Simplicity Book FINISHED!

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Re: Simplicity Book FINISHED!

Postby Kurieuo » Thu May 19, 2016 7:56 pm

To be clear, I'm sure is to you but in case, I'm not endorsing Craig's stance against Divine Simplicity one way or the other. This is just an area of thought that has caught my interest in recent days.

Regarding your words of God being like that rather than simply this as God. Here is another talk I think is beneficial, which I came across with regards to Craig's beliefs regarding "properties" we ascribe to God.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20fqDanpsdo

Clearly Craig isn't Platonist, that "good" exists as an object in some platonic realm. But, Craig's also careful to distinguish I believe that that these "properties" do not actually exist as real things in God's mind either. We must be careful to understand this point because Craig flatly rejects both.

On the other hand, Craig does want to affirm truths that God is good, only without the ontological heavy way realists normally describe such where "Good" literally exists somewhere. Craig is an anti-realist so far as "properties" are concerned, although not anti-realist with regards to God. So when talking of God possessing goodness, or God being essentially good, we're talking figuratively of such exemplifying what God is. We're talking in metaphors, not saying that there is the real "essence" called "goodness" that exists in God.

For example, to bring it back to your "this" and "that" language, for Craig (as I understand him) he believes there is no REAL aspect or perfection that literally exists as "That" or "This". Whether we say God is good, or God is all-powerful, we're not saying that "Goodness" or "Power" exists (Realism) and that such is something God has or lacks like a human might have or lack food and water. This for Craig is being too ontologically heavy. Rather, we're saying that there is a truth about God being represented. We're using metaphors, something we identify as "goodness" existing in God, although it doesn't really exists of itself. That is, when we say "God is good" we're really saying God exemplifies goodness. So then, it is true that God really is good because we see "goodness" exemplified in God, although this doesn't then mean we literally mean some property of goodness actually exists in and of itself apart from such exemplification.

Thus, carrying over Craig's thinking to the words in your last post, we could say that the "platonic menagerie" exists in the mind of God but not in a heavy ontological sense such that they're objects or things in and of themselves. Rather, perhaps things like "being purple" and "the the left of" are exemplified by those creations that exist which exemplify such arrangements, and these are eternally found in the mind of God who eternally intended such creations to exemplify them. Right?

So then, I'm not dependent upon being to the left of a bookshelf right now as I type. However, such an arrangement exemplifies a reality God eternally knew would come. Similarly God isn't dependent upon the existence of properties that describe Him i.e., God's attributes like goodness, love, etc). To think so is to likely have matters back-to-front. Rather, such properties are depended upon God exemplifying such for their own existence. All exists therefore due to God, the issue with there being parts of reality that are uncreated by God exists only if one adopts a realist approach to properties themselves.
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Re: Simplicity Book FINISHED!

Postby Jac3510 » Fri May 20, 2016 8:50 am

I think, with all honesty, that Craig is just confusing himself. I completely get his frustration. You can see it rather clearly in Foundations. He wants to affirm that God really is good and omnipotent and so on. He wants to affirm that God exists a se. But he doesn't want to go all the way with Aquinas and affirm the necessarily conclusions or those positions. So he says things like he does in that video: "That's a figure of speech to say that you exemplify the essence of rational animality. That is a figurative way of saying that you are essentially rational and animal."

Now, please, if one of his debate opponents said something so ridiculous, he would absolutely destroy them. It saying that I exemplify rational animality is figurative because there is no real thing called "rational animality," then you cannot then say that I am essentially rational and animal, because you cannot be what doesn't exist! That goes back to my earlier point about a real self-contradictory sense of creation ex nihilo. He is just stuck. He has seen very clearly that Platonism is not true (sadly, his cohort Moreland has not--see his book Universals; and nor has Plantinga--see his book Does God Have a Nature?). He says that here as well as in the video series I linked to some time ago about mathematical objects. But you see him in this video understanding that he cannot be a nominalist. For if nominalism, then God is not, say, "good." To say God is good is just a figure of speech because there is no such thing as "good" at all. But if there is no such thing as good, then God cannot be essentially good. As such, Craig can't have it both ways. He can't say with the nominalist (even as he disavows the nominalists) that such language is figurative because properties aren't real, but then say with realists that we really/essentially are this or that property (e.g., I really am good or really am human or whatever). He's looking for a middle road where there isn't one--at least not one he hasn't already rejected.

