Image of God...

Discussion in 'Comparative Religion' started by R1D2, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. Jan Ardena Valued Senior Member


    I have answered the question contextually, no more no less.

    Jesus was a human being.
    According to the Bible God made man in His image.
    That's what you've got so far,

    If you want my opinion on it I would say that it is not the form that is limited, it is the nature of form.

    That's a big subject. One deserving it's own thread.

    What is the ''concept of universal potential''?


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  3. Write4U Valued Senior Member


    What we have so far is hubris, an illusion created by mythology and fables from scientifically unenlightened people, way back, when we still had a god of thunder and lightning and a god of the sea, and a god of the forests. All that is left from those gods is a single god who made man in his image. An assumption which is as wrong as the assumption of gods who make the weather.

    So, you assert that Jesus was God? After all we are all sons and daughters of god, even the least of us, all in his likeness, warts and all. I know I am not God. I know you are not God. How do I know that Jesus was God (in human form)? An old discredited book?

    We know the nature of the form of humans very well, there is an entire scientific branch researching this particular field. Are you really asserting that by looking at humans we can discover God?

    Yes indeed, to stuff God into a little human box is small thinking, IMHO.

    First, if you look up the definition of Potential, you will find that it is defined as "a latent excellence which may become reality" (keyword "latent").
    It means that the inherent properties of the Universe imply a range of possible expressions in nature. This range appears to be almost infinite as witnessed by the Universe itself and the variety of life on suitable planets such as earth.
    And if you are really interested in a scientifically based proposition of a Universal plenum of Pure Potential, in which the Implicate takes form, which in turn may or may not be Explicated in reality. Read some of David Bohm's (physicist) works and you will find a much larger description and attributes of the Universal Wholeness, which in fact explains how the Implicate becomes Explicate. There is your God.
    If you watched the presentation, you can hear the voice of god in the sounds of the forest. If you cannot, then (if you are a theist) your imaginary god who resembles a human (in what respect?) seems very limited, as compared to a conceptualization of the Wholeness of the Universe and its Potential to become manifest in an unimaginable variety of expressions.
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  5. Jan Ardena Valued Senior Member


    I think you need to reaquaint yourself with the OP

    Did I? I could have sworn I said he was a human being.

    You seem very confused.
    No one is saying we are God.

    What do you mean by ''discover God?''

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  7. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    Interesting thread and comments!

    It prompted me to do some quick research into the history of writing/language based on the suspicion that the words like image, created, etc are really quite contemporary and rather complex when compared to the literacy levels and language skills around the bronze age or before.
    For someone to write numbers to 7 was a pretty amazing feat even on it's own as numeracy was by sticks and stones and probably had no language.
    So I wonder exactly what it is that we are trying to decipher here...

    The problem is placing a contemporary slant on supposedly very old concepts. what did "image" mean so many years ago anyway? And how the hell did they come up with what appears to be a fairly contemporary and complex set of ideas?

    If we assume veracity then the book of Genesis must have puzzled the sh*t out of the local tribes at the time......considering that even their intellectual elite where most likely still scribing incoherent lines in the sand...

    There is more to the book of Genesis than what we [including all Western orthodox religions ] are "cynically" presuming IMO.
    and an indication of what may have possibly inspired the blind devotion and worship of nomadic, tribal, illiterate and ancient mankind all those years ago.
  8. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Perhaps you should Jan. My posts are in context with the OP

    With two arms and two legs, one head??? Show me.

    Yes, and how does that relate to God?

    You are saying we are "in the image of god" Then explain to me the subtle difference.

    What god looks like (apparently that has been established by the Book). Ok he looks human, what else? He has human emotions? Oh yes God is a "jealous"' god. Very human.
    What else? He breathes air? He walks on the clouds? He sits on a golden throne? He eats to stay alive?
    What else? He can see every human being on earth all at the same time and knows if you have been good or bad? Oops that is Santa Claus, another magical human.

