Login Register

All times are UTC - 5 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic Page 1 of 2   [ 39 posts ]   Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: For TheJack - God and Necessity
PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 1:44 pm 
Offline
Sons of Thunder
Sons of Thunder
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 9:25 pm
Posts: 10360
Location: As I understand it.....in God's will. This is the best place to be.
Religion: Orthodox (In Communion With Rome)
Church Affiliations: Past Grand Knight KoC 15107
Interesting topic. The discussion on the other threads has given rise to a question I hope we can bandy about regarding God's freedom. Specifically this: is God free within the context of self-imposed vows? I am speaking specifically of the Covenant of God and the vows made in the Covenant and the Sacraments.

For instance, whenever a covenant is made, there is a ceremony of the exchange of vows. Within that exchange are also certain expressed sanctions which are understood to be imposed upon the one making the vow(s) if he/she breaks the covenant vows. Certain ceremonial actions point to these sanctions. For instance, in the vows made in Genesis 15 by God to Abraham, when He passed through the severed animals, and also in the vows made to God by Abraham when he submitted to circumcision in Genesis 17, both actions point to a sanction.

In the action of God, it is saying "If I break my promises to Abraham, may I be torn asunder like these animals." In the action of Abraham, it is saying "If I break my vows to God, may I be cut off from Him." In like manner, proper baptism (i.e. by immersion) is an action which says "If I break my vows to God, may I be drowned (put to death) in the depths of His justice." (PS I did not come up with these observations - they are from a Reformed web site on the Covenant of God and I believe they have a very good point).

No covenant is made without vows, and those vows put the one making the vows under obligation with sanctions for disobedience (breaking the vows).

Seeing this, and seeing that God places Himself under promises, both in the New Covenant and the Old Covenant, can it really be said that He is totally free? Would He who is truth be able to break a promise (lie) and thus walk away from that which He has promised?

For instance, in reference to our discussion on Limbo and baptism, isn't God bound to perform that which He has covenantally promised in the Sacraments?

If, on the other hand, one maintains that despite this, God is totally free, then is He bound by our objections to Universal Salvation? (sorry, couldn't help but drag that in also) The statements I continue to read regarding Apokatastasis make it seem like God by necessity must send people to hell forever. Isn't insisting on the necessity of hell putting God under necessity?

Finally, is God bound ontologically to His own mercy? Must He of necessity act outside the bounds of mercy. I know.....Romans. But I think that has a different construct from what I am discussing here - i.e., eternal hell or salvation.

I hope this can be discussed with an irenic spirit and without some of the pejoratives which have come flying my way.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: For TheJack - God and Necessity
PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 7:22 pm 
Offline
Adept
Adept
User avatar

Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:25 am
Posts: 4973
Location: Fort Smith, AR
Religion: Christian & Missionary Alliance
Light of the East wrote:
Interesting topic. The discussion on the other threads has given rise to a question I hope we can bandy about regarding God's freedom. Specifically this: is God free within the context of self-imposed vows? I am speaking specifically of the Covenant of God and the vows made in the Covenant and the Sacraments.

I'll offer some answers to your specific comments below, but a few background things off the top of my head.

First, there is no meaningful sense whatsoever in which God is not free. I'm sure you immediately notice the caveat "meaningful." I use that term because it's very easy to put words together in such a way that they look like they have meaning but, in fact, do not. So consider Chomsky's famous example of this idea: "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously." We know what every word in that sentence means and it is grammatically correct, but the sentence is meaningless--just as meaningless as a four sided triangle or the idea that God could create a rock so heavy He couldn't lift it. Or again, C. S. Lewis wrote,

    His Omnipotence means power to do all that is intrinsically possible, not to do the intrinsically impossible. You may attribute miracles to Him, but not nonsense. This is no limit to His power. If you choose to say, ‘God can give a creature free will and at the same time withhold free will from it,’ you have not succeeded in saying anything about God: meaningless combinations of words do not suddenly acquire meaning simply because we prefix to them the two other words, 'God can.' It remains true that all things are possible with God: the intrinsic impossibilities are not things but nonentities. It is no more possible for God than for the weakest of His creatures to carry out both of two mutually exclusive alternatives; not because His power meets an obstacle, but because nonsense remains nonsense even when we talk it about God. (The Problem of Pain, emphasis added)

So, again, if we are to make meaningful statements about God, absolutely none of them whatsoever may impinge on God's freedom for any reason whatsoever.

Second, we need to understand what kind of necessity we are talking about. Aquinas distinguishes between two kinds: absolute necessity and necessity by supposition. You can find that discussion here, and in particular you will see this very relevant portion:

    There are two ways in which a thing is said to be necessary, namely, absolutely, and by supposition. . . . it is absolutely necessary that man is an animal. It is the same when the subject forms part of the notion of the predicate; thus it is absolutely necessary that a number must be odd or even. In this way it is not necessary that Socrates sits: wherefore it is not necessary absolutely, though it may be so by supposition; for, granted that he is sitting, he must necessarily sit, as long as he is sitting.

