Author Topic: Refutation of pantheism  (Read 1688 times)

Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Refutation of pantheism
« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2019, 09:48:58 AM »
I don't agree with the conclusion, and I would question premise #2. While what you said does work, it relies heavily on a number of assumptions about the nature of time. For one thing, you're assuming that time is discrete--i.e. that the timeline is constructed from moments, and that each moment has a non-zero duration. You're also assuming that the timeline sort of "grows" as time goes on.

St. Augustine explicitly rejected the idea that time is discrete. To him each "moment" is not a slice with non-zero duration at all, but is more analogous to a mathematical point. It has no duration; it is merely the boundary between its relative past and its relative future. You can divide a line at any given point, but you cannot construct a line from points.

I also don't see much reason to believe that the timeline grows as time goes on. And if it doesn't grow, then there's no need to try to explain it as a sum.

This is intriguing.  Ahmed was saying that eternal time could be an infinite succession of events, but you might be using St. Augustine to say here that time is infinite, yet successive moments are arbitrary.  But doesn't this render temporal cause-and-effect an illusion, or a conceit?  I think you said something like that earlier, but it went over my head.  I mean, St. Augustine said that time is a conceit, but he did believe in a beginning and an end of creation, so he was arguing for a timeline of moments stretching between one point and another, even if the moments themselves were "infinitely short," as John Lamb has put it.

You have a much better grasp of this than I do.  I suppose you might be saying that Augustine's assertion of a beginning and an end to time was an assumption, and if you remove that assumption and take his thoughts about the immeasurability of moments, you can get infinite time without a timeline.   But doesn't this hew closer to pantheism?  Monotheism and even Neoplatonic monism makes a distinction between the creature and the creator; God is outside of time, and the material world is in it.  But if time is eternal, then wouldn't it be co-eternal with God?

How would creation have a beginning in such a scheme?  It would would seem to run the danger of there being a time before creation, which I suspect is unorthodox.  There is said to be no time for God, only an eternal present.  Time is a creation.

Quote from: St. Augustine, Confessions, XI.14
At no time, therefore, had You not made anything, because You made time itself.  And no times are co-eternal with You, because You remain for ever; but should these continue, they would not be times.

St. Augustine said it was a mistake to consider a time prior to creation.  "I answer him who asks, 'what was God doing before He made heaven and earth?' I answer not, as a certain person is reported to have done facetiously, 'He was preparing hell for those who pry into mysteries.'"


« Last Edit: September 27, 2019, 11:10:37 AM by Pon de Replay »
 
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Offline Maximilian

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Re: Refutation of pantheism
« Reply #16 on: September 27, 2019, 11:18:11 AM »

St. Augustine said it was a mistake to consider a time prior to creation.  "I answer him who asks, 'what was God doing before He made heaven and earth?' I answer not, as a certain person is reported to have done facetiously, 'He was preparing hell for those who pry into mysteries.'"

Great quote. I have to save this one.

Do you know the source, which of Augustine's works?
 
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Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Refutation of pantheism
« Reply #17 on: September 27, 2019, 03:14:05 PM »
Do you know the source, which of Augustine's works?

Yes, it's from the Confessions, Book XI.  But as for the quip itself, I don't know.  I believe he is quoting another Church Father; an annotated edition would probably have the citation.  It sounds like something Tertullian or Jerome would say.
 
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Offline Xavier

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Re: Refutation of pantheism
« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2019, 05:00:41 AM »
Quote from: Daniel
While what you said does work, it relies heavily on a number of assumptions about the nature of time. For one thing, you're assuming that time is discrete--i.e. that the timeline is constructed from moments, and that each moment has a non-zero duration. You're also assuming that the timeline sort of "grows" as time goes on.

Thanks, Daniel. Even if time were continuous, I think the argument would work. I don't think it matters that we could indefinitely divide seconds, or anything else, in theory. For e.g. let's say, a person who has existed since the beginning of time draws a continuous line 1 cm long every second, and continually extends it by 1 cm, with every passing second. Then, the line drawn will always be of finite length.

