Hegel's God

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Hegel's God

Robert Wallace


Quote:...Hegel begins with a radical critique of conventional ways of thinking about God. God is commonly described as a being who is omniscient, omnipotent, and so forth. Hegel says this is already a mistake. If God is to be truly infinite, truly unlimited, then God cannot be ‘a being’, because ‘a being’, that is, one being (however powerful) among others, is already limited by its relations to the others. It’s limited by not being X, not being Y, and so forth. But then it’s clearly not unlimited, not infinite! To think of God as ‘a being’ is to render God finite.

But if God isn’t ‘a being’, what is God? Here Hegel makes two main points. The first is that there’s a sense in which finite things like you and me fail to be as real as we could be, because what we are depends to a large extent on our relations to other finite things. If there were something that depended only on itself to make it what it is, then that something would evidently be more fully itself than we are, and more fully real, as itself. This is why it’s important for God to be infinite: because this makes God more himself (herself, itself) and more fully real, as himself (herself, itself), than anything else is.

Hegel’s second main point is that this something that’s more fully real than we are isn’t just a hypothetical possibility, because we ourselves have the experience of being more fully real, as ourselves, at some times than we are at other times. We have this experience when we step back from our current desires and projects and ask ourselves, what would make the most sense, what would be best overall, in these circumstances? When we ask a question like this, we make ourselves less dependent on whatever it was that caused us to feel the desire or to have the project. We experience instead the possibility of being self-determining, through our thinking about what would be best. But something that can conceive of being self-determining in this way, seems already to be more ‘itself’, more real as itself, than something that’s simply a product of its circumstances.

Putting these two points together, Hegel arrives at a substitute for the conventional conception of God that he criticized...
'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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Interesting ideas on God.

Something else struck me here:
Quote:Hegel’s second main point is that this something that’s more fully real than we are isn’t just a hypothetical possibility, because we ourselves have the experience of being more fully real, as ourselves, at some times than we are at other times.
I think I can readily agree that we are sometimes more fully real, more ourselves, than at other times.


But then this,
Quote:We have this experience when we step back from our current desires and projects and ask ourselves, what would make the most sense, what would be best overall, in these circumstances?
Frankly that just strikes me as weird. It certainly was not what I had in mind, at all.

To be honest, I've been on a personal quest to uncover what it is that makes me more fully me, for decades, and I don't think a few words of description does it justice. It has been a journey of a lifetime.
(This post was last modified: 2020-12-21, 06:42 AM by Typoz.)
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