Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Kierkecraig

What makes God, God?

Recommended Posts

I agree at this point. I have heard some people say 'no' however.

However, there may be some quality in God that draws him to creation. It certainly is difficult to consider our God in his completeness lacking the attribute of Creator.

Share this post


Link to post

Calmoriah -

I agree at this point. I have heard some people say 'no' however.

True. We can tolerate them with their incomplete understanding however. They would probably be well meaning persons who believes that the West alone holds the truth of God, ignoring the East. The East has a lot to teach us narrow minded Westerners, were we to begin tapping into their wonderful knowledge.

Share this post


Link to post
But Random's picking up JS' idea of power being dependent on knowledge is spot on.

God speaks to Abraham of his knowledge in the Book of Abraham

Abraham 3:19

19 And the Lord said unto me: These two facts do exist, that there are two spirits, one being more intelligent than the other; there shall be another more intelligent than they; I am the Lord thy God, I am more intelligent than they all. :P

Share this post


Link to post
Can God be God without being a Creator?

It depends on what you mean by Creator. If you mean Creator in the sense that Augustine and Aquinas defined Creator, as in a creator of something out of nothing, then I would agree that God can be God without being a creator. But if you are talking about the God who is an organizer, and persuader then I would disagree and say that creation is part of who God is, as well as part of who we are. To exist is to create.

Share this post


Link to post
OK, serious effort to answer the question now, K. Unfortunately, my answer includes a lot of "i don't knows" in it...

Aha! I always suspected that you were not, in fact, Almighty God. Your uncertainty as to His nature proves it!

OMNIPOTENT:

There are lots of different thoughts on this. Most center around what concepts may or may not govern God's behavior.

Is God governed by logic? (Can He microwave a burrito so hot that He can't eat it? Can He get lost?)

I do not believe that He is governed by logic. That would imply that logic pre-existed Him, and it did not. He decided that, for example, the Law of Non-Contradiction would be operative, and so it is. He is the First Cause, the Unmoved Mover. And for all you Latter-day Saints who contend that historic Christianity is, in fact, a construct of Platonic philosophy: WRONG, jello-breath! It's obviously a construct of Aristotelian philosophy! Stick that in your pipe and smoke it! :P

By the way, we are most certainly governed by logic, and there's a fallacy operative in questions like, "Can God microwave a burrito so hot that even He can't eat it?" There's no such thing as a burrito too hot for God to eat, so the question can be reduced to, "Can there be something that isn't anything?" Demand that the questioner define his terms- "What exactly is something that isn't anything?" and go out for sushi...

Is God governed by morality? (Can He tell a lie?)

I don't know how to answer that without resorting to scripture, which I refuse to do because then I would be forced to engage the Book of Abraham cites above, which I would do by attacking the historicity of the text itself, which would inevitably draw Paul Osborne into the thread, and nobody wants that...

(edit) OK, that was a lame response. Whether or not He's ontologically capable of lieing, He's certainly decided never to lie. Also, since the propositions, "Lieing is evil." and "Evil must be eschewed." are well within the realm of purely human knowledge, it seems to me that an all-knowing God who lies is somehow contradictory...

Is God governed by the laws of physics or other universal laws? (Can He do something that physically can not be done? I think typically LDS would tend to put creation ex nihilo in this category)

Like logic, I don't believe physical laws pre-existed God, and so it follows that He isn't bound by them. I'm not sure that creation ex nihilo is any less physically impossible than eternal material existence and the consequent problem of infinite regression. That's especially problematic in our universe, governed in part by the Second Law of Thermodynamics...

Does the fact that God can accomplish task X mean that He can do so without effort? (Can God create the world with the blink of an eye, or does it require more effort from Him?)

I can't imagine that God "works" in any meaningful sense. If doing anything requires effort on His part, than we have two choices. We can postulate that there's something too hard for Him to do, or in other words, He's not Omnipotent (and we can't have that). Or, He can apply an infinite amount of effort, which essentially means He can accomplish the most difficult task with a degree of effort appproaching zero anyway.

Does God violate natural laws when He acts, or does He act in harmony with them? (Did He create the earth out of nothing, or did He use the principle of gravity to gradually draw the materials together?)

Well, He does both. I believe the deep conversion I experienced some years ago through Evangelical preaching was an act of God, but it happened through purely natural means. On the other hand, Paul's deep conversion was a supernatural occurence, materially speaking. With respect specifically to the issue of the creation, I dunno. The idea that the Universe appeared *poof* out of nothing six thousand years ago is a bit of a stretch. On the other hand, there's a carnivorous plant that likes to munch on a particular bug, and so the plant's pollen contains a molecule identical to the female bug's pheremone, thereby attracting horny male bugs in droves. Same molecule produced by creatures from two different taxonomic Kingdoms. I am, like, so sure that that's an accident.

OMNISCIENCE:

Same sorts of issues here. Does God know everything or only everything that can possibly be known? Can He simultaneously know the exact position and momentum of an electron (which would violate Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle)? etc.

God can violate Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle because He doesn't need to look at the electron to know everything about it. His knowledge is not contingent on His observation. Indeed, He knew all about the electron an eternity before He created it.

With respect to, "Does God know only everything that can possibly be known," an Open Theologian might well posit the question, "So God knows the color of TrespasserW's great-grandaughter's eyes, even though she doesn't exist. Things that don't exist clearly constitute something that isn't anything, and we all know how you feel about those sorts of things. Define your terms. I'm going for sushi." To which I would respond, "Say, you're really cruising for a bruising, aren't you?"

Lots of questions. IMO, not a lot of answers. Many, maybe even most, theologies leave a good bit of room for interpretation in this area. Trying to nail down what God can and can't do typically results in a lot of speculation.