In Pon's link, http://web.mnstate.edu/gracyk/courses/web%20publishing/AugustineBookXI.htm St. Augustine says we discern time in intervals. We ask, how much time has passed, and we distinguish between long and short intervals of time. In addition, because God is Changeless and Eternal, as long as He alone existed, time did not, but only the Eternal Now of Eternity. But as soon as creatures begin to exist, because all creatures are mutable, and change, they have a beginning in time, and therefore time exists for creature's sake.

Prof. Craig typically begins his demonstration by way of the Kalam Cosmological argument like this (1) Whatever begins to exist has a Cause. (2) The universe began to exist. (3) Therefore, the Universe has a Cause. This argument is intuited by St. Thomas in the Third Way, but I prefer the way of stating it from Contingency/Necessity. Beings are said to exist contingently when their non-existence is possible (i.e. for instance, they can cease to exist, they at one time did not exist etc) (1) Every contingent being depends on another being for its existence. (2) Therefore, if every being in existence existed contingently, the series would never end, and no existence would be possible (3) Therefore, it is necessary that some Being exists not contingently, but necessarily, i.e. without beginning and end.
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Offline Xavier

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Re: Refutation of pantheism
« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2019, 05:10:13 AM »
Quote from: Pon
Thank you, Xavier.  This is where I think Professor Craig overreaches.  It has two problems as I see it.  First, in order to know what can or cannot originate from an Uncaused Cause, we would have to know the precise nature or limitations of the Uncaused Cause.  How can we know that?  I think Craig restricts it with logic.  The Uncaused Cause may well defy our logic.  The theological mystery of the Trinity does.

Hi Pon. Right. Prof. Craig gives a detailed breakdown of his premises here http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/craig-smith1.html Is that helpful? I don't think God is illogical if that's what you mean, although it is true God is beyond our comprehension.

My view is, God expects us to reason back to Him from things by analogy with things we know naturally. We know naturally that Causes are either impersonal or personal. For e.g. since water freezes at 0 degree centigrade, if the temperature was so eternally, water would be frozen eternally. That is an example of an impersonal cause by a set of necessary and sufficient conditions. But suppose water was not frozen eternally, but began to freeze at some temporal point in the past. Then, it would be reasonable to deduce a personal cause.

By way of analogy, of course. Your thoughts, Pon? But I agree, and I believe Prof. Craig also says elsewhere, for Christians, our experience of God and of the Risen Lord shows us that God exists and radically intervenes in human history, and our day-to-day lives.

I think the Christian experience of theosis, based on the historical reality of God becoming Man in Jesus Christ, opening up the path for us to experience Union with God through Grace, most especially in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, both in Eucharistic Adoration and in Holy Mass, gives us an experiential intuition of God's Real Presence among us.

Quote
Second, to ascribe to it a will seems to suggest that this cause has desire, giving it a complexity that would negate the simplicity logic demands.  The smart-aleck dismissal of the Uncaused Cause ("well, then what caused the Uncaused Cause?") is instantly given legs in this scenario, because if the Uncaused Cause is personal, then it begins to seem something an awful lot like ourselves, and it is ourselves that we are trying to find the explanation for.

The argument goes like this, from the above, I don't think any of the premise are circular. Which one do you disagree with, "HANDOUT: THE KALAM COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT
1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence.
2.The universe began to exist.
  2.1 Argument based on the impossibility of an actual infinite:
    2.11 An actual infinite cannot exist.
    2.12 An infinite temporal regress of events is an actual infinite.
    2.13 Therefore, an infinite temporal regress of events cannot exist.
  2.2 Argument based on the impossibility of the formation of an actual infinite by successive addition:
    2.21 A collection formed by successive addition cannot be actually infinite.
    2.22 The temporal series of past events is a collection formed by successive addition.
    2.23 Therefore, the temporal series of past events cannot be actually infinite.
  2.3 Confirmation based on the expansion of the universe.
  2.4 Confirmation based on the thermodynamic properties of the universe.

3. Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence.

4. If the universe has a cause of its existence, then an uncaused, personal Creator of the universe exists, who sans creation is beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, and enormously powerful and intelligent..."

God bless.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2019, 06:44:58 AM by Xavier »
My Personal Motto in Life, that of St. Maximillian Maria Kolbe, founder of the Militia Immaculatae: "I want to be a Saint, and a great Saint". Make it your motto too.

"Dignáre, Dómine, die isto sine peccáto nos custodíre" (Deign, O Lord, to keep us this day without any sin). Please pray this prayer many times every day to end all sin.

