• **
  • 15 Posts
    • View Profile
Personhood of God and the Principle of Analogy
« on: March 01, 2012, 03:48:10 pm »
This is a discussion of Norman Geisler, not WLC, but I'll ask it here anyway (since you're all such bright folk )

In the Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Norman Geisler argues (s.v. "First Principles") that Necessary Being must be personal, rational, and moral, since (1) we as contingent beings are personal, rational, and moral; and (2) we are similar to Necessary Being by the Principle of Analogy, which requires that the effect resemble the cause in some way (and, inversely, that the cause cannot pass on to the effect a property which the cause does not itself possess).

I follow Geisler so far, but what I can't figure out is how this relates to the issue of material physicality. If  (a) The Cause cannot pass on a property which it does not possess; and (b) we possess the property of material physicality (i.e. we are physical beings); does that mean that (c) God must possess physical being?  (The panentheists are probably saying "Exactly!" at this point).

As Christians, we deny that God is material (besides, that would create a whole new load of problems with the non-eternity of matter). I also know that the Principle of Analogy that Geisler uses recognizes that effects are both similar AND different from their causes; so nobody's suggesting that God and Creation have to correspond exactly on every property.

What I can't figure out is this: Why does the principle of analogy apply to the qualities of personality, rationality, and morality, but not to the quality of material physicality?

Any thoughts??



  • **
  • 475 Posts
    • View Profile
Re: Personhood of God and the Principle of Analogy
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2020, 07:52:09 am »
The principle of analogy does NOT apply to the qualities of personality, rationality and morality, or to the quality of material physicality. All this is coming from a faulty idea about the Creator as well as the nature of the act of creation, and of course the Bible said nothing about the soul, and no soul has risen high enough to see itself or wonder about it.

To create a soul, God must be able to grasp and mold spirit, imbuing it with properties and ensuring its long-term continuance. There is absolutely no reason why the soul would need to reflect even one of God’s properties, because the souls do not share in God’s Being. You just need to look at a potter, whose pots share none of his properties because he has grasped something external to himself, and molded it in a way it could be molded.

There is a rumor in the East, and Catholics stumble upon this vaguely although most Christians deny it, that the soul has an Atman or divine core bestowed by God. Once this core is realized, after the dross of the “ego” has been burnt away, the person exhibits divine qualities, growing akin to God in a general sense. If so this was the Creator’s Will and choice, not something inherent to the process of creation. God made, He didn’t share.

The argument here suffers from a weak notion about the nature of causation. It presumes an organic connection, rather than allowing for the operation of intelligence on dissimilar items. Humans every day are manufacturing things that have properties they do not possess, and which regarded as effects do not resemble their causes. Just walk into any factory. It’s a false abstraction, words that seem right at first but that are shown wrong by example. The key is an independent mind can think of and make what is not like itself.

To push things a little farther here, in the long run the angels find their created nature pushes them into regions which are not imitation of the Lord. God created their souls, as they can witness, but to maximize this gift pushes them in directions contrary to the Creator Himself. To put it another way, God is so different that the creatures would be crippled trying to emulate Him. Angels must be maximized angels. The Lord watches and sees that they are not Lords. He accepts them as friends, agreed to basic principles.