HOME   People do good because they are human, not because they are religious! 

Do not give God any credit for the good they do, they did it!

 

THE ARGUMENT "GOD MADE ALL THINGS AND GOD HAD NO MAKER FOR HE DOESN'T NEED ONE"
AN ANALYSIS OF DIVINE SIMPLICITY

Reification is when you mistake an idea for a thing or what has objective existence. For example, you may write a novel and come to think that the main character in it is real. It is easy to feel that he is.
 
You may think that a rule such as 1+1=2 is a real thing. It is information but it is not a thing. It is abstract.
 
Believers in God are guilty of reification. They cook up the notion of an objective reality that is non-material and has no parts or components and call it spirit. They think they believe in a spirit who keeps all things in existence and upon whom all things depend or there will be nothing. They mistake this idea for God. In other words, you imagine there is a mind without a body without evidence that there is such a possibility and thus you imagine God into existence.
 
Nobody can prove spirit exists. You would need proof that it exists before you can say it makes sense. It makes sense to believe flowers exist in Africa though you have no proof. But spirit is so different from anything we can experience that we need proof. Some things have to be proven before you can make sense out of them and if it is not spirit then it is nothing. When there are material things that demand such proving surely spirit demands it even more?
 
The lesson is, don't believe in spirit without proof that it is even possible for spirit to exist.
 
And if spirit exists, it does not prove that spirit in the sense of God exists. God is different from any spirit even if he is spirit. So there could be spirits but still no God.
 
Christians believe that God has no parts or has no body. Though he is said to be everywhere he is really nowhere for he is pure mind without feelings, parts or body. He, in other words, is a spirit (page 14, 80, Asking them Questions; page 28, Apologetics and Catholic Doctrine, Part 1; page 38 The Puzzle of God; chapter 18 - That There is No Composition in God, from Summa Book One; page 31, A Summary of Christian Doctrine). It follows that if God loves us then God is literally love (page 30). He is the abstract attribute. He is identical with his law (page 30, Why does God?; page 25, A Summary of Christian Doctrine).
 
Augustine denied that God is substance that has properties. For him, God is an essence that is its properties. If God has properties, the properties of omniscient, free, eternal and omnipotent are essential to him . He has non-essential properties such as the power to create. He has these powers because he chooses to have them.
 
Christians talk about how God is utterly simple, all-powerful, all-loving and has no body. These qualities or attributes serve a crafty purpose. They hide the fact that nobody can really know what they are talking about.
 
What makes me me and not anybody else? Thisness. Philosophers say God does not have thisness.
 
Some believing philosophers argue as follows: "I have a thisness about me. I am me and nobody else. If I was duplicated the duplicate would be a new person who was exactly like me but not me. My parents could have had a child at the exact same time as me and who was like me in every way genes and all but who is not me. So we conclude that each human being has a thisness about her or him. This is not a property nor is it a combination of properties. Thisness is not the properties. The properties do not make you what you are. You have the properties because of what you are. We say that God does not have thisness. Believers who say that God is a substance with properties are wrong. Rather God is an essence for he does not have his properties - he is them. He is his omnipotence and his omniscience and his freedom and his eternity and his love and goodness. It was Augustine who clarified this. Augustine declared that God’s qualities and his essence are one and the same thing for spirit is what it has and there is no difference between what it is and what it has (Book Eleven, Chapter 10, City of God). God does not have thisness because if he did, that would mean there could have been a God instead of him who is not him. Christians say that if a being had God's properties that being would be the God that exists, the actual God. There can be no other God or actual God." This argument is outlined on page 14 of Richard Swinburne's book, Was Jesus God? (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2008).
 
If God is his properties, it follows that to say "There is no God" is contradictory and makes no sense. It is like saying that you drank non-existent tea. Swinburne denies this for he says that There is no God is coherent and does not involve self-contradiction (page 15, ibid). If God exists and is his properties then to deny his existence is illogical. We might suppose that its logical to think there is no God but the problem is with our perception of logic. We are not reasoning correctly. We fail to see that it is logical to believe in God and illogical and self-contradictory to deny his existence. Swinburne says we can understand that it makes sense to believe that there is no God. But that is assuming we really understand. We can think we understand things when we actually do not. We think we understand the finest grain of sand but when we examine ourselves we see that we do not. We understand things about it but that is all.
 