So when we talk about God and necessity, we have to distinguish between the two types and in what ways what He wills are necessary. For example, God must, of absolute necessity, will His own goodness. This is, of course, no objection to the claim that we cannot place God under necessity. For reasons we can explore if it isn't immediately clear to you, such necessary willing is just part and parcel of what it means for God to be the Act of all Acts. Further, once God has willed something (and note the temporal language that, ultimately, is inappropriate when talking about God), it is necessary that He willed it--that is a necessity by supposition. For example, God was free to create or not create. He could have willed either--there was no absolute necessity in that case. Having decided to will it, though, it is necessary that God did, in fact, will it. We just say that He was free to have done otherwise, and in that case, had He done otherwise, it would have been necessary by supposition that He did, in fact, do otherwise. That distinction becomes, I think, really important when we talk about God taking "vows."

Third, let's talk about God and "vows" generally. A vow, at its most basic level, is one one person promises to do something for another person. Given that promises are by nature fulfilled in the future, vows are temporally oriented. The whole idea of binding myself in a vow is to guarantee on some pain that I will later do something. Put differently, my past self (so to speak) is binding my future self (so to speak) in some particular manner. But how does that really apply to God? God isn't temporal. He doesn't have a yesterday and tomorrow. He just is. Always. He doesn't change. He doesn't have before He made the vow and after He made the vow. So there is no meaningful sense in which we can talk about God's past self (so to speak) binding His future self (so to speak). At a minimum, then, we ought to understand this whole God-making-vows thing in highly anthropomorphic language. To take it too literally would be to deny God's perfection in making Him temporal and all the heresies that entails.

Finally, then, I think it's important to establish now that God's freedom isn't a point of negotiation. It comes at the beginning of our theological reflection, not the end, so that if we adopt a position that ultimately denies God's absolute freedom in any meaningful way, that is not to be understood as an argument against God's freedom but rather as a reductio ad absurdem against to the position we've been considering. That's not to say that we can't prove God's absolute freedom. We can, and a great many theologians and philosophers down through Church history (both in the East and West) have done so. It is only to say that this doctrine is so fundamental that we do not use other aspects of theology to call it into question but rather we use it as a basis for reasoning about other doctrines. For a real example of a modern philosopher who takes the alternate view, I refer you to Alvin Plantinga's Does God Have a Nature?. In that book, he intentionally and explicitly rejects the "aseity-sovereignty assumption" and decides, given his philosophical framework, that there are simply uncreated aspects of reality under which even God is subjected; this further entails for Plantinga (rightly, following his philosophy) a range of errors, including the rejection of divine simplicity, the idea that God is temporal, the rejection of His passability, and so on. I'd suggest, given all this, that the stakes are rather high.

With those three background issues out of the way . . .

Quote:
For instance, whenever a covenant is made, there is a ceremony of the exchange of vows. Within that exchange are also certain expressed sanctions which are understood to be imposed upon the one making the vow(s) if he/she breaks the covenant vows. Certain ceremonial actions point to these sanctions. For instance, in the vows made in Genesis 15 by God to Abraham, when He passed through the severed animals, and also in the vows made to God by Abraham when he submitted to circumcision in Genesis 17, both actions point to a sanction.

In the action of God, it is saying "If I break my promises to Abraham, may I be torn asunder like these animals." In the action of Abraham, it is saying "If I break my vows to God, may I be cut off from Him."

But can I pause you here? Regardless of the past/future issues with God I pointed out above, doesn't that strike you as problematic? What would it even mean for God to be "torn asunder"? That's meaningless language. It's better, exegetically speaking, to understand this as God revealing something of Himself to Abraham -- both His condescending love and His faithfulness. God is under absolutely no sanctions. Again, what would that even mean?

Quote:
In like manner, proper baptism (i.e. by immersion) is an action which says "If I break my vows to God, may I be drowned (put to death) in the depths of His justice." (PS I did not come up with these observations - they are from a Reformed web site on the Covenant of God and I believe they have a very good point).

I don't suppose it's helpful to get into the theology of baptism, but suffice it to say, I don't think that's anything like close to what the ceremony is getting at. In any case, you might do better than reading Reformed websites if you want to get at a better Classical (Catholic or Eastern) theology.

Quote:
No covenant is made without vows, and those vows put the one making the vows under obligation with sanctions for disobedience (breaking the vows).

Again, do you see the problem with suggesting God is potentially under sanctions for disobedience? I see four distinct, though fundamentally related, problems with that idea:

1. In God, there is no potentiality whatsoever. This is absolutely and basic metaphysics. If you don't intuitively grasp that, I'd recommend to you Ed Feser's Aquinas: A Beginner's Guide. So if there is no potentiality in God, then He cannot potentially be under sanctions for any reason whatsoever. There is no possible future for God. That's just nonsense (in the actual sense of the word, nonsense).

2. God is not under anything. If He were, then that would mean that it existed independently of Him and that it is not under God's power. I'm sure you can see the absurdity in so denying God's sovereignty. Now if God is not under anything, there is no potential sanction that He could be under.

3. God cannot be sanctioned. To sanction someone, in the way we are using the term, is to punish them, either positively by harming them in some way or negatively by denying them something they want. But how can you harm God? What can you take away from Him? Such a thought presupposes not only a weakness in God but composition in Him as well, which is nonsense (again, in the proper sense of the word). And just so, what can you take from Him? What can you deny Him? All that is simply is because God wills it, so what would it even mean to deny God something? Thus, sanctioning God is logically self-contradictory and impossible.

