Updated January 15, 2008
No enlightened or normal thinking person today believes that an immaterial entity without a brain, i.e., the Biblical god, can speak, not alone be heard by human beings.
Moreover the writers of the selected Scriptures that basically formed the Bible, were not sophisticated in their writing, particularly lacking scientific knowledge and the nuances of language or educated, as we think of the accumulation of knowledge now required to be deserving of that title.
Fifth-grade children today possess far more knowledge than the writers of the Scriptures could even begin to conceive.
What wisdom was acquired was a result of experience one lives through and learns from.
A perusal of the works of even the wisest of the years B.C. and centuries A. D., from the pre-Socratics to beyond Saint Augustine and St Thomas Aquinas is clear evidence that many of the ideas they formulated, were they written in the simplest of language, a child would find laughable.
Add to that the fact that it is impossible to discuss, intelligently, theistic language if one has not first been taught, a failure on the part of our schools today, how to recognize our loose use and abuses of language. For example:
It is obvious that the term, "prove," as used here, is meant to convey the idea that evidence for the existence of God exists in the writings, i.e., the language, of the Bible.
It is imperative that the term, "prove," not be equated with the concept of evidence that entails the concept of direct or indirect EMPIRICAL verification..
It is one thing, for instance, to show mathematical evidence for "1+1+1+1=4.
It is not possible, however, to verify that the number 1 exists in the universe because oneness (singleness) is an idea attributable to an infinity of things of different sizes and shapes, constituted of uncountable "onenesses," and even to other ideas as in "A single idea can change the course of history."
The term, "prove," must never be equated with the term, 'VERIFICATION.'
"Prove" is a logical term having to do with the consistency and coherence of statements to each other regardless of whether or not the statements can be verified.
Consequently, it is possible to prove linguistically (through logic--but not verify) that God both DOES and DOES NOT exist.
Philosophers and theologians, throughout the ages, have offered proofs for the existence of God, none of which has withstood the criticism of other philosophers and theologians.
Four, out of too many to cite here, examples:
Saint Anselm's ontological (necessary and perfect being) argument
Saint Thomas Aquinas' five proofs, inferences drawn from his experiences of the world.
Bishop Berkeley's "To be is to be perceived," i.e.; all things exist in the mind of God.
Spinoza's, "God and the Universe are one."
Ultimately, all so-called proofs for the existence of God resorted to
idea to reality or
a leap of blind faith or
prescriptive definition or
the need to believe or
an appeal to ignorance (i.e.; It cannot be proved that He does not exist.) or
a necessary supposition or
the source of all other existents.
To use the "word of God" as evidence of God's existence is to commit:
the fallacy of Begging the Question, i.e.,
assuming what you are supposed to be verifying; i.e.,
claiming that God exists because God says He exists.
If I have failed to persuade you with the above, consider what follows; forgive me for repeating material that already has been presented on my website. However, before proceeding further, it may be enlightening to examine the uses of the language of the attributes of God as in "God made us in His own image."
1. Certainly an incorporeal God does not have the appearance of a material person. If the language is meant to convey a similarity of immaterial attributes like, power, thinking, seeing, hearing, etc., even if these were attributes of God, His are infinite, ours are infinitesimal by comparison.
2. We are observable and knowable, God is not.
3. Never in the history of man has there been evidence that in the absence of matter, or presence of matter, that non-matter can cause anything.
4. Hence “God” is unverifiable.
5. God is everywhere.
6. Hence “God” is powerless to move.
7. He knows every evil act man will commit and allows it.
8. As in 7, if he allows evil in foreknowledge of it He is evil.
9. I cite Epicurus’: (342-270 B.C.) thoughts on the matter,
willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then He is impotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then He is malevolent.
Is He both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is He neither able nor willing?
Then why call Him Deity?
Today, theists no longer concern themselves with the issue of why their omniscient, omnibeneficent, omnipotent gods allow evil to exist. They pass it off with an, “ah the mystery of evil,” and a shrug of the shoulder. Over the centuries, philosophical theists, if I be allowed the phrase, in the past worked diligently at manipulating language to get their gods “off the hook.” At the forefront were Saint Augustine of Hippo and Saint Thomas Aquinas.
But first let us revisit the Biblical account of what is supposed to have happened in The Garden of Eden. It seems to raise some very interesting questions that require answers in view of the defined attributes of God, particularly the fact that God, being omniscient, had foreknowledge of everything about to happen but did not lift a single incorporeal finger to prevent it from happening just as he does not prevent evil..
Bear in mind as related to forthcoming analysis, there is no evidence that
God had yet bestowed free will upon man. (See file 22n) Consider also the
"voice" of the esteemed and world renowned mythologist, Joseph
Campbell, who says in his book, Mythologies to live by,
“The little toy-room picture of the Bible is for children . . .” and “not
even for them any more.”
From the Holy Bible, placed by the Gideons: Genesis Page 3, Chapter
(Arthur’s comments are in italics and parentheses)
Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”
Serpents can talk? Since God created everything in the universe, and being omniscient, He created Satan also knowing all the evil Satan would be responsible for.
2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden;
3 “But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’”
If Satan is not lying,--but remember, every word in the Bible is "the
word of God" -- God is deceitfully threatening His child knowing, as does
Satan that she will not die, at least immediately upon eating of the fruit.
4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.
5 “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Satan knows God has foreknowledge, even as Satan appears to have.
6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.
