Attributes of God

  • eternal
  • omnipotent
  • omniscient
  • omnibenevolent
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Eternal meaning 'timeless'

  • the belief that God stands outside of time and all time is simultaneous to him
  • humans a determined by time
  • God has no beginning or end
  • God is different from our world --> he is immaterial
  • Anselm: God is eternal because nothing can contain God
  • God is the ultimate cause
  • Iraneous: God exists necessarily
  • Boethius: God is changeless and God's life is limitless. God sees time simultaneously.
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Eternal meaning 'timeless' -problems

  • God becomes completly transcendant
  • God can only be spoken about through analogical, symbolic or mythical terms or the Via Negativa
  • God is beyond human understanding
  • Cannot act on time --> not omnipotent
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Eternal meaning "Everlasting"

  • it means God began with time
  • swinburne believed this
    • argued events occuring simultaneously to God made no sense
    • everlasting God is evident in the Bible
  • being everlasting does not lessen God's powers
  • Wolterstorff argued that
    • the only way to understand God's actions is to see them as reasons to human behaviour --> time does not pass God by
  • many argue the future does not yet exists --> omniscience does not include it
  • 'everlasting' helps the human interpretation of God for understanding
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Eternal meaning "Everlasting" - problems

  • If God did not create time he is not omnipotent
  • If you believe omnipotence to include the future, he is not omniscient
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God's omnipotence

  • God's power allows for all things to be possible
  • Aquinas:
    • God has 'active power'
    • this means God can exercise his power and bring about events
  • God's omnipotence is seen through miracles
  • God has power beyond human understanding
  • three main ways omnipotence is viewed:
    • God can do anything
    • God can do anything logically possible
    • God can do anything logically possible for God to do
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