all? It certainly cannot be just to satisfy curiosity. Also, doesn't this scenario completely remove personal responsibility for any action, no matter how vile? Any action can be justified by saying that this is the way it had to was all part of God's plan.

b) If you answer no to this question, then doesn't that make God fallible? Imperfect and fully capable of making mistakes? If He doesn't know the future then He's just waiting to see how it will all turn out just like the rest of us. Certainly humanizes an otherwise very distant and unfathomable deity.

2. If all of humanity simply ceased existing right now, vanished off the face of the Earth without a trace, how long would it be until the things we made would start blowing up and how would the Earth be damaged without any maintenance on all these automatic things that we have created? Also, if aliens visit the Earth about 2 weeks after we have all vanished, what do you think they would make of what's left behind? Do you think they would understand all of our artifacts and see what logic there is in them? Would they be able to understand how we lived? Better yet, would they be able to understand WHY we lived the way we did? Do we? Would they be able to garner some higher meaning from the human experience that we cannot see, being too close to the subject matter? What could that meaning possibly be?


If I see a few answers (and maybe eventually even if I do not) I'll post my own answers to these questions. However, I would seriously like to hear your thoughts on these subjects, whoever you are.


  1. Wow. Some thought-provoking questions. Of course I couldn't resist throwing in my 2 cents. I've given up on trying to give a response that fits the max # of characters, to this'll be a 2 part response.

    1. Does God know the future?

    IMO, the answer to this question would depend upon your definition of God and your definition of the future.

    Personally, I was raised by parents who identify as atheists and I haven't really come to a conclusion myself as to whether or not a God exists. Having said that, growing up in Western Society certainly exposes one to a Judeo-Christian idea of God and I when I picture God I picture this being who is everthing that was, is and will be, so in that sense wouldn't God kinda be the future?

    I also tend to think that just because God may know the future, that doesn't necessarily mean that future is immuteable.

    Admittedly, I have read very little about astrophysics, space-time theories and whatnot, but I've heard it said that time may not be so linear and that our reality is but one in an infinite # of other possible realities happening at the same time. That for every choice there is a different outcome and set of other possible outcomes and they all play out simlutaneously. If this is possible, then in a sense God may know the future (or in other words he may know all possible outcomes) but it is still our choices and/or chance that determine which future we experience. So my thought is, God might know the future and yet, at least from our perspective, our futures are still not set in stone.

    As for a fallible, imperfect deity, my question has always been: If a deity is so perfect and all-knowing, why would they feel the need to create the universe in the first place? There is no need to create something unless something is missing, or some void needs to be filled. So my thought is, if there is some sort of deity that created us, a deity which is actually some sort of sentient being, then the very fact that deity saw fit to create us means to me that the deity is imperfect.

  2. 2. The damage:

    I suppose if you're picturing everyone simultaneously disappearing into thin air, then the destruction would start almost immediately. Of course there would be car accidents galore, and I've got to think we'd be looking at cars driving into gas station pumps, trucks with volatile materials flipping over etc... That alone could cause a lot of damage. Then I suppose many sorts of mechanically run facilities could cause serious destruction within a matter of days if not hours of people no longer being in control or telling them to stop: The most obvious probably being things like nuclear plants, oil wells/drilling operations, anything dealing with caustic chemicals etc...

    The aliens:

    Here again it depends on what you envisage aliens to be. I think that the ideas fed to us by Hollywood are so pervasive that it would be impossible to postulate. When you really think of the size and age of our universe I wonder if alien beings would be so, well, alien to us that we might not even realise what they were if they were standing right in front of us. Are they physical beings with one head and limbs, sort of like us? Or could they be a mass of consciousness, or simply vibrational energy, or could they maybe live in a world of 4 or more dimensions and not even see our objects in the way that we do? I almost think the more interesting question would be, if a bunch of humans were put into hibernation, or were somehow separated from the Earth and raised apart in a spaceship or other planet for a millenia, and were to come back to earth 2 weeks after we have all vanished, I wonder what another human brain would make of what was left behind. I often wonder how off the mark we are about a lot of accepted theories we have about ancient human civilizations such as the Egyptians or Mayans. I wonder what huge pieces of the puzzle might be missing simply because whatever materials they were made of have long since decayed, leaving us no trace.

    "Would they be able to understand WHY we lived the way we did? Do we? Would they be able to garner some higher meaning from the human experience that we cannot see, being too close to the subject matter?" These are all great questions. I like the saying: "there's your side, then my side, and then there's the truth." There's a lot to be said about the uninvolved observer. That's the paradox: How can we pass any judgement on ourselves if we have to use our own brains to do it? We can never quantify our own value and importance in the grand scheme of things for ourselves, because it's like a grain of sand deciding just how pivotal it is in a sandy beach. Who knows how simplistic and uninteresting our perceived "progress" really has been.

  3. Sorry dude. I kept getting this "The requested URL is too large to process." error after posting my comment and I didn't think to refresh the page to see if it worked. Feel free to delete the superfluous copies. 8-P

  4. superfluous comments deleted! Thanks for the answers! I've actually gotten tons of comments on this blog but am happy to see you are the first to actually comment "ON this blog" as opposed to via email or face to face :).

    As for your answers...I had thought about the idea of a "multiverse" a la DC comics where the actions of every person create a splinter version of the universe (in one I went to the store, in another, I stayed home), and that maybe God knows all of them or all are contained within him or whatever...or maybe some variation of that...but I thought the blog was already running long so I didn't want to clutter the issue. It is a lot to think about. I find it remarkable that you and I, having opposite starting points (I was raised fully immersed in Judeo-Christianity), have reached a very common middle ground on the concept of God. As for question 2, I do think that you're right that they may be far to alien to ever understand. I don't want to blow my answers for part 2 but your comments are very thought provoking! Stay tuned and I'll do "2 answers" in a couple of days...