The problem with God being a being without parts or a simple being leads to the absurdity that God has several attributes and they are all one essence (page 6, Apologetics and Catholic Doctrine, Part 2) or all the same thing so they are not several but one. They are only several in our thinking but not in reality. This denies that obvious fact that being fair is not the same as being powerful. That is one example. We have two choices. If we say God has only one attribute then he is not really a God and you may as well be atheist for you cannot relate to such an entity. If God has many then he is not a spirit. The absurdity of a God being pure spirit is recognised by many philosophers (page 90, Taking Leave of God). The idea of spirit is bad enough but the idea of God being literally something abstract - something that is just a concept and not a real thing like love – is utter insanity. The miracles of the Catholic Church are claimed to verify just that kind of a God. If they do that then they have to be from an evil force for the force has to be anti-rational and if it is anti-rational it has no business giving miracles as signs.
 
Believers say that we see God differently from what he is because for us his mercy is not his knowledge and his knowledge is not his creative power whereas in fact they are one in God. Frederick Copleston said that our knowledge of God then is inadequate and hazy but is not false (History of Philosophy, Vol 2, pages 360-361). The problem is when the God theory cannot be understood how we can know if it is false or not? Anything we think we know about God we do not know it at all for we don’t know if he is even coherent. It is like saying that seeing a nebulous black shape which is a man is the same as knowing that a man is there and what he looks like and what he is wearing.
 
The danger with the idea of spirit is that we think of God as a gas that is not made up of atoms or parts. But then this gas would just consist of one part. It is its part. This part does not consist of any other parts. Do you see the implication of all that? A God without parts is no more existing than a square circle. He is a something that is a nothing. The idea that nothing consists of two or more nothings would make more sense than that for something can never be nothing to any degree. Christianity degrades children by playing conjuring tricks with words. The idol worshipper adores a god of wood or stone or so the Christian says. They bemoan how demeaning that is. But how much more is it demeaning to adore nothing and call it God? At least the idol worshipper adores something real. And he adores something that is more understandable than a being that is supposed to be pure spirit. Christianity demeans all whom it gets to adore its God. To the mind of a child, God is just like pretending the naked emperor is wearing clothes as in the children's tale The Emperor's New Clothes. It's pretending that something that cannot be seen or examined or verified by the senses is real. The God concept is disrespectful and therefore an abuse of the mind of a child.
 
To say that God is a spirit and that spirit is not something and it is not nothing but something between the two is problematic (page 75, The Puzzle of God). There is no in-between for something and nothing. The answer given to this is that God would be beyond being something and nothing and this is possible (ibid, page 75). But that is as silly as saying 1+1=3 not in a contradictory way but in a way that transcends maths or is beyond them. Of course it is a contradiction. It is just not being admitted. It is also meaningless to use the answer because you cannot prove if it is possible for it to be true so you don’t know if you are talking sense therefore you are not talking sense. If God is something then what made this something? If he is nothing then that is atheism. It is no use blurring the definition of something and the definition of nothing for these definitions are as clear as day. There is such a thing as nothing full stop and to talk about another kind of nothing is madness. The same goes for something.
 
I wish to add the following. If you think of God as a gas that fills the universe but this gas has no parts then you get as close as possible to understanding what many people in Christendom mean by God. God is spirit. But there is no rule that says a spirit has to be infinite or permeate the universe like God. There could be a spirit, a being that has no parts but which does not fill the universe. You can imagine two spirit beings being put together like two atoms can be to make something new. They would be parts then. They have no parts in themselves but they can become parts. So we conclude from this that each spirit is a part. It may have no parts but it is a part. There is no proof then that God is a being without parts. He could be a machine or person made up of countless other spirits.
 
The notion of God being simple is applying reason in matters we know nothing about. We don't even know if spirit makes sense. Metaphysics concerning God is sheer speculation. And it is also incoherent.
 
There is a difference between God being simple and logically simple. Aquinas stated that God is logically simple. The difference does not really matter. The first says that you cannot know how God can be simple and it is a mystery. The second tries to show that it makes sense.
 
