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Author Topic:   The Concept of God -- Need Logic Help
Prince Thrash
Junior Member (Idle past 2429 days)
Posts: 9
Joined: 06-20-2010


Message 1 of 81 (565792)
06-20-2010 7:17 PM


I am new to your forums, and am unsure if this topic is relevant for your site. However, your members are fairly even-headed (based on an EXTREMELY quick flip-through) and I could use some help with this argument. Please poke holes in it, or help strengthen it. Haha, it could use some brevity – any programmers out there?

So here it goes:

The concept of God in the Abrahamic world is of a being that is:

1) Omnipotent
2) Omniscient
3) Omnibenevolent

Step 1: Simplification (not totally necessary, but I find it makes things neater)

Any being that is Omnipotent will make itself omniscient. Or at least, omniscience is in the grasp of anything omnipotent. In other words, let us eliminate "omniscience", because it borders on redundant. God also has the best sense of humour, the biggest pool, the best summer home – but we do not say these things are essential. An omnipotent entity, such as God or anything, would be seduced instantly into omniscience, and it seems unfathomable to think otherwise. So our revised, simplified concept of God is:

1) Omnipotent
2) Omnibenevolent

Step 2: Analysis of the Interaction of These Two Ingredients of God

Premise 1
Omnipotence need not be expressed. It can simply be potential. God is not, for instance, using his omnipotence constantly. Otherwise everything and anything would be happening incessantly. Our only demand for an omnipotent being is that it COULD do anything and everything.

Premise 2
As an omnibenevolent entity, God does good things. In fact, there is another step we get to infer. As an omnibenevolent entity, unlike a morally ambiguous entity like a human, or merely a ‘benevolent’ entity, God is pre-determined to do the best thing he can, and since he is all-powerful, this is the best thing objectively possible. Now, he has to do it all in one piece, all of time and space at once in one big ‘best’ image he can (Leibniz argued this if I remember right).

Premise 3
If a being is omnipotent, they have power over all things, including themselves.

Premise 4
An omnibenevolent entity must do what is best. God cannot do what is wrong.

Step 3: Conclusion

Because of our assumptions about the nature of omnibenevolence, God is unable to escape its dictates. Therefore God lacks the free will that us morally ambiguous humans get (thank God). As a result, he lacks power over himself. Which means he lacks omnipotence.

What this shows is that in the very concept of God there is a contradiction. No Bible contradictions, nothing so flimsy – rather, right in the very concept of God there is confusion.

What we can say, simply, is that a being might be omnibenevolent, or a being might be omnipotent, but it cannot be both, for the omnibenevolence kills the omnipotence by shrinking the potential ability of the entity. As an omnibenevolent entity, there are things which God cannot do.

Doesn’t this mean we must pick? We must believe either in a God of Goodness, or a God of Power?

(Equally, any all-evil – “omnimalevolent” -- entity would also lack the possibility of omnipotence)

Edited by Admin, : Remove email notification.


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Admin
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Message 2 of 81 (565806)
06-21-2010 7:59 AM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the The Concept of God -- Need Logic Help thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
PaulK
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Posts: 12768
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.0


(1)
Message 3 of 81 (565815)
06-21-2010 8:26 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Prince Thrash
06-20-2010 7:17 PM


I'm sorry to say that I don't think that this argument is very good, nor do I see any obvious way to patch it up.

quote:

Because of our assumptions about the nature of omnibenevolence, God is unable to escape its dictates. Therefore God lacks the free will that us morally ambiguous humans get (thank God). As a result, he lacks power over himself. Which means he lacks omnipotence.

I think that you are missing a point here. Omnibenevolence is supposed to be an aspect of God's character, not something imposed upon God. Thus in doing what is best God is simply doing what he wants to do - and it is hard to see that as a clear violation of free will.

Taking this into account let's look at something you said earlier:

quote:

Omnipotence need not be expressed. It can simply be potential. God is not, for instance, using his omnipotence constantly. Otherwise everything and anything would be happening incessantly. Our only demand for an omnipotent being is that it COULD do anything and everything.

Now obviously the distinction is that God would do the things that he wanted to do and would not do the things he didn't want to do. So, if the only reason why God doesn't do something is that he doesn't want to, then he would still be omnipotent.

Just to be clear, not wanting to do something must be the ONLY reason God doesn't do it. If God couldn't do something even if he did want to - even something he would never want to do - then he would not be omnipotent. But simply not doing something he doesn't want to do isn't a problem.

