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Featured Did God determine his own nature?

Discussion in 'Christian Philosophy & Ethics' started by Everybodyknows, Nov 24, 2017.

  1. Yes

  2. No

  3. Something else

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  1. chilehed

    chilehed Veteran

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    Well, he's certainly not contingent on anything other than himself. But yes, I suppose that it would be more accurate to say that he's not contingent on anything at all.
     
  2. Silmarien

    Silmarien Vaguely Neoplatonic

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    Sorry, I never replied to you. For one, I think we just need to accept that the concept of eternity is incomprehensible. We equate God with eternity and being beyond existence because it's the universe itself which doesn't really make much sense if you think about it too much. If the concept of God is also leading to eternal regress, it may be because you're thinking of God as just another being in the universe. Negative theology and training yourself to define God by what he isn't instead of what he is may be helpful. And I also agree with the earlier suggestion to study Aquinas.

    From a Christian perspective, however, I think that God actually may have determined his nature. Eternally begotten of the Father. The idea of God having chosen to be three instead of one from eternity is difficult to wrap ones head around, in the same way that eternity is always an impossible concept, but Trinitarianism does show a manner in which God actually could have chosen his nature. (This may be terribly heretical, though. I haven't done a particularly in-depth study of Trinitarian theology yet. Dangerous territory, that.)
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2017
  3. Everybodyknows

    Everybodyknows The good guys lost

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    To me those are two vastly different statements.
     
  4. Everybodyknows

    Everybodyknows The good guys lost

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    Is it really? I can comprehend that the universe extends infinitely in any direction or that I can continue counting without ever reaching the end of numbers.

    For the sake of simplicity let's just look at God 'prior' to creation, when God alone existed. There is no beyond existence, he either exists or does not. I'm accepting his existence as axiomatic.

    If we continue the assumption above then we can assume that God doesn't exist within the universe or any universe. He exists within himself, he is existence since nothing else exists.

    My question is really about the existence of God as the philosophically necessary being. Why are his existence and nature are necessary? What is the source of this necessity, is it something within himself our outside of himself? Alternatively he could exist unnecessarily, but theologians aren't gong to like that view. What is the Thomist approach? I've read bits and pieces but don't have an in depth understanding of Aquinas' writings.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2017
  5. Marvin Knox

    Marvin Knox Senior Veteran

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    Huhh?:scratch:

    I have no idea what you are getting at.

    Self existence says nothing about "progression". Creation does.

    "Progression" has no meaning in an infinite setting. It only applies to finite settings.

    God's nature is infinite and eternity is, by definition, infinite.

    Are you saying that God has been constantly creating Himself for eternity? If so - that denies that He has been immutable for eternity in addition to eternality being defined wrongly by you as finite.
    It is word games and will remain so as long as you refuse to make your point.

    You are simply countering people's explanations (which for the most part are perfectly scriptural) with the same question over and over again - albeit worded a bit differently at times. I.e. - you are playing word games.

    Make your point please. If you don't - I'll have to leave this to others who are willing to be strung along by you - making a thread which deserved to end in one page stretch on for some time.

    That may stoke your ego. But it also reeks of duplicity - one of the attributes God hates.
     
  6. Marvin Knox

    Marvin Knox Senior Veteran

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    You have already agreed that nothing exists or ever has existed outside of Himself.

    This why you are coming off as not someone who is intelligent. You are coming off as someone who is purposefully exasperating.

    I.e. - you are what we call in forum settings "a troll".
     
  7. Vicomte13

    Vicomte13 Well-Known Member

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    That would be God's God. Whoever can force God to do, or be, anything is God's God. Trinitarians believe that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are both God, along with the Father, but Jesus can do nothing without the Father, and the Son and the Father send the Holy Spirit. So the Father is Jesus's and the Holy Spirit's God.

    This is not blasphemous. Sounds it, to a Trinitarian, but it isn't. The expression "Jesus' God", referring to the Father, appears in the Scripture.

    El Elyon, the Most High God, is the Father, obviously, for him to be the God of Jesus (who is God from God, per the creed).

    "God" is one of those words whose meaning has changed from the First Century, and the millennia BC, when it meant "Power" (over that below it) (hence the Elohiym of Abraham was El Elyon - the Most High God - the God of gods, what we would call the REAL God, today, because we define God along the lines that I did: omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal and omniscient, that which only the Most High God could be.

    The thing is that in our age, we hate using the word "god" to mean "great power" or "mighty one", even though the Hebrew Bible uses the term in that way.

    We would do well to use the Old English term for things like Odin and Jupiter: "Ace" and "Aesir". That way we could use the word "god" to only mean the Trinity. Unfortunately, the Biblical use of the word is not exactly the same as we mean it. We don't like the idea that Jesus has a God, even though it's right in Scripture, because we have really confused ourselves with ideas to try to make sense of the Trinity (which is not in the Scripture).
     
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  8. Everybodyknows

    Everybodyknows The good guys lost

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    I'm not making a statement just asking a question to gauge someone's view on the issue. Marvin, perhaps the philosophy forum is not for you.
     