4. God cannot be disobedient, because "obedience" implies submission to an authority, and there is no authority to which God could even in principle submit. He can't even be disobedient to Himself, because that implies a distinction between God's acts; as if at one moment He made this decree and that at a later moment He acted in a way contrary to that decree. But, again, see the background points above: God is eternal. He is not temporal. He has no past- or future-self, no past- or future-acts. He just is what He is, so there is nothing to be "disobedient" to.

Given all this, it is evident that God can in no way be thought to be under vows to which He could potentially be subjected.

Quote:
Seeing this, and seeing that God places Himself under promises, both in the New Covenant and the Old Covenant, can it really be said that He is totally free? Would He who is truth be able to break a promise (lie) and thus walk away from that which He has promised?

Past/future problem. Yes, God is totally free. No, God does not ever place Himself "under promises." But let's look at that word "lie." What is a "lie"? It is a deception. So what would it be for God to lie? It would be for God to reveal Himself in a way that He is, in fact, not. But for God that isn't merely self-contradictory on a moral level (i.e., God is morally good, but lies are immoral, so if God lies He's actually immoral). Rather, it's self-contradictory on a metaphysical level. Every act of God is ultimately self-revelatory. For God to "reveal" something that is not is a self-contradiction. From God's perspective, "promises" are merely God's self-revelation at some point in the human space-time continuum (which He Himself is not subject to and is, in fact, sustaining in existence) of some way that same space-time continuum and all its component parts will, in fact, be. That is not binding His future self to act in some way. That is informing someone who exists at some point in time what He "is doing" (so to speak) at some point in their future.

Now, we can, at this point, talk about God necessarily "keeping" that promise; but notice, per the distinction above, this is a necessity of supposition. God was under absolutely no obligation to ever will either that act or that particular revelation. God could have willed something entirely different. But having willed it, it is just true that He willed it. The freedom is retained even as the reality is upheld.

Quote:
For instance, in reference to our discussion on Limbo and baptism, isn't God bound to perform that which He has covenantally promised in the Sacraments?

That's a loaded question, i.e., a circular argument. The question itself presumes temporality and potentiality in God, which is what we're denying. You are permitted to think of God's self-revelatory acts as "vows"--promises He made earlier in history that He will accomplish later. But all of that is analogy, metaphor for human understanding. We are temporal beings and think in temporal terms. So God communicates to us in temporal terms that we might understand His faithfulness. But no, He isn't "bound" to anything. He simply does what He does. If He has willed that certain graces are imparted by sacraments (or whatever means), then He simply so wills it. We think of that willing as a "promise" because we are temporal creatures that make promises that others may regard us as faithful. But that doesn't apply to God. Again, He just is, and that cannot be open for debate.

Quote:
If, on the other hand, one maintains that despite this, God is totally free, then is He bound by our objections to Universal Salvation? (sorry, couldn't help but drag that in also) The statements I continue to read regarding Apokatastasis make it seem like God by necessity must send people to hell forever. Isn't insisting on the necessity of hell putting God under necessity?

If it is necessary for God to damn anyone, it is a necessity by supposition. God is absolutely free for it to be otherwise. That God has, in fact, chosen to damn people is His prerogative. We only know that He has so willed it because He has revealed it. This is why I said before, if you want to argue that all are saved, you must make a Scriptural or Traditional argument that all are saved; you cannot make an argument from God's necessity that all are saved. Again, to be clear, the Church does not say on metaphysical or philosophical grounds that God must damn. The Church teaches that God has informed us in Scripture and Tradition that He does, in fact, damn. In that choice, He is entirely free.

Quote:
Finally, is God bound ontologically to His own mercy? Must He of necessity act outside the bounds of mercy. I know.....Romans. But I think that has a different construct from what I am discussing here - i.e., eternal hell or salvation.

Again, past-future problem. All of these terms--mercy, justice, wrath, love, etc--these are just ways for us to consider the essence/act of God (which are, again, one and the same). Thought of one way, we see that "God exists." Thought of another way, we see that "God loves." Thought of another way, we see that "God is merciful." Still another that "God is just." Still another that "God acts." Still another that "God knows." All of these are true by analogy, but all have exactly the same referent: the single, indivisible, simple divine essence. So there is not one part of God, i.e., His will, that has to "check in" with another part of His nature, i.e., His mercy. That just doesn't follow. And if you don't intuitively grasp that, let me be a bit of a self-promoter (sorry, Jack3!) and recommend to you my short book Making Divine Simplicity Simple: Rediscovering Who and What God Is.

Quote:
I hope this can be discussed with an irenic spirit and without some of the pejoratives which have come flying my way.

As do I. And I hope you can find the time to work through that rather long post. As Obi said elsewhere (no, I'm not going to look it up), it's easy to ask hard questions. Sometimes the explanations must be rather lengthy.

_________________
Indeed, the Lord Jesus, when He prayed to the Father, "that all may be one. . . as we are one" (John 17:21-22) opened up vistas closed to human reason, for He implied a certain likeness between the union of the divine Persons, and the unity of God's sons in truth and charity. This likeness reveals that man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself. ~ Pope Paul VI, Gaudium et Spes 24.3


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: For TheJack - God and Necessity
PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 6:39 am 
Offline
Sons of Thunder
Sons of Thunder
User avatar

Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2015 9:36 am
Posts: 8600
Location: India
Religion: Catholic (Syro Malabar)
I haven't read theJack's post yet, but I will commend him for taking the time to write it.

