Theology for the Masses

November 16, 2006

More on God and Change

Filed under: Nature of God,Philosophy — Henry Imler @ 12:00 am

I have written wondering about Augustine’s ideas on God. This morning I read a post at Prosblogion about the impossibility of God being changeless and creating the world out of free will. Alan Rhoda frames the argument as follows: Can a Timeless God Freely Create?

1. God is absolutely immutable.
2. God has freely created.
3. A free act proceeds from a free decision from among several mutually exclusive possibilities.
4. Therefore, God made a free decision to create from among several mutually exclusive possibilities. (2,3)
5. A free decision from among several mutually exclusive possibilities involves a change of ‘intentional stance’ from regarding something as indeterminate (as one of several possibilities) to regarding it as determinate (as the chosen course of action).
6. Therefore, in freely created God undergoes a change in his intentional stance. (4,5)
7. Therefore, God has changed in some respect. (6)
8. Therefore, God is not absolutely immutable. (7)

The lynch-pin of the argument and one of critisms of a perfect and unchangeable God is number six. In excersizing free will, one is changed, whether or not that one is a person or God. Further more, I like what Rhoda hints at towards the end of the post, where he implies that does not employ mere logic in His excersie in free will. This point was first brought to my attention by Carmen Price, a philosophy doctoral student at Washinton University in her capstone paper at Columbia College: “The Necessity of Considering Motivations…”.

What are religions and philosophys that hold both one and two to do? Logically, I think that Rhodes has excluded the posibility of holding to both, so it seems to follow that one of them must be dumped or modified as to allow for the other. Which one takes priority over the other? I think that two takes the priority. Without it, one’s God is reduced to a being without free will, something along the lines of Aristotle’s Prime mover. Since the big three monotheistic faiths, Christianity, Islam, and Judeaism, all hold to a God that is active to varring degrees within It’s creation, this conclusion (Aristolte’s God) must be rejected. Instead it is better to either accept that God undergoes some sort of change in His interaction within time.

Above, I referenced an argument put forth that aimed to show not only that God was mutable, but also that He must exist inside the temporal realm. I do not hold to that conclusion. While I think that God does change, much like a man changes his position while walking, God does lie outside of time.

This does not seem possible at first glance. If something changes, then those changes must be in sequence. If they are in sequence, then they are done in time. If the sequences are done in time, that which undergoes the sequences must also be in time.

I would say that while from the perception of an individual inside of time, God does seem to change within the temporal sequence. However, God only invades time as to interact with that which is in it, yet is still seperate from the creation and as a result, is seperate from time.


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