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Thursday, August 23, 2018

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If God is beyond being in the radical sense suggested, then in what way is he different from nothing - non-entity? I maintain that if God is beyond being, then there is no such distinction, and God therefore becomes identical to non-entity.

Indeed, the only thing "beyond being" would be that which had no being, which did not have any "isness" about it whatsoever. But anything that is, that exists, must be. Therefore it must possess being. The only thing that could lack all "is" whatsoever is that which is-not. That is, to fully negate "is" is identical to affirm "is-not." Thus, whatever is beyond being is beyond existence - i.e. does not exist.

How can one say "God IS" if the word "is" cannot apply to him? But if one cannot say "God is" how can one say, or even think, that God exists?

It is like Kant's division of the noumenal and phenomenal world. If literally everything we can say applies only to the phenomenal world and not the noumenal, we don't even have a right to say the noumenal world exists. If you can say nothing at all about a thing, you certainly can't say that that thing has the most important property you can predicate of it: namely existence itself.

Also, there is the glaring problem that you raised Bill in your criticism of Hugh McCann's Creation and the Sovereignty of God. Namely, if God transcends even modality, we have no way of saying he accounts for the world. For God to account for the world would mean that the world depends on God, which is to say that the world is contingent. But if the world is contingent, then God must be necessary, else the distinction between God and the world collapses. I won't rehash your whole criticism here, nor the three points you bring up at the end of that paper which nicely articulate the problem in saying God transcends modality. I will simply say that, for God to cause the world - and if we cannot say God causes the world we have no right to think he exists at all - then, as you say, "we must have a God who is necessary, and a world that is contingent."

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