_________________
Prayers,
Jack3
South Indian Eastern Catholic teenager.

"May our tongues proclaim Your truth. May Your Cross be a protection for us as we let our tongues be turned into new harps and sing hymns with fiery lips"

-From the introduction to Our Father, "On the feasts of the Lord and other important feasts", Syro Malabar rite


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: For TheJack - God and Necessity
PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 9:07 am 
Offline
Sons of Thunder
Sons of Thunder
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 9:25 pm
Posts: 10360
Location: As I understand it.....in God's will. This is the best place to be.
Religion: Orthodox (In Communion With Rome)
Church Affiliations: Past Grand Knight KoC 15107
TheJack -

Wonderful response and I feel I am going to learn so much talking with you on this.

You have posted a lot. Let's start with one issue so we don't get overwhelmed in talk

Quote:
For example, God must, of absolute necessity, will His own goodness.


This is what I meant by "ontological necessity." What I see you saying here is that God IS good (good being part of love in the sense that God is not ontologically evil, therefore there is an absolute necessity of Him doing good (i.e. love, as defined in 1 Corinthians 13 and Matthew 5)

Have I properly stated this?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: For TheJack - God and Necessity
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 10:19 am 
Offline
Sons of Thunder
Sons of Thunder
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 9:25 pm
Posts: 10360
Location: As I understand it.....in God's will. This is the best place to be.
Religion: Orthodox (In Communion With Rome)
Church Affiliations: Past Grand Knight KoC 15107
Hello?

Jack??

Are you in the loo?

Where you go???


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: For TheJack - God and Necessity
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 10:30 am 
Offline
Jedi Master
Jedi Master
User avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2002 9:55 am
Posts: 80636
Location: 1.5532386636 radians
Religion: Catholic
Church Affiliations: 4th Degree KofC
He has a r--- l---, I'm afraid.

_________________
Nos autem in nomine Domini Dei nostri

Need something to read?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: For TheJack - God and Necessity
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 10:40 am 
Offline
Sons of Thunder
Sons of Thunder
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 9:25 pm
Posts: 10360
Location: As I understand it.....in God's will. This is the best place to be.
Religion: Orthodox (In Communion With Rome)
Church Affiliations: Past Grand Knight KoC 15107
Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
He has a r--- l---, I'm afraid.


Uhhhhhh......okay. Whatever that is.

I really like his explanation and am looking forward to further conversation. Disappointed he is not responding. Hope to see him soon.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: For TheJack - God and Necessity
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 10:56 am 
Offline
Jedi Master
Jedi Master
User avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2002 9:55 am
Posts: 80636
Location: 1.5532386636 radians
Religion: Catholic
Church Affiliations: 4th Degree KofC
He works and has a family.

_________________
Nos autem in nomine Domini Dei nostri

Need something to read?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: For TheJack - God and Necessity
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:05 am 
Offline
Sons of Thunder
Sons of Thunder
User avatar

Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2015 9:36 am
Posts: 8600
Location: India
Religion: Catholic (Syro Malabar)
R__ l__ means r£al lif£. We don't usually name it, just as we don't mention oth£r f0rums.

My rule of thumb is to wait for a day if the other person has posted elsewhere on the forum.

_________________
Prayers,
Jack3
South Indian Eastern Catholic teenager.

"May our tongues proclaim Your truth. May Your Cross be a protection for us as we let our tongues be turned into new harps and sing hymns with fiery lips"

-From the introduction to Our Father, "On the feasts of the Lord and other important feasts", Syro Malabar rite


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: For TheJack - God and Necessity
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:15 am 
Offline
Sons of Thunder
Sons of Thunder
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 9:25 pm
Posts: 10360
Location: As I understand it.....in God's will. This is the best place to be.
Religion: Orthodox (In Communion With Rome)
Church Affiliations: Past Grand Knight KoC 15107
Jack3 wrote:
R__ l__ means r£al lif£. We don't usually name it, just as we don't mention oth£r f0rums.

My rule of thumb is to wait for a day if the other person has posted elsewhere on the forum.


Yeah, I just figured that out when Father said "works" and "family."

I guess taking care of my sick wife and my business doesn't qualify as a r--- l---. Ah well.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: For TheJack - God and Necessity
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 5:42 pm 
Offline
Adept
Adept
User avatar

Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:25 am
Posts: 4973
Location: Fort Smith, AR
Religion: Christian & Missionary Alliance
Ed, I'm sorry about your sick wife and what I take to be some success in your business if it is taking your time. As for me, my time is incredibly limited during the week, particularly when it comes to offering more substantive posts. As far as your question,

Quote:
This is what I meant by "ontological necessity." What I see you saying here is that God IS good (good being part of love in the sense that God is not ontologically evil, therefore there is an absolute necessity of Him doing good (i.e. love, as defined in 1 Corinthians 13 and Matthew 5)

Have I properly stated this?

I don't know that you've stated it properly or not, but you've definitely put it in a way that I would not. There's a lot with this language that I am uncomfortable with.

