nature of god Flashcards Preview

philosophy > nature of god > Flashcards

Flashcards in nature of god Deck (60)
Loading flashcards...

2 ideas on the problems of omnipotence

-If God can do anything, can he make a 5 sided triangle ?

-can God change the past? one scenario raised by Michael Dummett concerns hearing on the news that the ship your loved one was on sank two hours ago with few survivors. Does it make sense to pray in that situation ? could God ch age what happened if is your loved one already safe because God knew that you would pray ?


define paradox

a situation where two contradictory statements both appear true


define coherence

making attributes work together somehow


define omnipotence

all powerful


explain the idea 'can God make a stone too heavy for him to lift ?'

-if God can create a stone that is too heavy to lift then he is limited and not all powerful as he cannot lift it

-however, if God can't make a stone that is too heavy for him to lift then again he is limited

-maybe God has the power to do anything but he limits himself


4 ideas on biblical views of omnipotence

-the creation is an example of gods omnipotence

-Jesus said 'with men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible'

-miracles is another example of gods omnipotence

- 'nothing is impossible with God ' Luke 137


explain Descartes view on 'God can do all things'

-God could change the fundamental laws of physics which apply universally

-he thought that omnipotence meant God had no limitations

-argued that God must be omnipotent in the sense of being able to do even the logically impossible, because God has all the perfect ions so therefore he has no limitations

-this mean that God can create a stone too heavy for himself to lift

-argued that the laws of mathematics only exist in the way that they do because God created them that way and God can overdo them whenever he likes

-he rejects other limitations of omnipotence as it limits God


two criticisms of Descartes ideas on 'God can do all things'

- saying God can do the logically impossible doesn't actually refer to anything as there is no thing which is logically impossible

-considering the evil in the world, if God had the power to stop if but chooses not to, what kind of God is he ?


criticism of Descartes from J.L. Mackie

-stated that the idea of something being logically impossible was 'only a form of wonder which fails to describe any state of affairs '


explain kenny's argument for 'God can do anything that is logically possible for God to do '

- God is limited

-God can do anything which is logically possible for a being with the attributes of God to have

weakness = he isn't really saying anything. He is effectively saying that God can do all things that God can do


explain Plantinga's argument for 'God can do anything that is logically possible for God to do '

- argued that an omnipotent being may not have omnipotence as a necessary quality

- he may choose to limit his powers in certain circumstances in order to preserve human free will


explain Anselm's argument for 'God can do anything that is logically possible for God to do '

-omnipotence means that God has unlimited power

-God could lie but he wouldn't lie as this would clash with his omnibenevolence


explain George Maurodes suggested solution to the paradoxes

- if the task is defined as 'to create a stone that God cannot lift' and God by definition, is a being of unlimited power, this would make the idea of a stone he cannot lift self contradictory

-so to create a stone too heavy to lift is a logical impossibility for an all powerful being


explain the idea that God is timeless

-God stands outside of time and that all time is equally present to him.

-past, present and future are all alike to him

- this is known as atemporal or eternal


explain the idea that God is everlasting

- within time

- moves along the same timeline as us but doesn't begin or end



Issues with God as eternal

- if God is outside of time that how can be interact with us ?

-if God is timeless can he predict the future or change the past ?

- problem of incarnation of Jesus. if God is outside of time then how can Jesus be in our time.

- if God is inside time then why doesn't he stop evil

-if God is outside of time then is there any point of partying r


explain Boethius' ideas on the eternity of God

- "eternity is the simultaneous possession of boundless life which is made clearer by comparison with temporal things"

-gods time is different to ours. We experience time as events going along a timeline but God sees time as everything happening at the same time. God sees everything in the presence and as a single moment (eternal presence). God is timeless

-we are temporal beings. We can remember parts of the past but not the future. God is looking down on us, he can see our whole lives.

-anything that exists in time cannot be eternal as it doesn't embrace the infinity of life all at once. Therefore, God isn't everlasting because God can't be eternal if he can only experience the past and present- God is better than this.

- our choice can't be change. Suggest that life is pre determined. This counters with free will


3 issues raised by Boethius' ideas on the eternity of God

- prayer is going to be a problem. Can't ask God for changes in our lives as he is outside of time

- if life is pre determined then we don't have free will. Who's responsibly for our actions? Is there point in being good ?

-is God responsible for our bad actions ?


what is Boethius' solution

- God knowledge is providential (happening at a favourable time) not foreknowledge ( god knows the future so can't be changed )

-simple necessity e.g. the sun. Something nobody can change.
-conditional necessity e.g. walking. Our choices and free will

-so God sees future things that are the result of human free will; these things, then, are necessary, on the condition that they are known by God, but considered only in themselves, they are still free in their own natures.


what is Boethius conclusion

- the freedom of human will remains completely independent of gods foreknowledge

-as God sees us above in his eternal present then he distributes rewards and punishments


use middle knowledge to counter Boethius

-middle knowledge = God knows all possible outcomes of all possible choices as God is everlasting as he goes along the same timeline as us

-Boethius believes that God is outside of time and not in the same timeline as us.

-middle knowledge suggests that God doesn't actually know the outcomes of our choices he just knows the possible outcomes of which we choice from but Boethius believes God knows all of our choices as he knows the future

- Boethius would come back at this saying that middle knowledge is only a prediction so God assumptions may not be true which then weakens his mank science. Also with middle knowledge it doesn't seem realistic for a being to have that much knowledge


explain why Schleiermacher argues against Boethius

- Schleiermacher argues that God knows us personally and predicts our outcomes. God is more personal and can interfere

-Boethius believes that God is outside of time and looking down on us

- problem with Schleiermacher view is that if God is always right in his predictions that is life pre determined ? Problems of free will.


explain why Kenny criticises Boethius

- Kenny doesn't believe that God sees things simultaneously ( at the same time) as all history can't happen at the same time. This is incoherent (unclear)

- criticism of kenny = the idea that God sees everything in the present doesn't mean everything is happening in the present, it is just how God views it


explain how Swinburne criticises Boethius

- Swinburne believes that God is everlasting. God knows everything that is logically possible.m

-Therefore Swinburne argues that God cannot know the future as this is logically impossible

-As God moves along the same timeline as us then for Swinburne God can answers prayers but Boethius doesn't think God can answer prayers as he isn't timeless


Augustine on the idea of God as timeless

-questioned the problem that god had made the universe at a particular moment in time but what was he doing beforehand if he moves along the same timeline as us ?

-the biblical account of creation points to a timeless god who created day and night and seasons

-god is absolutely immutable

-therefore god is outside of our time = atemporal


Aquinas on the idea of God as timeless

-when we speak of God we need to understand that the language we use in metaphorical not univocal (having one meaning)

-we have difficulty understanding the attributes of God as we are are using our own words to describe god even though god isn't like us

- God could be unloving and unchanging

- gods nature is unchanging


3 problems of omnipotent

- if god is omnipotent then why is there evil in the word

-if god isn't omnipotent then there wouldn't be a universe

-if god isn't omnipotent then do we need to re consider the Christian interpretation of god ?


One problem of God being outside of time (eternal)

Then he can't answer prayers but then his is not all powerful or all loving


Swinburne on God as eternal

- god answers prayers/ interacts with us as god is within our time

-story in Isaiah of king Hezekiah's illness to support

-god has to exist within our time so that he can respond to us with love

-god is changing with us

-if there is a loving God who has relationships with people then he cannot be timeless

-god is everlasting and moves through time with us


Argument to suggest the god is immutable ( counter to Swinburne )

-gods nature doesn't changed e.g. He is always loving

-this is aquinas's argument