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If God is immutable, impassable and eternal, why does he do anything?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by Alabaster crashes down, Aug 17, 2013.

  1. Alabaster crashes down

    Alabaster crashes down New Member

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    Hi all, first post here, hope this is the right place for this thread, seemed the most appropriate one I could see that non-Christians can post in.

    Been reading around various bits of theology and came across the idea that God is immutable (unchanging), impassable (unaffected by other things) and eternal (outside of time as we understand it). I understand that not all Christians believe this but was wondering how those that do reconcile this with God intervening in the world or even creating it in the first place.

    Most Christian explanations I have read seem to suggest that God created the world because he wants some kind of relationship with human beings, either glorification (through the worship of the faithful and the punishment of sin) or love. Doesn't this imply that God gets some kind of gratification from his creation? If that is the case, how can he be immutable or impassable? And how can something eternal be influenced or affected by events in linear time in the first place?
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2013
  2. discipulus

    discipulus Newbie

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    This would be an excellent question to post in the Exploring Christianity section. You can start a thread there and have the people there answer it. Here you may not get many responses from Christians.
     
  3. Forest Wolf

    Forest Wolf Magical And Blessed

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    I think that perspective is a mortal one attributed to a god.

    Why would a supreme being need to be praised by lesser beings for being itself? Why would it need to be loved by that creation that the creator imbued with the qualities that would graduate to its worship?

    The Pantheist see's god as everything and all things past, present, and future.

    When asked why does god do anything the answer then would appear to be present as all things. Therefore, the ego that seeks out god to worship, or imagines for itself eternity needs praise is primacy reflected through human-apotheosis or, auththeism.

    I like that this question is in the Philosophy forum. It allows non-Christians to share their thoughts.

    You can always post it in a Christian forum. I think there is one entitled, Christian Philosophy.
    Nice thread.


     
  4. Alabaster crashes down

    Alabaster crashes down New Member

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    Thanks for the suggestion. Will cross post there.
     
  5. Eudaimonist

    Eudaimonist I believe in life before death!

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    Even more so, how can an immutable and timeless being think?


    eudaimonia,

    Mark
     
  6. Alabaster crashes down

    Alabaster crashes down New Member

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    Aye, I suppose that pretty much follows from my line of questioning.
     
  7. Paradoxum

    Paradoxum Liberty, Equality, Solidarity!

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    I guess it depends on what people mean by impassibility. If they take a strong stance on that, then it would seem to conflict with omniscience. ie: If the world doesn't affect him, then he would have no knowledge that the world exists.

    I think immutability and being eternal, or timeless, can be made sense of though.
     
  8. Eudaimonist

    Eudaimonist I believe in life before death!

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    Just not in any way that makes sense. ;)


    eudaimonia,

    Mark
     
  9. Paradoxum

    Paradoxum Liberty, Equality, Solidarity!

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    I don't know. A timeless loving God isn't a crazy idea in my opinion. It might not make sense, but I don't think it is obvious if it doesn't.
     
  10. jayem

    jayem Naturalist

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    I've also heard some believers claim that God is perfect. Indeed, God is utter, absolute perfection. If true, then why would a perfect being do anything? It should have no needs, or wants, and no logical reason to act in any manner whatsoever.
     
  11. super animator

    super animator Dreamer

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    Does change require time?
     
  12. Eudaimonist

    Eudaimonist I believe in life before death!

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    I didn't say that the idea was crazy -- just that it doesn't make sense.

    And I mean that very literally -- to "make sense" implies that the senses are involved in one's understanding, such that one could in principle sense whatever it is that one is imagining could happen. It makes sense that I could travel to China on an airplane, even though I've never personally done this before.

    However, concepts such as "timeless" are negatively defined. "Time" makes sense because it appeals to human experience of change in the world. "Timelessness" is not something we experience, it is a negation of something we experience.

    So, words such as "immutable" (not changeable) and timeless (without change) are not words that one can make sense of. They can be reasoned about, but can never quite reach the world of sensory experience.


    eudaimonia,

    Mark
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2013
  13. Eudaimonist

    Eudaimonist I believe in life before death!

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    I would say that time is merely our way of conceptualizing change. "Time" and "change" refer to the same phenomenon. Time isn't something that exists in addition to change.


    eudaimonia,

    Mark
     
  14. intojoy

    intojoy New Member

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    so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:7 NASB)
     
  15. Eudaimonist

    Eudaimonist I believe in life before death!

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    That is certainly what the ancient philosophers had concluded. The Epicureans believed that there were perfect "gods" existing out among the stars, but these gods being complete-in-themselves were uninterested in the affairs of mortals, and so there was no point to praying to them or being worried about what they might do to you.


    eudaimonia,

    Mark
     
  16. Lord Emsworth

    Lord Emsworth Je ne suis pas une de vos élèves.

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    That is easy. All that you have enumerated is part of being perfect.

    (I am not sure if I am just kidding or if I am serious myself. :cool:)
     
  17. GrowingSmaller

    GrowingSmaller Theistic Invidvidualist

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    Maybe alhtough any creation would be a step down under normal circumstances, y'all actually forgot about me. When (and if) I go to heaven I will be thanking the big G-O-D for not lazing about being perfect all day.
     
  18. Paradoxum

    Paradoxum Liberty, Equality, Solidarity!

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    Well you aren't using that phrase in the normal way. ;)

    But if you use it in that way, then I'd have to agree.
     
  19. Eudaimonist

    Eudaimonist I believe in life before death!

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    That makes sense. :)

    Yeah, I'm just trying to make a subtle point.


    eudaimonia,

    Mark
     
  20. Crandaddy

    Crandaddy Back in black...

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    Hi, Alabaster. Welcome to CF! :)

    This is a toughie, I'll admit. I don't think that God is gratified or in any way influenced by his creation, but I think he is, in some loose, analogical sense, "gratified" by his own knowledge of its existence and his willing it to exist. So it's not that creation exerts any influence on God, but that God is "pleased" by his own knowing and willing.

    Does that make any sense? To put it another way, God's "gratification" or "pleasure" is contained within God himself, even though it might concern his creatures. And I'm putting terms like "gratification" and "pleasure" in scare quotes because they don't apply to God in the same literal fashion as they apply to creatures, such as us. Most of the terms we use to describe God apply to "him" only analogically.

    Well, I don't think God thinks. :) I don't even think that God's knowledge is propositional, as ours is. Whereas our knowledge is mediated through our senses, and we have to break it up into propositional attitudes about objects that may be either true or false, God simply knows entire objects by themselves immediately, directly, and all at once, without having to break his knowledge up into propositional attitudes.

    Thus, while I might have knowledge about a particular tree (consisting in a set of true propositional attitudes) that I can express to you in propositional utterances, God simply knows that tree as a purely intelligible object, and he knows it all at once throughout its entire temporality in a single timeless "instant."
     
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