Separating God from being and order

Ficciones

Active member
This picks up on thoughts on what cannot be created from my previous thread.

Theists might say, well, how do you know that being and order aren't ultimately properties of, or somehow "within", God? But being and order transcend and are presupposed by the conception of any specific entity, such as a God - just as stone transcends any form it might possibly take - a mountain, a canyon, or a sculpture. Being and order don't entail God any more than stone entails Michelangelo's David.

Note that this is so even if you try to equate God with "being itself", since being and order need not - and when understood in the most abstract, metaphysical, unconditioned and general sense, cannot - have the personal and providential qualities nor the agency associated with God. To put it another way, the conception of God necessarily involves being and order, but the conception of being and order doesn't necessarily involve God.

It follows that any hypothetical godlike being would be contingent, merely representing one form that being and order might take. Since that contingent form would itself stand in need of causal explanation, it would not be the ultimate, eternal and transcendent God that classical theism strives to substantiate. Capital-G God is therefore impossible, and a small-g god, à la Zeus - though logically conceivable as a caused and contingent entity - cannot be the root of the metaphysical hierarchy, a position inherently filled by natural being and order. These are the true "first things", which are neither God nor created by God.
 

docphin5

Active member
This picks up on thoughts on what cannot be created from my previous thread.

Theists might say, well, how do you know that being and order aren't ultimately properties of, or somehow "within", God? But being and order transcend and are presupposed by the conception of any specific entity, such as a God - just as stone transcends any form it might possibly take - a mountain, a canyon, or a sculpture. Being and order don't entail God any more than stone entails Michelangelo's David.

Note that this is so even if you try to equate God with "being itself", since being and order need not - and when understood in the most abstract, metaphysical, unconditioned and general sense, cannot - have the personal and providential qualities nor the agency associated with God. To put it another way, the conception of God necessarily involves being and order, but the conception of being and order doesn't necessarily involve God.

It follows that any hypothetical godlike being would be contingent, merely representing one form that being and order might take. Since that contingent form would itself stand in need of causal explanation, it would not be the ultimate, eternal and transcendent God that classical theism strives to substantiate. Capital-G God is therefore impossible, and a small-g god, à la Zeus - though logically conceivable as a caused and contingent entity - cannot be the root of the metaphysical hierarchy, a position inherently filled by natural being and order. These are the true "first things", which are neither God nor created by God.
Word games and opinions only. Nothing new here. "God cannot exist because existence is already claimed by us, and we are not God." That is about as good as your reasoning gets.
 

5wize

Well-known member
Word games and opinions only. Nothing new here. "God cannot exist because existence is already claimed by us, and we are not God." That is about as good as your reasoning gets.
No, that's not what he is saying. He is saying that god can exist, but because Christians define Him with specific characteristics of pre-established being, He is therefor contingent on that pre-established state of being and not an ultimate source. He cannot logically be, because He is defined via characteristics that are contingent on established characteristics of something other than itself.
 

docphin5

Active member
No, that's not what he is saying. He is saying that god can exist, but because Christians define Him with specific characteristics of pre-established being, He is therefor contingent on that pre-established state of being and not an ultimate source. He cannot logically be, because He is defined via characteristics that are contingent on established characteristics of something other than itself.
Then he needs to define “God” because not all theists ascribe to Christian orthodoxy.
 

5wize

Well-known member
Then he needs to define “God” because not all theists ascribe to Christian orthodoxy.
It wouldn't matter. Any characteristics he would use to define God would by necessity be already present as a possible state of being.

It's a version of the Euthyphro dilemma except for being itself as opposed to an argument for a definition of good itslf.
 
Last edited:

Ficciones

Active member
Then he needs to define “God” because not all theists ascribe to Christian orthodoxy.
I think anything worthy of being called a capital-G God suitable for discussion in an Abrahamic context (even heretically Abrahamic) would be ultimate, the source and foundation of all things, and be conscious in some way, have agency in some way, and exemplify providence.
 

Ficciones

Active member
It wouldn't matter. Any characteristics he would use to define God would by necessity be already present as a possible state of being.

It's a version of the Euthyphro dilemma except for being itself as opposed to an argument for a definition of good itslf.

Dilemmas are handy things. This is inspired more by Spinoza's ontology in the Ethics, and a bit of Laozi.
 

Ficciones

Active member
Summary:

1. Being and order cannot have been created, so a creator is unnecessary and a naturalist metaphysics is perfectly tenable.

2. Being and order are necessary but not sufficient conditions to establish the existence of a God, which would require further personal qualities and agency that do not have the aseity, eternity and ultimacy of being and order. Thus, those further qualities are contingent and require a cause. Since a caused and contingent capital-G "God" is analytically incoherent, there can be no such thing.
 

Temujin

Well-known member
Isn't that what discussion forums are built to house?
It is weird when this happens. As if you are wasting everyone's time if you express an opinion that differs from others. You would think that would be valued. I've dipped into the odd atheist site in the past and found them incredibly tedious because everyone is so reasonable and in agreement.
 

Whateverman

Well-known member
It is weird when this happens. As if you are wasting everyone's time if you express an opinion that differs from others. You would think that would be valued. I've dipped into the odd atheist site in the past and found them incredibly tedious because everyone is so reasonable and in agreement.
As an atheist, I avoid atheist sites for that very reason. Discussion only with people who share your ideas / values is very boring :)
 
To put it another way, the conception of God necessarily involves being and order, but the conception of being and order doesn't necessarily involve God.
I like this. Well put.
It follows that any hypothetical godlike being would be contingent, merely representing one form that being and order might take.
Why would an omnipotent god be contingent on anything?
Capital-G God is therefore impossible
I do not think you can say this even in a hypothetical. If I assert that God is omnipotent then that breaks any assumptions of 'impossible' since I have defined my god as capable of anything.

