For Jac or K: WLC on Divine Simplicity

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Byblos
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For Jac or K: WLC on Divine Simplicity

Postby Byblos » Fri Jul 08, 2016 12:24 pm

Hey guys, I hope you get to see this and offer your comments on it. At about the 10th minute on, WLC goes into some detail as to why DS is unintelligible. He even goes on to claim that the Thomistic God is NOT the God of the Bible (which really took me by surprise). It just amazes me how a philosopher of WLC's caliber and intelligence can get DS so wrong. I'd really be interested in your comments though.

WLC on DS
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Re: For Jac or K: WLC on Divine Simplicity

Postby Kurieuo » Fri Jul 08, 2016 6:26 pm

Hi Byb, I actually raised this video here with Jac: http://discussions.godandscience.org/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=40045&p=201956#p201956 -- we have a little exchange thereafter.
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Re: For Jac or K: WLC on Divine Simplicity

Postby Byblos » Sat Jul 09, 2016 4:49 pm

Kurieuo wrote:Hi Byb, I actually raised this video here with Jac: http://discussions.godandscience.org/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=40045&p=201956#p201956 -- we have a little exchange thereafter.


I don't know how I missed that thread entirely. Thanks K.
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Re: For Jac or K: WLC on Divine Simplicity

Postby Byblos » Mon Jul 11, 2016 1:24 pm

Here's a link to Edward Feser's blog where he answers WLC point for point.

Interestingly enough, Feser mentions that he is working on a new book titled Five Proofs of the Existence of God in which, he says, he offers "a detailed and systematic defense of divine simplicity against Plantinga, Craig, et al."

Can't wait ...
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Re: For Jac or K: WLC on Divine Simplicity

Postby Kurieuo » Mon Jul 11, 2016 5:26 pm

Thanks for sharing Byblos. I'll be interested to get his book too.

You know, the one thing I still remain unsure of with Divine Simplicity, and I feel it is at the heart of Craig's and the complaints of others, is that there just seems to be some obsurantism going on. DS, is perplexing, saying God as pure actuality is perplexing. It could be that Divine Simplicity flows off lips easily enough like a "square circle", but there is nonetheless vagueness and abstruseness which is really dressed up nonsense.

For people, philosophers and theologians, who love to have their thinking all down pat, Divine Simplicity must seem like a big confusing mess, a nightmare. Yet, for various reasons, perhaps I should identify them sometime in a post, I think that a different "immaterial" language to talk of God in, which DS provides, is quite necessary.

Furthermore, other positions aren't without their own hard to grasp concepts. Let's take Craig's belief that God is atemporal (timeless), and by timeless we mean changeless. Craig says it isn't hard to conceive of God in a state of stasis, and then willing a change within Himself to create and thereby deciding to enter into time in virtue of His true relations with the created order... well, this does make a lot of sense. There are some push-backs, but many are easily answered.

All except one or two that remained with me for more than a decade. That is, it is really hard to picture God just doing nothing, being devoid of personality and the like, for all eternity where God from eternity wills to create from eternity and does so. How does God move as God if He is like kind of in stasis fo all eternity? And really, just because we add suffix "from eternity" to His and desire to create from eternity, to avoid an issue over God's decision to create being "sudden", well Craig's position starts having a vagueness and abstruseness in itself when we get to the bottom of it.

So then, as to Divine Simplicity being hard to understand, difficult to conceive and the like, well, when we break down any position enough it seems such is the case of all positions in some way or another. With logic though, we can examine, and re-examine, form truth statements, strictly valid statements, like mathematical formulas, and then ask if there is a contradiction. Besides being difficult to conceive (and who'd seriously deny a necessary being who has always existed, who we believe God to be, wouldn't be difficult to conceive?), I haven't seen a knock down logical argument against really any main points of Divine Simplicity.

But then, for all my apparent understanding, I still consider myself not well read and even infantile as far as arguments for and against Divine Simplicity are concerned.
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Re: For Jac or K: WLC on Divine Simplicity

Postby Byblos » Tue Jul 12, 2016 1:05 pm

Kurieuo wrote:Thanks for sharing Byblos. I'll be interested to get his book too.

You know, the one thing I still remain unsure of with Divine Simplicity, and I feel it is at the heart of Craig's and the complaints of others, is that there just seems to be some obsurantism going on. DS, is perplexing, saying God as pure actuality is perplexing. It could be that Divine Simplicity flows off lips easily enough like a "square circle", but there is nonetheless vagueness and abstruseness which is really dressed up nonsense.

For people, philosophers and theologians, who love to have their thinking all down pat, Divine Simplicity must seem like a big confusing mess, a nightmare. Yet, for various reasons, perhaps I should identify them sometime in a post, I think that a different "immaterial" language to talk of God in, which DS provides, is quite necessary.

