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Thursday, September 20, 2018

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I agree that Thomism has no answer for this except by equivocation on the meanings of "contingent" and "necessary" and by the spurious appeal to the distinction between absolute and hypothetical necessity.

But, you're assuming the act of creation (which is identical to God's essence according to simplicity) entails what is created. Put another way, you're assuming that "God created X" has additional informational content beyond "God exists", "X exists", and "X is ontologically dependent upon God".

Yes, I am assuming that God's creating of x entails the existence of x. Now entailment is a modal notion. So if God creates x, then it is impossible that x not exist.

How could divine creation NOT entail existence? God creates things by willing them into existence *ex nihilo.* God's will cannot fail to be efficacious. (This follows from the divine omnipotence.)

So I am having some trouble understanding your point.

Perhaps what you mean is that if God creates a universe he does not merely cause there to be some universe or other, but a particular universe distinguished from all possible others by its unique set of properties. Well, yes. What's the problem? God cannot will a universe to come into being without willing a particular universe with a complete set of properties to come into being.

Let U1, U2, U3 . . . Un be particular possible universes. And take 'x' as a free variable in 'God creates x.' Then 'God creates U1' is a substitution instance of the open sentence or sentential function 'God creates x.' I grant you that 'God creates U1' "has additional informational content" beyond that contained in 'God creates x,' if 'x' is a variable.

But so what? God cannot create a universe in general; he can only create particular universes.

What am I missing?

God's act of creation is identical to His existence, which is identical to His essence, under Divine simplicity. Thus, if His existence does not entail X, then neither can His act of creation.

Now granted "God's creation of X" does entail X, and there can be no intrinsic difference in God between "God's act of creation" and "God's creation of X", according to Divine simplicity. So, if "God's creation of X" is an intrinsic property of God, then X exists necessarily (the modal collapse). However, the other possibility is that "God's creation of X" doesn't refer to anything in God beyond His essence, and is in reality merely equivalent to the conjunction of "God exists" and "X exists".

To argue for the second possibility, I'd point out that "God's creation of Y" is identical to "God's creation of X" under Divine simplicity. Yet the latter entails X while the former does not.

In short, I am saying the following is an aporetic triad.

1. God is simple.
2. The actual world is not the only possible world.
3. Divine causality is determinative.

>>"God's creation of Y" is identical to "God's creation of X" under Divine simplicity.<< Yes.

>>Yet the latter entails X while the former does not.<< No. X = Y on divine simplicity.

Finally, at 4:53, you make yourself clear.

Those three propositions cannot all be true. Given that (3) is obvious and will be granted by all, we have three options:

a) Reject the divine simplicity, or
b) Accept modal collapse, or
c) Insist that all three propositions are true despite their apparent inconsistency.

What one cannot do is maintain that (1) is consistent with (2).

Posting this here only because I cannot find an email address for you on the blog page, and I occasionally want to drop you a note of thanks or comment.
I just like that you pour so much into this, and the content quality seems very high to me. Check in daily.
When I saw the post about Dion, I knew I had to write again. I like that guy a lot.
Have been reading a lot of Voegelin lately and have not seen much from you about him, though what I have seen has been very positive.
I'll keep it short. No idea if you'll see this.

Thanks for the kind words, Mark.

Go to the right sideboard. and click on About (near the top).

That's Ayer and Russell in the photo provided, not Copleston and Russell.

Hi, Bill. Thank you for interacting with my series on Aquinas.

One of my readers was inspired enough by your posting to take a stab at a refutation. You may want to take a look at it: https://afkimel.wordpress.com/2018/09/25/on-the-putative-threat-of-modal-collapse-within-the-doctrine-of-divine-simplicity/

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