God cannot be simple or God cannot exist.
 
All the proofs for God presuppose that the universe could not have made itself for it was too complicated. But that means that God is simpler than the universe. That does not say much. Christians take it to the extreme. For them God is utterly simple - has no parts for he needs nothing to assemble him or put him together. But there is no need to go that far. Physics identifies entities that are not simple in the way God supposedly is but which are very simple - they are incomprehensibly simple.
 
You need to prove God can be simple. Then you need to prove that he must be. Then you must prove that there is a God or at least that it is reasonable to believe. That is the order. Religion cheats you. It just jumps to attempts to show there is a God. It manipulates logic by not telling the whole story.

Why could the universe have not come from something simpler than itself like a computer program instead (I mean something like a computer program not a computer program!) of God?

We know simple entities could turn into the universe. We don't need the God idea. And the God idea is not really simple for we have no reason to think that a being that has no parts and which is not made of energy or matter as we know it can even exist.

If God had the intelligence to make the universe then what made the complicated intelligence to make the universe? God is a useless explanation. Also, they say that God is a spirit, a being without parts or divisions but there is no reason to believe that the Supreme Being (if there is one) is a spirit. Suppose spirit can exist. An impersonal spirit could be the maker of the supreme being. Which is simpler – a conscious supreme being (or God) or an unconscious intelligence that makes all things? The latter is. If the proofs for God have any force that is what they prove not God.

 

God is the simplest thing imaginable.  This turns God's love into the same thing as his mathematical ability.  But religion says that divine simplicity is not lack of distinction, but lack of composition.  That is wrong for the same reason as saying clear glass is not lack of distinct colours but lack of colour composition. 

