What Could God Have Done Differently?

David Hume argued that if he could come up with one improvement to God's purported creation that it would call into question God's goodness. He suggested four things, one of which is that God could've created us with a greater propensity to work (more energy). So let me open this up for discussion. If you were God, what would you reasonably do differently to make this a better world with less suffering?

Let me be the first to suggest an improvement. God could've created human beings by adding a pair of wings to our backs so that we could fly. There would be no more falling to our deaths. We would have better transportation such that there would also be fewer fatalities on our roadways and airways. Such a winged improvement would result in less suffering than our present bodies. We know God could've done this because there are naturally existing birds in this world who fly. So why didn't he?

15 comments:

Francois Tremblay said...

Committing suicide.

evolutionary soul said...

And God could have made humans with the ability to breathe under water, and we could have flame retardant skin, and be equipped with night vision, and have the ability to turn invisible whenever we wanted so we could avoid predators.

I say the following with the utmost in sincerity and humility:

This is an absolutely ridiculous question.

The question creates an immediate fallacy by first stating affirmatively God exists (even if only for the sake of argument) and then B you ask why this God who exists did something the way he did something and then C you encourage people within this context to add or take away from something God chose to do.

If, for the sake of argument, God does exist, and if this God who exists chose to do something, the decision would be based upon God's absolute knowledge and understanding thus making it the best possible decision given the many variables to be considered by God; variables, as finite beings, we cannot now and will not necessarily ever be able to fathom.

The question itself is very interesting.

I'm of the opinion the bulk of human suffering in the world is the result of humans. Give us wings and we will find a way to use them for destruction.

Shit, we found our own ways to fly and look what we do: We fly into skyscrapers to kill thousands; we fly over countries to drop bombs and kill millions.

Have you ever wondered to yourself: Maybe God did create us in such a way so as to diminish the maximum amount of suffering possible?

.:es:.

Steven Carr said...

God could have created a devleopment system that did not produce so many miscarriages.

That gets us into the whole question of why God allows abortion, and what greater good does abortion serve.

Bruce said...

How about a planet with more equitably distributed natural resources so we don't have to fight over them? And since skin color seems to cause so many problems (even though I personally like the differences), why not make everybody look the same? For that matter, why not just settle the religion question once and for all and let us in on your secret so we can stop killing each other over it (and I'm sure those Muslim suicide bombers would really like to know if they are going to get their virgins).

And why all the genetic mutations? Why does blood not clot in some people? Why are some people missing a chromosome? Are you still experimenting and we are merely your guinea pigs?

And finally, I could go for a good Universal Health Care plan. Surely God could offer up some advice on that one.

John W. Loftus said...

On a Christian blog they are ridiculing my suggestion of flying human beings. Just because I suggest something that sounds strange means nothing at all to me. Birds can fly. Angels purportedly have wings. Why not humans? There would be a whole lot less suffering with just this one change, but I have dozens of changes that I'll suggest in an upcoming debate on evil...dozens. Any one of which would greatly reduce suffering in our world.

You see, when Christians claim to believe in an omnipotent God and then ridicule the idea that he could've made us with wings, they betray their own beliefs. They either believe God is omnipotent or not. If he is and if we can find things in the natural world that he has done, then he could've done it for us. And had he done that for us we would experience less suffering. So the question for them is why he did not do it. And rather than dealing head on with my suggestion Christian people there would prefer to ridicule me, not fully aware of the fact that what they are ridiculing is their own conception of an omnipotent God. You see, they ridicule it because they cannot conceive of a bigger God than the one who purportedly created this known universe. They are stuck defending the God whom they believe created this world and will obstinately refuse to consider that such a God could have easily done differently. They do so, in my opinion, because of a faith that is blind. For them God is only as omnipotent as this world reveals, even though I can suggest very reasonable changes that an omnipotent God, if omnipotent, could easily do differently. So go ahead. In ridiculing my suggestion you ridicule what you believe your own God could do.

Mike D said...

John,
I do not intend to ridicule, but I think you are wrong about your assumption that wings would prevent falls and be only beneficial. My granddaughter is learning to walk. She constantly falls on her butt. It is well-padded and close to the floor. No harm is done. If she had wings, life would be much more complex and hurtful. For adults, little harm is done when one accidently bumps into another on the sidewalk. I am certain this would totally different with wings. I prefer the no-wings-alternative-world, thank you.

