The nature or attributes of God


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  • The nature or attributes of God
    • Omnipotence:God can do anything
      • God logically can do impossible- circle square. Logic comes from God.
      • Descartes: omnipotence means God can't do anything, how can we do miracles?
      • Anselm: omnipotence means God has unlimited power.
      • This view makes god an arbitrary figure (random) becomes unpredictable
      • Someone questions why God doesn't change laws that we don't make evil.
      • Bible says God cannot lie.
      • God cannot do the logically possible
        • Aquinas: God does only what's possible, no contraction, no circle square.
        • Not right to say God can sin- not part of logical nature.
        • Aquinas: God cannot change the past.
        • Swinburne: God doing things understood in context.
        • Circle square not a thing, cannot exist. God doing everything doesn't limit him- logically possible.
    • Eternity
      • Boethius, Ansel, Aquinas: God is eternal, God created time and outside time.
      • Swinburne: God moves along the timeline as we do, God is everlasting.
      • God is eternal
        • God perfectly see past, present and future- God's knowledge and power not limited.
        • God creates the universe- spice and time.
        • Boethius: takes the problem that if God's eternal and know future, how can we be morally responsible for our actions.
        • Understanding knowledge: Boethuis says we understand nature of knower.
        • Eternal God- help understand nature.
        • Eternity 'simultaneous possession of boundless life'- God saw times of existence.
        • 'made clearer by comparison with temporal things'- understand God's nature with our nature.
        • Don't have boundless life. Don't 'embrace the infinitely prelife all at once.'
        • Anselm: continued and developed the four dimensional approach
        • 1) God separate from time/space.
        • 2) Past, present and future: relative to teach other.
        • 3) Time: dimension.
        • 4) God not limited by space and time. God present everywhere.
      • God as everlasting
        • Swinburne: God of Bible interacting through New Testament.
        • Reject 'simultaneous present' difficult for timeless God to be doing miracle at specific time.
        • Swinburne: eternal/unchanging God rejected. Relations with humans and relations centre of human existence.
        • Eternal God cannot love creation as much as an everlasting one.
      • Analysing the approaches
        • How can a  seperate God have a relationship with those in it?
        • Gods eternal and knows future, are we free to shape our future?
        • God knows future, responsible for the problem of evil?
        • Can he choose between one course of action and another?
        • God limited? Can he be omniscient/omnipotent if he's in time?
        • If God doesn't know what choices we make, still worthy of worship?
        • Should we trust the Bible's account of God?
        • God everlasting, God changes with time. Can a perfect  God change?
    • Omniscience: All knowing
      • Divine Knowledge and its interaction with temporal existence
        • Gods knowledge: not confined to a time. Knows event from past and know what's morally right to do.
        • It God knows the future, why doesn't he stop future bad things from happening?
        • If God doesn't prevent things, are we morally responsible for wrong action?
        • God knows everything, idea of middle knowledge might be explored.
        • God knows past, present and future and what happened if we chose the wrong path.
        • Timeless God- man on mountain looking at all roads at once.
        • Omniscience:idea that God knows all that is logically possible God doesn't need to know the future.
        • God still in control, choices made to own nature, God plan to still win.
        • Schleieimacher: God knowledge like knowledge of close friend.
      • Divine knowledge and its interaction with free will
        • God exists with time, God's knowledge of past, present and future seen with single vision.
        • God knowing the future doesn't mean he changes it. Sees what's present.
        • Boethius simple and conditional necessary: simple neccessity- just is. and conditional necessary conditional added/
        • Anselm's Four dimentionalist approach: God separate from space and time. God sees our past, present and future. Future of God not matter of time.
        • "That which he foreknown in his eternity is immutable,  in time its mutable before it happens" Anselm
        • Swinburne's model of God, means God doesn't know the future as its alongside time.
      • Analysing the approaches
        • Anselm overcomes the problem of Boethius.
        • Difficult to understand how God can act with time and knowledge and if God can intervene.
        • Anselm's approach improves problem as it leaves God separate from the world. Possible to argue that God shouldn't be considered in human terms.
        • Some scholars reject Boethuis' idea of God being present and future all beings present.
    • Omnibenevolence
      • God's benevolence suggests God's attitude of compassion, love= constant active force.
      • God's omnibenevolence relation- justice and judgement fair, holy and expected to be found in followers.
      • Greek word of agape where its linked to loving and fairness.
      • Aquinas argued justice about God is doing the right thing even if punishment is involved.
      • "It is impossible for God to will anything but what [that which] his own wisdom understands as good" Aquinas
      • Issue: Boethius "God sees us from above and knows all things in his eternal present and judges our future, free actions, justly distributing rewards and punishments."
      • Core issues
        • Evil and suffering contradicts benevolent God? Some argue it does because God wouldnt allow people to suffer.
        • Can our language explain God's benevolence? Hell a sign that God gives on some people?
        • Calling God good: euthyphilo dilemma conundrum suggests God defines good or he's subject to an independent standard. Aquinas argues that God commands out of goodness.
        • Christians: faith final world. God's journey alongside people, God's relegation assures them that God's attributes work together.
    • Discussing the nature of God
      • Conflicts between divine attributes
        • Conflicts between divine attributes- resolved through theodicy or the model of God that isn't coherent and needs adopting.
        • Omnipotence: conflicting with benevolence due to the problem of evil. If God is eternal why does an omnipotent God stop bad things? If Gd is everlasting, can he still be omnipotent?
        • Omniscience:If God can't know the future, what does it say about his omnipotence? Omniscience/omnibenevolence question what God does with the knowledge he has.
        • Onibenvolence: fundamentl description of God. Understanding it leads to others understanding core attributes of God- resolving conflict.
        • Omniscience:Analogy of God like a diamond: many faces with different understandings. Islam 90 names of Allah
        • Modern athists reject the belief of God: wishful thinking, projecting fear of death, stamp human authority on earth.
      • Links to attributes
        • Descartes' approach says God can do anything- impossible and not remain consistent.
        • Logical possibility: Aqunas argued that God can't do the illogical or change the law of nature.
        • Self limitation: God limited power and conforms to nature and logic. Distance between God overcome through  distance.
        • "God is himself responsible for there being limits to his knowledge of how we will act" Swinburne.
    • Comparing Boethius, Anselm and Swinburne
      • Anselm develops Boethius's view and tries to overcome the issue of a God who intervenes within time and space. God different to time. However, Anselm let with God sitting separate to the universe.
      • Swinburne: biblical view is accurate. If Bibles are like the human relationship with God. It limits God to being everlasting due to Swinburne's expectation.
      • God might not be able to act if he's eternal, might do a miracle for me now but could change the future of someone elses- defies logic.
      • Swinburne's understanding links to the issues of free will and omniscience.If God knows everything and can predict what's happening. It's argued that an everlasting God does not limit him.
      • Going further other attributes
        • Personal: God wants a relationship with people. Having a relationship with God outside time?
        • Transcendent: God separate from time and space. How can he intervene with the world?
        • Immanent: God in space and time. How can he be great enough to worship?
        • Impassible: God cannot feel anything. How does this comfort people who suffer?
        • Simple: God can be divided into parts. How is it useful to consider other attributes.

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