Monday, September 10, 2012

C. S. Lewis's Vision of Heaven: Positively Desirable?

A redated post. There is a comment on here from Leah Libresco, back when she was an atheist.

One weakness that Christians have in the modern times, I believe, is providing a vision of heaven that really motivates people. I have often heard it said that the vision of heaven is boring. It must be admitted that Christians have often associated heaven with what seem to many of us to be boring images: harps, clouds, and effeminate figures with wings. At least Islam offers the Celestial Playboy Mansion.

As Kenny Chesney puts it:

Everybody wanna go to heaven
It beats the other place there ain’t no doubt
Everybody wanna go to heaven
But nobody wanna go now

Heaven for many of us is negatively desirable; it is an alternative to eternal punishment and extinction, which seem to be the options. I think Lewis is the one thinker that has done the best job of giving us a picture of heaven that is positively desirable. This is an essay by Charlie Starr, published in the New York C. S. Lewis Society bulletin, which discusses Lewis's views of heaven.

149 comments:

Anonymous said...

Did Lewis believe that heaven was our final destination, or did he believe that the "new heavens and new Earth", often expressed as the "marriage of heaven and Earth," is our final destination, with "heaven" being perhaps a stopping point on the way? If the latter, then I'm inclined to think that Lewis' beautiful novel Perelandra provides us with a more accurate eschatological vision. I'm also surprised that the novel was absent from the essay.

Anonymous said...

I feel that part of the problem of describing heaven in such a way that people here and now will desire it is that part of the regeneration/transformation/whatever that God will work in us between now and the time we enter God's kingdom is a transformation of our desires. So I feel that it's not surprising if even good christian folk on this side of death find the thought of spending eternity with God not terribly exciting. We have yet to be fully regenerated. Our current lack of an intense desire for eternal intimacy with God is part of our fallenness.

Steven Carr said...

'We are ghosts and shadows and our world but a cheap copy of the heavenly one to come, like a landscape painting compared to the real place'

We are not ghosts and shadows.

Everything in that description of Heaven by Lewis is simply made up by him.

That is what theology is. Making things up.

Lewis just made it all up.

Anonymous said...

"That is what theology is. Making things up."

If true (which it's not - that quote reflects Lewis' Platonism), then theology would be in the same boat as physics, which observes the effects of hypothesized entities rather than the entities (ex. moving electrons, strings) themselves.

And surely physics isn't an illegitimate course of study.

Steven Carr said...

I see.

So Lewis has observed the effects of Heaven, and physicists have just made up gravity?

You just have to read the article and you know Lewis was just sitting down at his desk and making things up in the way that astrologers do.

Leah said...

Unsurprisingly, given my atheism, I find most hypothesized Heavens and associated sorting criteria to be boring and deeply unfair. Lewis's The Great Divorce remains the only description I found fair and merciful and a little compelling.

--Leah @ Unequally Yoked

Gregory said...

Mr. Carr said:

"You just have to read the article and you know Lewis was just sitting down at his desk and making things up in the way that astrologers do.

Well, Mr. Carr, I guess that makes you an "astrologer" too. In fact, as a physicalist/naturalist, you're position is astrology since atheists maintain that natural processes within the atomic elements of the stars can create, manipulate and predestine the whole material universe. In fact, such teleological terms are replete in all of the scientific literature covering these topics.

I think atheists are oblivious of the fact that they, like the so-called "astrologers", actually worship and venerate nature qua divinity. Although the language they use suggests otherwise, yet they persist on using anthropomorphic language to describe things like "natural selection" as though nature had some purpose in mind (i.e. teleological notions like "the selfish gene"). Just observe how they ascribe human principles of "reason" and "invention" to the processes of nature as though nature were actually predisposed to such principles...that nature does, in fact, think and plan events. I can accept that as a theist, but not as an atheist.

Theists, on the other hand, seize upon these anthropomorphic illustrations and the logic of natural processes, in order to develop a coherent and rational "natural theology". If you think about it, Dawkins' "Blind Watchmaker" is a good reason to believe in God because he has not actually shown the non-existence of the "watchmaker"...he's only denied that the "watchmaker" can see.

But Dawkins is the blind argument maker, because everyone knows that "watches" do not, and can not, make themselves. Therefore, the title of his "magnum opus" is both foolish and vain. And yet many still see something in that work as if it had absolutely demonstrated something that contradicts theism.

But...what in the world is a "selfish gene", anyway? Is this whole canard a return to "monadic animism"? I think so.

Gregory said...

But in truth, we can not simply correlate "logical principles" to creative events. Meaning, to create something means going beyond things like simple "inference", "repetition" and "causality"...although, we can apply such things to works of art. Yet, art is something more than the sum of it parts.

For instance, music has a certain kind of "logic" to it. Yet, hearing, receiving and enjoying music transcends....must transcend...the simplicities of "reason". For certain songs, we tap our feet, bob our heads, and/or are compelled to listen in awe. There is no "logic", strictly speaking, in such behaviors and feelings that have developed from listening to music. And the same can be said of the "visual arts".

There is a definite transcendence...call it "Platonism", if you will...in the experiences of human creativity and art. Let me state this without equivocation: science can not---and never will---explain, or explain away, human creativity because to do so involves a person in the "creative" act itself. You might say that this is "Goedel's theorem", or "paradox", applied to human imagination.

Gregory said...

Imagine, if you will, the watch on your wrist was made by a blind man....or by blind factory workers. Does the fact that the blind maker/s of your wrist watch translate to "the watch made itself"? Of course not!!

My point is that it is not necessary to know how a "blind" person made something in order to see that something was made. That is my point. Although, I don't think I expressed this as clearly in the prior posts.

Be that as it may, it behooves Dawkins to rename his book with a title that's actually clever...something like "Evolution Did It, I Believe It And That Settles It". There's no point in confusing everyone; and especially Mr. Dawkins.

Gregory said...

Does the fact that the blind maker/s of your wrist watch translate to "the watch made itself"? Of course not!!

Let me phrase this better since I think faster than I type:

Does the fact that some alleged blind maker/s of a watch then translate to an inference that "watches make themselves"? Of course not!!

Steven Carr said...

I have no idea what Gregory is talking about.

The fact remains that Lewis was as equally skilled at making up a description of Narnia as he was in making up descriptions of us as ghosts and Heaven as real.

kbrowne said...

Steven Carr,

Of course Lewis was making it all up. The theology in 'The Great Divorce' was intended seriously and meant to be true. But the descriptions of Hell and Heaven were fiction. Lewis said as much. But there is nothing wrong with that, is there?

Edward T. Babinski said...

THE PROBLEM OF WORSHIP by Scott F. Aikin in Think magazine Sum. 2010:

"Theism is a cluster of views. The first of which is that God exists. Others are that God has all the relevant omniattributes, that He created the world, and that He communicates with and performs miracles on behalf of humans. There is one additional view that is often overlooked. It is that humans are obligated to worship God. Importantly, this issue of worship is of central importance to traditional theism. And it extends into pagan thought that predates Christianity. . . READ MORE HERE

http://people.vanderbilt.edu/~scott.f.aikin/The%20Problem%20of%20Worship.pdf

rank sophist said...

This exactly why divinization and the traditional understanding of the Beatific Vision need to return to the mainstream. There's nothing to be offered by the bland, meaningless "heaven" of modernity. It's why so many people are concerned about whether or not animals enter heaven, or whether or not they'll be "lonely" without their friends. It's just a mockery of tradition that makes people feel empty.

PatrickH said...

We are not atoms and space.

Everything in that description of reality by Carr is simply made up by him.

That is what scientism is. Making things up.

Carr just made it all up.

You just have to read the comment and you know Carr was just sitting down at his computer and making things up in the way that scientistics do.

im-skeptical said...

rank,

In Aquinas' view, the Beatific Vision is the last stop in our journey through spiritual existence. There's nothing more to gain, nothing more to experience, nothing to hope for - just eternal stasis. I'm trying to imagine how that could be different from non-existence.

rank sophist said...

im-skeptical,

You don't seem to realize what the Beatific Vision actually means--but, given your post history around here, I'm not sure it's worth trying to correct you.

im-skeptical said...

rank,

Actually, I'm trying to understand what it means. I'm not being flippant. Complete fulfillment. Nothing more to do. The end of the journey. The idea is rather mind-boggling. Can you say that you fully understand what it means?

BenYachov said...

@im-skeptical

From the Four Last Things:


"Yet of all these pains, that which gives the keenest anguish is being deprived of the vision of God. It will never be given to the damned to behold the Divine countenance. This pain will far outweigh all the other torments of which we have spoken.

It is impossible for mortal man to understand how this can be so great an affliction for the damned.

Yet such is the teaching of the Fathers ; they all maintain that there is nothing which the lost bewail so bitterly as being shut out forever from the vision of God. Whilst we live in this world, we think but little of the vision of God, and what it would be to us to be deprived of it eternally. This arises from the bluntness of our perception, which prevents us from comprehending the infinite beauty and goodness of God, and the delight experienced by those who behold Him face to face. But after death, when we are freed from the trammels of the body, our eyes will be opened, and we shall at least to some extent perceive that God is the supreme and infinite Good, and the enjoyment of Him our highest felicity.

And then such an eager desire will take possession of our soul to gaze upon and enjoy this supreme Good, that she will be irresistibly drawn to God, and will long with all her powers to contemplate His ineffable beauty. And if on account of her sins she is deprived of this beatific vision, it will cause her the most intense anguish. No grief, no torture known in this world can be in any wise likened to it.

St. Bonaventure bears witness to this, when he says: "The most terrible penalty of the damned is being shut out forever from the blissful and joyous contemplation of the Blessed Trinity." Again, St. John Chrysostom says: "I know many persons only fear Hell because of its pains, but I assert that the loss of the celestial glory is a source of more bitter pain than all the torments of Hell." END QUOTE

BenYachov said...

