God already knows exactly what we need before we ask Him (Matthew 6:8). Yet still we pray to Him as if He were in the dark. He is infinitely more familiar with our problems than even we are ourselves. So prayer is not for God — not even in the slightest — it is completely for ourselves. It is a time to step back and acknowledge before God what we believe truly matters; a time to reexamine and redefine our priorities; a time to think of others, especially our enemies, in a gracious and loving way.
Prayer is immensely important but not just as a communication with God. He already knows what we are thinking “from afar” (Psalm 139:2) . Prayer reminds us of this simple fact and affords us the time to evaluate, redirect, clarify, organize and focus our innermost thoughts. It also encourages us to stop and actually listen. In this respect, it is much more akin to meditation than petition.
Posted in Ponderings
Tagged God, Matthew
Mary Magdalene, The Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:7-26), the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and dried them with her hair (Luke 7:37-38), the woman Jesus saved from stoning (John 8:1-11) — we are all familiar with their chosen professions, right? Wrong! The Bible says no such thing. In fact, there is absolutely no Biblical evidence for such identification. It seems rather bizarre that almost all prominent female figures in the Gospels have been labeled over the years by religious leaders as ‘prostitutes’. Even Mary, the sister of Martha is no exception. She is later named in John 12:3 as the so-called ‘prostitute’ who washed Jesus’ feet in Luke 7:37-38. This deliberate slander of women is almost certainly an example of misogyny perpetuated within the Church.
It may come as a surprise that the one and only statement Jesus explicitly made regarding prostitutes was in response to a question posed by the chief priests and the elders. He said, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.” (Mt 21:31). That’s something to think about.
One interesting aspect of the multiverse hypothesis is that you can not die – at least while it is still possible to live. No matter how serious the harm or injury, if it is survivable, you will survive. Don’t get me wrong, there are universes or timelines in which you die. In fact, you probably die every single day in some alternate universe. I am speaking in terms of your awareness, not others. Every possibility represents a point of divergence within the multiverse hypothesis. In the universe(s) in which you die, your awareness ceases to exist, so that avenue is closed to you. By necessity, your awareness continues only within the universe(s) in which you live.
Don’t try this at home! I wouldn’t go experimenting with this hypothesis. It is far from being a provable scientific theory. Even if it is true, it doesn’t mean you are invulnerable. You can get seriously wounded, maimed and mutilated, just not mortally so. And unless it is possible for you to live forever* in some timeline, you may eventually die.
*Christianity says this is possible.
The point is, if you continue to act as if you are the type of person you really want to be, you might occasionally forget you are “faking it”. From experience, I can tell you it sometimes works — if you can keep it up. Sure it’s a beautiful lie but we all wear masks every day. As long as you are wearing one anyway, why not put on an attractive mask? Try to act happier and more confident than you really feel — you are hurting no one, not even yourself. In fact, you’ll be doing everyone, including you, a favor. (Matthew 6:16-17) If you act like someone you want to be around, you might even grow to stand your own company. But be warned: it takes a lot of energy, especially if you are depressed, so don’t overdo it at first. Think of it as emotional exercise. It becomes easier with time.
It’s important to share your true feelings with someone but not everyone and not all of the time. In the meantime, try to act better than you feel. if you do a good enough job at it, you might even fool yourself.
Are you a leaf in the wind, having no control over your own actions? To be fair, if you are going to blame others for your mistakes, you ought to give them at least as much credit for your successes. While it may be true that no man is an island, in the end, you are ultimately responsible for every decision you make. (Galatians 6:5) Unless you are being physically controlled, every voluntary action is preceded by a decision. No one can make you do anything without actual force.
I’ve heard this all my life. While it is true that no one but God is good (Mark 10:18), I believe that people, for the most part, *try* to be good. Consider, that with the same amount of effort you can poke someone in the eye or shake their hand. Most people choose to shake hands. People have the capacity to do much more harm than good using the same amount of energy, yet most people exert quite a lot of energy toward (at least) not hurting others. Even with words, consider how carefully most people craft their sentences to be as “tactful” as possible to spare the feelings of others. It would be far easier to just blurt out whatever we were thinking. Sure, we want to avoid negative consequences but I think, at least in part, that people actually care about each other’s feelings. This is the very basis of the Golden Rule. We are all self-serving to some extent but deep down, most of us want other people to be happy. There are exceptions, of course, such as sociopaths – then all bets are off.
