the concept of God - divine attributes and problems

  • Created by: TashaChlo
  • Created on: 10-12-14 17:05

Gods predicates (His properties) aka the divine attributes

Omniscient - all seeing/all knowing

Omnipotent - all powerful

Omnibenevolent - all good

Transcendent - beyond the material universe

Immanent - everywhere in the universe at once

Everlasting or eternal - lasts forever or outside of time

Personal - like a person, with intelligence and will

Perfect - couldn't be better in any way, most perfect possible thing

Non-contingent - doesn't depend on anything else for its existence

Creator/First cause - existed before the Universe and ultimate cause of it

the concept of God and problems

 Lots of atheists try to reject the idea of God because of the lack of evidence in the outside world. But philosophers are more likely to address the question of God by using reason. The question is does the idea of God make sense? If it doesn't then the idea of God is a contradiction and we don't need any more evidence that he doesn't exist. E.g. a 4 sided triangle is a logical impossibility, a contradiction in terms and cannot possibly exist.

Individual incoherence – does any single attribute not make sense?

Omnipotent – if God is all-powerful this suggests that he can do anything but can God make 2+2=5? This is logically impossible so how can he do that?

The stone paradox

can God create a stone that he can't lift? If the answer is no then God cannot create the stone. If the answer is yes then God cannot lift the stone. So either way, it seems, there is something that God cannot do. If there is something God cannot do then he is not omnipotent.

possible solution: 'a stone that an omnipotent being cannot lift' is not a possible thing, God cannot do the logically impossible but that doesn't mean that he lacks any power as the power to create a stone too heavy for him to lift is not a possible power.

Mutual incoherence – do any two or more attributes contradict each other?

Immanent, transcendent and eternal

Does it make sense for God to be both everywhere in the universe and at the same time beyond or outside the universe? To make a Universe, God would have to be outside of it, so how can he be everywhere in it at the same time? If he was entirely in it then he couldn’t have made it, and if he was entirely beyond it, he couldn't be in it. Similarly, God is though of as outside the universe and therefore outside of time, so if God is in the universe he exists in time but he is also beyond it and outside of time. None of this seems to make sense, so this seems mutually incoherent.

Omnipotence and omnibenevolence

  1. to commit evil is to fail to be supremely good

  2. if God is supremely good, then God cannot commit evil

  3. therefore, if God is supremely good, there is something God cannot do

  4. therefore, God cannot be both supremely good and…


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