    Jan, with respect, It is you who is confused by a hodge podge of mythology. There are no physical comparisons to a Dynamic Cosmic Plenum. It cannot even create anything by itself (Zero point energy) but provides a universal Potential which may become expressed in reality, such as galaxies, stars, planets, and all living things that may be present in the entire Universe.

    To think that on Earth humans are special is true, we are the most advanced species (to our knowledge). But to think that we are special as compared to the unimaginable forces at work any comparison to humans is just plain hubris, IMHO.

    It is humans who created God in THEIR image, not the other way around. We have a brain, true, but so does all advanced life on earth.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2013
  9. R1D2 many leagues under the sea. Valued Senior Member

    Whoa Q-Q!
    Some VERY fascinating thought directions here.
    Thx for the interesting post, and opinion...
  10. rcscwc Registered Senior Member

  11. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    One question that comes to mind immediately. If the people in those days were scribbling incoherent lines in the sand, how would they be able to come up with an abstract idea such as the "image of god", and not mean exactly what they said and how they said it. There was no subtle theoretical science behind these statements. The original scriptures were written by uninformed primitive minds. Illness was still considered to be a possession by demons. Dinosaur fossils were considered the skeletons of giants (but not in the sense of giant animals).

    The single reason why those people thought we were special was due the fact that we are sentient, a special ability which only god has and what makes us the children of god. But that was long before we were able to analyze how things really work and understand that sentience is a common attribute to most mobile life forms.

    You are still trying to justify ancient superstitions and assumptions with modern thinking. The people who wrote the different parts of the bible had it wrong as is clearly evident by the scripture itself. To now use sophistry in deciphering the "brilliant insights" of those people is a stretch, IMO.

    In order to read the original documents on which the bible was later assembled, you have to go back and think with primitive assumption based on unknown phenomena.

    Personally I find the concept of Deism (an implacable plenum) much more palatable than Theism.
  12. eugene381 Registered Member


    The traditional religious view states that only humans are made "in the image of God" in the sense that only humans have the ability to make moral decisions, and a soul is required to be able to know the difference between good and evil. This is why it was stated that humans were made in the image of God, whereas the other animals were not.

    However, it is interesting to note that we now know that other animals do know right from wrong. In fact, they sometimes know it much better than we humans do. Below is a passage on this topic from the book "Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors":

    "In the annals of primate ethics, there are some accounts that have the ring of parable. In a laboratory setting, macaques were fed if they were willing to pull a chain and electrically shock an unrelated macaque whose agony was in plain view through a one-way mirror. Otherwise, they starved. After learning the ropes, the monkeys frequently refused to pull the chain; in one experiment only 13% would do so - 87% preferred to go hungry. One macaque went without food for nearly two weeks rather than hurt its fellow. Macaques who had themselves been shocked in previous experiments were even less willing to pull the chain. The relative social status or gender of the macaques had little bearing on their reluctance to hurt others.

    If asked to choose between the human experimenters offering the macaques this Faustian bargain and the macaques themselves - suffering from real hunger rather than causing pain to others-our own moral sympathies do not lie with the scientists. But their experiments permit us to glimpse in non-humans a saintly willingness to make sacrifices in order to save others - even those who are not close kin. By conventional human standards, these macaques - who have never gone to Sunday school, never heard of the Ten Commandments, never squirmed through a single junior high school civics lesson - seem exemplary in their moral grounding and their courageous resistance to evil. Among these macaques, at least in this case, heroism is the norm.

    If the circumstances were reversed, and captive humans were offered the same deal by macaque scientists, would we do as well? (Especially when there is an authority figure urging us to administer the electric shocks, we humans are disturbingly willing to cause pain - and for a reward much more paltry than food is for a starving macaque [cf. Stanley Milgram, Obedience to Authority: An Experimental Overview].) In human history there are a precious few whose memory we revere because they knowingly sacrificed themselves for others. For each of them, there are multitudes who did nothing."

