#39 – Doesn’t evidence for a deistic notion of a god make the biblical God more probable?

IMG_2472Imagine little Tommy believes there is a loving ghost named Oscar under his bed who severely tortures Tommy in the middle of the night. Tommy’s parents call in experts who surprisingly suggest it is quite likely that there is, in fact, a ghost who is torturing Tommy in the middle of the night. Does that make Tommy’s claim that there is a loving ghost named Henry torturing him more probable? Most of us would say “no” since we understood that loving beings do not torture.

In the same way, any legitimate evidence or arguments for a deistic first cause of our universe does not increase the probability of a theistic God such as Loki, or Jehovah or Neptune, or Allah if the descriptions or behaviors of those Gods are logically incoherent. Loving Gods must act loving. Just Gods must act justly. Rational Gods must act rationally. If any God fails this fundamental test of logical coherency, that God can be dismissed as impossible, and can not be salvaged by evidence or argumentation that there must be some kind of “first cause”, “unmoved mover” or “greatest conceivable being” out there.

This brings us to the question “Is the biblical God logically coherent?” Earlier chapters introduce many biblical concepts that appear to be logically incoherent. What is your honest assessment of the arguments presented in these chapters?

Another salient analogy would be Mike’s claim he has a spherical cube of gold in his pocket. Mike may have gold in his pocket, but he most certainly does not have a spherical cube of gold in his pocket. Spherical cubes are impossible. Imagine Mike protesting, and pulling out of his pocket what looks like several flakes of gold. Does this evidence make his claim he has a spherical cube of gold more probable? No. We can confidently walk away from Mike knowing his spherical cube of gold does not exist, in spite of the gold flakes he has produced.

Few individuals claim a deistic god is impossible. It appears that more and more cosmologists don’t have much confidence in the notion of a deistic god, but few cosmologists claim such a god is impossible. However, Christian leaders often attempt to deflect questions about the logical coherency of the biblical God by offering their arguments and evidence for a deistic god. Is this not like Mike defending against skeptical assertions that a spherical cube of gold could not possibly be in his pocket by revealing flakes of gold from his pocket? Should we not be suspicious when Christian leaders, instead of answering questions about the logical coherency of their God, introduce arguments for a deistic god?

Additional Notes:

There have been many interesting philosophical arguments for various types of deistic gods that can be explored. These arguments are not to be neglected in a full assessment of what kind of deity or deities might exist. However, if any logically incoherent God seems to definitional overlap a logically coherent deistic god, that overlap will do nothing to rescue the logically incoherent God from absurdity. The existence of a father does not make a cruel loving father any less impossible.

Natural theology is the attempt to demonstrate a non-personal deistic god is necessary through philosophical reasoning and observations of our universe. There are several interesting arguments for the conclusion of a deistic god, but most of them include a premise of the following form:

We have never seen Y without X, and therefore there can not be Y without X.

Here are a couple of instantiated examples:

A: We have never seen an effect greater than its cause, and therefore there can be no effect greater than its cause.

B: We have never observed information not created by a mind, and therefore information uncaused by a mind can not exist.

But let’s consider a few other statements of the same form:

1: We have never observed a mind functioning without a functioning brain, and therefore minds can not exist apart from brains.

2: We have never observed a mind causally interacting with physical matter, and therefore minds can not create and manipulate physical matter.

3: We have never observed a decision that was not made in time, and therefore decisions prior to time are impossible.

Examine the natural theology arguments made by Christian leaders. Do they offer statements A and B as incontrovertible proof of a deistic god, yet will ignore logically parallel statements such as 1, 2 and 3?

P1: Any logically incoherent concept can not be made logically coherent through an association with a logically coherent concept.
P2: The biblical God is logically incoherent. (Argued throughout this book.)

Conclusion: The biblical God can not be made coherent through an association with a logically coherent deity.
{P1 & P2}IMG_2472


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