So this is why modern philosophy--and I'm thinking of the analytic philosophy Craig is so captivated by--just doesn't work. Historically, philosophy could really have been described as an analysis of universals. Analytical philosophy just doesn't approach it that way. Craig, I'm sure, understands where philosophy used to be, but he doesn't like the method. And believe you me, I get that. The analystical method is enticing. I've just become convinced it is wrong, and that's for reasons we see in this discussion. The method in philosophy is comparable to your biblical hermeneutic. If you choose one hermeneutic, you'll settle on one theology; another hermeneutic, another theology. If Craig were rigorous in starting with universals, he would accept Aquinas' conclusions (at least on matters like simplicity). But that's not where he starts, and because of that, when he finally gets to universals (I mean, honestly, look at where universals are addressed in Foundations), he no longer has the tools to address them philosophy. He is forced to make self-contradictory statements that he attempts to cover up by using words like "ontologically heavy"--a very meaningful term, no doubt, but only serves to cover the self-contradiction. Again, if ideas do not exist in God in an ontologically heavy way, then they don't really exist in Him at all. So now we're back to either the moderate realism (e.g., Thomism) he has rejected or else the nominalism he rejects--we're back to speaking figuratively about exemplifying what doesn't exist.

Anyway, I'm rambling now, so I'll stop. Just my thoughts on that next video, but I do thank you for pointing out that Craig disavows being a Platonist. I say he is, but I say that because of the implications of his views and not because of his own verbiage.
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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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Re: Simplicity Book FINISHED!

Postby Kurieuo » Sun May 22, 2016 9:14 pm

To make two observations:

1) I think you rightly draw attention to the fact Craig does just leave his position quite ambiguous. For example, Craig doesn't explain what "Good" is a metaphor for, nor does he really elaborate on what a non-"ontological heavy" understanding of God being Good looks like i.e., what is the correct "ontological light" sense of God possessing goodness?

So then, any position built upon ambiguous foundations, really amounts to throwing hands up in the air and saying I don't know. Only, Craig doesn't seem to like throwing his hands up necessarily, and so describes his position in the negative against others, without really defining his position in more tangible positive terms.

Craig's research and the like, I have no doubt is impeccable. But, essentially his take boils down to advantages and disadvantages he sees on both sides and an "I really don't know, but I can't accept..."

2) I think Craig is actually closer to Divine Simplicity than he realises. The conclusions Craig doesn't wish to embrace, which he sees amounts to God not being personal, existing as a person, but rather being Personification itself if you will (like God isn't merely good but is Goodness itself)...

I think Craig is correct these do present an issue for Divine Simplicity if God is simply the active form of each, when brought back to Christian theology. More than that, I'd press it also doesn't get away from a divinely simple God, who should be reduced not simply to an individual attribute (of which there are many we identify), but rather reduced to one foundational "attribute". Since I haven't done extensive research on DS, I'm not sure how far such thinking go towards identifying that one simple foundation, many I note seem happy to leave things as "God is Being", "God is Righteousness" and the like . But, I suspect it'd be something like this, which if Craig tried to unravel the "metaphor" of language used in ascribing attributes like "Goodness" to God, would be very similar if not the same...

Let me propose that foundationally we aren't talking "properties" at all, or even "attributes" -- such language would get Divine Simplicity into immediate trouble since within God there are no dividable parts. There isn't some active property, like Goodness, or Righteousness, or Omniscience, or Being, rather there is simply just God Himself. THEN, we in our relationship to a context of our creation, being found in a finite world, temporality, seeing God withdrawn and evil in our world, such then provides us a language that we overlay upon this divine simple God. Right? And we start identifying attributes in God based upon the privations we see in our world. So for example, when we see evil and bad in our world, we then see and acknowledge that God is good. When we see us as humans struggling to understand the world, then the attribute of omniscience takes on meaning.