    Discussing the macaque monkeys who chose to starve rather than inflict pain on another, Drs. Sagan and Druyan conclude, "Might we have a more optimistic view of the human future if we were sure our ethics were up to their standards?
  13. Combo Registered Member

    God is primarily known through His Attributes: Power, Beauty, Splendour, Perfection, Grandeur, Mercy, Might, Will, Knowledge, Sovereignty, Majesty, etc.

    The statement that God made humans in his image refers to humans reflecting these Attributes. It has nothing to do with physical appearance which is essentially contingent in nature.
  14. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Of course according to the bible we were not created with the ability to make moral decisions. That did not come until later, by eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

    Very interesting,

    In other threads I have given several examples of observed moral behavior in other animals.

    a) a monkey feeling guilty for being responsible for the death of another due to his negligence.
    b) a monkey pulling a ruse (crying wolf) in order to steal food and then hiding lest he be caught.
    c) a chimpanzee opening a locked door to share his food with another chimp who was not given food.
    d) a female gorilla refusing a prospective mate because "he was dirty"
    e) a silverback gorilla protecting a young child which had fallen into the "pen" from younger, more aggressive males.
    f) Bonobos who greet strangers with offerings of food and sex, as well as sharing territory (with abundant food) with unrelated species.
    g) a pod of whales adopting an injured dolphin into their protection

    IMO, those are moral behaviors.

    It appears then that morality is not a product of creation, but is a learned behavior in several communal species.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2013
  15. Combo Registered Member

    Good examples. Professor Mark Bekoff has written some great books on this topic and made a strong case that morality is not the exclusive domain of humans (e.g. "The emotional lives of animals").

    Some points: -
    -- The Bible's account of creation is allegorical.
    -- The creation of man "in God's image" refers to God bestowing upon man the the capacity to reflect all the Attributes of God (e.g. Beauty, Mercy, Majesty, Power, Knowledge, Compassion, etc.)
    -- Animals also reflect the Attributes of God (e.g. Compassion, as in the examples above), but in a more limited way: humans can potentially reflect them all.
  16. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Thanks for the reference.

    I understand the allegorical nature of scripture, but even then it presents a logical contradiction. Man's intellect evolved (came much later) from animals which only possessed the "limited attributes of god".
    Thus the allegory of "eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil" actually contradicts the story of man being bestowed with the inherent ability to exhibit all the attributes of god.

    IMO, only the Wholeness of all that exists may be allegorically named "God". This is confirmed in the bible , that "in the beginning there was only the Word". Because of that God (by any other name) and its morality cannot ever be known.

    In my personal view that word is Potential. If we replace the word God with the word Potential then the allegory becomes much more understandable. Interestingly you just used the word potential as a "latent excellence"
    Thus if we start scripture with the "word" Potential (definition: That which may become reality) we may understand how the universe has the potential for infinite variety, from which we can logically place the evolution of homo sapiens in the "scheme of things"

    This can be demonstrated at the chromosomal level.

    The major difference between us and a chimp (except for minor cosmetic differences) lies in the fusion of two chromosomes in our ancestors into a single chromosome in what was to become homo sapiens. Apparently the change in chromosomal instructions allowed for primitive hominids to evolve a larger brain, with man evolving as the most advanced. The potential for that mutation was already present before it happened in reality. Such is the nature of the universe.

    To me (as an atheist) when we speak of God (even allegorically) we speak of a singular Wholeness with unlimited potential.
    Thus by my definition everything is "in the image" of god and humans are but one expression of that potential.
    But evolution continues to function and who knows what other species (somewhere in the universe) may have the potential or the ability for advanced data processing?

    IMHO, from your list of attributes of god: Beauty, Mercy, Majesty, Power, Knowledge, Compassion, etc. only the term Power is valid and the addition of an attribute Potential is valid, because those are true causal conditions. The other terms are invented by us to describe our emotional response to the Power and Potential for infinite expression.