So what’s evil about knowing you are naked and what factory made the needles?
8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
9 Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”
What happened to God’s omniscience?
10 So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”
Again a loss of omniscience? God should have known that this is the way children, lacking wisdom, behave!
12 Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”
Is God playing the role of a pimp here?,
13 And the LORD God said to the woman, what is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me and I ate.”
Why is God tolerating the evil serpent's presence? God did not warn the serpent to remain silent. The serpent merely told Eve the truth. She did not die.
14 So the LORD God said to the serpent: Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life.
later, Satan was rewarded as head master in Hell,
apparently with the consent of God, from where he dispensed his minions
of evil – oh yes, of knowledge too.)
15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”
To whom is God speaking here? Is the serpent now a “he”?
And why is H in “His” capitalize? Is Satan divine also?
Ah, but are you ready for “cruel and unusual, excessive,
punishment” for a simple childish act of disobedience? -- Some parent He’d
make!) Women have suffered ever since and still do in third world countries
everywhere as well even still in America.
16 To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”
Women have suffered ever since and still do in third world countries everywhere as well still in America.
17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life.
18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field.
19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.”
20 And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.
Lower animals too? Was there a marriage ceremony? Were documents signed or could they even write?
21 Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.
So God is a tailor too.
22 Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”
What else was He thinking? Other gods? Knowledge in
general? But to know good and evil requires knowledge in general.
23 Therefore the LORD God sent him out of the Garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken.
24 So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the Garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned everyway, to guard the way to the tree of life.
Second order winged angels-- wings? -- excelling in knowledge -- Where did they go to college?
According to the Biblical account, only God knew of evil, but apparently, so did Satan, God’s fallen angel, in the form of a talking, in English? Naaaaahhhh, though there is some question as to whom “us” refers. Satan, exercised some subtle influence upon Eve into disobeying God. Eve, in turn, persuaded Adam to partake of the Tree of Knowledge. God was furious with Eve and disappointed in Adam, so in a temper tantrum he condemned the whole of mankind for Adam’s having been so easily tempted. Some all-good god, He. Talk about “over kill!
I suggest that mankind should be forever thankful to Satan for enlightening us. Else, we’d still be a species of irrational animals. I would think an all-good God would be ecstatic to know “his children” had acquired such an attribute. But fear struck at his incorporeal heart terrified that Adam and Eve might become “one of Us.” But that’s an issue for another time.
That anyone, since the advent of science and technology, with even a modicum of intelligence, could give any degree of credence to this childish story as a basis for philosophical consideration leaves me in a quandary impossible to express in words. Even as far back as Plato, there were thinkers who would be shocked at such childishness even though they accepted many weird ideas from mythology. Yet in our generation we have simple minded people, some now deceased, but even in death because of media technology still exercising enormous wealth and power persuading many millions of people to believe that these are ideas to live by. There is no doubt that the Bible has much in it of value for man to accept. But the true believers, in blind faith, are incapable of distinguishing unverifiable and unfalsifiable stories from testable and verifiable facts.
With all due respect for Campbell the following account, except for the learned jargon, has all the earmarks and imagination of a very young child. Yet they are typical of the thoughts of two esteemed philosopher/theists.
Fast forward to our two philosopher/theists. St. Augustine’s and St Thomas Aquinas’ efforts to get God off the hook for the existence of evil in the universe through an extensive manipulation of language came to an uneasy alliance of agreement that because of the freewill with which God endowed us, man had an equal inclination to do good as well as evil. To delve into their esoteric uses of language would only muddle the issue as to the cosmic nature of good and evil in terms of being (good) and non-being (evil). Their conclusions came to naught either because of what they chose to ignore or due to their blind faith in anything theistic.
In their resolve to solve the problem of God’s omnipotence and the existence of evil, they agreed that man is inclined to good and evil though they were at odds as to the degree to which they occurred and seem to be oblivious to the inherent contradictions, relative to god’s powers and goodness that to this day have remained unsolved.
After much contorted and manipulated language, St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine of Hippo arrived at the conclusion that good and evil were cosmic, in nature though somewhat differently. For Augustine, borrowing from the Greeks, good was a quality of the soul (non matter) and evil was a quality of the body (matter). Unfortunately for Augustine this did not acquit God of responsibility for evil. Aquinas, however, was somewhat more subtle in his manipulation of language, almost absolving God, but at the risk of eating his cake and having it too, through the contortion of such language as “being is good” and non-being” is evil.
For Aquinas’. God, evil does not exist. Every event in the universe occurs according to His purposes for it. In Tomistic terms of “being is good” and “non-being” is evil, a simple examination of the language, properly interpreted, means that evil, from a cosmic point of view, does not exist since “non-being” is only another term for “nothingness which does not exist so long as even one element of the primeval slush exists.”
But in Augustinian language, for man, though the soul is the abode of good, the body being the abode of evil commits non-material acts, i.e., “non-being, which is evil.From a modern point of view, the body, i.e., the head is the abode of the soul. For the time being, we will think of the soul also as the mind, a la Plato, for it is within the confines of these two terms that we must consider the issue of “free will” and its impact on good and evil, three terms which we are now compelled to examine. However, if we are not to argue at cross purposes it is necessary to be clear about our usage of the term, ‘freewill’ and ‘determinism.’ Hence, I suggest, if you really are concerned to understand the importance of language in determining what is justifiably believable I suggest you study file 22n, “Freewill and Determinism.”