Given this, I think Craig is in a way right to identify such attributes as symbolic and metaphor-like, but wrong to leave matters there and walk away (or perhaps he just hasn't developed his thinking further as yet). Similar, DS are wrong to even call God "Goodness" and "Righteousness" and "Being" -- yes, God is all those things but there can only be one word to capture them all and that is just "God". God is God, and God is righteous not because He is Righteousness (while God is such based upon the privation of evil in our world that we see) BUT foundationally God is righteousness because God is simply God. And Scripturally, we all know how God describes Himself to Moses, not in terms of His attributes but rather simply as "I Am Who I Am".

So then, it seems to me if Craig were to unpack things more, rather than leave it where he did, then DS and his own thinking could in a way be united. Yet, Craig would have worked backwards from his analytical methods, and DS forwards from a foundational analysis of universals. Craig just needs to keep going, as does any DS theologian who leaves God as Being, Righteousness, Goodness and the like without reducing such further to merely God. Thoughts?
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Re: Simplicity Book FINISHED!

Postby Jac3510 » Tue May 24, 2016 5:50 pm

I agree on pretty much every count, K. And whether you know it or not, some of your language here is echoing the language of Plantinga and Moreland. Plantinga, in fact, takes very seriously the idea that DS seems to reduce God not only to property but rather to a single foundational property. So his great (and rather infamous) argument is that DS is wrong because God is a Person, not a property!

And yet you address that as well and I think you do so correctly. DS advocates really ought not (and when pressed, we don't) talk about properties or attributes at all. We can recognize--and here we're agreeing with Craig--that our language is metaphorical. Where I think our view is superior to Craig's is that he doesn't seem to have a coherent answer as to what our language is figurative about. All figurative speech points to some actual reality (even language reference privations--the reality here would be what ought to be present given the thing's actual nature). So if I agree with Craig that the statement "God is good" is metaphorical, insofar as I am taking "goodness" as I see it in this world and am applying it in some analogical way to God, the fact remains that there still must be some real thing that is "good"--both in the world and in God. The problem with Craig, as I see it and as I've explained already, is that I just think he's incoherent here. He wants to say that there really is no property of goodness but rather that we exemplify goodness. What? And what would that mean above all when applied to God? DS has a ready answer -- God's very essence is, in one way, thought of as goodness, and all goodness in the world is analogous to God's essence (insofar as goodness is essentially related to existence . . . what ought to be actualized). But take that away, well we're back to Euthyphro, aren't we?
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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Re: Simplicity Book FINISHED!

Postby Kurieuo » Tue May 24, 2016 6:55 pm

You know, there is an argument to be made for Divine Simplicity via the doctrine of Creation ex nihilo. In order to FULLY embrace Creation ex nihilo I see requires dropping "substance-property" language to speak more in DS terms of "potentiality-actuality".

I feel people like Craig and myself are drawn towards the former substance-property framework, because it enables us to kind of visualise in our heads God, the angels and heaven with images that are material in form i.e., of an ethereal substance. But really, that's absurd right? Visualising the immaterial world in some materialised form? So then if we really can't "visualise" what is immaterial, we must adopt a better language or framework than that of substances and properties.

Enter in "potentiality-actuality" which provides just such language we need to navigate the immaterial world, even if our minds cannot conceptualise it all in some materialised spiritual form.

So then, what do I see as Craig's dilemma with his embracing a strict Creation ex nihilo and a substance-property view of God? He argues persuasively in debates that to believe the universe popped into existence from absolutely nothing is entirely absurd and ridiculous. Nothing is more stupid and irrational than such a belief. He likens it to hearing a loud bang outside and so when you investigate and ask someone what it is, and they respond, "Oh, it's nothing", are you seriously going to believe them? How much more irrational then is it when we're told the biggest "bang" came from nothing. Right? His Kalam is a favourite argument he uses.

And yet Craig needs to justify his own position too. Just because he adds God into the mix, doesn't mean something can now come from nothing, right? If it is impossible for something to come from absolutely nothing, then it is impossible for God to create something from absolutely nothing too; not because his power lacks, but like square-circles, nonsense remains nonsense even when we talk it about God!