"Consequently, if God were to send an Angel to the portals of Hell, with this message to the wretched denizens of that place of torment: "The Almighty has in His mercy had compassion on you, and He is willing you should be released from one of the penalties you endure; which shall it be?" What thinkest thou would be the reply? They would all as one man exclaim: "O good Angel, pray God that if only of His bounty He would no longer deprive us of the sight of His countenance! "This is the one favour they would implore of God. Were it possible for them, in the midst of Hell-fire, to behold the Divine countenance, for the joy of it they would no longer heed the devouring flames. For the vision of God is so beauteous, so blissful, so full of rapture and infinite delight, that all the joys and attractions of earth cannot compare with it in the remotest degree.

In fact, all celestial happiness, how greatsoever it might be, would be turned to bitterness if the vision of God was wanting; and the redeemed would choose rather to be in Hell, if they could there enjoy that Beatific Vision, than be in Heaven without it. Just as the privilege of be holding the Divine countenance constitutes the chief felicity of the blessed, the one without which all others would be no happiness at all, so it is the chief misery of Hell, that the lost souls should for ever be excluded from it. On this subject St. John Chrysostom says: "The torments of a thousand Hells are nothing in comparison to the anguish of being banished from everlasting bliss and the vision of God." End Quote

BenYachov said...


The experience of God is so beautiful that it would never get old unlike the other pleasures & joys of this life.

If you experienced every other agony in Hell(sans the pain of loss of the BV) with the Beatific Vision you could with ease bare those sufferings and such a fate would be preferred then one where you experienced every other Joy of Heaven but suffered the loss of the BV.

The Beatific Vision is what it is because of the doctrine of the Divine Simplicity and God being Purely Actual.

rank sophist said...

Many thanks, Ben. That's a far better summary than I could have presented.

BenYachov said...

>There's nothing more to gain, nothing more to experience, nothing to hope for - just eternal stasis.

What more is needed and how is eternal infinite perfect happiness to be compared with stasis?

>I'm trying to imagine how that could be different from non-existence.

Non-existence is a fundamental total lack of mere being. It's worst than Hell since at lease the damned still have being.

im-skeptical said...

Yes, thanks.

Papalinton said...

Yes, Ben, quite the orgasm of the creative and imaginative mind. C S Lewis was equally par excellence is creating imagery in every book he wrote, all of them a tribute to the glory of the creative mind.

"The purpose of meditating on these realities [The Four Last things] is to instill a wholesome fear of God and a dread of His power, especially His power to cast into hell."
http://catholicism.org/category/four-last-things

There you have it, right from the very words of catholicism the promulgation of great existential fear, and dread and unease, the angst, fright, panic, alarm; the terror, if you don't believe in Yahweh. No matter how one might construe the word 'wholesome', it is still about putting the terrifying bejebus right up you if you don't believe. BUT, there is a solution. All you have to do is act on your fear and submit.

Not really what I would call an enlightened vision of a heaven. There are better and more felicitous imagery in Nirvana and Walhalla that do not mandate the prerequisite for fear and dread.

Of course such imaginings as Nirvana, Heaven and Walhalla are integrally grounded in mythology at its pristine, and are the result of our propensity towards projection and teleology which were aspects of evolution that provided some form of survival advantage in the early development stages of our species.

Here is a very good recapitulation of the current level of knowledge from research and investigation into how religions formed in response to the prodigious growth of the pre-frontal cortex and and medial forebrain bundle in which consciousness and awareness originates, a product directly related to the development of sociability of the human species.
It is HERE


Crude said...

I think it's important to point out - probably not news to anyone in this thread, but just in case - that the orthodox Christian view of the afterlife involves a resurrected body.

Walter said...

Non-existence is a fundamental total lack of mere being. It's worst than Hell since at lease the damned still have being.

I seriously don't see how annihilation could be worse than eternal suffering. Between those two choices I'll take utter oblivion any day.

Crude said...

Walter,

A serious question. If you had to choose between oblivion and eternal suffering, wouldn't your reply depend on the nature and extent of the suffering?

BenYachov said...

>I seriously don't see how annihilation could be worse than eternal suffering.

No longer confused by it's material senses the soul uncoupled from the body will only have the sense of it's being and will seek to hold on to that at all costs.

Annihilation is no different then never having existed in the first place at least on the Practical level. Existentially & metaphysically it is a greater privation then mere damnation.

Even Mister Echart said a damned soul has the goodness of mere being.

How can the final loss of all goodness not be worst?

>Between those two choices I'll take utter oblivion any day.

Because you erroneously associate it with being unconcious in a dreamless sleep and associate it with deliverance from pain. Sorry but to even have a dreamless uncouncious sleep requires you exist. As Frank Sheed said the soul in Hell chooses to love the self above God therefore it will hold on to the self at all cost since annihilation will involve even the loss of self.

The pains of Hell are a series of privations. But God in His mercy does not deprive us of being.

BenYachov said...


>There you have it, right from the very words of catholicism the promulgation of great existential fear, and dread and unease, the angst, fright, panic, alarm; the terror, if you don't believe in Yahweh.

If I don't eat I starve and complaining of the basic injustice of food in it's refusal to nourish me unless is actually eat it does nothing.

Same if I don't breath I suffocate and complaining I must inhale air first in order to avoid this fate is equally silly.

I must desire Goodness Itself, Being Itself and Perfection Itself or I suffer the eternal loss of my full being, the good and perfection.

I must desire the Beatific Vision or I won't get the beatific Vision and suffer the consequences of that choice.

>No matter how one might construe the word 'wholesome', it is still about putting the terrifying bejebus right up you if you don't believe.

So you I take it you are against "terrifying" people with the knowledge they need to breath and eat or they will die if they refuse to eat or place themselves underwater or in a vacuum?

Good to know public school teacher.

(I answered this for Im-skeptical's benefit. I don't give a shit about Paps he defends Atheism like old people f***).

Crude said...

Ben,

Just a compliment on your thorough responses, as well as an agreement - for as pissed as I've gotten in a couple past discussions with im-, and as snippy as I can be, he's still entirely worthy of discussing stuff with. The teacher, not so much.

Papalinton said...

Eating and breathing are the natural consequences of being alive. Without doing them we die. A Hindi worshipper has never had a concept of the christian Beatific Vision and seems to have no trouble functioning as a good person, in fact, as if the Beatific Vision is inconsequential. Without eating and breathing though, now that is a very different story that even a Hindi is existentially unable to do without, barring miracles of course.

The Beatific Vision: "The intuitive knowledge of God which produces heavenly beatitude. As defined by the Church, the souls of the just "see the divine essence by an intuitive vision and face to face, so that the divine essence is known immediately, showing itself plainly, clearly and openly, and not immediately through any creature" (Denzinger 1000-2)."
http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/dictionary/index.cfm?id=32115

The keys to this definition are as indefinite and nebulous as one can get: (1) " ... As defined"by the church ...", and (2) ...intuitive....
I guess we are all entitled to our own little fantasies.

"So you I take it you are against "terrifying" people with the knowledge they need to breath and eat or they will die if they refuse to eat or place themselves underwater or in a vacuum?"

No. Not at all. I am against terrifying people for what others purport is 'knowledge' and try to flog it as if it were 'knowledge' with the same level of dire consequence as not eating and drinking. But we all know, even you, that that is nonsense. In reality this form of message, not knowledge, is nothing more than a folkloric tale. It is of the same order of message that truly motivates Muslims to imagine the 'reality' of 72 virgins in heaven, the kind of knowledge that you so easily dismiss, because it is not of your culture. You were not brought up with it.

Papalinton said...

Walter
"I seriously don't see how annihilation could be worse than eternal suffering. Between those two choices I'll take utter oblivion any day."

Death is death. We all die. Anyone who imagines 'eternal suffering' are only projecting their thoughts of the ups and downs, the vicissitudes of ordinary life as they can only be understood when we are alive. Death is oblivion. I don't see much value in imagining that life pretty much goes on as normal after death. This is just denial, the abject refusal to appreciate and understand the totality of death to which we all must capitulate, even Aquinas. It is as if by imagining life after death we can indeed cheat death. But we all know it is only a topical salve against the inevitability we must all face. It is the emotional and psychological response of the weak-minded to imagine "I" am so special, that "I" just can't die like that. It's not like I'm just a cat or a dog or something, to just ... die!
There is no shaking off of the mortal coils. Rather than go to some contrived heaven where we get to meet and live with our neighbours all over again, we are made from star dust, literally, and we once more become star dust, the stuff of stars. To me there is more beauty and solace in this true and factually correct vision than some goat-herd's version of heaven.

I call it 'blissful oblivion'.

Walter said...

A serious question. If you had to choose between oblivion and eternal suffering, wouldn't your reply depend on the nature and extent of the suffering?

Of course the answer will depend on the nature of suffering that exists in hell. If I'm still relatively content to be there after a few billion years then hell would not really be hell, it would simply be a lesser heaven for the reprobate.

Walter said...

>I seriously don't see how annihilation could be worse than eternal suffering.

No longer confused by it's material senses the soul uncoupled from the body will only have the sense of it's being and will seek to hold on to that at all costs.


I am not a hylemorphic dualist, so I reject that bit of dogma.

Annihilation is no different then never having existed in the first place at least on the Practical level.

Exactly. The universe is said to have existed for some 13.75 billion years before my birth. I felt no deprivations during this period.

Existentially & metaphysically it is a greater privation then mere damnation.

Your attempting to answer psychology with philosophy. I imagine some people on earth have had lives filled with such abject misery that they would clearly dispute the notion that it was better to "be" than to never have "been."

Even Mister Echart said a damned soul has the goodness of mere being.

How can the final loss of all goodness not be worst?


Spoken as one who believes that hell is reserved for other people, and not yourself.

>Between those two choices I'll take utter oblivion any day.

Because you erroneously associate it with being unconcious in a dreamless sleep and associate it with deliverance from pain.


