The Instigator
bound4life
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
C4747500
Con (against)
Winning
21 Points

The perfection of God

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/14/2008 Category: Religion
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,148 times Debate No: 1780
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (8)

 

bound4life

Pro

In order to argue the perfection of God we would then have to argue the reality of God. Then, we would have to argue the Bible, God's word, which is the only thing to measure Him by since He is God. We cannot argue with humanity's idea of God, because to bring God down to are level would make Him less God. If God was any less God, then He would then be human. Lastly, then we would have to argue the fallacy of His word, which we know was physically put on paper by men. Are you game? I think this will be fun. You seem very smart.
C4747500

Con

Thank you for the challenge. I'm slightly confused, as you list a few things that you say we should debate about, but you don't have any substance in your argument. However, I'll try to make a few points here, forgive me if I miss your intentions as I'm slightly unsure of what you're looking for here!

"we would have to argue the Bible, God's word, which is the only thing to measure Him by since He is God"

I would make two points to this.

The first is that the Bible is not the only thing we have to measure God by. First, we can make an assumption about God's qualities and abilities. If we abide by the typical Christian definition of God, God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and wholly good.

If we accept this definition of God, then we can make certain judgments on how God would act in given situations based upon what attributes he possesses. I.E. We can judge that if God saw an act of evil, he would choose to stop it, because he A. has the power to stop it B. has the knowledge to stop it and C. has the desire to stop it (is wholly good).

So therefore, we can look events which happen upon our planet and measure God by them. Simply put, upon Earth there exists evil, and God has not stopped it.

Before I go further, I will take into account here a potential response-that we can't possibly know God's will, and therefore can't measure him based on Earthly events. Perhaps the reason there is evil is because God has a plan that includes evil, but results in great benefits for humanity.

However, even if there is some great benefit which will result from evil, we can still measure God based upon how the situations on Earth are handled. Presume that A. Evil exists, but B. Evil is a precursor to a great good from God, we still must consider that C. We have no rational basis to conclude B. from A.

Therefore I measure God by the fact that he forces me to suffer through evil without knowledge of being able to receive a great good from said evil. Indeed, there is no visible benefit of acts of evil upon Earth, what benefit comes from a tornado that destroys the lives of thousands of people? Even if there was some benefit to this, I would contend that we can measure God by his lack of presence-his refusal to stop evil, and his refusal to tell us why he allows evil.

Secondly, the Bible as we know is recorded by man. You say 'we would have to argue the fallacy of His word' which I don't agree with. I wouldn't argue that God is fallible, my contention would be that the humans who interpreted his word are fallible, in many ways. First there is the fact that the humans who wrote down the word of God could have misinterpreted what they were told, or they could have manipulated it to their advantage. Second, the Bible has gone through an extensive editing process. There are many gospels, books, and writings that are not included in the Bible because they present contradictory or alternative views of situations, or simply because the Church didn't want to include them. One must remember that the Church and anyone who was involved in editing the Bible had the potential to edit it to their benefit, and we must assume that they did when using the Bible as a resource.

Therefore, using the Bible to establish the perfection of God is illegitimate.

Lastly you say, "We cannot argue with humanity's idea of God, because to bring God down to are level would make Him less God. If God was any less God, then He would then be human."

I would say to this that first, all we have of God is our idea of God. It isn't as if everyone can go visit God every Tuesday and come back and tell people what God looks like, what he sounds like, and what he *is* like. Our knowledge of God, based on people's testimony, the Bible, etc. all contributes to us forming an idea of God-and this is all we know of him.

Also, one must consider where our idea of God comes from. If God exists, why would he allow us to hold an imperfect view of him? One would think that our idea of God would be a correct interpretation of God, why would God allow anything else?