Craig attacks his opponents, and then wants the audience to believe God does in fact make something come from absolutely nothing. However, up until that point, Craig argues and is quite adamant that it is impossible for something to come from nothing. Worse for Craig, is that he adopts that God is a divine substance with this and that property (i.e., the divine attributes). So then, there is this divine substance, and then there is the "substance of creation" which God made arise from nothing, and if creation ex nihilo is absolutely 100% true, then all the substance of creation couldn't come from God's own substance.

This is what lead me to embrace panentheism, all is within God (not all is God). As you know, I saw God as some spiritual "substance", an ethereal or spiritual "essence" of sorts. Therefore, when God created the universe, He imparted His essence in some way, shape or form to bring about the substance of the physical world. Thus, the world really is made from God. Perks of this position are we readily see how God can be truly omnipresent, how God could be omniscient (since it all is God) and for me it appears to demand a Trinitarian conception of God with roles of Father, Son and Spirit like Christianity advocates (I'll save the explanation on that one!). Yet, now we must reject a thorough going view of creation ex nihilo since God isn't creating from nothing but creating from Himself, His own substance.

This might be alright to some since we could speak in terms of a less strict "creation from nothing," where we mean God is simply creating something new where there was previously nothing, but this isn't the same as a more strict sense of something being created from nothing. Right?

To my surprise, William Lane Craig actually takes the absolute ex nihilo formula to the extreme that God created something new from absolutely no previous substance (not even imparting Himself). My understanding of Craig is that God merely spoke into existence something new from nothing (in the strictest sense of nothing). In other words, God existed, but the universe was not created from any previous existing substance like a brick might be made from clay. God caused the "brick" (our universe) to come into existence from absolutely no substance. As Craig has argued, something coming from absolutely nothing is just absurd and ridiculous! It is contradictory to say that God can make something come from nothing (a metaphysical impossibility like square circles) simply because we've now got God.

BUT, you know, it is only absurd within a substance-property framework, or I should more specifically say within a substance-property ontology. When Craig embraces an more strict creation ex nihilo, I see that he is venturing into Divine Simplicity territory which leaves behind talk of this and that substance. Territory which talks in terms of potentiality and actuality. Such that, when God was without creation, creation had the potentiality of being made. God merely actualised such a potentiality. That is basically what Craig is embracing, and yet if God is a substance, than the substance of the world must have arisen from... <void>?

As I see matters, thorough going belief in creation ex nihilo is only a possibility once we lose talk of God being some divine substance, once we lose an ontology built upon a substance-property framework. Divine Simplicity does this, even if potentiality-actuality language makes it all harder for us to conceptualise since we're no longer using a linguistic framework that can be easily visualised, it provides a unique and more foundational ontology to coherently discuss the immaterial "non-substantial" order that we're unfamiliar with.
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Re: Simplicity Book FINISHED!

Postby Storyteller » Sun May 29, 2016 8:26 am

Bumped so someone I chatted to can read it.

Just click on first post, first link.
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Re: Simplicity Book FINISHED!

Postby RickD » Mon May 30, 2016 11:34 am

Storyteller wrote:Bumped so someone I chatted to can read it.

Just click on first post, first link.

Or, get rid of that dvarn Kvindle, so you can post links. :mrgreen:
Here's the link:
https://cmmorrison.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/makingdivinesimplicitysimple1.pdf
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Re: Simplicity Book FINISHED!

Postby Vergil » Sat Jul 09, 2016 10:48 pm

Oh God in Heaven.

Help me comprehend this very Hard theological philosophy
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Disappointment is inevitable. But to become discouraged, there's a choice I make. God would never discourage me. He would always point me to himself to trust him. Therefore, my discouragement is from Satan. As you go through the emotions that we have, hostility is not from God, bitterness, unforgiveness, all of these are attacks from Satan.
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Re: Simplicity Book FINISHED!

Postby Jac3510 » Sun Jul 10, 2016 9:57 am

He will. Some people on this board can, also. :)
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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Re: Simplicity Book FINISHED!

