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Thursday, June 18, 2015


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I always understand something like ''God+World=God'' as axiological, not ontological question. My reading is that God plus Creation is not more worthwhile than God alone, greater or with some additional moral value. From axiological reading, in my opinion, we can pose a question why God create anything at all?

"... there is no totality of a se existents that has both God and creatures in it."

This makes sense to me at this point.

Suppose (a) all beings have Being in the same way, (b) Being = the having of properties, and (c) properties are possessed via exemplification or as metaphysical proper parts.

On a-c, all beings have properties via exemplification or as proper parts. But if all beings have properties this way, then God does too. Thus, God has properties this way.

However, if God has properties this way, then God is a dependent being because he depends on universals or on proper parts. But God is not a dependent being. God is *a se.* So God doesn't have properties this way. Thus, God has properties in a different way. God has Being in a different way.

So there is more than one way to have properties. There is more than one way to have Being.


The ontological reading implies your axiological reading. You are right, that question can be posed: if the world does not increase total value, then what reason would God have to create?


Right! God's way of having Being is by being Being. God's way of having properties is by being them. As Augustine puts it, God is what he has.

But now we are hard by the boundary of the Sayable.

Bill, is Allen's statement "The world plus God is not more than God alone. God less the world is not less than God alone" identical in meaning to ''God+World=God"? It's not clear to me that it is. The latter statement appears to deny the reality of the world in a way that the former statement does not.

Your comments remind me of a paper by David Bentley Hart, "The Mirror of the Infinite: Gregory of Nyssa on the Vestigia Trinitatis", published in a 2002 issue of Modern Theology. Hart is here concerned with Gregory of Nyssa's "speculative" conception of God -- "speculative" not in the sense of a conceptual abstraction, but in the sense that God creates and bestows being only by "speculating" or reflecting his own light and delight. Creation, too, in this play of mirrors is a "specular economy" as it is "constituted as simply another inflection of an infinite light... Creation is only as the answer of light to light." (The quotations are from Hart.)

Thank you, N.N. I should read that paper.

Fr. Kimel,

I would say that Allen's statement and my paraphrase are identical in meaning. Both pose the problem, seen quite clearly by Gilson (whom I quoted earlier --click on the Gilson image at the bottom of my entry)of explaining how the creaturely realm can have any reality at all given that God is Being itself.

The solution, think, has to be via a doctrine of modes of Being as I suggest above.

If God is "wholly (holy?) other", as has been conjectured by philosophers of note, I submit that His essence can not be fully grasped by the human mind (by definition). Therefore, humans are incapable of reasonably contemplating (philosophically, mathematically, scientifically, or any other form of "-ically" that the human mind can contrive) the issues being discussed herein.

How can it be otherwise?


Suppose we call Creation 'before' it is made manifest a collection of ideas in the mind of God? (This is a rug under which one could sweep universals, another topic of interest to you, being His plans so to speak.)

Analogize with human beings. The ideas in a man's mind, in particular those he has in creative insight (or gotten from others, which is not relevant here) are more than himself, yet they are part of him. They are not distinct from him *in reale*; yet they are at least in humans something additional. A man is different the different ideas he holds, and especially holds *to*: a man whose mind is filled with violent fantasies is a different man than if filled with utopian ones, and different again from the same one with prudent, productive ideas. For us creaturely minds, our purpose in having such ideas is 'to increase our loves' as Barfield puts it somewhere. Perhaps this just is a loose way to agree with your modes-of-being talk.

Hm, and yet:
There seems in the formulation you give a pretty straightforward equivocation on 'God' on the left and right hand of the equation: because we are presumptive deniers of pantheism, no? At least in this crowd. If we're just using the equation as a slogan, no problem; but I don't yet understand how it can really be aporetic except when uttered by a sophist looking to 'get' his audience. The serious pantheist doesn't need the slogan.


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