Tuesday, May 02, 2006

God & Creation

Blake Ostler argues the classical concept of the creation of the cosmos:

  1. If God possess aseity [self-existence] and exists, then he is not dependent on anything nor lacking in any conceivable manner (i.e., God is self-sufficient).
  2. A self-sufficient being cannot manifest a need nor be enhanced by any action (1).
  3. Every positive action requires an explanation sufficient to account for it (Criteria of Sufficient Reason).
  4. Creation of the cosmos is a positive action.
  5. A self-sufficient being could not manifest a reason sufficient to explain why it preferred existence of the cosmos to its nonexistence (1,2).
  6. Hence, God did not create the cosmos (3,4,5). (Beckwith 8-9)
While this arguement is interesting, I think there are some gaps in its logic. I can agree completely with Assertion 1; if the nature of God is omnipotent, then he needs or wants nothing. However, Assertion 2 intends to limit God's omnipotence by saying that he "cannot manifest a need." This is the schoolyard philosopher's question "Can God make a rock so heavy even He can't move it?" If the answer is yes, then God isn't all-powerful, he can't even move a rock. If the answer is no, then God still isn't all-powerful, he can't even create a rock. Quite a conundrum.

This arguement falls into the realm of the moot, though. Being all-powerful precludes need, want, action, and enhancement. The assertion that God cannot manifest a need nor be enhanced by any action only seems to contradict omnipotence because that is the only way that limited human language can express limitless power. The arguement is mostly syntactical.

Assertion 3 seems ludicrous. There is no logical reason for why such a required explanation should exist to account for a positive action (or for a negative action, for that matter). I believe this assertion means to say that God must have had a reason for creating everything, but that, again, is projecting human reasoning onto a being of limitless power. As the Assertion 1 states, God doesn't need anything, let alone a reason for creation.

Assertion 4 is just stupid. I'll give Mr. Douglas Adams the credit for an excellent rebuttal: "In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move."

As I said for Assertion 2, the flaw of Assertion 5 is that it relies on limited human syntax to describe concepts that are limitless.

Assertion 6, while a derivative of faulty logic, is the most intriguing assertion of them all. Because if God did not create the cosmos, who did? It boggles the mind!

Works Cited
  • Adams, Douglas. The Restaurant At the End of the Universe. New York: Pocket, 1982.
  • Beckwith, Francis J., and Stephen E. Parrish. The Mormon Concept of God. Lewiston: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1991.

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2 comments:

  1. If you think that's mind boggling...try having children...

    ReplyDelete
  2. One of the most awesome things I've seen you write. You can take this topic way deeper, too.

    Question, though: why is your non-Adams source Mormon? Just curious.

    ReplyDelete

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