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Come offer your Life to Jesus and Mary: TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted and pluralized: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For His Eminence Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, His Excellency Metropolitan Hilarion, as well as His Eminence Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, that they may re-unite their flocks with the Roman Catholic Church, and there may soon be but One Fold and One Shepherd. For all the 220+ Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all 6000+ Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for the 400,000+ Priests, the 700,000+ Nuns, 50,000+ Monks, 100,000+ seminarians, that they may all become the Saints the Divine Will wishes them to be; for all the 1.35 Billion Members of the Church, the Millions of Catholic Catechumens and Children to be born and baptized in this Decade; we pray for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, and for All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/

"I bless thy holy Name, I praise thine exalted privilege of being truly Mother of God, ever Virgin, conceived without stain of sin, Co-Redemptrix of the human race." [Indulgence of 100 Days, 22 January 1914] https://www.piercedhearts.org/hearts_jesus_mary/heart_mary/mystery_coredemptrix_papal_magisterium.htm Pray, "Mother of God, Co-Redemptrix of the world, pray for us: http://www.jesusmariasite.org/jesus-pray-my-children-that-the-fifth-marian-dogma-be-proclaimed/
 
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Offline Daniel

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Re: Refutation of pantheism
« Reply #20 on: September 28, 2019, 08:15:37 AM »
This is intriguing.  Ahmed was saying that eternal time could be an infinite succession of events, but you might be using St. Augustine to say here that time is infinite, yet successive moments are arbitrary.  But doesn't this render temporal cause-and-effect an illusion, or a conceit?  I think you said something like that earlier, but it went over my head.  I mean, St. Augustine said that time is a conceit, but he did believe in a beginning and an end of creation, so he was arguing for a timeline of moments stretching between one point and another, even if the moments themselves were "infinitely short," as John Lamb has put it.

My apologies, I see that in my earlier post I was a bit mistaken on St. Augustine's view. (It's been a while since I'd read his stuff.) Looking things over, I see that St. Augustine (at least in the Confessions) is a presentist. So he denies the existence of any real timeline at all. To him there's just an ever-changing present moment, unextended in time... and the timeline is pretty much an illusion, existing only in our memory and imagination. Can't say I agree with him there. I'm no expert on presentism, but it seems to have all sorts of problems.

To clarify, I am not denying the timeline. I say that there is a timeline which we experience not all at once (as it really is) but as a sequence of moments (from earlier to later). But the timeline I'm proposing doesn't "grow" or "change" as time goes on. It's stagnant... the whole timeline (past, present, future) is eternal.

As for the real existence of secondary causation / "cause and effect", I am not sure. Cause and effect doesn't seem problematic to the eternalist model (perhaps later things on the timeline truly are somehow dependent upon earlier things on the timeline), though it doesn't seem necessary either (perhaps there is no real cause and effect at all, but all things are immediately caused by God). I'm not sure how orthodox this latter view would be, though.

Quote
You have a much better grasp of this than I do.  I suppose you might be saying that Augustine's assertion of a beginning and an end to time was an assumption, and if you remove that assumption and take his thoughts about the immeasurability of moments, you can get infinite time without a timeline.   But doesn't this hew closer to pantheism?  Monotheism and even Neoplatonic monism makes a distinction between the creature and the creator; God is outside of time, and the material world is in it.  But if time is eternal, then wouldn't it be co-eternal with God?

How would creation have a beginning in such a scheme?  It would would seem to run the danger of there being a time before creation, which I suspect is unorthodox.  There is said to be no time for God, only an eternal present.  Time is a creation.

I think we need to distinguish between "beginning to exist" and "beginning to exist on the timeline". Any creature which "begins to exist on the timeline" has both a causal beginning and a temporal beginning. The timeline, however, is a creature (who "begins to exist") who does not "begin to exist on the timeline". So the timeline's beginning is solely causal. God eternally causes the timeline--including everything on the timeline--to exist.

