Friday, January 1, 2010

The Meaning of Life (part 2 of 3)

So no matter what theory you believe in regarding our origins, science or religion, something must have always existed since before our understanding of time, space, and matter. To the scientist, this is the Hydrogen atom, as discussed in our last post. To the person who searches for more, the answer becomes some sort of deity.

But what god is God? What is the nature of God? What is its character and intentions? To answer this in part, we are able to learn from our own history, dispositions, and human condition. Every society, every ruler in history, every kingdom of power that we are able to document in our past has completely fallen apart. Every tyranny has collapsed. If we extrapolate our human condition to guess at the nature of God we could deduce that God must not be corrupt. He must not exhibit any evil of any kind, as we know that evil tends to implode over time. If God were evil in any way, the nature of evil would likely have already imploded into non-existence and this conversation would be moot. Therefore if there is a God, it must be absent of any evil that would have corrupted and led to universal decay. God therefore is good, pretty much exclusively good, nothing else could last.

There are a group of people who believe that God may well exist, but if He does, He may have simply originated life like a wind-up toy, and then let it go out on its own, to whatever end it finds. This agnostic point of view claims that any God would be impossible to truly understand as God. It would be infinite, and humans (due to our mortality) unable to grasp God in any context. This rational accepts the universal power of a God, but denies its benevolence. I believe it stems from a more substantive question, why do 'bad' things happen to 'good' people. And how could a benevolent God permit evil to exist in any form? We will address these questions in a future section, but for now I draw attention to the fact that an agnostic viewpoint essentially accepts the divinity of God as original creator of life, and then denies His benevolence as they are unable to reconcile it within their own experiences here.

It is said that 'good' cannot exist without 'evil'. This is true in the sense that there are choices which confront us every day that seem to fall into the good versus evil category. But that means 'good' is a choice. It also means 'evil' is a choice. It would appear God chose to be completely 'good', making the opposite of God = 'evil'. God would appear to embody every good and noble trait thought, action, or intention that ever could exist, and evil is left with everything else. It remains a choice both 'good' and 'evil' then. But the premise remains that God continues to exist only because he is absent any of the characteristics that would have resulted in His own demise (i.e. evil). Therefore 'good' has always existed and will always continue to exist. The choice of 'evil' has also always existed, but seems to have a much more limited scope of manifestation. And 'evil' has no part in God.

So the basics we understand about God include that He always existed, beyond our understanding of time, space, and matter. He must be good; as if He were evil he would have self-destructed by now. And that both good and evil are choices that we and God make. It is reasonable then to proffer that God is the author of choice. He becomes the author of 'free will'.

And one other area we have yet to address in the existence of man. Where do we derive emotions from if not from God? Emotions seem to fall into 2 basic categories, those that enrich life, and those that diminish it. Sound familiar. Emotions seem to emulate our choice in that we can experience both 'good' and 'evil' emotion, with predictable results. We choose to engage in an emotional response, or feeling. We choose to limit for ourselves how much we allow this feeling to dominate our existence. And sometimes we seem to lose control of our choices over feelings. But if feelings come from God as well, then God becomes the author of Love. Love has it's opposite then, as an alternative choice, which is Hate. But God chooses not to embrace hatred, and only embrace Love, as again, the acceptance of anything evil would lead to His eventual self-destruction.

To embrace the concept that God is Love is not some fairy-tale superstitious notion that helps us sleep better at night; it is a rational, logical, conclusion we reach after studying the alternatives, and witnessing the results. But to accept this premise requires a reconciliation of why we live in a world with so little of God's love around us? Why do we seem to be dominated by the absence of God (i.e. evil)? If Love is our origin, why are we here where we are today?

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