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 Post subject: How do we know God is good?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 8:34 am 
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How do we know God is good?

In all my readings, it just seems to be a given, like omnipresence. I realize that I'm, by nature, a pessimist and somewhat depressive -- think Eeyore without the benefit of sitting in a field all day -- but how do we come to this conclusion?

Paul

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 8:37 am 
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Quick answer: The Catechism

Long answer: It flows naturally from the combination of omnipotence and omniscience.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 8:38 am 
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Max Majestic wrote:
Long answer: It flows naturally from the combination of omnipotence and omniscience.


How?

Paul

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Daisy looked up at him with the kind of expression that Jesus might have given someone who had just explained that he was probably allergic to bread and fishes, so could He possibly do him a quick chicken salad: there was pity in that expression, along with almost infinite compassion.

--Neil Gaiman, Anansi Boys


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 Post subject: Re: How do we know God is good?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 8:55 am 
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AATLEMIDRM wrote:
How do we know God is good?

In all my readings, it just seems to be a given, like omnipresence. I realize that I'm, by nature, a pessimist and somewhat depressive -- think Eeyore without the benefit of sitting in a field all day -- but how do we come to this conclusion?

Paul


My last paper assignment in college was proving God's goodness... I wish I had it with me because there are some good philosophical arguments for why God must be good. They are actually very much common sense arguments, but I cannot bring them to mind enough to post them now... I will think about it today and post later....

(I'm away on vacation which is why I don't have it...)

FJ

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 9:04 am 
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AATLEMIDRM wrote:
Max Majestic wrote:
Long answer: It flows naturally from the combination of omnipotence and omniscience.


How?

Paul



Omnipotence is being able to do any logically possible thing. That would include self-transformation. Omniscience means all-knowing. Assume for a second that there is a standard of good that was independent of God. (Which is why I don't particularly like this argument). Perfection is the highest state of the good. (good, better, best, perfect). A being that had the ability to achieve such a state and was aware that such a state existed could only logically choose to be in such a state.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 9:12 am 
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If you're into a little study, read this:
http://www.newadvent.org/summa/100500.htm (and the links on it!) and this:
http://www.newadvent.org/summa/100601.htm (ditto).

Then ask Max any questions because I'm out of town for a few days :)

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 9:14 am 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Then ask Max any questions because I'm out of town for a few days :)



.....because Max has Obi's cell phone number.

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Last edited by Max Majestic on Wed Jul 13, 2005 9:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 9:14 am 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
If you're into a little study, read this:
http://www.newadvent.org/summa/100500.htm (and the links on it!) and this:
http://www.newadvent.org/summa/100601.htm (ditto).

Then ask Max any questions because I'm out of town for a few days :)



:troll


:D

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Uniformity with the Will of God by St. Alphonsus Liguori


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 9:51 am 
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OKay, my thoughts on this are going to be very simplistic, Paul...so give me credit for effort here.

First, God did create light. Light is a good thing. He thought so, and you and I would agree, no? If everything were dark all the time, it would truly suck.

Second, God created life. Life is a good thing--we get to think, love, be, do...all those are good things. And with this life he gave us free will to choose our own destinies. This is also good.

I think we came to the conclusion on this board a while back that evil is defined by selfishness, thinking of ourselves over others. All the seven deadly sins are rooted in self.

So why did God create us? For his amusement? For his playthings? No, I don't think so. He created us so he could love us and for us to love him, and he gave us all those good things like a world to live in, food, clothing, light, life...so that we might eventually do that.

God can only be good because he is completely unselfish. He gives, guides and loves. He doesn't take for himself.

I don't know, I'm just meandering here, but i hope I have a point in here somewhere.
--Ann

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 Post subject: Re: How do we know God is good?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 2:46 pm 
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AATLEMIDRM wrote:
How do we know God is good?

In all my readings, it just seems to be a given, like omnipresence. I realize that I'm, by nature, a pessimist and somewhat depressive -- think Eeyore without the benefit of sitting in a field all day -- but how do we come to this conclusion?

Paul


Here's part 2 of a series I like: "A World of Love," in which the author approaches the question in an interesting way, redefining "good" in a fashion that lets a person think about some practical and philosophical aspects. For anyone on this board who reads the article, just transpose the Jewish terms into Catholic terms ~ it's pretty straightforward on a shared topic like this.

http://www.aish.com/spirituality/philos ... Part_2.asp

For continued discussions click on the "previous" and "next" buttons at the end of the article. There is text accompanying the buttons which clues you in to the topics addressed.