How can annihilation be anything other than a complete cessation of all experience, good and bad?

The pains of Hell are a series of privations. But God in His mercy does not deprive us of being.

It is amazing that anyone can equate an eternity of torment with mercy. It's why many Christians are turning away from damnationist views on hell and towards annihilationism or "hopeful" universalism.

Walter said...

Rather than go to some contrived heaven where we get to meet and live with our neighbours all over again, we are made from star dust, literally, and we once more become star dust, the stuff of stars. To me there is more beauty and solace in this true and factually correct vision than some goat-herd's version of heaven.

Paps, I suppose you know that I am a deist, and as such I accept no "revealed" dogmas concerning an afterlife. Still, I find the topic to be interesting.

B. Prokop said...

Little by little, day after day, every atom in our bodies is replaced by another until after 8-10 years not the smallest speck remains of the original physical structure we carry around with us, other than our teeth. That's it - our teeth. Everything else is new.

So if I were to believe that whatever makes up "me" is purely physical, then I am in no way the same person who lived under my name 12 years ago. The Bob Prokop who went to Arizona State University in the 1970s was not me. The person who served in the US Army was somebody else with the same name. My two daughters, now 25 and 30 years old respectively, were fathered by another man.

What utter hogwash! The fact that I am demonstrably the same person who experienced all those things is by itself proof that we are more than mere matter, and that our personal identities will survive the final dissolution of these current bodies.

BenYachov said...

>Of course the answer will depend on the nature of suffering that exists in hell. If I'm still relatively content to be there after a few billion years then hell would not really be hell, it would simply be a lesser heaven for the reprobate.

Rather you would know that it could be much worst but it would still be Hell.

>I am not a hylemorphic dualist, so I reject that bit of dogma.

Heaven and Hell presupose some sort of dualism unless you believe in "soul sleep" like a Christian Materialist so called.

>Exactly. The universe is said to have existed for some 13.75 billion years before my birth. I felt no deprivations during this period.

That is a fallacy. Before your conception there was no "You" in the first place so "You" lost nothing by not existing. You would feel the loss of your being & on the practical level it would be no different then never having existed except you had being and now lost it.

>Your attempting to answer psychology with philosophy. I imagine some people on earth have had lives filled with such abject misery that they would clearly dispute the notion that it was better to "be" than to never have "been."

Except what they really want is an end to their suffering & they associate loss of being with that. But it's like curing a patient of his sickness by killing him. Still a soul without it's body would by nature tend to hold on too being at all costs.

>Spoken as one who believes that hell is reserved for other people, and not yourself.

How does that follow? I think of what it will be like to go there all the time. I'm concious of my sins and based on the teachings of Christian mysticism and philosophy I see the positive in it but it would still be horrible.

>How can annihilation be anything other than a complete cessation of all experience, good and bad?

It would also be the cessation of the self too. Not merely the self in a dreamless sleep. There would be no self to dreamlessly sleep.

>It is amazing that anyone can equate an eternity of torment with mercy. It's why many Christians are turning away from damnationist views on hell and towards annihilationism or "hopeful" universalism.

No more amazing then Deists and Atheist who believe we all have the same dark fate at the end. Plus I have read many an Atheist poet who rages against the dying of the light and takes no confort in annihilation but feels the horror I feel at the concept.

Syllabus said...

"It is amazing that anyone can equate an eternity of torment with mercy. It's why many Christians are turning away from damnationist views on hell and towards annihilationism or "hopeful" universalism."

If being forever in the presence of perfect, other-centred Love would be a greater torment, then it would be the greatest mercy imaginable.

Walter said...

>Exactly. The universe is said to have existed for some 13.75 billion years before my birth. I felt no deprivations during this period.

That is a fallacy. Before your conception there was no "You" in the first place so "You" lost nothing by not existing. You would feel the loss of your being & on the practical level it would be no different then never having existed except you had being and now lost it.


There would be no "me" after the cessation of my existence either. I would not be capable of mourning the loss of being that I once had. This seems horrible to you, but the alternative seems far worse to me. If an animal is suffering I consider it a mercy to euthanize it, despite the fact that I am depriving it of "being." To say that it is more merciful for God to extend human misery ad infinitum rather than to end me utterly is to make a mockery of the moral intuitions that God has given me.

Walter said...

If being forever in the presence of perfect, other-centred Love would be a greater torment, then it would be the greatest mercy imaginable

I take it that you are advocating annihilation as the greatest mercy? If so then we agree.

Walter said...

Heaven and Hell presupose some sort of dualism unless you believe in "soul sleep" like a Christian Materialist so called.

The body itself could be resurrected for final judgment - no need to postulate a bodiless existence.

Syllabus said...

"I take it that you are advocating annihilation as the greatest mercy? If so then we agree."

I'm not, actually, but I do think it's a possibility (if not a likely one). What I assumed you were talking about with the whole "eternity of torment" thing was hell, not the eternity or torment in itself.

Let me explain what I mean. Suppose you're God. You have two people, one who stands for all you stand for and loves all you represent and another you stands against all you stand for and despises all you represent. What do you do with the first one? Simple. Let him/her spend eternity with you. What do you do with the second, assuming that you are, by nature, something that far transcends what humans call mercy? Do you let remain in your presence, enjoying your love and companionship forever, knowing that this will be, to them, infinite torment? Or do you, somehow, mute your presence and remove from them both the possibility of all happiness and the greatest suffering imaginable? Which would be more what we might call "merciful"?

Walter said...

Let me explain what I mean. Suppose you're God. You have two people, one who stands for all you stand for and loves all you represent and another you stands against all you stand for and despises all you represent. What do you do with the first one? Simple. Let him/her spend eternity with you. What do you do with the second, assuming that you are, by nature, something that far transcends what humans call mercy? Do you let remain in your presence, enjoying your love and companionship forever, knowing that this will be, to them, infinite torment? Or do you, somehow, mute your presence and remove from them both the possibility of all happiness and the greatest suffering imaginable? Which would be more what we might call "merciful"?

First of all, I do not believe that people can be pigeonholed into such absolute categories. Second, what does it mean to say that you are removing the person from something or someone that is a source of happiness and the greatest suffering imaginable at the same time?

B. Prokop said...

Although I have an instinctual aversion to speculating about the Next World, I will say this:

Given God's infinite mercy, I think we can be assured that whatever the fate of the worst imaginable sinner after death, it will certainly be better than he would deserve.

BenYachov said...

>The body itself could be resurrected for final judgment - no need to postulate a bodiless existence.

Actually if you read more carefully that is what I just said.

>There would be no "me" after the cessation of my existence either.

But in that case you would objectively have something to lose. Before your creation you didn't have anything to lose because there was still no "you" to loose anything.

>I would not be capable of mourning the loss of being that I once had. This seems horrible to you, but the alternative seems far worse to me.

Because you still equate it with being in a dreamless sleep & I do not.
It's too horrible it's nightmare fuel.

>If an animal is suffering I consider it a mercy to euthanize it, despite the fact that I am depriving it of "being."

Animals are physical beings only and not by nature spiritually immortal. You are not depriving them of being merely changing their being.

Animals suffer but not the way humans do and animal suffering is a mere natural evil like breaking a rock. Mercy killing animals is more to make ourselves feel better because of the universal tendency to anthopomorphize animals. Killing an animal changes it's material form to another form. Blotting out a spiritual soul is horror.

>To say that it is more merciful for God to extend human misery ad infinitum rather than to end me utterly is to make a mockery of the moral intuitions that God has given me.

Misery comes from privation. Loss of being is still the ultimate privation. Hell's chief pain is the privation of the Beatific Vision. Remember, a state of Having the BV while enduring every other pain in Hell is infinitly better then suffering the pain of loss of the BV while enjoying every other reward in Heaven.

Syllabus said...

"First of all, I do not believe that people can be pigeonholed into such absolute categories."

Well, I concede that I was oversimplifying for the sake of brevity. But our souls/minds/whatever are pointed in certain directions, and I think that a being with perfect knowledge would know the logical repercussions of these actions and so determine that the consequences of following x or y path will lead, ultimately, to one or two options. That's more or less where I was coming from.

"Second, what does it mean to say that you are removing the person from something or someone that is a source of happiness and the greatest suffering imaginable at the same time?"

It entirely depends upon the person experiencing the person or thing. If a certain thing is the only source of true, lasting sustenance, and a person has cultivated a love of it, then they will find the sustenance they need. If a person has cultivated a dislike of the only true, lasting source of sustenance, such that they would be driven insane/experience extreme torture if they were to experience or have it, then it would be to them the greatest source of suffering possible. Thus, they will go on forever having unquenchable hunger, and yet satisfying that hunger is such a torturous thing to them that they will never touch it. Does that rather muddled analogy help?

BenYachov said...

Syllabus is channeling a common concept of Hell among Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Rite Catholic Christians.

Evil is the choice of a lesser good over and against a greater good. People in Hell choose goods over Goodness Itself.

Syllabus said...

"Evil is the choice of a lesser good over and against a greater good. People in Hell choose goods over Goodness Itself."

Brevity is the soul of wit. Thanks for the summary.

Walter said...


Because you still equate it with being in a dreamless sleep & I do not.
It's too horrible it's nightmare fuel.


Ben, I wish you would quit telling me what I believe. I know full well what utter oblivion means, and I still say that it beats neverending torment. In the history of the world I am sure that quite a number of suicides have been committed by atheists as well as theists. Atheists that are committing suicide do not believe that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, yet still they end themselves because they have had enough of suffering and depression in this, their only life. Not everyone shares your existential fears.

Walter said...

Misery comes from privation. Loss of being is still the ultimate privation. Hell's chief pain is the privation of the Beatific Vision. Remember, a state of Having the BV while enduring every other pain in Hell is infinitly better then suffering the pain of loss of the BV while enjoying every other reward in Heaven

In other words the pain of hell is infinitely terrible due to the eternal loss of the BV, yet for some inexplicable reason you believe that it is an example of supreme mercy to allow humans to suffer that horrific loss forever and ever rather than end them permanently. That is plain sick. If adopting your faith means that black suddenly means white, then I shall surely pass.

