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Monotheism question help

  1. Sep 16, 2005 #1
    Any omnipotent being must, by logic, have created everything else in existence. If anything existed without the omnipotent being's creation, then the being would not have the power to create that existing object; that would render the being NOT allpowerful, NOT omnipotent- because that other object would have been created whether the being wished for it to be or not to be. Therefore there can be only one omnipotent being, and that being must have created anything else in existence.

    If this being created everything, there must have been a time when only the creator existed, and not the creation*. In such a time, the creator comprised the entirety of existence. If the creator was everything, was infinity, was all that existed...- where did the creation come from? Since the creator is everything, and anything created would, obviously, be a part of "everything", anything created would be a part of the creator. Creation would be a part of the creator.**

    So, creation has to be part of its omnipotent creator. In which case we have two possiblities: either there is no seperation, and the creation and creator are actually one and the same... Or, creation is only a small part of the creator. In the first case, the only omnipotent being (since, as said above, there can be only one) in existence is the universe*** itself; there was no creation and there is no seperate God. If the idea of it being impossible for EVERYTHING to end is accepted, the universe can also be seen to have always existed and to be on a path of continued, eternal existence.

    In the case of the second possibility, namely that creation is a PART of the omnipotent creator, ALL of creation is a part of the creator. In which case (as with the other), an omnipotent being cannot be "perfect" in any dualistic sense of the term. Even if one rejects the dualistic view and says that in instances of things such as "good" and "evil", one is only the absence of the other, an omnipotent being still must contain both. Some parts of creation, and thus the creator, are "evil" (even if it is only the lack of good), and some parts are "good" (even if it is only the lack of evil). Therefore, an omnipotent being cannot be purely good, evil, kind, harsh, or anything else.

    Either there is no omnipotent God, the universe itself is God, or the universe is a part of God. In each of these cases, a personal God (omnipotent) is impossible. In each of these cases, a purely good God is impossible. Therefore, monotheistic religions are logically impossible.




    Notes:

    *I use "a time" becuase it is convinient and easily understandable; whether it is an actual "time" or not is irrelevant. If time exists only for creation, the creator can still be seperated as something outside of the time in which creation exists- which, whether or not a time itself, serves the same purpose for our discussion. We will discuss it gramatically as if it were a seperate time; but keep in mind that it need not literally be "in time".

    **Another, although probably less valid, way of looking at it is this: If the creator is everything, how can it create anything other than itself? The ideas for the creation can't come from anything else, because nothing else exists- and if they come from the creator, then they never LEAVE the creator, and creation is part of the creator: not a seperate entity.
    The point can also be thought of like this; "existence" is the set of all things that exist. Since nothing can exist without being created by the omnipotent being, the set "existence" cannot exist itself. So the creator is not IN the set called "existence", the creator IS the set called "existence". Anything the creator creates (brings into existence) will be in that set; and in such a case, either the creator remains the definition of existence, or a subset is created that is what is normally thought to be existence (this would have to be created WITHIN THE OMNIPOTENT BEING), and "creation" would be there. "Existence" is not a box in which God would be the only item; God would be the box itself.

    ***Not necassarily just the "universe", but the entirety of existence; the "multiverse", "ultiverse", or whatever existence actually is. "Universe" will be used for clarity and simplicity.
     
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  3. Sep 16, 2005 #2

    hypnagogue

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    I don't know about that. For instance, given the proper operating system, I am in some sense "omnipotent" with regards to the files on my computer. I can create many kinds of files, and I can delete anything I wish. This power I have over the existence or non-existence of files on my computer is purely a function of what is possible for me to do, or what is within my power. Whether the computer has files or not when I first get it is irrelevant to my ability to manipulate those files.

    Likewise, for a being to be omnipotent, it does not need to be the case that that being must have created all things other than itself. The only condition that needs to be met to satisfy the property of omnipotence is that this being has a certain range of powers describing what it can possibly do.