This leads us to question as to God's perfection in another manner. If God truly were perfect, why do we not all have the same idea of God? A perfect God should be able to make everyone aware of his presence, rather than different interpretations of different gods existing all over the Earth.
Debate Round No. 1
bound4life

Pro

Wow! Excellent comments. Well, let me give some understanding to what I wanted to debate about. I wanted to indeed debate the perfection of God. I was only stating that in order to debate the perfection of God we would then have to debate the reality of God, and His word. This is because in order to argue a problem or person is to admit that He exists and then if He exists then to what do we meausure Him. So, really our debate would have to be three fold that was all I was saying. Well, I will respond to your comments that you have made thus far.
1.You stated the Bible is not the only thing to which we can measure God by. Well, I have to disagree with you. God's ability, and characteristics are in the Bible and whatever we have perceived here on earth through situations and circumstances are only are own opinions and perceptions of God. The only way to really know what He is like is to read the Bible and talk to Him. Well, not everyone talks to Him or reads the Bible because they either don't believe in Him or they don't have a relationship with Him i.e. salvation. So, therefore all we are really left with are ideals or perceptions which are often times false because humans are fallible. Which in my own perception through what I have experienced thus far is farely negative, although there is much good that happens also. I think then in order to get all the facts about a person you would have to get to know them. I am not saying you can know everything about God and know why He does the things He does but I am saying you can get a glimpse through His word and through life in general. Because He is indeed involved with the things of men.
2. Evil. What a hard topic to discuss. In order to discuss evil we would then have to determine what is good. Well, if we are arguing that God is perfect then He would be what I measure good up to. God in His infinite wisdom created everything both heavens and the earth. He at some point created angels, heavenly beings and the like. Lucifer who was the head angel over worship became so consumed by his own beauty that he wanted to raise himself above God and thus was thrown out of heaven along with 1/3 of the angels. Thus evil came to the earth through him. Why did God not stop this and just kill Lucifer off since He is all powerful. Because God wanted relationship. So, He created man and in order for God to have a relationship with man He had to give man a choice. Thus allowing Lucifer to tempt the woman, this is where sin came into the world. Well, then why would God at this point just kill everyone off. Because He still wants relationship. How can light exist at the same time as darkness? It can't just like God cannot coexist with evil. He had to restore this relationship with man through His only perfect son Jesus who died on the cross. His blood is what makes us clean, no longer was the blood of animals required. Now we could just go to God again through His Son. This is all about love. He wants relationship with us, not based on if life is good or if we get everything from Him that we ask for. He wants to know we love Him for Him. If you were inlove with someone wouldn't you want her to love you for you or what you could do for her or if you always let her do whatever you wanted. You also wouldn't know her devotion for you if you forced her to love you. Thus she would then have a choice to accept your love and devotion or choose someone else. Everyone gets a choice. Evil has to be here until the appointed time of the end. Why, in order that people will continue to get a choice. God, does give us boundaries in His word in order to protect. There are hurts we can protect ourselves from but we cannot always protect ourselves from robbers, murderers, and rapists. Because like I already established there still has to be a choice to do evil. But, this one thing I know is that I can always see God but I have to choose to. My choice then is will I ask for His help, will I wait to see what He might do or will I choose to be mad and hate Him.
3. Lastly, in order to discuss the validity of His word based on the fact that man wrote it would be wrong. It was divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit. It had to go through an extensive editing process because it was the word of God and nothing fallible could be in it and God chose man to be the mail carrier to us. There is always going to be the element of belief. We have to trust that what is said is truth. Otherwise then it would be forced knowledge and we would not get a choice. The argument that it could have been manipulated is silly, because if God was perfect don't you think He probably picked people that were going to listen to Him and write what He said. There was a lot of writings and letters that were not put in because the validity of it had to be tested. Thus, God left His defense to us so we could choose. I choose to believe the Bible because it has been everything to me and I have found it to be true and relevant every time.
C4747500

Con

"God's ability, and characteristics are in the Bible and whatever we have perceived here on earth through situations and circumstances are only are own opinions and perceptions of God. The only way to really know what He is like is to read the Bible and talk to Him."

This doesn't actually tell our audience what characteristics God has. I draw my measurements of God from my interpretation of him as being all-powerful, all-knowing, and wholly good (the traditional definition of God). If there are other characteristics in the Bible, or if you would like to debate which characteristics God does have, we have a whole new debate to attend to :).