Furthermore, other positions aren't without their own hard to grasp concepts. Let's take Craig's belief that God is atemporal (timeless), and by timeless we mean changeless. Craig says it isn't hard to conceive of God in a state of stasis, and then willing a change within Himself to create and thereby deciding to enter into time in virtue of His true relations with the created order... well, this does make a lot of sense. There are some push-backs, but many are easily answered.

All except one or two that remained with me for more than a decade. That is, it is really hard to picture God just doing nothing, being devoid of personality and the like, for all eternity where God from eternity wills to create from eternity and does so. How does God move as God if He is like kind of in stasis fo all eternity? And really, just because we add suffix "from eternity" to His and desire to create from eternity, to avoid an issue over God's decision to create being "sudden", well Craig's position starts having a vagueness and abstruseness in itself when we get to the bottom of it.

So then, as to Divine Simplicity being hard to understand, difficult to conceive and the like, well, when we break down any position enough it seems such is the case of all positions in some way or another. With logic though, we can examine, and re-examine, form truth statements, strictly valid statements, like mathematical formulas, and then ask if there is a contradiction. Besides being difficult to conceive (and who'd seriously deny a necessary being who has always existed, who we believe God to be, wouldn't be difficult to conceive?), I haven't seen a knock down logical argument against really any main points of Divine Simplicity.

But then, for all my apparent understanding, I still consider myself not well read and even infantile as far as arguments for and against Divine Simplicity are concerned.


I watched a debate today ( here, very long, over 2 hours) between WLC and Rosenberg (who I can't stand listening to, very annoying). WLC did marvelously as he usually does but when Rosenberg brought up Euthyphro's dilemma, WLC launched into how it is a false dilemma since we can 'conceive' of God as being goodness. And I'm saying to myself: good for you old bill, you're finally getting closer and closer to DS, even if you'll never admit it. :mrgreen:

K, if your knowledge of DS is infantile then mine is infinitesimal. But being a non-philosopher (i.e. a mere mortal) I think afforded me the, err what do I call it, brain power?, to understand DS and particularly the actuality/potentiality paradigm in a very straightforward manner. I don't see that as the stumbling block, it's when I have to articulate it is when I run into issues.
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

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Re: For Jac or K: WLC on Divine Simplicity

Postby Jac3510 » Tue Jul 12, 2016 1:31 pm

Thanks for the link back to Feser's blog. That was a good read. He's just good.

Regarding WLC's understanding of Thomism, I imagine it's like all things with all of us. He knows a lot about some areas and not a lot about others. He has an excellent understanding of the First Way, for instance, but I think beyond that he's way out of his depth. I had the pleasure of sitting in a class he was teaching once on the nature of angels--I can't remember the exact issue, butI believe he was talking about the question of whether or not they had bodies and what that might look like. There were some related issues, particularly as it related to what happens to believers immediately after death but before the resurrection, so after the class, I asked him if he was familiar with Aquinas' take. He said he was not, which surprised me. I explained, and he said to me, and I quote, "Where did you read so much Aquinas?" I explained to him my theological background and my thesis being focused on DS. The look on his face was priceless. I'm sure you could imagine.

Anyway, I don't say that to take away anything from him. But I don't think we should regard him as an expert in all things Christian philosophy. He has a lot of training in a particular school of thought. And I am one who disagrees with that school. I don't disagree with it because of the conclusions but rather because of the method. I don't like analytical philosophy as a system or an approach. I think it creates major problems, some of which WLC is struggling with now. I mean, the Act/Potency thing is very straightforward. It's easy (in a sense) to conceive of God as pure act. Now, obviously we can't fully conceptualize it or really grasp it the way we can the idea of a tree or a human, but that's hardly unique to just God. You can't even conceptualize the idea of quantum particles spinning 720 degrees before they get back to where they started. Heck, you can't even really conceptualize an atom. Light as both a wave and a property? In fact, I would argue you can't even conceptualize honestly the size of the earth. You can talk about them meaningfully. But you can't really know them.

So it's similar with God's nature. We know what actuality is. We have some real conception of it. We know that God has to be pure actuality. That's meaningful, straightfoward, and it's true. it isn't just a negative theology. We can talk about it's implications. But, sure, we can't fully grasp it. But so what? If you want God to be something you can fully grasp, enjoy your idol. You're making Him something small enough (and, oddly enough, large enough) that your little finite brain can grasp within the confines and contexts of its own experiences.

Craig would do well to get away from all the analytical stuff and just follow a classical approach. But old dogs and new tricks, right? The good news is that he is right about a great many more things than he is wrong, and he is a brilliant mind, so I'm glad he's on our side and not the other's. :)
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue

And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.


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