GOD

  • Created by: Daenni92
  • Created on: 04-04-19 10:48
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  • The concept & nature of God
  • The concept of God
    • Ways of investigating the nature of God
      • Revealed Theology: investigating sacred texts (Torah, Bible, Qur'an etc.); these record the foundations of the religion via REVELATIONS of individuals who've claimed to have direct/indirect contact with God.
      • Natural Theology: Understanding God via human reason and observation alone.
    • God's Attributes
      • OMNISCIENCE
        • KRETZMANN: there is contradiction in the idea that a being can be both omniscient and immutable. To know everything is to know things in time, which change, so a being that knows these things is also subject to change, yet God is supposedly immutable.
        • Amendment to God's omniscience: "God knows everything which it is logically possible to for God to know and which doesn't limit his knowledge."
          • KRETZMANN: there is contradiction in the idea that a being can be both omniscient and immutable. To know everything is to know things in time, which change, so a being that knows these things is also subject to change, yet God is supposedly immutable.
          • Therefore, w/ regards to Kretzmann's argument, God would be omniscient, but would not know the things that would cause him to change.
            • Kretzmann objects to this. First of all, "knowing what is logically possible" adds nothing to our understanding of God - knowledge is only of things that are true, and logically impossible things aren't true.
              • As for his second objection, he states we cannot think of anything
      • OMNIBENEVOLENCE
        • 3 Kinds of Benevolent
          • EMPHASISES THE ACCOUNT OF GOD'S GOODNESS THAT IS FOUND IN THE BIBLE, IE. HIS LOVE FOR HIS CREATION AND PARTICULARLY HUMAN BEINGS
          • GOD'S GOODNESS IS A TYPE OF PERFECTION, INFLUENCED BY THE PHILOSOPHY OF ARISTOTLE
          • GOD'S GOODNESS IN A MORAL SENSE, AS THE SOURCE OF ALL VALUE, FILTERED DOWN THROUGH ALL OF HIS CREATION (ST. AUGUSTINE)
      • OMNIPOTENCE
        • There are different ways to understand the claim that God is omnipotent.
          • GOD CAN DO ANYTHING
            • Aquinas: noted that everything can be moved or acted upon, yet God is immutable. Therefore, God cannot change. Also noted that God cannot change the laws of maths nor what has already happened. He can't force us to do smth freely. This has led to amendments to be made.
              • GOD CAN DO ANYTHING WHICH IS LOGICALLY POSSIBLE
                • However, many believers assert that God cannot do things that are logically possible such as sin, create something evil, or act in a way that goes against his fundamental nature (his attributes)
          • GOD CAN DO ANYTHING WHICH IS LOGICALLY POSSIBLE
            • However, many believers assert that God cannot do things that are logically possible such as sin, create something evil, or act in a way that goes against his fundamental nature (his attributes)
          • GOD CAN DO ANYTHING WHICH IS LOGICALLY POSSIBLE AND WHICH DOES NOT UNDERMINE HIS PERFECTION
            • J.L. Mackie - The Paradox of omnipotence. One issue is the paradox of the stone. To show the idea of omnipotence is incoherent.
      • ETERNAL/EVERLASTING
        • EVERLASTING/SEMPITERNAL
          • Existing within time, but without a beginning or end. This God is more personal than that of an atemporal God. An eternal being cannot interact w/ the temporal.
        • ETERNAL
          • (Traditional) God is outside of time. Because within the universe is time, God must be outside of the universe as well. God is TRANSCENDENT; Exists outside of space. The claim that God exists outside of time also attributes to him the property of EVERLASTING.
          • Aquinas sees God as eternal because he must be immutable, and time involves change
            • His explanation of atemporality: the perspectives of 2 people - one travelling on a busy road, and one on the hill watching the travellers. 1st man cannot see all the people behind him, but 2nd man can (like God w/ all of time)
          • Stump and Kretzmann
            • Classic conception of  atemporal is that he 1) has life 2) it is illimitable (no beginning or end) 3) is of (infinite) duration and 4) possesses this life of infinite duration all at once. Ie. everything happens at the same "time".
            • They defend this classic conception: T-Simultaneity - (temporal beings) existence or occurrence at /the same time/ and E-Simultaneity - (eternal beings) existence or occurrence and one and the same /eternal present/.
              • Use Eintstein's theory of special relativity to coherently relate these two types of simultaneity.
                • "whether two unconnected events happen at the same depends on the frame of reference of the observers - if one of the frames of reference is moving relative to the other, one observer might see two events as simultaneous whilst the other may not.
                  • Imagine one person is on top of a very fast train, while the other is on the ground. Lightning strikes the train. The person on the ground sees 2 bolts strike at the same time on either end of the train. The person on the train sees the bolt they're going towards strike first, with the second one at the back strike after.
                    • Usually, it would seem to be incoherent to say lightning strikes both and once and not. Yet this shows that this may not be the case. Ergo, relative to the frame of reference of God, all events + entities are simultaneous, but relative to the frame of reference of temporal beings, only events happening at the same time are simultaneous.