It's perfectly true, of course, that "God IS good." Whether intentionally or not, it seems, though, that you are imagining "good" as a property or form, if you will, and predicating or attributing it to God in such a way that He possesses it (even if in some maximal or unmixed sense). To further clarify, take the sentences, "That dog is big" and "The triangle is red." Here, "big" and "red" are properties being ascribed to their subjects--the dog and the triangle, respectively. But the dog is not bigness, so to speak, and the triangle is not redness, so to speak. Rather, there is this idea of bigness that is distinct from the idea of dogs, and of redness that is distinct from the idea of triangles; these ideas are being applied, or attributed, or predicated to their subjects.

We can take this distinction a bit further. In those two examples--the dog and the triangle--the predication is not a necessary part of the idea itself. In other words, dogs don't have to be big and triangles don't have to be red. Put still differently, bigness and redness are not part of the definition of "dog" or "triangle." But let's take these two sentences: "Dogs are animals" and "The triangle is a shape." Here, the predicates, "animal" and "shape" are being attributed to their subjects but in a different way than the first two examples, because "animal" is part of the essential definition of "dog" and "shape" is part of the essential definition of "triangle." That is, while all dogs may not be big, and while all triangles may not be red; yet all dogs are animals and all triangles are shapes. But notice that here, the predication is still a different thing than the subject. Dogs are still not animality itself (just as dogs are not bigness itself) and triangles are not shapeness itself (just as triangles are not redness itself). Rather, animality is a constituent part of the definition of "dog," and so with the relation between "shape" and "triangle."

Let's apply this analysis to the sentence, "God is good." If we imagine the relationship between "God" and "good" is of the first type (i.e., triangles and redness," then we are saying there is this idea we call "God" and this idea we call "good", that the two ideas are distinct, and that the latter is being applied to the former. But that is wrong. In traditional language, that would make "good" an accident; but God has no accidents whatsoever. That would make God composed of parts, and everything composed is contingent; so God can't be composed of parts, since that would make Him contingent, and therefore He has no accidents.

So let's try the other way. "God is good" is true in the sense that "The triangle is a shape," right? Still no. Here we would be making "good" a part of the definition of God. That sounds promising, but it quickly fails, because it means that God falls into the category (or "genus" if you want the traditional word) of "good things." This means that there is something more basic than God. It also means that there is something that distinguishes God from those other "good things," which would mean He could not be absolutely infinite. Again, classical theology rightly holds that God is in no genus whatsoever, because if He were, you go back to the problem of His contingency.

I think this analysis is important because you talk about good being "a part of love," where you still have the same analytical problems with the sentence "God is love." Again, "love" cannot be attributed to God in either of the two ways mentioned above; nor can "not evil" in the sentence, "God is not evil" be attributed to Him in either of the two ways we are discussing.

At the risk of being overly technical, when we say, "God is good," on a philosophical level, we are appealing to what are called the Trascendentals, of which there are several (i.e., good, being, true, one). The saying is, "Being is convertible with good." You can read an excellent discussion of that topic here. In other words, whenever you say something is "good," you are actually saying something about its very existence. It's easier to see the reverse. When you say something is bad or faulty, you are saying, again, something about the way it exists, or better, something about the way it does not exist. A rock is not bad or faulty because it cannot see. It is not supposed to be able to see. But if a human cannot see, we say that their seeing organs--their eyes--are "bad" or "faulty." The lack something that they ought to have. In other words, something does not exist in them that ought to: the seeing does not exist in the eye. That's why we say that evil is a privation. Something is deprived of the way something ought to be. An ear that cannot hear; an eye that cannot see; a man who acts irrationally. Some of these evils are "natural"; some, those that relate to our actions, are moral. But if this is clear, then it is easy to see what a good eye is: one that possesses the property it really ought to. In other words, the seeing really exists in the eye; the hearing really exists in the ear. It's potentiality has been actualized--it's potentiality to see has real existence. So a good eye is one that exists as it actually ought to exist. Nothing is deprived from it; it does not lack some existence, some being, it ought.

So, then, we say that being and good are convertible. "Good" is just a way of thinking about "being" under the aspect of the way something ought to be. And this, then, tells us something about our sentence, "God is good." Is there some way God "ought" to be? I think that question is nonsensical, because it imagines God as He is versus some other way He could be and compares the two as if something could be lacking. But that's absurd, because God, by the very notion of being God, cannot lack anything whatsoever. An eye may in principle be able to lose its seeing. That's because the eye can exist in a less than perfect way. But God cannot fail to be less than perfect, because God is not subject to imperfection. He just is exactly what He is.

Now if "good" and "being" are convertible, and God's very essence is "being", then His very essence is "good." And I don't say that His essence is good in either of the first two ways we considered, as if it is a term applied to Him either accidentally or as a member of a genus. Instead, I'm saying that God, being unlimited, actualized being, could not be other than what He is. There is no notion of what "ought" to be. (This, again, is what undergirds the claim of God's absolute freedom.)

Let me wrap up with a few more examples.

Picture a good triangle and a bad triangle. The first is well drawn with straight lines and three distinct angles. The latter is poorly drawn with wavy lines and broken angles. The first is "better" than the latter because the latter lacks some characteristics, some way of being, that true triangles ought to have. They rather literally lack some being, and they exist in a way in which a more perfect triangle does not (that is, the more perfect triangle rather literally has more existence than the broken one). Or picture a perfectly healthy newborn as opposed to one born with a condition called anencephaly, which is the condition of being born without major portions of the brain. The first exists more fully than the latter, again rather literally. The latter is still human, but this human lacks something it ought to have; and notice the anencephalic ought to have a brain precisely because of what it is a human (and this truth is foundational to ethics: we do not become human because we exhibit certain traits; rather, we ought to be able to exhibit certain traits because of our humanity!). Once again, we see that the "good" baby, the "perfect" baby exists more fully--has more being, in a real sense--than the malformed baby.

