How can God have a nature?
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07-07-2014, 10:53 PM
How can God have a nature?
Theists are always saying things like "the nature of God is such and such" or "it is within the nature of God" to do certain things. They also say in the same breath that God's nature is incomprehensible. But if God is supposed to be supernatural then he could not have a nature.

Everything that exists has a specific nature, a set of attributes that are its identity. To exist is to have identity. That is what it means to be natural. But to be supernatural is to be outside of nature which means to have no identity. If something has an identity then it is natural or has a nature and can't be supernatural. But theists claim that God both has a nature and is supernatural.

How is it that anyone can overlook such glaring contradictions?

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07-07-2014, 11:00 PM
RE: How can God have a nature?
(07-07-2014 10:53 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  Theists are always saying things like "the nature of God is such and such" or "it is within the nature of God" to do certain things. They also say in the same breath that God's nature is incomprehensible. But if God is supposed to be supernatural then he could not have a nature.

Everything that exists has a specific nature, a set of attributes that are its identity. To exist is to have identity. That is what it means to be natural. But to be supernatural is to be outside of nature which means to have no identity. If something has an identity then it is natural or has a nature and can't be supernatural. But theists claim that God both has a nature and is supernatural.

How is it that anyone can overlook such glaring contradictions?

A) Cognitive dissonance

B) Pathological lying

C) Both

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08-07-2014, 12:51 AM
RE: How can God have a nature?
Also if God has a nature, a specific set of attributes, then it means there are some attributes that God does not have. That means that God is therefore limited. A nature limits the probability of certain behaviours occurring.

This is a subtle point that theists argue against. They may say that God is by nature a loving god but then that means he is not able to be evil. Theists will try to argue that God is capable but that does not mean that he wants to do those things, but then you can counter that with the argument that we are all technically capable of doing things that we do not want to do. It's easy to think up heinous acts that even though we could technically do wouldn't be able to bring ourselves to the point where we ever would.

The US president might technically have the power to obliterate London with nuclear fire for example, but unless a complete monster gets into office none of them could bring themselves to. So in effect, they can't.

If God has a nature then he is not omnipotent. Also note that gender and referring to him as Him falls into this argument as well. Because He's not She.
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08-07-2014, 01:33 AM
RE: How can God have a nature?
Jesus magic. Checkmate.

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08-07-2014, 01:37 AM (This post was last modified: 08-07-2014 05:48 AM by Youkay.)
RE: How can God have a nature?
The word "nature" has different meanings and can be used in different ways, and you know it well.

Apart from the use that you suggested, nature can also just mean properties or it could mean inclinations.

"My nature is to be good to others". It doesn't mean I can't be mean to other people. Not at all. There are absolutely no restrictions within that sentence.

Getting hung up on language and specific words is a childish way to argue a position.

Fun "paradox": The higher the selection pressure, the slower evolution takes place.
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08-07-2014, 08:36 AM
RE: How can God have a nature?
(08-07-2014 01:37 AM)Youkay Wrote:  The word "nature" has different meanings and can be used in different ways, and you know it well.

Apart from the use that you suggested, nature can also just mean properties or it could mean inclinations.

"My nature is to be good to others". It doesn't mean I can't be mean to other people. Not at all. There are absolutely no restrictions within that sentence.

Getting hung up on language and specific words is a childish way to argue a position.


Yes Youkay you do have a nature but you are part of nature. You exist. I don't see how your criticism is relevant since I am using the term "nature" in the same way that theists are using it, to denote the attributes of some existent.

Also theists are explicit in saying that God exists outside of existence. To exist is to have a nature and to have a nature is to exist. Existence is identity so when a theist says that God exists apart from existence then he is saying that he exists apart from identity.

This is not an issue of semantics but of metaphysics.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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08-07-2014, 09:59 AM
RE: How can God have a nature?
(08-07-2014 12:51 AM)Mathilda Wrote:  Also if God has a nature, a specific set of attributes, then it means there are some attributes that God does not have. That means that God is therefore limited. A nature limits the probability of certain behaviours occurring.

