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Why did God create the world this way?

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
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Re: Why did God create the world this way?

Post by meaningful_products » January 25th, 2019, 4:29 am

Mysterio448 wrote:
January 25th, 2019, 2:03 am

...

Furthermore, not all organisms feel pleasure. A Venus flytrap is unlikely to feel any satisfaction from digesting a fly, but it still digests a fly, nonetheless.

...
I think the venus fly trap might feel pleasure that is too compelling to resist.

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Re: Why did God create the world this way?

Post by Steve3007 » January 25th, 2019, 6:20 am

Mysterio448 wrote:You appear to be saying that predation is inevitable because it is the most efficient system to support biological life given the laws of the universe....
I wouldn't put it exactly like that. I don't put it in terms of efficiency. I'm just saying that for people who think there is a God who created the laws of physics (and therefore by extension the laws of chemistry and biology that sit on top of them) one of the results appears to have been the development of planetary systems. And one of the results of that appears to have been the development of biochemical entities (plants) that gradually collect solar energy and store it as chemical potential energy, in their bodies. And one of the results of that appears to have been the development of other biochemical entities (herbivorous animals) that collect that stored chemical energy. And one of the results of that... etc.

You're probably right and this God could have created other self-consistent laws with other outcomes, and maybe other systems of living things, but then your equivalent in that alternative type of Universe would be asking similar questions about why that particular system evolved as it did.

The reason why the threat of pain, death, blood and suffering are so effective at motivating rabbits to run from foxes is the same as the reason why you, in your OP, question it. The reason why people question why Nature has to be so red in tooth and claw is because they don't like suffering. But obviously not liking it is the whole point of it. Creatures that enjoy experiencing pain tend not to pass that characteristic on to their offspring as much as creatures who don't.

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Re: Why did God create the world this way?

Post by Mark1955 » January 25th, 2019, 8:36 am

Maybe he was lonely and wanted the company, maybe he was bored and wanted a laugh, maybe we are part of a really important experiment in developing a new form of live by evolution under specific conditions, maybe he's unloved and disregarded at home and wanted someone to look up to him. I could go on; but here's a thought, if you knew the answer what would you [could you] do about it.
If you think you know the answer you probably don't understand the question.

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Re: Why did God create the world this way?

Post by Mysterio448 » January 25th, 2019, 12:12 pm

Steve3007 wrote:
January 25th, 2019, 6:20 am


You're probably right and this God could have created other self-consistent laws with other outcomes, and maybe other systems of living things, but then your equivalent in that alternative type of Universe would be asking similar questions about why that particular system evolved as it did.as much as creatures who don't.
I disagree. The reason I question the design of this universe is because of the events that occur within it that are horrific and deeply unpleasant for the individual involved. There are other things in this universe I find unpleasant that do not compel me to question God's design for the universe. I find vomit, boogers, farts, and feces unpleasant, but these things do not compel me to seek the purpose behind the God's design for them.
Steve3007 wrote:
January 25th, 2019, 6:20 am
The reason why the threat of pain, death, blood and suffering are so effective at motivating rabbits to run from foxes is the same as the reason why you, in your OP, question it. The reason why people question why Nature has to be so red in tooth and claw is because they don't like suffering. But obviously not liking it is the whole point of it. Creatures that enjoy experiencing pain tend not to pass that characteristic on to their offspring as much as creatures who don't.
The sentence in bold appears to be your main point here. You still hold on to the belief that evolution -- creatures passing on helpful genes to the next generation -- is itself the main theme of life. Evolution is similar to reproduction; if a species does not reproduce, then the species will go extinct. Likewise, if a species does not genetically adapt to environmental pressures, the species will go extinct. The purpose of a species' existence is not to evolve, anymore than the purpose of the species is to reproduce. Reproduction to a species is comparable to what breathing is to an individual. Breathing is what keeps you alive, but it would be silly to suggest that breathing is the central theme of your life. Thus is the same for reproduction and evolution; they merely keep a species alive but should not be viewed as the whole point of life.

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Re: Why did God create the world this way?