    This seems to be a largely terminological matter, turning on how you define "part of the creator." In any case, I'd have to disagree. Suppose there is a petri dish containing a single cell, and that this cell reproduces so that now there are two cells. Does it make sense to say that the new cell is part of the old cell? That's not the way the word "part" is usually used.

    Also, if at some point in this hypothetical scenario the creator was all that existed, that does not imply the creator was "infinity." For instance, if we suppose for a moment that the only thing that exists is an apple, that does not imply that the apple is infinite in any way.

    It depends on how one defines "perfect," which is a highly non-obvious matter. Your reasoning here also assumes moral absolutes, but it is not a given that moral absolutes exist.

    If God and universe are identical, it does not necessarily follow that omnipotence is impossible. It depends on how one defines "omnipotence" and how one applies this concept to the universe as a whole.

    If the universe is "part" of God, following your argument, this does not disqualify omnipotence either. Your reasoning here seems implicitly to equate omnipotence and perfection, and evaluate perfection according to moral absolutes. It is not obvious that omnipotence and perfection pick out the same concepts, nor is it obvious that moral absolutes exist. I don't think you've proven what you set out to prove.
     
  4. Sep 16, 2005 #3
    True; but you are "omnipotent" in only "some sense" and only "with regards to the files on your computer". Omnipotence means an INFINITE range of powers describing what it can do (or, more technically, a lack of restrictions on what it can do). You aren't "omnipotent" in general in your example, only with regards to manipulating the files. You have no power over their creation, conception, etc, nor over the software or hardware of your computer, nor over the physics that govern that computer, nor over the logical rules that physics follows.

    An omnipotent being could control all of these things. So, if something exists that was not created by that being, the being does not have to power to have created the existing object. It already exists, so the being no longer has that power. If the being does not have a power, it has a restriction on what it can do, and is therefore not TRULY omnipotent.

    But you're taking the ability to split and the space in which to split as givens. The creator would have to CREATE the ability to split and the space to split; and since these would have to exist in order for the actual splitting to take place, they COULD NOT THEMSELVES BE SPLIT in creation. Those concepts would have to be created as part of the creator, and therefore the creator couldn't split out of himself; the space he created to split into would be part of himself already.

    Without a seperate "existence" for creation to be within, it is part of the original existence, which is God. But God cannot create a seperate existence, because if he brings an existence into reality... The only reality is himself, so the "existence" that he created will be a part of himself.

    But it does. If the apple is all that exists, in a true, total, and absolute sense... If the apple is all that is, there is no set of "existence" in which it can belong. If the apple is everything, it isn't just the only PART of everything-- it is the idea of "everything" itself. The same would apply to God. If God exists, but is not himself the idea of "existence"...
    1) "Existence" existed without God's creating it, which violates my first point.
    2) God is in "existence" whether he wishes to be or not. This is a restriction on God, which makes him not omnipotent.

    My reasoning assumes morality. Any sort of good and evil, to any degree and under any definition. This reasoning isn't essential to my disproof of monotheism, and the term "perfect" is an arbitrary definition; this part was put in to show that any monotheistic religion that believes their God to be purely good, or purely any other quality, is a logical contradiction. I wanted to show that the impossibility of monotheism is total, so that people couldn't just say "yeah, God is the universe, but he's still my personal friend and he's still purely good, so you're argument has no impact on my ideas".

    My reasoning throughout assumes "monotheism" to be defined as the belief in one totally allpowerful being. It further assumes that this being, in monotheism, is not simply reality/existence/the universe as a whole; the belief in the totality of the universe as the omnipotent being is called pantheism, not monotheism.

    As I said, my points about perfection are not essential to the disproof of an omnipotent being seperate from its creation. Perfection was only a sidenote, not relevant directly to my arguments-- you're taking what you see as a false theorum and assuming that one of the ideas on which it is based is therefore incorrect. If my note on perfection is incorrect, it's because of my definition of perfection and NOT on my disproof of monotheism.

    What I've set out to prove seems perfectly intact...
     
  5. Sep 16, 2005 #4
    Assuming your conclusions are correct, what do you propose we do next? What is the practical value of your argument?
     