Crude said...

Atheists that are committing suicide do not believe that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, yet still they end themselves because they have had enough of suffering and depression in this, their only life. Not everyone shares your existential fears.

Many, even most times, people recognize that people committing suicide are acting irrationally and are not in a healthy, sound state of mind.

Crude said...

In other words the pain of hell is infinitely terrible due to the eternal loss of the BV, yet for some inexplicable reason you believe that it is an example of supreme mercy to allow humans to suffer that horrific loss forever and ever rather than end them permanently.

And I think this is a strange rewording of the claim you're quoting, especially given your attitude in the rest of the thread.

You don't have the BV right now. How're you doing, in your own opinion?

BenYachov said...

@Walter
>Ben, I wish you would quit telling me what I believe. I know full well what utter oblivion means, and I still say that it beats neverending torment.

Excuse me but where not you the person who implyed I was the sort of person "who believes that hell is reserved for other people, and not yourself."? I know what I believe too.

You are getting emotional again. Stick with brute reason. I reasoned the implications of cesation of existence out compared too eternal Hell and objectively Hell is better. People believe or do stupid things (like kill themselves) based on emotion. I prefer reason to emotion thought obviously I am not immune to emotion.
I let an infallible Just God judge their souls.

>In other words the pain of hell is infinitely terrible due to the eternal loss of the BV,

I don't recall saying that or at least I would want to qualify "infinitely terrible". Loss of existence is loss of the BV plus loss of the self one chooses to love above God. So one is twice a loser.

>yet for some inexplicable reason you believe that it is an example of supreme mercy to allow humans to suffer that horrific loss forever and ever rather than end them permanently.

Like Bob just said whatever our punishment in Hell it can be less then what we really deserve. Loss of existence is loss of the BV and your Self/being.

Hell is self-love over God so why wouldn't you cling to the self at all costs?

>That is plain sick. If adopting your faith means that black suddenly means white, then I shall surely pass.

You are such a slave too your emotions. I prefer reason too emotion. Emotions serve reason and Will not the other way around.

I am in fact saying it is bad but better to be thrown out of my house into the freezing cold then to be throw out of my house and stripped naked or killed.

I am championing the idea it is better to have being & self love vs not.

Walter said...

nd I think this is a strange rewording of the claim you're quoting, especially given your attitude in the rest of the thread.

You don't have the BV right now. How're you doing, in your own opinion?


Will hell be like this life, just more of the same? If so, I could probably handle it pretty well for a few centuries maybe. An insufferable boredom might eventually set in.

Walter said...

You are getting emotional again

I think you are projecting, Ben.

Hell is not a problem for me because I do not believe in its existence. I am trying to wrap my mind around how any normal person can see eternal conscious torment as some form of mercy from a benevolent creator.


I am championing the idea it is better to have being & self love vs not


And I am saying that eternal suffering *without hope* is far worse than an absolute end to all that I am. If I am a defective model, the best thing that God can do is to scrap me and start altogether.

BenYachov said...

Actually we don't feel the pain of losing the BV in this life.

You can have a Big Wound and still be numb but you still have a Big Wound.

If this where not true then there would be no objective difference between Limbo vs Hell.

Crude said...

You know better than I on this one, Ben, so I'll yield that to you.

I'm actually a little hesitant to speculate on the afterlife to this degree, other than in the most bare particulars, or with the most explicit 'this is totally hypothetical' qualifiers.

BenYachov said...

>And I am saying that eternal suffering *without hope* is far worse than an absolute end to all that I am.

I don't see how that is logical since you will still have disordered self-love and how can you give up more then what you already gave up by rejecting Grace Forgiveness and Goodness Itself?

>If I am a defective model, the best thing that God can do is to scrap me and start altogether.

The language of Paley & His silly false mechanistic God. As if I a human being where a mere artifact he constructed. I am a being caused here and now by Being Itself.

We are on different wavelengths Walter.

BenYachov said...

A damned soul may want His pain to end but because of his disordered self-love may not want himself to end.

Did you ever think of that?

BenYachov said...

Of course it is perfectly reasonable if one is in great physical & psychological pain now to wish for and even pray for death as a means to escape pain. Or too allow natural death and not take extra-ordinary means to live.

But that is not the same as none being. Plus how do we know every Atheist faces the void and doesn't think in fear of it "Well maybe there is something after?".

B. Prokop said...

Good Lord, people. Victor starts out with an OP dealing with Heaven, and all you guys can talk about is Hell?

Again, drawing back from speculation like from a hot stove, I'll just throw in at this point that C.S. Lewis probably nailed it best when he described Hell as being as close to nothingness as possible without actually being nothing. Too many people waste (and I do mean waste) too much time trying to picture something that is almost not there at all.

And there may not actually be anyone "in" Hell at all. I think it not without significance that the Church has declared many Saints through the ages, but no Damned. Not one. Think about that.

Walter said...

Bob,

My own viewpoint is thus: If there exists a God who possesses benevolence and infinite mercy as some of his attributes, then I do not fear the existence of any eternal hell. If I have punishment due me in a possible next life, then I accept what I get because it is what I deserve.

From my fallible perspective, though, nothing warrants an eternity of punishment without hope of reprieve.

ozero91 said...

"being as close to nothingness as possible without actually being nothing."

One way I can imagine this is being a disembodied mind with no senses at all. Eternal darkness, eternal silence, eternal numbness, etc. But all while retaining the ability to think. Then again, if you can still think, you can imagine. And if you can imagine, you can create, even if it's all in your mind. So even that might better than annihilation.

Walter said...

http://randalrauser.com/2012/04/c-s-lewis-view-of-hell-and-why-it-doesnt-help-much/

The above link will take you to an article by Randal Rauser - who is an outspoken advocate of annihilationism.

BenYachov said...

>Good Lord, people. Victor starts out with an OP dealing with Heaven, and all you guys can talk about is Hell?

To be fair Bob I was talking about how the BV is what makes Heaven what it is and all the other pains in Hell (sans the loss of the BV) are nothing compared too it.

>nothing warrants an eternity of punishment without hope of reprieve.

Not true, offending Infinite Goodness requires Infinite punishment on the order of justice.

Can you pay off a Billion dollar debt you owe with one buck? how about an infinite debt and God provides a way to do so but if out of malice you reject that mercifully provided means what is suppose to happen?

BenYachov said...

Ah yes Randal believes in an anthropomorphic Super doper mega-being alongside other beings who is a moral agent.

So many levels of Theistic Personalist wrong.

Annihilationist heresy aside no "good" god who is a moral agent can morally justify allowing any evil. All Theodicies in the end fail. God is simply not a moral agent and given his classic nature can't coherently be conceived as such.

All that I can forgive but Randal is a conceptionalist(he told me himself once) not a moderate realist.

TRIPLE YIKES!!!!!

Mike Darus said...

Two issues that the Bible says little about are Heaven and Hell.

BenYachov said...

The God of Abraham & Aquinas (aka the True God) gives me being. Unconditional being and I can't loose it no matter what I do or no matter how many times I curse God even if I choose to curse him for the rest of time.

Randal's tiny little "god" is a monster that wills from all eternity you have eternal existence and then contradicts Himself and revokes it. Inflicts the ultimate evil of taking away all being.

Stephen Law would be proud. That's an "evil god".

Walter said...


Not true, offending Infinite Goodness requires Infinite punishment on the order of justice.


What a crock.

This notion of justice comes from the days when it was considered a greater crime to commit an offense against nobility rather than your fellow peasants. The punishment needed to be increased due to the status of the victim.

And what does it take to offend the Christian God? Being born human is sufficient. Gotta beg forgiveness for being born as such lowly trash. Problem is, we did not ask to be born as fallible humans who fall short of perfection, it was thrust upon us.

Reminds me of a quote by Robert Ingersoll:

God is infinitely wise, powerful and good, and that all men are
totally depraved. They insist that the best man God ever made,
deserved to he damned the moment he was finished.

BenYachov said...

You are giving me more of your emotional horseshit again Walter.

>This notion of justice comes from the days when it was considered a greater crime to commit an offense against nobility rather than your fellow peasants.

>The punishment needed to be increased due to the status of the victim.

That is an irrational response. How is God not better & more noble than us? He is by definition so.

>And what does it take to offend the Christian God?

It's simple Divine Physics. You reject Infinite Goodness you lose the Infinite Goodness that your spiritual nature craves and you lose it for all eternity. At the moment of death dying in mortal sin your soul is fixed and can no longer change it's mind over the choice made.

It's one's own fault like sticking your head underwater and havine the gall to act irate over not being able to breath.

>Problem is, we did not ask to be born as fallible humans who fall short of perfection, it was thrust upon us.

Choosing to believe the lie that existence itself is mere evil is the first step to Hell. Existence/being is good. That is simply a brute metaphysical fact.

Robert Ingersoll's objections to his Father's Calvinism mean nothing to me. His total depravity bullshit can kiss my Council of Trent arse.

Crude said...

While I disagree with Walter, I also agree with Bob Prokop on this one. I think speculating too much about heaven and hell, beyond some very minimal specifics, isn't fruitful. By Christian teaching, we know we can expect the resurrection of the body. We know it will be just. And I'm willing to bet it's rather complicated beyond that.

Syllabus said...

"While I disagree with Walter, I also agree with Bob Prokop on this one. I think speculating too much about heaven and hell, beyond some very minimal specifics, isn't fruitful. By Christian teaching, we know we can expect the resurrection of the body. We know it will be just. And I'm willing to bet it's rather complicated beyond that."

Word.

BenYachov said...

Walter can believe what he likes. But I still think the reasoning behind my view is solid & I see no reason to believe otherwise.

I don't want to go to Hell and I really don't want to not exist.