Post by Eduk » January 25th, 2019, 12:23 pm

Breathing is what keeps you alive, but it would be silly to suggest that breathing is the central theme of your life. Thus is the same for reproduction and evolution; they merely keep a species alive but should not be viewed as the whole point of life.
Nobody knows what the point of life is, or if there is one, or even if the question makes sense (my guess would be that it doesn't), or that if there was an answer it would be comprehensible to humans (my guess is that if there is a point then it's probably incomprehensible to humans).
I'm not sure what you are really saying to be honest. You suffer therefore what?
Unknown means unknown.

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Re: Why did God create the world this way?

Post by Steve3007 » January 25th, 2019, 12:40 pm

Mysterio448 wrote:The reason I question the design of this universe is because of the events that occur within it that are horrific and deeply unpleasant for the individual involved.
Yes, I realise that's why you question the design of the Universe.

To me, that's another way of saying that those events cause a strong reaction. In other words, they cause the creatures experiencing them to take urgent action. If being chased by a fox didn't cause a strong reaction in the rabbit it wouldn't survive long. I don't really know why you question that particular aspect of life. It seems to make pretty good sense to me.
You still hold on to the belief that evolution -- creatures passing on helpful genes to the next generation -- is itself the main theme of life
As I've explained, I hold that it is a theory that describes the physical characteristics of life as they exist now and as they have changed over time.
The purpose of a species' existence is not to evolve...
I didn't say it was, but invoking this concept of purpose, or thinking of it as prescriptive rather than descriptive, is a common misconception of the theory of evolution. The theory of evolution does not exist to propose a purpose for species' existence. It is a scientific theory for describing their physical structure and how they behave. It doesn't tell them how they ought to behave. As we've already discovered, we disagree as to whether this description constitutes a "central theme of life", possibly because you think in terms of purpose.

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Re: Why did God create the world this way?

Post by Mysterio448 » January 26th, 2019, 12:50 pm

Eduk wrote:
January 25th, 2019, 12:23 pm

Nobody knows what the point of life is, or if there is one, or even if the question makes sense (my guess would be that it doesn't), or that if there was an answer it would be comprehensible to humans (my guess is that if there is a point then it's probably incomprehensible to humans).
I'm not sure what you are really saying to be honest. You suffer therefore what?
I was responding to what Steve3007 said, that evolution was the central theme of life.

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Re: Why did God create the world this way?

Post by Mysterio448 » January 26th, 2019, 1:01 pm

Steve3007 wrote:
January 25th, 2019, 12:40 pm
[
Yes, I realise that's why you question the design of the Universe.

To me, that's another way of saying that those events cause a strong reaction. In other words, they cause the creatures experiencing them to take urgent action. If being chased by a fox didn't cause a strong reaction in the rabbit it wouldn't survive long. I don't really know why you question that particular aspect of life. It seems to make pretty good sense to me.
I think you're missing the point. You have to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. The point is: why would God --the God of the Bible -- deliberately create a world that he knew would be full of violence, agony, fear, and misery, and a world where these things are built into its very design?



I didn't say it was, but invoking this concept of purpose, or thinking of it as prescriptive rather than descriptive, is a common misconception of the theory of evolution. The theory of evolution does not exist to propose a purpose for species' existence. It is a scientific theory for describing their physical structure and how they behave. It doesn't tell them how they ought to behave. As we've already discovered, we disagree as to whether this description constitutes a "central theme of life", possibly because you think in terms of purpose.
It was you who said that evolution was the central theme of life.

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Re: Why did God create the world this way?