(For reference, St. Augustine seems to argue against what I just said. (City of God, Book X, chapter 31.) But I think his argument is flawed. He acknowledges the distinction between causal and temporal beginnings when setting out the objection, but then if I'm reading it right he seems to conflate the two in his actual argument. Probably because he's a presentist and the presentist model doesn't allow that the human soul can "begin to exist" without yet "existing in time". Though I'm not sure what he'd conclude if he were discussing time itself rather than the human soul, since time clearly doesn't "exist in time". He probably wrote about this somewhere, but I'm not sure where.)

I do agree, eternalism does seem to be closer to pantheism than presentism is (but not as close as monism is). In either case, there's at least one important distinction to be made: God is uncreated (doesn't "begin to exist") whereas the timeline is created ("begins to exist").


Thanks, Daniel. Even if time were continuous, I think the argument would work. I don't think it matters that we could indefinitely divide seconds, or anything else, in theory. For e.g. let's say, a person who has existed since the beginning of time draws a continuous line 1 cm long every second, and continually extends it by 1 cm, with every passing second. Then, the line drawn will always be of finite length.

But what I'm saying is that hypothetically there'd never be a "beginning of time" in the first place, so it makes no sense to speak of this line as having a starting point. If such a line did exist, it would be of infinite length. (Viewed from the present moment, it would be a ray extending backwards indefinitely. And viewed absolutely, it would be a true line. In no case would it be a line segment, as that would require that the line began at some point in time, which we hypothetically deny.)


The way I imagine it is this: God eternally creates whatever timeline He wants to create. If He wants the timeline to have a starting point then He creates it having a starting point, but if He doesn't then He doesn't. Either sort of timeline seems conceivable. If God can conceive of a geometric line unbounded on both sides, what's to stop Him from conceiving of a timeline unbounded on both sides?
« Last Edit: September 28, 2019, 10:42:45 AM by Daniel »
 
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Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Refutation of pantheism
« Reply #21 on: September 28, 2019, 09:25:11 AM »
Peace be with you, Xavier.  I follow the well-ordered steps of Craig's cosmological argument in agreement and without difficulty—until, that is, the final two steps he puts in at the very end (4.27 and 4.28).  He got too greedy.  I have no objection to: "an uncaused Creator of the universe exists, who sans creation is 'beginningless,' changeless, immaterial, timeless, and spaceless."  The addition of "enormously powerful and intelligent" is the problem.

Quote from: William Lane Craig, Kalam cosmological argument
    4.27 The Creator is enormously powerful.
      4.27(1) He brought the universe into being out of
        nothing.
    4.28 The Creator is enormously intelligent.
      4.28(1) The initial conditions of the universe
        involve incomprehensible fine-tuning that points
        to intelligent design.

He is assuming here what needs to be proven.  4.27 assumes something we cannot know: that an ex nihilo creation requires power.  Power relies, for our understanding of it, on the concept of weakness.  These are mortal, dualistic conceptions.  There is no apparent reason why God would not transcend our mortal concepts (indeed, if I were to speculate, it seems God would).  God could be neither powerful nor weak, but "God."  Beyond all opposites and concepts.  Ascribing power to God seems a return to anthropomorphism.  For 4.28, I would offer that "fine-tuning" is a purely subjective (and anthropocentric) conceit.  I'm sure we need not rehash it, but in the various theodicy threads we've had, I've given my reasons for why the created order does not necessarily indicate things like intelligent design, beneficence, &c.  Craig would have to prove intelligent design first.

Quote from: Arthur Schopenhauer, On the Sufferings of the World
If you try to imagine, as nearly as you can, what an amount of misery, pain and suffering of every kind the sun shines upon in its course, you will admit that it would be much better if, on the earth as little as on the moon, the sun were able to call forth the phenomena of life; and if, here as there, the surface were still in a crystalline state.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2019, 01:07:26 PM by Pon de Replay »
 

Offline Pon de Replay

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Time and eternity
« Reply #22 on: September 28, 2019, 10:42:24 AM »
I do agree, eternalism does seem to be closer to pantheism than presentism is (but not as close as monism is). In either case, there's at least one important distinction to be made: God is uncreated (doesn't "begin to exist") whereas the timeline is created ("begins to exist").

