« Saturday Night at the Oldies: Varia | Main | Bloomberg Blames the Victim! »

Sunday, March 01, 2020

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

The question is whether whatever God wills, he wills necessarily. If so, then God's willing creatures into existence is a necessary willing despite the creatures being contingent.

If God is both eternal (Psalm 33:11; 90:2) and immutable (Malachi 3:6; James 1:17), as Scripture plainly teaches, then it necessarily follows that His will to create the world in which we live was necessary or non-contingent. Thus, in this sense, God’s creatures are not modally contingent or “possible to be and possible not to be.”

If God exists in every possible world, and God is identical to his willing creatures in every possible world, then creatures exist in every possible world -- which contradicts our assumption that creatures are contingent, i.e., existent in some but not all possible worlds.

But God doesn’t exist “in every possible world,” since the only possible world is the actual world that He has eternally and immutably willed to exist. Thus, the assumption that creatures are “existent in some but not all possible worlds” is a mistaken assumption. Creatures are only contingent in the ontological sense (i.e., not eternal, self-subsistent, etc.).

Thanks for the comment, Roger.

I agree with your first comment if divine simplicity is an entailment of God's eternity and immutability. The entailment, I think, needs to be explicitly argued for.

Your second comment appears to betray a confusion between 'world' as this term is used in the 'possible worlds' semantics of modal discourse and concrete universe. 'God exists in every possible world' unpacks 'God is a necessary being.'

Now suppose there is only one possible world. Then that world would be both actual and necessary. If God exists in every possible world, then of course he exists in that world.

You seem to be maintaining that, no matter how things might have been, creatures would have existed. But that is not classical theism. On the latter, God could not have failed to exist, but he could have existed without creating anything.

My thesis is that Aquinas hasn't solved the problem. The problem, again, is to render intelligible how a God who wills what he wills necessarily can have creatures that are merely (modally) contingent. Either God is simple, in which case creatures are necessary; or creatures are contingent in which case God is not simple. It's as 'simple' as that! Either way classical theism is in trouble.

I agree with your first comment if divine simplicity is an entailment of God's eternity and immutability. The entailment, I think, needs to be explicitly argued for.

If by “divine simplicity” you mean the identity of God’s nature with each of His properties, I fail to see how that is relevant. Scripture clearly teaches that God is eternal and His will immutable. Thus, it necessarily follows that He has always willed to create the actual world in which we live and there was never any possibility that He willed to create something else. That logically follows whether or not God’s nature is simple or a complex of distinct properties.

You seem to be maintaining that, no matter how things might have been, creatures would have existed. But that is not classical theism. On the latter, God could not have failed to exist, but he could have existed without creating anything.

I believe classical theism is correct on the first point and wrong on the second. God could not have failed to exist because He is eternal – “Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God” (Psalm 90:2). But the speculative notion that God “could have existed without creating anything” contradicts the scriptural teaching that His will is immutable. If God is eternal and His will immutable, it necessarily follows He has always willed to create the actual world in which we live and there was never any possibility that He willed to create an alternate reality. If He could have willed an alternate reality, then His will would not in fact be immutable.

The problem, again, is to render intelligible how a God who wills what he wills necessarily can have creatures that are merely (modally) contingent. Either God is simple, in which case creatures are necessary; or creatures are contingent in which case God is not simple. It's as 'simple' as that! Either way classical theism is in trouble.

Again, I don’t believe the doctrine of divine simplicity is relevant. Since God is eternal and His will immutable, it necessarily follows that His will to create the world in which we live was necessary or non-contingent. This is true whether or not His nature is simple or a complex of distinct attributes. Therefore, God’s creatures are not modally contingent (“possible to be and possible not to be”), but only contingent in the ontological sense (“not eternal, self-subsistent, etc.”).

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo
Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 10/2008

Categories

Categories

April 2020

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30    
Blog powered by Typepad