July 8, 2020

The Council

Proclaiming the truth to the world.

I engaged in a conversation with Will Duffy in regards to issues regarding whether the God of classical theism shares common traits with idols. Here is an edited form of the conversation:

Will Duffy:

A stone idol cannot sin. It cannot have emotion. And it really can’t change. This means impeccability, impassibility, and immutability are the attributes of a stone idol. I personally believe these are not representative of the God of the Bible.

How is a stone idol like the God I worship?

TheSire:

 They change, they are material, they are temporal.

Will Duffy:

Where do I say God is material?

TheSire:

Well, the Bible talks about God walking, talking, eating, etc. I just assumed that you would affirm God is material.

Will Duffy:

That’s called a straw man. I’ve never said that. BTW, Jesus was material. Do you deny that Jesus was material? Or do you deny that He is God?

TheSire:

Jesus is material/Incorporeal. I’m not a materialist. Humans have souls and bodies.

Will Duffy:

Okay, so you agree God (via Jesus) is material. That makes four things your God has in common with a stone idol.

TheSire:

“Okay, so you agree God (via Jesus) is material. That makes four things your God has in common with a stone idol.”

Well, even if I pretend this argument is successful. It still leaves your view of God closer to idols. If God is material, because the Son incarnate is material, then it seems like your argument has proven my point. Unless you’re confusing natures again:

http://spirited-tech.com/Council/index.php/2020/06/12/duffy-on-the-incarnation/

Will Duffy:

Your God: 1. Impeccable 2. Immutable 3. Impassible 4. Material

My God: 1. Temporal 2. Material

TheSire:

“Your God: 1. Impeccable 2. Immutable 3. Impassible 4. Material
My God: 1. Temporal”

My God: Creator/Creature distinction

Your God: Temporal, Changing, Composed of parts, not a se, doesn’t possess future knowledge, and material.

Will Duffy:

Straw man, straw man, straw man. I believe God is creator too.

TheSire:

So, where was my strawman? Where did I deny that you think God was a creator on your view? Even though that might be an implication of your thought that you don’t believe.

Will Duffy:

Composed of parts – straw man. Not a se – straw man. Doesn’t possess future knowledge – non sequitur (rocks are not sentient)

Finney:

I think this whole framework of analogy to idols to discuss the concepts of impossibility, immutability, et. al., is severely limiting. God is like an idol in some respects (they both exist, for example) and not like an idol in many other significant respects (one is worthy of worship, for example). I don’t think the OP sets us up for a good discussion of these issues. I would suggest just starting with impassibility and looking at relevant scriptures. Analogies are just question-begging to use in these sorts of arguments. But I don’t mean to be argument-nanny. I’ll leave you two to it

TheSire:

Firstly, my question is what actually is your view of God?
How can God be a se on your view? God is subject to the laws of the created order. If God is and has always been temporal, for example, he would then be subject to the various rules that regulate objects that go through time.

Secondly, I assume that God on your view is composed of parts. This seems to entail God is dependent upon a group of some properties.

Third, if you’re position is that God doesn’t know the future, then I’m not sure if you can reject consistently the idea that God is in someway material. Appealing to theophanies seems to be an unjustifiable move for classical theists, why grant it to Open Theists?

Fourthly, I agree with Finney Raju on this issue, but I’m willing to argue by your own argument your position fails.

Fifthly, if rocks(idols) can’t sin, then why is impeccability a valid similarity for God on my view and idols, but not knowing the future isn’t for your view?

Will Duffy:

Let’s start with aseity. Time is not created, nor part of the created order. Time is an aspect of reality and merely describes God’s existence. God exists in an eternal duration, therefore reality is an eternal duration. Claiming time is part of the created order is like claiming the laws of logic are part of the created order. Doesn’t work.

Upon careful analysis, it’s actually your view of God that denies aseity. Because you believe that exhaustive foreknowledge is an essential attribute of God. Which means you do not believe God could exist without knowledge of you. And so in your view God cannot exist without you.

TheSire:

“Let’s start with aseity. Time is not created, nor part of the created order. Time is an aspect of reality and merely describes God’s existence.”

So, when we participate in “time” we are participating in God’s existence? Doesn’t make much sense to me. Are humans not temporal? It describes God but not the world?

” God exists in an eternal duration, therefore reality is an eternal duration. Claiming time is part of the created order is like claiming the laws of logic are part of the created order. Doesn’t work. “

Some people think laws of logic are a part of the created order or are human conventions. Others will place them as Divine thoughts.

“Upon careful analysis, it’s actually your view of God that denies aseity. Because you believe that exhaustive foreknowledge is an essential attribute of God. Which means you do not believe God could exist without knowledge of you. And so in your view God cannot exist without you.”

