Nature/ Attributes of God

KEY WORDS

omnipotent- all powerful

omniscient- all knowing

omnibenevolent- all loving

eternal- timeless, atemporal, outside the contraints of time

everlasting- sempiternal, lasting forever on the same timeline as humanity

free will- the ability to make independent decisions between real options

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KEY WORDS 2

existentialism- a way of thinking that emphasises personal freedom of choice

immutable- incapable of changing or being effected

limited omnicscience- god chose to limit what he knows to allow human free will- gods knowledge changes over time- everlasting (swineburne)

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OMNIPOTENCE: FOR

FOR:

PLANTINGA- omnipotent being may not have omnipotence as a necessary quality- may limit his own powers to preserve human free will

ANSELM/ DESCARTES- god is greater than which nothing can be conceived

AQUINAS- god is completely omnipotent and in charge of the whole world- he can do everything that is absolutely possible

MIRACLES- demonstrate gods omnipotence- some things he wont do- against his nature

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OMNIPOTENCE: AGAINST

AGAINST

MACKIE- god cant do any unlogical thinking- unlogical does not exist

HEBREWS 6:18- it is impossible for god to lie

PLANTINGA- does not say much other than what god can do

PETER VARDY- gods omnipotence is limited- wrong to suggest that everything happens because of gods will- if god acted differently, everything wont be the same- gods omnipotence is limited

if god can do anything, he must be able to do evil- self- contradictory

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OMNICSCIENE: FOR

FOR

GODS OMNIPOTENCE PREVENTS FREE WILL/ AQUINAS- knowledge is immaterial- only god can know

SCHLIERMACHER- divine foreknowledge cannot endanger free will- analogy of close friends

SWINEBURNE- god knows what we have done/ what we are doing but only aware of logival possibilities

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OMNISCIENCE: FREE WILL

FREE WILL

LOCKE- free will is an illusion

KANT- must be free to make our own moral decisions/ morally responsible- if we arent free then we arent responsible and cannot be punished

BIBLE- god gave us free will

KANT/SATRE- gods omnipotence prevents us from having free will- lives are predetermined

BOETHIUS- god is outside time and space- has full knowledge of everything- distanced himself so we have free will

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OMNIBENEVOLENCE: SCHOLARS

JOHN STUART MILL- attack design argument- god cannot be loving if he created a world where animals has to kill to survive

KANT- gods omnibenevolence is redeemed in heaven- moral argument for the existence of god

WILLIAM LANE CRAIG- islam cannot understand omnibenevolence

AQUINAS/PETER VARDY- cannot judge the seemingly unjust world- dont know gods masterplan- may cause suffering but have a greater outcome- god understands our suffering- everlasting

BOETHIUS- god has uncasual knowledge- his knowledge makes future necessary- cannot answer prayer- omnibenevolent

GOD IS INTRINSICALLY- how can god be all loving if he immutable? 

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EVERLASTING

SWINEBURNE- there was no time which he did not exist

AQUINAS/ANSELM- god exists outside time- he cannot change so cannot be in time- he exists without end

CHARLES HARTSHORNE- god is affected by interaction with creation- god changes within us- he is involved in creation

AQUINAS- god is outside time and sees all events- thy years neither come nor go; whereas ours both come and go

OUR ENTIRE LIFE IS VISIBLE TO GOD IMMEDIATELY- time is bound up in creation but does not effect god- unchangingand timeless- he has always existed and always will

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THE IDEA OF DIVINE POWER- IS OMNIPOTENCE A COHEREN

  • For years people have debated the questions of whether God can create a stone too heavy for him to lift
  • Omnipotence involves being able to do absolutely anything- there are some actions that seem impossible for an omnipotent being to do (eg fail a task). 
  • If omnipotence itself is impossible, then there cannot be any omnipotent beings (omnipotence paradox)
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THE IDEA OF DIVINE POWER- CAN OMNIPOTENCE BE COMPA

