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(06-27-2019, 12:07 PM)Filiolus Wrote: [ -> ]This is very bad theology.

Does God experience time? If yes, he didn't create it, and therefore isn't really God. If no, how can he undergo any kind of change?

THIS is really bad theology.  Of course God experiences time.  Why wouldn't he experience the things he creates?

If God's experiencing something means that he didn't create it, then the only thing God can experience is himself.  Which necessarily means either everything is God (a paradox, if his experience of something means he didn't create it), or God is imprisoned within himself and is unaware of anything outside of himself.  A preposterous notion.

Quote:This is a very strong claim, but you don't really understand the arguments you're criticizing. Take a look at Aquinas' de Malo Article 2, if you really want to try and find an answer.

Aquinas' position on this issue is actually identical to Augustine's if that's worth anything.

I apologize in advance if this isn't the case with you; but most of the anti-Thomas-ers I've met aren't willing to actually do the reading and try to understand why St. Thomas says what he does before they dismiss him. In other words, they hear his conclusions and think that those conclusions sound wrong, and are unwilling to look at the premises.

If I don't understand the arguments I'm criticizing, it's not for lack of trying.  I either understand them - at least the general concepts- or I am incapable of understanding them.

I don't place any higher value on Augustine's theology.

Outside of Catholic philosophy students, who has the time to sit down and read the Summa and give it the attention needed to fully understand it?  I don't dismiss Aquinas outright; only on particular points when I happen to be confronted with them.

Quote:You didn't look at my links, did you? Which is fine, I didn't really expect anyone to. Just didn't want to leave the first post with no answers at all.

Paul hinted at this in the other thread when he said that God planned from the beginning to make the prayers of the faithful the efficient cause of whatever grace has been requested. And that's the answer.

If you don't like St. Thomas' answer, I suggest you look at Leibniz (paragraphs 40 and further) for an alternative (pages 3-4 in particular). This is not Thomistic; but he preserves the immutability of God's will and the efficacy of prayer.

Regardless, the west generally regards the immutability of God's will as a truth discoverable by natural reason and not reliant on revelation. If you want to get into the philosophical arguments we can.

Yes, I did look at them.

I didn't read Leibniz, it's too long.  I looked over pages 3-4 in the other link.  What I see is more of the Calvinist God.  God saw a particular potentiality of Peter and Judas, past present and future, and decided to bring those, whole and complete, into creation?  I don't know what mental gymnastics one has to do in order to say that God created Judas, the particular Judas that would be damned (and presumably Judas himself was impotent to change this?) and still deny that God willed that person's damnation.

All I know is the proponents of predestination worship the same monster as the Calvinists, that their ideas on predestination are essentially the same despite their protestations to the contrary, and that I do not worship the same God as they.  It seems to me that predestination necessitates a God with an immutable will, so insofar as the latter is dependent upon the former, I reject the latter.

Perhaps I really should become Orthodox.  I believe that maintaining communion with Rome is important, but I also believe God is not a monster, and I completely reject predestination as it seems to be understood by the West.  Communion with the Pope is ultimately less important to me than rightly knowing God.  If Augustine and Aquinas did not mean on this issue what I've understood them to mean, and have always understood them to mean every time I've had to engage this issue, then the West has done a scandalously poor job at explaining what it actually does mean so as not to make heretics out of those of average intelligence.
(06-27-2019, 01:06 PM)Melkite Wrote: [ -> ]
(06-27-2019, 12:07 PM)Filiolus Wrote: [ -> ]This is very bad theology.

Does God experience time? If yes, he didn't create it, and therefore isn't really God. If no, how can he undergo any kind of change?

THIS is really bad theology.  Of course God experiences time.  Why wouldn't he experience the things he creates?

If God's experiencing something means that he didn't create it, then the only thing God can experience is himself.  Which necessarily means either everything is God (a paradox, if his experience of something means he didn't create it), or God is imprisoned within himself and is unaware of anything outside of himself.  A preposterous notion.

