Attributes of G-d/Nature of G-d

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G-d as OMNIPOTENT - AQUINAS

AQUINAS - 

  •  G-d = omnipotent in relation to creating + maintaining Earth - single timeless action. (Note: adopted from Aristotle.) 
  • Beyond this he is wholly simple, and cannot act.
  • God = non-physical being, he = incorporeal \ cannot swim (answers can he create a rock so heavy he cannot lift it e.g. he can’t lift is as not physical - PARDOX OF THE STONE)
  • He cannot do ‘pseudo-tasks’, e.g. create a square circle
  • Also God is perfectly good, so cannot commit evil.
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G-d as OMNIPOTENT - DESCARTES

DESCARTES - 

  • God created all things, including logic + can change logic to fit his actions  thus He can do things we regard as logically impossible, by changing logic
  • Human minds cannot comprehend the omnipotence of God, so cannot understand what limits him
  • Omnipotent - can do everything (according to Descartes) - scholars dislike this idea - means g-d can do eveyrhting without consequences thus cannot be relied upon
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G-d as OMNIPOTENT - ANSLEM

ANSLEM - 

  • God = “that than which nothing greater can be conceived” thus God can do anything
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G-d as OMNIPOTENT - VARDY

VARDY - 

  • God created Universe in balance, to exist on its own
  • God = self-limiting, as if he were to act in the Universe it would throw the Universe out of balance.
  • God = much more limited than Christians believe
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G-d as OMNIPOTENT - MACQUARRIE

MACQUARRIE - 

  • Aspects of God nature will always remain unknown by his love of Humanity (which he imposed himself)
  • God = not limited by logic/physicality/time, as they are human concepts
  • The Power of God = different to our own, so we can only talk of it using analogies 


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G-d as EVERLASTING - MOLTMANN

MOLTMANN -

  • If God = timeless, he cannot change thus cannot love, as relationships require change
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G-d as EVERLASTING - SWINBURNE

SWINBURNE - 

  • God interacts with people in the Bible “I have heard your prayers and seen your tears.” Isaiah 38:5
  • However AUGUSTINE disagrees, “God is not a man…that he may change his mind.” Numbers 23:19
  • Note: If God is impassable and timeless, how can he answer prayers and cause miracles?
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G-d as OMNISCIENCE - BOETHUIS

BOETHUIS -

  • If God knows all our actions and is always right he can’t judge us God knows but doesn’t cause 
  • He knows what happens - as outside of time - he cannot ause it as he sees everything in eternal present
  • It = free will of humans that causes events, G-d knows it because he can see all of time as one
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G-d as OMNISCIENCE - SWINBURNE

SWINBURNE -

  • God = everlasting thus he knows us so well he can predict our actions
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G-d as OMNIPOTENT - AUGUSTINE

AUGUSTINE - 

  • God is outside of time therefore sees all of time at once - has no concept of past/future
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G-d as OMNISCIENCE - SCHlEIERMACHER

SCHlEIERMACHER - 

  • God’s knowledge of our actions similar to knowledge of a friend, but more accurate + His omniscience = eternal 
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G-D AS TIMELESS - AUGUSTINE

AUGUSTINE -

  • If God moves through time, what did he do before he created the earth?
  • God transcends the idea of ‘before’ and ‘after’
  • Uses the Bible to support God as timeless (against Swinburne)
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G-D AS TIMELESS - AQUINAS

AQUINAS - 

  • God = not affected by time/space either. He = immutable.
  • Time is an aspect of the created world thus God is not affected by time
  • G-d = impassoble; G-d cannot be changed by any external factors so he cannot experience pain/pleasure. If he was he would no longer be perfect
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G-D AS TIMELESS - SCHlEIERMACHER

SCHlEIERMACHER - 

  • Universe must have always existed, because cannot have acted to create it
  • Wholly simple + timeless
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G-D AS TIMELESS - BOETHUIS

BOETHUIS -

  • God cannot be everlasting + omniscient at the same time, as he would have to wait to see the outcome
  • Better to think of God as sitting on top of a mountain, watching an entire road, rather that travelling along the road.
  • G-d = able to observe everything in an eternal present
  • G-d = not subject to change - he = beginningless  + endless

PROBLEMS -

  • G-d = seen as personal. If he = timeless then that means he cannot answers prayers or interact with world. However, by saying G-d = timeless it means he = not subject to change - first in with traditional teaching of G-d 
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MIDDLE KNOWLEDGE

  • Middle knowledge - consists of knowledge of what would happen if certain choices were made. Does exist in quantum physics + muliverse
  • Middle knowledge = that knowledge of G-d dealing with what individuals will do in a given set of circumstances. G-d has infinte set of potential circumstances that could exist + knows all actual choices that would be made by individuals in each set.
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IMPERSONAL

  • G-d = more like a force than a person
  • No human characterisitcs 
  • G-d = an absoulte being
  • Problems: how can people have a meaningful realtiosnhup with a 'force' or 'impersonal spirit' 
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TALKING OF G-D

  • Cataphatic way --> Via postiva - talking of G-d postively
  • Apophatic way --> Via negativa - talking of G-d negatively 
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G-D AS PERSONAL

  • Speak of G-d as personal = to refer to him whom humans can have a realtionship, one that reflects their own relationships with each other
  • SPINOZA - argues although humans should love G-d. Personal 2-way relationships = impossible; G-d = perfect - this cannot be altered as He = unchanging - he cannot love
  • However, others argued that G-d has human characteristics + we can have relationship with him. He repsonds to prayers. G-d may be seen as being a 'merciful father'
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G-D AS PANTOKRATOR

G-D AS PANTOKRATOR

  • Traditional christian view - suggests rather than G-d being able to everything, he holds the power over all things i.e. omnipotence 
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INCONSISTENT TRIAD - PROBLEM OF EVIL - MACKIE

INCONSISTENT TRIAD - PROBLEM OF EVIL - MACKIE -

  • Mackie devised inconsistent triad - each corner contains proposition that rel believers say "is esstential to their faith" (G-d omnipotent/benevolence) or which = difficult to deny evil exists. The truth of any 2 corners of triangle entails falsehood of 3rd corner
  • Idea of G-d being omnibenevolent contradicts other attributes. 

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G-D AS ETERNAL

G-d as TIMELESS as 2 meanings:

  • G-d = timeless - sees past, present + future as one. He = outside time.
  • G-d = everlasting - He = within time 
  • AQUINAS - time + change = inseparable; since G-d = unchanging, he = also timeless
  • BOETHIUS - G-d = changless + doesn't exist in time
  • SWINBURNE - G-d exists at all points inside time, but doesn't exist outside time
  • ANSELM - G-d = eternal because nothing can contain him
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