So I like and respect your approach but in the end someone claiming omnipotence just trumps everything but putting their god beyond logic, reason, and all restraints.

Thanks - this is a fun thought experiment.
 

Ficciones

Active member
If I assert that God is omnipotent then that breaks any assumptions of 'impossible' since I have defined my god as capable of anything.

Something can be necessarily the case, or contingently the case. It's necessarily true that 1 + 1 = 2. It's contingently true that I have two dollars in my pocket.

It cannot be necessarily the case that God exists because I've shown that the most crucial aspects of reality - being and order - cannot be the products of a conscious agent, so a godless reality is possible and internally consistent. The only other mode of existence is contingency. This is true whether you attribute omnipotence, impotence, or puffy sleeves to your putative God.
 
Something can be necessarily the case, or contingently the case. It's necessarily true that 1 + 1 = 2. It's contingently true that I have two dollars in my pocket.

It cannot be necessarily the case that God exists because I've shown that the most crucial aspects of reality - being and order - cannot be the products of a conscious agent, so a godless reality is possible and internally consistent. The only other mode of existence is contingency. This is true whether you attribute omnipotence, impotence, or puffy sleeves to your putative God.
Ah - i get it now. God is possible but no longer needed to explain things - very cool :)
 

Ficciones

Active member
Ah - i get it now. God is possible but no longer needed to explain things - very cool :)
Yes, precisely. That's step one.

In step two, things get much worse for God. Since Christians define God as eternal and necessary and unconditional, God can't exist as a finite, contingent and conditional being. So a God who's merely possible is no God at all - is not transcendent and ultimate. Such a limited being would have had to come about somehow, would be reliant on pre-existing conditions for its reality. So once you've crowbarred God apart from necessity, you've done him in completely.
 

Tercon

Active member
This picks up on thoughts on what cannot be created from my previous thread.

Theists might say, well, how do you know that being and order aren't ultimately properties of, or somehow "within", God? But being and order transcend and are presupposed by the conception of any specific entity, such as a God - just as stone transcends any form it might possibly take - a mountain, a canyon, or a sculpture. Being and order don't entail God any more than stone entails Michelangelo's David.
You are reificating an abstract like the truth, logic, belief and God with concrete objects like rocks and mountains, and then pretending that abstracts like the truth, logic, belief and God are known and experienced in the same way that rocks and mountains are, when in reality they are not.
Note that this is so even if you try to equate God with "being itself", since being and order need not - and when understood in the most abstract, metaphysical, unconditioned and general sense, cannot - have the personal and providential qualities nor the agency associated with God. To put it another way, the conception of God necessarily involves being and order, but the conception of being and order doesn't necessarily involve God.
The truth and reality of God create beings or conscious beings, in making them conscious of the truth through their belief in reality. That's how God makes us conscious beings.
It follows that any hypothetical godlike being would be contingent, merely representing one form that being and order might take.
Not so. Rather God requires us to participate in and with Him in His reality (AKA His Kingdom), and we do this by embodying the truth through belief as Christ does that exposed him and us to His reality.
Since that contingent form would itself stand in need of causal explanation, it would not be the ultimate, eternal and transcendent God that classical theism strives to substantiate.
How would you know when your belief is required in order to make the truth and reality of God known to you? Your choice to disbelieve in the reality of God excludes you from knowing the truth and reality of God.
Capital-G God is therefore impossible, and a small-g god, à la Zeus - though logically conceivable as a caused and contingent entity - cannot be the root of the metaphysical hierarchy, a position inherently filled by natural being and order. These are the true "first things", which are neither God nor created by God.
Illogical nonsense, physical objects do not expose us to the truth and reality, but rather it is the meta-physical and abstracts like the truth, logic, morality, knowledge and belief that open the door to the reality of God. Your problem is you chose unbelief (atheism) and deny the only way and means by which the truth and reality are known to you. And as such you are destined to wallow in perpetual ignorance of the truth and reality that your unbelief affords to you and all by your own choosing.
 

Ficciones

Active member
You are reificating an abstract like the truth, logic, belief and God with concrete objects like rocks and mountains, and then pretending that abstracts like the truth, logic, belief and God are known and experienced in the same way that rocks and mountains are, when in reality they are not.

Being qua being transcends modes of being like abstract and concrete. The analogy about stone is simply to point out that to be is not necessarily to be divine, not to say that God is like a mountain or a sculpture. (I also think more than a few theologians would be alarmed that you're saying God is abstract, but that's neither here nor there)

As for the rest of your post, yeesh. This is an argument from ontology and metaphysics, and your usual solipsistic ax-grinding isn't gonna cut it. Start with my first post in this series, then the next, then come back and read this OP.
 

Tercon

Active member
Being qua being transcends modes of being like abstract and concrete.
How can "being qua being" transcend or exclude abstracts, when the truth, logic and belief are abstracts that are necessarily implied in order to consider the reality of anything, including "being qua being"?
The analogy about stone is simply to point out that to be is not necessarily to be divine, not to say that God is like a mountain or a sculpture. (I also think more than a few theologians would be alarmed that you're saying God is abstract, but that's neither here nor there)
Don't know of any believers; including theologians that disbelieve in the reality of God.
As for the rest of your post, yeesh. This is an argument from ontology and metaphysics, and your usual solipsistic ax-grinding isn't gonna cut it. Start with my first post in this series, then the next, then come back and read this OP.
Evasion. Deal with what's being said to you and stop being such a qua being bluff.
 
Top