So we come back to the point that omnibenevolence is about what God wants to do. And because it is about what God wants to do, rather than God having to do the best thing no matter what he wants there is no conflict between omnipotence and omnibenevolence.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Prince Thrash, posted 06-20-2010 7:17 PM Prince Thrash has not yet responded

    
Dr Adequate
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Posts: 15936
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 3.4


(1)
Message 4 of 81 (565865)
06-21-2010 4:37 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Prince Thrash
06-20-2010 7:17 PM


I agree with Paul. The "vol" in "omnibenevolence" means will (and in fact has the same Indo-European root as our English word "will"). So it means that God's will is to do good.

To will one thing rather than another cannot be seen as a constraint on one's freedom of will without rendering the concept of "free will" meaningless --- no-one's will can be so free as to be free of their will.

Further, you write:

Our only demand for an omnipotent being is that it COULD do anything and everything.

Now I think that the ambiguity of this has mislead you. For there are two ways of reading "COULD do anything and everything":

(1) Could, in principle, do whatever it wants.

(2) Has an actual possibility of doing something that it doesn't want to do.

Case (1) is omnipotence. Case (2) would actually be contrary to omnipotence --- a being that does something that it doesn't want to do would not be omnipotent. It would have the divine equivalent of Tourette's syndrome, being unable to control even its own actions.


This message is a reply to:
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killinghurts
Member (Idle past 2435 days)
Posts: 150
Joined: 04-23-2008


Message 5 of 81 (565884)
06-21-2010 8:53 PM


"Prince Thrash" writes:


Doesn’t this mean we must pick? We must believe either in a God of Goodness, or a God of Power?

There is another option, which satisfies all logic... don't pick anything.


  
Prince Thrash
Junior Member (Idle past 2429 days)
Posts: 9
Joined: 06-20-2010


Message 6 of 81 (565899)
06-21-2010 11:53 PM


Interesting Responses
Thanks for your input.

Would you disagree that God's goodness, then, does not predetermine his actions? Is God not, like gravity and unlike man in some conceptions, perfectly predictable? The entity in question, in fact, need have no mind? Need have no choice? Because the end result is identical.

I think the "God's will" argument is being used with too many free-will implications from the get-go. It is the Will itself which is the very vehicle of control; the method by which the entity is controlled by Good.

Remember that Hindu thinker, what was his name? Vivekananda I think? He was a classic determinist, and monist -- classic Hinduism -- but he argued that the roots of predetermination of a being happen *before* the will. They *inform* the will WHAT to will. Though I dont personally hold to this idea necessarily, I think it shows that simply because there is such and such a thing that one might call a "will", this does not make this will "free".

From this angle, God does what he wants to do, while Good informs him of what that will be. God would not be conquered and directed by Goodness, unless Goodness owned that very will.

Haha, this is a funny situation, because in your responses, you very nicely show how God is controlled, yet in opposition to my initial argument. I, oddly, see these particular refutations as detailed affirmations concerning the HOW of God's slavery.

killinghurts: whether or not there is a God doesn't really matter. Think of this as a question of "if there is a god, what types of attributes are possible?"

Edited by Prince Thrash, : No reason given.


Replies to this message:
 Message 7 by Blue Jay, posted 06-22-2010 1:04 AM Prince Thrash has responded
 Message 9 by PaulK, posted 06-22-2010 1:58 AM Prince Thrash has not yet responded
 Message 10 by Dr Adequate, posted 06-22-2010 2:25 AM Prince Thrash has responded

    
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 140 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 7 of 81 (565908)
06-22-2010 1:04 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by Prince Thrash
06-21-2010 11:53 PM


Re: Interesting Responses
Hi, Prince Thrash.

Welcome to EvC!

Prince Thrash writes:

I think the "God's will" argument is being used with too many free-will implications from the get-go. It is the Will itself which is the very vehicle of control; the method by which the entity is controlled by Good.

So, what you're saying is that free will isn't a “will,” per se, but a compulsion?
It sounds like you’re trying to define “free will” as “not free will."

Remember that the whole concept of free will is that there is no explanation for the actions of an entity other than that the entity chose to act in that way. Chalking their actions up to a personality, demeanor, compunction or other such syndrome is a deterministic approach, and determinism is the exact opposite of free will.

Edited by Bluejay, : Added second paragraph for clarification.

Edited by Bluejay, : swapped out "concept" for "approach."


-Bluejay (a.k.a. Mantis, Thylacosmilus)

Darwin loves you.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by Prince Thrash, posted 06-21-2010 11:53 PM Prince Thrash has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 8 by Prince Thrash, posted 06-22-2010 1:24 AM Blue Jay has responded

  
Prince Thrash
Junior Member (Idle past 2429 days)
Posts: 9
Joined: 06-20-2010


Message 8 of 81 (565913)
06-22-2010 1:24 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by Blue Jay
06-22-2010 1:04 AM


Re: Interesting Responses
Bluejay,

Thanks for showing that I needed to clarify.

What I am saying, is that "will" does not imply "free will". The two are distinct. The second response to my initial post implied that "will" is one in the same with "free will".

