If God were to contradict Himself ...
#1
Hi everyone,

I have pondered this question for some time and I have not been able to find a satisfying answer. There might not even be a definite answer at all.

The first question that I have is how to distinguish between being, existence and essence.
The particular question that I have is whether God is present in hell. And in what mode of presence? I am not much of a theologian but I am interested in the question.

In my understanding, God is God because He is; but He is because he Loves. Everything that exists, exists because loves it, that is, sees it as a Good. Thus, everything that exists, exists because God maintains it in existence. To be more specific, He maintains even the demons in Hell in existence. Does this mean that God loves them, or rather that He sees them as Good, since He cannot contradict Himself?

My other question is connected to the above, but is merely hypothetical because I know it cannot happen. God is perfect, He is perfect also because He is Love. His Love is perfectly rational and infinitely powerful. God foresees and foreknows everything that is to happen because He is all-knowing. Now, there is order in God's thought because God is as said earlier, Perfect. What would happen - hypothetically - if something foreseen and foreknown by God would turn out not to happen? More concretely, what would happen if God would turn out to be wrong?

I was reading something on the internet and I was learning how the reason why Lucifer fell down from Heaven was because He not only sought to become God but also because he taught God was wrong in creating man. As such, the central reason why there is the battle between Heaven and Hell is because Lucifer wants to prove God wrong and become God himself. But if that were to be the case, if God were wrong, what would happen?

If God were wrong, as I understand, there would be disorder in His all-knowing Thought, and thus, also disorder in His Love. He would no longer want what He had always wanted, which is the Good, which is Himself? Would that mean that He would cease to exist, since Love is maintains Him in his existence? And what about all created reality?

I know this is a difficult question but I have pondering it for months. I would be glad if someone could help me.

Peace be to all of you,
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#2
The word being - it depends if it's used as a noun or a verb. As a noun in denotes a thing, this being, that being etc. As a verb being is activity. With this in mind, we can look at essence. Essence put simply is what something is. Existence, if I can define it like this, is whether a given thing exists or not, i.e.: whether a given essence exists or not. The distinction between essence and existence is a real distinction in all created things. You are a human being. That's your essence. But your existence is distinct. If it was not distinct from your essence, you would necessarily existing. And necessary existence only applies to God. Hence with God there is no real distinction between essence and existence. God is His own existence.

God cannot contradict Himself. God is all knowing. Being all knowing entails that contingent events are known to Him from eternity. If something happened He did not foresee, then He would not be all knowing the first place. God would not be God. It's like trying to ask what if 1 + 1 = 3 in some rare place. But as soon you understand the terms involved, you see the question is meaningless (in a sense).

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#3
And, God is not present in Hell.  In fact, Hell is precisely the absence of God.  The pain isn't fire & brimstone and all that Hieronymus Bosch stuff.....it's being somewhere - by your own hand and for eternity - where God is not.  In fact, the only place where God is not.
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#4
(09-14-2010, 08:34 PM)DesperatelySeeking Wrote: And, God is not present in Hell.   In fact, Hell is precisely the absence of God.  The pain isn't fire & brimstone and all that Hieronymus Bosch stuff.....it's being somewhere - by your own hand and for eternity - where God is not.  In fact, the only place where God is not.
If that were true then God would not be truly omnipresent.
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#5
(09-14-2010, 08:59 PM)Prier Wrote:
(09-14-2010, 08:34 PM)DesperatelySeeking Wrote: And, God is not present in Hell.   In fact, Hell is precisely the absence of God.  The pain isn't fire & brimstone and all that Hieronymus Bosch stuff.....it's being somewhere - by your own hand and for eternity - where God is not.  In fact, the only place where God is not.
If that were true then God would not be truly omnipresent.

Right, except that Hell like Heaven is not a physical location but a state of existence.  So forgive the use of "place" as a metaphor there.
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#6
(09-14-2010, 09:08 PM)DesperatelySeeking Wrote:
(09-14-2010, 08:59 PM)Prier Wrote:
(09-14-2010, 08:34 PM)DesperatelySeeking Wrote: And, God is not present in Hell.   In fact, Hell is precisely the absence of God.  The pain isn't fire & brimstone and all that Hieronymus Bosch stuff.....it's being somewhere - by your own hand and for eternity - where God is not.  In fact, the only place where God is not.
If that were true then God would not be truly omnipresent.