Sure, an omniscient God couldn’t exist if he didn’t know something that was able to be known. That seems to be consistent with aseity. God wouldn’t be what he is and that seems incoherent to me, but that hits back at your own position in two ways. Aspects of God are dependent upon the world and God’s being changed in the light of this relationship. So, the qualities of God are dependent upon the world. The difference is God’s foreknowledge isn’t dependent upon us ( external existing things) but rather God has an idea of us which God knows in and of himself. On your view, God needs the world to know certain things and in my view he only needs himself. Secondly, God on your own view can’t exist without his essential properties. So, I think it would be difficult to argue this in a meaningful way.

Will Duffy:

You’ve just denied aseity. You agree that God is not self-sufficient (which is at the heart of aseity) in that He can’t exist without knowledge of you. I affirm aseity, in that God is truly self-sufficient and existed without me or any other human for that matter.

Your point that God can’t exist if He doesn’t know something able to be known is not true at all. Not even sure how you would substantiate that.

TheSire:

“You’ve just denied aseity. You agree that God is not self-sufficient (which is at the heart of aseity) in that He can’t exist without knowledge of you. I affirm aseity, in that God is truly self-sufficient and existed without me or any other human for that matter.”

I also reconciled that issue. I also made counterarguments against your position showing that it has self-defeating standards and an explanation of why your views suffer from the issue, even with my clarifications in mind.

“Your point that God can’t exist if He doesn’t know something able to be known is not true at all. Not even sure how you would substantiate that.”

An omniscient God necessarily knows everything.

Will Duffy:

You haven’t reconciled the issue. Aseity means God is solely self-sufficient. If He must have knowledge of you in order to be God, He is no longer self-sufficient. This literally denies the foundation of aseity.

As to omniscience, my definition and yours are different. I define omniscience as God knows all things knowable that He wants to know. In my definition, an omniscient God can know all things without knowing me. So I can affirm aseity.

TheSire:

I explained God isn’t dependent upon any external thing. So, I’ve explained it sufficiently. You need to explain how my idea fails.

Omniscience Would entail God knows anything that is knowable from a divine perspective. Given my definition, what I said follows. You’re free to make up your own view but the concepts I’ve presented are clear. Your point is semantics and not really essential.

Will Duffy:

I’m not certain you understand aseity. Especially when you say “aspects and qualities of God are dependent on the world”. That’s the antithesis of aseity.

My view of aseity is that God’s existence was completely self-sufficient. He didn’t need to create. He didn’t need knowledge of a hypothetical creation. He didn’t need me. That’s true aseity.

TheSire:

 “Especially when you say “aspects and qualities of God are dependent on the world”. That’s the antithesis of aseity.”

I’m saying this is the consequence of your position.

Will Duffy:

My position is that God was completely self-sufficient. He didn’t need to create anything. He didn’t need knowledge of a hypothetical creation. And He surely didn’t need me or you. That’s true aseity.

TheSire:

Duffy God on your view is dependent upon time and matter. I’ve pointed out how your position is refuted by your own arguments.

God didn’t create the matter or time that defines him. So, I’ve never said in your view he had to create. Unless he wanted to know the future of some possible world.

Implications are not identical to beliefs

Will Duffy:

I feel like you are intentionally misrepresenting me. God is not dependent upon matter. I’ve said repeatedly that since I hold to true aseity, that means God did not have to create. So God is in no way dependent upon matter.

In terms of time, time doesn’t exist. It can’t be created, as it doesn’t exist. We use the term “time” to describe reality. But time is not a thing.

TheSire:

If God is made of matter then he’s dependent upon the materials that make him up and the relations they have.

What part of reality does time describe?

Will Duffy:

I’m done here. I never said God is made of matter. This is getting ridiculous.

TheSire:

A tale of two Duffy’s:

“I’m done here. I never said God is made of matter. This is getting ridiculous. “

“That’s called a straw man. I’ve never said that. BTW, Jesus was material. Do you deny that Jesus was material? Or do you deny that He is God? “

Will Duffy:

You posted that I think God is made of matter directly after I said God did not have to create. We were talking about God prior to creation. Not Jesus on earth.

TheSire:

It seems like you earlier argued God must be material or I had to reject the incarnation.

But that doesn’t answer the question of what time describes. I think time is a part of the created order. Either it’s created or it is identical to God.

Either way, God on your view possesses some quality of being temporal which is possessed by multiple things. This implies some universal stands over God and defines him. Which is clearly not possible if he’s a se. God would just be self-defined. Nothing else would make explain his being. Aseity means more than God being self-sufficient (like everlasting existence). It means God’s the ultimate reality. Nothing explains him other than himself.