Ordered thoughts regarding important stuff like God, Science, and the Universe. The author will endeavor to answer all sincere questions in these matters, including help with math homework, genuine questions about God, etc.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

ON THE NATURE OF GOD/ J. Colannino

Abstract
The God of Christianity is God in three persons – Father, Son, and Spirit. The God of Christianity is compatible with a God of all possible perfections (love, truth, mercy, etc.) and therefore worthy of our praise, worship, and adoration. However, god-in-one-person is not worthy of worship. Likewise, there have been historical conceptions of God. However, none but the God of Christianity is worthy to be loved, worshiped, and adored.[*]

Brief Definitions of Various Conceptions of God.
Historically, there have been seven major ways of thinking about God.

D1 Theism – There is a single ontological entity – God – who possess all possible perfections including love, wisdom, (see previous post – A Proof of God – for a fuller definition). These include love and caring for His creation, and therefore, He is involved in the daily affairs of men and nations.

D2 Deism – there is a single personality who does not care about nor involve himself in the daily affairs of men. He set the worlds in motion, he is responsible for a rational universe, but he does not now intervene in worldly affairs.

D3 Pantheism – All is god. We are part of god in life, and in a different way, in death – god is not an individual but a cosmic concept or entity.

D4 Panentheism – god is in everything. It is in the rock, in the water, in people and in dogs for example. It is the spiritual force behind all matter and life but not a personal entity. “God” includes the world in himself. It is a changeable being, growing in time.

D5 Polytheism – there are many gods of lesser and greater power vying for control of the universe.

D6 Agnosticism – God may or may not exist, but either I don’t know (soft agnosticism) or I can’t know (hard agnosticism).

D7 Atheism – there is no God.

A previous post showed that God exists and that He is worthy of our love, worship, praise, and adoration (see "A Proof of God"). He created time and all that is in the temporal universe. He is a single ontological being. This eliminates D3 through D7 and by reference, virtually all religions except for the monotheistic religions: Islam, Judaism, and Orthodox Christianity. However, Islam and historical deism (D2) assert that “God” is a single person, by His nature.[1] However, as we shall show, this is untenable.

P1 — “God” in one person is not God.
From D1, God is a being who possesses all perfections including love, wisdom, truth, etc. However, “god-in-one-person” is imperfect.

P1.1 Loneliness – For if god-in-one-person possesses love – a perfection – he had no one to share it with, at least before the creation of man. Then he was lonely. If he was lonely, he had need of others. Therefore, he lacks self-sufficiency. He does not possess all possible perfections. He is imperfect.

P1.2 Dependency – If god-in-one-person created man to accept and return his love and be its object, then he depends on man for his happiness. He needs man to accept and return his love. He is dependent and not self-sufficient. He is imperfect.

P1.3 Mutability – If man met his need for expressing and accepting love, god-in-one-person is mutable. For he has something – love – that he did not have before. What is mutable is not transcendent but changes with time and cannot transcend time. If god-in-one-person is mutable, then he is imperfect.

P1.4 Lovelessness – If he was not lonely, he did not have love, for love must be expressed and love unexpressed leads to longing and loneliness. If he lacks love then he is imperfect.

P1.5 Narcissism – If god-in-one-person, being one person, loves only himself then he is narcissistic. If he is narcissistic then he is imperfect.

In any case, god-in-one-person is imperfect. Therefore, by D1, god-in-one-person is not God.

P2 – god-in-one-person is unworthy of worship, praise, or adoration. He cannot be God for he does not possess all possible perfections. Therefore, god-in-one-person is unworthy of worship, praise, or adoration.

D8 The triune God of Christianity is one in essence and three in persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, coeternal and co-distinct.[2]

D8.1 God is eternally loving. There is a subject-object distinction among the members of the Godhead – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – and mutual adoration. The Father loves the Son,[3] the Son loves the Father,[4] the members of the Godhead coexist in eternal perfection.

D8.2 God created man according to His eternal purpose, His good pleasure, and His lovingkindness.[5]

D8.3. God did not create man out of need, nor had He any necessity for man to accept and return His love for He is eternally self-sufficient. But according to His great mercy, God created man to enjoy Him forever.[5]

P3 – The triune God of Christianity (D8) is perfectly consistent with D1. From the foregoing, the triune God suffers from none of the logical problems or contradictions inherent in the concept of god-in-one-person. The triune God is perfectly fulfilled, wholly self-sufficient, immutable, and loving. He possesses all perfections. The triune God of the Bible is perfectly consistent with D1.

REFERENCES
[*]In fact, Christians would view the God of Old Testament (Jewish canon) as praiseworthy since they believe that He is the same God of three persons that inhabits the New Testament of the Bible. Although the trinity is not fully illuminated in the Jewish canon, God in more than one person is specifically noted there (see for example, Genesis 1.26, Isaiah 6.3,8; 11.2,3; 42.1; 48.16).

[1]The Koran specifically denies the trinity and further states that Allah is singular in person: “believe therefore in Allah and his apostles, and say not, “Three.” Desist, it is better for you; Allah is only one god; far be it from his glory that he should have a son...” [4.171].

[2]Triunity is the orthodox Christian position and the only logically allowable choice the Bible presents. See for example Mt 28.19, 2 Co 13.14; see also Ex 20.2 with Jn 20.28 and Ac 5.3-4; see also Mt 23.63, 64 and Jn 5:18. Many more passages could be quoted as well as various orthodox Christian creeds, confessions, and catechisms, such as the Apostle’s Creed, the Heidelberg and Westminster Catechisms, etc.

[3]Jn 3.35, 5.20, 8.54, 10.15,17.

[4]Mt 6.9, 11.25; Lk 11.13; Jn 8.49, 10.15, 14.13, 31; 17.5.

[5]These are affirmed in historic Christian creeds and the Biblical text itself. As a representative example of the latter, consider the Westminster Confession of Faith.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Colannino:

Good posts. Please continue.

Friday, January 13, 2006 5:32:00 AM

 
Blogger Non-random Thoughts said...

Thank you. Your comment is heartening. I shall.

Saturday, January 21, 2006 5:35:00 PM

 

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