How do you reason your way to "God as conscious agent"?

I understand the idea of God as the First Cause of the universe, but it is not clear to me why reason would require God to be an agent making conscious choices. As an alternative, the First Cause could be thought of as an automated process that creates all possible universes (and all the impossible ones too, but those fall apart into non-existence due to logical contradiction immediately). A sort of cosmological natural selection, you might say.

So once you’ve reasoned your way to God as first cause, how do you continue to God as conscious agent making choices?

If automated, then the First Cause would necessarily have to have been automated by some person; therefore, it wouldn’t be the First Cause. :wink:

A sort of cosmological natural selection, you might say.

This still wouldn’t be a ‘First Cause’, but rather, a feature of the way that creation – which the First Cause would have created – operates. Again, then… not a First Cause. :wink:

So once you’ve reasoned your way to God as first cause, how do you continue to God as conscious agent making choices?

I think that you have to recognize that the First Cause creates intentionally. That ‘intent’, then, implies agency and consciousness…

Why, when the nature of the first cause, by definition, is just a brute fact?

That’s indeed not a First Cause, but a consequence of a First Cause that makes no choices about what to create or not to create.

That’s just restating the question. I’m asking for a reasonable argument that demonstrates intentionality.

Hmm… can you elaborate? The phrase “the nature of the First Cause is just a brute fact” doesn’t make sense. What do you mean by that assertion?

That’s indeed not a First Cause, but a consequence of a First Cause that makes no choices about what to create or not to create.

Hmm… ok – so, the First Cause is “an automated process”, but it’s also “a consequence”? That doesn’t make sense. Ok, then: your argument is that the First Cause unintentionally sets up an automated process which actually does the act of creating?

That’s just restating the question. I’m asking for a reasonable argument that demonstrates intentionality.

Fair enough. Let’s pin down what you understand by ‘First Cause’, though, first; otherwise, we’ll all be arguing from different points of view, and the discussion won’t be able to go anywhere… :wink:

That means that if the First Cause is automated, there was no person to automate it, because there was nothing before the First Cause.

No, the suggestion is that the First Cause IS an automated process which creates without preference. Creation based on preference would suggest choice-making ability. But a First Cause creating without preference would create every possible combination of physical laws, both the possible and the impossible. Then the impossible would disappear because an illogical universe would negate itself, and we’d be left naturally with only all possible universes. The “natural selection” I referred to happens after creation when the illogical universes die, and the logical ones remain.

I mean the one inherently existing thing, that at time=0 existed all by itself, but contained within it the power to create everything which came after it.

Hmm… that doesn’t make sense. Maybe it’s your use of the term “automated” that’s causing me problems: if something is ‘automated’, then (by definition) it’s automated by something. Therefore, that ‘something’ would be the First Cause, not the automation that it created. :wink:

However, I think you’re trying to suggest not that there’s something ‘automated’, per se, but rather, “acting without agency or intention.” Interestingly, the best way that you can find to explain it is as something ‘automated’… which, of course, makes your question a non-starter from the beginning. :shrug:

No, the suggestion is that the First Cause IS an automated process which creates without preference. Creation based on preference would suggest choice-making ability. But a First Cause creating without preference would create every possible combination of physical laws, both the possible and the impossible.

Hmm… ok, then: maybe the word you’re trying to find, then, is automaton?

I mean the one inherently existing thing, that at time=0 existed all by itself, but contained within it the power to create everything which came after it.

Well, I think that there are still some problematic aspects of your construction: after all, time itself is a creation; so, the First Cause must – necessarily! – exist outside of creation, both in terms of time and space!

But, let’s say that your definition is simply that the First Cause exists prior to any created thing. Is that the extent of the definition, then?

Among other things, automated means “caused.” Square 1.

What automated the big bang? “Proto-first cause”? “Anti-uncause”? If you will pardon me for “duding” you…

Dude, you’re reaching.

Evidence accompanied by reason.

That was my first thought, too. But, maybe he meant ‘automaton’ – something that performs a process, without any rationality presupposed.

(Yes, he’ll have to demonstrate that it’s reasonable to presume an uncaused automaton, and what process might give rise to such an automaton – both of which, then, would mean that the automaton itself cannot be considered a ‘First Cause’ – but, at least it’s an avenue through which to carry the conversation. Short of that, the ‘automated process’ thing is a non-starter, by its very definition…)

Just to keep the conversation going, though: NowHereThis, if what you mean is an ‘automaton’ – that is, if what you mean is that the First Cause is simply a process – how might you reason that, in the absence of anything, a process might give rise to created matter?

I appreciate your patience and philosophical charity, Gorgias. If only more people knew how to work with their dialogue partners rather than solely against them. But I’m afraid you’ll have to bear with me just a bit more, because I’m confused. If I read you right, you are suggesting that agenthood wins not because it has it’s own justification, but because the alternative is absurd, is that right? And that it is my responsibility to demonstrate that my suggestion is not absurd?

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