Thursday, January 06, 2005

Slowing down God

With the Universe being such a big place, I think we always assume that a corporeal God can still get around pretty quickly. I think many people also assume that spirits should be able to travel pretty fast as well. As I have been reading A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson, I have been wondering, rather tangentially, how mormon theology would change if God was, well more limited in this regard?

On one hand, it is easy to see why angelic visitation and such would be rather rare. Unless there were hanging out rather close by, it could take quite some time to make an appearance. Not to trivialize things, but it would also make it rather un-economical for God to show up very often. This is especially true if he had other worlds or creations to take care of.

In fact the limitations this causes, makes it the role of a traditional fundamental styled God rather hard to fill. If information is limited by the speed of light, instantaneous knowledge is rather hard to come by. Now I am sure some people feel that God’s omnipotence and omniscience mean that these rules don’t quite apply, at least in a conventional sense. Of course that is possible. However, to me, it seems like many attempted reconciliations seem to be reaching for something. Either that, or they are caught up on consequences of open theism.

If it does take God significant time to move around and communicate, the role Christ played as Jehovah in the Old Testament seems to make more sense. The eternal generations of Divinity also seem to make more sense. It also avoids some of the reaching that occurs as one imagines creations correlating with bubble universes.

I think it also emphasizes the role of faith in our growth. Faith becomes less blind belief in God’s direct involvement in our lives, and more belief that what we have previously learned will keep us the correct path in our desired progression. In this sense, the light of Christ really can be seen as a base level of ingrained knowledge that we rely on. The influence of the Holy Ghost may be access to more of our previous knowledge and awareness.

Now of course, just like many of my musings, this has many problems. Nonetheless, it is interesting to think through the necessary organizational structures and situations that are required by this travel and communication limitation. God’s existence is still as real as ever, but his involvement may be quite different than we imagine.


chris g said...

I think some of the comments over at Splendid Sun get at some of the consequences I was thinking about. Particularly near the end (comments 9, 10). It seems like the separation from society that religion seems to encourage could equally be viewed as an attempt to get us in better connection with our previous ingrained beleifs, habits or tendencies. Normally we think of the separation as allowing a less diturbed connection with the Holy Ghost, but I wonder if the two ideas aren't getting at much the same point, just through different language.

chris g said...

I also wonder if this whole idea of remembering that I would suppose occurs in most instances instead of revelation doesn't help to explain the importance of conforming our thoughts works and deeds to what is right. The things we value most need to become an integral part of us, or they serve no lasting purpose. This tends towards my ideas on embodiement. Basically, being able to recount the correct catechism may be of little value if it isn't so embedded in our being that a veil of forgetfullness were to shock us into a new reality.

Along these lines, I wonder if our ressurection may be just such a shock. Perhpas some what similar in magnitude to what we experienced entering mortality. Of course perhaps our mortal existence will make us more prepared for the things. Still it could mean that any quasi developed talents or beliefs just might not make the transition. Of course with all my bad habits, that may not be such a bad thing :)