Omniscience could not fail to comprehend all truths, and anything less than omniscience would fail as an understanding of the whole truth. Further, only omniscience could fully understand the whole meaning of even a single proposition, so as adequately to evaluate its truth value; for the infinite extent of the realm of the possible entails that the potential consequences in experience of the truth of any proposition are necessarily infinite in number, and until one knows all the consequences of a concept, one cannot fully comprehend its meaning. So only an omniscient being can know the whole truth, or the whole meaning of any one truth. If therefore a proposition is true, it must necessarily be found among that set of propositions entertained by God as the whole truth. So only the propositions entertained as true by God can in fact be true. Other beings may understand their truth, to be sure; but if any truth is to be at all apprehensible by any creature, it must first have been entertained as such by the Divine Mind – for had it not been thus Divinely understood as true, it could not be true at all, to anyone. I.e., it would be false.
When Christ says in John 14:6 that he is the Way, the Truth, and the Light, he does not only mean that he is the Way to the Father. He means also that he – and the Father, and the Holy Spirit – are the way we are each doing whatever it is we are doing at any given moment. This is also, likewise, an aspect of what Paul means in Acts 17:28, when he says that in God we live, move and have our being. The being and power I am and have right this moment came just now from God, not per accidens, but per se (this origination per se being the forecondition for any causal origination per accidens). I certainly didn’t arrange for the existence and potentiality of this moment of my life to happen. I just find myself right here, right now. Which, when you think about it, is totally inexplicable, on creaturely terms. Thus all the power I exert right now, all the ways that I can act, are provided to me by God.
Everything that I am and have is derived from God’s creative act.
What will I do with this little bit of his being and power that, in making it out of nothing, Christ has given to me?
What is it like to live the life everlasting that is promised to Christians? The question has arisen in the last few days both over at View from the Right, where Lawrence Auster is contemplating his own incipient death with awesome magnanimity and serenity, and at Charlton’s Miscellany. Both Charlton and Auster make important points. I had reactions to both posts, so I figure it makes most sense to consolidate them here.
Creaturely occasions cannot cause other creaturely occasions to exist. How can we know this? Causal relations between two creatures cannot obtain until they both actually exist so as to have relations in the first place. X cannot be truly said to have caused y until there is a y, so that there can be a relation of causation that obtains between them. Until there is y, x cannot have caused y. But this means that before y has come to pass, x cannot stand in any causal relation to y; it cannot function as a cause of y. So, x cannot bring y to be.
When you think about it, this is obvious. How could x reach into the future and manipulate it so that it eventually developed in such a way as to include y?
[Here is another of my essays originally posted at Intellectual Conservative and destroyed by leftist hackers. In it, I refer to the evolution in which contemporary atheistic science believes as “Darwinism” or “Darwinian evolution.” This is not the term that most scientists use, but since the word “evolution” has many meanings, and since most scientific enthusiasts of the evolutionary theory originated by Darwin wish to obscure its anti-Christian nature, I have chosen to use a more clear-cut term. Keep in mind also that this essay was written for the general public, not the typical Orthosphere reader.]
Ben Stein’s movie Expelled shines the spotlight on the dispute between Darwinian evolution and its opponents. Although both sides marshal a large array of technical facts, this dispute is really a clash between two fundamentally differing worldviews, that is, basic philosophical systems that people use to interpret all of reality. In fact, the dispute can most accurately be summed up by saying: It’s all about God.
That is, if you can be sure there is no miracle-working God, then something like Darwinian evolution must be correct. But if there is even a chance that such a God exists, then basic intellectual integrity demands that you take seriously the criticisms directed against Darwinism. Continue reading
Let us continue with our exercise of trying to infer natural philosophy conclusions from general features of the laws of physics. Again, our method will be to assume that a symmetry in physical laws indicates that some of the states we conceptually distinguish don’t represent real differences, and that this is telling us something about the underlying objects.
In the middle of the night I awoke with a brainstorm about economics. The basic problem at every moment is simple: what is the right thing to do now, the best thing to do?
Life is not therefore about the production of goods, but the production of goodness. Likewise, ergo, and a fortiori, for a society and its political economy. The Platonic society will produce a great many holy lives; and those that are not quite holy will be often righteous, or at least predominantly excellent. Mere goods are secondary factors, instruments or by-products of righteousness and virtuous behavior. It is only righteousness that can result in true human flourishing, no matter how many goods there may be scattered about the landscape; for righteousness constitutes the proper approach to reality, and the enaction of policies really fitted to the truth of things. Is it not obvious that only such policies are likely to succeed, mutatis mutandis?
That God is eternal does not mean he is not also in time. There is no contradiction between the two modes of being; if there were, then there would no way to have temporality in the first place; for, since eternity is prior to time, time is happening in eternity, and is fully limited by and conformed thereto.
So, God responds to us in time, just as we respond to each other. His response is happening in time and in eternity – in time, which is an aspect of eternity. So Jesus is in time as we are, but he is also consciously eternal. The Incarnation happened before all worlds because all worlds happened before all worlds. The happening of worlds is a procedure of eternity.
Reading Edward Feser’s article on inertia and how it should be reconciled with Aristotelian natural philosophy got me thinking. What does Newtonian kinematics really mean? Let’s pretend that Newtonian physics is the exact truth and ask what that would imply about the nature of reality. As we know, the rise of quantitative sciences was accompanied by the rise of a reductionistic atomism which the new science was thought to imply. Even today, it is thought a “scientific” way of thinking to suppose
- The only thing that really exists are particles whose only properties are position, velocity, mass, and maybe some other quantities like that.
- Composite bodies are just combinations of these particles, and the particles themselves have some sort of ontological priority over their arrangement. They are “more real” than the forms of composite bodies, which are just consequences of the particles’ positions.
Feser and others have done good work arguing that neither Newtonian physics nor any other conceivable empirical scientific theory prove the above postulates. I think we can go farther and say that they are actually incompatible with Newtonian physics.
Do theistic metaphysical systems such as Thomism or Scotism have any stakes in the findings of the empirical sciences? A discussion of formal causes in science and challenges to the principle of causality.