Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Ruling the Rules

I am dead set on posting three times this month, but since summer, for me, means partial brain atrophy, I am using some musings I jotted out before the summer hit. The question being debated here was whether God follows the rules or makes the rules. Rules, in this case, pertains to the rules and laws of logic, math, and morality.

I actually kinda like the concise, if choppy, format of this, so I think I'll just leave it mostly be.

1. If "rules" exist outside of God, then:
a) Something exists that is outside of God's control (therefore, God is not omnipotent?)
b) Something exists that God did not create (therefore God is not the sole creator?)
c) Something is higher and more fundamental than God (something is more foundational than God?)

How can rules exist without something to govern? Can there be "good" or "bad" if there is nothing to define? This seems nonsensical to me. Rules cannot exist solely as concepts. There must be something they affect in order for them to really exist. If rules exist outside of God, they exist in conjunction with God, and cannot be separated from Him. They did not exist "before" Him or in any way without Him.

What about logic and mathematics? God does [appear to] break the rules of math on several occasions, such as with the two fish and the five loaves of bread. Either the multiplication of the food was not quite so supernatural as is often interpreted, or God was able to break these rules. Could God break rules He did not create and has no power over? God can manipulate His creation, but it seems doubtful that He could change or ignore something He is bound by.

It seems that the rules cannot exist above and beyond God.

But...

2. If God created the "rules", then God could have hypothetically decided that murder was good. This is not a concept my brain can handle. Admittedly, this is not an airtight argument.

Perhaps God created math and logic rules, but is subject to moral rules. God CANNOT break moral rules or else sin would be a moot point. Yet if God is not subject to logic or math, then sin is still a moot point because God is not bound by the concepts of "if...then" or "B therefore C", rendering justice arbitrary.

Can a naturally all-good God create a "Bad"? How can He create something that is completely foreign to His nature? Why would an all-powerful God bind Himself by His own rules? If God created the good and the bad before choosing to embrace only the good, then God is not unchanging and was not always completely good.

General conclusion: God neither created the rules nor obeys rules that exist beyond Him. The rules exist with Him, perhaps as a part of Him, since existing only side-by-side but apart from God still entails that someone or something else is setting the standard. If the rules are a part of God's personality, then God Himself is the source of Logic and the Good, etc., in a fashion after Plato's Forms. God quite literally is Good and is Logic, though Logic and Good are not God. God would be essentially the living form of these concepts, from which everything else is taken and which holds all else together.

I'm not totally happy with this conclusion because it doesn't quite shut down the possibilities of evil being good or pi equaling 7. Suppose that these had randomly been the nature of God's personality. But then again, if God had said that evil was good, would we know any different? I suppose at some point there has to be a self-causing cause, and I don't know what that would be if not God Himself. It might be a little easier to cause yourself if you exist outside of time.

“Anything that happens happens, anything that in happening causes something else to happen causes something else to happen, and anything that in happening causes itself to happen again, happens again. Although not necessarily in chronological order." Douglas Adams

Friday, 13 August 2010

The Perils of Kids Ministry

This week was Performing Arts Camp at the church. I was the dance coach for the third year running. This afternoon, as I was socializing over tacos with some of the campers, one of the little girls, whom I shall refer to as E, suddenly bounced in her seat and swung an arm over to point at me.

"Aha!" she shouted, "You're in love with someone!"

"What?" I laughed.

She backtracked a bit. "Or something like that. You have a ring!"

At this point, little boy J joined the conversation. "Are you married?"

"No," I replied. "If I were married, my ring would be on my left hand. This was my grandma's wedding ring. I got it for my birthday." This is where the conversation really started to take on a life of its own.

"Is she dead?" inquired E.

"Yes,"
I said, "She died when my mom was small."

"Was it cancer?
" asked J.

"Yes,"
I said.

J looked down at his plate of taco mess. "I hope I don't get cancer. I don't want to die."

"I hope you don't, too,"
I agreed.

E shook her head. "You can't get cancer," she said to J. "You get cancer in your boobies."

"Um,"
I hemmed, "Actually, you can get cancer wherever..."

"You get it in your boobies,"
E reaffirmed.

J thought he'd clarify the situation. "Those are girls' private parts," he said.

"Ok,"
I said, "This isn't appropriate. New topic, guys."

"Boys have different private parts,"
E agreed with J.

"They're called 'nibbles',"
J informed her, "and they don't grow."

Ah, yes. The perils of trying to hold dinner conversation with seven-year-olds. Though it's interesting how J's first thought was dead = cancer, and E has clearly heard a lot about breast cancer. I guess cancer is so common now that a lot of kids are somehow affected by it...

On a happier note, I am now reigning champ of the PAC 2010 Air Hockey Tournament. :-D

Speaking of cute things kids say, here's Uncle Dale's daughter, Eden, when someone tried to give her cheddar cheese for her hot dog: "No! I want the plastic cheese!"

Friday, 6 August 2010

One of Those Days

I was at the Distress Centre on Thursday night, signing up for a shift over the weekend. I was rather surprised and a little confused to see that all of Saturday is split into just two shifts. One shift runs from 2:42 p.m. to 4:42 p.m. The other shift runs from 4:42 p.m. until 2:42 p.m the next day. I don't know about you, but a 22 hour shift, to me, seems to be a bit of an overkill.

While I was pondering the strange scheduling at the DC, a girl walked in. Apparently her boyfriend had signed her up for one of these 22 hour shifts, and she was not at all happy about it. She drew for him a picture of a tuxedo, which was somehow supposed to relay to him her emotions and expectations on the matter. I gave her a hug to help her feel better, but she found it awkward and stalked away.

It was probably better that she did, because my bed was in the room and it was past one in the morning. I really wanted to go to sleep because I work at 6:oo a.m. on Friday mornings, and have my bedside alarm clock set to go off at 4:45. When I had finally turned out the lights and brushed my teeth, I tucked myself into bed and gloried in the feeling of the cool sheets against my legs. I leaned down to put my head on the pillow and was just about to fall asleep when

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!

Thus my alarm clock went off and I woke up. And I realized that I had just been dreaming of going to bed and sleeping. You know, there's nothing quite like dreaming about a long, monotonous day to sap you of your energy before you even start. I wasn't exactly full of pep come waking.

But now I want to know: if I HAD fallen asleep in my dream, would I have experienced a dream within a dream?

"Sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." Lewis Carrol