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Source: (consider it) Thread: What if God were a spoiled child?
Amanda B. Reckondwythe

Dressed for Church
# 5521

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Mention on another thread of the short story It's a Good Life, by Jerome Bixby, has popped a question into my mind:

What if God were omniscient and all-powerful but not all-wise and all-good? What if he were a three year old child who knew he could always get exactly what he wanted?

Would he show us how we should behave and then leave us to it, rewarding or punishing not in this life but in the next life?

Or would things be quite different?

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"We're not in Wonderland anymore, Alice." – Charles Manson

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Jengie jon

Semper Reformanda
# 273

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I somehow can't see a three-year-old child waiting for very much, even if it is to reward or punish. Far more likely to have a totally arbitrary consequence immediately. If the child "waits" the chances are they have grown bored and gone to do something different with no thought of later consequences.

Jengie

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"To violate a persons ability to distinguish fact from fantasy is the epistemological equivalent of rape." Noretta Koertge

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Schroedinger's cat

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# 64

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You mean, like some of his most vocal "supporters"?

I suppose I am reminded of Q from Star Trek (Voyager particularly, I can't remember if he appears in the others). Very irritating, but mostly irrelevant to the life of the crew.

I don't experience God in that way. I believe God is more present than this, more tolerant of us, more hurt by what hurts us. I am not sure his omnipotence of omni-powerfulness are particularly relevant much of the time. His humanity is (oddly enough).

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Jay-Emm
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# 11411

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Some of the OT passages, do ring true when read with a whiny voice.
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rolyn
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# 16840

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Some of God's mood swings in OT make me think I wouldn't want to be trapped in a lift with Him/Her

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Change is the only certainty of existence

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L'organist
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# 17338

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Good grief, Miss Amanda, are you suggesting that the Almighty could be The Donald [Eek!]

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Rara temporum felicitate ubi sentire quae velis et quae sentias dicere licet

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Bishops Finger
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# 5430

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I had the same thought.

I feel ill....

[Projectile]

IJ

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The future is another country - they might do things differently there...

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lilBuddha
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# 14333

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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
Good grief, Miss Amanda, are you suggesting that the Almighty could be The Donald [Eek!]

You are making a funny, but the way many Christians view their God, it is an apt comparison.

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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quote:
Originally posted by Schroedinger's cat:
I suppose I am reminded of Q from Star Trek (Voyager particularly, I can't remember if he appears in the others). Very irritating, but mostly irrelevant to the life of the crew.

First introduced in the first episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation: Encounter at Farpoint, then again in the first season of ST:NG "Hide and Q". A list of all appearances in three Star Trek TV series is here.

The point I derive from Q is that unlimited power over time, space, reality, the universe etc, without some form of morality, purpose and structure is vacuous and empty. A point made in the episode Q-less.

I sure everyone is bored and ignoring this by now. (I am one of those ridiculous nerd people who find ST rather meaningful, and have formed some of my ideals based on it.)

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Schroedinger's cat

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I refuse to be an ST nerd, but really enjoyed the Voyager series, because I found them to have interesting and challenging insights.

And yes, Q was an example of what happens when a being has unlimited power, without responsibility. God has responsibility, and because that responsibility is important to us.

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HCH
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# 14313

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I think one can argue that in the relationship between God and human beings, there may have been growth or at least some change on each side. There may have been a learning curve for God, or at least for whichever thread of God's consciousness was involved.

In the early Old Testament, God acts like the parent of a small child who will not behave unless threatened with punishment. I think there is some progress made in this over time. In the New Testament we see not just the carrot and stick approach but some actual reasoning.

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Gramps49
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# 16378

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Kosuki Koyama wrote Water Buffalo Theology many years ago. He pointed out that rather than being detached and rather cool, the Biblical God is a hot God who is very involved in the world. He is a hot God because of his fierce love for his creation. It is not a sign of immaturity, but of involvement.

The writers of the Hebrew Bible have no problem with saying their God could make wrong decisions and would change God's mind.

Christians seem unable to reconcile such an emotional God with an immutable God. I prefer the Hebrew understanding.

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mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

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Gramps49, I think that is more true in the Torah than in the post-exilic prophets. Either God has changed or the Hebrews' understanding of God has changed, and you get things like, "For I, the LORD, do not change" (Mal 3). But even in the Torah you get things like "God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind." (Num 23).

It seems to me that there were earlier tendencies to see God as capable of changing, changing her mind, etc., alongside a thread that says God is unchanging. And I think in the end the unchanging side won.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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Golden Key
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# 1468

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Re Q:

However, he did grow and change for the better. He got some insight and self-control.