  • It would be ilogical for God to be both able to do evil and unable to do evil at the same time
  • God's omnipotencce is incompatible with his omniscience
  • illogical for God to both be able to add to his unable and unable to add to his knowledge
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THE IDEA OF DIVINE POWER- WHAT DOES 'AN OMNIPOTENT

  • A being that is able to do absolutely anything, including the impossible?
  • a being that is able to do everthing possible?
  • a ebing that has maximum power?
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THE IDEA OF DIVINE POWER- BIBLE PASSAGES TO SUPPOR

  • CREATION STORIES: references to creation in the book of Psalms (words of prophets)
  • ending of the book of job
  • miracle stories
  • resurrection of jesus
  • "and God said 'let there be light' and there was light"- Genesis 1:3
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THE IDEA OF DIVINE POWER- GODS POWER SHOWN TO INDI

Genesis story of abraham and his wife sarah- showed kindess and hospitality to 3 strangers- as a reward, God told Abraham that he and Sarah would have the son they always wanted- sarah was past the child bearing age= nothing too hard for God

Lukes gospel: Mary mother of Jesus hears from the angel that her cousin Elizabeth is pregnant with John the Baptist- Elizabeth was also past child bearing age

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DIFFERENT UNDERSTANDINGS OF OMNIPOTENCE- DESCARTES

DESCARTES VIEW CREATES DIFFICULTIES FOR THEODICY:

  • Iranaeus/Augustine/ John Hick- God cannot act in any other way than the way he does without depriving us of our free will- we suffer in order ti make our own choices- autonomous moral agents
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DIFFERENT UNDERSTANDINGS OF OMNIPOTENCE- PROBLEMS

Macquarrie- when we speak of the power of god, we are using analogy and should understand that gods power is very different from ours- the word power refers to power in this world, so it cannot be applied to god- god is infinitely greater than we are

there will always be aspects of gods nature that are unknown to us

the kinds of power we know are 'fallible'- our imaginations are limited- we struggle to uderstand gods power 

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DIFFERENT UNDERSTANDINGS OF OMNIPOTENCE- PERHAPS O

A.N. Whitehead/ Charles Hartshorne- absolute omipotence in the sense of total power would not in reality be a perfect quality- would be better to think of god as a being whose power cannot be surpassed, rather than as a being with total power 

Hartshorne- total power means that nothing else is able to put up any resistence to all that power- omnipotence= having total influence/effect - a totally omnipotent god would have control over everything- nothing would be able to do anything unless god allowed it/ controlled it

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DIFFERENT UNDERSTANDINGS OF OMNIPOTENCE- CHARLES H

important for an understanding of gods power- we recognise that other beings, through free will, capable of putting up resistence to god- gods power over them is not total- although his power is always greater than any other being- more impressive than a being that nothing can challenge

gods omnipotence= god can overcome all resistence, not that god will meet no resistence 

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DIVINE OMNISCIENCE AND GODS RELATIONSHIP WITH TIME

gods knowldge is infallible- he can never be wrong/ make mistakes- god knows the future- certainty of omniscient knowledge makes it difficult to reconcile with human freedom of choice

kant- without freedom there can be no moral choices- we need genuine options available to choose between- not just an illusion

if gods omniscience determines our choices, he cannot justifiably punish us/ reward us

boethius/anselm- "god is greater than anything that is conceived'- is th4e future already known to god, or does god have to wait and see what happens, just like we do?

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DIVINE OMNISCIENCE AND GODS RELATIONSHIP WITH TIME

humans are morally responsible for at least some of the actions they perform- people have genuinely free choices about what they do- god doesnt compel them- leaves it to each individual to decide- can be held responsible

islam- earhtly life is a testing place- choose between right/wrong- judged by allah- free choice with moral decisioms

it is possible for people to genuinely have free will

schleiermacher- possible solution to the problem of whether gods omniscient restricts our freedom- analogy of close friends- god could be omniscient while still allowing people to act freely

