The Nature of God

A2 philosophy

- Omnipotence

- Benevolence

- Omniscience

- Eternal/everlasting

- Simple

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  • Created by: john doe
  • Created on: 10-04-12 15:30

Models/Qualities of God

Models of God;


- Outside of time and space


- Inside of time and space, God will always exist


- Omnipotent

- Omniscient

- Benevolent

- Immanent

- Personal

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God cannot be broken down, he is just God.


- God's existence is a predicate, he is a predicate of the universe (Decartes)


- God is unchangeable


- God is 'Wholly Simple'

- God is being

"[Paul] knows [God] in part. But he says, ‘in part,’ not because he knows God's essence while something else of his essence he does not know; for God is simple"(Against the Anomoians 1:5)

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God's Omnipotence

God's ability to do what is logically possible?

God's ability to do anything?


- God can change the fundamental laws of physics


- "whatever involves a contradiction is not  held by omnipotence for it cannot possibly make sense of being possible"


- God's omnipotence is required for his perfection


- "a being is omnipotent if it has every power logically possible to possess"

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Omnipotence contradiction example

Can God make a stone too heavy for him to lift?


- yes because he can change the laws of physics


- No for it is a contradiction


- Supports Aquinas


- It is not logical

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God's Omniscience

Omniscience - Unlimited knowledge

Limited Omniscience - Limited by what is logically possible to know


- Supremely perceptive


- God has knowledge because it is not a physical thing

- God acquires knowledge the same as humans do, God's knowledge is self - knowledge

- God will know everything for he is eternal

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Is God benevolent?

- he has to be to be perfect

- he has to be to be God

Everyone would agree that God is benevolent even if he is not immanent or personal.

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Criticisms of Omnipotence, Omniscience & Benevolen

- Suffers from problem of evil

Epicurus - 

“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?” 

- Suffers from problem of free will (Libertarianism v Determinism with regards to God)

- Why does God have to be ALL loving, powerful and knowing

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God as Eternal

Nicholas Wolterstorff -

 "the feeling, deep seated in much of human culture, that the flowing of events into the irrecoverable and unchangeable past is a matter of deep regret."

- God is eternal, God is outside of time & space.

- God is perfect and time passing implies imperfection, thus God exists neccessarily

- God is beyond human understanding, we can only speak of him in analogical terms

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Wrote the Consolation of Philosophy

- Imprisoned for treason

- Book is a socratic dialogue between him and lady philosophy

- Talks about nature of God and evil

- Eternal model of God


- Explore the meaning of eternity

- Prove that God rewards and punishes us justly

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Boethius Cont'd

God is eternal

- He sees time as one simultaneous event

Temporal is whatever lives in time, which is us

God understands the infinity of endless life

Knowledge transcends movement of time

Things happen out of neccessity, they do not have to happen

Just because God knows something it doesn't make it necessary

He sees things as eternally present but which belong to the future to us

Freedom of human will remains independant

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Other views on Eternity

Block view

- God is ouside of time and space ans as it were sees past, present and future simultaneously

Unfolding universe

- God is involved in time, simultaneously present to it and engages with it

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Jon Knight


Cheers John,

As is often the case, we have had fantastic discussions around this issue, though have very little in coherent notes to show for it.

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