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 Post subject: Re: How do we know God is good?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 4:31 pm 
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AATLEMIDRM wrote:
How do we know God is good?

Paul


Well, we could trust God who cannot lie nor deceive!

[bible]Mt 19:17. [Jesus] said to him: Why askest thou me concerning good?
One is good, God. But if thou wilt enter into life, keep
the commandments. [/bible]

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"You seek me", St. Augustine comments, "for the flesh, not for the spirit. How many seek Jesus for no other purpose than that He may do them good in this present life! [...] Scarcely ever is Jesus sought for Jesus' sake" (In Ioann. Evang, 25, 10).

“therefore is my people led away captive, because they have not knowledge … therefore hath hell enlarged her mouth without any bounds” (Is 5:13-14).

But he that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved. (Mt 24:13)


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 Post subject: Re: How do we know God is good?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2005 6:47 am 
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mgross wrote:
Well, we could trust God who cannot lie nor deceive!


Quite honestly, this is my issue at the moment, yes.

And, logically, if I'm looking for an answer to the question of "Is God good?" then using "God said so!" as an answer is, unfortunately, inadequate and circular.

As to the links above, I don't know whether I'm just not getting it -- Aquinas seems really difficult to get through for some reason -- but it seems to me that the essential argument is "God exists, therefore He's good." In don't know whether I'm missing something in Aquinas, but he seems circular too -- Why is God good? Because all things desire the good. Why do all things desire the good? Because all things desire God. Why do all things desire God? Because God is good.

Mere existence doesn't translate to good, as far as I can tell. If it did, then there's no need for the Church, and OSAS would be not only be true, but the OS wouldn't be necessary.

I originally wrote a rather long rant that I realized was fairly blasphemous here. I'm sorry about that. But to merely ask the original question seems like borderline blasphemy.

Paul

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2005 7:16 am 
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Know what, Paul? It really does come down to us having faith in God's goodness. But here's another thought I had this morning.

We were made by God. And we yearn for goodness, for justice, for happiness in our lives. That yearning for goodness would not be there if God had not created it in us.

I believe that because that desire for goodness, for justice, for happiness exists in us that God must be good. Theologians have called this yearning our state as humans because of original sin. We can only yearn for it because we are, in our present form, separated from what is truly and eternally good. We will only truly have happiness when we are in his presence and have achieved the ability to see him "as he is."

I also say that an evil God would not be able to create that good we yearn for. It could never create anything that is good. You might say, "Sure he could, to torture us!" And I'd grant that Satan may seem to do that at times. But everything Satan presents as "good" has a twisted element to it. It is always off. And it never, ever fulfills us as something truly good will.

True good, true love, true peace and joy can be felt by us on given occasions, though for it to be present eternally we have to die and be with God. These things can not be given to us in this life by something that is evil, but only by something eternally good. Anything evil would present to us would only be a mockery of these things.

Make sense? I hope so.
--Ann

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 Post subject: Re: How do we know God is good?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2005 7:55 am 
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AATLEMIDRM wrote:
As to the links above, I don't know whether I'm just not getting it -- Aquinas seems really difficult to get through for some reason -- but it seems to me that the essential argument is "God exists, therefore He's good." In don't know whether I'm missing something in Aquinas, but he seems circular too -- Why is God good? Because all things desire the good. Why do all things desire the good? Because all things desire God. Why do all things desire God? Because God is good.



Aquinas has the answers you're looking for. If you having trouble getting it on the first read, join the club. In order to get the full meaning, you have to read and re-read the passages. There hasn't been a time that I can remember where I've re-read some part of the summa and didn't draw some new or deeper understanding from it.

As for the circularity issue, maybe Anselm's Ontological argument will offer some solution.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2005 10:16 am 
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You might try Walter Farrell's Summa Companion, which explains it in terms we can all understand. I got very bogged down in Aquinas, but made it through cover to cover with Farrell.

