The Nature of God

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: LeFay
  • Created on: 09-01-14 15:22

THE TRADITIONAL DEFINITION OF GOD

  • Five key concepts:
    • Simplicity
    • Eternity
    • Omniscience
    • Omnipotence
    • Omnibenevolence

GOD'S SIMPLICITY

  • Christian philosophers use the word 'simple' as a description of God.
  • By 'simple' philosophers are referring to the traditional way in which God was sought of as not being changeable and not having parts of characteristics.
  • Describing a person involves describing the different aspects of what makes them them.
  • When philosophers talk about God being simple they are saying that God does not consist of parts or characteristics.
  • God is unchangeable and thus cannot lose or gain any characteristics.
  • By saying that God is 'simple' philosophers are saying that: 

1.God is God.

  • God cannot be broken down or explained in terms of parts.
  • Philosophers like Aquinas say that God's nature (what God is) and God's existence are the same thing, because to talk of God is to talk of a being that exists.

2. God is unchanging.

  • Change involves a movement from being one thing to being another.
  • Because God is perfect, God lacks nothing and is not capable of changing into something else and remaining perfect.
  • Christian philosophers have argued that only something unchanging can logically be the cause of the created world that changes.
  • "If something changeable accounted for there being a world in which change occurs, it would be part of such a world and could not, therefore, account for it".

GOD'S ETERNITY

  • "For thus says the high and lofty one, who inhabits eternity, whose name is holy."(Isaiah 57:15a)
  • The idea of God being eternal has also been strongly influenced by classical philosophy (particularly Plato) and his unchanging true reality of the world of Forms, and the later philosophy of Boethius.
  • However, Nicholas Wolterstoff ('God Everlasting') has suggested that the eternity of God has appealed to people not just because of the influence of classical Greek philosophy but also because the eternal God is different from humans' experience of life in the physical world:
    • "The feeling, deep seating in much of human culture, that the flowing of events into the an irrecoverable and unchangeable past is a matter of deep regret. Our bright actions and shining moments do not long endure. The gnawing of time bites all. And our evil deeds can never be undone. They are forever to be regretted... regrets over the pervasive pattern of what transpires within time have led whole societies to place the divine outside time - freed from the ******* of temporality."
  • The concept of God being eternal can have two senses:
    • 1. Eternal refers to God existing outside of time.
    • 2. Eternal refers to God having no begining and no end, but time does pass for God.

THE ETERNAL GOD

  • Anselm argued that God is eternal because nothing can contain God.
  • For Thomas Aquinas, time and change are inseperable; since God cannot change, so God cannot be in time.
    • 1. The Bible suggests that God always exists.
    • 2. God is not

Comments

No comments have yet been made

Similar Religious Studies resources:

See all Religious Studies resources »See all Philosophy resources »