Friday 18 July 2014

What was the main problem for God?


God and Man are of the same basic 'kind' - which is evidenced by the fact (not metaphor) that He is our Father, we are His children and we are destined to be raised-up as 'Sons of God'.

Hence we can become, and are enjoined to become, like God.  

This is what God deeply desires to accomplish - He yearns for us to become like Him - enough like Him that we may each of us experience (what could be termed) a divine loving friendship with Him: and He with each of us.


But there is a problem...

Or rather, the 'problem' was not a problem - but a reality. The reality that Man's will is free.

Because Man really is an autonomous agent, then man can only be educated, enticed and persuaded; Man cannot (ultimately) be coerced into becoming like God, nor can God-like status be imposed upon Man.

We, personally, each of us as individuals, must consent to becoming like God: more than this, we must actively want to become like God.


So, this was the problem - the reality - confronting God when designing the earth and the basic nature of things.

Everything must work-around free will and autonomous agency as immovable facts.



Seijio Arakawa said...

A random and perhaps incorrectly put thought about original sin:

What if Adam and Eve actually did not want to become gods all-that-much (perhaps not understanding very clearly what that would entail), and that's why they were willing to consider the 'easy way' offered by the Serpent.

This is by analogy to having a teenage son who says he wants an education, but in practice does not want an education, does not know what he wants, and in practice will do anything besides actually study towards getting an education.

A person like that might be tempted to eat a 'magic pill' which the salesman purported would instantaneously grant the full benefits of an education without the person having to do anything-else -- because what they want is not an education in itself, but (for example) for parents to stop nagging about one, whereas a person who genuinely wanted an education and valued the notion as such would find even the idea of such a pill distasteful. Perhaps understanding the notion that education consists of a series of experiences, and there cannot actually be any shortcut to having an experience besides... having it.

Just a thought.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Ara - Interesting idea.

I think the idea of Original Sin has been responsible for an awful lot of trouble in the history of Christianity. It is just too hard a concept to grasp and keep a hold of, to be given the weight it has been given.

Indeed, OS looks to me like something unBiblical that was inferred to be necessary in order to explain why Christ was needed in order to save us. But if such an important thing was really central to Christianity, surely it would have been made unambiguous and central to the Gospels?

Mormons do very well indeed without original sin - although according to mainstream Christians they should not, but should become swiftly corrupted into Pelagianism, or something.

For me, the biggest problem is that OS destroys the theoretical validity of discernment, and discernment is something the Christian simply cannot do without in the modern world.

Rich said...

Fiona Givens said something interesting on a podcast I was recently listening to. Speaking to this point she made mention of Eve as a courageous hero for eating the fruit. That this was really the bridge to make us like God. Genesis 22 ends with the Lord saying that man has become like him. I would take this to be a good thing. Though it certainly doesn't sound that way in this portion of the bible. Any thoughts?

Bruce Charlton said...

@ads - It sounds a bit simplistic in summary; but anything that either of the Givens say is worth thinking about. I don't feel able to give a brief opinion on this topic - but I would say that some of the early parts of Genesis are very difficult to understand - they read like incomplete 'notes' and the implications are sometimes ambiguous.

ajb said...

As far as I think there's something right in the idea of Original Sin, I think it's a very basic idea - the notion that we have an inherited nature which leads us to sub-optimal behaviour in certain cases.

This idea is expanded on here

Bruce Charlton said...

@ajb - Yes there *is* a sense in which OS is true. The way I think of it is that because humans have a vestigial divine nature, with free choice - we rely can defy God; and this assertion of autonomy against God is intoxicating to us, so we no longer want to become more *like* God, but suppose that we *are* God: the God of ourselves, and defy God more and more.