  6. Sep 21, 2005 #5
    The value of my argument is the same as the value of all philosophy and science; the truth. "Practical" value is only a spinoff; we learn in order to learn, and if other benefits come of it we get a special treat. I don't see why you'd single out my points for such a question, when there are others with just as little or less "practical" significance... But, if you must have a defense of my argument's value...

    1) As I said, the foremost value of any knowledge, revelation, understanding, or deduction is truth itself.

    2) Social implications. While I'm certainly not an atheist, the way religion is thought of in our society is apalling, and why the leading religions have plenty of good to them, they tend to cause a lot of damage in regards to progress. (EG "evolution is wrong; humans popped out of the ground with the dinosaurs and God gave them some fruit") Anything that exposes a groundbreaking truth and helps progress is good.

    3) Philosophical implications. We can stop wasting our resources obsessing over the complexitites of monotheism, and we can end our hopelessly backwards notion that it is the most evolved and civilized form of religion- if anything, it makes less sense than the mythology of the Greeks, which we pretty much agree could be ridiculous.

    4) Scientific implications. As said above, we can stop wasting our resources on this backwards idea. We can stop spending millions of dollars trying to prove or disprove the flood, the Bible, and so on. Those who do can stop paying lip service to (at least the more fundamental forms of) creationism.

    5) And other related benefits that I've missed.



    As to where I suggest we go from here... I would suggest a more philosophical approach to many aspects of religion (EG metaphysical consciousness, free will, life after death, higher beings, etc-- some of which I have approached much as I did monotheism, others of which I have not). As for my personal feelings on as-yet unproven or unsubstatiated ideas... Those are irrelevent, and subject to change anyway. I can't tell you exactly where I think we should go from this. But your question doesn't matter; I assume you asked it because you didn't agree with what this proof would do if accepted and wanted some sort of justification. It doesn't need justification. Monotheism doesn't work, and whether that realization is good or bad, it's true and therefore should be accepted.
     
  7. Sep 24, 2005 #6
    Ontological arguments for the existence of God (St. Anselm) or the nonexistence of God (Sikz) are meaningless. The existence or nonexistence of anything does not depend on words or logic. As humans, we would not be able to tell the difference between an omnipotent God and an almost omnipotent God.
     
  8. Sep 30, 2005 #7
    1) "The existence or nonexistence of anything does not depend on words or logic." True, but words and logic can reveal the independent existence or nonexistence of something. I don't see any relevance in your statement, unless it's some sort of a fancy way of saying that while my logic is correct, you illogically disagree with the result. ...

    2) "As humans, we would not be able to tell the difference between an omnipotent God and an almost omnipotent God."

    A) Yes, we would, by deduction from the fact that an omnipotent God is logically impossible.

    B) Regardless of A, if you assume the existence of some form of God, certainly such a deity would act differently depending on its omnipotence or "almost omnipotence". An "almost" omnipotent God would make mistakes, and could be confronted with problems that it would be incapable of solving.

    C) The effects of B would be evident in the overall course of universal change... Obviously.

    D) If we assume an afterlife (which generally goes along with the assumption of a God), the effects of B would have direct relevance to us as humans. We would experience the impotence of this "almost" omnipotent God in response to some exterior or interior threat or problem-- eventually.

    E) The omnipotence or non-omnipotence of "God" drastically affects the number of religions without a known logical contradiction; whether God's omnipotence or lack thereof directly affects humanity, the implications do (EG a non-omnipotent God's deception in claiming to be omnipotent would obviously have extensive implications on this "God"'s other properties, the non-omnipotence of a God renders many well-established religions incorrect in full (by virtue of disproving one of their "axioms"), and so on and so forth...).



    Does anyone have anything to say about my actual idea (aside from hypnagogue), as opposed to contestations of its relevance?
     
  9. Oct 1, 2005 #8

    The very first sentence of your first post in this thread is incorrect. Any omnipotent being must, by 'definition', have created everything. Logic has nothing to do with it.