Postby abelcainsbrother » Sun Jul 10, 2016 10:27 am

I listened to WLC then read the reply to WLC and I can't tell yet who is right. I need to dig into it more.They both seem to have good points. I need to find out if WLC doesn't fully understand Thomism.
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Re: Simplicity Book FINISHED!

Postby Vergil » Sun Jul 10, 2016 2:05 pm

Jac3510 wrote:He will. Some people on this board can, also. :)


I thank thee, Lord Jac, for tackling such a very difficult topic.

Also do you also have a book that explains "The Trinity" in the same way you have explained Divine Simplicity?
Also may i ask if the following question are answered in your Magnum opus (Sorry, I'm kind new to DS)
a) God's nature
b) God's existence
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Disappointment is inevitable. But to become discouraged, there's a choice I make. God would never discourage me. He would always point me to himself to trust him. Therefore, my discouragement is from Satan. As you go through the emotions that we have, hostility is not from God, bitterness, unforgiveness, all of these are attacks from Satan.
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Re: Simplicity Book FINISHED!

Postby Jac3510 » Sun Jul 10, 2016 2:17 pm

I have a chapter on the Trinity in the book--chapter twelve. It doesn't go into as much detail as you might like, but I do think it's a good introduction. Other than that, I really can't think of one right off the top of my head. I'm sure one exists, but I don't know of it. Don't misread me. I know a lot of books on the Trinity written on a popular level, but I've not tended to like the approach. If I come across one, I'll let you know.

As to your other two questions, chapters three and four address those questions directly, and the rest of the book is, in some way, a clarification what mean when we talk about God's nature. For more, I would refer you to two books I have mentioned several times on this forum: Edward Feser's Aquinas: A Beginner's Guide and Feser's The Last Superstition. For one on God's nature that's a bit more technical, Etienne Gilson's An Interpretation of Existence is really good. The other thing I would say is that the moment you get a conceptual grasp of God's nature, the question of His existence becomes self-evident and rather redundant. So it really is a worthwhile study.
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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Re: Simplicity Book FINISHED!

Postby Vergil » Thu Jul 14, 2016 3:05 am

Oh yes, i forgot to ask another thing, milord.

What are the common arguments against DS? cause i once saw from a Atheistic website on his argument against DS, i didn't read it, forgive me, but is sparked my interest on the may arguments used on DS?
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.
- Jesus Christ

Disappointment is inevitable. But to become discouraged, there's a choice I make. God would never discourage me. He would always point me to himself to trust him. Therefore, my discouragement is from Satan. As you go through the emotions that we have, hostility is not from God, bitterness, unforgiveness, all of these are attacks from Satan.
- Charles Stanley

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Re: Simplicity Book FINISHED!

Postby Jac3510 » Thu Jul 14, 2016 1:58 pm

Ignoring arguments that are based on a misunderstanind of the doctrine and with no attempt to rank them in terms of frequency or potency, off the top of my head:

1. DS denies God's personhood by reducing Him to a property
2. DS makes God unitarian and so denies the Trinity
3. DS denies any possibility of making positive, univocal statements about God, and therefore denies any and all meaningful assertions about Him
4. DS necessitates a type of theological fatalism, which denies free will in both God and creation
5. DS is self-contradictory, because due to (4) it renders creation necessary; but on DS nothing can be necessary except God
6. DS denies God's ability to suffer with, react to, or emotionally respond to His children, which is clearly contradictory to the biblical notion of God
7. DS isn't based on the Bible but on Greek philosophy or mere human logic, which wouldn't or doesn't apply to God
8. DS is incoherent because it makes the divine attributes identical with one another, which is absurd

And so on. I could list more, but those are the kinds of things people say against it. They are wrong on all counts, of course. But those are the kinds of things that they say.
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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Re: Simplicity Book FINISHED!

Postby RickD » Thu Jul 14, 2016 2:03 pm

When's the audio version coming out Jac?

I want to fall asleep listening to your voice. :lol:

Not that I mean you're boring, and would put me to sleep. But sometimes I listen to podcasts at night when it's quiet. This would be a good one to hear.
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Audie wrote:
"Christianity is not a joke, but it has some very poor representatives."


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