Musings Of A Spiritual Atheist
The Word

The gospel of John, in chapter 1, contains a short series of statements about who made the universe. Verse 1 says:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with god, and the Word was god.

The “Word” in this verse is, among Christian groups, almost universally accepted as referring to Jesus in his pre-human form. However, there is a dispute as to whether this is accurately translated. A small minority of religious groups and a few translations say it should be, “and the Word was a god”, while the rest translate it as quoted above. The problem is that Bible Greek does not have an indefinite article (the word “a” in “a god”), so nouns without the definite article (“the” in “the Word”) are usually meant as indefinite. This verse has led to a lot of bad feeling among Christian groups as it goes to the heart of the doctrine of the Trinity and, even today, those who translate it as indefinite (“a god”) are often reviled. This disagreement goes back almost to the beginnings of Christianity. See the previous chapter.

Verses 2 and 3 continue:

The same was in the beginning with god. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Here we are told that the pre-human Jesus, the “Word of god” was the one who actually did all the creating. It wasn't “god” who did it, but Jesus. You can see why trinitarians get so upset with those who translate the first verse as “a god”, as it leads to denial of the trinity doctrine, and doing that goes to the very core of the mainstream Christian view of who created the universe and everything else.

Let's not concern ourselves with old disagreements, though, and reason on what was created, since whatever the correct translation is makes no real difference to the point that according to the Bible, “god” was responsible for it, directly if you are a Trinitarian, indirectly if you are not. It is important to note, however, that creation does not just refer to the physical creation but includes all the other things that exist, such as the laws of physics, reasoning ability and logic. These are “things” and according to verse 3, were all created by the Word.

Among the “things” that were made we would have to include the concepts of evil and all the other negative characteristics. They are things, just as much as good and righteousness are things. That being so, they must have been made by the Word. We could now go through a list of negative things and point out that every one of them is a “thing” within the bible definition and that all of them must have been made by the Word, but that would just be pointless repetition.

Religious people will make the point that the negative things are just opposites, i.e. the Word made “good” and its opposite was “evil”. The contention is that the Word didn't make evil, it just came as a consequence of making good, since it was the opposite. This argument is used for the existence of the devil as well: the Word made an angel who later went bad and made himself into the devil, i.e. He behaved in the opposite manner to how he was intended to behave. Therefore the Word did not make the devil, the devil made himself. This excuse is nothing but flimsy sophistry.

The point is, surely, that the Word must have known that opposites would come into existence when he made something. He must have known it because the concept of opposites is one of the “things” he made, so having an opposing negative whenever a positive is made must have been a deliberate choice. It must have been done on purpose. If opposites were not what he wanted and are undesirable then surely we should ask why he did not make a universe in which there were no opposites. The usual response to that question is that it is ridiculous, because there have to be opposites and that’s just the way things are. Consider, however, that if an all powerful god, and I emphasise the “all powerful” aspect, made everything then he must have made the requirement for there to be opposites as well. That must surely mean that he could have made it otherwise if he chose. Denying that it was a matter of choice must mean that he could not do so, and that would mean he could not be all powerful, but limited in his abilities. Directly or indirectly, the Word made evil and gave the devil the ability to behave in a manner opposite to what was intended and make himself into the opposer.

It also raises the question as to whether there could even be an unintended consequence. If god is perfect and everything he does is perfect, then the creation must have been perfect, including the personality of the angels who became the devil and his follower demons. The fact that one or more could go bad, the very capability of being able to do so, must be a perfect circumstance and deliberate on god’s part. The word could have made the angel who became the devil incapable of going bad, but he must have deliberately chosen not to do so while knowing full well that he would go bad. God, you will remember knows the end from the beginning, i.e. He knows the future, remember.

If the Bible is to be believed, from nothingness came concepts, the physical world and the ethereal world of angels, all made by the Word. If opposites were to be a future problem, then he could have made a universe where they were not required and we could have had good without evil. He is, after all, an all powerful deity and can do literally anything. If creating a universe without opposites is beyond his power, then he could not be all powerful. Since he could have made a universe free of evil, but we have evil anyway, it must have been a choice he made, first to create the concept, then to let it exist, and so must have facilitated its presence.

It also logically follows that the fall of mankind as recorded in the story of Adam and Eve was completely unnecessary. Since he could do literally anything, the Word could have created Adam and Eve with characteristics which gave them both free will and an inability to be disobedient. Not logical, you say? Why? Is it beyond god’s power to do that? Is he limited in his capabilities? Is there a force greater than him that limits what he can do? If your answer is “No”, then he could obviously have done so if he had wished to do so, and the fact that he did not must be a deliberate choice. So then, who bears ultimate responsible for Adam and Eve’s disobedience if they could have been stopped by a simple snap of god’s metaphorical fingers, under a different creative paradigm?

The point is that as soon as the argument that god “had” to do something a certain way is used, we are denying that he is all powerful or omnipotent. If he “had” to do something it means there is a force outside of him that limits what he can do, i.e. He is not omnipotent because the outside force is more powerful and constrains him. If, however, he is omnipotent and can do anything, literally, then everything that exists must have come about as a deliberate choice during the creation. That includes the logic used here, too! I am currently using logical arguments that ultimately derive from god!

We are also told that god is all knowing. He knows everything that goes on, both now and in the past, and knows what is going to happen in the future, all in the most minute detail. If that is so, then he must have been aware before he made anything at all how it would turn out. He must have known that an angel would become the devil, his opposer; that Adam would cause his descendants to be sinful; that religions established to worship him would abuse, murder, rape and warmonger for him. Yet he did not stop it even though, as an all powerful god, it was well within his power to do so with that snap of his fingers.

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