There is a particular monism that some Neoplatonists and Gnostics held to, which is that God is "emanation."  In this view, there is a Godhead, and a divine substance emanating out from it.  But it is actually a profoundly non-pantheistic scheme, in that, using theistic language, "the creature is separate from the Creator."  It holds the temporal and material to be the privation of the divine—just as evil, such as it exists, is said to be the privation of God's goodness in the Christian view.  Indeed, the temporal and material can be considered evil in this scheme.  And they are "caused," in a sense, by mere privation, but not created.  These, to my readings, are more or less Plotinus' ideas in the Enneads (III.7 and I.8).

Just putting it out there.  I don't know to what extent St. Augustine was influenced by Plotinus, but their views on time seem reconcilable: that time, for us mortals, is a fallible reflection of the eternal moment of God.  And so we can only measure it in moments that are infinitely short, and experience it as a succession of causes and effects.  I take Plotinus as a speculative theologian, though; not as a Doctor of the Church of Neoplatonism or anything.  I do think Neoplatonism has an advantage in that it primarily and ultimately emphasizes God as "Being."  "Mind" is an emanation; and the temporal and material are almost incidental—a divine afterthought at best and privation at worst.  But I think you make an excellent point, in that if we assume God is Mind, there is nothing God cannot conceive of or create:

God eternally creates whatever timeline He wants to create. If He wants the timeline to have a starting point then He creates it having a starting point, but if He doesn't then He doesn't. Either sort of timeline seems conceivable. If God can conceive of a geometric line unbounded on both sides, what's to stop Him from conceiving of a timeline unbounded on both sides?

I daresay you would've been more successful debating Al-Andalusi on this point than Professor Ahmed was.
 

Offline Xavier

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Re: Refutation of pantheism
« Reply #23 on: September 29, 2019, 03:59:31 AM »
Quote from: Daniel
The way I imagine it is this: God eternally creates whatever timeline He wants to create.

Sure, Daniel. But once the timeline is created, it is only thereafter that time begins. So, there was a definite time where t=0 at Creation. Physicists think Planck time was at t=10^-43 seconds after the creation of the universe, for instance. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planck_time

If t=neg infinitity at the beginning of creation, then t=n where n is a finite number will simply never be realized. So, how did we ever arrive at the present moment?

Prof. Craig shows that even skeptics like Hume and Kant ultimately agreed with this point. Hume, "An infinite number of real parts of time, passing in succession, and exhausted one after another, appears so evident a contradiction, that no man whose judgment is not corrupted, instead of being improved, by the sciences, would ever be able to admit of it." and Kant, "If we assume that the world has no beginning in time, then up to every given moment an eternity has elapsed and there has passed away in the world an infinite series of successive states of things. Now the infinity of a series consists in the fact it can never be completed through successive synthesis. It thus follows that it is impossible for an infinite world–series to have passed away, and that a beginning of the world is therefore a necessary condition of the world's existence"

But apart from metaphysical and mathematical confirmation of Prof. Craig's premise 2 (please see the link in the reply to Pon), there is also scientific and empirical confirmation of the Premise, The Universe has a beginning. Also, if the age of the universe was actually infinite, all that could have possibly happened would have already happened. But that is plainly false, and further the universe would then likely have already undergone heat death by now, as an infinite amount of time had already elapsed. Plainly not true either.

Quote from: Pon
Peace be with you, Xavier.  I follow the well-ordered steps of Craig's cosmological argument in agreement and without difficulty—until, that is, the final two steps he puts in at the very end (4.27 and 4.28) ... I have no objection to: "an uncaused Creator of the universe exists, who sans creation is 'beginningless,' changeless, immaterial, timeless, and spaceless."The addition of "enormously powerful and intelligent" is the problem ... 4.27 assumes something we cannot know: that an ex nihilo creation requires power.  Power relies, for our understanding of it, on the concept of weakness.

Peace, Pon. Ok, but I don't see why that has to be the case. Supposing we knew that someone's hand broke a steel table marketed as "unbreakable", and were trying to discern what we could about the powerfulness or lack thereof of the Hand, what would we decide? One would naturally deduce - from the effect - that the Cause must be exceptionally and extremely Powerful, so I think the inference is justified.

