DEBATE: Limited vs. Unlimited God

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Quote:LDS Philosophy and Dry Apologist join me for a debate on the nature of God. We compare the virtues of a limited model of God versus a model on which God is unlimited in power, as well as simple, impassible, etc. Are the classical models of God too impersonal and abstract, incapable of sustaining a commitment to a personal God who loves us? Or are the limited models of God not divine enough? What are the advantages and disadvantages of both views with respect to the problem of evil?
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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My own view is that God is unlimited in terms of what he wants to get done but limited in how he should do it, although his limits are far fewer than ours.
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(2023-06-23, 08:50 PM)Brian Wrote: My own view is that God is unlimited in terms of what he wants to get done but limited in how he should do it, although his limits are far fewer than ours.

Do you mean God is limited to what is logically possible? Or that as Creation continues the rules God has set are, due to God's integrity as a perfectly Good being, limiting?

Or something else entirely?
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


In one sense, I think the question is pointless. In another, I think we can make an argument for a certain type of limit.

So, for the first, I think that there is nothing that is not God so referring to God as "he" or any other pronoun is already applying our own limitations which do no exist.

For the second, I think that God (i.e. everything ... All That Is) is evolving which suggests that limits have not been reached. I guess that we could consider perfection as the ultimate limit but I think that is impossible.
I do not make any clear distinction between mind and God. God is what mind becomes when it has passed beyond the scale of our comprehension.
Freeman Dyson
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I think there are several things that hint that God (assuming He exists) has only finite powers. For example:

1)    The most general argument is that a god with infinite powers need not have orchestrated something like 2.5 billion years of evolution - why not start the molecules moving at a more convenient time? Obviously it could be argued that He did just that, but a false past was just part of what he set in motion - I am not sure I like that because it implies a devious god.

2)    I would say the simplest theistic interpretation of what happened in the Cambrian  explosion is that he just couldn't decide which body forms were the most productive, so he built a whole collection of creatures to test the possibilities. A god with infinite intelligence does not need to test anything.

3)    I have seen suggestions that the 3-base-codon of the genetic genetic code developed from a 2-base version. A number of amino acids are coded without reference to the third base of the corresponding codon. This sounds awfully similar to the dilemma a programmer may face if he has coded something in 4 bits (there are four possible bases, and so code for 2 bits of information per base). A shift to a 3-base system would be very messy to achieve but it would allow for 64 possibilities rather than 16. Unfortunately this idea came from a long discussion I had with Lone Shaman, a very creative contributor at Skeptiko - so again, I should have kept notes!

David
(This post was last modified: 2023-06-24, 05:13 PM by David001. Edited 1 time in total.)
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(2023-06-23, 10:38 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: Do you mean God is limited to what is logically possible? Or that as Creation continues the rules God has set are, due to God's integrity as a perfectly Good being, limiting?

Or something else entirely?

There is an "unanswerable" question that is sometimes aimed at christians. "Can God create a stone that is too heavy for him to lift?"  It's designed to trap but there is a way out.  The answer is "yes, but then he can lighten it in order to lift it."
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(2023-06-24, 10:16 AM)David001 Wrote: I would say the simplest theistic interpretation of what happened in the Cambrian  explosion is that he just couldn't decide which body forms were the most productive, so he built a whole collection of creatures to test the possibilities. A god with infinite intelligence does not need to test anything.

Yes he does.  No matter how much intelligence one has, without infinite knowledge testing is required.
(2023-06-24, 04:19 AM)Kamarling Wrote: In one sense, I think the question is pointless.

I mean I did post this in Philosophy. Wink

Quote:So, for the first, I think that there is nothing that is not God so referring to God as "he" or any other pronoun is already applying our own limitations which do no exist.

For the second, I think that God (i.e. everything ... All That Is) is evolving which suggests that limits have not been reached. I guess that we could consider perfection as the ultimate limit but I think that is impossible.

Yeah this gets into complicated questions about who/what "God" is. I do think there is a "Limited God" but I don't know how "Limited". Is God an Awareness and merely that, does God have moral cares or is just concerned about Order, is God a loving parent but such a part of Creation He/She/It cannot just "fix" everything...

The God of Classical Theism seems like one that has had a lot of Proof of God pointing toward, with some proofs seeming like nonsense and others making me think...but this entity is so remote it seems more like a metaphysical lynchpin than what we think of as "God". Plotinus even said the "One" isn't meant to be worshiped because by [its] very nature it wasn't going to respond to our cares...

And as you say if God's body is literally creation, in a Pandeist/Pantheist/Panentheist sense it gets even more tricky.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(This post was last modified: 2023-06-26, 02:15 AM by Sciborg_S_Patel. Edited 1 time in total.)
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(2023-06-24, 10:22 AM)Brian Wrote: Yes he does.  No matter how much intelligence one has, without infinite knowledge testing is required.

Well arguably you already have knowledge of QM to do the prediction. I mean, if God can extrapolate forward with complete precision for an arbitrary amount of time then #i don't think he doesn't need to test anything!

David
(2023-06-24, 05:10 PM)David001 Wrote: Well arguably you already have knowledge of QM to do the prediction. I mean, if God can extrapolate forward with complete precision for an arbitrary amount of time then #i don't think he doesn't need to test anything!

David

I haven't a clue what you are talking about.  English for dummies is the best way to communicate with me.
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