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Aren't you bothered by simplicity attributed to God?

Postby Proxy » Tue May 15, 2018 4:32 pm

Are any Christians bothered by the simplicity that is attributed to God?

God, by the Christian standard, exists in a state of divine simplicity.

What this means is:

1. God has no spatial parts (spatial simplicity).
2. God has no temporal parts (temporal simplicity).
3. God is without the sort of metaphysical complexity where God would have different parts which are distinct from himself (property simplicity).

From a human perspective God appears inorganic or even non-existent by our earthly definitions of existence. God might as well be a pinhole of light. But then God would appear to us to be even less than this if we were to apply physical attributes.

How do you as a Christian feel about God's ultimate simplicity?
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Re: Aren't you bothered by simplicity attributed to God?

Postby jimwalton » Tue May 15, 2018 4:37 pm

Metaphysical is not non-existent. I think you're incorrect that God is simple. As Creator of the universe, His complexity must exceed the complexity of nature, about which we are learning more each day. His eternity must encompass time and yet stand outside of it and not be subject to it, so no temporal simplicity. His tri-unity fulfills the requirement of subject-object relationship with himself and with us, meaning that he is more complex than simple pantheism or pan-everything-ism. Because he is inorganic doesn't mean he is non-existent. Language is inorganic and yet surely exists, as is also time. In several places the Bible speaks of God as transcendent—so complex and deep He is beyond comprehension. It's just not so that God, by the Christian standard, exists in a state of divine simplicity.
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Re: Aren't you bothered by simplicity attributed to God?

Postby Proxy » Wed May 16, 2018 3:48 pm

Divine simplicity makes sense in a world filled with complexity. For something to be perfect it must be wholly unified and without compartments. Complexity is the byproduct of order and chaos (the material world). Yet God is described as wholly orderly and without imperfection. For this to be true God must, by necessity, be of the simplest of being. You're looking at it through purely the eyes of a Christian, yet denying the perspective of the logician, which must be accounted for also. Luckily, Thomas Aquinas has already fleshed the whole thing out. Mending the chasm that existed between logic and faith. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzhK2FrBDPM&t=3034s
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Re: Aren't you bothered by simplicity attributed to God?

Postby jimwalton » Wed May 16, 2018 3:50 pm

> Divine simplicity makes sense in a world filled with complexity.

I guess what makes sense is in the mind of the individual. In my way of thinking, it is reductionistic to say that the result is more complex than the cause. While the result can be greater than the component parts (a car is more than just steel and wires), it cannot be more complex than its creator. To say that an apple tree can come from an apple is fine, but to say that the universe can come from an apple is absurd.

> For something to be perfect it must be wholly unified and without compartments.

I disagree. Perfection can be defined in many different ways, depending on the context. This is one of many possible definitions of perfection, but to describe the universe, for instance, as without compartments is contrary to reality. Sometimes compartmentalization is a necessary part of an entity.

> Complexity is the byproduct of order and chaos (the material world).

Again, this may be a religious perspective, but it defies logic. Complexity in some case may be the byproduct of design.

> Yet God is described as wholly orderly and without imperfection.

This could be one way to describe God, but it is certainly not all-inclusive of His nature.

> For this to be true God must, by necessity, be of the simplest of being.

This is not necessary at all. God must, by necessity, be the greatest of all possible being.

> You're looking at it through purely the eyes of a Christian, yet denying the perspective of the logician, which must be accounted for also.

Then please lay out the premises for me with sound deductive reasoning. So far you have merely laid out religious philosophy.

> video link

The video is an hour and 10 minutes long. I don't have that kind of free time today. Sorry. I don't sense, however, any chasm between logic and faith.
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Re: Aren't you bothered by simplicity attributed to God?

Postby Proxy » Thu May 17, 2018 5:34 pm

I think a big issue here is that the word simple is often thought to be a pejorative. I'm not saying that God is simple in the sense that God is easy to understand, or that God is stupid. I'm saying that God is simple in nature. That there is no distinction between Gods will and Gods being. For God must be of a non-dualistic nature. Think about this; we live in a dualistic world. For God to have created the principle of dualism then God must transcend dualistic principles. Now, what this means is that God can't logically be divided within itself. That would suggest that God, the creator of dualism, is bound to dualism itself.
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Re: Aren't you bothered by simplicity attributed to God?

Postby jimwalton » Mon Jun 25, 2018 5:02 pm

Thank you. I understand that you don't mean it pejoratively, but I still disagree.

As far as God's will and God's being, it's more complex than that. There are facets to God's will. There is one sense of God's will that is sovereign, meaning that what God wills happens. There's another sense of God's will that is moral. He wills us to be good and obedient, but whether we are or not is up to us. That part of God's will is good and with benevolent intent, but it doesn't always happen. There's another sense of God's will that pertains to our actions. Sometimes God may will that I pursue a certain career, or speak to a certain person. In that sense God's will is directive (outside of what we would call moral; whether or not I go to a particular college is amoral, but it still may be God's directive will that I do that). So there is distinction between God's will and God's being because there are facets to his will, some of which conform to his being, some of which reflect his goodness, and some of which reflect his guidance to us that is not part of His nature.

> For God must be of a non-dualistic nature.

This is correct. There is no dualism in Christianity. God alone is supreme and sovereign. He is transcendent. There is no power or being like him or that measures up to Him (Isa. 40.25-26).

> Think about this; we live in a dualistic world.

I don't agree, but it probably depends what you mean by dualistic. Do you mean mind/body, right/wrong, philosophical antithesis, et al?

> or God to have created the principle of dualism then God must transcend dualistic principles.

Agreed.

> Now, what this means is that God can't logically be divided within itself.

Agreed again, but the Bible reveals God as a triunity, with differentiation within a unified essence, subject/object relationship in the context of one God.

> That would suggest that God, the creator of dualism, is bound to dualism itself.

If God transcends dualistic principles (your words), how can he be bound to dualism? We believe that God is the creator of nature but is not bound to it. We believe God is the creator of humanity but is not bound to us. We believe God is the creator of time but is not bound to it. We believe God is the creator of space but is not bound to it.

Bottom line: The Bible disagrees with most of what you are saying is characteristic of the Christian God.


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