I guess it depends on what you mean by "experience".

Human experience generally means to be affected by something outside of us. God can't be affected by anything outside of himself, because that would make him subject to that thing (in a way). This does not mean that God doesn't know or love us. He knows and loves us insofar as we are directed towards him. But he does not know or love us in such a way that we affect or change his intellect or will.

(of course insofar as we are not is sin, and sin is just the privation of being that ought to be there, that is, something is missing from a person's perfection, so there is literally nothing there to know or love)
(06-27-2019, 01:20 PM)Filiolus Wrote: [ -> ]God can't be affected by anything outside of himself, because that would make him subject to that thing (in a way). 

Really?  He was only able to conquer death by allowing himself to be subject to it.  And not always, but only for a time.
Anything involving Christ's human nature is obviously a special case.
I'll add that Leibniz's conception of God is not Calvinist, because he insists that man sins freely; he just contends that when God created the world he chose to create sinners although he knew what sins they would freely commit.
(06-27-2019, 01:24 PM)Melkite Wrote: [ -> ]
(06-27-2019, 01:20 PM)Filiolus Wrote: [ -> ]God can't be affected by anything outside of himself, because that would make him subject to that thing (in a way). 

Really?  He was only able to conquer death by allowing himself to be subject to it.  And not always, but only for a time.
The human nature of Christ was subject to death, but not the nature of His Divinity.

If God's divine nature is subject to anything, death, time, etc, then He is not the infinite God which He claims to be. Therefore, God cannot be subject to any of His creatures, otherwise He isn't God.
(06-27-2019, 01:52 PM)Filiolus Wrote: [ -> ]I'll add that Leibniz's conception of God is not Calvinist, because he insists that man sins freely; he just contends that when God created the world he chose to create sinners although he knew what sins they would freely commit.

Does he insist that man sins truly freely?  That is, he is able to resist sin without God supplying a special, additional grace to resist it?  He doesn't believe that man is guilty of the sin that he can only resist if God chooses not to withhold efficacious grace?

Did God create Judas merely foreknowing he would be damned, or did he create Judas with an immutable intent to withhold the grace Judas would have needed in order to be saved?

Did God foreknow the Fall of Adam, or did he create the world intending it?
(06-27-2019, 02:05 PM)Melkite Wrote: [ -> ]
(06-27-2019, 01:52 PM)Filiolus Wrote: [ -> ]I'll add that Leibniz's conception of God is not Calvinist, because he insists that man sins freely; he just contends that when God created the world he chose to create sinners although he knew what sins they would freely commit.

Does he insist that man sins truly freely?  That is, he is able to resist sin without God supplying a special, additional grace to resist it?  He doesn't believe that man is guilty of the sin that he can only resist if God chooses not to withhold efficacious grace?

Did God create Judas merely foreknowing he would be damned, or did he create Judas with an immutable intent to withhold the grace Judas would have needed in order to be saved?

Did God foreknow the Fall of Adam, or did he create the world intending it?

Well, both, but you always have to make distinctions. Leibniz (like Aquinas) makes distinctions between the ways God can will something. Honestly these kinds of distinctions are also necessary to preserve God's omnipotence because of the problem of evil. Basically Leibniz says God created Adam even though he knew that Adam would commit the sin that Adam did. And God did this because this was the best possible world.

With this question (the fall of Adam) Leibniz and Aquinas do not have the same answer. But I don't think either one is heretical.
(06-27-2019, 02:22 PM)Filiolus Wrote: [ -> ]Well, both, but you always have to make distinctions. Leibniz (like Aquinas) makes distinctions between the ways God can will something. Honestly these kinds of distinctions are also necessary to preserve God's omnipotence because of the problem of evil. Basically Leibniz says God created Adam even though he knew that Adam would commit the sin that Adam did. And God did this because this was the best possible world.

