THE CHRISTIAN CONCEPT OF GOD Christians claim that their concept of God is found in the Bible. Known as classical theism, this view of God has long been considered the orthodox theistic position of the Western world. Though there are numerous divine attributes that we could examine, for our present purposes it is sufficient to say that the God of classical theism is at least (1) personal and incorporeal (without physical parts), (2) the Creator and Sustainer of everything else that exists, (3) omnipotent (all-powerful), (4) omniscient (all-knowing), (5) omnipresent (everywhere present), (6) immutable (unchanging) and eternal, and (7) necessary and the only God. Let us now briefly look at each of these attributes.
1. Personal and Incorporeal. According to Christian theism, God is a personal being who has all the attributes that we may expect from a perfect person: self-consciousness, the ability to reason, know, love, communicate, and so forth. This is clearly how God is described in the Scriptures (e.
g. , Gen. 17: 11; Exod. 3: 14; Jer.
God is also incorporeal. Unlike humans, God is not uniquely associated with one physical entity (i. e. , a body).
This is why the Bible refers to God as Spirit (John 4: 24).
2. The Creator and Sustainer of Everything Else that Exists. In classical theism, all reality is contingent on God – that is, all reality has come into existence and continues to exist because of Him. Unlike a god who forms the universe out of preexistent matter, the God of classical theism created the universe ex nihil o (out of nothing).
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Consequently, it is on God alone that everything in the universe depends for its existence (see Acts 17: 25; Col. 1: 16, 17; Rom. 11: 36; Heb. 11: 3; 2 Cor. 4: 6; Rev. 4: 11).
3. Omnipotent. God is also said to be omnipotent or all-powerful. This should be understood to mean that God can do anything that is (1) logically possible (see below), and (2) consistent with being a personal, incorporeal, omniscient, omnipresent, immutable, wholly perfect, and necessary Creator. Concerning the latter, these attributes are not limitations of God’s power, but perfections. They are attributes at their infinitely highest level, which are essential to God’s nature.
For example, since God is perfect, He cannot sin; because He is personal, He is incapable of making Himself impersonal; because He is omniscient, He cannot forget. All this is supported by the Bible when its writers assert that God cannot sin (Mark 10: 18; Heb. 6: 18), cease to exist (Exod. 3: 14; Mal. 3: 6), or fail to know something (Job 28: 24; Ps. 139: 17-18; Isa.
46: 10 a).
Since God is a perfect person, it is necessarily the case that He is incapable of acting in a less than perfect way – which would include sinning, ceasing to exist, and being ignorant. When the classical theist claims that God can only do what is logically possible, he or she is claiming that God cannot do or create what is logically impossible. Examples of logically impossible entities include ‘married bachelors,’ ‘square circles,’ and ‘a brother who is an only child.’ But these are not really entities; they are merely contrary terms that are strung together and appear to say something. Hence, the fact that God cannot do the logically impossible does not in any way discount His omnipotence.
Also counted among the things that are logically impossible for God to do or create are those imperfect acts mentioned above which a wholly perfect and immutable being cannot do – such as sin, lack omniscience, and / or cease to exist. Since God is a personal, incorporeal, omniscient, omnipresent, immutable, wholly perfect, and necessary Creator, it follows that any act inconsistent with these attributes would be necessarily (or logically) impossible for God to perform. But this fact does not count against God’s omnipotence, since, as St. Augustine points out, ‘Neither do we lessen [God’s] power when we say He cannot die or be deceived. This is the kind of inability which, if removed, would make God less powerful than He is… It is precisely because He is omnipotent that for Him some things are impossible.’ 3 But what about Luke 1: 37, where we are told that ‘nothing is impossible with God?’ (NIV) Addressing this question, St.
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Thomas Aquinas points out that this verse is not talking about internally contradictory or contrary ‘entities,’ since such ‘things’ are not really things at all. They are merely words strung together that appear to be saying something when in fact they are saying nothing. 4 Hence, everything is possible for God, but the logically impossible is not truly a thing. 4. Omniscient.
God. 5 Concerning God’s unfathomable knowledge, the psalmist writes: ‘How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you’ (Ps. 139: 17, 18).
Elsewhere he writes, ‘Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit’ (147: 5).
The author of Job writes of God: ‘For he views the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens’ (Job 28: 24).
Scripture also teaches that God has total knowledge of the past (Isa. 41: 22).
Concerning the future, God says: ‘I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please,’ ‘ (Isa. 46: 10).
Elsewhere Isaiah quotes God as saying that knowledge (not opinion or highly probable guesses) of the future is essential for deity (Isa. 41: 21-24), something that distinguished God from the many false gods of Isaiah’s day. 5. Omnipresent. Logically following from God’s omniscience, incorporeality, omnipotence, and role as creator and sustainer of the universe is His omnipresence. Since God is not limited by a s patio-temporal body, knows everything immediately without benefit of sensory organs, and sustains the existence of all that exists, it follows that He is in some sense present everywhere.
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Certainly it is the Bible’s explicit teaching that God is omnipresent (Ps. 139: 7-12; Jer. 23: 23-24).
6. Immutable and Eternal. When a Christian says that God is immutable and eternal, he or she is saying that God is unchanging (Mal.
3: 6; Heb. 6: 17; Isa. 46: 10 b) and has always existed as God throughout all eternity (Ps. 90: 2; Isa. 40: 28; 43: 12 b, 13; 57: 15 a; Rom. 1: 20 a; 1 Tim.