Ya think? <_<

While we're on the topic, though, it might be fun to speculate also about Random's Noncontingency. Now that physicists are seriously speculating about the existence of parallel universes, is it possible that other universes might not be contingent upon God? Or does He have to be the creator of all universes to be truly considered "God"?

Yes. One God, oh-en-ee, one. One more than none, one less than two, three is right out. Something that is merely one among many can't be "omni" anything- can our God beat up the God of the universe one string over? Either way, somebody ain't God...

Share this post


Link to post
"a quality contingent upon another quality"

Isn't this like "building precept upon precept' and 'the house of god is a hose of order' which would lend to reason that there is an order, sequence,etc. upon which qualities would hinge upon one another? Or am I just not getting the thought process from my head to the fingers to the keyboard? :P

Share this post


Link to post
'the house of god is a hose of order'

I'm definitely nominating that for typo of the day! :P

Share this post


Link to post

yeah yeah it's been a good 10+ years since I have put any serious time in on a keyboard.

Share this post


Link to post
"a quality contingent upon another quality"

Isn't this like "building precept upon precept' and 'the house of god is a house of order' which would lend to reason that there is an order, sequence,etc. upon which qualities would hinge upon one another? Or am I just not getting the thought process from my head to the fingers to the keyboard? :P

But seriously: I don't believe that the two are similar. "Line upon line, precept upon precept." is, as I understand it, a process thing- the mode of Divine revelation. It's not necessarily applicable to ontology, qualities essentially necessary to a Being. In other words, God decided upon that mode of transmission of knowledge- it is contingent upon Him. He never decided to be Omnipotent- it's the only way to be God...

Share this post


Link to post

Kierkecraig:

I like that name btw.

Have you looked at the idea of negative theology? James Faulconer has an essay on Derrida (whose passing this week I lament) in which he discusses our knowledge of diety from this perspective. It can be accessed through the byu philosophy department site.

In any case, it comes to mind because I think that one of the errors Christianity has made is the idea that your question can be answered precisely. I would note that lds leaders do talk about God meaningfully, but they don't seem interested in offering a logically exaustive list of God's attributes. This seems in keeping with the general idea that among the things we believe about God is that our comprehension of God is incomplete.

--kolobian

Share this post


Link to post

Random:

Aha! I always suspected that you were not, in fact, Almighty God. Your uncertainty as to His nature proves it!

Well, don't get used to it. I don't admit it often. :P

I do not believe that He is governed by logic.

I'm glad you answered that way. Shows forethought. I've known far too many who very quickly insist that God can violate any law of physics, but not logical contradictions. But then you get questions like "Can God create a bucket that is both full and empty at the same time?" and you have to decide whether this contradicts the laws of physics or the laws of logic before you can decide whether God can do it... it isn't a pretty sight.

Whether or not He's ontologically capable of lieing, He's certainly decided never to lie.

So it is not inconceivable that there may be some self-imposed restrictions on God's behavior? He may have created some rules which even He will not violate?

On the other hand, Paul's deep conversion was a supernatural occurence, materially speaking.

Of course, that's part of the question, though. Are "supernatural" occurences truly outside of the laws of nature, or might they not simply follow laws of nature that we may not fully understand? The nagging question I'm getting at here is "Why create a system of rules that you know you'll eventually have to violate?" If God has to occasionally violate natural laws, wouldn't that suggest that He wasn't capable of instituting a system of rules that would have better suited His purposes?

Yes. One God, oh-en-ee, one. One more than none, one less than two, three is right out. Something that is merely one among many can't be "omni" anything- can our God beat up the God of the universe one string over? Either way, somebody ain't God...

But that's just the point. CAN He be "omni" just for this universe alone? If I make some cookies, and keep them all for myself, I'm quite justified in saying "I have ALL the cookies," even though the statement is only true in a certain context. Context is a vital part of any kind of communication. So... does our understanding of God have a context? And if it does, does that really invalidate scripture in any way?

Share this post


Link to post

TresspasserW -

He may have created some rules which even He will not violate?

Or better yet, those laws are as eternal as God, and he got to be God by living those eternal rules which are uncreated. Oooooooooooo. :P

Share this post


Link to post

ScriptureLover:

Or better yet, those laws are as eternal as God, and he got to be God by living those eternal rules which are uncreated.

That is certainly the impression I get from certain extra-canonical statements. I'm not sure if that notion can be fully supported from the canon, though. IMO, some of Joseph Smith's statements seem (at face value) to contradict some of his other statements. I'm just free-speculating here. I don't really have any answers to the questions I'm raising. I understand that plenty of LDS (and plenty from other religions, too) think they do have some answers here, but I'm not really satisfied that they do.

Share this post


Link to post

It sure is. I guess I'm just in a speculatin' mood lately. :P

Random:

I'm not sure that creation ex nihilo is any less physically impossible than eternal material existence and the consequent problem of infinite regression.

Actually, I disagree here, but in your favor. Ideas very similar to creation ex nihilo have actually gained a lot of credibility lately in the realm of physics. Since matter and anti-matter combine to mutually anihilate each other, it is suspected that one could concevably start with nothing, and split the nothing into component parts of matter/anti-matter. Seems to me that this notion has quite a bit in common with Creation Ex Nihilo. It has even been speculated that this sort of reaction is how the universe began.

Even more intersting (to me), is that modern physicists have evidence to indicate that certain high-energy reactions (achieved via particle accelerators) will occasionally "borrow" a particle temporarily from the universe, as it were. Not really related to theology, but intersting nonetheless.

Share this post


Link to post

Interesting points on physics. I remember being completely astonished when I learned that electrons are not particles at all, not of matter anyway, but actually particles of probability! Whoa! The Quantum is soooooooooooo weird, yet exciting to read in.

Share this post


Link to post
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...