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DIVINE OMNISCIENCE AND GODS RELATIONSHIP WITH TIME

god knows everything- there is nothing he cannot know- god has no false beliefs and cannot be mistaken- if god knows everything, then that thing is true

if god is omniscient, gods knowledge includes things that unavailable to the human mind- god knows details of history that humanity has long forgotten- he knows peoples secret thoughts even when they are never expressed

god is closely linked with wisdom- alwys konws the right thing to do- best choices- which moral rules to give- when to intervene in the world

if god knows everything, does this include future and past events?- question of whether god knows in advance all the moral decisions that people will make in life- raises the issue of whether people have any real free choice

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GODS RELATIONSHIP WITH TIME

1) god is timeless- outside time- not bound by time- creator of time- atemporal/eternal

2) god is everasting- moves along our timeline but never beings/ends- future is unknown to us and unknown to god as it hasnt happened yet- god is sempiternal

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GODS RELATIONSHIP WITH TIME- GOD BEING ETERNAL OFF

OMNISICINCE- can god know with certainty the details of events that havent happened yet?

PROBLEM OF EVIL- can god see the whole picture from the beginning?- can he be partly blamed because he knew in advance?

OMNIPOTENCE- can god change the past, and make events that have already happened un-happen?

JUSTICE- can god justifiably blame us for actions he knew we would perform even before he made us?

PRAYER- is there any point in praying for something if god already knows what we will do/ futur is fixed?

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GODS RELATIONSHIP WITH TIME- THE VIEW THAT GOD IS

AUGUSTINR/ BOETHIUS/ ANSELM/ AQUINAS/ SCHLEIERMACHER- god exists outside time- can see the past/present/future with perfect knowledge- god is not bound by space

CHRISTIAN VIEW- he can be/ is everywhere at once- exists in every part of history/ every part of the future/present

GOD IS NOT LIMITED- omnipotence is not threatened if he is not bound by time

GOD IS IMMUTABLE- unchangeable

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GOD AS TIMELESS IN THE THINKING OF AUGUSTINE AND A

RICHARD CREEL- divine impassibility 

god can be loving and immutable- he can know what his own will is- he does not have to wait until people exercise their free will, then see how they act, then decide how to respond

god can still know all possibilities- can know in advance what his will is in response to each possibility

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GOD AS TIMELESS IN THE THINKING OF AUGUSTINE AND A

love involves emotional response- an unchangeable god outside time would feel the same, all the time

god is different to us- things are not possible for us but are possible for god

aquinas drew a distinction between gods nature combined with gods will- immutable- gods will is unchangeable- gods will is the same- god doesnt change his mind

gods unchanging nature does not prevent from having relationships

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GOD AS TIMELESS IN THE THINKING OF AUGUSTINE AND A

does the bible support the idea of a god who is atemporal/ sempiternal?- reached opposite conclusion from swineburne 

god made the world in a particular point in time- what was he doing beforehand?

if god is everlasting, he picked that particular time to create the universe

god is absolutely immutable- 

aquinas- when we speak. of god we recognise that the language we use is analogical and not univocal- words to describe god cannot be applied directly- god isnt like us

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SWINEBURNES VIEW OF A GOD IN TIME

if god is timeless and immutable- he cannot be a person or have a life

a person with a life has to be changeable in order to have relationships and respond to people- god would not be able to love- immutable- not affected by anything

love cannot be compatible with immutability- god has to exist within time for god to be able to respond with love- time less god contradicts bibke

why should a perfect being be timeless?- plato-world of forms

in the bible, god does not have fixed purposes for eternity- god interacts with people, and gods decisions about what will happen may change because of his ongoing relationship with individuals

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ANSELMS 4 DIMENTIONALIST APPROACH TO A TIMELESS GO

4 dimentionalist view- past/future exists in the same way the present exists

anselm did not think that the limits of human imagination provided any kind of evidence agaisnt gods eternity

god is eternal/unlimited by space/ time

god is not 'in' every time and space- space and time is 'in' god- in control

4 dimentionalist view= free will

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