But on this one matter, I actually disagree myself with Prof. Craig, as I think he understates the case here, and is unfortunately satisfied with showing that God is "enormously powerful". I would argue that God would have to be Infinitely Powerful, i.e. Almighty, for Him to bring something into existence out of nothing. Why? Because if it takes a great deal of Power to bring a lot into existence from a little, how much greater Power, do we imagine, would it take to cause something to be just by willing it into existence? Can we cause a nice apple tree to grow up in our garden just by conceiving it, and willing it into existence? No, plainly not, we may be powerful human beings, but we are not that powerful, that is for certain. :) And yet, that is the way, just as the Prophet Moses records in Genesis that the Almighty brought Light, and all things into existence, that modern science, and metaphysical logic, seem to suggest that creation originated from the Uncaused Cause. I also think it's highly significant that one of the most ancient revelations of the great God of the Hebrews to the Patriarch Abraham was precisely that God was Almighty, "And after he began to be ninety and nine years old, the Lord appeared to him: and said unto him: I am the Almighty God [El-Shaddai in the Hebrew]: walk before Me, and be perfect."

God bless.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2019, 04:14:19 AM by Xavier »
My Personal Motto in Life, that of St. Maximillian Maria Kolbe, founder of the Militia Immaculatae: "I want to be a Saint, and a great Saint". Make it your motto too.

"Dignáre, Dómine, die isto sine peccáto nos custodíre" (Deign, O Lord, to keep us this day without any sin). Please pray this prayer many times every day to end all sin.

St. Padre Pio: "I have made a pact with the Lord: I will take my place at the gate to paradise, but I shall not enter until I have seen the last of my spiritual children enter."

Come offer your Life to Jesus and Mary: TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted and pluralized: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For His Eminence Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, His Excellency Metropolitan Hilarion, as well as His Eminence Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, that they may re-unite their flocks with the Roman Catholic Church, and there may soon be but One Fold and One Shepherd. For all the 220+ Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all 6000+ Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for the 400,000+ Priests, the 700,000+ Nuns, 50,000+ Monks, 100,000+ seminarians, that they may all become the Saints the Divine Will wishes them to be; for all the 1.35 Billion Members of the Church, the Millions of Catholic Catechumens and Children to be born and baptized in this Decade; we pray for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, and for All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/

"I bless thy holy Name, I praise thine exalted privilege of being truly Mother of God, ever Virgin, conceived without stain of sin, Co-Redemptrix of the human race." [Indulgence of 100 Days, 22 January 1914] https://www.piercedhearts.org/hearts_jesus_mary/heart_mary/mystery_coredemptrix_papal_magisterium.htm Pray, "Mother of God, Co-Redemptrix of the world, pray for us: http://www.jesusmariasite.org/jesus-pray-my-children-that-the-fifth-marian-dogma-be-proclaimed/
 

Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Refutation of pantheism
« Reply #24 on: September 29, 2019, 08:39:12 AM »
Ok, but I don't see why that has to be the case. Supposing we knew that someone's hand broke a steel table marketed as "unbreakable", and were trying to discern what we could about the powerfulness or lack thereof of the Hand, what would we decide? One would naturally deduce - from the effect - that the Cause must be exceptionally and extremely Powerful, so I think the inference is justified.

Pax, Xavier.  I think this only shows that Professor Craig is sneaking the ontological argument into the cosmological.  We are talking about the act of bringing something out of nothing: this is entirely beyond our comprehension and no earthly analogy can suffice.  Far more appropriate a descriptor than "powerful" would be "ineffable."  But if Craig wants to invoke power, then there is a cheeky argumentum ad absurdum in that direction.

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1.  The creation of the world is the most marvelous achievement imaginable.

2.  The merit of an achievement is the product of (a) its intrinsic quality, and (b) the ability of its creator.

3.  The greater the disability or handicap of the creator, the more impressive the achievement.

4.  The most formidable handicap for a creator would be non-existence.

5.  Therefore, if we suppose that the universe is the product of an existent creator, we can conceive a greater being—namely, one who created everything while not existing.
   
6.  An existing God, therefore, would not be a being than which a greater cannot be conceived, because an even more formidable and incredible creator would be a God which did not exist.

7.  Ergo, God does not exist.
 

Offline Xavier

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Re: Refutation of pantheism
« Reply #25 on: September 29, 2019, 11:31:08 AM »
Haha. Premise 5 is obviously erroneous. A non-existent being creating is an impossibility. I agree God's Attributes are Ineffable. The Saints who have attained theosis often compare God's Glory to the light of the sun - they say, we can barely bear to gaze at the light of the sun, how much less can we imagine we can fully grasp the Glory of God? Yet, as we can understand, by its effects, that the sun gives light and heat to the earth, in the same way, by God's Effects, we can discern some basic things about His Nature, Attributes and Ineffable Properties.