  • Is God coherent?
    • The Paradox of the Stone
      • Can God create a stone so heavy that he cannot move it?
        • Mavrodes - if we assume God is not omnipotent, then this dilemma tells us a non-omnipotent being cannot do certain things, which is a trivial conclusion. Basing on the assumption that God is omnipotent, however, the question becomes "Can a being whose power is sufficient to lift anything create a stone which it cannot lift?" This is self-contradictory - a logical impossibility.
        • Savage rejects Mavrodes' criticism, because it assumes the Paradox is aiming to attack God's omnipotence, when he believes it is really attack the concept of omnipotence itself. He gives his own version of the paradox offering 2 possibilities. 1) being X can create a stone which X can't lift, 2) X can't create a stone which X cannot lift. In both cases, X cannot do something. But if X is omnipotent, they can do anything.
          • Savage doesn't believe that "there is a task X cannot do" follows from "If X cannot create a stone that X cannot lift". If we have 2 beings - X who creates stone and Y who lifts stones - if Y could not lift a certain weight, that limits X. But, if Y was omnipotent, this wouldn't limit X's power, despite X not being able to create a stone that Y couldn't lift.
    • The Euthyphro Dilemma (PLATO)
      • Dialogue between Euthyphro + Socrates. Euthyphro is prosecuting his father for manslaughter + is confident he's doing the right thing; piety (dutifulness to religion) - Socrates is surprised and debates him on what Piety is.
        • Socrates knocks down each definition Euthyphro gives, until E says it is what all the Gods love. Socrates says "The point which I should first wish to understand is whether the pious (or holy) is beloved by the gods because it is holy, or holy because it is beloved of the Gods."
          • Ergo: Horn 1) God's commands are good simply because they come from God OR Horn 2) God's commands are good they conform to an external moral source.
            • 1st Horn: Means ANYTHING God commands of us is automatically morally good, even if it's adultery etc. HOWEVER Kierkegaard accepts this, saying there must be a "teleological suspension of the ethical" - Only God knows a higher value and so we must have faith in him, even if what he commands seems unethical. This faith cannot be rationally explained, nor supported by evidence.
          • 2nd Horn: -Objective morality doesn't need God. We can bypass God if we wish to be moral. God's status as a being worthy of worship is undermined, here. -Objective morality limits power; God cannot change these moral laws or determine himself what's good/bad. -Objective morality defines God's benevolence; God can't be supremely good - those moral laws must be supremely good.
            • Both horns may be avoided by those who don't locate God's goodness in his will or commands. Aquinas' natural law ethics - sees goodness related to being good at or for something. A universe created by God, and everything within it, will have a function and purpose and it's up to us to determine what these Natural Laws are then strive to reach our "good"
              • This avoids the 1st horn; having created the world, w/ the Natural Law God cannot now just decide arbitrarily what "good" or "bad" is, as our nature and function have already been determined. Natural Law is objective, but flows from God's omnibenevolent nature (2nd Horn)
    • Free Will
      • If God knows everything, then it seems as if he must know the future and thus what choices we are going to make. If God knows what action I'll perform before I decide to do it, then I cannot have chosen to do otherwise than I did. If we cannot choose otherwise, then are they really freely chosen?
        • This has negative implications for moral responsibility. Furthermore, this has implications for the idea that God judges our actions and we go to either hell or heaven, despite not having free will.
        • Aquinas - God is eternal and outside of time. For God there is no future or past, they co-exist. Any decisions we make are not "in the future" to God - he doesnt have foreknowledge of our actions. It's like me writing this out. I now know that I'll make this decision, but I was still free in the past to choose to do something else.
    • The Problem of Evil (+ Suffering)
      • Moral Evil + Natural Evil
        • Moral evil = acts of cruelty, viciousness, and injustice carried out by humans upon other humans/creatures. Natural evil = suffering not caused by, independent from human action.
      • Logical Problem of Evil
        • J.L. Mackie; believers hold 3 beliefs: 1) God is omnipotent, 2) God is wholly good, 3) Evil exists. For any 2 propositions to be true one must/would be false. Believer must hold all 3 to be true, yet cannot hold all 3 to be true as there's a contradiction. He adds 2 further points: 4) A good being eliminates evil as far as it can, 5) There are no limits to what an omnipotent being can do. Logically, evil shouldn't exist, then.
          • Platinga: Believers do not accept "4". Many proposed solutions argue evil is in some way good, or contributes to something good. In which case, believers do not accept "4".
      • The Evidential Problem of Evil
        • There isn't a logical problem between God + the existence of evil, but the sheer amount of evil seriously weights against the truth of theism.
          • "Given the existence of evil, which of the following is te more reasonable hypothesis?" - There is a wholly good, infinitely powerful God who created the world, OR that there is no such God? It is not aiming to prove a logical inconsistency.