Quote:
Goodness

Another caution that may not be amiss is that we have an entirely accurate notion of the particular attribute under discussion. Thus, to speak of the goodness of God in the sense of sanctimoniousness is to divorce the discussion from reality, as, well as to flavor it distastefully. The notion of goodness adds nothing to being but the smack of desirability, that is, a thing can be good, desirable, only insofar as it is possible or thought to be possible; it can be pursued and enjoyed only insofar as it has being. We do not desire an automobile that can be folded up and dropped into a purse. We can see the advantage of a servant with five arms, but we do not advertise for such a one. We do, however, have a real desire for real things--for friends, a ham sandwich, new clothes, knowledge. It is this smack of desirability that goodness adds to being which is at the root of all activity.

Activity, then, is striving for the desirable thing, for something good; boredom, on the other hand, is the absence of knowledge of and interest in the good and is the nearest approach to stagnation to be found among living things. As a matter of fact. everything in the world has its desirable something, its goal. Concretely that goal is the completion, the perfection, the complete fulfillment of the particular creature; every creature is good in proportion as it is, it is better in proportion as it has approached its goal. Briefly, a thing is good insofar as it is real. Bluff, defect, incapacity have nothing desirable about them because there is nothing real about them. But He Who is, the cause of all reality, the perfect Being, is the highest goodness for He is the most real Being. Not that He has goodness; rather He is goodness, as He is reality. On His goodness all other goodness is modeled, from His goodness all other goodness proceeds; all other goodness is a similitude, a participation, a limited miniature of the limitless goodness of God.

Because of the smack of desirability which goodness adds to being, God is most desirable, most lovable. So true is this that everything in the universe hustles eagerly to this goal of goodness, each in its own way: man with alert steps along the dangerous road of knowledge and love, brutes with the unerring aim of instinct, the inanimate world with the blind, plodding step of physical necessity devoid of all knowledge. For each creature in the universe is spurred on to action by the goal of its own perfection, a goal which is nothing but a similitude, an image, a mirroring of the goodness of God.

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"You seek me", St. Augustine comments, "for the flesh, not for the spirit. How many seek Jesus for no other purpose than that He may do them good in this present life! [...] Scarcely ever is Jesus sought for Jesus' sake" (In Ioann. Evang, 25, 10).

“therefore is my people led away captive, because they have not knowledge … therefore hath hell enlarged her mouth without any bounds” (Is 5:13-14).

But he that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved. (Mt 24:13)


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2005 11:18 am 
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because Good comes from God,,,,,,,,,,,even the word.

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 Post subject: Re: How do we know God is good?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2005 2:40 pm 
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Max Majestic wrote:
As for the circularity issue, maybe Anselm's Ontological argument will offer some solution.


Glad to see someone recommending Anselm!

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"You seek me", St. Augustine comments, "for the flesh, not for the spirit. How many seek Jesus for no other purpose than that He may do them good in this present life! [...] Scarcely ever is Jesus sought for Jesus' sake" (In Ioann. Evang, 25, 10).

“therefore is my people led away captive, because they have not knowledge … therefore hath hell enlarged her mouth without any bounds” (Is 5:13-14).

But he that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved. (Mt 24:13)


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2005 8:52 am 
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God is so Good that He gives us air to breath every second of our life. The Almighty Father is so good that he gave His only son for our sake. Jesus Christ is so Good that even unto death He still ask for the forgiveness of our sins. He die in great love for us. God is so Good that eventhough we hurt Him by our sins still He can Forgive us. Can you see the goodness of God now? :D

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2005 1:49 pm 
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By looking at how happy people are who have a relationship with Him and with Jesus. Proof is in real life and you can see it.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2005 7:42 am 
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Mmm...treacle...

Maybe you can see it, but I wouldn't be asking the question if I could.

I think I've found the answer anyway. Philosophers define "good" as "desireable," whereas in modern usage we define it as "kind." God is not kind. He's as kind as he can be, but nowhere is He defined as "all-kind."

C.S. Lewis in The Problem of Pain -- which I actually last read when I mangled my arm, and so in a more literal frame of mind -- has a section in which he makes the analogy of God as Master and us as dogs. Dogs can be domesticated, but during the actual training, the dog is incredibly uncomfortable, and wishes the humans would go away. After the training, though, the dog is made comfortable in a way that it never could be in the wild. When we wish that God would just leave us alone, we are actually wishing that He would love us less, not more.

Good enough for me.

Paul

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