So, is God good? Absolutely. But not in the sense in which the word "good" refers to some idea "out there" than is then applied to God, as if there were some moral or ontological standard against which God is being compared and therefore declared "good." Strictly, "good" does not exist apart from God in any meaningful sense whatsoever, because the word "good" just refers to the fullness of existence; and God just is the fullness of existence. Indeed, I only exist to the degree that I am like God; and to the degree that anything exists, it is, in its own way, like God. So we don't predicate "good" to God as if it is an accident or a genus under which God falls. God is good. Yes. Maybe better, "Good, in and of itself, is nothing less than God."

How, then, in your mind, does this compare to your own words?

_________________
Indeed, the Lord Jesus, when He prayed to the Father, "that all may be one. . . as we are one" (John 17:21-22) opened up vistas closed to human reason, for He implied a certain likeness between the union of the divine Persons, and the unity of God's sons in truth and charity. This likeness reveals that man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself. ~ Pope Paul VI, Gaudium et Spes 24.3


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: For TheJack - God and Necessity
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 7:58 pm 
Offline
Sons of Thunder
Sons of Thunder
User avatar

Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2015 9:36 am
Posts: 8600
Location: India
Religion: Catholic (Syro Malabar)
Light of the East wrote:
Jack3 wrote:
R__ l__ means r£al lif£. We don't usually name it, just as we don't mention oth£r f0rums.

My rule of thumb is to wait for a day if the other person has posted elsewhere on the forum.


Yeah, I just figured that out when Father said "works" and "family."

I guess taking care of my sick wife and my business doesn't qualify as a r--- l---. Ah well.

My point is this: if theJack was busy>tJ didn't log in>tJ didn't see your post>tJ didn't know that you had replied > tJ had not responded;
Then you posting a reminder for him here !> him seeing it

Also, since your posts need significant thinking about and typing out on theJack's part, he needs more time.

_________________
Prayers,
Jack3
South Indian Eastern Catholic teenager.

"May our tongues proclaim Your truth. May Your Cross be a protection for us as we let our tongues be turned into new harps and sing hymns with fiery lips"

-From the introduction to Our Father, "On the feasts of the Lord and other important feasts", Syro Malabar rite


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: For TheJack - God and Necessity
PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 8:23 am 
Offline
Sons of Thunder
Sons of Thunder
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 9:25 pm
Posts: 10360
Location: As I understand it.....in God's will. This is the best place to be.
Religion: Orthodox (In Communion With Rome)
Church Affiliations: Past Grand Knight KoC 15107
Jack3 wrote:
Light of the East wrote:
Jack3 wrote:
R__ l__ means r£al lif£. We don't usually name it, just as we don't mention oth£r f0rums.

My rule of thumb is to wait for a day if the other person has posted elsewhere on the forum.


Yeah, I just figured that out when Father said "works" and "family."

I guess taking care of my sick wife and my business doesn't qualify as a r--- l---. Ah well.

My point is this: if theJack was busy>tJ didn't log in>tJ didn't see your post>tJ didn't know that you had replied > tJ had not responded;
Then you posting a reminder for him here !> him seeing it

Also, since your posts need significant thinking about and typing out on theJack's part, he needs more time.


Okay. I get it. He's a working man. I'll be patient


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: For TheJack - God and Necessity
PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 8:30 am 
Offline
Sons of Thunder
Sons of Thunder
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 9:25 pm
Posts: 10360
Location: As I understand it.....in God's will. This is the best place to be.
Religion: Orthodox (In Communion With Rome)
Church Affiliations: Past Grand Knight KoC 15107
I am enjoying the reading of your philosophical constructs. They all certainly make sense. But, after all that you said, I think it was wrapped up nicely in this last paragraph.

Quote:
So, is God good? Absolutely. But not in the sense in which the word "good" refers to some idea "out there" than is then applied to God, as if there were some moral or ontological standard against which God is being compared and therefore declared "good." Strictly, "good" does not exist apart from God in any meaningful sense whatsoever, because the word "good" just refers to the fullness of existence; and God just is the fullness of existence. Indeed, I only exist to the degree that I am like God; and to the degree that anything exists, it is, in its own way, like God. So we don't predicate "good" to God as if it is an accident or a genus under which God falls. God is good. Yes. Maybe better, "Good, in and of itself, is nothing less than God."


Now if I get this right, God IS good, that is as you say, good, in and of itself, is nothing less than God.

And you ask me to compare what you said with my understanding, and it seems that we are saying the same thing. When I speak of "ontologically good," it means exactly the same thing that you just said in that last sentence: God is good. Yes. Maybe better, "Good, in and of itself, is nothing less than God."

Honestly, I don't see how we are not in agreement here.

So let's move on, staying with this one theme for now. If God is good, then how do we define "good."? What does it mean to be good, in all the possible facets of that word, within the context of understanding what little we know about God, His actions, and especially (you knew I would get here eventually) the idea of eternal, unending torment to satisfy some idea of justice.