But wishes are not relevant.

Brute Reason tells me the God of Abraham & Aquinas is the true God and experiencing the Vision of Him is the goal of my existence. Of all our existence and I pray all of you Bob, Walter, Crude Syllabus and even Paps obtain it.

So we will have to agree to disagree.

BenYachov said...

Oh and everyone I didn't mention by name too.

Papalinton said...

Walter
"Paps, I suppose you know that I am a deist, and as such I accept no "revealed" dogmas concerning an afterlife. Still, I find the topic to be interesting.

Oh Yes, I do. I'm agnostic on the matter of deism and I guess you are in little doubt of my position on theism. So many gods to chose from; it's a fantasist's smorgasbord.

I don't find the topic per se, interesting. I am not an aficionado of mythicism. However the resultant effect of belief in belief and its capacity to conjure various notions and imagery of 'heavens' etc, do hold a deep fascination for me. Of course this proclivity is far wider than the adherents of the christian mythos, it equally affects many other forms of superstition and mythicism that find expression through New Age spiritism and Wikkens etc. It is a fascinating feature of the human condition.

ozero91 said...

Hey Walter, if you don't mind can you give me a sentence or two on why you are a deist? Is it because you find arguments for God's existence compeeling or is it something else? Just curious, haven't read of many deists at all on the internet aside from Flew.

ozero91 said...

Lol compeeling. Meant to be "compelling."

Walter said...

Hey Walter, if you don't mind can you give me a sentence or two on why you are a deist?

I am a deist rather than an atheist because I was moved by Reppert's Argument from Reason and I was convinced by the philosophical arguments of Aristotle on the metaphysical necessity of a Prime Mover.

I am a deist rather than a Christian not because I believe that a Creator abandoned the universe minutes after creating it, but because as a deist I place reason above alleged revelations that come to me via human prophets, human institutions, and human-authored texts. I am under no obligation to believe another man's anecdotal tale of "divine" revelation.

BenYachov said...

I love the reference to Aristotle.:-)

Anthony Fleming said...

Walter, if I wasn't compelled by the person of Jesus I would be in the same boat as you.

Anthony Fleming said...

Papalinton you wrote, "So many gods to chose from; it's a fantasist's smorgasbord."

You mean, so many different conceptions of a divine reality. When we look at it this way, the whole "we are all atheists because we don't believe in Zeus etc" doesn't work. There is a difference between having a concept of a divine reality and rejecting the existence of a divine reality all-together.

Anthony Fleming said...

It also provides reason to accept some concepts of the divine reality while rejecting others. So, someone is completely "rational" to accept the classical theistic conception - divine simplicity, love, intrinsic worth of the human being - while rejecting other conceptions that have no living application today, like Zeus, Odin, Horus, etc.

Papalinton said...

Divine reality is a purely theological derivative. There is no analogical comparison in the world of verifiable evidence or fact. The concept of 'divine' is solely expressed emotivism, an unschooled and undisciplined appeal inner intuitive self, a faculty we all know has about as much veracity as reading someone's aura or the divine act of palmistry in New Age spirituality.

It derives from the same source of mythologizing as does the golden tablets of Mormonism interpreted by the angel Moroni to the Prophet, Joseph Smith.

Divine reality also inscribes the book of Dianetics as propounded by Scientology.

It is only 'rational' to accept classical theism if it is treated as mythology, just as those that subscribe to classical theism regard the heavily subscribed 'personalist theistic' conception. By any stretch they cancel each other out as nothing more than an expression of insubstantial personal bias.

B. Prokop said...

Yawn.

Anthony Fleming said...

Papalinton,

I think you just demonstrated your own misunderstanding of what divine reality is.

I wasn't making a statement on whether such a thing actually exists or whether it is completely rational to believe in a divine reality - I totally think it is, but we have danced this dance several times.

My response was purposed for your statement - "So many gods to chose from; it's a fantasist's smorgasbord."

You make it sound like each "god" is in a buffet that can be included with any persons' particular belief (if someone believes in YHWH then Zeus should not be rejected). Coincidentally this same reasoning is often used in the idea; "we are all atheists, I just believe in one less God than you." Yet, the fact that one accepts a certain concept of the divine reality does not necessitate accepting a different concept. The "gods" are not equal and isolated, they compose different concepts of a divine reality. Accepting one concept (like YHWH) could logically necessitate rejecting the other (like Zeus). YHWH and Zeus are not two different "gods" that one must believe in if they are the sort of person to believe in gods.

So, rejecting many particular concepts of a divine reality does not necessitate rejecting the existence of a divine reality itself. Therefore, the whole, "we are both atheists..." doesn't work. One can accept a concept of a divine reality within rational grounds while rejecting other concepts on those same rational grounds.



Anthony Fleming said...

In relation to the post. C.S. Lewis' view of heaven is desirable! I also think Life After Death: The Evidence by Dinesh D'Souza is another amazing book about the evidence for an afterlife and what heaven will be like.

BenYachov said...

Anthony Fleming,

Your wasting your time dude. Paps has a reputation here of being the most anti-intellectual/anti-philosophical Atheist ever to post.
(even other Atheists have bagged on him).

He's is an ex-Christian fundamentalist and he just takes the mindless fideism he had as a former believer & projects it onto his current non-belief.

I've explained Classic Theism vs Theistic Personalism till I'm blue in the face. I've explain God is not an isolanti like the pagan so called deities.

But he doesn't care. He is not here to offer an intelligent critique of religion or to learn anything. He is here to mock. He thinks if he can just make fun of religion a little harder than he does already that will somehow overcome our collective intellectual objections to Atheism and the intellectual basis of our beliefs.

This is what he hopes for:

(Gee Paps! Your right! The Pope does look stupid in that dress! The Five Ways must therefore be wrong!! Thanks for setting me straight!)

He's like the YEC who thinks if he quotes just one more Bible verse his religious skeptic opponent will forget his intellectual reasons for believing in Evolution & "convert" to YEC.

Your wasting your time with him.

Trust me.

Victor Reppert said...

Actually, people whose primary defense of atheism is ridicule think that their target audience is not you at all. If you are defending religious belief against them, you are probably a hopeless faith-head anyway. However, there may be fence-sitters in the audience, and since no one likes being ridiculed, they may be persuaded to accept unbelief because of how severely the ridiculer is ridiculing the believer.

I'm not making this up, this is almost word for word from Dawkins himself.

Crude said...

Of course, the problem is that Paps isn't even good at ridicule. The man's a joke even among fellow atheists, which is why we can generally blow him off or out and out mock him, and the fellow Cultists more or less enact a "heh, you're on your own, pal" policy.

In my experience, the average Gnu has far thinner skin than the average theist when it comes to ridicule. I think various apologists could face down hostile audiences openly (you even saw some of this at "Reason" Rally). If PZ Myers had to face a mocking crowd without his horde to back him up, I think you would literally see tears.

Mike Darus said...

It seems like Dawkins is unwittingly reinforcing Jesus' warning about persecution. It is embarrasing that people would so easily cave under a little ridicule when history is rich with the faithful who withstood so much more. The Parable of the Soils attains even more credibility.

BenYachov said...

>However, there may be fence-sitters in the audience, and since no one likes being ridiculed, they may be persuaded to accept unbelief because of how severely the ridiculer is ridiculing the believer.

That is sad from any rational perspective. Imagine a fence-sitter on Evolution being moved to reject Evolution not from the rational content of argument but because of some bullshit ridicule like "Oh how can a Monkey give birth to a human being?".

Papalinton said...

Anthony
Definately no misunderstanding about 'divine reality'. It is an informed rejection of a superstitious conception based on the simple expedient that as a form of knowledge it has no transferability, relevance or applicability to any other form of knowledge. It is thoroughly limited to and bound within the personal proclivity of the adherent, no different to the channelers that fill their heads with the sanctity of tarot readings.

Any decent primer on the sociological or psychological, and indeed the neuro-physiological underpinnings of belief structures, will quickly dispel any pretense of 'divine reality' as a substantive position beyond mental irrational.

C'mon guys! You've got to get with the program. Ditch the divinity.

Papalinton said...

Ben
"I've explained Classic Theism vs Theistic Personalism till I'm blue in the face. I've explain God is not an isolanti like the pagan so called deities.

But he doesn't care. He is not here to offer an intelligent critique of religion or to learn anything."


On the contrary. It is pretty much what I have been doing, providing an intelligent critique of religion that reaches well beyond the jejune and unschooled intuitive boundary of self-absorbed primping as though everybody is some form of little godbot.

Clearly, what is there not to ridicule, or parody those who rely on an invisible means of support for their existence? That which is ridiculous in nature needs no ridicule. Classical Theism is by its very nature a ridiculous concept that half the christian population knows is just pious personal nonsense, just as those that advocate Theistic Personalism know Classical Theism is simply sanctimonious bunkum. I don't have to argue any case on this matter. Christian are well trained and well-versed in pooh-poohing their fellow supertitionists. No matter the form of belief in belief one adheres to, there will always be a separate antithetical bunch of christ followers that will apparently 'wipe the floor' of with each other. Indeed, Ben, besides your being the master, the pre-eminent virtuoso of the abjectly inconsequential and insignificant concept of Classical Theism, the catholicism exhibited is little more than a masque through which all manner of personal dislikes and hostility, be it towards people or ideas, are vented. I've heard Mohler bad-mouth catholics in the most lusty of terms not unlike your attempt to degrade or denigrate those that robustly challenge your personalist and self-styled interpretation of the world.

Papalinton said...

Ben
You say, "This is what he hopes for:
(Gee Paps! Your right! The Pope does look stupid in that dress! The Five Ways must therefore be wrong!! Thanks for setting me straight!)"


Two things:
1. The pope does look stupid in that dress. No surprise there.

