Philosophical problems with God and Time


#42

They can make the claim that goodness does not objectively exist, but as long as they behave in conformity to a framework that presupposes that there is a good they are operating outside of their professed world view.

If there is no God, there is no right and wrong, no good and evil. We are just complex biochemical monstrosities that evolved and can be 100% predicted. No. Free. Will. No culpability. No fault. No crime.

However, I know a lot of really good atheists! They put others ahead of themselves. They make sacrifices to do what is right. They are genetic anomalies: evolutionarily weak. At least in their own framework. Their genes are at a complete evolutionary disadvantage to any who wish to exploit them—so much so that they would have not evolved into who they are if their world view was correct—their particular genetic mutation would have been selected out of the running long, long ago. They don’t make sense in their own world view.

But if there is a God, then it makes sense that we insist “innocent until proven guilty.” There is no guilt if there is no wrong. Objective truth doesn’t care what they believe: it still is.


#43

Well, they can claim that not everything that begins to exist has a cause. But on what rational basis do they make that claim? If they say the universe is an example then that is circular logic. Since it is the cause of the universe that is in question. So if you assume that it has no cause in order to answer the question if there is something that begins without a cause then that is circular logic. Or begging the question.

If the universe always existed then it didn’t begin to exist. So you can’t use that as an example of something that began to exist without a cause. But if the universe always existed it would still need a cause according to Aquinas’ 5 ways. It would need a first cause, not in the order of time, but in order of cause of existence at each moment. Even if the universe always existed not everything in the universe has always existed uncaused. There are a hierarchy of cause for my being in existence at this very moment independent of my beginning. These are traceable to a First Cause that must be in existence at every moment, but is itself uncaused, causing all else.

This First Cause must be something whose existence is its essence. Whereas everything else has existence, but is contingent.

That there is something in existence that is uncaused we all agree on. But something that begins to exist uncaused is irrational. That is something one would have to believe on blind faith. To assume the universe began to exist uncaused is also a blind faith assumption.


#44

Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles, Book 1, “GOD”, Ch. 63-68

Chapter 67
THAT GOD KNOWS FUTURE CONTINGENT SINGULARS
[1] From this we can begin to understand somewhat that God had from eternity an infallible knowledge of contingent singulars, and yet they do not cease to be contingent.

[2] The contingent is opposed to the certitude of knowledge only so far as it is future, not so far as it is present. For when the contingent is future, it can not-be. Thus, the knowledge of one conjecturing that it will be can be mistaken: it will be mistaken if what he conjectures as future will not take place. But in so far as the contingent is present, in that time it cannot not-be. It can not-be in the future, but this affects the contingent not so far as it is present but so far as it is future. Thus, nothing is lost to the certitude of sense when someone sees a man running, even though this judgment is contingent. All knowledge, therefore, that bears on something contingent as present can be certain. But the vision of the divine intellect from all eternity is directed to each of the things that take place in the course of time, in so far as it is present, as shown above. It remains, therefore, that nothing prevents God from having from all eternity an infallible knowledge of contingents.

[3] Again, the contingent differs from the necessary according to the way each of them is found in its cause. The contingent is in its cause in such a way that it can both not-be and be from it; but the necessary can only be from its cause. But according to the way both of them are in themselves, they do not differ as to being, upon which the true is founded. For, according as it is in itself, the contingent cannot be and not-be, it can only be, even though in the future it can not-be. Now, the divine intellect from all eternity knows things not only according to the being that they have in their causes, but also according to the being that they have in themselves. Therefore, nothing prevents the divine intellect from having an eternal and infallible knowledge of contingents.

[4] Moreover, just as from a necessary cause an effect follows with certitude, so it follows from a complete contingent cause if it be not impeded. But since, as appears from what was said above, God knows all things, He knows not only the causes of contingent things but also those things by which these causes may be impeded. Therefore, He knows with certitude whether contingent things are or are not.
(CONTINUED…)


#45

(…CONTINUED)

[5] Furthermore, an effect cannot exceed the perfection of its cause, though sometime it falls short of it. Hence, since our knowledge comes to us from things, it happens at times that we know what is necessary not according to the mode of necessity but according to that of probability. Now, just as in us things are the cause of knowledge, so the divine knowledge is the cause of the things known. Therefore, nothing prevents those things from being contingent in themselves of which God has a necessary knowledge.

