A third objection one could bring up about God is that by creating he proves himself mutable. A popular argument is that God needed to create us. Many people say that God was lonely or that God wanted to display his glory to intelligent creatures, thus he needed to create us in order to eradicate his loneliness or display his glory to intelligent creatures.
Certainly modern Christianity has helped perpetuate this myth. We act as though God created us out of some need or that he needs us to act on his behalf this side of eternity. We hear sermons about how God created us because he needed creatures to see his glory. Other sermons speak of how God needs us so he can carry out his will on earth.
The problem is that if God needs us, then that mean he was absent of something prior to creation. To be absent of something means that one has the capacity to add something. For instance, if I am missing a tooth, I have the capacity to gain a tooth. If I am missing an eye, I have the capacity to gain an eye. Were I to gain an eye then something about my being would change. Thus, if I have the capacity to gain something, I have the capacity to change (if A then B, if B, then C, therefore if A then C). If God had a need then he had the capacity to fulfill that need and therefore had the capacity to change.
Popular Christianity aside, the God of the Bible (who is the true Christian God) is in need of nothing. The idea that God created based upon some need misconstrues what Christianity actually teaches. Continue reading
While the previous answer given to “Does God change” might be adequate to some since it allows for us to understand that God does not operate in the way we do, meaning he can change his mind without changing his nature, to others such an answer is unsatisfactory.
For instance, even if we say that God’s emotions are higher than our own – such as when he’s angry he’s not holding some different quality of angry as we do, but instead holds the entire property of angry without actualizing on the entire property – the critic could point out that God’s emotional state is still a reaction to something we have done. When we look to Moses, God changed his mind after he listened to Moses, that is, he reacted to Moses.
If God reacts to us then that means he is, at times, moved by us. Many lay theologians, pastors, and even professional theologians argue that while God is immutable, by creating us he opened himself up to be moved by us at times. Such a view, however, ignores that (1) Scripture is emphatic that God did not lower himself to relate to us, but rather raises us up to relate to him and (2) God still had mutability within his nature under such a view. If God lowered himself in creation so that he could be moved by his creation at times, that means within his nature he changed from immutable to mutable, which would indicate that he was never immutable to begin with. As we discovered earlier, if anything has mutability within its nature, that is it has the potential to change, then it is mutable. Immutable beings must be immutable by nature. If God lowered himself in the act of creation, then he is not immutable and therefore we must abandon the idea of the Christian God. Continue reading
For some, the above explanation simply is not enough in explaining that God doesn’t change. It is quite popular to point out that God has emotional responses to humans. Quite often he says that he is angry towards someone while pleased with someone else, indicating that God certainly does have emotions.
If God is emotional, this would be indicative of change within God. It would mean that he can fluctuate in degrees of being angry, happy, sad, pleased, or any other range of emotions. Even though all of his emotional responses are justified, they serve to show that God does indeed change (or so the critic would have us believe).
The semantics of the argument are that if I do good works, God becomes happy with me, or increases in happiness to me. If I do something evil, then God becomes angry at me or is less pleased with me. All of this show God moving in degrees of one emotion to the other, which would indicate that God is mutable.
I do believe that there are two reasons why such a view is misguided. The first reason, which is the weaker of the reasons, is that Christ is still incarnate and still God. The second reason, which I believe to be stronger, is that God is not like man, thus we’re using the wrong standard to explain God’s emotions. Continue reading
One charge that can be brought against the Christian God (from here on I’ll simply say “God” and assume the “Chrisitan God” when saying God, unless otherwise specified) is that he appears to change his mind in Scripture, which would indicate that he is not immutable. Aside from changing his mind, we see that God regrets certain things, meaning that it’s possible that he did not foresee an action coming and therefore is within time or at least subject to have to react to time, in which case he is not immutable.
The first passage that critics can bring up is Genesis 6:6, which states that the Lord repented (or regretted) making humans because of their sin. The critic would say that by not having such foreknowledge of humans, God was unable to see that his creation would turn against him in such a horrible way. Thus, he had to react to humans and deal with them in a different way. He had to change how he dealt with humans; rather than walking with them or trying to send a prophet, he sent a flood. The important part of the argument is that God supposedly had to change how he dealt with humans, which would indicate a change in God.
The second passage critics could turn to is Exodus 32:14. In this passage, God has caught Israel sinning and threatens to wipe them out and restart with Moses. Moses intercedes on behalf of the Hebrews and God changes his mind and decides to stick with his original plan. The critic will point out that we have God saying one thing and then being convinced to do another. The critic will point to this as proof that God is possible of change and therefore applies to the idea of an infinite regress. Continue reading
The attention of the argument now turns away from trying to prove God to instead proving how the Christian God is not eradicated by St. John’s argument. As the Damascene Cosmological argument goes, anything that is mutable requires a creator. At this point, many critics of Christianity are quick to point out that the God of Christianity is mutable. They point to the fact that the Bible shows him changing his mind, having emotional reactions to human beings, creating out of a need, and then changing in the Incarnation.
If it can be shown that the God of the Bible changes then we must be open-minded enough to change our beliefs. It is unfair for the Christian to require the non-theist to be open-minded in considering the existence of God, but to remain close-minded in considering the existence of his own God. Therefore, if it can be shown that the Christian God changes, either the Damascene Cosmological argument is wrong or the God of the Bible does not exist.
What follows was no easy undertaking and was in fact much more difficult to write than the first part of this argument. I would make an argument for God changing, answer the argument, and find a retort to my own answer. I did this until I could go no further on each argument; I did not do this to solidify my beliefs, but rather to test them. I will say that while challenged, my beliefs withstood the test. I did not create any strawman and any critic of Christianity who would like to point out that the Damascene Cosmological argument contradicts Christianity should be pleased with the objections against Christianity I raise. Continue reading
Some might be quick to point out that the Damascene Cosmological argument doesn’t necessarily prove the Christian God. They would say that I have wasted my time in trying to prove my faith because all I have proven is that “a god” exists, but this doesn’t give me specific details as to what type of God he (or she, or it) might be. Shockingly enough, I have run into quite a few atheists who feel that this is an adequate reply to any cosmological argument. “Well you haven’t proven the Christian God exists” they say as they smile, sit back, and fold their arms.
I would tend to agree with the atheists on this point; the Damascene Cosmological argument does not prove the existence of the Christian God. However, I believe that Christians are justified in using the Damascene argument for the following reasons: Continue reading
It is at this point that many readers will squirm, but such a reaction is simply not justified when considering the previous two premises. Though the idea of admitting the existence of God may not be palatable to certain readers, if they desire to base their beliefs off what is known rather than what stands in contradiction to reality, they must abandon naturalism and admit that God is the creator of the universe.
The conclusion is true because it logically follows from the premises and both premises are true. To review on why the conclusion is true:
1) All things are either mutable (movable and changeable) or immutable (immovable and unchangeable)
2) If something is movable then it requires a creator because an infinite regress is impossible
3) An infinite regress is impossible because it would never allow events to come about
4) Immutable objects are above an infinite regress because they do not move and therefore cannot be measured by time
5) Everything we experience is mutable, therefore requiring a creator
6) By definition, the creator must be God (due to what is needed in order to be immutable) Continue reading