Attributes of God

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Attributes of God
Immutable ­ unchanging over time and not involved in his creation
Immanent ­ God is actively involved in his creation
God is Eternal
There are disputes over what defines God being eternal. It can be argued he is
timeless, or he is everlasting.
Both raise issues regarding God's omniscience, omnipotence and omnibenevolence.
Timeless God
This is the belief that God exists outside of time and is not limited by a time frame; he
sees the past, present and future all at once. A timeless God is immutable and
therefore cannot change.
He sees God as timeless, and likens God to a spectator at a chariot race; `he
watches the action, but does not cause it'
He describes God's eternity as `the whole, simultaneous and perfect possession of
unending life' ­ humans experience life as a series of moments, while God sees and
lives all moments at once
While God is eternal, humans are temporal. He is eternal as he lacks no future and
doesn't lose any past ­ he knows everything all at once. God's knowledge is perfect.
Boethius gives the example of a man walking down a sunny street: we see the man
and the sun. The man is voluntary, while the sun is necessary. Similarly, just
because God sees everything, it doesn't mean that he causes it.
Evaluation ­ Timeless God
A timeless God emphasises God's omniscience
Anselm holds the view that `God is that than which nothing greater can be
Aquinas also argues for a timeless God, and also believed that God is
impassible ­ he cannot be changed by any external factors, and therefore he
cannot experience any pleasure or pain; if he was affected by such factors he
would no longer be perfect. This however means that God cannot be both
impassible and omnibenevolent ­ if he cannot feel pain, then he
wouldn't be able to empathise with those who do suffer.
Boethius' argument suggests that God's knowledge of the future is
perfect; this would imply that the future is already determined and cannot
change ­ this brings into question human's free will. However Boethius
responds to this; he argues that our future is God's present. It hasn't

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God views everything more as an unchanging
structure. He links to his example of the man walking down the sunny street
Can a timeless God be omnibenevolent? If God can see suffering all
across time, why hasn't he stopped it?
A timeless God renders prayers redundant; if God knows the future
already, a simple player has no effect since he has foreknowledge of what is
to come.…read more

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They believe that God is involved in his creation; while he is powerful, he is not
God does not know the future, but only knows what could happen and the possible
paths people could take; this shows that people have real free will. As God has given
people free will, he has given them options which they can choose as God does not
force them to fit into his preconceived plans.…read more

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However, if he can create a stone so heavy he cannot lift, then this also
shows that God is not omnipotent as he cannot lift the stone
Definition 1: God can do the `Logically Impossible'
Anselm proposed the ontological argument, in which he stated `God is that than
which nothing greater can be conceived'. This implies that God is capable of
everything and can even do the logically impossible.
Descartes also believed that God can do literally anything.…read more

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This contradicts many of the teachings of the Bible, for example
appearing to Moses in the form of a burning bush
If God cannot sin, does this mean he has no knowledge of the evil and
suffering in the world? If so, doesn't this imply God is not omniscient?
Definition 3: God is Almighty
Peter Geach argues that God has the capacity for power, power over everything
rather than a power to do everything.…read more

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Calvinistic views on predestination fall into this category. They believe that free will is
not possible and simply an illusion.
John Locke ­ our actions are Determined, God has omniscience
John Locke also believes free will is an illusion. This is demonstrated in the analogy
of the locked room. A man in a locked room wakes up, and he has either the choice
of staying in the room or trying to get out (which he would be unable to do).…read more

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Adam and Eve would give in to
temptation, or he doesn't truly love his creations enough to prevent the
introduction of evil into the world
If God is omniscient, why did he continue to doubt Job's devotion to
God? God put Job through evil and suffering to a horrid extent to test his
loyalty to God, but shouldn't God have known all along?
If God is omniscient, why does he allow people to go to Heaven and Hell
depending on their actions in their lives?…read more

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Hume's inconsistent triad ­ God cannot be both omnipotent and
omnibenevolent if evil is to exist.…read more

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