Huntan Peck said...

If God exists, and if the Bible is his message to humanity as most Christians assert, then it seems reasonable to ask why a supposedly all-knowing, all-powerful creator couldn't have left a message that was plain to all and unmistakable in its meaning. Instead we have a collection of various documents, written centuries apart, by various people in widely differing circumstances, riddled with contradictions, inconsistencies and obscure references.

When the Bible as we know it today was being compiled, there was considerable disagreement on which books should be included and which should be left out, and, bypassing the fact of so many vastly different and incompatible beliefs that call themselves "christian", even those within the same denomination cannot seem to agree on what the Bible says regarding various points of doctrine.

varkam said...

Perhaps one thing god could have done is fashion our brains in such a way that we don't get angry. It just doesn't happen. He could've made it so that we're all "live and let live" kind of people - but he didn't. Supreme knowledge my ass.

Life would be a lot nicer without anger. I'm sure it would result in untold thousands of fewer deaths each year. Just a thought.

Cheers,
varkam

evolutionary soul said...

I think the message is as simple as it gets when considering the intention of God and God's character.

Humans make the message difficult and complicated when humans make God difficult and complicated.

The message seems simple to me and nothing else, within my capacity to perceive, makes more sense.

Bruce said...

My granddaughter is learning to walk. She constantly falls on her butt. It is well-padded and close to the floor. No harm is done. If she had wings, life would be much more complex and hurtful.

OK, so the wings don't develop until adolescence. Solves both your and John's problem!

I'd love to have wings. Not only would it be fun, but think of the impact it would have on the energy crisis. We'd be paying 25 cents/gallon for gas right now if we had wings.

Matthew said...

John,

I believe that an improvement in engineering living organisms would be to make it so that the respiratory system wasn't connected to the digestive system the way that it is! The passage way leading to our lungs is closed whenever we swallow, allowing for the passage of food.

But think of how many people have died, choked, and have suffocated, even little children because they got something lodged in their throats that blocked the air supply to their lungs. God could've desiged that system better to where the passage to the lungs needn't have to close when food is passing through.

Now Christians will mock skeptics like me and ask how else would God be able to use the respiratory system for speech when the same tools for speech (tounge, teeth, gums, etc) are also used to eat and digest food? Wouldn't it be an easier system if God killed two birds with one stone by designing them so that they fit together?

No, I don't think that it was particularly smart for God to design it this way. There are more efficient plans he couldv'e used. What if, instead, of us having to breathe in air through nasal cavity and, alternatively, the mouth, what if God designed mammals like ourselves to have symbiotic relationships with bacteria that lived in the cells of our skin?

What if, instead of having to rely on air, we supplied nutrients to the bacteria to help the bacteria remain alive while the bacteria generated the necessary oxygen for our blood stream? We wouldn't have to rely on a nasal cavity nor would we have to rely on having the opening to our lungs have to close in our throat every time we swallow food, thereby risking choking or suffocation. Such a symbiotic relationship would be a feat of engineering design on part of any Creator and seems to me to be a lot more sufficent and safer than our current system.

Just my two cents,

Matthew

Edward T. Babinski said...

Can humanity HELP but not consider possible ways to make things "better?"

We are homo "invention-us." And we don't settle for what "is," but have invented tools and ways to use them to build even finer tools, giving us everything from agriculture to better dwellings with plumbing to vaccines to writing enjoyable music and finding new ways to make new sounds, all the way to inventing news ways to examine the cosmos and ourselves, and to communicate with each other and store vast masses of information on tiny chips made out the same elements found in sand. If we ceased inventing new things and put down our tools, and let the first fire burn out, or scrapped the first wheel, and simply lived without nothing more than God gave Adam and Eve, then we'd be aboriginies.

No matter where our inventiveness and technological strivings take us, not many of us wish to turn back to aboriginal ways. So, yes, we CAN imagine things "better than they are," including maybe genetically engineering wings for those who want them (which as stated by someone else would sure help us diminish our use of gas).

