Attributes of God - Simple, Timeless and Everlasting

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Attributes of God

God as Simple

God is Simple because...

  • He is unchangeable and cannot gain or lose characteristics (St. Augustine)
  • Aquinas implied that "simple" means "being/existing" (link to Aquinas' 3rd Causes = cause, purpose and necessity)
  • He is perfect, lacks nothing and is not capable of change
  • Influence from Aristotle and the Prime Mover - He cannot move, but can only move things through attraction - emphasising that God cannot change as there is no Unmoved Mover for him 
  • Brain Davies - something that changes is part of this world and God is distinct from our world, so must be unchangeable and simple
  • He is is immaterial (Aquinas), so He has no body, as bodies have characteristics 

God is simply God. 

Challenges to God's Simplicity

1. God changes = God does not change, instead He is the source of change

2. How can a simply God love His people? = He loves us in a non-human way, and love concerns what God wills for humans - not a reference of empathy of people. 

3. God has no freedom = This is a misunderstanding of God's nature

4. God is not described as simple in the Bible = The Bible isn't literal and God is unchanging

5. Simple God is trascendent and thus knowable = He can be known through revalation. 

God as Eternal 

God is eternal because...

  • Both Aquinas and Anselm state that God exists outside of time.
  • To say God is timeless is to say that He is outside of time and sees all events in an eternal present. 
  • It is the belief that God stands outside of time and it is all equally present to Him.
  • Plato and the Timeless God = Plato taught that time was a moving image of eternity and the forms were eternal and unchanging
  • Both Aquinas and Anselm saw God as outside time because of His cause, purpose and that He is unable to change.
  • Aquinas also believed that God is the ultimate cause of why things exist and why there is change in the universe. 
  • God is contingent and necessary
  • For Beothius, God's life is different to human life because it is impossible for God to change and He does not exist in time.
  • Aquinas - God is timeless, therefore out of time and transcendent, so it is hard for humans to understand His nature
  • We must talk about God simultaneously because He is a mystery
  • Aquinas - must see God as eternally the Creator and He sustains creation in existence and all of His creation is His work. 


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