[6] Again, an effect whose cause is contingent cannot be a necessary one; otherwise, the effect could be even though the cause were removed. Now, of the most remote effect there is both a proximate and a remote cause. If, then, the proximate cause were contingent, its effect would have to be contingent even though the remote cause is necessary. Thus, plants do not bear fruit of necessity, even though the motion of the sun is necessary, because the intermediate causes are contingent. But the knowledge of God, though it is the cause of the things known through it, is yet a remote cause. Therefore, the contingency of the things known is not in conflict with this necessity, since it may be that the intermediate causes are contingent.

[7] The knowledge of God, furthermore, would not be true and perfect if things did not happen in the way in which God knows them to happen. Now, since God knows all being, and is its source, He knows every effect not only in itself but also in its order to each of its causes. But the order of contingent things to their proximate causes is that they come forth from these causes in a contingent way. Hence, God knows that some things are taking place, and this contingently. Thus, therefore, the certitude and truth of the divine knowledge does not remove the contingency of things.

[8] From what has been said, it is therefore clear bow the objection impugning a knowledge of contingents in God is to be repulsed. For change in that which comes later does not induce change in that which has preceded; for it is possible that from prime necessary causes there proceed ultimate contingent effects. Now, the things that are known by God are not prior to His knowledge, as is the case with us, but, rather, subsequent to it. It does not therefore follow that, if something known by God can change, His knowledge of it can be deceived or in any way changed. We shall be deceived in the consequent therefore, if, because our knowledge of changeable things is itself changeable, we suppose on this account that such is necessarily the case in all knowledge.
(CONTINUED…)


#46

(…CONTINUED)
[9] Again, when it is said that God knows or knew this future thing, a certain intermediate point between the divine knowledge and the thing known is assumed. This is the time when the above words are spoken, in relation to which time that which is known by God is said to be future. But this is not future with reference to the divine knowledge, which, abiding in the moment of eternity, is related to all things as present to them. If with respect to the divine knowledge we remove from its intermediate position the time when the words are spoken, we cannot say that this is known by God as non-existent, so as to leave room for the question whether it can not-be; rather, it will be said to be known by God in such a way that it is seen by Him already in its own existence. On this basis there is no room for the preceding question. For that which already is cannot, with respect to that moment of time, not be. We are therefore deceived by the fact that the time in which we are speaking is present to eternity, as is likewise past time (designated by the words God knew). Hence, the relation of past or present time to the future is attributed to eternity, to which such a relation does not belong. It is thus that we commit the fallacy of accident.

[10] There is more. If each thing is known by God as seen by Him in the present, what is known by God will then have to be. Thus, it is necessary that Socrates be seated from the fact that he is seen seated. But this is not absolutely necessary or, as some say, with the necessity of the consequent; it is necessary conditionally, or with the necessity of the consequence. For this is a necessary conditional proposition: if he is seen sitting, he is sitting. Hence, although the conditional proposition may be changed to a categorical one, to read what is seen sitting must necessarily be sitting, it is clear that the proposition is true if understood of what is said, and compositely; but it is false if understood of what is meant, and dividedly. Thus, in these and all similar arguments used by those who oppose God’s knowledge of contingents, the fallacy of composition and division takes place.

[11] That God knows future contingents is also shown by the authority of Sacred Scripture. For it is said of the divine wisdom: “She knows signs and wonders before they be done, and the events of times and ages” (Wis. 8:8). And in Sirach (39:24-25) it is said: “There is nothing hidden from His eyes. He sees from eternity to eternity.” And in Isaiah (48:5): “I foretold you of old, before they came to pass I told you.”


#47

What you might try, instead of buying it, is borrow from a library. It is a fairly standard work, widely available. If you local library does not have it, they should be able to get it on inter-library loan (ILL). It is an excellent book. He starts out simple and gets more complex each chapter. The last chapters are pretty deep.