On "ST: TNG", he also was good with the grown, orphaned daughter of two members of the collective who'd left and gone to Earth for a normal human life. The collective killed them, IIRC. She had some Q abilities, and needed help to cope.

On "ST: Voyager", IIRC, he had a child of his own, and had to figure out how to handle it.

Then there's the novel "Q-Squared" (IIRC), which has a very interesting connection with an "ST: TOS" episode, in which a very nasty alien turned out to be a badly-behaved little boy...
[Cool]

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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That God has changed and learned in His dealings with us is not a new idea. Here's at least one book on the subject.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
That God has changed and learned in His dealings with us is not a new idea. Here's at least one book on the subject.

I've seen that in shops. Is it any good?

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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cliffdweller
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# 13338

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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
That God has changed and learned in His dealings with us is not a new idea. Here's at least one book on the subject.

Which of course, is the central thesis behind the entire corpus of Process Theology.

Open Theism differs somewhat to Process-- seeing God as changing (especially in response to human choices) but not "evolving" or learning in the same way process would. The central text among many there would be
The Openness of God

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Amanda B. Reckondwythe

Dressed for Church
# 5521

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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
Good grief, Miss Amanda, are you suggesting that the Almighty could be The Donald [Eek!]

No. If anything he's the devil incarnate. But we digress.

I would suggest, however, that the Anthony character in the short story I linked to could be the model for an omnipotent but immature God.

[ 26. February 2017, 21:33: Message edited by: Amanda B. Reckondwythe ]

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Martin60
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# 368

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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
That God has changed and learned in His dealings with us is not a new idea. Here's at least one book on the subject.

It's a false one.

[ 26. February 2017, 14:56: Message edited by: Martin60 ]

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Love wins

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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Indeed it is Martin. I have found myself moving progressively over some years to see the changed ideas of God's behvaiour being a product of human projection and limitations of perception. God isn't probably most of the things suggested by humans, biblical or church. No more a spoiled child, author of genocide, than God is the cause of Isaac and Jesus' PTSD.

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Maybe I should stop to consider that I'm not worthy of an epiphany and just take what life has to offer
(formerly was just "no prophet") \_(ツ)_/

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Martin60
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# 368

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I agree that it's us who have changed no... and also that the theosis of creation is eternal. What could God possibly learn?

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Love wins

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mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
Indeed it is Martin. I have found myself moving progressively over some years to see the changed ideas of God's behvaiour being a product of human projection and limitations of perception. God isn't probably most of the things suggested by humans, biblical or church. No more a spoiled child, author of genocide, than God is the cause of Isaac and Jesus' PTSD.

Jesus had PTSD? That's a new one on me. What is the evidence?

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
That God has changed and learned in His dealings with us is not a new idea. Here's at least one book on the subject.

I've seen that in shops. Is it any good?
I found it very interesting, and read it from cover to cover. It is readily available used and in libraries.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Jesus had PTSD? That's a new one on me. What is the evidence?

He isn't human if the traumatic experience of being whipped and tortured to death didn't create memories seared into his being. You may call it suffering if you prefer traditional language. He remembers suffering and death. Now if dying and rising cures the psychological symptoms and physiological sequelae, that's lovely. But he had to have been traumatized in the time span of his torturous death. He had better remember his trauma if he wants to identify with humanity.

or do you think Jesus had immunity to normal human disorder, disease and problems?

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Maybe I should stop to consider that I'm not worthy of an epiphany and just take what life has to offer
(formerly was just "no prophet") \_(ツ)_/

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Martin60
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Er, He didn't live long enough to develop PTSD. His behaviour after not existing for three days was certainly intriguing. That's got to change a person!

[ 26. February 2017, 20:59: Message edited by: Martin60 ]

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Love wins

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mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Jesus had PTSD? That's a new one on me. What is the evidence?

He isn't human if the traumatic experience of being whipped and tortured to death didn't create memories seared into his being. You may call it suffering if you prefer traditional language. He remembers suffering and death. Now if dying and rising cures the psychological symptoms and physiological sequelae, that's lovely. But he had to have been traumatized in the time span of his torturous death. He had better remember his trauma if he wants to identify with humanity.

or do you think Jesus had immunity to normal human disorder, disease and problems?

I think you're borrowing trouble, is what I think. Sure, it's possible to get PTSD from a single incident. But having a traumatic experience is NOT diagnostic of PTSD. And we have no record of PTSD-like symptoms. So you're armchair diagnosing someone 2000 years ago in lack of all evidence of symptoms based on an occurrence which has the possibility of causing the disease.

And you are sarcastic to ME?

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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