2. No, the Five Ways is not wrong, given the time and context it was written. It simply has no relevance whatsoever in the modern era, just as the Ptolemaic calendar is of little use in a modern setting. Here is a little summary of the modern understanding of the Five Ways outside the protective cocoon of theism and seen in the light of reality:

"At first glance, the proofs of Saint Thomas seem very convincing. However, these arguments are full of logical loopholes and inconsistencies. Saint Thomas was guilty of jumping into conclusions without any empirical support. Hence, it was comparable to jumping from an airplane without a parachute. However, he cannot be totally blamed for this. His way of thinking was just the predictable product of Medieval Catholic Church theological and psychological conditioning, which during that time was the most reliable form of "science."


I. First Way: The Argument from Motion

This argument has committed the logical fallacy known as begging the question. This argument posited more questions than answers. Aquinas concluded that the first mover must be God. However, what motivated God to make the first move? Although motion cannot have infinite regression, this argument assumed that God had been either not moving from infinity or he has been moving ever since. What then is the source of his energy? If nothing can move itself, how then God was able to move himself?

Cosmologically, it can also be equally valid that an impersonal, unconscious force or energy was the first unmoved mover. For instance, according to the Big Bag Theory, all motions, space, energy and matter can be traced back to a singularity at the beginning of the universe. This theory is supported by measurable and verifiable parameters such as the rate of expansion of the universe and the distances between galaxies.

II. Second Way: Causation of Existence

Saint Thomas Aquinas was partially right into thinking that anything that exists is caused by another. In this argument, he again used the assumption that there could be not infinite regression of causes. However, if this assumption was correct, then what caused God to exist? If nothing can cause itself to exist, how was God able to cause himself? If God has been in existence from infinity, what is the problem with a universe that has been in existence from infinity? This latter assumption is equally logical but much simpler and more probabale. Remember the basic equation of Einstein? E=mc2 This equation implies that matter can be converted into energy and energy can be converted to matter. It is logical to suppose that matter and energy have always been in existence. The universe as we know today might just be one of the many manifestations of the changes in matter and energy. On the other hand, apparent self-causation has been observed in sub-atomic particles in laboratory settings.

III. Third Way: Contingent and Necessary Objects

In this argument Saint Aquinas made the distinction between contingent or potential beings and necessary or actual beings. However, modern physics has demonstrated that there are really no strict definitions of such things. In a universe of probability and chaos, things may exist without necessarily being dependent of other things. On the other hand, as demonstrated by Einstein's equation, matter and energy are mutually dependent from each other. Hence, their contingency and necessity are reflexive."


CONT.

Papalinton said...

CONT.
IV. Fourth Way: The Argument from Degrees and Perfection

In this argument, Saint Aquinas attributed all positive absolutes to God as the standard for all things. But it can also be logically possible that God is the absolute perfection of evil. For instance, if there are degrees of cruelty, then God must be the cruelest being. If there are degrees of insanity, then God must be the perfectly insane being. Hence, the so-called standard of "perfection" can be applied to both good traits and bad traits simply because these traits have gradations or degrees of perfection.

V. Fifth Way: The Argument from Intelligent Design

This argument is also known as the teleological argument. This argument is also expounded on the watch-maker argument. The argument from design is used by theologians and fundamentalist preachers as the best argument for the existence of God. This argument has even taken the form of the so-called "creation science." However, this argument is scientifically and logically false.

Although the universe is admittedly complex and intricate, it does not necessarily mean that it requires a designer. Comparing the universe and biological systems to human-made objects such as a watch is committing a logical fallacy known as false analogy. The way the universe and biological systems operate is very different from the way man-made objects operate. If a complex object needs a creator or designer, what could be more complicated than a super-intelligent, all-powerful God? Who then created God?

Contrary to the assumption of an intelligent and purposeful designer, the universe and biological systems exhibit randomness and probability. If the universe and biological systems were purposely designed, then they must not have any superfluous traits.

This fifth argument is addressed and refuted by the Theory of Evolution. This argument deserves more detailed discussions. Hence, I will post a separate article for this."

http://much-ado-about-nothing-homar.blogspot.com.au/2007/10/five-ways-of-aquinas_07.html

BenYachov said...

With a little re-working I can post Paps' bullshit on any Pro-Creationist Website and who would know the difference?

Here we go.

QUOTE"On the contrary. It is pretty much what I have been doing, providing an intelligent critique of evolution that reaches well beyond the jejune and unschooled intuitive boundary of self-absorbed primping as though everybody is some form of little biobot.

Clearly, what is there not to ridicule, or parody those who rely on a visible means of support for their existence? That which is ridiculous in nature needs no ridicule. Neo-Dawinian Evolution is by its very nature a ridiculous concept that half the public at large knows is just atheistic personal nonsense, just as those that advocate punctuated equilibrium know Neo-Dawinian Evolution is simply scientistic atheistic bunkum. I don't have to argue any case on this matter. Atheists are well trained and well-versed in pooh-poohing their fellow supertitionists. No matter the form of belief in belief one adheres to, there will always be a separate antithetical bunch of followers that will apparently 'wipe the floor' of with each other. Indeed, Ben, besides your being the master, the pre-eminent virtuoso of the abjectly inconsequential and insignificant concept of neo-Darwinism, the biology exhibited is little more than a masque through which all manner of personal dislikes and hostility, be it towards people or ideas, are vented. I've heard Demblinski bad-mouth evolutionists in the most lusty of terms not unlike your attempt to degrade or denigrate those that robustly challenge your punctuated and self-styled interpretation of the world.:END

As we can see it contains no intelligent argument just ridicule. All one needs to do is swap out the proper nouns and adjectives and you can turn it into a screed against religion, Atheism, Evolution, Capitalism, Socialism or even Vegetarianism.

It has no intelligent content. A Netbot could re-post it on any website on any topic.

But what can you expect from a public school teacher eh?

Crude said...

This argument posited more questions than answers. Aquinas concluded that the first mover must be God.

:D

Saint Thomas Aquinas was partially right into thinking that anything that exists is caused by another.

:D

Hence, their contingency and necessity are reflexive.

:D

But it can also be logically possible that God is the absolute perfection of evil.

:D

This argument is also known as the teleological argument. This argument is also expounded on the watch-maker argument.

:D :D :D :D

Oh wow. It's like someone took a collection of all the 'I didn't even read Aquinas but I heard from some guy on the internet...' idiotic mistakes Cult of Gnu level atheists make when reading Aquinas, and compiled them into a convenient list.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: you can tell just how mediocre Linton's intelligence is by watching his posts. The man has two gimmicks he relies on: first, bloviating in the hopes that if he just bullshits enough, he'll sound smart. (Sadly, it doesn't work.)

Second: googling for a site that supports his positions, and then either presenting the text as his own thoughts, or copy-pasting it - and in the process exposing that he doesn't know what he's talking about. I still loved the "if the supernatural existed, the only way to prove it did would be through methodological naturalism" routine, by the way. Of all of Linton's gems, that one remains classic.

But, ahahaha, that list. I love it. It just illustrates that all this time, Linton hasn't even understood either the arguments OR the criticisms of the Five Ways! He can't even identify a good, salient objection. He is flying blind in these conversations, because he doesn't understand them.

Thanks, Linton. You remain, as ever, the most convenient example of an atheist whose stupidity and hate has turned himself into a self-parody.

Quick, call me a Catholic Taliban because I pointed out your hilarious stupidity! I'm sure it'll make you feel better for all of ten seconds. ;)

Crude said...

Ben,

Really, take a good look at that list he gave. The Fifth Way one is the dead giveaway, but each and every step of the five is just filled to the brim with misunderstandings, complete with the old 'Everything that exists must be caused, so who caused God?' and 'God causes himself' ones.

Also, let's keep something in mind here. For as much as I mock him, we actually should pull back. Linton's not a typical cult of Gnu member - he's something far sadder. He's an old guy, rapidly approaching his twilight years (he may well be in them), bitter as all hell at life and God and theism. This isn't just about atheism for the man - this is about some way, any way, getting a reaction and attention. He does this because, really - it beats his real life by a longshot, even to be mocked. At least someone talks to him.

I couldn't resist laughing my ass off at his list - too full of stupidity, and it says too much of him that of all the critiques, he copy-pasted that one. But now, I'm going back to ignoring him. Someone should really put him on a poster, though.

"This is how your life will end up if you stay with the Cult of Gnu. It ain't pretty."

BenYachov said...

>http://much-ado-about-nothing-homar.blogspot.com.au/2007/10/five-ways-of-aquinas_07.html

The above is about as intelligent a critique of the 5 ways as ANSWERS IN GENESIS is of evolution.

Paps will just post any old shit.

Now I have said if you want to be a credible critic of Aquinas go read Antony Kenny.

Does Paps ;isten? No he just finds some philosophical illiterate who doesn't know actuality from potency from Heraclitus from motus to momentum from the hole in his ass and thinks I will be impressed.

Like the clueless fundie who thinks someone with a Bachelors in Science is going to be moved by anything he reads in THE BIBLICAL FLOOD AND THE ICE EPOCH.

Pathetic uneducated man.

PS 5th way teaches ID?

PLUEEZ!!!! & Darwin renounced his theory on his death bed NOT!!!!

BenYachov said...

Crude,

Ya don't have to tell me brother. Every mistake Dawkins makes in his lame critique of the 5 ways is repeated here.

You know I try to help Paps out. I've told him to read Jack Smart, or Graham Oppy or Kenny or some Atheist or Agnostic philosopher with intelligence.

But what does the little Kangaroo fucker do? He reads idiots on purpose!

He defends Atheism like old people...mate..etc. ;-)

(sure it's fun for the old people but who can stomach watching it?).

BenYachov said...

Now that's ridicule!

You loss Paps! Therefore Atheism is false! Cry about it!




PS No not really. But this is the logical outcome of argument by ridicule. Those with the most wit dominate and actual arguments be damned.

BenYachov said...

BTW I love that "critique" of the first Way. The author doesn't know an essential causal series from an accidental causal series from a pimple on his butt.