How on earth could a fallen world be, not only better than a non-fallen world, but the best possible world?  Moreover, if God decided that this was the best possible world of all potential worlds, and he deigned that every factor required to make this world actual would take place, then how can God see anything as sin?  If sin is the privation of good, then each and every sin ever committed was necessary to make this possible world actual, and to not have committed those sins, any one of them, would have been a privation of a necessary component of this best of all possible worlds.  To not sin would be to sin.
(06-27-2019, 02:35 PM)Melkite Wrote: [ -> ]
(06-27-2019, 02:22 PM)Filiolus Wrote: [ -> ]Well, both, but you always have to make distinctions. Leibniz (like Aquinas) makes distinctions between the ways God can will something. Honestly these kinds of distinctions are also necessary to preserve God's omnipotence because of the problem of evil. Basically Leibniz says God created Adam even though he knew that Adam would commit the sin that Adam did. And God did this because this was the best possible world.

How on earth could a fallen world be, not only better than a non-fallen world, but the best possible world?  Moreover, if God decided that this was the best possible world of all potential worlds, and he deigned that every factor required to make this world actual would take place, then how can God see anything as sin?  If sin is the privation of good, then each and every sin ever committed was necessary to make this possible world actual, and to not have committed those sins, any one of them, would have been a privation of a necessary component of this best of all possible worlds.  To not sin would be to sin.

That's not how Leibniz sees it, and Leibniz's view is not Aquinas'.

However, the rest of Leibniz's metaphysics have to be taken into account. You need to step back and look at the world as God sees it for a minute. God doesn't see the world like we watch a film, event after event after event; frame after frame after frame. God sees all the frames at once, because he is eternal.

Leibniz's view is that, viewing the entire film, God knew that the best possible outcome would come about if he created Judas despite the fact that Judas was going to betray Christ. God doesn't force Judas to betray him, although he knows he is going to; and he creates him anyway because somehow this will result in the best possible world.

But the explanation for why there is sin or how God allows it is actually ancillary to the argument, which is pretty tight:

Quote:source

3.Nor could I ever accept the view of some recent philosophers who have the nerve to maintain that God’s creation is not utterly perfect, and that he could have acted much better. This opinion, it seems to me, has consequences that are completely contrary to the glory of God. Just as a lesser evil contains an element of good, so a lesser good contains an element of evil. To act with fewer perfections than one could have done is to act imperfectly; showing an architect that he could have done his work better is finding fault with it. Furthermore, this opinion goes against holy scripture’s assurance of the goodness of God’s works.·That goodness can’t consist simply in the fact that the works could have been worse; and here is why·. Whatever God’s work was like, it would always have been good in comparison with some possibilities, because there is no limit to how bad things could be. But being praiseworthy in this way is hardly being praiseworthy at all! I believe one could find countless passages in the holy scriptures and the writings of the holy fathers that support my opinion, and hardly any to support the modern view to which I have referred—a view that I think was never heard of in ancient times. It has arisen merely because we are not well enough acquainted with the general harmony of the universe and of the hidden reasons for God’s conduct; and that makes us recklessly judge that many things could have been improved. Furthermore, these moderns argue—subtly but not soundly—from the false premise that however perfect a thing is, there is always something still more perfect. They also think that their view provides for God’s freedom,·through the idea that if God is free, it must be up to him whether he acts perfectly or not·; but really it is the highest freedom to act perfectly,in accordance with sovereign reason. For the view that God sometimes does something without having any reason for his choice, besides seeming to be impossible, is hardly compatible with his glory. Suppose that God, facing a choice between A and B, opts for A without having any reason for preferring it to B. I see nothing to praise in that, because all praise should be grounded in some reason, and in this case we have stipulated that there is none. By contrast, I hold that God does nothing for which he does not deserve to be glorified.


A summary:

God has no imperfections.
To do worse than one could have is an imperfection.
Therefore God could not have created a better world.

Personally I think that's a pretty strong argument, but St. Thomas has at least three different arguments that this isn't the best possible world... and I think he's right (not Leibniz). But either way, Leibniz isn't just a heretical dummy. He's a genius who is really searching for the truth about God.
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