Tripp

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Divine Simplicity but Conceptual Complexity?
« Reply #15 on: October 20, 2007, 07:25:54 pm »
Good evening!

I saw that the discussion was on the Thomistic view and I thought I'd throw in some food for thought.  I actually have some problems myself with the Thomistic notion that God Himself constitutes pure actuality.  Consider, for example, God's omnipotence.  The word literally means "omni-pontentiality" and itself implies potentiality in God's being.  Also, God's status as an infinite being, if held simultaneously with pure actuality, would make God an incoherent concept since He would contitute an actual infinite.  Thirdly, God's personhood implies contingency in God's being.  If God has free will and is capable of exercising volitions, this means that God can either choose to engage or refrain from a particular act, implying contingency.  Fourthly, the only way that the Thomist can hold to this view consistently would be to affirm a B-theory or static view of time, since pure actuality neccesitates that God be absent from any temporal duration.  But if God's act of, say, parting the Red Sea is earlier than God's act of raising Jesus from the dead, then this means that God is in time if the A-theory is correct.  These argument could be developed futher but I think enough has been said about why I find God being identical with pure actuality to be incoherent.  If anyone feels that I may be jumping the gun on some of these issues I would love to here your feedback!

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Shabi

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Divine Simplicity but Conceptual Complexity?
« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2007, 01:34:45 pm »

Hi Tripp,

I think you are asking interesting questions, but it somehow seems to me they have probably been addresses one way or another on the prevailing theistic literature (even though I don't know the answers). Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Anyway, for me the Thomistic view about the relationship between Substance and Forms (or properties) sounds to be both compatible with God's being simple and more intuitive in general than the neo-Platonic views like those of Frege or Plantinga. But nevertheless I'm bothered how one is about to answer Plantinga's objection (appears on his "Warrant and Proper Function") according to which proposition must be abstract entities (or at least exist outside human minds) to which he give an argument like the following: At the times before the human race became to exist it was true that "there is no human being" and therefore the proposition that no human being exists had some property (of being true) but nothing can have a property when it doesn't exist.


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Tripp

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Divine Simplicity but Conceptual Complexity?
« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2007, 04:09:28 pm »

To be honest, I haven't yet read Plantinga's or Frege's views on their neo-Plantonism.  I'm not a universal realist of any sorts, but a conceptualist.  I would agree with you that to claim that a nonexistant entity has existant properties would be absurd.  My arguments above against Thomism are entirely my own and it my be true that they have been explored by other writers without my knowledge.  I'd love to have a debate with a Thomist where we can discuss them.


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CATO

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Divine Simplicity but Conceptual Complexity?
« Reply #18 on: October 29, 2007, 06:05:20 am »

Tripp wrote:
Consider, for example, God's omnipotence.  The word literally means "omni-pontentiality" and itself implies potentiality in God's being.


I don't know much about the thread but I just wanted to say that the word Omnipotence means all powerful
(Omni, meaning all, and potens, meaning powerful)




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Tripp

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Divine Simplicity but Conceptual Complexity?
« Reply #19 on: October 29, 2007, 12:58:25 pm »


I don't know much about the thread but I just wanted to say that the word Omnipotence means all powerful
(Omni, meaning all, and potens, meaning powerful)

Hmmm.  I thought it meant omni-potent, as in potency.

But as you well noted, it does mean all-powerful.

But then what does it mean exactly to be "powerful"?



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CATO

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Divine Simplicity but Conceptual Complexity?
« Reply #20 on: October 30, 2007, 09:16:38 am »

Tripp wrote:

I don't know much about the thread but I just wanted to say that the word Omnipotence means all powerful
(Omni, meaning all, and potens, meaning powerful)

Hmmm.  I thought it meant omni-potent, as in potency.

But as you well noted, it does mean all-powerful.

But then what does it mean exactly to be "powerful"?



It means that God has the ability to do all His Holy Will.

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Tripp

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Divine Simplicity but Conceptual Complexity?
« Reply #21 on: October 30, 2007, 06:47:44 pm »

But then wouldn't ablity mean "capable of doing?"


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CATO

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Divine Simplicity but Conceptual Complexity?
« Reply #22 on: October 31, 2007, 08:51:15 am »

Why do you think that is an important difference?


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CATO

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Divine Simplicity but Conceptual Complexity?
« Reply #23 on: October 31, 2007, 08:59:46 am »

Ah I think I understand what your saying, are you saying that the definition 'all -pontentiality' is still a valid definition? In a sense it is, but it is only part of the meaning of omnipotence. Also, the defintion dosen't include the part 'all His Holy will'. Wow! I need to look more into omnipotence! :-)


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CATO

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Divine Simplicity but Conceptual Complexity?
« Reply #24 on: October 31, 2007, 09:04:34 am »
Also,
about what this thread was really on. I think how complex the human body is and how the bible says 'we are made in the Image of God'. Of course God would be complex because He is infinite.

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Tripp

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Divine Simplicity but Conceptual Complexity?
« Reply #25 on: November 01, 2007, 01:36:12 pm »

God wouldn't neccesarily have to be complex because of His infinity.  I don't believe neccesarily in the Thomist doctrine of simplicity, but God need not be that complex.  For example, William Alston argued a long while back that God's omniscience does not constitute an actual infinite in that He knows an actually infinite number of propositions, but a potential infinite only.  God posseses all of His knowledge in one single intuition and what we as human beings do is break up parts of God's knowledge up into propositions for our finite minds. A process that if one could continue to do forever.


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CATO

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Divine Simplicity but Conceptual Complexity?
« Reply #26 on: November 04, 2007, 01:49:09 pm »
"God wouldn't neccesarily have to be complex because of His infinity"


Why do you think not?

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demurph

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Divine Simplicity but Conceptual Complexity?
« Reply #27 on: November 04, 2007, 10:00:42 pm »

CATO wrote: "God wouldn't neccesarily have to be complex because of His infinity"


Why do you think not?

    I didn't say this original quote, but, it's simply because God's infinity is a qualitative infinity, rather than a quantitative infinity.  God is one unified thing that has a finite number of infinite qualities.


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wwatts

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Divine Simplicity but Conceptual Complexity?
« Reply #28 on: November 14, 2007, 02:57:44 pm »
I'd like to point out that I believe infinite can mean "made up of a non countable discrete parts' *or* it can used as non-finite meaning 'not made up of any discrete parts.'  I think in the latter definition you have the option to draw arbitrary boundaries concerning the non-finite space for whatever reason you choose.

I know I have seen WLC specifically spell out non-finite in some discussions (I think with Quentin Smith).


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CATO

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Divine Simplicity but Conceptual Complexity?
« Reply #29 on: November 20, 2007, 04:15:49 pm »
God is infinite. Therefore, he has a infinite amount of infinitiness (like my new word :-) ) anyways, He is infinite so it would make sense that we, being finite, could not comprehend His infinity. Therefore, to categorize into have a finite amount of infinity (what you said) ls putting God into a finite man's box. God should not be limited because of man's finite understanding