    But ascribing human emotions to god is a stretch. God works in the way it must, by its own physical laws, universal Constants associated with Power (energy) and Potential (possible functions of energy).

    But looking up at the universe from No Idaho does indeed inspire deep emotions of awe and wonder by its beauty and majesty. But for the life of me I cannot experience any aspects of mercy and compassion in the universe (excepting earth) in view of the implacable nature of the physical functions of the universe.
  17. kwhilborn Banned Banned

    @ OP,

    If God is real then it would need to literally be a part of everything. It would be a supreme consciousness to big and all encompassing to have a body or form. Are we suggesting God has lungs, feet, hair, a cane?

    I think mankind was created as portions of god, and are all "mini-gods. Imagine the universe achieved consciousness, but had no way to have companionship, or pass the time with anything fun.

    So through tiny manipulations of energy it has created matter in a constant flow outwards and inwards always seeking balance. This matter is governed by some physical rules, but can be manipulated over time.

    Eventually life began and god let parts of himself (all that is) occupy the bodies. I think not only are we gods image, but we have gods powers. Anyone adept or experienced with Law of Attraction/Magick should agree we have creation abilities within ourselves.

    The Point: Maybe it is gods powers we have in common. Maybe our spirit is just a portion of god so god can experience life ,love, happiness, sadness, tragedy, death.

    Note to skeptics: or not. That's a simplified version of my beliefs.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2013
  18. wellwisher Banned Banned

    God is spirit not matter. As such, God is closer to the properties of energy than matter. The image of God is an energy image and not a matter image. An energy image is connected to the dynamics of matter, which in the case of humans is thought and will.

    Energy can move at the speed of light, but mass/matter cannot. Mass/matter has to move slower than the speed of light. Humans, by being composed of matter tend to fall behind (God moves faster), which explain why God tends to loose patience.
  19. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    But energy is a physical thing and therefore is not of the spirit. IMO, the properties of God are more like the concept of Potential (that which may become reality). Potential which is a metaphysical condition.

    Potential needs not move at all. Universal potential is a pervasive condition inherent in spacetime and all that it contains. Spacetime itself is an expression of potential.
  20. wellwisher Banned Banned

    According to Special relativity, as velocity approaches the speed of light, time slows and distances contract. At the speed of light time slows to an instant and distance contracts to a point. If God was in a speed of light reference, our finite universe would appear like a point, allowing God to be everywhere at the same time. I tend to think Einstein used such traditions to infer what he needed for special relativity. The ancients also believed there was a separation between the two realms which was later translated to mass can't move at C.

    Omniscience, or being all knowing can also be inferred from this. At the speed of light time appears to slow to an instant. Or the entire history of the universe will appear to occur in an instant. It has all been recorded.

    Say we play back that instant on super slow motion, so we can see more details. Since it is all done, in terms of the speed of light reference, it is deterministic just a like a DVD movie is deterministic. It is not so much that the story is being controlled but it has already played in an instant.
  21. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    But how does that prove the "existence" of a motivated sentient being named God? Why not an implacable logical function of Nature (in the broadest sense]
  22. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

    So then, God moves at the speed of light, which means it would take him billions of years to go from one end of the universe to the other.
  23. wellwisher Banned Banned

    In a speed of light reference, the universe appears contracted to a point size. Since the point is the smallest unit of size, God will become omnipresent in the universe, since that one point is the entire universe.

    The way this is possible is space-time does not apply in the C reference, since both time and space become points. This allows time and space to separate. Picture the fabric of space-time coming apart into separate threads of time and threads of space. You can now weave a fabric of time without space and the fabric of space without time.

    One can appear to move through the universe's entire space, without time, using the fabric of space. Worm holes sort of do this. One can also move through time without space. This is useful for knowing the future and past of a particular person or place. The universe began when time and space start to overlap thereby restricting space with time.

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