Friday, 22 February 2013

Does God constrain-himself, of is God constrained-by reality?

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There seems to be a choice between a God who constrains-himself; and a God who is constrained-by reality.

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These two set-ups would generate identical observable phenomena - so the choice between is metaphysical.

And there is a big difference!

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A God who chooses not to 'lift a finger' to alleviate suffering is a very different proposition from a God would tries his hardest to alleviate that suffering, but is (at least for the time being) thwarted by some intervening factor.

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Both views have uncomfortable consequences.


If God is omnipotent he is responsible for everything; if an omnipotent God is good then everything is good, ultimately; including the worst thing you can imagine - and something worse than you can imagine.

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If God is not omnipotent, then we can imagine a wholly-good and wholly-helpful deity, but - despite his unmatched power, qualitatively greater than any other power - a God who cannot always achieve his goals immediately, here and now.

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In particular, we get a God who cannot, instantly and by fiat, undo the evil of sin; but must instead undo the evil of sin by indirect and roundabout means.

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For example, a God who can only undo the evil of sin via sending his only-begotten son to be born as a sinless Man, to live, to die, and to be resurrected and ascend to Heaven.

And by this means to establish that all Men who are born and die may recapitulate this trajectory, and be resurrected, cleansed of sin and perfected, and join God's Son in Heaven.

This is just the kind of indirect and roundabout thing a non-omnipotent God would have to do... 


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