Anyway.....first step.....please define "good" for me.

Thanks again for taking the time to respond.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: For TheJack - God and Necessity
PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:16 am 
Offline
Adept
Adept
User avatar

Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:25 am
Posts: 4973
Location: Fort Smith, AR
Religion: Christian & Missionary Alliance
I have another very long day today, and tomorrow is such that I might or might not have time for a significant response depending on what my pager does. So let me offer a brief answer quickly to the question, "What is good?" The answer is that it is being or existence considered under the aspect of what is desirable. And what is desirable is with reference to a thing's nature. Oxygen is good for me (in the right amount) because I am a human; it it is not, however, for organisms called anaerobes. For these creatures, they either have no need of it or else it is positively toxic to them, and again, that is because of what they are. So "good" is relative to our nature, because we exist in some way, and that with respect to our nature. That idea permeates my longer post above, so do consider rereading it in that light. Further, here are Aquinas' specific comments on the matter arguing that "good" and "being" really refer to the same thing:

    Goodness and being are really the same, and differ only in idea; which is clear from the following argument. The essence of goodness consists in this, that it is in some way desirable. Hence the Philosopher says (Ethic. i): "Goodness is what all desire." Now it is clear that a thing is desirable only in so far as it is perfect; for all desire their own perfection. But everything is perfect so far as it is actual. Therefore it is clear that a thing is perfect so far as it exists; for it is existence that makes all things actual, as is clear from the foregoing (I:3:4; I:4:1). Hence it is clear that goodness and being are the same really. But goodness presents the aspect of desirableness, which being does not present.

You might want to read the entire question (which consists of six articles) on goodness in general in which that answer is found. Same link as just above.

I'll try to say more later today. :)

_________________
Indeed, the Lord Jesus, when He prayed to the Father, "that all may be one. . . as we are one" (John 17:21-22) opened up vistas closed to human reason, for He implied a certain likeness between the union of the divine Persons, and the unity of God's sons in truth and charity. This likeness reveals that man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself. ~ Pope Paul VI, Gaudium et Spes 24.3


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: For TheJack - God and Necessity
PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 12:34 pm 
Offline
Sons of Thunder
Sons of Thunder
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 9:25 pm
Posts: 10360
Location: As I understand it.....in God's will. This is the best place to be.
Religion: Orthodox (In Communion With Rome)
Church Affiliations: Past Grand Knight KoC 15107
theJack wrote:
I have another very long day today, and tomorrow is such that I might or might not have time for a significant response depending on what my pager does. So let me offer a brief answer quickly to the question, "What is good?" The answer is that it is being or existence considered under the aspect of what is desirable. And what is desirable is with reference to a thing's nature. Oxygen is good for me (in the right amount) because I am a human; it it is not, however, for organisms called anaerobes. For these creatures, they either have no need of it or else it is positively toxic to them, and again, that is because of what they are. So "good" is relative to our nature, because we exist in some way, and that with respect to our nature. That idea permeates my longer post above, so do consider rereading it in that light. Further, here are Aquinas' specific comments on the matter arguing that "good" and "being" really refer to the same thing:

    Goodness and being are really the same, and differ only in idea; which is clear from the following argument. The essence of goodness consists in this, that it is in some way desirable. Hence the Philosopher says (Ethic. i): "Goodness is what all desire." Now it is clear that a thing is desirable only in so far as it is perfect; for all desire their own perfection. But everything is perfect so far as it is actual. Therefore it is clear that a thing is perfect so far as it exists; for it is existence that makes all things actual, as is clear from the foregoing (I:3:4; I:4:1). Hence it is clear that goodness and being are the same really. But goodness presents the aspect of desirableness, which being does not present.

You might want to read the entire question (which consists of six articles) on goodness in general in which that answer is found. Same link as just above.

I'll try to say more later today. :)


Okay. This raises some immediate and interesting questions in my mind, but rather than ask them, let's take a day or two for me to reread the long post, read the links, and digest this all.

(I would laugh myself silly if you wind up making a Thomist out of me!) ::): ::): ::): ::):


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: For TheJack - God and Necessity
PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 12:53 pm 
Offline
Journeyman
Journeyman
User avatar

Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2007 1:59 pm
Posts: 983
Location: NY
Religion: Catholic
Light of the East wrote:
(I would laugh myself silly if you wind up making a Thomist out of me!) ::): ::): ::): ::):


If a free-gracer like Jack can champion Thomism there's hope for you after all. :mrgreen:

_________________
- Great is the mystery of our faith.
- When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim your death, O Lord, and profess your resurrection until you come again.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: For TheJack - God and Necessity
PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2019 9:38 am 
Offline
Sons of Thunder
Sons of Thunder
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 9:25 pm
Posts: 10360
Location: As I understand it.....in God's will. This is the best place to be.
Religion: Orthodox (In Communion With Rome)
Church Affiliations: Past Grand Knight KoC 15107
theJack wrote:
I have another very long day today, and tomorrow is such that I might or might not have time for a significant response depending on what my pager does. So let me offer a brief answer quickly to the question, "What is good?" The answer is that it is being or existence considered under the aspect of what is desirable. And what is desirable is with reference to a thing's nature


Or its ontology, right?

Which thought leads me back again to the issue of God. God IS. God IS good. God IS Love. As I understand it, because God IS good, goodness is His very being, therefore, He cannot be anything but what He is, which is GOOD.

