prof: When you say "the premise of what defines God..." who is doing the defining? If it's us - defining God as "good" - then clearly we don't need a God to know good, and we are (rightly) judging "good" from our viewpoint.
me: well, man did not just arbitrarily define the God of the Hebrews, the God of the bible willy nilly prof. I think you can see the results of arbitrary definitions of a god. You can see it in those who worshipped nature, or in despots who claimed to be gods.
In Christianity, the scriptures reveal the nature of God. Jews and Christians inspired by the Holy Spirit began with various stories, poems, eyewitness testimonies etc. began the process of relaying what God wanted revealed about Him.
Genesis reveals Him as Maker. He is also revealed as a law giver. He is also revealed as Judge. He is also revealed as Merciful. He is also revealed as our Provider. He is also revealed as a God of future promises. I could go on and on and that's just in Gen.
The scriptures reveal God's nature and define how He is good.
prof: If it is God who is doing the defining, then you are right back to the "problem of emptiness" in the notion of "good." If "good" is to be defined by the All-Powerful/Omnipresent/Eternal Being who created us in the way you suggest, then "good" could mean anything at all. Imagine our creator showing up, but he has a different nature than you imagine he does. He appears tomorrow (with all the miracles needed to convince us he is our Creator), and begins to torture slowly every child on earth, saying He does so because it gives Him pleasure. This is why he created humans, so they will have little children whose suffering he values the most.
me: well, I wouldn't call him good, I'd call him satan :-)
However, if he really was truly omnipotent, and none could challenge his power and his will, and he did make everything (in your scenario) it really wouldn't matter would it? I mean, if he was the ultimate lawgiver, the one by whom the universe existed, and who set up the laws governing nature, who upheld the world, the sun, etc. it would really not matter what we thought would it? If he called "good" torturing children, who would we be to tell him what was good or not? I mean, we might think this is "bad" but since he made our brains, how would we know that he didn't make us think it was bad? I mean it's kind of a useless exercise to presume that an omnipotent being, a maker of other beings, a lawgiver, couldn't state law to be whatever he wants it to be.
I am a potter. I make clay pots. I decide to make some and use them, others I break and destroy at my whim. So?
you: Now, on your argument, because this entity is our Creator, and since "good" is defined by the nature of the Creator, then His torturing of children would be "good." That is the principle you are using to define "good."
But how in the world could we actually, truly accept such a thing as mercilessly torturing all children as "good?" We couldn't. Or what if He tortured EVERYONE, slowly? If you wanted to still define "good" as whatever the Creator's nature is/does, but His nature is to cause us severe suffering, then we still have the problem that "good" no longer has any relationship to our own welfare or desires.
In that case, we'd STILL have to find SOME WORD to do the work of what we now call "good." And since the new word would essentially mean "good" (e.g. in some way desirable)...all we'd be doing is maintaining our concept of "good" anyway, and just representing it by a set of new letters.
You just can't take "good" out of human context and have it mean anything like "good" anymore.
Now, I think you'd agree we wouldn't call this Evil-Sounding Creator "good." So the principle "good is defined by the nature of the Creator" really doesn't work. You are left with really saying: "We should define GOOD as God's nature ONLY IF GOD's NATURE IS GOOD.
And you see how that high-lights the fact we can't escape our own value judgments in the process.
And in fact we are using OUR OWN sense of "good" in order to judge between possible Creators. The Creator I described is evil, the Creator you worship is (in your view) "good."
It's clear when you analyze these issues that you worship your God because on some level you judge him "good." You would not worship him if you judged him "Bad." (Or you might worship such a being out of fear, but you wouldn't consider that being "good.")
me: prof, for all your words, again, the nature of God was revealed two fold. It was revealed in His scrptures and then validated by pure goodness.
Jesus was the manifestation of God in flesh and He didn't go around and kill little children. He healed the sick, He forgave sins, He raised the dead, He fed the hungry, He ministered and explained God's laws and in the end, He layed down His life that we might have life.
That is good.