You could spend hours picking it apart but both Oderberg and Feser have already done it.

Nothing new under the sun.

Papalinton said...

It seems I have stirred a hornets' nest of two. And they do not like it. I know it rankles, to hear the factual truth that directly lays bare the superstitious and apparition-laden hokum that masquerades as christian theism. But it is very important to be honest and truthful no matter where the evidence leads one, even if one must be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21stC.

The Five Ways of Aquinas, are even less to be regarded as 'proofs' in the context of modern understanding. What were construed as proofs a thousand years ago is today simply question begging. None of the 5-Ways are any form of “proof” however one might define the word. They are simply conjecture that these things must be. One of the most glaring aspects perceived with the benefit of 20/20 vision and perfect hindsight, is that Christians continue to live as if in a timewarp relying solely even to this day on the speculative musings of one Medieval scholar who himself, not having the intellectual capacity for original thought, borrowed so heavily, almost exclusively, on the ideas of a grand old Pagan to give some imagined semblance of sense to the christian theme. With Aquinas so pervasively commandeering his universal pagan philosophical discourse, Aristotle could never have imagined in his wildest dreams how his ideas would be sullied by the later interpolation of the christian mythos into his discourse. It is with such great irony when one appreciates how christian theism simply cannot exist without recourse to Aristotelian pagan philosophy forming the very foundation and vector for expression onto which the christian mythos would eventually be parasitically grafted. So, given the circumstances under which the christian mythos melded with pagan philosophy, it is yet once again a great irony to appreciate there has been not one scintilla of progress in advanced Apologetical scholarship, research or investigation into proofs and evidence that provides better and more current options for substantiating the existence of a christian god since the time of Aristotle. The vast majority of popular theological arguments are singularly based on some expansion of one or more of Aquinas's five proofs[?] and the 'proofs' themselves are simply derivatives of even earlier Aristotelian thought. So the rationale for a christian god has been little more than a very loose agglomerative venture for up to 350 years [Aristotle; 384-322BCE] before the jesus legend even became a germ of an idea.


CONT.

Papalinton said...

CONT.
Clearly, the first three proofs are but one and the same, all based around the same lack of knowledge or understanding as we appreciate today. In the absence of knowledge as we now understand, and resorting to intuition as the primary basis for assessment, Aquinas could not conceive the absence of a mover, a causer, or a necessary being required to allow contingent beings to exist by his standards. And as such all three fall within the ambit of Arguments from Ignorance. They provide little evidence per se, and he [Aquinas] simply retrojects, as a matter of algorithmic convenience, a god as the only possible conclusion, given the limited information and understanding at the prevailing time.

The first 3 Ways are also an exercise in the attempt to obviate the logical conclusion of infinite regress. And in this regard all three are very weak propositions. And indeed, should science indicate a fingerprint of a prime mover etc it could simply infer a deist conception at best, much less any thought for the innumerable paranoid ideations of theism extant.

The fourth Way is simply a comparator through which we attempt to extrapolate that, since we do it, there must be some supreme entity that also does it. Such a 'standards' comparator is little more than unwarranted speculation and teleological projection.

The fifth, and final Way, is the proposal for a cosmic designer, a proposal that would generally have been regarded as conventional wisdom in Aquinas's day. Today, the proposition is just a jejune and infantile attempt at smuggling a cosmic designer into the scientific and naturalistic equation.

B. Prokop said...

"Quick, call me a Catholic Taliban"

Actually,to be grammatically correct, he'd have to call you a Catholic Talib. Taliban is the plural.

Besides, by his praise for and support of the disruptors of peaceful religious services, Papalinton has already included himself amongst the Atheistic Taliban.

Cale B.T. said...

paps- "Today, the proposition is just a jejune and infantile attempt at smuggling a cosmic designer into the scientific and naturalistic equation."

I don't know about anyone else, but with regard to jejunosity, I believe in a cosmic designer, and I'm one of the most june people in all of the Russias.

BenYachov said...

Over at Feser's blog an Atheist fellow by the name of dguller is going to drive us a little crazy.

Not because like Paps he is going to spew a gaggle of ignorant nonsense. Or bore the shit out of us with senseless ridicule.

No dguller has done much of the relevant reading in classic philosophy. So he is going to ask many principled and tough questions about Thomism. He wouldn't be caught dead using the lame ass ignorant blather from the link Paps provided. In fact dguller says he has been verbally abused by Cult of the Gnu jag offs when he tried to explain Thomistic concepts to them and why their trope arguments don't fly.


Anyway what is going to drive us a little crazy is we Thomist wannabes are going to have to put up an actual fight. We are going to have to actually learn more about our Thomism to answer dguller. Sometime we might not have the answers we need right away.

In short unlike Paps who defends Atheism like Old people bump uglies. dguller will drive us a little crazy by actually legitimately challenging us.

The tragic part is Paps is too much of a lazy fuck to actually read any of it & see how it is done.

He would actually have to learn something and that might hurt his fundie brain which craves the simple minded.

Tragic.

B. Prokop said...

My own personal "5 Ways":

1. There is something rather than nothing.

2. Time had a beginning (i.e., an infinite past is a logical fallacy).

3. The existence of evil. (In a purely materialistic, naturalistic universe, everything should be as it should be.)

4. "Theseus's Ship" (I am the same person as the guy calling himself "me" 10 years ago, despite the 100% renewal of my body. Therefore, whatever makes me me is not solely material.)

5. The Resurrection (I find the evidence convincing.)

Syllabus said...

A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

Crude said...

Victor,

I thought you'd find this post by Jerry Coyne interesting. He shows a picture of an Australian muslim child (apparently) holding up a poster saying to behead all those who insult Islam, and uses it to justify Dawkins' "a religious upbringing is child abuse" charge.

Also, he takes the logical step Dawkins seems to dance around, and calls for giving a child a religious upbringing to be illegal.

Gnu morality at work!

im-skeptical said...

Ben,

I imagine that many of the astute questions posed by dguller have already been asked by others (including many atheists), because they are simply matters of logic. I think if you accept everything Aquinas says about the nature of God, and you are also a Christian, you must be in the position of denying logical inconsistencies or finding some convenient way to explain them away. I also think many have examined those same issues and decided that it isn't worth devoting their energies to trying to arrive at some resolution.

Syllabus said...

"I think if you accept everything Aquinas says about the nature of God, and you are also a Christian, you must be in the position of denying logical inconsistencies or finding some convenient way to explain them away."

Nice general statement. Can you give a specific example?

im-skeptical said...

Sure. To put it very briefly:

God is unchanging.
God is perfect.
God is pure actuality.

God must have some need or desire that is fulfilled by creating the world. So he's not perfect.

Creation is turning potentiality into actuality. This potentiality existed before the act of creation. So God is not pure actuality.

In fulfilling his need to create the world, God is changing his own state, so he's not unchanging.

B. Prokop said...

I don't follow? Why can't a perfect being have a desire? I see no inconsistency.

im-skeptical said...

Having a desire implies being unfulfilled . That is not consistent with perfection.

Crude said...

im-skeptical,

You did far better than Linton.

However, it's not quite as simple as that.

I imagine that many of the astute questions posed by dguller have already been asked by others (including many atheists), because they are simply matters of logic.

First, if I recall right, dguller - for whatever disputes I have with him - was partially convinced of several arguments in The Last Superstition, such as the need for formal/final causes with regards to understanding science.

Second, considering you personally know very little about Thomism - by your own admission, if I recall - how do you justify the claim that Thomism absolutely must have unresolvable logical inconsistencies? Because it really sounds like you're imagining and hoping rather than thinking here.

Keep in mind, Dawkins and others - including the very list referred to in this thread - are filled to the brim with mangled understandings of Aquinas Five Ways, his metaphysical claims, and his arguments in general. Considering how popular some of these mistakes are (again, if I recall right, you yourself confused the First Cause argument with Kalam), it seems far more likely that most people who think they know Aquinas' arguments based on pretty casual encounters, and think they've refuted them, actualy haven't understood them to begin with.

And note, this doesn't entail Aquinas' arguments are correct. Only that your view of them is anything but justified.

B. Prokop said...

I think this is a matter of you defining desire as outside of perfection. If so, then of course no one can argue with you. But an Argument from Definition is not very convincing to someone with a different understanding of the meaning of a particular word.

How about the concept of "perfectly desiring"?

im-skeptical said...

Crude,

Since our first discussion about Classical Theism, I have done some reading. Not that I claim to be an expert on Aquinas, but you might say I now know enough to be dangerous. The three attributes of God I mentioned above are consistent with Classical Theism, are they not? If they are, then I argue that they present logical inconsistencies.

In our previous discussion about Kalam, I don't think I confused it with the first cause argument. You might want to go back and read what I said. I was talking about whether the universe necessarily had a beginning. That would present a logical refutation of the Kalam argument.

I am unschooled in philosophy, but that doesn't imply that I am incapable of understanding or using logic.

Papalinton said...

"I think if you accept everything Aquinas says about the nature of God, and you are also a Christian, you must be in the position of denying logical inconsistencies or finding some convenient way to explain them away. I also think many have examined those same issues and decided that it isn't worth devoting their energiies to trying to arrive at some resolution."

That's it pretty much in a nutshell. There is little value in going over old ground about why it is an unproductive exercise in dragging the Five Ways into a modern contextual framework of knowledge and understanding about the world that is vastly different to that in which they were coined. And as an example of Aristotelian thought (which is all Aqiinas represents) why would one refer to Aquinas when you can go straight to the source, Aristotle?

Many of these once iconic 'pillars' of conventional wisdom of the Christian idiom are losing their lustre as religionists try their hardest to re-invent them or reinterpret them for an inceasingly knowledgeable and educated, and rightly skeptical world. Skepticism is the highest form of virtue.

im-skeptical said...

Bob,

I guess my response about desire is that desire indicates that something is lacking - something is wanted to fulfill that what you are lacking. I can't justify that as being consistent with perfection.