6 There never was a time when God was not God. Although God certainly seems to change in response to how His creatures behave – such as in the case of the repenting Ninevites – His nature remains the same. No matter how the Ninevites would have responded to Jonah’s preaching, God’s unchanging righteousness would have remained the same: He is merciful to the repentant and punishes the unrepentant. Hence, a God who is responsive to His creatures is certainly consistent with, and seems to be entailed in, an unchanging nature that is necessarily personal. 7.
Necessary and the Only God. The Bible teaches that although humans at times worship some beings as if these beings were really gods (1 Cor. 8: 4-6), there is only one true and living God by nature (Isa. 43: 10; 44: 6, 8; 45: 5, 18, 21, 22; Jer. 10: 10; Gal. 4: 8; 1 Cor.
8: 4-6; 1 Tim. 2: 5; John 17: 3; 1 Thess. 1: 9).
And since the God of the Bible possesses all power (see above), there cannot be any other God, for this would mean that two beings possess all power. That, of course, is patently absurd, since if a being possesses all of everything (in this case, power) there is, by definition, nothing left for anyone else. 7 Moreover, since everything that exists depends on God, and God is unchanging and eternal, it follows that God cannot not exist.
In other words, He is a necessary being, 8 whereas everything else is contingent. web natural evil. html moral evil are things like rape and murder, which are committed by people with a free will and conscience. I think this is because God wanted variation in the world. He gave us the free will to make the decision of not living where these things occur.
God doesn’t make us live in the way of harm. As we have the free will to do what we want, God isn’t responsible for rape. people who abuse their free will commit these evils, and we have to find a way around it. I think this is our purpose for being on earth. To find a way to live together in peace and harmony as heaven is said to be.
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This page… if god was all powerful or all good, omnipotent or benevolent, it would not allow natural evil such as earthquakes to cause suffering. Natural evil Earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, famines, disease, random accidents, the suffering of children and babies, the suffering of innocent people as the result of things that are beyond their control. These are natural evils, the suffering that results because of the nature of nature, the elements, the way the world works. God wants suffering It is immediately obvious that natural evil is not punishment for poor judgement.
The suffering of babies and the young cannot be the moral result of their actions or thoughts. Nor can the existence of genetic defects or disabilities be a moral punishment for crime or sin of the parents, as the suffering is caused in an innocent who it would be immoral to punish. God must want suffering to exist, for some reason it must have some worth. But it appears to have none. Experience of pleasure We do not need to see suffering in others in order to know the worth of good things.
A baby instinctively understands and adores the love and attention of it’s carers, and know instinctively the worth of affection, nutrition. It also instinctively suffers when it feels pain or neglect. It feels all the range of emotion, from suffering to pleasure. To live and experience suffering is not required for it’s understanding of suffering. It is possible for a baby to feel this instinctively, and for it to be immoral to harm a baby. It’s instincts are of equal moral respect as an adults; it is immoral to cause suffering in both cases.
That a baby has these feelings by instinct, not experience, is proof that we do not need to observe pain in order to understand it. Suffering need not occur Natural events such as earthquakes have always occurred, and are indiscriminate. They are not a function of sin or transgression, as they are indiscriminate and have always occurred in history. They continue to occur, causing suffering in their victims. Why does God allow it? God could easily manufacture events so that the only people near these events are people who deserve to suffer (including babies? ) or people who choose to be there (assuming free will is morally important).
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Clearly, there are people affected by these events that are too young to be responsible for their actions and people who do not choose and would rather not be in the location of these disasters. God could protect these people from the suffering, save them, stop the disaster until everyone was away, or simply not build anti-human elements into nature in the first place. Conclusions 1 o God wants suffering and is therefore not morally good or worthy of worship or praise or o God is not all-powerful or o God does not exist Furthermore, since moral evil is brought about by the action of a human agent it provides the opportunity for the moral virtue of forgiveness, whereas natural evil, which results from the laws of nature implanted by God, does not afford such an opportunity. For instance, a survivor of a death camp could conceivably forgive his oppressors and thus move toward a more morally perfect character.
A victim of a violent earthquake, on the other hand, may be able to accept the cause of his suffering, but it makes little sense to forgive the impersonal forces of an earthquake. Thus, moral evil provides more fully for the development of moral excellence than natural evil because it fosters interpersonal moral virtues. Conclusion 2: Although an omniscient, omnipotent, perfectly good God could be justified in allowing moral evil, such a God is never justified in creating a world in which natural evil occurs. Moral evil is both necessary and sufficient to produce moral characters and spur men to right action.
Natural evil confers no additional benefits that moral evil cannot accomplish to the same degree and extent, and in fact natural evil is not even adequate to foster interpersonal moral virtues, such as forgiveness and tolerance. A benevolent God would allow no more evil than is absolutely necessary to achieve his ends. Because natural evil is gratuitous, its existence is incompatible with the existence of God. God, if he existed, could conceivably alter the laws of nature so that evil would only result when triggered by human action. However, manifest natural evil independent of human will, such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tornadoes, and disease, undeniably exists.
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Since the existence of God and the existence of natural evil are incompatible and natural evil exists, the following revised argument from evil is both valid and sound, entailing a true conclusion: 1) If God exists, then there exists a being who is omniscient, omnipotent, and perfectly good. 2) If there existed a being who were omniscient, omnipotent, and perfectly good, then there would be no natural evil. 3) But there is natural evil. C) God does not exist. web.