Where Does God's Morality Come From?


#1

Hi,

Where does God’s morality come from?

Thanks,

clarkal


#2

His nature.


#3

Hi Clarkal,

If you decide to make a cake, how will you decide if it is a good cake?

It will be a good cake if it turns out like you wanted it to be. You’re the maker of the cake; you decide whether it’s a good cake or not.

God is an intelligent being. He does everything with a purpose. Whatever fulfils that purpose is good; whatever does not fulfill that purpose is bad.

We learn of God’s purpose from the Bible, from the Church and ultimately from what is called natural law. Natural law consists precisely in determining what is the purpose of things in nature.;

Verbum


#4

[quote=RyanL]His nature.
[/quote]

OK, but where does His nature come from?


#5

[quote=clarkal]OK, but where does His nature come from?
[/quote]

His nature does not “come from” anywhere or anything. His nature is eternal because He is eternal.

God defines what morality is, therefore, that definition is its source and beginning.


#6

Verbum,

Great answer!:thumbsup: :clapping:
(and I’m not just saying that because of your screen name)


#7

[quote=Verbum]Hi Clarkal,

If you decide to make a cake, how will you decide if it is a good cake?

It will be a good cake if it turns out like you wanted it to be. You’re the maker of the cake; you decide whether it’s a good cake or not.

God is an intelligent being. He does everything with a purpose. Whatever fulfils that purpose is good; whatever does not fulfill that purpose is bad.
Verbum
[/quote]

Hi, Verbum,

Thanks for the nice reply.

I suppose my next question would be where does the Cake Maker’s standards of good come from?


#8

[quote=petra]His nature does not “come from” anywhere or anything. His nature is eternal because He is eternal.

God defines what morality is, therefore, that definition is its source and beginning.
[/quote]

So, God’s morality is just there?


#9

[quote=clarkal]So, God’s morality is just there?
[/quote]

yes. just like god himself is “just” there.


#10

[quote=john doran]yes. just like god himself is “just” there.
[/quote]

To my mind, my admittedly very human mind, it does not make sense how something can “just be”. It exists because it exists and has always existed. Is this another mystery? Is there a meaningful way for us humans to talk about God’s eternity that makes sense?


#11

[quote=clarkal]To my mind, my admittedly very human mind, it does not make sense how something can “just be”. It exists because it exists and has always existed. Is this another mystery? Is there a meaningful way for us humans to talk about God’s eternity that makes sense?
[/quote]

god exists necessarily - when we say that he “just is”, we’re not saying that his existence is like an accident, like lightning striking my house, of which we might also say that it “just happened”.

and, yes, it is a mystery, in the sense of “impossible to comprehend”. but “mysterious” doesn’t mean “nonsensical” - there are a great many ways of speaking about god’s eternity, all of which make sense, but none of which are any less mysterious for all that.


#12

[quote=john doran]god exists necessarily - when we say that he “just is”, we’re not saying that his existence is like an accident, like lightning striking my house, of which we might also say that it “just happened”.

and, yes, it is a mystery, in the sense of “impossible to comprehend”. but “mysterious” doesn’t mean “nonsensical” - there are a great many ways of speaking about god’s eternity, all of which make sense, but none of which are any less mysterious for all that.
[/quote]

John,

Thanks.

I suppose what is hard for me to come to terms is that God is uncreated. He’s a being with all these wonderful attributes, but He has no creator. I mean, where do his attributes, morality, and purpose come from? Where does his complexity come from? He just is – but not like an accident, as you say. However, it confuses me, of course, because I cannot comprehend what to be “eternal” means because I am a creature of time and space. It’s all I know. So what I am looking here for are some explanations that will help me to understand God’s eternity and how He just is.

clarkal


#13

Oh, and could you please explain what “God exists necessarily” means?

Thanks.


#14

[quote=clarkal]Oh, and could you please explain what “God exists necessarily” means?

Thanks.
[/quote]

well, colloquially, it means something like god cannot not exist.

more formally, it means that there is no possible world in which god does not exist.

“necessary” is contrasted with “contingent”. something is contingent if it exists, but does not have to - i.e. it might just as easily have not existed, and can just as easily cease to exist.

i am quite frankly at a loss as to how to make the concepts of eternity and necessity more acessible to you - they’re all but opaque to me and, i suspect, to everyone else. i mean, i understand what the words mean - i just can’t comprehend those meanings, you know? it’s similar to the difference between, for example, understanding the meaning of “a 1-million sided polygon”, and having a useful picture of such an object in your head.

god exists because he has to. god has all the attributes he has because he has to have them. and that’s pretty much it.


#15

Hi, John,

[quote=john doran]well, colloquially, it means something like god cannot not exist.

more formally, it means that there is no possible world in which god does not exist.