Crude said...

Not that I claim to be an expert on Aquinas, but you might say I now know enough to be dangerous.

I have no doubt you can accidentally hurt yourself, sure.

If they are, then I argue that they present logical inconsistencies.

No, you argued that a revelatory teaching (the creation of the world) is in conflict with those three perceived attributes of God. I provided a link which explains why it's not that simple, particularly with regards to God and creation.

But A) you make the assumption that God can only create out of imperfection or need, when that's not obvious, and B) you equivocate by thinking of God's creation as being univocal with human creation. Both trip up your response.

That shows up again here:

I guess my response about desire is that desire indicates that something is lacking - something is wanted to fulfill that what you are lacking.

Which ignores the possibilities of A) free creation out of goodness rather than need or desire, and B) the idea of such a creation itself being a perfection.

But again, you're doing better than the others in the thread. You'd do even better if you read to understand rather than attack, but really, it beats googling and pasting whatever you find just to throw something/anything out, even if you don't comprehend it.

Papalinton said...

Thanks for the invite Ben.
I think it is time to migrate to Feser's blog.

Syllabus said...

"God must have some need or desire that is fulfilled by creating the world. So he's not perfect."

I would, of course, disagree. It seems to me that perfection might very well entail the desire to spread Good around. That wouldn't make the "being" with the desire any less perfect - in fact, I would think that the desire to make other perfect - or, at the very least, good - things is, indeed, a perfection.

"Creation is turning potentiality into actuality. This potentiality existed before the act of creation. So God is not pure actuality."

From what I understand of them - and that's admittedly not a whole lot - potentiality isn't a "thing". It's a property that things have. However, I don't think that Act can likewise be said not to be a "thing" - again, in a broadly analogical sense - in the same way that potency or potentiality can. The others will no doubt correct me if I'm wrong.

"In fulfilling his need to create the world, God is changing his own state, so he's not unchanging."

You're conflating "needs" and "desires". You oughtn't do that.

ozero91 said...

God created the universe necessarily. Therefore, God requires the universe. But does that follow? I mean, picture a star in a solar system. It necessarily warms the planets in its system. But now, Imagine a star without any neighboring planets, so its heat simply radiates into the cosmos. Is the star in the second situation really "less of a star" than the one in the first situation?

Syllabus said...

"God created the universe necessarily. Therefore, God requires the universe. But does that follow?"

Maybe in process theology...

Crude said...

I think it is time to migrate to Feser's blog.

Oh wow.

And he thought he was getting his intellectual ass kicked *here*?

This is going to be epic. Bonus points if dguller, of all people, is the one who delivers the smackdown.

B. Prokop said...

Walt Whitman, as usual, said it best:

"O Thou transcendent,
Nameless, the fibre and the breath,
Light of the light, shedding forth universes, thou centre of them"

Creation is a quality of perfection.

im-skeptical said...

Crude,

I didn't see your link at first. I'm reading it now.

im-skeptical said...

"Creation is a quality of perfection."

If that's true, then creation must be eternal. In other words, God's creation must have always existed. Do we think that the world has always existed?

Syllabus said...

"If that's true, then creation must be eternal. In other words, God's creation must have always existed."

Now why on earth must that be true?

im-skeptical said...

God's creation must have always existed because otherwise, God would not always have been perfect.

im-skeptical said...

Feser: "Of course, in created things, bringing about an effect is typically associated with undergoing change oneself (e.g. for us to cause another to learn typically requires lecturing, writing, or the like as a means). But that is accidental to agency per se, something true of us only because of our status as finite, created things. We should not expect the same thing to be true of a purely actual uncaused cause of the world. Hence there is no reason to suppose that God’s creation of the world entails a change in God Himself."

The point I raised is that in fulfilling his desire or need to create the world, God changes his state from one of desire to one of fulfillment. I also think that most of us would agree that this creation did not always exist. Therefore God has changed his own state.

Syllabus said...

"The point I raised is that in fulfilling his desire or need to create the world, God changes his state from one of desire to one of fulfillment. I also think that most of us would agree that this creation did not always exist. Therefore God has changed his own state."

Aren't you assuming that God experiences time in a similar way to that in which we do?

Crude said...

I also think that most of us would agree that this creation did not always exist.

Hold on - what do you mean "us"? You reject this, last I checked, so by your own terms you have no argument against the theism outlined here.

Therefore God has changed his own state.

As Syllabus said - you're assuming that God is like a human. But that univocity is precisely what Aquinas and company denies.

Keep in mind that under Aquinas', "creation" is not a past event, something that took place once years ago. It's taking place right now - hence the First Way.

Syllabus said...

And, I'll point out, all of the Five Ways work just fine if creation is past-eternal. Aquinas didn't think it was provable that the universe was finite in the past, and so constructed his arguments under the paradigm of an eternal universe. So, even if your point were true, it would just touch creation ex nihilo, not creation as such.

im-skeptical said...

"Aren't you assuming that God experiences time in a similar way to that in which we do?"

- No, I am not assuming anything temporal.

"You reject this, last I checked"

- I argued that the cosmos need not have a beginning. But that's not what I was referring to by "this creation", which is God's creation.

"you're assuming that God is like a human"

- No, I'm not. I'm only saying that God had some kind of need to create the world, which he now fulfills by his creation.

Crude said...

im-skeptical,

I argued that the cosmos need not have a beginning. But that's not what I was referring to by "this creation", which is God's creation.

But this adds up to the same thing for your case. You're hinging your criticism on there being a change from no creation to there being a creation. If there was always 'creation', your argument - on your own terms - doesn't get off the ground.

In which case it seems, unless you have additional arguments, you've just argued yourself into theism.

No, I'm not. I'm only saying that God had some kind of need to create the world,

That's the problem. Why are you saying that God had some kind of need? If your response involves any kind of comparison to humanity and why humans create, you're doing exactly what you're being accused of.

If your claim is that creation cannot take place without there being a lack or imperfection on the part of the Creator, then you're in trouble from another angle - you've asserted this, rather than argued for it.

Syllabus said...

"No, I'm not. I'm only saying that God had some kind of need to create the world, which he now fulfills by his creation."

Having a need and having a desire are two different states of affairs. Why must God need to create the world?

"No, I am not assuming anything temporal."

Here's the thing, though. If God does not experience time in the same way as us - indeed, if He does not even experience past and future as non-real states - then saying God "changes" in the same way that we change is nonsensical. The only way I can imagine that happening is in such a way that God would have been that way, in our perspective, from eternity past (since causes and effects can be simultaneous, and do not have to be temporally ordered). We really can't use the same definitions with God that we do with respect to us.

Syllabus said...

And I'm not for an instant saying that God can change, only imagining that He can for the sake of the argument.

Crude said...

I'd add that WLC, contra Feser, does believe that God can change explicitly - and notice that doesn't disprove God's existence for WLC, or even that God 'desired' (I believe). I think the difference may be that WLC regards God not as perfect of 'maximal'.

im-skeptical said...

Here's a little story - The Story of God.

I'm sitting here in the void and everything's cool. I am all there is. I am in my own presence and it is awesome, because I couldn't be any better. I am perfect. I have nothing, and I don't want or need anything because I am completely fulfilled in my divinely simple perfection. Everything's cool. I think I'll make the universe.

Crude said...

Here's a little story - The Story of God.

Your story immediately devolves into temporality and worse ("I am sitting in the void.") And it's helping to illustrate precisely the problems people are bringing up to you - your problem seems to stem from your regarding God as just another being, or worse, just another human being.

What you're going to need to do is give an argument about why creation necessitates desire or imperfection. If you can't do that, that's it.

If you feel strongly about it but you can't put it into an argument, go ahead and say that. If you say it's an intuition, great - it's an intuition. But so far, all you've done is insist that one cannot create without being imperfect or filling a need, and when we point out the problems or ask for an argument, you just repeat it again.

ozero91 said...

im-skeptical,

I chuckled, nicely done. But are you familiar with the doctrine of analogy? I think it might cause some issues with the Story. Also, the last line should be "I've always known I would create the universe."

Though the current problem with the doctrine of divine simplicity is that it clashes with God's free will. I think the challenge is to see if the two can be coherently bridged.

ozero91 said...

"Thanks for the invite Ben.
I think it is time to migrate to Feser's blog."

Hey Ben? Don't be surprised if Feser reaches through the computer and smacks you across the face.

rank sophist said...

Though the current problem with the doctrine of divine simplicity is that it clashes with God's free will. I think the challenge is to see if the two can be coherently bridged.

I noticed your comment above about that.

God created the universe necessarily. Therefore, God requires the universe.

God did not create the universe necessarily--that sounds like Platonism. If he did create it necessarily, then he would require the universe.

To say that X does Y from eternity is not to say that X does Y necessarily. Aquinas is very clear that God has free will, and that what he has done has not been a matter of necessity. The exact details of this would have to be spelled out in a more complicated form, but suffice it to say that God did not create the universe necessarily.

Anthony Fleming said...

Papalinton, you still ignore, or cannot understand, my points. That's ok, I understand you do not have free will to do so.

Ben, dguller does have some good questions. I just LOVE IT when there is some REAL questions and dialog that get to the real heart of the issue.

BenYachov said...

>This is going to be epic. Bonus points if dguller, of all people, is the one who delivers the smackdown.

>Hey Ben? Don't be surprised if Feser reaches through the computer and smacks you across the face.

I didn't invite him to Feser's blog. I exorted him to read & learn some intelligent argument for once in his life. I know it's in vain but I can hope.

Besides Feser has an open comments box & Paps would have to not only argue with the regulars who would eat him alive but he would have to compete with other gnus to even be noticed. Considering what an attention whore he is that would drive him crazy.

dguller said...

As I posted at Feser's:

And guys, as for me responding to Papalinton, neither in my professional medical career nor in my personal life do I ever deal with Pap smears.