Now, in relationship to eschatology and our existence in the next life:

In Western theology, God makes a decision which is not good for certain classes of people, i.e., those who love sin and hate Him. I was nurtured in a virulent brand of Fundamentalism which had God Himself sending the wicked to an eternal fire, a place of unending torment. Some in the West have modified this view, but it is still unlike the Eastern view, which posits that God, being good and therefore giving all His creatures and Creation only that which is good in His actions, brings all back to Himself through the redemption of Christ on the Cross. He is being good and doing good even towards the wicked, the sinful, and those who hate Him. There is no better good that can be given to a soul than to be with God.

BUT...........


for the wicked, the presence of God is SHEER TORMENT! They do not want Him, they hate Him, they crave their wickedness and their passions still run wild, now craving intensely what they cannot nor ever will have.

THIS is hell in Eastern eschatology.

When I first read about it, I found myself in agreement because it maintains that He who is love and who is good, is only acting in love and good. It is the sinner who has caused his own torments by rejecting the good while on earth.

I don't want to write too much more. I'll do more reading on the links you sent, but I want to keep our posts fairly short and simply in regards to our mutual busy-ness.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: For TheJack - God and Necessity
PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2019 9:43 am 
Offline
Sons of Thunder
Sons of Thunder
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 9:25 pm
Posts: 10360
Location: As I understand it.....in God's will. This is the best place to be.
Religion: Orthodox (In Communion With Rome)
Church Affiliations: Past Grand Knight KoC 15107
I just read this part of your long post and gave thought to it as to try to digest what is there.

It is, as I mentioned before, an utterly fascinating discussion.

Quote:
At the risk of being overly technical, when we say, "God is good," on a philosophical level, we are appealing to what are called the Trascendentals, of which there are several (i.e., good, being, true, one). The saying is, "Being is convertible with good." You can read an excellent discussion of that topic here. In other words, whenever you say something is "good," you are actually saying something about its very existence. It's easier to see the reverse. When you say something is bad or faulty, you are saying, again, something about the way it exists, or better, something about the way it does not exist. A rock is not bad or faulty because it cannot see. It is not supposed to be able to see. But if a human cannot see, we say that their seeing organs--their eyes--are "bad" or "faulty." The lack something that they ought to have. In other words, something does not exist in them that ought to: the seeing does not exist in the eye. That's why we say that evil is a privation. Something is deprived of the way something ought to be. An ear that cannot hear; an eye that cannot see; a man who acts irrationally. Some of these evils are "natural"; some, those that relate to our actions, are moral. But if this is clear, then it is easy to see what a good eye is: one that possesses the property it really ought to. In other words, the seeing really exists in the eye; the hearing really exists in the ear. It's potentiality has been actualized--it's potentiality to see has real existence. So a good eye is one that exists as it actually ought to exist. Nothing is deprived from it; it does not lack some existence, some being, it ought.

So, then, we say that being and good are convertible. "Good" is just a way of thinking about "being" under the aspect of the way something ought to be. And this, then, tells us something about our sentence, "God is good." Is there some way God "ought" to be? I think that question is nonsensical, because it imagines God as He is versus some other way He could be and compares the two as if something could be lacking. But that's absurd, because God, by the very notion of being God, cannot lack anything whatsoever. An eye may in principle be able to lose its seeing. That's because the eye can exist in a less than perfect way. But God cannot fail to be less than perfect, because God is not subject to imperfection. He just is exactly what He is.

Now if "good" and "being" are convertible, and God's very essence is "being", then His very essence is "good." And I don't say that His essence is good in either of the first two ways we considered, as if it is a term applied to Him either accidentally or as a member of a genus. Instead, I'm saying that God, being unlimited, actualized being, could not be other than what He is. There is no notion of what "ought" to be. (This, again, is what undergirds the claim of God's absolute freedom.)


There are parts of this I want to get to next, but only after we exhaust your response to my above post. (I.E. Convertibility, existence of God, and ontology of God)

Again, thank you.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: For TheJack - God and Necessity
PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2019 9:50 am 
Offline
Sons of Thunder
Sons of Thunder
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 9:25 pm
Posts: 10360
Location: As I understand it.....in God's will. This is the best place to be.
Religion: Orthodox (In Communion With Rome)
Church Affiliations: Past Grand Knight KoC 15107
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh!!!

I just had a thought and I don't want to lose it.

Quote:
Now if "good" and "being" are convertible, and God's very essence is "being", then His very essence is "good." And I don't say that His essence is good in either of the first two ways we considered, as if it is a term applied to Him either accidentally or as a member of a genus. Instead, I'm saying that God, being unlimited, actualized being, could not be other than what He is. There is no notion of what "ought" to be. (This, again, is what undergirds the claim of God's absolute freedom.)


In other words, "good" in reference to God means that He is just what He should be without lack of anything or need of anything else. What good is not is any definition by which we try to say that God is good. In other words, to say that if good is good, He must (and here is the issue of divine freedom) do "A" or "B" or "C". In other words, defining God's goodness by our understand of what good means?

Did I get that?

Hmmmmmmmmmm......gonna be ponder this today!!! :D :D


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic Page 1 of 2   [ 39 posts ]   Go to page 1, 2  Next


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


Jump to: