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An Immaterial Being ? What 's Up With That.


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You seem to be espousing the Theory of Forms, is this correct?

Chef I apologize for being late to this question. I didn't see it.

 

I am unfamiliar with the Theory of Forms. What I am trying to convey, for about the 1000th time, is based on the work of biologist Robert Rosen and it's called a relational approach to the study of organized natural systems. But I feel that I'm not doing a very good job of it, and the reason is fairly simple. I don't believe I understand it well enough yet. I think if I understood it sufficiently then I would be able to explain it with less trouble than I'm currently having.

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You seem to be espousing the Theory of Forms, is this correct?

Chef I apologize for being late to this question. I didn't see it.

 

I am unfamiliar with the Theory of Forms. What I am trying to convey, for about the 1000th time, is based on the work of biologist Robert Rosen and it's called a relational approach to the study of organized natural systems. But I feel that I'm not doing a very good job of it, and the reason is fairly simple. I don't believe I understand it well enough yet. I think if I understood it sufficiently then I would be able to explain it with less trouble than I'm currently having.

Legion,

 

Sometimes it's not the explaining, it's the ears it falls on.

 

Oh yes I did go there y'all!

 

I'm not picking on Chef particularly...Shyone and Chef are a double headed monster!

 

:HaHa:

 

 

You two better know that I love to :poke: because I respect and like you.

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Sometimes it's not the explaining, it's the ears it falls on.

:HaHa: Yes well, I thought about that possibility NotBlinded. But I really think it is incumbent upon me to explain my position with clarity. And I can't be certain that I'm doing that.

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You seem to be espousing the Theory of Forms, is this correct?

Chef I apologize for being late to this question. I didn't see it.

 

I am unfamiliar with the Theory of Forms. What I am trying to convey, for about the 1000th time, is based on the work of biologist Robert Rosen and it's called a relational approach to the study of organized natural systems. But I feel that I'm not doing a very good job of it, and the reason is fairly simple. I don't believe I understand it well enough yet. I think if I understood it sufficiently then I would be able to explain it with less trouble than I'm currently having.

 

Theory of Forms

 

It sounds like this involves organization as one thing and matter as another. Then somehow they get together?

 

I wonder what this organization is made out of and how it interacts with matter. I'm at a loss to understand why it has to be postulated. The four interactions as properties of matter seem to be sufficient to organize matter into the forms we find. I don't see how one would separate the interactions from the matter.

 

As Shyone has noted you need bricks to make a stack of bricks. It can easily be demonstrated that bricks can exist apart from brick-stackishness, but I fail to see how brick-stackisness can exist apart from bricks.

 

Of course the concept of brick-stackishness can exist in your head, but that isn't actual brick-stackishness either. That concept would actually be some arraignment of neurons. As with bricks and stackishness neurons are required to have the concept, but the concept is not required to have neurons.

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You can't have organization without material.

Ah, my longstanding and friendly nemesis, Shyone.

 

Yes, I think I have acknowledged as much. But organization can be materially manifested in many different ways, and can be examined independently of matter. Think of how many ways there are to make a can opener, or a house, or any tool. We are not interested here with what entails the tool, rather we are interested in what the tool entails.

 

You seem to be espousing the Theory of Forms, is this correct?

Chef, I swear to the gods, we are of one mind. Just amazing.

 

:wicked:

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Rosen said that organization must be independent from the material particles which seemingly constitute a living system. As he put it: "The human body completely changes the matter it is made of roughly every 8 weeks, through metabolism and repair. Yet, you're still you-- with all your memories, your personality... If science insists on chasing particles, they will follow them right through an organism and miss the organism entirely,"

 

I'm not familiar with Rosen either. However I don't see how he could demonstrate the independence of this organization from matter. The matter in these organization is intimately involved with it's own passing through. There would be no breathing apart from the matter of your lungs and diaphragm, and no digestion apart from the matter that makes up your digestive system. The fact that this matter is exchanged for other matter does not show that organization is something different than the matter that is organized. If you have three bricks in a stack you can exchange one or all of them for different bricks and still have a stack of bricks. However without some bricks you still cannot have a brick stack.

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You seem to be espousing the Theory of Forms, is this correct?

Chef I apologize for being late to this question. I didn't see it.

 

I am unfamiliar with the Theory of Forms. What I am trying to convey, for about the 1000th time, is based on the work of biologist Robert Rosen and it's called a relational approach to the study of organized natural systems. But I feel that I'm not doing a very good job of it, and the reason is fairly simple. I don't believe I understand it well enough yet. I think if I understood it sufficiently then I would be able to explain it with less trouble than I'm currently having.

Legion,

 

Sometimes it's not the explaining, it's the ears it falls on.

 

Oh yes I did go there y'all!

 

I'm not picking on Chef particularly...Shyone and Chef are a double headed monster!

 

:HaHa:

 

 

You two better know that I love to :poke: because I respect and like you.

 

Don't worry about it.

 

The problem with ears is that they are insufficient detectors of reality if one really wants to know what is at the bottom of things.

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I wonder what this organization is made out of and how it interacts with matter. I'm at a loss to understand why it has to be postulated. The four interactions as properties of matter seem to be sufficient to organize matter into the forms we find. I don't see how one would separate the interactions from the matter.

 

As Shyone has noted you need bricks to make a stack of bricks. It can easily be demonstrated that bricks can exist apart from brick-stackishness, but I fail to see how brick-stackisness can exist apart from bricks.

Let me bounce some ideas off of you Chef.

 

Say we do acknowledge the model of natural systems as some arrangement and dynamic of mass/energy and four forces (I guess you mean gravity, electromagnetism, strong and weak interactions). I think under this model, accurate as it may be, we only examine two causes, namely material and efficient causation. That's the capability of the model.

 

However when we examine an organized material system other models are available for us. Even Shyone's stack of bricks example may provide us with a hint. We are free to ask "why?" about a stack of bricks and thereby inquire into it's function. For instance, I may be using a stack of bricks as a table support. The stack entails things that a set of bricks which are not stacked do not entail. Further, we can realize the function of a table support in many different ways. The important aspect is that all of them serve the same functional role as a stack of bricks. If we accept this explanation then we are acknowledging the objective existence of a certain limited form of final causation. Therefore we need models which are capable of expressing it.

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It seems silly to try to disprove the existence of God through some empirical scientific measure. If God was capable of being measured, quantified, tested like a some lab rat, would this being in question really be God?

 

It seems necessary that if we are going to be talking about God, there are certain attributes which are necessary, immateriality being one of them. I don't think however that this means that we can prove God's existence through some a priori ontological argument, saying that God by our definition of God, must exist because he is a necessary being. But rather, if we are going to seriously grapple with the existence of God, we must grapple with what God, if he is to exist, would be - rather than some strawman conjecture.

 

-Kerplunk

If there were a god, why would he hide? He didn't hide from Adam supposedly, but Adam had free will. He didn't hide from Moses, but Moses had free will. He didn't hide from the disciples, but they had free will.

 

Why must god be invisible, unmeasurable, untestable, silent, unavailable for comment, made of nothing, existing in no place?

 

The only reason I can see is that you can't find him either, and you want me to believe that he exists. Why would you care if I believe in your invisible man?

 

I hate to tell you, but God has no clothes.

 

 

I will admit that the belief of a transcendent eternal God breaking through and engaging the temporal natural world is philosophically problematic. Maybe not irreconcilable, but problematic nonetheless. However, simply if we are presupposing that this God can interact with the temporal world, it does not follow that God remains open to be tested or measured as if he were a lab rat. It would seem that God, if he were to be worthy of being called God, would have to be immeasurable and unquantifiable, otherwise he would simply be another "thing" in the Universe, composed of matter, finite, and subject to the same laws of nature as you and me.

 

-Kerplunk

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I will admit that the belief of a transcendent eternal God breaking through and engaging the temporal natural world is philosophically problematic. Maybe not irreconcilable, but problematic nonetheless. However, simply if we are presupposing that this God can interact with the temporal world, it does not follow that God remains open to be tested or measured as if he were a lab rat. It would seem that God, if he were to be worthy of being called God, would have to be immeasurable and unquantifiable, otherwise he would simply be another "thing" in the Universe, composed of matter, finite, and subject to the same laws of nature as you and me.

 

-Kerplunk

This may be a silly question, but what would be wrong with that?

 

Isn't that kind of what a personal god is? Dependable, reliable, always there for you.

 

Or perhaps this god is truly mysterious and transcendent to the point that we can't begin to fathom what the heck "it" really wants. Then why even try?

 

The substance of god is not what determines his "worth." It would be his actions, and from actions we could determine something about his intent and thought processes.

 

A god that was composed of matter would be no less of a god if he were the only one.

 

I still would probably not worship "it" simply because it was greater than me. I wouldn't worship any alien beings, even if they are immeasurable, unquantifiable, invisible or immaterial.

 

Oh, and even though god would not want to be tested, he is. Pass it along to him. We're watching, waiting, and so far, by every measure, he is as effective and evident as nothing.

 

Jesus was temporal, measurable and quantifiable, and a good man. His words have had a generally beneficial effect on humanity (speaking only of the words supposedly spoken by Jesus). Maybe god needs a permanent resident Son that we can call on for wisdom.

 

Let's call him "Pope."

 

tee-hee

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A god that was composed of matter would be no less of a god if he were the only one.

 

This could only remotely make sense in a pantheistic worldview, in which case God is everything, yet even this is incoherent. If God is all, and God is one, then all must be one. But it seems that all is not one, rather there is a multiplicity of kinds of being.

 

I still would probably not worship "it" simply because it was greater than me. I wouldn't worship any alien beings, even if they are immeasurable, unquantifiable, invisible or immaterial.

 

Exactly. God is not worthy of worship simply because he is immeasurable, unquantifiable, invisible, or immaterial. I was merely stating that these are attributes which we would expect God to have in order to be God. Within the Christian tradition, angels have these same attributes, yet we are not commanded to worship them. Angels or aliens, whichever you prefer, these beings - even if they are vastly greater than ourselves - are not worthy of worship, for they are still ultimately like us, potentially existing, created beings. God, if he is to be worthy of being called God, must be radically different. He must be a necessary and eternal being, who is the sort of metaphysical floorboard from which all other beings rely upon.

 

Oh, and even though god would not want to be tested, he is. Pass it along to him. We're watching, waiting, and so far, by every measure, he is as effective and evident as nothing.

 

It's not about God wanting or not wanting to be tested, it's about whether such statements are even logically coherent.

 

-Kerplunk

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A god that was composed of matter would be no less of a god if he were the only one.

 

This could only remotely make sense in a pantheistic worldview, in which case God is everything, yet even this is incoherent. If God is all, and God is one, then all must be one. But it seems that all is not one, rather there is a multiplicity of kinds of being.

 

I still would probably not worship "it" simply because it was greater than me. I wouldn't worship any alien beings, even if they are immeasurable, unquantifiable, invisible or immaterial.

 

Exactly. God is not worthy of worship simply because he is immeasurable, unquantifiable, invisible, or immaterial. I was merely stating that these are attributes which we would expect God to have in order to be God. Within the Christian tradition, angels have these same attributes, yet we are not commanded to worship them. Angels or aliens, whichever you prefer, these beings - even if they are vastly greater than ourselves - are not worthy of worship, for they are still ultimately like us, potentially existing, created beings. God, if he is to be worthy of being called God, must be radically different. He must be a necessary and eternal being, who is the sort of metaphysical floorboard from which all other beings rely upon.

 

Oh, and even though god would not want to be tested, he is. Pass it along to him. We're watching, waiting, and so far, by every measure, he is as effective and evident as nothing.

 

 

It's not about God wanting or not wanting to be tested, it's about whether such statements are even logically coherent.

 

-Kerplunk

The "metaphysical floorboard" concept is a theological construct. In fact, there is nothing necessary for the universe to function as it does besides the physical laws that operate without any outside interference.

 

Is God necessary for the Earth to orbit the sun, or for the sun to orbit the gravitational center of the galaxy? Or for anything observable in the universe? Apparently not. The universe is self sufficient.

 

Even if God is the Higgs-Boson particle, "necessary for the existence of mass", I see no reason to worship this particle or collection of particles. If all of the particles in the universe collectively said to me, "I am the only reason you and the rest of the universe exist", then I would say, "Thanks."

 

What more is necessary?

 

To use the Father child analogy, a child exists because of the father and mother, but there is no mandate for worshipping the father or the mother. Even obedience is contingent upon a mutual relationship, but there is no relationship with an immaterial, invisible, inaudible, imaginary, incoherent being.

 

Men are really good at making laws and getting people to obey them. Corporal punishment, threats of confinement, and even the authority of God have all been used to motivate people of all religions. The Koran is full of commands to do things as is the bible. People have used the Koran to motivate all sorts of behavior. People have used the Bible to motivate all sorts of behavior.

 

The problem is that most of the behaviors motivated by religious dogma are harmful rather than helpful. Sure, the Koran encourages people to give alms to the poor. How Noble! But then they turn around and burn witches.

 

Or is that the bible...?

 

The problem is that the connection between "There could be something out there" and "God's word is written in the ________" is missing. It is more likely that men wrote the books while imagining that gods exist.

 

Over 1,000 years before the bible was written, and before the Hebrews existed as a people, the Babylonians wrote this:

 

He who loveth the gods will not lightly

esteem his God.

He who
feareth
the Anunnaki
prolongeth

his days
.

Speak not that which is evil
with a friend

and acquaintance.

Utter not base things, speak that

which is good.

Babylonian Book of Wisdom

 

And the bible has this:

 

Come, my children, listen to me

I will teach you the
fear
of the Lord.

Whoever of you loves life and
desires

to see many good days
,

keep your tongue from evil

and your lips from speaking lies
.

Psa. 34:11

 

Men, who imagined gods that did not exist, wrote the former. I think you know who wrote the latter.

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A god that was composed of matter would be no less of a god if he were the only one.

 

This could only remotely make sense in a pantheistic worldview, in which case God is everything, yet even this is incoherent. If God is all, and God is one, then all must be one. But it seems that all is not one, rather there is a multiplicity of kinds of being.

 

I still would probably not worship "it" simply because it was greater than me. I wouldn't worship any alien beings, even if they are immeasurable, unquantifiable, invisible or immaterial.

 

Exactly. God is not worthy of worship simply because he is immeasurable, unquantifiable, invisible, or immaterial. I was merely stating that these are attributes which we would expect God to have in order to be God. Within the Christian tradition, angels have these same attributes, yet we are not commanded to worship them. Angels or aliens, whichever you prefer, these beings - even if they are vastly greater than ourselves - are not worthy of worship, for they are still ultimately like us, potentially existing, created beings. God, if he is to be worthy of being called God, must be radically different. He must be a necessary and eternal being, who is the sort of metaphysical floorboard from which all other beings rely upon.

 

Oh, and even though god would not want to be tested, he is. Pass it along to him. We're watching, waiting, and so far, by every measure, he is as effective and evident as nothing.

 

 

It's not about God wanting or not wanting to be tested, it's about whether such statements are even logically coherent.

 

-Kerplunk

The "metaphysical floorboard" concept is a theological construct. In fact, there is nothing necessary for the universe to function as it does besides the physical laws that operate without any outside interference.

 

Is God necessary for the Earth to orbit the sun, or for the sun to orbit the gravitational center of the galaxy? Or for anything observable in the universe? Apparently not. The universe is self sufficient.

 

Even if God is the Higgs-Boson particle, "necessary for the existence of mass", I see no reason to worship this particle or collection of particles. If all of the particles in the universe collectively said to me, "I am the only reason you and the rest of the universe exist", then I would say, "Thanks."

 

What more is necessary?

 

To use the Father child analogy, a child exists because of the father and mother, but there is no mandate for worshipping the father or the mother. Even obedience is contingent upon a mutual relationship, but there is no relationship with an immaterial, invisible, inaudible, imaginary, incoherent being.

 

Men are really good at making laws and getting people to obey them. Corporal punishment, threats of confinement, and even the authority of God have all been used to motivate people of all religions. The Koran is full of commands to do things as is the bible. People have used the Koran to motivate all sorts of behavior. People have used the Bible to motivate all sorts of behavior.

 

The problem is that most of the behaviors motivated by religious dogma are harmful rather than helpful. Sure, the Koran encourages people to give alms to the poor. How Noble! But then they turn around and burn witches.

 

Or is that the bible...?

 

The problem is that the connection between "There could be something out there" and "God's word is written in the ________" is missing. It is more likely that men wrote the books while imagining that gods exist.

 

Over 1,000 years before the bible was written, and before the Hebrews existed as a people, the Babylonians wrote this:

 

He who loveth the gods will not lightly

esteem his God.

He who
feareth
the Anunnaki
prolongeth

his days
.

Speak not that which is evil
with a friend

and acquaintance.

Utter not base things, speak that

which is good.

Babylonian Book of Wisdom

 

And the bible has this:

 

Come, my children, listen to me

I will teach you the
fear
of the Lord.

Whoever of you loves life and
desires

to see many good days
,

keep your tongue from evil

and your lips from speaking lies
.

Psa. 34:11

 

Men, who imagined gods that did not exist, wrote the former. I think you know who wrote the latter.

 

 

I am not making a statement about the actual existence of God. It very well may be that the world is self-sufficient without the existence of God. I am merely objecting to the straw-man conception of God, which wishes that God be capable of being manipulated, or empirically observed. This straw-man doesn't seem to be reflective of what God would be, if God does exist. I think there are legitimate criticisms to the existence of God, but first let us settle on what we mean by this "God".

 

-Kerplunk

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I am not making a statement about the actual existence of God. It very well may be that the world is self-sufficient without the existence of God. I am merely objecting to the straw-man conception of God, which wishes that God be capable of being manipulated, or empirically observed. This straw-man doesn't seem to be reflective of what God would be, if God does exist. I think there are legitimate criticisms to the existence of God, but first let us settle on what we mean by this "God".

That's a good point. What do we mean with the word "God"?

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I am not making a statement about the actual existence of God. It very well may be that the world is self-sufficient without the existence of God. I am merely objecting to the straw-man conception of God, which wishes that God be capable of being manipulated, or empirically observed. This straw-man doesn't seem to be reflective of what God would be, if God does exist. I think there are legitimate criticisms to the existence of God, but first let us settle on what we mean by this "God".

That's a good point. What do we mean with the word "God"?

 

Although it is difficult to say what God, if God is to exist, is, it often easier to say what God is not. God is not material. God is not complex. God is not finite. God is not temporal. God is not evil. etc. All of these things would seem to be hindrances on God's perfection and full actuality.

 

-Kerplunk

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I am not making a statement about the actual existence of God. It very well may be that the world is self-sufficient without the existence of God. I am merely objecting to the straw-man conception of God, which wishes that God be capable of being manipulated, or empirically observed. This straw-man doesn't seem to be reflective of what God would be, if God does exist. I think there are legitimate criticisms to the existence of God, but first let us settle on what we mean by this "God".

 

-Kerplunk

This is really quite profound! Seriously!

 

I'm at a loss for words.

 

Maybe I'll think of something to say later...

 

Or maybe not.

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Although it is difficult to say what God, if God is to exist, is, it often easier to say what God is not. God is not material. God is not complex. God is not finite. God is not temporal. God is not evil. etc. All of these things would seem to be hindrances on God's perfection and full actuality.

 

-Kerplunk

These properties are then deduced from some general ideas of what God is or isn't. I take it that these concepts are developed independently from any specific religious text, since religious texts (and the bible in particular) depict a god very different from the one described above. It almost sounds like you have an idea of what God is from Plato rather than any typical source (or maybe Aquinas).

 

Why not complex? Are you suggesting that god is "simple" minded?

 

When Christians or others describe something as "immaterial" or not material, I have to wonder what they really mean. Immaterial is essentially the negation of material. It doesn't intrinsically mean anything, and in fact could be taken to mean nothing at all.

 

In the final analysis, I have to wonder why these particular characteristics, or lack of characteristics, were chosen. And by whom. Some seem to be inventions to explain why gods can't be seen or heard, or otherwise detected. Some seem to be projections of what the describer wants god to be rather than what can be known about this mysterious unknown being. Some seem to be extrapolations of Anselm's wishful thinking.

 

If god is nothing but a negative image of reality, then there is nothing to describe really, so I understand why it would be easier to describe what god is not.

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Although it is difficult to say what God, if God is to exist, is, it often easier to say what God is not. God is not material. God is not complex. God is not finite. God is not temporal. God is not evil. etc.

I think there might some assumptions underlying some of those statement.

 

Just think of it. Each one of them, except one, is in a form the opposite to our world and physical reality. We are material, therefore God is not. This world is complex, therefore God is not. This world is finite, therefore God is not. This world is temporal, therefore God is not. So the last one, should that one read: This world is evil, therefore God is not?

 

All of these things would seem to be hindrances on God's perfection and full actuality.

What is perfection? Let's define perfection then, and actuality. Are we actual or non-actual? Is this world perfect or not?

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So the last one, should that one read: This world is evil, therefore God is not?

All of these things would seem to be hindrances on God's perfection and full actuality.

What is perfection? Let's define perfection then, and actuality. Are we actual or non-actual? Is this world perfect or not?

 

Along with perfection, I think we need to explore what it means to say the world is evil or the world is good. Today was a beautiful day. The world was good. Does that then mean God is evil?

 

A few times in my life, I have experienced the world as evil. Does that mean that God is then good? Perhaps he/it is both good and evil because throughout the universe we find both that which could be described as good and that which could be described as evil.

 

Or, is God going to be described in metaphysics as good in a way that has absolutely no bearing and little meaning for normal people. Will it be a special definition of good or evil which only a god can fulfill?

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Although it is difficult to say what God, if God is to exist, is, it often easier to say what God is not. God is not material. God is not complex. God is not finite. God is not temporal. God is not evil. etc. All of these things would seem to be hindrances on God's perfection and full actuality.

 

-Kerplunk

These properties are then deduced from some general ideas of what God is or isn't. I take it that these concepts are developed independently from any specific religious text, since religious texts (and the bible in particular) depict a god very different from the one described above. It almost sounds like you have an idea of what God is from Plato rather than any typical source (or maybe Aquinas).

 

Why not complex? Are you suggesting that god is "simple" minded?

 

When Christians or others describe something as "immaterial" or not material, I have to wonder what they really mean. Immaterial is essentially the negation of material. It doesn't intrinsically mean anything, and in fact could be taken to mean nothing at all.

 

In the final analysis, I have to wonder why these particular characteristics, or lack of characteristics, were chosen. And by whom. Some seem to be inventions to explain why gods can't be seen or heard, or otherwise detected. Some seem to be projections of what the describer wants god to be rather than what can be known about this mysterious unknown being. Some seem to be extrapolations of Anselm's wishful thinking.

 

If god is nothing but a negative image of reality, then there is nothing to describe really, so I understand why it would be easier to describe what god is not.

 

Yes, I conceive of God generally in a philosophic mindset, however I do not think that means we can simply cast the Scriptures aside. Judaism and Christianity have a rich philosophical and exegetical tradition. Philo and Maimonides, Augustine and Thomas, though they conceived of God through a philosophic lens, they nevertheless relied on the Scriptures. Perhaps it is my distinctly Catholic approach to the Scriptures, but Plato and Thomas are not peripheral thinkers, they are quite typical, perhaps not for the uneducated Christian, but at least as far as doctrine is concerned.

 

I certainly do not want to say that God is the inverse of the Universe, such a conclusion would lead to the Gnostic dualism which elevates the spiritual while denigrates the material. At least within the Christian tradition, the Universe must be good, because God is its creator. All things which flow from God are good - so even fallen angels are essentially good. The material world it is not in opposition to God.

 

I do not merely wish to parrot what Thomas says, however given the expansive topic at hand, God's essence, it seems that it may be easier to direct our attention to the Summa I, Q 2-26, which directly deal with God's essence. I could write a bunch of shit, but Thomas is so much more of a succinct and precise writer than I am. The first few questions of the section succinctly provide the orthodox Christian conception of God, asking whether God has a body, whether there is composition of form and matter in God, whether God is altogether simple, etc.

 

-Kerplunk

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I do not merely wish to parrot what Thomas says, however given the expansive topic at hand, God's essence, it seems that it may be easier to direct our attention to the Summa I, Q 2-26, which directly deal with God's essence. I could write a bunch of shit, but Thomas is so much more of a succinct and precise writer than I am. The first few questions of the section succinctly provide the orthodox Christian conception of God, asking whether God has a body, whether there is composition of form and matter in God, whether God is altogether simple, etc.

 

-Kerplunk

I arrived at Article 3 (IIRC), Whether God Exists, and found that to be lacking. The rest of the work depends on acceptance of God, so it seemed silly to consider angels and the like after failing to believe in God, and God's "essence" is the same as Marduk's "essence." Essentially nothing.

 

We proceed thus to the Third Article; It seems that god does not exist.

 

In Question II, section 1 (IIRC), Aquinas agreed that God is not self evident.

 

If God is not self-evident, then he is not evident at all, because the scriptures are flawed and contradictory.

 

So with no scripture to rely on, and no god to make himself known to me, I was left with nothing.

 

Every description I have read of god fulfills that expectation.

 

I know that Catholics don't think this way, but being on this side of atheism, I think that St. Thomas had a crisis of faith. I think he lost it.

 

Perhaps he knew too much, and saw that all of his "proofs" were as straw; insubstantial, unimportant, and like straw men, easily knocked over. He was grasping at straws.

 

“Straw” is a symbol of something worthless or insubstantial.

 

As a metaphor, straw works quite well.

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I do not merely wish to parrot what Thomas says, however given the expansive topic at hand, God's essence, it seems that it may be easier to direct our attention to the Summa I, Q 2-26, which directly deal with God's essence. I could write a bunch of shit, but Thomas is so much more of a succinct and precise writer than I am. The first few questions of the section succinctly provide the orthodox Christian conception of God, asking whether God has a body, whether there is composition of form and matter in God, whether God is altogether simple, etc.

 

-Kerplunk

I arrived at Article 3 (IIRC), Whether God Exists, and found that to be lacking. The rest of the work depends on acceptance of God, so it seemed silly to consider angels and the like after failing to believe in God, and God's "essence" is the same as Marduk's "essence." Essentially nothing.

 

We proceed thus to the Third Article; It seems that god does not exist.

 

In Question II, section 1 (IIRC), Aquinas agreed that God is not self evident.

 

If God is not self-evident, then he is not evident at all, because the scriptures are flawed and contradictory.

 

So with no scripture to rely on, and no god to make himself known to me, I was left with nothing.

 

Every description I have read of god fulfills that expectation.

 

I know that Catholics don't think this way, but being on this side of atheism, I think that St. Thomas had a crisis of faith. I think he lost it.

 

Perhaps he knew too much, and saw that all of his "proofs" were as straw; insubstantial, unimportant, and like straw men, easily knocked over. He was grasping at straws.

 

“Straw” is a symbol of something worthless or insubstantial.

 

As a metaphor, straw works quite well.

 

I'm not sure that I understand your train of thinking. Simply because something is not self-evident, it does not mean that it cannot be affirmed. It is not self-evident that Earth rotates around the Sun, however we have affirmed through science that it is true. Now whether, Thomas' cosmological arguments for the existence of God indeed prove God's existence is another thing.

 

Secondly, and please don't take this wrong way, I simply don't understand where you were going with the argument, but Thomas orders the Summa listing first the objections to his own premise. Therefore, almost universally, when Thomas say "it seems this", he later refutes with his own reply to the objection.

 

-Kerplunk

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I wonder what this organization is made out of and how it interacts with matter. I'm at a loss to understand why it has to be postulated. The four interactions as properties of matter seem to be sufficient to organize matter into the forms we find. I don't see how one would separate the interactions from the matter.

 

As Shyone has noted you need bricks to make a stack of bricks. It can easily be demonstrated that bricks can exist apart from brick-stackishness, but I fail to see how brick-stackisness can exist apart from bricks.

Let me bounce some ideas off of you Chef.

 

Say we do acknowledge the model of natural systems as some arrangement and dynamic of mass/energy and four forces (I guess you mean gravity, electromagnetism, strong and weak interactions). I think under this model, accurate as it may be, we only examine two causes, namely material and efficient causation. That's the capability of the model.

 

However when we examine an organized material system other models are available for us. Even Shyone's stack of bricks example may provide us with a hint. We are free to ask "why?" about a stack of bricks and thereby inquire into it's function. For instance, I may be using a stack of bricks as a table support. The stack entails things that a set of bricks which are not stacked do not entail. Further, we can realize the function of a table support in many different ways. The important aspect is that all of them serve the same functional role as a stack of bricks. If we accept this explanation then we are acknowledging the objective existence of a certain limited form of final causation. Therefore we need models which are capable of expressing it.

 

All of the organizing principles of matter are found in matter, that includes the functions that matter does.

 

The question "why?" implies purpose rather than "what's the function?" That is it implies some sort of entity with plans. This entity is not in evidence. Function is a description of what matter is doing at the moment it is not a description of purpose that is located somewhere outside of matter.

 

Now you can say you have a purpose in stacking the bricks, but that does not locate purpose outside of matter. You are matter too. It is your function to stack the bricks and you are matter doing something.

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I'm not sure that I understand your train of thinking. Simply because something is not self-evident, it does not mean that it cannot be affirmed. It is not self-evident that Earth rotates around the Sun, however we have affirmed through science that it is true. Now whether, Thomas' cosmological arguments for the existence of God indeed prove God's existence is another thing.

 

Secondly, and please don't take this wrong way, I simply don't understand where you were going with the argument, but Thomas orders the Summa listing first the objections to his own premise. Therefore, almost universally, when Thomas say "it seems this", he later refutes with his own reply to the objection.

 

-Kerplunk

It is not self evident, and it is not evident. I look, I do not see. I listen, I do not hear. I reach out, I do not feel. None of my senses detect God. No instrument detects god. Undetectable = inevident.

 

You really don't know where I'm going with St. Thomas, do you? Interesting!

 

I know the format of the arguments. I was poking you in the ribs first with his statement about "it seems that god does not exist." It seems that way to me too! I know he then presents arguments, objections and about 5 reasons that we should believe in god, none of which I find compelling.

 

I was also commenting on his abrupt cessation of mass (on the feast of Nicholas) and his abrupt cessation on the work of the Summa. His statement, in reply to a request from his assistant Reginald's request to continue his work was, "Reginald, I cannot, because all that I have written seems like straw to me."

 

I've been there as have many people on this forum. Our Christian books, writings and preaching became worthless and not worth keeping or continuing. I myself was praying when it hit me that I was talking to myself. I wanted to run out of Church. Thomas did exactly that.

 

Catholics see this as a spiritual experience, but Aquinas never continued his work and, more importantly, he never gave the expected explanation: Did he, in fact, have some revelation that God is greater than any writing could possibly convey? Or anything remotely spiritual?

 

The answer is No.

 

When catholics really confront the event, the may say, "he had a stroke, or maybe a TIA, or..." But many, many atheists have had this experience. Many on this forum, and many others in other places.

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