    Unless God has told you personally that God is omnipotent, why would you assume God is? An ALMOST omnipotent God that could merely create/destroy worlds and raise the dead should be good enough for humans.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2005
  10. Oct 2, 2005 #9
    But is it not said in the vast majority of religious texts belonging to monotheistic religions that God is omnipotent?
    Could you please give an example in which a monotheistic religious text (which is the only evidence of an omnipotent God) states that God is anything less than perfectly all powerful?
     
  11. Oct 3, 2005 #10
    1) No. Perhaps you should look up "omnipotent"; its definition is all-powerful, posessing of unlimited power, etc etc. Literally, it comes from the root words for "all" and "power". An omnipotent being has to have created everything, not by definition (which says nothing whatsoever about creation), but by logic; logic that I have set forth in the sentences following that thesis.

    2) Seraphim is correct. Her point is why this argument applies to modern monotheistic religions.

    3) I don't "assume" that God is omnipotent. I don't "assume" the existence of a God at all; my proof is that there cannot be an omnipotent God, not that there cannot be any god(s).
     
  12. Oct 3, 2005 #11
    Check out Genesis 6: 6-8 and 1 Samuel 15:11 in the Bible or read 'The Age of Reason' by Thomas Paine.
     
  13. Oct 3, 2005 #12
    It seems your logic is based on 'creation'. I believe your logic is faulty. An Entity who had created nothing but had the power to destroy EVERYTHING, including itself, would be much more OMNIPOTENT than a creator god. What do you think: Would a God that had the power to destroy everything including time, space, Itself, all other Gods/gods not be the ultimate in ALL POWER? Creation power logic is based on past time. Destruction logic is based on REAL TIME. There could 'logically' be a omnipotent DESTROYER GOD.
     
  14. Oct 4, 2005 #13
    Genesis 6:6-8

    "6 The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. 7 So the LORD said, "I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them." 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD."

    I fail to see the connection between this passage of scripture and God's lack of omnipotence.

    1 Samuel 15:11

    "11 "I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions." Samuel was troubled, and he cried out to the LORD all that night. "
    (Source - www.biblegateway.com)

    All that this shows me is that you cannot tell the difference between grievance and helplessness. No where in either of these verses does it suggest that God is unable to do something. It merely states that he is unhappy with the state of things. If you could explain the connection between being grieved and being less than omnipotent, I would love to hear it.

    I'm not sure that Thomas Paine's Deist God applies to this concept.
    Also, I doubt that the Deist God is the same God that appears in the Bible, the Kabala or the Qu'ran. I believe that the Deist God was specifically designed to be a seperate being who was a Creator God and no more.

    And anyone can destroy. Destruction does not require any kind of special power or significance.
    If you go back to the Deist belief that Reason is the Divine Power of men, with Reason you could easily destroy concepts like Time, or the Universe itself.. and all that would be neccissary is the ability to reason and Time would easily become dead to you, therefore destroyed.
    So, if destruction is really what determines omnipotence, are we not omnipotent?

    To create is something that we cannot do, Reason or not. Therefore, wouldn't a being that is all powerful be able to create as we could not?
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2005
  15. Oct 5, 2005 #14
    How does it "seem" this way? I don't see where you got this from...

    "More omnipotent" makes no sense. How can you be "more allpowerful" than something else? You are arguing (apparently) that a non-omnipotent destroyer is more powerful than a non-omnipotent creator. Even if you were/are correct, it would still be completely irrelevant...

    Again, "omnipotent" means "allpowerful". "Omnipotent destroyer god" makes no sense as a catagory; if a god were omnipotent, it would be so in terms of destruction just as much as creation.

    If a being only has power over "real time", that being is not "allpowerful"-- obviously.

    ...
     
  16. Oct 8, 2005 #15
    To completely destroy 'Everything in the Universe' -- time, space, all creation including the God that created everything--would, I think, require an omnipotent Entity. What makes this concept so difficult to comprehend is that humans do not any experience with 'omnipotence'. Unless one was omniptent, one could not fully comprehend its meaning and its consequences. ALMOST omnipotent is a concept easier to understand.
     
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