Do Jehovah's Witnesses Accept Evolution?

by jukief 131 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • paul from cleveland
    paul from cleveland

    That is if we accept the nonsensical biblical view of God which I doubt

  • paul from cleveland
    paul from cleveland

    My view of God is that it's just the highest level of Consciousness that exists. Maybe it's just a super computer for all I know but it's most likely not the ridiculous baby-killer from the the Bible

  • cofty

    The problem is being framed unreasonably.

    I'm challenging the existence of the god of xtian theism - the god who is love - defined as positive actions in the interests of others, as taught and demonstrated by Jesus and NT writers. I am not arguing against the god of deism or subtle versions of that deity.

    If there was any positive evidence that the god of Jesus existed, but we were faced with the problem of natural evil, then we might propose increasingly unlikely ways to resolve the dilemma.

    We might even end up resorting to desperate arguments such as the 'Rohypnol defense' (god might cause unimaginable suffering but later make it so victims don't remember it) or even the 'four-sided triangle defense' (god might cause unimaginable suffering but later erase history and make a new one where nobody suffered) - if there is a meaningful distinction between these two it is too subtle to matter.

    But unless compelling evidence of this god's existence exists there is no need to sink to such depths of absurdity.

  • paul from cleveland
    paul from cleveland

    If there were this God, why wouldn't God just be like a fatherless child? A victim of circumstances like the rest of us?

  • paul from cleveland
    paul from cleveland

    Maybe that's why when asked his name god said "I Am" which I interpret to mean I exist. Meaning the only thing god knows for certain is that he exists. The same as us.

  • paul from cleveland
    paul from cleveland

    He can't know if the drama playing out is inside or outside his own mind with no frame of reference

  • Simon

    Suggestion: Use paragraphs within a post, it's far more conducive to reading.

  • Della Street
    Della Street

    on some level they do - they just call it adaptation.

  • paul from cleveland
    paul from cleveland

    Sorry about that Simon

    I haven't been here for awhile and forgot

    I was in my text messaging mode

  • jukief

    I hadn't intended for the OP to veer off into such an interesting topic, but now that it has I'll add more two cents.

    I think that arguments about the existence of a deistic god are pretty useless, in the same sense that arguments about the existence of Russell's Teapot are useless. Since there is no definitive evidence either way, non-belief rests on lack of evidence in favor of existence, and belief rests on faith -- belief without evidence -- and not much more can be said. Kenneth Miller's book "Finding Darwin's God" is a good read on this.

    Slimboyfat speculates that perhaps the Christian God might be able to reset time back to the beginning, and work things such that the universe contained no suffering or evil. There are all manner of what I think are fatal problems with that, especially for Bible believers.

    First, the Bible nowhere contains the faintest hint of such an idea. It defines evil basically as doing what God disapproves of -- not as the modern philosophical notion of "things that cause suffering". Since any sentient creature can at any time do something that God disapproves of (note how the Bible fuzzily indicates that Satan and Adam and Eve did this), evil is built into the basic structure of God's universe.

    Second, the way JWs explain it (and most Christians accept some form of this), evil came into the world of mankind when God made a bet with Satan that at least some humans would try to obey God no matter what nasty things Satan did to them. The story of Job is the prime example here. Humans will experience the downside of this bet -- the effects of evil -- until God says, Enough! I don't know about you, but I resent being forced to experience all manner of unpleasantness merely because two gods made a bet. It seems to me that an omnipotent, omniscient God could do better.

    The JWs teach that God has allowed Satan to test mankind for thousands of years in order to prove to all potential onlookers for all time that sin/evil -- disobeying God -- leads inevitably to disaster. That's a lousy test, though, because it assumes that no supernatural beings, including God, really understand human nature. God, as the Creator, should know every detail of how humans will act in all possible situations because he knows that nature. According to Genesis, "the sons of God" (apparently supernatural angels, whatever they are) took on human form and reproduced with human women. If they knew enough to do that, then they must know the details of human nature as intimately as God does. So all that these supernatural beings need do to understand what people will do in all situations is refer to the architectural plans for humans. No need for testing -- not by all-knowing supernatural beings.

    Third, to be able to "reset time to the beginning" would destroy the notion of free will. The reason takes some explaining.

    In 1884 Edwin Abbott published the tongue-in-cheek science-fiction novel "Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions" whose main character lived in a two-dimensional universe called Flatland. All inhabitants were two-dimensional geometric figures, such as squares, circles and lines. They had no conception of our three-dimensional universe. Now imagine that God takes snapshots of each instant in the Flatland universe and stacks them up next to one another in a three-dimensional space, infinitely close together. Then he constructs a time-slice motion picture machine that looks at each slice of the stack, one after another, and projects them onto a big two-dimensional viewing screen. What God would see on the screen is Flatland going through "time". The stack would appear to be a sort of giant, three-dimensional worm sitting statically in a three-dimensional space. As the time-slice projector cycles along, the slice of the stack it's projecting is "the present".

    Now extend this idea by one more dimension. Here, our three-dimensional universe is the equivalent of Flatland, and each slice of it would exist in four dimensions. We can't picture this, of course, but many authors have written humorous or serious stories along these lines. Time would then be a fourth spatial dimension, and there would be a four-dimensional time-slice machine looking at each three-dimensional slice of the four-dimensional stack and projecting it on a three-dimensional viewing screen -- our own universe.

    For this four-dimensional thing to work, the time-slice stack would have to be a static construction. In other words, at the beginning of our universe, God would have to construct the stack as a structure that cannot change, because "time" is actually the time-slice machine running through each slice of the stack. This gets back to the widely discussed philosophical notion that, if the universe is really a clockwork construction, cycling on via the operation of set physical laws, then the entire history of the universe was fixed at the instant of creation. In other words, the operation of physical laws through time corresponds to our time-slice machine moving through the time stack.

    Quantum mechanics throws a monkey wrench into the mix, though. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle indicates that physical reality, on the finest scale, is inherently uncertain. In practice this results in the inherent randomness of radioactive decay and many other sub-atomic actions. Therefore, while the universe appears to have statistically certain operations, specific details are often random. The philosophical implication seems to be that free will exists because of this randomness, because if everything that happens was fixed at the instant of creation, then free will cannot exist and is an illusion.

    In this scenario, to "reset time to the beginning" would require God to destroy the existing time stack and make a new one. This requires the existing time stack to be fixed, which means that free will does not exist.

    The notion of free will seems to be fundamental to the God/Satan bet described in Job. After all, if God knew for certain what Job would do, then the test/bet would have been unnecessary. Thus, human actions are not set in stone, and according to the Bible, free will must exist. All of which shows that slimboyfat's speculation contradicts the Bible. And if one uses the Bible as a basis for one's beliefs, what, then, is the point of unbiblical speculations?

    Stephen Jay Gould wrote about a similar speculation with his idea of "rerunning the tape of life". If one could somehow reset conditions back to some beginning, and watch how the evolution of life unfolds, it's unlikely that one would find the same situation as exists today, because all manner of microscopic and macroscopic contingencies would change things. This can involve the "butterfly effect". But according to quantum mechanics, this effect is somehow built into the basic structure of the universe.

    Given the above considerations, I think that slimboyfat's speculations are useless. If God can change the history of the universe, then free will does not exist, which contradicts the Bible.

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