        • RESPONSES
          • Atheists
            • Sartre: There is no God, but we are told our whole lives there is and so when we realise there isn't, we feel abandoned. We are free to create our own moral systems. We each individually forge out our own paths, or create an image of humanity that we want.
            • Midgley: Evil is the absence of good. We are mistaken if we think that wicked acts are caused by wicked people. We are all capable of evil action via caring more about ourselves than others, thoughtlessness, weakness of the will etc. We should see wickedness as a type of failure which we are all vulnerable. "the followers" who allow themselves to be coerced into evil acts through their inaction and turning a blind eyes. "the instigators" those who actively initiate evil acts, driven by obsessive motive like pride, ambition, envy, desire.Searching for something/one to blame will not solve the issue.
          • Theists
            • Alternative Theodicies: God does exist, and the enormity of pain and suffering is real, but God is not omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent.
              • Theological anti-realism; God is not a real being existing independently of our mindss; process theology - God is the fellow sufferer who understands who can affect his creation but not eradicate evil. However these lead away from CHRISTIAN teachings.
            • Afterlife Defence: God does exist, has all omni-attributes, but evil and suffering is balanced by an even greater good.
              • God would not allow his human creations to cease to exist while his aspirations and purposes for them have not been met (Hick). From the perspective of eternity, a limited amount of suffering in this life becomes minimal compared w/ the potential for unlimited happiness in the next life. Also means those who committed injustice and moral evil will be punished.
                • Crit: The existence of hell simply defers the problem of evil to the next life and amplifies it. Surely it is even more difficult to reconcile God with the unlimited suffering in the afterlife?
            • Free Will Defence
              • Determinism holds that the future is inevitable, either because it was pre-planned or because the past affects the future. Compatibalism thinks determinism works w/ free will.
              • St. Augustine: God is good + powerful and created a perfect world with humans to whom he gave free will. Evil was then introduced into the world bc some of his creatures chose to turn away from God. (The fall of Stan from heaven, and Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit). Though he states it is better to be a creature that sins by free will than one that doesn't by lack of free will.
                • This seems to only account for moral evil - the pain and suffering caused by humans themselves. This account does actually explain natural evil - the sinning of Satan and Adam and Eve caused God's creation to go askew bringing pain and natural/moral evil into the world. Natural evil is a consequence of moral evil. This of course is unfair (everyone suffers because of the few), but it relies also on a literal interpretation of the bible. Furthermore, the creation can' have been that perfect if it was so easily turned askew.
              • Leibniz - Plausible Worlds. Consider God as one of an all-powerful and good being whose task is to select, from all possible worlds, the one he'd actually create. Because he knows everything about all possible universes, the one he's chosen to create must be the best one. Pain + Suffering are some of the many essential ingredients which go into the construction of the best possible world. Evil must in some way contribute to making the world the best possible one.
                • Crit: Voltaire; shows it is very difficult to support this position - "If this is the best of all possible worlds, what could the others be like?".
                • Flew: Freely chosen actions are ones that have their causes within the person themselves. God could have created a world in which all humans had a nature that was good but they're free (in Flew's sense).
                  • What would be the difference between Flews naturally good people and "automata puppets"? Theists hold God gaves us the freedom to follow him or turn from him and do evil. God would manipulate his creations in order to bring about desired results.
                    • Mackie: it is logically possible for me to choose good on one occasion and on every occasion, so it is logically possible for an individual to choose to do good throughout their whole life. God can create any logically possible world, so he could create a world in which we were all genuinely free yet choose to do good. Yet he didn't.
              • Platinga: Free = the freedom to act (or not act). He rejects prior conditions and causal laws which determine whether someone will act. God cannot create any possible world. He cannot create a world in which humans are not created by God. There may be a corrupt person, who no matter which possible world he is in commits at least one evil act. It is not possible for God to create a world in which Curly is free but always does good actions.
                • A world w/ creatures who're free is more valuable than a world containing no free creatures. God can create free creatures, but can't cause them to do what is morally right w/o removing free will. Therefore, God created a world w/ free creatures capable of both morally right actions and morally wrong ones.
            • Soul-making Theodicy
              • Hick - a world with evil allows humans to grow and develop, and provides an environment in which our souls can be forged and strengthened.
                • Irenean + Augustinian theodicy: human free will central to explanation why evil exists, God bears ultimate responsibility for existence of evil, greater good emerges as result of evil, no limits on God's power. Iranean: humans develop in 2 stages: 1 humans created as intelligent animals originally imperfect and immature, but w/ capacity for spiritual and moral development. 2 humans use free will to gradually transform themselves + become "Children of God"
                  • Hick - Humans are created imperfect bc human goodness that's come about through freely chosen actions and toil has more value than already good humans. It is better to work towards being in presence of God rather than being created n his direct presence. Moral evil is a by-product of ur free will. God created the world as a place for developing ourselves, hence natural evils. A world without evil and suffering would not get us to develop ourselves as nothing bad ever happens.
                    • However, some evil still seems unjustified. It can happen to good people, it can be unnecessary etc. etc. Does this really help us develop?

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