Your argument here doesn't really attend to what I said-I argue we can measure God's actions on earth because we ascribe to him certain characteristics. Any being that is wholly good, all-powerful and knowledgeable we expect to act in certain ways in order to be good (good being not detrimental or undesirable to humans or human society). For you to disprove this, you would either have to say that God doesn't have these characteristics, or that a being with these characteristics won't necessarily act in the manner I have described.

As to your argument about Evil, I draw from this that we must choose to form a relationship with God, and the choice is between sinning (evil) and a relationship. But I don't get where the benefit is in choosing. You don't ever explain why a perfect God can't just simply eradicate us of the desire to do evil, and instead just allow us all to form relationships with him instead. Wouldn't a more perfect world be one in which we all had relationships with God and no evil occurred?

"The argument that it could have been manipulated is silly, because if God was perfect don't you think He probably picked people that were going to listen to Him and write what He said."

This is a circular argument-A. the people who wrote the Bible didn't manipulate the information in it because God's perfection inhibited them from doing so, and B. God is perfect because the Bible tells us so.

In order to prove that people didn't manipulate the Bible because of God's perfection, you need an alternate reason as to why God is perfect. Otherwise, all of my points as to why the Bible is invalid still stand.

I hope this allows you enough to go on. I'm rather tired right now and can't really type more.
Debate Round No. 2
bound4life

Pro

Ok. Once again, I do not want to describe God's infinite abilities or qualities, like you said that would be a different debate. I will only continue to argue His perfection.
1. If something is perfect it would have to be wholly good, like you said. I agree with you, however your statement that in order to be wholly good you would not be able to cause something to human kind that would be detrimental, I disagree with. I believe that this statement is flawed, because God is all knowing and all seeing, He sees all the affairs of man. He does not just see one group or one person. So, therefore in order to work a more intricate plan for the good of all, He has to allow certain things to happen. What plan am I talking about? The plan of salvation. God knows ultimately what is needed in order to turn each individual to Him. Now, why would something bad turn people to Him? Well, for example 9/11, Do I think that God made that happen,no. Do I think that God allowed it to happen,obviously. Why? How many people started praying and going to church after that. Why do people turn to God when they're in trouble, whether they believe or not. How does this argue the perfection of God? Well, it does because God is wholly good, because He allows things to happen to man for the good of all and not just himself. We as humans can not apart from God do anything wholly good. Why?, because most of the time we help in order to gain some kind of benefit for ourselves, Either to look good to man, to gain some kind of political status or to appease our guilty consciences. God has none of those qualities. He does the things He does because He can do no wrong. I think to argue the idea of Him not being perfect you would have to eliminate the wrong is incorrect. I am saying that because God is perfect He is bigger than the idea of wrong. I think when you say He is not perfect because wrong things happen(our human ability to understand wrong is what I mean), makes God less perfect. That would be a mistake.
2. God could just wipe evil away. He will one day do that according to the Bible. Then we will have the perfect world again and there will be no more evil, right now, because He is merciful, there is still free will. And once again if He eradicated evil and there was just Him, then there would not be a choice, we would be puppets not humans. Now, for those that believe Him and His word we will one day live in a perfect world where there is only Him.
3. The issue about the Bible, I can not argue with you on the basis of facts, because as you said it was written by man. Although, you won't admit that it was divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit. I can only argue the basis of the Bible being perfect in my own limited experience, study of history, and others experiences. So, I do not think I can debate with you about the validity of it based on the fact that man did write it. I think once again in order to believe it was perfect you would just have to have faith. But, like I said previously, I have seen and heard of it doing more than you will ever know.
C4747500

Con

"Once again, I do not want to describe God's infinite abilities or qualities, like you said that would be a different debate. I will only continue to argue His perfection."

I don't see how this would be a different debate.

To bring a little clarity here, we need to define what perfection is. After all, how can we debate whether or not God is perfect if we don't know what perfect means?

So I will clarify what I am trying to negate-the concept that God is perfect because he has three qualities: he is omnipresent, omnipotent, and wholly good.

I have argued two things:

1. If we assume that God has these qualities (omnipotence, omnipresence, and omnibenevolence), we can then take steps to determine what a being with these qualities would act like. So lets look at how a being such as this would act in the face of evil.