This is a subtle point that theists argue against. They may say that God is by nature a loving god but then that means he is not able to be evil. Theists will try to argue that God is capable but that does not mean that he wants to do those things, but then you can counter that with the argument that we are all technically capable of doing things that we do not want to do. It's easy to think up heinous acts that even though we could technically do wouldn't be able to bring ourselves to the point where we ever would.

The US president might technically have the power to obliterate London with nuclear fire for example, but unless a complete monster gets into office none of them could bring themselves to. So in effect, they can't.

If God has a nature then he is not omnipotent. Also note that gender and referring to him as Him falls into this argument as well. Because He's not She.

Yep that's true. As soon as you use the personal pronoun "he" you are delimiting God. That would mean his nature is finite. Good point.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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08-07-2014, 10:12 AM
RE: How can God have a nature?
(08-07-2014 08:36 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  
(08-07-2014 01:37 AM)Youkay Wrote:  The word "nature" has different meanings and can be used in different ways, and you know it well.

Apart from the use that you suggested, nature can also just mean properties or it could mean inclinations.

"My nature is to be good to others". It doesn't mean I can't be mean to other people. Not at all. There are absolutely no restrictions within that sentence.

Getting hung up on language and specific words is a childish way to argue a position.


Yes Youkay you do have a nature but you are part of nature. You exist. I don't see how your criticism is relevant since I am using the term "nature" in the same way that theists are using it, to denote the attributes of some existent.

Also theists are explicit in saying that God exists outside of existence. To exist is to have a nature and to have a nature is to exist. Existence is identity so when a theist says that God exists apart from existence then he is saying that he exists apart from identity.

This is not an issue of semantics but of metaphysics.

If supernatural things can't have a nature according to the meaning you use it, then let them have a supernature. Did your word games accomplish anything? no...

The sentence "god exists outside of existence" is nonsensical to begin with. Why take it further and put "identity" and "nature" and all your other words that don't do anything but convolute things in there?

Fun "paradox": The higher the selection pressure, the slower evolution takes place.
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08-07-2014, 10:29 AM
RE: How can God have a nature?
(08-07-2014 12:51 AM)Mathilda Wrote:  Also if God has a nature, a specific set of attributes, then it means there are some attributes that God does not have. That means that God is therefore limited. A nature limits the probability of certain behaviours occurring.

This is a subtle point that theists argue against. They may say that God is by nature a loving god but then that means he is not able to be evil. Theists will try to argue that God is capable but that does not mean that he wants to do those things, but then you can counter that with the argument that we are all technically capable of doing things that we do not want to do. It's easy to think up heinous acts that even though we could technically do wouldn't be able to bring ourselves to the point where we ever would.

The US president might technically have the power to obliterate London with nuclear fire for example, but unless a complete monster gets into office none of them could bring themselves to. So in effect, they can't.

If God has a nature then he is not omnipotent. Also note that gender and referring to him as Him falls into this argument as well. Because He's not She.

Goes to show how little thought goes into belief.

Omnipotence has been known to be a paradox for hundreds of years.

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08-07-2014, 10:55 AM
RE: How can God have a nature?
(08-07-2014 10:12 AM)Youkay Wrote:  
(08-07-2014 08:36 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  Yes Youkay you do have a nature but you are part of nature. You exist. I don't see how your criticism is relevant since I am using the term "nature" in the same way that theists are using it, to denote the attributes of some existent.

Also theists are explicit in saying that God exists outside of existence. To exist is to have a nature and to have a nature is to exist. Existence is identity so when a theist says that God exists apart from existence then he is saying that he exists apart from identity.

This is not an issue of semantics but of metaphysics.

If supernatural things can't have a nature according to the meaning you use it, then let them have a supernature. Did your word games accomplish anything? no...

The sentence "god exists outside of existence" is nonsensical to begin with. Why take it further and put "identity" and "nature" and all your other words that don't do anything but convolute things in there?

I agree that it is nonsense and I am simple pointing out another contradiction of those who claim that their belief is more rational than atheism. They need to explain how a supernatural nature is not a contradiction and it is not "according to the meaning you use it" since I am using it in the same context as theists are.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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