#48

Well there are some that believe altruism is an evolutionary feature, so for them good and bad can exist in an objective sense, there are things that benefit humanity and humans in general more than other things (Findings of theese benefits are later passed on genetically to others though I am not sure how that exactly works,since I thought only physical features get passed on ). I am not that good at explaining it but this is kinda it :

I have talked about this in another thread before so I don’t want to derail too much off the topic but help would be appreciated


#49

I live in Europe and in a super small place, we don’t even have a library so shrug


#50

Altruism is the favorite adopted brainchild of the gene evolution theorists. I think they feel that if they can prove altruism was in truth an asset to spreading your genes and therefore self serving, then there is no morality.

That doesn’t follow. Even if forms of morality evolved, that does not disprove God.

I didn’t mean that it would convince an atheist to say that they operate outside of their world view. I meant that if there is no God, there is no basis or need for moral judgement, for this forum, for science and philosophy and debate. Those things would emerge genetically as mutations that put you immediately at a distinct disadvantage. While I sit and ponder why there IS a sky, some other organism fighting to live is going to take advantage of my distraction. I am less fit for survival in an emergent-gene-mutation-leading-to-a-new-behavior setting. Lamb among the wolves.

All of the theories about community evolution of morality and even cultural genetic morality rely on one preposterous supposition: that morality arose in the whole species simultaneously. Harmoniously. That is not how it works. One single base pair at a time, or even one entire virus-spliced gene at a time, new traits are introduced into a homogeneous population. That trait in the individual must survive long enough to pass on the gene, to propagate it within the population for generations and generations, and it must make that subset of the population MORE fit.
(Continued…)


#51

(Continuing…)

That is also true about the existence of life. For it to have spontaneously come about by random chance is ludicrous. Have you ever seen the symphony of the Kreb Cycle? The complexity of the machinery involved in producing one ATP of energy? If your endoplasmic reticulum screws up when translating your DNA into RNA in one single amino acid for alpha-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase, the Kreb cycle isn’t going to turn! No ATP. Conversely, when early life evolved, every single player had to mutate into existence at the same time. But before it did, where did the organism get the energy to organize in the first place? It needs a cell membranes to generate the ion potential for the cycle, eight enzymes, the DNA to produce those enzymes, the endoplasmic reticulum to transcribe the DNA for each enzyme into RNA, and the right enzymes to translate that RNA into amino acids, the enzymes to fold that amino acid recipe into biologically relevant helices, plus all of the building blocks present to be used, and the machinery to replicate the entire blueprint for this genius plan to power the new life. It would have been ridiculously pointless to have kept around all of this functionless tuff in a cell as evolution turned its slow and inexhorable wheel through time. It wouldn’t have worked until all of the players were present! Not one ATP!

And there would have had to be billions upon billions of useless cellular artifacts. They would still be here, because if they weren’t stable they would have all had to form at once in working order which is problematic, or all the pieces had to all arise slowly over time as molecules randomly smacked each other around. Once there were enough stable useless objects of this process, the right ones all had to find each other in the same area. But if they were that stable, stable enough to wait around, where did the rest of the “experimental” pieces go??

It takes way too many leaps of absolute blind faith to make even one ATP out of that theory, and that isn’t even enough to run one neural synapse, let alone to power a rational theory of the spontaneous origin of life.


#52

Brother Guy Consolmagno is a genius at putting science and religion in context with one another. He has a fun TED talk. Amusing, intelligent and informative. Do it. Look him up and watch it. Head astronomer for the Vatican. He says:

“If there’s one thing I hate about religion books, it’s that arrogant attitude of smug satisfaction that we get when we think we’ve produced the ultimate answers to all the deep questions that have bothered the greatest thinkers of the ages. If the answers were so simple, those questions wouldn’t still be with us.” (Guy Consolmagno, God’s Mechanics: How Scientists and Engineers Make Sense of Religion)

I would say the same thing about science books. And I am a scientist.


#53

Time is an effect. It is not a cause. Time is caused / created, by the creation of someTHING that can be measured. Absent something that can be measured, there is no time. Taken from the following post and link from the following thread Time cannot be created


#54

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