Do you give or help as anonymously as possible? Do you do things for others who you know can not or will not do anything for you in return? Then, I think you are at least trying to be good for it’s own sake. That’s the best any of us can do.
With very few exceptions, there are no absolutes in this universe. There exist only varying degrees of probability. Even the old Newtonian “laws” are more accurately “rules of thumb”. We now know that although it is extremely likely that a rock will fall to the ground when released from a person’s hand it is never an absolute certainty. The possibility always exists, however remote, that it will spontaneously turn into a sparrow and fly away. It is also possible that it will cease to exist altogether. Matter and energy spontaneously pop in and out of existence on a continual basis. Our minds love patterns and we perceive absolutes where only large percentiles exist.
Even when we speak of such abstract absolutes as Goodness, Truth and Perfection, they do not exist in this universe save as divine attributes of God. But God is transcendent, existing both within and outside the universe. As imperfect mortals ourselves, we can only sense His divine attributes, never fully experiencing them first hand. And due to the limited nature of our consciousness, it is doubtful we could recognize an absolute attribute of God’s divinity were we in it’s presence.
Infinite power means infinite potential energy. Yet we know that the universe only contains a finite amount of energy. If God exists only within this universe, God’s power is finite, God cannot be omnipotent.
On the other hand, if the universe exists within God then He could possibly have infinite energy in which to affect this lesser finite universe. God can only be omnipotent if He is transcendent.
For a thing to exist everywhere simultaneously, it must be completely insubstantial. Otherwise, its matter or substance would have to be infinitely dense because the concept of true omnipresence would not allow any empty space between the subatomic particles of which it is comprised. Not only would this require infinite mass, there would be no room for anything else to exist in the universe. So for God to be omnipresent, He must be completely insubstantial and immaterial. Perhaps God is like space-time itself. Space is everywhere, after all. It moves, undulates and grows like a living creature.
Pantheism envisions that “God is everything <–> everything is God”. If there is nothing that is not God, then the term “God” is indistinguishable from the term “everything” and therefore ceases to have any true meaning in and of itself. PanENtheism, on the other hand, maintains that God is everything and more, the seen and the unseen, the knowable and the unknowable. In other words, God transcends the universe.
To truly know everything, God must know the future as well. The Uncertainty Principle seems to make this impossible. An electron’s location is completely unpredictable and as such can never be known at any given time.
Philosophically speaking, if the future can be known then it must be just as concrete as the past – it already exists (at least in essence). Free will is a delusion if there is only one possible course of action. Where there is no free will there can be no errors. Computers have no free will or intention and therefore cannot make errors. They process information the only possible way they can given their software and hardware parameters. What are often incorrectly called, “computer errors” are truly human errors. They result from faulty programming, manufacturing or user input. It must be true that errors exist (how can this be an erroneous statement?) -> therefore free will exists -> therefore the future is changeable and cannot be known. If God cannot know the future He cannot be completely omniscient.
However, the multiverse hypothesis suggests that for every possibility there has ever been, a separate universe exists where that possibility has occurred. Again, for God to be omniscient, each one of these universes must be predetermined as well. There are a finite number of possibilities in a finite universe no matter how large. If a universe exists for each of these possibilities wouldn’t each of these universes be necessarily predetermined? Perhaps our diverging awarenesses tend to follow the paths of our original intent. So that this version of me that is experiencing this reality is doing so because of all the choices I have made up to this point. This would seem to satisfy the notion of free will. Perhaps it would also go some degree toward explaining the apparent influence of an observer’s expectation in quantum mechanics.
If all possibilities exist, we may have some degree of control over which reality we actually experience, i.e. free-will. And God may also be omniscient. In this case, it doesn’t have to be an either/or choice, it can be a both/and. God knows which decision you are going to make — you are going to make all of them.