Saying "X has a Will" does not mean that "X has free will". If you think it does, I'd be interested.

I said this, because as was pointed out, the "vol" in "omnibenevolence" means "will" (such as in vol-ition). My reference to Vivenkananda was an attempt to show that others have argued that there can be an "unfree will".

Edited by Prince Thrash, : No reason given.

Edited by Prince Thrash, : Removed references to a John Wilmot play.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by Blue Jay, posted 06-22-2010 1:04 AM Blue Jay has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 13 by Blue Jay, posted 06-22-2010 10:20 AM Prince Thrash has responded

    
PaulK
Member
Posts: 12768
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 9 of 81 (565919)
06-22-2010 1:58 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by Prince Thrash
06-21-2010 11:53 PM


Re: Interesting Responses
quote:

Would you disagree that God's goodness, then, does not predetermine his actions? Is God not, like gravity and unlike man in some conceptions, perfectly predictable? The entity in question, in fact, need have no mind? Need have no choice? Because the end result is identical.

Presumable you mean perfectly predictable to someone with perfect knowledge. However, I would say that the same is likely true for all intelligent beings anyway.

quote:

I think the "God's will" argument is being used with too many free-will implications from the get-go. It is the Will itself which is the very vehicle of control; the method by which the entity is controlled by Good.

If you assume that Good is itself an intelligent being, above and beyond God then you''re not talking about any recognisable theology.
But if you don't assume that then your point doesn't really make a lot of sense. You might as well say that your will is an "instrument of control" by which your personality controls your actions.

quote:

Remember that Hindu thinker, what was his name? Vivekananda I think? He was a classic determinist, and monist -- classic Hinduism -- but he argued that the roots of predetermination of a being happen *before* the will. They *inform* the will WHAT to will. Though I dont personally hold to this idea necessarily, I think it shows that simply because there is such and such a thing that one might call a "will", this does not make this will "free".

Whether you go for determinism or not it seems pretty clear that aspects of your personality inform your will. In fact it must be so for you to have any will worthy of the name.

quote:

Haha, this is a funny situation, because in your responses, you very nicely show how God is controlled, yet in opposition to my initial argument. I, oddly, see these particular refutations as detailed affirmations concerning the HOW of God's slavery.

What is really funny is that is that your idea of "free will" seems to be all "freedom" and no will. A being that acted completely randomly, without conscious thought or any concern for it's own wants would seem to be your ideal of "freedom". But such a being lacks free will in any meaningful sense, and might be better described as a slave to chance.


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 Message 6 by Prince Thrash, posted 06-21-2010 11:53 PM Prince Thrash has not yet responded

    
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 15936
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 3.4


Message 10 of 81 (565925)
06-22-2010 2:25 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by Prince Thrash
06-21-2010 11:53 PM


Re: Interesting Responses
I think the "God's will" argument is being used with too many free-will implications from the get-go. It is the Will itself which is the very vehicle of control; the method by which the entity is controlled by Good.

[...]

From this angle, God does what he wants to do, while Good informs him of what that will be. God would not be conquered and directed by Goodness, unless Goodness owned that very will.

If I want to eat a cheese sandwich, is that free will, or is that the "very vehicle of control", the method by which I am controlled by cheese sandwiches?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by Prince Thrash, posted 06-21-2010 11:53 PM Prince Thrash has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 11 by Prince Thrash, posted 06-22-2010 2:47 AM Dr Adequate has responded

  
Prince Thrash
Junior Member (Idle past 2429 days)
Posts: 9
Joined: 06-20-2010


Message 11 of 81 (565930)
06-22-2010 2:47 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by Dr Adequate
06-22-2010 2:25 AM


Re: Interesting Responses
DrAdequate:

(Will get to other post, just busy right now and it needs more attention)

In your example, it is obvious that hunger is the "vehicle of control". You chose the sandwich, but you only did so because your hunger forced you into making such a choice. Your choice was simply the FORM your intellect took in satisfying demands far outside of its control. In other words, you could have chosen to eat something other than a sandwich, but in no way could you have simply decided not to be hungry or chosen to no longer motivated towards food by hunger.

Edited by Prince Thrash, : No reason given.

Edited by Prince Thrash, : No reason given.


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 Message 10 by Dr Adequate, posted 06-22-2010 2:25 AM Dr Adequate has responded

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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 15936
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 3.4


Message 12 of 81 (565945)
06-22-2010 4:15 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by Prince Thrash
06-22-2010 2:47 AM


Re: Interesting Responses
In your example, it is obvious that hunger is the "vehicle of control". You chose the sandwich, but you only did so because your hunger forced you into making such a choice. Your choice was simply the FORM your intellect took in satisfying demands far outside of its control. In other words, you could have chosen to eat something other than a sandwich, but in no way could you have simply decided not to be hungry or chosen to no longer motivated towards food by hunger.