Post by Greta » January 26th, 2019, 6:36 pm

Eduk wrote:
January 25th, 2019, 12:23 pm
Breathing is what keeps you alive, but it would be silly to suggest that breathing is the central theme of your life. Thus is the same for reproduction and evolution; they merely keep a species alive but should not be viewed as the whole point of life.
Nobody knows what the point of life is, or if there is one, or even if the question makes sense (my guess would be that it doesn't), or that if there was an answer it would be comprehensible to humans (my guess is that if there is a point then it's probably incomprehensible to humans).
I'm not sure what you are really saying to be honest. You suffer therefore what?
You suffer, therefore you are in a particular stage of matter development. If you suffer you are probably not a star, protoplanetary object, planet or nonliving organic chemicals from which life apparently sprang. If you suffer, you are probably in the class of matter that emerged on Earth perhaps about half a billion years ago with a fairly complex squishy entity with a metabolism, nervous system. It's pretty clear that evolution has programmed each of us to focus on maximising good feelings and minimising or avoiding suffering. I see life's brief at this stage to conquer suffering, which I suspect will involve surrendering our biology.

Biological matter is potent, but fragile, and it cannot last indefinitely on the only world we know that generated it due to the Sun's relatively short life. So, just as matter had a developmental jump to bring about biology, it will have another jump to become post-biological - if it is to remain an active agent.

It's harder to extrapolate meaning beyond transcending suffering, although it would seem that ideas like harmony, connection, empathy will become less romanticised and seen more for what they are - taking a sustainable approach - and these will spring naturally from deeper study of the synergies between intertwined systems (with the power of quantum computing). Continuing development without concurrent general improvement in cooperativeness and decency would seem unlikely to be sustainable.

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Re: Why did God create the world this way?

Post by Felix » January 26th, 2019, 7:08 pm

Mysterio448 (in reply to Steve3007) : I think you're missing the point. You have to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. The point is: why would God -- the God of the Bible -- deliberately create a world that he knew would be full of violence, agony, fear, and misery, and a world where these things are built into its very design?
You seem to have missed Steve's point. If "evolution is the central theme of life" as he suggested, than your question above is answered, i.e., the evils you described are necessary for physical evolution to occur - in this world anyway. Is that incompatible with the concept of a God of Love? Not necessarily, there may be extentuating circumstances unknown to us.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: Why did God create the world this way?

Post by Greta » January 27th, 2019, 8:13 pm

Felix wrote:
January 26th, 2019, 7:08 pm
If "evolution is the central theme of life" as he suggested, than your question above is answered, i.e., the evils you described are necessary for physical evolution to occur - in this world anyway. Is that incompatible with the concept of a God of Love? Not necessarily, there may be extenuating circumstances unknown to us.
If the Stelliferous Era of the universe continues for another trillion years there is plenty of time to make amends for the rude period of biology, which may just end up being a brief time when suffering briefly made an appearance in reality before the next branch of evolution based on AI continued without need for pain responses.

Fingers crossed :)

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Re: Why did God create the world this way?

Post by Steve3007 » January 28th, 2019, 6:19 am

Mysterio448 wrote:The purpose of a species' existence is not to evolve...
Steve3007 wrote:I didn't say it was, but invoking this concept of purpose, or thinking of it as prescriptive rather than descriptive, is a common misconception of the theory of evolution...
Mysterio448 wrote:It was you who said that evolution was the central theme of life.
Yes, in the sense that I've already explained a couple of times.

In the little exchange quoted above I was simply pointing out that it's incorrect to talk about Evolution in terms of it providing a purpose for living things, as if Evolution tells us how to behave. It simply attempts to describe their/our physical and mental characteristics. It doesn't dictate them.

So, in my view, Evolution is indeed the central theme of life on Earth in the sense that I've already explained, but that doesn't make it correct to state "the purpose of life is to evolve". To say that would be to misunderstand what Evolution is.

---
Mysterio448 wrote:The point is: why would God --the God of the Bible -- deliberately create a world that he knew would be full of violence, agony, fear, and misery, and a world where these things are built into its very design?
OK, if we're talking specifically about the God of the Bible, as opposed to some more general concept of God as the creator of the Universe, then I think the discussion has to be about "The Fall" and the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. You're probably better off discussing that with someone who knows more about it in depth than me. But my limited understanding of it is that before Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge there was no suffering in the world and mankind was innocent. That means innocent not in the sense of being the opposite of guilty, but innocent in the sense of lacking knowledge. It was knowledge of good and evil, and the free will that goes with it, that made Adam and Eve know that they were naked and which introduced suffering into the world. Before that, we're told, lions weren't predators, and so on.

