Absolutes and perfection

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The Christian God, in fact, many gods, are said to have these absolute qualities that make them not just superior to everything else, but logically impossible.

Most well known gods are what is sometimes referred to as ‘OOO,’ meaning that they are omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent. But that’s just the beginning of it. These gods are said to be perfect, incomprehensibly amazing, and clearly superior to every other force, being, or energy in the universe.

Obviously, when playing with absolutes, problems occur. And in this post I will be presenting a few of them. First off, I must note that it would make much more sense if these gods are not OOO, especially the Christian one, who shows surprise and anger over things that he already knew would happen, and was unable to make Judah win the war in Judges 1:19.

Take for instance the claim that God is infinite, what with infinite power, infinite knowledge and infinite ‘Glory’. So he must be both infinitely merciful and infinitely just, right? Well, if God is infinitely just he will give everyone what they deserve, and if he is infinitely merciful he will let everyone off. The two are incompatible.

I have already talked about omnibenevolence and the problem of evil here, so I don’t think there is a need to go on about evil and all of that, so I will focus on omnipotence.

First off, can God create a rock, or any object really, that he cannot lift? It is a simple, straightforward question, and it exposes the issues that arise with ultimate, absolute qualities. If you say he can create a rock that he cannot lift, he is not omnipotent because he cannot lift it. But if he cannot create such a rock, then he is still not omnipotent! Again, I think it is not just perfectly reasonable, but more true to the Bible for God to not be OOO. One way of dealing this problem is to say that God is only able to do what is logically possible, but this is redefining the term ‘omnipotent’ and therefor is a cop-out, meaning that God is not omnipotent at all, but has some other quality that is *nearly* all-powerful.

The omnipotence of God is also one of the main factors used in the problem of evil, but if God was not all powerful he couldn’t stop evil (to some degree), thus ending the argument. The only other explanation is that God is not omnibenevolent, which also makes perfect sense, what with God being OK with the murders of so many people in the Bible. More on that on the link I posted earlier.

Sure, the notion of an all-powerful, amazing god is a great idea, and I can certainly see why people like it, but with no limits on his power logical impossibilities occur.

To further explain my point about a non OOO god being truer to the Bible, I can point to places in Genesis where God asks Adam where he is, as if he doesn’t know, and ‘comes down’ to places to see what is going on. It is perfectly reasonable to have a god that is just very powerful, very loving, and with a large but finite amount of knowledge.

But then again, the more illogical God is, the easier it is for us atheists!

Image courtesy of artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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8 thoughts on “Absolutes and perfection

  1. In the Western Tradition, God has been defined quite well for at least 2500 years.
    So that we aren’t left in a totally ridiculous universe where everything just happened all by itself (the atheist universe), God is defined as the First Cause.
    That everything didn’t happen all by itself is perfectly reasonable.
    Therefore, the idea of God as First Cause is reasonable.
    It is atheism, the belief that everything just happened all by itself, that defies reason, not the idea of God.

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    • You claim that the notion of a universe which caused itself is ridiculous, but are quite happy to believe that an un-caused being created it. Why is the universe any different?
      Our current hypothesis’ are all based around the simple fact that it is near impossible to know what it was like at the beginning of the universe. We don’t know if time existed beforehand, we don’t know if the laws of the universe existed before hand, we don’t know if there was a law that caused the universe to come into existence which does not appear to exist today. The universe could have created itself somehow, it could have popped into existence, it could have existed indefinitely, we don’t know.
      We also don’t know whether the universe ‘needs’ to exist. If that statement is true, the universe may have existed eternally similarly to your God.
      I am not arguing that using God as the First Cause is not reasonable, in fact, anything could have been a First Cause. I hold the position that a First Cause is either A. unnecessary, or B. the universe itself is that cause.

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  2. mcclaster,
    The idea of a First Cause, an uncaused Creator is a logical conclusion arrived at through simple reason and now, during modern times, through scientific discovery and proof.

    There is simply no logic or reason or science to support the idea that everything happened all by itself. There is nothing we can point to in the universe that just happened all by itself.

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    • If the universe cannot cause itself or exist eternally, why does this creator get off? Surely the ‘First Cause’ needs a cause itself? If not, you are contradicting yourself. What created God? If he existed eternally, why couldn’t the universe?
      I must also note that your exact argument can be used to support any other deity or entity imaginable. But that is another matter all together.
      True, we do not see things popping into existence, but that does not mean it is impossible. We are inside the universe. Who knows what – if anything – is outside of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. mclaster,
    Science has proven that the universe had a beginning and is therefore, not eternal.
    And since nothing can create itself, everything needs a cause.
    Time and space are interwoven into the fabric of the universe (Einstein) and thus, are characteristics of the universe, not God.
    God is eternal because he is not subject to time.
    God cannot be subject to time anymore that a luthier be subject to the guitar he lovingly makes with his bare hands.

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    • First off, by ‘universe’ I mean ‘singularity’. Sorry for any confusion, but when talking about the origin of the universe we must not forget that the singularity is involved. Anyway, how do we know that the singularity had a beginning? Sure, the universe’s beginning was the Big Bang (Whether it caused by God or not is irrelevant) but we have no proof that the singularity had a beginning. Let’s not forget that we don’t know what is outside of the universe. Space and time are interwoven, but that is inside the universe – there is no space OR time outside of the universe as far as we know. The singularity could have existed *indefinitely*, not eternally, because no time would be passing.
      I think that, just like God, the singularity was not subjected to time due to the simple fact that space and time do not exist outside of it.

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      • mclasper,

        The singularity is beginning.
        Science has the universe defined mathematically up to fractions of a second before the Big Bang.

        Science cannot define the singularity itself, anymore then it can define God.

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        • Yes, the singularity is the beginning, and the fact that the universe came into existence (I.E the Big Bang) has nothing to do with whether the singularity existed indefinitely or not.
          We at least have an idea about what the singularity is – we know that it was an infinitely dense point that contained all of the matter and energy in the universe. Granted, this is a hypothesis, but there really is no way to tell what it was like before the Big Bang.

          Liked by 1 person

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