  9. Silmarien

    Silmarien Vaguely Neoplatonic

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    I'm not sure what precisely you're asking. Why do theologians talk about the concept of necessary existence at all, or why do they attribute the characteristics of the Christian God to that necessary existence?

    I'm somewhere in the vast no man's land between philosophical theism and Christianity myself, so will have to leave the second question to the Catholics. I can discuss necessary existence in general terms, though, if that is the concept you're struggling with.
     
  10. YouAreAwesome

    YouAreAwesome ☝✌

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    Just a thought, don't know if it will contribute but thought I'd throw it in...

    1. Something exists.
    2. Nothing, can not cause Something.
    3. Therefore, Something has always existed. (1, 2)
    4. Therefore, there is no First Cause. (3)
    5. Therefore, there is at least one thing that is uncaused. (4)
    6. That uncaused thing we call God. (5)

    In other words, if we move backwards with respect to causes, we will reach something uncaused, that is, God. Is this true?
     
  11. Everybodyknows

    Everybodyknows The good guys lost

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    Probably both. I'm not sure if the necessity of his existence and the necessity of his characteristics are separate categories or if they are somehow tied together.

    Yes that might be helpful. Is a necessary being only necessary for things who's existence is contingent on the said being or is its existence necessary apart from anything else?
     
  12. Everybodyknows

    Everybodyknows The good guys lost

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    Good point. Does this tell us anything about his nature?
     
  13. Marvin Knox

    Marvin Knox Senior Veteran

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    Actually - I'm very much interested in philosophy and I am and always have been willing to listen to people's ideas on such things.

    The thing is - people who philosophize and listen to others doing the same are supposed to be people who have open minds.

    The purpose of an open mind is to have it available so that it can close on truth when it is presented. It is not a virtue in and of itself. The virtue is not ending life with a mind like a sieve. It is to have eventually closed your mind on truth.

    While this is a philosophy forum - it is a sub forum of Christian Forums. As such (and because you have listed yourself as a Christian) the truth we seek is supposed to be what the Bible has presented to us.

    Many people here have very clearly presented Bible based truth in answer to your original questions. They (and I) have rightly expected you to close your mind on those obvious truths and not be someone who is, as God says, "always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." 2 Timothy 3:7

    I love philosophy as a discipline. I have majored in it.

    But I'm a Christian foremost and I'll sign off for sure now and leave this thread to others who just want to talk philosophy for it's own sake and not as a means of arriving at truth.

    By the way "YouAreAwesome" - I don't need your prayers. I'm quite sure I have the mind of Christ on this.:)
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2017
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  14. YouAreAwesome

    YouAreAwesome ☝✌

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    I guess I'm thinking more about the "determining" part of the initial question. If God is "uncaused" then He was not "determined" and therefore did not determine His own nature.
     
  15. chilehed

    chilehed Veteran

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    I'm not so sure about that, but don't know why.
     
  16. Everybodyknows

    Everybodyknows The good guys lost

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    Is his nature contingent on anything?
     
  17. YouAreAwesome

    YouAreAwesome ☝✌

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    We know His nature from His actions in the world. He heals, He saves, He delivers etc. But that is a different thing entirely to the question "Is His nature contingent?" ... I suppose there could be an order of attributes... His nature is contingent on His omniscience for example, He knows that Love is the best possible way of being and so He determines His nature to be Love. Hmmm interesting...
     
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  18. Everybodyknows

    Everybodyknows The good guys lost

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    Thanks for your contribution. I realise I have probably asked an unanswerable question.
     
  19. Everybodyknows

    Everybodyknows The good guys lost

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    I hope so. If I manage to keep a few more philosophers employed it's all worth it! :)

    Good. Agreeing on definitions is always a useful starting point. Although I feel we can simplify things for the sake of this particular discussion.


    Lets just accept existence as an axiom, no need for definition. More specifically lets start with the axiom of God exists. Furthermore, for the sake of simplicity lets consider God alone prior to any act of creation. Lets assume God exists alone - we are just looking at God and his attributes in isolation, apart from any created thing.

    Following from the above we'll limit ourselves to only considering God's thoughts. Since God is immaterial then so are his thoughts. His thoughts exist as much as he exists.


    Just ignore the nature of creation all together, I don't feel it contributes anything to the point. Let's just focus on God's own nature. The only thing relevant here is the concept of nothing. I'm thinking nothing and something are mutually exclusive. So 'nothing' is only a hypothetical alternative to 'God exists'.

    God is immaterial and so is his nature. If we are to discuss the nature of God a better approach would be to talk about the attributes and characteristics that define him, specifically those that he himself cannot change.

    Is God's nature governed by laws?

    I'm happy just to define God as the highest being upon which all other things in existence are contingent.

    That's an interesting question, but lets stick to theism.

    I'm sticking to God as timeless, time being a property of the created universe.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2017
  20. Everybodyknows

    Everybodyknows The good guys lost

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    Sorry if I'm being annoying but I can help but ask the question who is the Father's God? Is Aquinas only referring to Jesus when he says he wills his own goodness necessarily? Wouldn't this apply to the Father also? You could try putting the Trinity in a triangular arrangement so that every God has a God.
     
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