WORKS CONSULTED

A HISTORY OF GOD, Karen Armstrong, Mandarin, London, 1994
A HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY, VOL 6, PART II, KANT, Frederick Copleston SJ, Doubleday/Image, New York, 1964
A PATH FROM ROME, Anthony Kenny Sidgwick & Jackson, London, 1985
A SHATTERED VISAGE THE REAL FACE OF ATHEISM, Ravi Zacharias, Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Tennessee, 1990
A SUMMARY OF CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE, Louis Berkhof, The Banner of Truth Trust, London, 1971
AN INTELLIGENT PERSONS GUIDE TO CATHOLICISM, Alban McCoy, Continuum, London and New York, 1997 AN INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHICAL ANALYSIS, John Hospers, Routledge, London, 1992
APOLOGETICS AND CATHOLIC DOCTRINE, Part 1, Most Rev M Sheehan DD, MH Gill, & Son, Dublin, 1954
APOLOGETICS FOR THE PULPIT, Aloysius Roche, Burns Oates & Washbourne LTD, London, 1950
AQUINAS, FC Copleston, Penguin Books, London, 1991 
ARGUING WITH GOD, Hugh Sylvester, IVP, London, 1971
ASKING THEM QUESTIONS, Various, Oxford University Press, London, 1936
BELIEVING IN GOD, PJ McGrath, Wolfhound Press, Dublin, 1995
BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL, Friedrich Nietzsche, Penguin, London, 1990
CITY OF GOD, St Augustine, Penguin Books, Middlesex, 1986
CONTROVERSY: THE HUMANIST CHRISTIAN ENCOUNTER, Hector Hawton, Pemberton Books, London, 1971
CRITIQUES OF GOD, Edited by Peter A Angeles, Prometheus Books, New York, 1995
DIALOGUES CONCERNING NATURAL RELIGION, David Hume, William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh and London, 1907
DOES GOD EXIST? Brian Davies OP, Catholic Truth Society, London, 1982
DOES GOD EXIST? Herbert W Armstrong, Worldwide Church of God, Pasadena, California, 1972
DOING AWAY WITH GOD? Russell Stannard, Marshall Pickering, London, 1993
EVIL AND THE GOD OF LOVE, John Hicks, Fontana, 1977
GOD A GUIDE FOR THE PERPLEXED Keith Ward, OneWorld, Oxford, 2003
GOD AND EVIL, Brian Davies OP, Catholic Truth Society, London, 1984
GOD AND PHILOSOPHY, Antony Flew, Hutchinson, London, 1966
GOD AND THE HUMAN CONDITION, F J Sheed, Sheed & Ward, London 1967
GOD AND THE NEW PHYSICS, Paul Davies, Penguin Books, London, 1990
GOD AND THE PROBLEM OF SUFFERING, Philip St Romain, Liguori Publications, Illinois, 1986
GOD THE PROBLEM, Gordon D Kaufman, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1973
HANDBOOK OF CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS, Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli, Monarch, East Sussex, 1995
HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY, VOL 2, Frederick Copleston SJ Westminster, Maryland, Newman, 1962
HONEST TO GOD, John AT Robinson, SCM Press, London, 1963
HUMAN NATURE DID GOD CREATE IT? Herbert W Armstrong, Worldwide Church of God, Pasadena, California, 1976
IN DEFENCE OF THE FAITH, Dave Hunt, Harvest House, Eugene Oregon, 1996
IN SEARCH OF CERTAINTY, John Guest Regal Books, Ventura, California, 1983
JESUS HYPOTHESES, V. Messori, St Paul Publications, Slough, 1977
NEW CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA, The Catholic University of America and the McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., Washington, District of Columbia, 1967
ON THE TRUTH OF THE CATHOLIC FAITH, BOOK ONE, GOD, St Thomas Aquinas, Image Doubleday and Co, New York, 1961
OXFORD DICTIONARY OF PHILOSOPHY, Simon Blackburn, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1996
PHILOSOPHY AND THE CHRISTIAN FAITH, Colin Brown, IVP, London, 1973
Philosophy of Religion for A Level, Anne Jordan, Neil Lockyer and Edwin Tate, Nelson Throne Ltd, Cheltenham, 2004
RADIO REPLIES, Vol 1, Frs Rumble and Carty, Radio Replies Press, St Paul, Minnesota, 1938
RADIO REPLIES, Vol 2, Frs Rumble and Carty, Radio Replies Press, St Paul, Minnesota, 1940
RADIO REPLIES, Vol 3, Frs Rumble and Carty, Radio Replies Press, St Paul, Minnesota, 1942
REASON AND RELIGION, Anthony Kenny, Basil Blackwell Ltd, Oxford, 1987
SALVIFICI DOLORIS, Pope John Paul II, Catholic Truth Society, London, 1984
SEX AND MARRIAGE – A CATHOLIC PERSPECTIVE, John M Hamrogue CSSR, Liguori, Illinois, 1987
TAKING LEAVE OF GOD, Don Cupitt, SCM Press, London, 1980
THE CASE AGAINST GOD, Gerald Priestland, Collins, Fount Paperbacks, London, 1984
THE CONCEPT OF GOD, Ronald H Nash, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1983
THE HONEST TO GOD DEBATE Edited by David L Edwards, Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1963
THE KINDNESS OF GOD, EJ Cuskelly MSC, Mercier Press, Cork, 1965
THE PROBLEM OF PAIN, CS Lewis, Fontana, London, 1972
THE PROBLEM OF SUFFERING, Alan Hayward, Christadelphian ALS, Birmingham, undated
THE PUZZLE OF GOD, Peter Vardy, Collins, London, 1990
THE REALITY OF GOD AND THE PROBLEM OF EVIL, Brian Davies, Continuum, London-New York, 2006
THE RECONSTRUCTION OF BELIEF, Charles Gore DD, John Murray, London, 1930
THE TRUTH OF CHRISTIANITY, WH Turton, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co Ltd, London, 1905
UNBLIND FAITH, Michael J Langford, SCM, London, 1982
WHAT IS FAITH? Anthony Kenny, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1992
WHY DOES GOD ALLOW SUFFERING? LG Sargent, Christadelphian Publishing Office, Birmingham, undated
WHY DOES GOD ALLOW SUFFERING? Misc, Worldwide Church of God, Pasadena, California, 1985
WHY DOES GOD? Domenico Grasso, St Paul, Bucks, 1970
WHY WOULD A GOOD GOD ALLOW SUFFERING? Radio Bible Class, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1990