St. Thomas didn't accept the Ontological Argument of Archbishop St. Anselm of Canterbury. But in his Fourth Way, the Angelic Doctor argues there is a way we can deduce that the Almighty is Infinite Goodness, and Supreme Perfection. "The fourth way is taken from the gradation to be found in things. Among beings there are some more and some less good, true, noble and the like. But "more" and "less" are predicated of different things, according as they resemble in their different ways something which is the maximum, as a thing is said to be hotter according as it more nearly resembles that which is hottest; so that there is something which is truest, something best, something noblest and, consequently, something which is uttermost being; for those things that are greatest in truth are greatest in being, as it is written in Metaph. ii. Now the maximum in any genus is the cause of all in that genus; as fire, which is the maximum heat, is the cause of all hot things. Therefore there must also be something which is to all beings the cause of their being, goodness, and every other perfection; and this we call God."

ETA: In the Fourth Way, St. Thomas proves God is infinite Goodness and infinite Perfection. This follows from the gradation we observe in created things. We see that some are more or less good, more or less beautiful and so on. But what is Goodness that is differently participated in by different beings? What is the origin of the moral law we discern on our conscience, that reason and the natural law inform us is eternal and immutable? Each of these predications suggest an infinite source of all these attributes which they display in a limited way. Just as we saw that being and motion must be caused, so now we see that goodness and beauty and each particular attribute has its source in God. My personal syllogism or steps leading to the 4th way would be, something like,

1. We not only observe different modes of being that require causes, but we also observe grades of being e.g. beings more or less good, and other such participations in which creatures share in different degrees.

2. As we saw beings require a cause, the gradations of being also require a specific cause, e.g. gradations of temperature caused by heat.

3. Therefore, there exists some Being that is uttermost Goodness, uttermost Beauty, uttermost Wisdom and uttermost Love, that imparted to different beings a share in its attributes, and communicated to them a measure of its attributes, calling us human beings to the highest degree of participation possible in them via theosis.

4. As for the areas where these are absent, which non-Christians sometimes wonder about, it is because we creatures have not yet fulfilled our end, which is union with this Goodness, which we therefore have to work toward. Evil arises from the absence of Good.

God bless.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2019, 11:34:01 AM by Xavier »
My Personal Motto in Life, that of St. Maximillian Maria Kolbe, founder of the Militia Immaculatae: "I want to be a Saint, and a great Saint". Make it your motto too.

"Dignáre, Dómine, die isto sine peccáto nos custodíre" (Deign, O Lord, to keep us this day without any sin). Please pray this prayer many times every day to end all sin.

St. Padre Pio: "I have made a pact with the Lord: I will take my place at the gate to paradise, but I shall not enter until I have seen the last of my spiritual children enter."

Come offer your Life to Jesus and Mary: TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted and pluralized: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For His Eminence Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, His Excellency Metropolitan Hilarion, as well as His Eminence Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, that they may re-unite their flocks with the Roman Catholic Church, and there may soon be but One Fold and One Shepherd. For all the 220+ Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all 6000+ Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for the 400,000+ Priests, the 700,000+ Nuns, 50,000+ Monks, 100,000+ seminarians, that they may all become the Saints the Divine Will wishes them to be; for all the 1.35 Billion Members of the Church, the Millions of Catholic Catechumens and Children to be born and baptized in this Decade; we pray for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, and for All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/

"I bless thy holy Name, I praise thine exalted privilege of being truly Mother of God, ever Virgin, conceived without stain of sin, Co-Redemptrix of the human race." [Indulgence of 100 Days, 22 January 1914] https://www.piercedhearts.org/hearts_jesus_mary/heart_mary/mystery_coredemptrix_papal_magisterium.htm Pray, "Mother of God, Co-Redemptrix of the world, pray for us: http://www.jesusmariasite.org/jesus-pray-my-children-that-the-fifth-marian-dogma-be-proclaimed/
 
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Offline Kreuzritter

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Re: Refutation of pantheism
« Reply #26 on: October 10, 2019, 12:48:21 PM »
I understand your position better now.  But the first point is problematic.  How do we get from an Uncaused Cause to a God with a mind to know things?

