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_J_'s Avatar Jump to comment 6921 by _J_

Annabanana and Quetz

I stand corrected! Thanks for putting me straight, Quetz. That wording does seem to raise the need for some poetic interpretation on the part of your friendly neighbourhood priest, along the lines later indicated by Mark Smith.

Thinking about it, though, Mark Smith is almost certainly right: this seems very likely to be a case of translation detracting from the original sentiment. Why? Well, if God wrote the bible, he's unlikely to be, or to portray himself as, deceitful or mistaken. And if he didn't, then whoever did is no more likely to deliberately try to create the same impression. Biblical contradictions are understandable in terms of the whole thing's textual history. But flat out straightforward instances of god looking dodgy are surely due to some kind of semantic or cultural divide between the original writer and the modern reader. Neither God nor a goddist would knowingly describe Jahweh walking into a lamppost.

It is presumably for this reason, in conjunction with my very feeble biblical knowledge, that I can't think of any other instances of God lying. He screws up a bit (like getting his arse whipped by men with 'iron chariots'), but generally avoids tripping over his own shoelaces or having to eat his words in public. The bible may occasionally be risible, but it isn't a spoof.

On the subject of God creating flawed beings: I don't see a logical problem there. All he has to do is want to, and that flawed being is then a perfect expression of his will. 'Ah, it's fucked up in exactly the way I wanted: perfect!'. Perfection needn't be a sort of Midas touch, where everything the perfect hand creates must also achieve perfection. Only the intention of the perfect creator need be perfectly satisfied.

Cue the Noah's Flood argument, of course...

The whole perfection thing is, very obviously, tosh, though. People who argue for the perfection of God are mounting a defence for not thinking through their beliefs. Examining the notion of a perfect being quickly reveals the idea to be nonsensical. No one, as far as I know, is even capable of imagining perfection. As a concept, it reassures believers with the idea that their god is soundly up to the task of handling their every problem - so they needn't worry about anything except believing in him - and by demonstrating to them that no matter how they try, they can't actually understand God fully - so , again, they needn't worry about anything except believing in him. The downside is that for anyone pedantic or inquisitive enough, it's another loose thread to pull at.

Fri, 28 Mar 2008 09:48:00 UTC | #143603