You have ignored the possibility that I am not hungry, but a gourmand motivated by self-indulgent gluttony. If you think that unlikely, you should taste one of my cheese sandwiches. Lucullus himself could have desired no more.

However, if this example leaves you unpersuaded, what if I want to listen to the second Brandenburg Concerto? Am I being controlled, via my will, by the object to which my will is directed? Who's in charge round here, me or J. S. Bach?


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Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 140 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 13 of 81 (565983)
06-22-2010 10:20 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by Prince Thrash
06-22-2010 1:24 AM


Re: Interesting Responses
Hi, Prince Thrash.

Prince Thrash writes:

What I am saying, is that "will" does not imply "free will". The two are distinct.

They are not really distinct. The word "free" is redundant. Any "will" is a "free will": the only question is whose "will" it is.

If the "will" is imposed on God by some external force or entity, then, by definition, it is not God's will, but the will of that external force or entity.

So, in attributing the "will" to God, you are directly stating that it is not imposed on Him by some external force or entity.

But, if you still want to make the case that God's "will" is not "free will," then you restrict yourself to discussing concepts of God that nobody actually believes in, and your argument is thus irrelevent to the people you seem to want to convince.


-Bluejay (a.k.a. Mantis, Thylacosmilus)

Darwin loves you.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by Prince Thrash, posted 06-22-2010 1:24 AM Prince Thrash has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 14 by Prince Thrash, posted 06-24-2010 5:43 PM Blue Jay has responded

  
Prince Thrash
Junior Member (Idle past 2429 days)
Posts: 9
Joined: 06-20-2010


Message 14 of 81 (566451)
06-24-2010 5:43 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by Blue Jay
06-22-2010 10:20 AM


Re: Interesting Responses
Dr. Adequate,

I think you misunderstood the general meaning of what I meant. But I can see how I was over-specific.

Replacing "hunger" with "gluttony" changes nothing. You have X, a motivating factor, leading to Y, action. I subbed in "hunger" as that motivating factor. It seems that we both agree on this issue -- that there is a motivating factor, and I say this because you subbed in one of your own.

Though you example of music is more cleverly difficult, but again, we can imagine a gambit of motivating factors leading one to music (boredom is a good one, but one of many, as you pointed out).

You and BlueJay need to discuss this issue, because BlueJay believes that a motivating factor is a type of determinist agent. As he said, even the presence of the "personality" is counter to free will. To this I would say, since God has a personality, one of omnibenevolence without possibility of deviation, his free will is negated.

BlueJay: I believe you've inferred that I'm trying to convince some specific group? I think it is irrelevant if some group actually believes, or specifically disbelieves, in this image of God I am trying to argue for. Most atheism, for instance, is 'negative atheism' -- they let the theists give the image, and then they refute it. Nothing wrong with that. But what I am doing is a type of replacement, or positive, theology in an atheist-type of spirit. It's a bit weird, I know, but shouldn't an atheist be allowed to pick which concept of God they do not believe in, and which are simply impossible? It's a weird approach, but I don't see why I require a pre-existing theology.

BlueJay: Again, the "will" can be said to be phenomenally apparent. We can 'feel" a will-type thing. Arguable, but I'd go with it. The *freedom* of that will, however, must be deduced/applied to that phenomenon, and is not evident within the phenomenon itself. If you can "feel the freedom" of your will, prior to Western teachings that it is free, please let me know how.

Edited by Prince Thrash, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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PaulK
Member
Posts: 12768
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 15 of 81 (566457)
06-24-2010 6:25 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by Prince Thrash
06-24-2010 5:43 PM


Re: Interesting Responses
quote:

Replacing "hunger" with "gluttony" changes nothing. You have X, a motivating factor, leading to Y, action. I subbed in "hunger" as that motivating factor. It seems that we both agree on this issue -- that there is a motivating factor, and I say this because you subbed in one of your own.

I think that you fail to understand the point. Hunger, as a need of the body, is often seen as something external to the mind. Which would arguably make it a restriction on free will. By replacing it with a desire that is generated within the mind, that issue is removed.

quote:

You and BlueJay need to discuss this issue, because BlueJay believes that a motivating factor is a type of determinist agent. As he said, even the presence of the "personality" is counter to free will. To this I would say, since God has a personality, one of omnibenevolence without possibility of deviation, his free will is negated.

You have a very odd idea of free will. Surely free will is doing what you choose, without external constraints, such as coercion. If there isn't a personality - you - making choices, how can it even be called will ?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 14 by Prince Thrash, posted 06-24-2010 5:43 PM Prince Thrash has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 17 by Prince Thrash, posted 06-24-2010 7:33 PM PaulK has responded
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