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Is god alive? June 12, 2007

Posted by Joe in agnosticism, atheism, belief, creationism, evolution, god, religion, skepticism, theism.
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When discussing evolution with creationists one of their complaints is that evolution assumes that it is possible to produce life from nonliving material. My response is twofold; first, if that is not possible then life must have existed forever; second, creationism makes the same assumption, but simply adds that god did it.

However, if god were a living thing it would fix both of those. Living things would have existed forever and no abiogenesis (creation of life from the nonliving) would be necessary.

So do theists consider their god to be alive?

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1. The Imugi - June 12, 2007

Well, I’m not a theist per se but my understanding is that no, theists do not believe that God is alive.

As support I will cite the hilariously invalid argument in support of creationism which I’ve dubbed “Missler’s Argument From Peanut Butter”:

Note the claim in the first few seconds of the video: “Life from Non-Life— apart from God’s direct intervention—-is a fairy tale.”

So I’m assuming that when a creationist is making this argument against evolution (no life from non-life), they either have a poor understanding of their own Theology, or else they’re just throwing whatever they have at evolution and hoping something sticks.

I think a better argument would be not “where does life come from?” but “where does matter/energy come from?” It’s my understanding that while there are various scientific theories/hypothesis about this, but nothing especially conclusive (yet), and certainly the idea that a transcendent deity created all matter and energy is at least *possible*. Physicist Bernard Haisch, the author of “God Theory” certainly seems to think so. Of course, his understanding of “God” is rather different than the fundamentalist Christian understanding. It also doesn’t contradict evolution in any way, and doesn’t seem to confirm that any given religion is correct (although certain interpretations of Hinduism seem to be saying the same thing).

2. Matt - June 12, 2007

It actually is possible and has been proven in experiments, namely experiments in regards to the Theory of Abiogenesis. Namely done in the Miller-Urey experiments which have been refined and repeated numerous times now.
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/wells/iconob.html#Miller-Urey

3. Stephen - June 12, 2007

Hmm. I don’t really understand what you’re getting at. Are you suggesting Christians think life has existed forever because they believe in a living God? What does this have to do with anything? There’s no evidence for an organic deity, let alone an “originator” who kicks off evolution. It’s still the same old “god of the gaps” nonsense.

Nevertheless, I think the textbook apologetic dodge goes something like “God is outside the rules of the universe” and then we’re all supposed to be content with the epic non-answer we call religion.

4. Joe - June 13, 2007

Stephen: I’m not suggesting I am asking. Just a curious idea that I never thought of before. If they don’t think that god is alive I don’t understand why abiogenesis is such an issue for them. It was just a thought.

Matt: While Miller-Urey is a very fascinating experiment that does show that simple amino acids could be created naturally, I would hardly call it “proof” of abiogenesis. It’s a good start though.

If you can get your hands on the latest Scientific American (June 2007) there is a great article about what types of molecules my have initiated life.

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa006&colID=1&articleID=779849FA-E7F2-99DF-3FF8ED5B4D8764FE

5. Joe Geek - June 13, 2007

I’m not sure. I’ve never thought if God was alive or not. The Bible says His son is. I think it’s a spiritual realm that we can’t understand looking at it from a Christian perspective.

But evolutionists say that what we believe is purely religion and faith. But I would say that evolutionists would have to have a lot more faith than Christians. Look at it this way: Christians believe in the beginning God… And evolutionists believe In the beginning dirt…

6. Joe - June 14, 2007

Joe Geek: There is no reason to misrepresent evolution the way you have. Evolution is a scientific theory developed and supported by the collection and examination of physical evidence. It takes no more faith to “believe” in evolution than it takes to believe in electro-magnetism.

No question in a biology class is ever answered with “You just need to have faith.”

7. atheistperspective - June 14, 2007

“if that is not possible then life must have existed forever;”

That’s a really bloody good argument. Of course they would not assert that it did but they invoke a creator. So in fact life can be created from nothing in their eyes. A nice contradiction.They say God can do it, but if the mechanisms of the creation are unknown then there’s no reason to postulate it was God. Hmm..I’ve never thought of it in that way before!

8. Joe Geek - June 14, 2007

Joe, I’m glad you say theory, so many evolutionists treat it as a fact; because since no one was there at the beginning of the world, no one can prove what really happened.

If there is so much physical evidence for evolution, please show me just one piece of evidence. No I can’t prove that there is a god, I just have to have faith; but when I look at the evidence, I see evidence for creation.

If the world is millions of years old, why isn’t there more salt in the oceans?
The earth is spinning, and we know that it is slowing down, so at one time it must have been going faster; so 4.5 bya it would have been going to fast to sustain life (correct me if I’m wrong).
If dinos died out millions of years ago, how about the ica burial stones?



What about the petroglyph’s?

How about the dinosaur and human footprints together?

Why do we have moral values and laws if we are just animals? Why don’t we do whatever we want and kill whoever we want with all this over population? All the other animals do whatever they want and don’t seem to think it’s wrong, so why do we have laws and jails and punishment if we’re just animals?
If we’ve been around for millions of years, why aren’t there more people?
If we evolved from apes, why are there still apes around?
If the earth is bya old why is the oldest tree in the world only 4,600+ years old? Why isn’t there an older tree?
http://home.austarnet.com.au/davekimble/bristlecone.htm
Why are there so many flood legends that are the same main story?
Why are there so many dragon legends? Dragons if you look at pictures are very similar to dinosaurs.

I’m not attacking you or what you believe, I’m just trying to show you some evidence for the other side of the argument.

I don’t know why evolutionists seem to not want to look at the evidence for the other side, I’m quite willing to look at your evidence.

9. Joe - June 15, 2007

Joe Geek: I have no intention in bogging down in an evolution/creation debate. It would be pointless. You can find the answers to your questions if you truly desire to do so. They’ve been written on the internet countless times, there is not point in me repeating them here.

10. Joe Geek - June 15, 2007

“I have no intention in bogging down in an evolution/creation debate.”

Neither do I, I simply asked you one thing: Please show me one piece of evidence for evolution. Plain and simple. If there is so much evidence out there, then it shouldn’t be that hard to show me one piece of evidence.

11. Joe - June 15, 2007

You can start here http://www.talkorigins.org/

It is not my job to do your research for you. have fun.

12. Joe Geek - June 15, 2007

Thank you.

13. Melinda Barton - July 2, 2007

Just wandered here. Your question is a good one. G-d is deemed alive or animate in a sense, but this is a very different definition of “alive” than one which we would apply to organic life forms.

G-d is not organic or material as we understand him. (We being the Jews) Energy with consciousness might be a better explanation, but still a bit inaccurate. For us, G-d in concrete is unapproachable by limited human understanding, so the concept of G-d is an abstraction we use in trying to understand the unapproachable actuality. The same is true for anthropomorphism, which is deemed not an accurate representation of G-d but a way for the human mind to grasp the concept.

The life from non-life argument refers specifically to the material world. Animate organic matter from inanimate organic matter from inanimate inorganic matter. No one yet knows how this worked exactly since recreating the environment of early earth is still a bit speculative at best, but I don’t think jumping to the kinds of conclusions that SOME theists do is warranted from a scientific, logical, or theological standpoint.

14. religionandatheism - July 9, 2007

What it is important to ask the creationists is why they think life can’t be wrought of non-living matter? What is life that it cannot be generated so? I fear that if you ask them such a thing, they’ll offer some circular metaphysics.


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