Personally, I think the more interesting question about that is not about why God allowed this suffering to be introduced but why the writers of Genesis decided to write this story; why they thought it desirable to create this concept of a God who introduces Knowledge in this way and has Eve be the one to eat the apple and kick the whole thing off. In other words, I think it's more interesting to think about the real life human psychology of it all, rather than the psychology of the fictitious entities that were created as a result of that psychology. It's like The Lord of the Rings. The psychology of J.R.R. Tolkien (a real person) is more interesting than the psychology of Hobbits or Elves. The psychology of the men who wrote Genesis is more interesting than the fictitious characters with which they populated it.

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Re: Why did God create the world this way?

Post by Greta » January 28th, 2019, 8:14 am

Steve3007 wrote:
January 28th, 2019, 6:19 am
In the little exchange quoted above I was simply pointing out that it's incorrect to talk about Evolution in terms of it providing a purpose for living things, as if Evolution tells us how to behave. It simply attempts to describe their/our physical and mental characteristics. It doesn't dictate them.
Evolution is simply accumulated genetic responses to changing environments with each life form reflecting the environments of its ancestors.

Now a species exists that not only works to feel in harmony or equilibrium, but also has decided that it would be desirable if there was much less suffering in life and takes active pre-emptive steps to try to avoid it. The species devised philosophy to inoculate them from suffering through acceptance and understanding, religion to provide comfort, motivation and resilience, and avoidance of potentially painful situations through wealth accumulation and technology. The quest continues.

The human capacity to sense time through conscious memory and future projections allows purpose into the evolutionary equation. Once you are aware of and care about tomorrow, purpose becomes possible. Once there were no eyes in nature but creatures around the time of the trilobites changed that. Once there was no purpose, only genetically accumulated responses, now there is purpose, which is reflected in the emergence of artificial selection.

... as far as I can tell :)

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Re: Why did God create the world this way?

Post by Fooloso4 » January 28th, 2019, 12:15 pm

Since the question was asked in the context of the Hebrew Bible I will point to the two books that address it: Ecclesiastes and Job. The answers given, however, are not likely to satisfy you. Human beings do not have the capacity to understand the will of God. There are things far greater than us in the world, and incomparably more so, is the greatness of the God who created it all.

The pious may accept this “answer” but what about the rest of us? Before dismissing it we need to ask a few more questions. Why should we assume that there is a rational answer? Why must the world conform to some human standard of goodness and justice? To put it somewhat differently, why assume that God must be part of an answer? Perhaps the problem is not with the answer but with the question.

To ask “why?” may be a demand for an answer, an explanation or justification, but it might, instead, have at its source wonder, awe, and astonishment. The latter sense is contemplative. It does not attempt to uncover something behind the given, it marvels at the given, that there is a given, that there is anything at all.

But such lofty contemplation may not be a satisfactory attitude for those who have been touched by suffering, by those who must fend for themselves, for those who live in the world. The message of Ecclesiastes is simple, yet profound:
There is nothing better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and make his soul enjoy pleasure for his labour. This also I saw, that it is from the hand of God. (2:24)
I know that there is nothing better for them, than to rejoice, and to get pleasure so long as they live. (3:12)
So I commended mirth, that a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry, and that this should accompany him in his labour all the days of his life which God hath given him under the sun. (8:15)
Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, And drink thy wine with a merry heart; For God hath already accepted thy works. (9:7)
In secular terms, things will happen as they will, enjoy what you can, for all is vanity. In the end, in death, according to Ecclesiastes, the fate of all - righteous and unrighteous, good and bad, just and unjust, is the same.

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Re: Why did God create the world this way?

Post by Belindi » January 28th, 2019, 1:02 pm

Of all animals only men seek reasons. Other animals don't need to seek reasons as they either act from biological instincts or from stimuli and responses.

Men reason in order that they may predict what lies ahead and thus augment our pleasures and keep ourselves safe. For those of us who believe that "the world" does not reason about stuff "Why did God create the world this way?" is senseless regarding both God, and "the world".

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