A. The being would know there was evil, and know where it was located, and when it was occurring (omnipresence)
B. The being would have the power to stop all evil (omnipotence)
C. The being would have the desire to stop evil (omnibenevolence)

Then we can look at the world and note that:

A. Evil exists

Therefore God cannot have all of those three qualities, rendering him not perfect.

Now, to turn to your last arguments.

1. You say that evil exists because God has a plan of salvation for all of us, and evil helps turn people to him.

There are a few flaws with this.

1. The magnitude of evil present on Earth. Are torture, mass disease, famine, natural disasters, serial killers, etc. necessary to turn people to God? Even if evil was required, why not just have little doses of evil, just enough to cause people to consider that God exists and to turn to him. I can't see the benefit if God has to degrade and kill hundreds of thousands of people to cause others to turn to him.

2. What about the people that aren't turned to God by evil? People who view spectacles of evil and go 'This is so awful, there must be no God.' Surely a perfect God who was wielding evil as a means to get people on the path to salvation wouldn't allow this to happen, and yet it does.

3. The fact that a being who is omnipotent and wholly good would have the power to, and the desire to allow people to come to the path of salvation without incurring evil on innocents. This doesn't make sense to me-God wishes to cause A. to turn on the path of salvation, so he causes harm to B. B suffers years of pain and agony, dies a horrific death, and A. turns to God. Why would a perfect God do this?

'I think to argue the idea of Him not being perfect you would have to eliminate the wrong is incorrect. I am saying that because God is perfect He is bigger than the idea of wrong.'

1. Just because good things happen as a result of wrong things doesn't mean that the wrong things are justified in happening. If there is a way to reach the good things without evil occurring, one should try their utmost to do so-something which God fails to do.

2. You still don't define perfection, making it impossible to argue against you. I would contend that by my definition of perfection, God allowing evil to happen (or allowing 'wrongs' to happen) would make him not perfect. To be able to sustain this argument, you still need to define perfection.

3. You say we can't judge God based on human values of right and wrong because we are not able to comprehend them on the scale that God is. However, I think this is illegitimate. First of all, it precludes me responding in any matter because you can always say 'Well you just don't understand the will of God' without any rational basis as to why the will of God applies. Second, it still doesn't answer why an evil thing must occur in order for good to occur, and why there is such a magnitude of evil on Earth.

On to your next point.

You argue that God doesn't just wipe away evil because there should be free will. A few points to this.

1. You say that eventually God will wipe away evil, negating free will. This means there is no inherent value to free will-why doesn't God just wipe away evil today? A perfect God would rather minimize suffering than prolong it, and if he is going to eventually erode free will, he might as well do it now.

2. An omnipotent being could eliminate evil and still maintain free will. There are other forms of free will not relating to evil, and there is no reason why the free will specific to choosing evil is more valuable than the free will that lets you choose whether or not to get out of bed in the morning.

To your last point.

You concede that the Bible is fallible, or at least that it has the possibility of being fallible. Therefore, we have no other reason to conclude that God is perfect. You provide no alternative argument to support God's perfection, you simply assert that he is perfect, which is not sufficient.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by solo 9 years ago
solo
Yeah, C47 gets my vote too because of his final round. He killed it.
Posted by lazarus_long 9 years ago
lazarus_long
C47...and nicely done, too, in your final round. Gets MY vote!
Posted by C4747500 9 years ago
C4747500
Well I guess I haven't been clear enough, I'll attempt to rectify that. My strategy has been to define God by the traditional 'perfect' qualities and then show that the state of the world makes it impossible for him to hold these qualities, making him not perfect.
Posted by lazarus_long 9 years ago
lazarus_long
I have to wonder if either one of you are really going to tackle the question of just what "perfect" would mean in this context. By what standard are we to judge "perfection"?

I think that if you fall back on the standard list of "God's attributes" (e.g., "omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence, and totally benevolent"), you're going to wind up with some pretty serious logical contradictions before you even really get started.
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Tatarize
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blond_guy
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C4747500
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