Maybe the consequences of all our tool making and inventiveness will lead to ecological disasters, maybe even our extinction, but nature has her own ways of knocking off species on a planet, quite a few of them in fact, from a super-sized stellar flare to asteroid and cometary impacts to stars passing too near our own or going nova near us, to a black hole sucking us in, to our own sun dying out, not to mention more local catastrophies as well, from global warming to ice ages to super volcanoes errupting. And at least we dreamed, we peering into the cosmos as far as we could while we were here. (We also kicked the shite out of each other for reasons both noble and insignificant and confusing and psychotic as one could name.)

Ingersoll summed it up, "Bar me from the garden of Eden if you must, but I am going to bite the apple of knowledge first."

paul said...

God could have created us to be equal to God. If God was lonely, why not create someone who could measure up and provide some real companionship? Why, instead of creating us to look like God, did God not create us to be like God?

Mick said...

The idea, if I'm not mistaken, seems to be that if one can improve on God's creation, then maybe he's not so great after all - in fact, maybe he's not even real.

Along those lines, it seems to me that if God were real, he could have, would have, set up a system of following him that would be clear and easy for all his followers to acknowledge and obey, an unquestionable revelation and method that negated all the divisive arguments and sectarianism one finds in every religion. I know that's a tall order, but he's God, right? It seems he would have a godly system, an infallable, indisputable system - and one that made sense when considering earthly evidence - not one disputed by earthly evidence. Following God should be a matter of simple common sense, rather than so contrary to simple common sense.

Another thought I've had along these lines is that if one could legitimately imagine a better God than the Christian God, then the Christian God couldn't be real. After all, if he's God, by definition he has to be the best God possible, right?

A better God, who truly wants to bring all humanity back to him, would simply forgive all sins at death and bring the sinless souls to be with him in eternal bliss. Death would be the price for sins, then all is complete. We're living in a world created by God, we're behaving as he designed us to behave - it seems unfair, even petty, to condemn us for performing to industry standards.

That seems, logically, to be a better solution that would call for a better God to institute.
Maybe this God isn't so hot after all.

Rich said...

I do wonder if youhave considered the alternative to the way things are. Sure God could have do lots of things differently and we can come up with all kinds of suggetions. Suffering could have been lessened or even nonexsistant.
The kind of exsitance you are wanting to see would require 100% control over every living thing. You wouldn't be able to think for yourself because humans tend to have evil thoughts. Your actions 100% controled. You couldn't leave it up to any one person to act or think for themselves, based on what we observe in society as a whole, because the outcome won't always be right, ethical, good, harmless, ect... Sure God could, in his infinite wisdom, only exert control when necessary but would that really change the outcome? How would you know when you were acting for yourself or being controlled?
We have to have free will to learn. If you tell a young child not to touch the stove because it's hot, the child doesn't understand hot or the consequences of touching anything hot so they touch anyway. Now the pain is a reminder of the bad choice, a new learned behavior, touching hot=burn and pain. Next time you say don't touch that hot stove, the child remebers hot and chooses not to touch and repeat the bad choice. We function in the same way on a grander scale by learning right from wrong and hopefully learn to make right choices. Now if the same child wants to play with a knife and you say don't touch you will get cut. He may not understand cut but remebers the hot. Now he may make the choice to not play with the knife, knowing that hot equaled pain and the warning came in the same fashion for both. The child has then learned to heed your warnings of bad choices and stay away from pain.

Our free will works the same for us. We are given commandments to follow and there are negative consequences for not choosing right. Sometimes those negative consequences affect others. For us to become better and more free we have to choose right and good things. We have to suffer the bad to know good, sorrow to know happiness, and so forth. We don't have to suffer every bad thing to know bad, but some bad things certainly. I don't need to suffer from mental illness to know its bad. I may never know what its like but I can imagine it is awefull and I feel bad for anyone who has to suffer from it. Our free will and choosing bad allows us to know why choosing right is good. We are given the ability through Christ to recieve forgivness of our bad choices and thus return to God washed clean from our sins. It may not be a system that we completely understand but that doesn't make God incompetant or non exsistant just because we could think of alternatives. Maybe the alternatives are much worse, we don't know because this is how we were given to live from God. Being allknowing must grant some wisdom in creation. If we were to undertand how to creat I think the mess we make would be really bad. Look at the mess society is from humans choices. It is totally our fault for the suffering because we choose to do bad things. While God gave us the freedom to do so is his wisdom and necessary for our betterment.