Right, except that Hell like Heaven is not a physical location but a state of existence.  So forgive the use of "place" as a metaphor there.

God is present in Hell insofar as His justice is being manifested there. Although yes, technicalities aside, it's correct to speak of hell as the absense of God.

Hell is also a place after the Last Judgment. Bodies have to be in a place. 
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#7
(09-14-2010, 11:41 PM)Lagrange Wrote: Hell is also a place after the Last Judgment. Bodies have to be in a place. 

OK, that's a good point.
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#8
(09-13-2010, 11:34 PM)steph_86 Wrote: In my understanding, God is God because He is; but He is because he Loves. Everything that exists, exists because loves it, that is, sees it as a Good. Thus, everything that exists, exists because God maintains it in existence. To be more specific, He maintains even the demons in Hell in existence. Does this mean that God loves them, or rather that He sees them as Good, since He cannot contradict Himself?
This is one of the effects of His creation being given His nature. He does not see them as good because they rejected Him.

For anything without free will, it cannot be not Good when created by God. However, for those with free will, that being has a choice. A choice contrary to God's will is evil. So, that which is not Good chose that.

Quote:Now, there is order in God's thought because God is as said earlier, Perfect. What would happen - hypothetically - if something foreseen and foreknown by God would turn out not to happen? More concretely, what would happen if God would turn out to be wrong?
As you know, this is an impossibility, but if something like this were to happen, it would be imperfect, therefore, not God. Satan is not God because Satan makes mistakes. Satan, and humans and angels, can make predictions and think logically, but we are fallible. Even if Satan were aware of every single material and energy in the universe, it would be unable to see beyond the choices of humans, angels and God because of free will. God however is omnipotent and omnipresent and by definition, God could not be "wrong". God can be contradicted, but only because God allowed it. So, God creates beings with free will and gives them the graces and aid necessary to make the choices they should, but even with all this, He knows what the end will be. This is what I consider to be the greatest mystery of God. Jesus wept in the garden because of this. He knew what the results would be, yet, He acted for all. It is still our choice.

Quote:If God were wrong, as I understand, there would be disorder in His all-knowing Thought, and thus, also disorder in His Love. He would no longer want what He had always wanted, which is the Good, which is Himself? Would that mean that He would cease to exist, since Love is maintains Him in his existence? And what about all created reality?
In reality, when something about God is "wrong", it is "wrong" according to the chosen nature of another being. So, when Satan opposes God, and God allows Satan to exist, one could indeed say God is "wrong" by another standard, but even this is from God as God created that being with free will. God did not make that choice though, so all this is under God and for those who oppose God, they have to deny their own nature and there can be no rest for a being who forsakes the Creator.
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#9
(09-13-2010, 11:34 PM)steph_86 Wrote: I was reading something on the internet and I was learning how the reason why Lucifer fell down from Heaven was because He not only sought to become God but also because he taught God was wrong in creating man. As such, the central reason why there is the battle between Heaven and Hell is because Lucifer wants to prove God wrong and become God himself. But if that were to be the case, if God were wrong, what would happen?

Hi. That tradition is actually recounted in several ancient texts and Apocrypha, particularly the Enoch literature. In 3 Enoch chapter 4 we read:
"Hence, the Holy One, blessed be He, lifted me up in their lifetime before their eyes to be a witness against them to the future world. And the Holy One, blessed be He, assigned me as a prince and a ruler among the ministering angels. In that hour three of the ministering angels, 'Uzza, 'Azza, and 'Azzael came forth and brought charges against me in the high heavens, saying before the Holy One, blessed be He: "Said not the Ancient Ones (First Ones) rightly before Thee: Do not create man!" The Holy One, blessed be He, answered and said unto them (Isaiah 46.4): "I have made and I will bear, yea, I will carry and will deliver."

One of the reasons often given for this disagreement with God, is that the angels foresaw the evils that mankind would eventually commit, and they had good intentions in warning God against it. While it may imply that God can err in his judgment, this tale has been quoted as complimentary to the enigmatic verse of Genesis 6:6, where God indeed expresses regret for having created Man.
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