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A website for the book by Ian J Thompson:

"Rational Scientific Theories from Theism"


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3.3 Changes to theology

Religious people might also benefit from making some changes in their theology. This is a delicate process, but, I believe, the changes to be suggested here can be justified with no loss of glory to God. Rather, it will turn out, there will be much gain. It is not a coincidence that the changes to be recommended here are a mirror of those required above for scientists.

The theological conflict arises because the God described in this book is a being composed entirely of Love, and, moreover, a completely unselfish love. To such a God, we assert that anger, jealousy, exclusiveness and selfishness are completely foreign, and that God is, rather, patient, merciful, compassionate, and accommodating. Many people will question whether this is the same as the God of the Bible (Old and New Testaments) and of the Qu’ran. Those books claim to describe the same good God, but the God they portray does appear to be angry, jealous, possessive, selfish and vindictive. Which view is true, which view is appearance, and why? Let me give one possible resolution.

The theology in Part III will claim God is life itself: the very source of love and wisdom for all beings in the world. It will go on to explain how God is the source for all derived willing, thinking and acting in the universe. All power and glory should be attributed to God, as there is only one God and thus no other source of life. The divine Love of God in Himself can be viewed as similar to a brilliant source of light and glory before which nothing selfish or impure can stand if not shielded or otherwise aided. If unregenerate or selfish persons are in the presence of God, they will be extremely uncomfortable and pained. To such persons it truly appears that God is angry with them.3.1But, in reality, it is their own anger and selfishness which generates these discomforts and pains: real and powerful feelings. To them it does feel that God is angry and, in fact, angry with them personally. However that anger is certainly not from God but is a consequence of their own partial state of religious maturity and the manner in which God’s glory is hence received imperfectly by them.

This reasoning explains why it only appears that God is possessive of his religious flock and jealous of other gods and that he selfishly believes that only his way is the truth and the life. Since there are no other gods, it is for our benefit that he deflects us from seeking them. It is a simple theistic fact that God is the one life and that this is not an arbitrary megalomania on God’s part. It is actually a direct consequence of God’s unselfish, compassionate, and perpetual care for everyone’s individual wellbeing.

Therefore it is our variations which lead to God having varying appearances to us, while he is actually always constant and unselfish. Just as our sun is fixed, but we experience (real) days and seasons as our earth varies, so is it with God.3.2Since God is of Love and hence relates to us by means of our loves, it is our deepest religious loves which are varying, and thus drive the differing appearances. These deepest loves are what we will call spiritual loves.

If we can allow this explanation of the cause of the difference between reality and appearances, we should feel free to affirm the purity and unselfishness of the God of Love as fundamental in theology. This affirmation will be made in Part III, and it will be the basis for many subsequent deductions within theism and science. It implies that God is continually trying to provide us with as much life as we are able to receive, retain and use. It is primarily we who vary.3.3Equivalently, we can take God as always doing everything that he can to help us but as still respecting our free choices. Once we can rely on God to act constantly and unselfishly for what is best in the long term, we have a good possibility of finding laws that relate theism and science and also a good prospect of discovering a science based on regular structures, dispositions and predictions.

Accepting the fact that God’s love is good has important consequences for the concerns of scientists in the previous section. Many scientists worry about possible incursions of arbitrary powers by an omnipotent God. If God’s omnipotence is ruled (as it should be) by his constant and unselfish Love acting by means of divine Wisdom, then the influences of God on the world will be good and constructive rather than destructive. The fact that some less-mature persons see those influences as fearful merely reflects their own spiritual states, in accordance with the principles outlined above.

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