Friday, December 07, 2012
Why doesn't God make it all more obvious?
.......My friend Mike left a comment on the comment section for the last piece. He raised the issue "why don't God make it all more obvious?" That's a good point. If God so desired we could have a totally different sort of world, one in which there as no question of God's existence. God could have created a world where he held press conferences every day and everyone always knew he was real from birth to death. Often times skeptics will even go so far as to impose the idea "why can't God just cancel sin let me do whatever I want?" He's not supposed to have other ideas. We can't let God be God, we should be God, he should do our bidding!
........Obviously, then, God has a reason for making a world in which we have to seek truth. This is usually just assumed to be due to the fall. After all he used walk with man in the garden in the cool of the evening and it was the sin of the fall that separated us. Well since I view the story as a myth, (myth doesn't mean lie or foolishness--but psychological communication) it's a story about how we are separated from God in coming of age. This means that there is a natural barrier that breaks communication something more embed in the human condition than can be accounted for in the simple story of the fall, but something that nonetheless the story of the fall is communicating to us.
........The concept of the Fall that St. Augustine developed that Reinhold Niebuhr modernized (see Nature and Destiny of Man Vol I). The fall is not the genetic result of a choice Adam and Eve made one summer afternoon in picking fruit the fruit picking is a metaphor for what happens in all of us as we come of age and develop the understanding of right and wrong. That is we can understand the future by calculating or projecting, extrapolating, based upon experience of the past. This creates anxiety, which is already building becuase we have discovered the concept of right and wrong, which you recall was one of the major effects of Eve's fruit picking. In the attempt to resolve the anxiety about the future we choose to feather our own nests at the expense of others. Since we now understand right form wrong, we do wrong. We are now blameworthy. That creates more anxiety and causes us to seek the good. That creates more guilt so sets the cycle going again.
........The problem with just letting it go is that God's own character is the prototype of the good so he can't allow that. We have to good but we have to secure ourselves in ways that require that we put ourseves fist. This means we are going to resent being told what to do. We are going to resent to rpocess of being held accountable and feeling guilt. You don't bleieve that? Just look at an atheist. they have no shortage of resentment toward God for just such things. So the point is that God wants us to search. The search means we seek truth, when we find it we are committed to it, we don't resent it. Jesus said "he who is forgivenven much loves much."
This is all contained within my free will defense on the theodicy problem which I call "Soteriological Drama." Here are the assumptions and the basic argument:
There are three basic assumptions that are hidden, or perhaps not so obvious, but nevertheless must be dealt with here.
(1) The assumption that God wants a "moral universe" and that this value outweighs all others.
The idea that God wants a moral universe I take from my basic view of God and morality. Following in the footsteps of Joseph Fletcher (Situation Ethics) I assume that love is the background of the moral universe (this is also an Augustinian view). I also assume that there is a deeply ontological connection between love and Being. Axiomatically, in my view point, love is the basic impetus of Being itself. Thus, it seems reasonable to me that, if morality is an upshot of love, or if love motivates moral behavior, then the creation of a moral universe is essential.
(2) that internal "seeking" leads to greater internalization of values than forced compliance or complaisance that would be the result of intimidation.
That's a pretty fair assumption. We all know that people will a lot more to achieve a goal they truly believe in than one they merely feel forced or obligated to follow but couldn't care less about.
(3)the the drama or the big mystery is the only way to accomplish that end.
The pursuit of the value system becomes a search of the heart for ultimate meaning,that ensures that people continue to seek it until it has been fully internalized.
The argument would look like this:
(1)God's purpose in creation: to create a Moral Universe, that is one in which free moral agents willingly choose the Good.
(2) Moral choice requires absolutely that choice be free (thus free will is necessitated).
(3) Allowance of free choices requires the risk that the chooser will make evil choices
(4)The possibility of evil choices is a risk God must run, thus the value of free outweighs all other considerations, since without there would be no moral universe and the purpose of creation would be thwarted.
This leaves the atheist in the position of demanding to know why God doesn't just tell everyone that he's there, and that he requires moral behavior, and what that entails. Thus there would be no mystery and people would be much less inclined to sin.
This is the point where Soteriological Drama figures into it. Argument on Soteriological Drama:
(5) Life is a "Drama" not for the sake of entertainment, but in the sense that a dramatic tension exists between our ordinary observations of life on a daily basis, and the ultiamte goals, ends and purposes for which we are on this earth.
(6) Clearly God wants us to seek on a level other than the obvious, daily, demonstrative level or he would have made the situation more plain to us
(7) We can assume that the reason for the "big mystery" is the internalization of choices. If God appeared to the world in open objective fashion and laid down the rules, we would probably all try to follow them, but we would not want to follow them. Thus our obedience would be lip service and not from the heart.
(8) therefore, God wants a heart felt response which is internationalized value system that comes through the search for existential answers; that search is phenomenological; introspective, internal, not amenable to ordinary demonstrative evidence.
In a sense it's a bit a socialization process. We could say this God's way of socializing us into the seeking of the good. He wants us to conduct our own search for truth. He's given us the means to find it, its' there but we have to make a leap of faith to be assured that we have found it. Once we do that we are fine, but we have to do it to receive the pay off. Then because we did search and find we love and we are not resentful and continue to seek God more.