God Is Not Another Program

People who are ignorant of classical theology often picture God as a creature among creatures. Thus, they feel that the possible existence of God would be an affront to their freedom: "How dare some very great creature order me about, and insist that this and that is forbidden to me! He wants that for Himself, I guess!" This is the picture of God as a "tyrant." (This sort of ignorance of elementary theology may be found, for instance, in the works of Phillip Pullman.)

That view is all wrong, and here's a metaphor that may help you understand why: Consider your computer. In it, programs vie for memory, disk, and CPU time. The programs are like creatures occupying the physical universe. If one program gets more CPU time, another program has less. In the common misunderstanding of what is meant by "God" I described above, "God" is the name for an especially powerful program, maybe one with root privileges, that can boss the other programs around. In that picture, it would make sense for the other programs to try to "kill" God: then they would be free from His bossiness, and could, for instance, access any memory locations they want, without worrying about "forbidden" areas of RAM.

No: God is not another program running on the computer. God is the electricity that powers the computer. (Muslims state this by noting that "Allah is the sustainer.") As such, God is not one program (creature) among many, just an especially strong and bossy program (creature): rather, God is the source of the energy that powers all programs. "Killing" God would not set the programs free: it would shut them all down. And God is not a restriction of the programs' freedom: He is the basis of their freedom.

Of course, this is just a metaphor, and should not be pushed too far, so rob, take your hands off the keyboard, and go have a beer.


Comments

  1. Love you Gene! BTW, I drink Chardonnay , not beer these days.

    ReplyDelete
  2. And after reading your post I feel that every time I touch the keyboard I am helping god do his work!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm with Stevie on this https://youtu.be/yIE6unjkXmc

    ReplyDelete

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