Yesterday, I discussed with a friend how God does help this world.
The alternatives were these:
- That God helps “only” from eternal condemnation. With respect to our life in this world this would only be a theoretical concept, as condemnation happens after this life. Christian people would just know that people are infinitely bad, which would keep them from getting disappointed again by others or themselves. But there would be no way to change this in this world.
- God would, at times, let good things happen in the outside world. Or they might happen because God kept the outside world from deteriorationg completely, so that a remains of glory is still in it. In any case, people should be grateful if this happens, and not think that it is their “right” to experience such good and rightful events. Because after all, we live in a fallen world.
- God would, probably in addition to the prior alternative, help people to deal with their defects of personality, by helping them overcome, manage or work around these on a case-by-case basis. This would keep people from thinking that they “finally learned something”, and thus keep them from pride. They would know that they cannot handle their defects in the future without the immediate help of God. This constant dependency would be a positive thing, though: experiencing God’s help frequently would be something that keeps the relationship to God warm and active.
- Like before, but God would mainly try to educate his children to permanently overcome their character defects, by acquiring better character. This would be in parallel to how parents educate their children and teach them new qualifications, and are happy when they get it and finally can live on their own. As children of great character, these would however also be thankful and not proud, knowing that they did not teach themselves, and could never have done so (because as evildoers, they did not want to!).
We agreed that alternative 2 is true, and discussed whether the rest is rather like 3 or 4. The difference of opinion probably is rooted in different images of humanity. If you think that you will always need God’s supernatural power to do good, you think that some supernatural part went missing in the Fall, rendering people unable to even learn to be good again. (The supernatural part might also be thought as a male sex-linked genetic disease, as it was not present in Jesus who was born from Mary and the Holy Spirit, so not including a man …) If you, however, think that original sin is rather something like the fall of our collective mind, by learning from bad example, to a state where self-education towards the good is impossible for us humans: then you can agree with alternative 4 and think that God can teach us to be good (in principle, but not coming to an end in our lifetime).
If you agree with alternative 4, you might think that “spirit” is another word for “mind” or “brain program”, and that “receiving the Holy Spirit” is a term for the influence of God’s mind (which does not depend in matter implementation in a brain) on our mind. Which not necessarily involves changing our brain content (that would be a miracle in the physical world each time). Because, there might already be an interface prepared for the Holy Spirit, where it can connect to and add “external mind power” (motivation, love etc.) to our brain; like pushing it to an altered, higher state, not unlike the way soem drugs do it. (Note that, then, there might also be an interface for demons …).