Yesterday a thunderstorm got us. You've seen them approaching. You know their effects. I was thinking as one approached what God had to do with it. No really, what did God have to do with it? At what point did he decide when to send it?
Good question. I'd argue from the time God spoke the universe into existence, God knew when this particular storm was coming, where it went, and how long it would last. I'd argue this because of God's omniscience. - which Loftus concedes that is a characteristic that describes God.
Did he violate any known natural laws to do so? Did he make it rain here because of anything we had done or not done? Matthew 5:45 has Jesus, supposedly the Son of a creator God saying, "He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."
Why would God need to violate natural laws in order for this storm to be created? There is no reason to conclude that or that the storm is a consequence of anything that particular people have said or done. The passage that Loftus quotes is taken completely out of context. Jesus was not talking about rain in terms of natural disasters but in terns of the sun and rain in the ways that benefits people.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[i] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? - Matthew 5:43-47
I wonder why Loftus didn't use more appropriate words of Jesus....you know something that actually talks about why people suffer?
Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” - Luke 13:1-5
With the rise of meteorology and of modern science how are we to understand this verse?
I don't think that Loftus understands the verse.
We know what the ancients thought. They thought God literally makes these things happen. Well does he? Then God must continually intervene in the natural order of the world, to send the rain here rather than there. Does he do this? Then the world is full of miracles on a daily basis. If that's the case then we couldn't do any science at all, including predicting the weather.
Since when could we accurately predict the weather? We can't - let alone control it.
Since we can do science then God doesn't intervene in the natural order of the world.
That is a seriously flawed conclusion based on nothing. I think there is no way you can demonstrate that God never intervenes in the natural order no matter how often you assert it.
The very basis of science is predicated on a non-miraculous world order. Since science is possible a miracle working God doesn't exist. Scientists do not detect miracles in the natural world simply because they do not take place. This world looks exactly like one without a God in it. And if there is no miracle working God in our world now, then why should scientists think there was ever a miracle working God who created it? This goes for modern medicine too. The very fact that we can do medicine is predicated on the non-miraculous workings of the human body.
Christians have but one lame excuse. They try to save their faith from refutation by relegating God's activity in the world to merely creating the initial laws of nature.
I wouldn't make that argument. It is truly flawed. Why must it be God intervenes in nature moment-by-moment or not at all? The Bible does not give us the room for either flawed conclusion. God intervenes when God chooses to intervene. We have all heard stories of tornadoes inexplicably changing course, or whole neighborhoods being flattened in a natural disaster except for a single home.
This, however, is a deistic god not the Omni-God of Christianity, the one we read about in a canonized set of writings by ancient superstitious pre-scientific agency detectors. Such a God would have been rejected by Jesus himself, as this and many others passages in the Bible say. God is continually active in the world, the Bible says over and over. So doesn't this show us Jesus didn't know anything about science because like other ancient human beings he was a child of his times? I think so, most emphatically.
I think that Loftus makes the mistake that if a person accepts the idea that there can be miracles, then they must reject science. I see no reason at all that conclusion follows and he can't show that it does. Yes, the God revealed in the Bible is not deistic, however God is not said to be constantly fine-tuning everything moment-by-moment.
John’s post got me thinking about my lake experience last month. While out water skiing, I noticed that when I cut my slalom ski, the spray behind my ski was making a rainbow in the noonday sun. So I decided to have some fun with God as based on his covenant with Noah. According to Genesis 9, God uses all rainbows throughout the world like a string tied around his figure to remind him: “Hey, you don’t need to use water again to destroy humanity!” (How quickly God keeps forgetting about the million he destroyed)!
“God said, “This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations; set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. “It shall come about, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow will be seen in the cloud, and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh. “When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.” (Genesis 9: 12-17)
Compare what Loftus says the promise God made is and compare it with what Genesis says the promise is.
As I cut my ski, talking to myself I said, “God, show me your covenant with Noah.” God did!
As I cut a second time, sending up a spray rainbow, “I said, “God, show me your covenant with Satan.” God did!
Third cut spray, “I said, “Satan, show me your covenant with God.” Satan did!
Fourth cut spray, “I said, “Buddha, show me your covenant with Noah.” Buddha did!
Fifth cut spray, I said, “Show me a sign you don’t exist and the Bible is a lie via a rainbow. Damn, God does answer prayers, as he did!
This is a real stupid analogy because Noah didn't ask for the physical confirmation of the Covenant,. God did this.
More to the point, when it comes to the thousands killed in a tsunami, what difference does it make (apologetically) to the person (be it a Bible Believer or not) dying in a flood if the promise / covenant with Noah was about a worldwide flood? Rainbow or not, their asses are drowned!
There is a big difference. There will never be another world-wide flood that will wipe out all life on land. God promised.
Finally, if science wants to know about Global Warming flooding the major coastal cities . . . Screw it! Just look at the rainbow!
I haven't seen a single computer model anywhere that shows that Global Climate Change will lead to a flood covering the whole earth. Even if all the polar ice caps melt, there will still be dry land in some places on the earth.
Thank you God!
As well we should!
Debunking Christianity: Having Some Good Biblical Fun With God