“necessary” is contrasted with “contingent”. something is contingent if it exists, but does not have to - i.e. it might just as easily have not existed, and can just as easily cease to exist.
[/quote]

Thank you. That’s what I thought, but I wanted to hear it for the sake of conversation, I guess.

I understand. Thanks. I am glad that I am not alone here. :slight_smile:

I suppose my next question is this: Why does God have to exist?

Thanks, John. You have been most helpful.

clarkal


#16

[quote=clarkal]I suppose my next question is this: Why does God have to exist?
[/quote]

the truest answer is “just because”; that’s just what “necessary being” means.

maybe try thinking about it this way: if there is any such thing as a necessary being, then it is impossible that such a being could either begin or cease to exist. which means that its existence is either necessary or impossible - that it exists in every possible world, or no possible world.

but something that exists in no possible world is logically impossible, which means that it is self-contradictory.

so. is the concept of a necessary being - a being that exists in every possible world - self-contradictory? not obviously, at any rate. which means that we can be sure that there is at least one necessary being.

of course, this simple exercise is compatible with the conclusion that there are 2 or 102 necessary beings, and that none of them in any way resemble the christian god.

also keep in mind that this is in no way an explanation of the ontology of necessary being - i.e. this doesn’t really assist in understanding what or how it is for something necessarily to exist - it is only a basic exposition of the epistemology of necessary being - i.e. how we can know whether there is at least one necessary being.

put another (but probably no more helpful) way, god has to exist because he is a necessary being. of course, the next question is “why is god a necessary being?”…

at this point the conversation devolves into philosophical minutiae, none of which are really clarifying, at least not in a broad conceptual way.


#17

John,

Thank you for your input. You have, again, been most helpful. I enjoyed your post, but I have one question, which is after the quote:

[quote=john doran]the truest answer is “just because”; that’s just what “necessary being” means.

maybe try thinking about it this way: if there is any such thing as a necessary being, then it is impossible that such a being could either begin or cease to exist. which means that its existence is either necessary or impossible - that it exists in every possible world, or no possible world.

but something that exists in no possible world is logically impossible, which means that it is self-contradictory.

so. is the concept of a necessary being - a being that exists in every possible world - self-contradictory? not obviously, at any rate. which means that we can be sure that there is at least one necessary being.

[/quote]

Correct me if I am wrong, but are you saying that because it is not contradictory, we can be sure that there exists at least one necessary being? If so, how does that follow logically?

Also, I just wanted to thank you for being patient with me. I am an amateur when it comes to these issues. I am trying my best to understand, however.

best,

clarkal


#18

By the way, John, you seem like a really knowledgeable fellow, so I wanted to invite you to join the Secular Web’s forums (infidels.org) and discuss with the skeptics there about why you believe in the God of Catholicism. It has a forum dedicated to the existence of God all by itself. I think you’d have many enjoyable discussions there.

That is, if you haven’t already.


#19

[quote=clarkal]Correct me if I am wrong, but are you saying that because it is not contradictory, we can be sure that there exists at least one necessary being? If so, how does that follow logically?
[/quote]

it follows logically from the disjunction of (□E v □~E) (where “□” is the symbol for “necessarily”).

in other words, if it is true that E either necessarily exists or necessarily does not exist (i.e. is impossible), and if it is false that E is not impossible, then E must necessarily exist.

you might think of it in this way: E exists necessarily if it exists in every possible world. conversely, E is impossible if there is not even one possible world containing E. but the kind of “possibility” we’re talking about here is a broad logical possibility - to wit, any state of affairs that is not logically contradictory, is logically possible (think of mountains of gold, or rivers of pepsi, or elephants with twelve legs, or a world where nazi germany won WW2, or…, as opposed to one with married bachelors or square circles).

thus, if “necessary being” is not a logically contradictory concept, then it is logically possible, which means that there is at least one possible world containing it. but we also know that if a necessary being is in one possible world, then it is in every possible world.

in still yet other words, if E is possible, then it is necessary. and since we have no good reason to believe that E is self-contradictory, then we have good reason to think it necessary.

this is a kind of ontological argument, which is why many do not find it convincing, since it seems to involve some kind of semantic sleight of hand rather than substantive reasoning. nonetheless, it is a sound argument.

but again, do not mistake the success of what is a very simplistic deduction for some kind of robust philosophical theology - all that is established by this is that there is (necessarily) at least one necessary being. which might be the christian god. or not.

[quote=clarkal]Also, I just wanted to thank you for being patient with me. I am an amateur when it comes to these issues. I am trying my best to understand, however.
[/quote]

it’s not a problem at all, man. really. i mean, i’m an amateur, too. i think almost everyone is when it comes to having a real, thorough understanding of these issues.


#20

John,

Thank you.

I will have to read about this argument in more detail. I understood your post, but I’m unsure as to what question to pose next. Perhaps something will come to me. :slight_smile:

And, I also think you’re right about the amateur part.

peace,

clarkal


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