In classical theism, you don't. But ultimately there is no other possibility because a "cause" in this sense is a concept won from the experience of our own acts of will and their power to change reality and has no cognitive meaning outside of this, which Hume quite adequately showed in his failed attempts to give some kind of empirical meaning to "cause".


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I'm different.  It seems to me that the process of cause-and-effect should have a first cause.  Not that it must have a cause, but that it logically should.  But I agree with you that an infinite regress of causes and effects can't be entirely ruled out; it's incomprehensible—but not, as Al-Andalusi was claiming in the debate, impossible.

It's incomprehensible because it's nonsensical, and if it's nonsensical, we don't even need to ask whether "it" is possible or not. That doesn't address whether the notion of a chain of cause and effect is representative of reality, much like Zeno's conceptualisation of motion is decidedly not so.

 

Offline Kreuzritter

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Re: Refutation of pantheism
« Reply #27 on: October 10, 2019, 12:52:44 PM »
Zeno's paradox of Achilles and the tortoise.  It seems that if we grant that this moment in time does exist, it doesn't necessarily affirm an Uncaused Cause.
 

But it does. An infinite regress of discrete acts, which "causes" are, is impossible. What it doesn't affirm is that the cosmos is decomposable into a series of causes and effects and has a beginning.
 

Offline Kreuzritter

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Re: Refutation of pantheism
« Reply #28 on: October 10, 2019, 01:18:47 PM »
I personally don't agree with the objection. I think that the uncaused cause argument works only for simultaneous causes, not for temporally-ordered causes. Because as you say, who's to say that there can't be an infinite regress backwards in time? The fact that the present moment exists doesn't seem to prove that there had to be a "first" moment.
 

-infinity + n = -infinity where n is finite and is not defined when n is infinite. This has nothing whatever to do with what unit n is. It's not possible to "reach" a finite point from an infinite point as it's not even clear what "reach" would even mean in this sense. But it's not even clear what an "infinite point" is.

As the notion of the cosmos having a beginning, I would think, is quite comprehensible, it would be up to others to give meaning to the statement that the cosmos has always existed. As far as I can see, this can only be done in terms of potential infinities: no matter what number n of steps we go back, and let each step be just any distinct state before the others, we can always find a previous state. That seems fine. I think the premise that should be examined and contended is not "it would not be possible to reach this moment in time if the past were actually infinite" but the one that asserts a cosmos that has "always existed" would entail an "actual infinity". What are the reasons for this and are there presuppositions behind it?

In any case, the physical directedness of time, having its basis in the Second Law of Thermodynamics and reversible vs. irreversible processes, provides an empirical basis at least for the beginning of that law.


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I think it's pretty evident that all things--including time itself--are eternal.

Time isn't a thing. And the cosmos is decidedly temporal.
 

Offline Kreuzritter

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Re: Refutation of pantheism
« Reply #29 on: October 10, 2019, 01:37:07 PM »
Still, I don't agree with the conclusion, and I would question premise #2. While what you said does work, it relies heavily on a number of assumptions about the nature of time. For one thing, you're assuming that time is discrete--i.e. that the timeline is constructed from moments, and that each moment has a non-zero duration. You're also assuming that the timeline sort of "grows" as time goes on.

One doesn't need this. One can take time as a continuum or whatever one likes and select arbitrary points in it in sequence and arrive at the same conclusion.

In any case, the notion of "discrete time" is just question begging: if discrete "moments" have a "non-zero duration", then moments cannot be the constituents of time, for a "moment" already entails "duration through time". One is presupposing a time continuum.

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St. Augustine explicitly rejected the idea that time is discrete. To him each "moment" is not a slice with non-zero duration at all, but is more analogous to a mathematical point. It has no duration; it is merely the boundary between its relative past and its relative future. You can divide a line at any given point, but you cannot construct a line from points.

But the two views aren't even mutually exclusive: they're using the word "moment" to refer to two totally different concepts. Augustine's "moment" is a transcendental spiritual act, not the constituent of time. But it's irrelevant to the point. If one takes ones set elements as moments extended in time or as points dividing time, the conclusion is the same.