Weblog of a Christian philosophy student

Weblog of a Christian philosophy student. Please feel free to comment. All of my posts are public domain. Subscribe to posts [Atom]. Email me at countaltair [at] yahoo.com.au. I also run a Chinese to English translation business at www.willfanyi.com.

Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Thursday, January 29, 2009

What is atheism? Is atheism the default position?

Podcast of this article.

According to a common view, belief in God is kind of like belief in a giant teapot circling the sun. Just like we would assume that the teapot doesn't exist if there's no evidence for a teapot flying around the sun, so if there is no evidence for a god then we should assume that a god does not exist.

But there's one more thing left to talk about when we think about the teapot. Say there's no teapot around the sun, then what *is* there? I'd assume empty space.

So the a-teapotist (as in a-theist) believes that there's empty space around the sun, and the teapotist assumes that there is a teapot.

If we carry the analogy to atheism, then an atheist believes that there's just the natural universe, rather than the natural universe plus a god, when people revert to atheism as the default position.

But there's something wrong with the above analysis. Atheism can't be the view that 'there is only the natural universe', because a lot of atheists maintain that there could be billions, trillions, even *infinite* numbers of other universes. These universes, some very different, some similar to our own, could explain the characteristics of our universe (see the multiverse theory). In other words, you can believe in many universes and definitely be an atheist.

So atheism has to include the possibility that there is *more* than just the natural universe. OK, then so what is atheism, exactly? Is it the view that there is just the universe and, possibly, a multiverse? In a sense yes, but there must be a better, more concise way of putting it...

Is atheism the view that a mind didn't create our universe?

Not necessarily, because we could be brains in a vat experiencing a virtual world, or computer programs like in the movie The Thirteenth Floor, and so technically our 'universe' is the product of a mind, and yet there is nothing that we would call a 'god'.

To be sure, the creators of such artificial realities would seem like 'gods' to us, but they aren't gods in any greater sense than we would be if we created our own artificial realities.

OK, so what is atheism? It has to include the possibility of a multiverse, and that the universe is the product of a mind, but not a 'god' mind (whatever that is).

What we are left with is that atheism is the view that no mind is behind *all* universes, behind every conceivable universe; behind every physical thing.

Another way of phrasing this is that atheism is the view that at the foundations of reality, at the most basic level, there is inanimate matter rather than 'conscious stuff'. A theist says that at the most basic level there is 'conscious stuff' (like our inner awareness, whatever that is) rather than matter.

So that's what atheism can be rephrased to without losing any of its meaning: the view that the foundations of existence are inanimate matter rather than conscious stuff.

So to go back to our original example, the teapotist says that there's a teapot around the sun, and the a-teapotist says that there's not. So what does the a-teapotist believe is there? They believe that there's just empty space of course!

So the theist says that there's a mysterious 'god', and the atheist says that there's not. So what does the atheist say is there? They believe that the foundations of existence are inanimate matter rather than conscious stuff. Otherwise a god exists in some sense (even if pantheistically).

I agree that the default position should be 'no god exists' in the absence of evidence for a god. That seems to be sound... but I don't see why the default position should be 'the foundations of existence are inanimate matter rather than conscious stuff'. Why should the foundations of reality be automatically assumed to be inanimate matter? Because that's all we can see? But we see ourselves and others as conscious beings... and we're pretty sure consciousness is quite different to matter. So to assume that there must be inanimate matter at the foundation of existence 'by default' seems a bit unwarranted.

So paradoxically, atheism both is and isn't the default position. The idea that there's no god is a default position, but the view that there's inanimate matter rather than consciousness at the foundation of reality seems unwarranted as a 'default position'.

It's likely that any argument to the 'existence is built upon matter' view could be doubted because of the experience of consciousness, which seems different to matter. Likewise, consciousness can't settle the question in favour of the 'existence is built upon mind' view, because it may just be that the universe was destined to create 'animate'/conscious matter.

What's worse for atheism is that in some ways it's hard to see the view of consciousness at the foundation of reality as anything less than the view that there is a god. Why? Because such a consciousness would probably have many god-like characteristics...

In the end, maybe there's no requirement that anyone be an atheist or a theist if there's no evidence for a god. It doesn't seem like we have an obligation to believe that the foundation of reality should be characterised a certain way, if what I've written has made sense.

So when viewed in an alternative way, that atheism is positively saying that there's inanimate stuff at the foundation of reality, it seems that neither atheism nor theism is the default position. We must simply assume that either there's inanimate stuff or consciousness at the foundations of reality based on what feels right to us. That could be what the religious instinct is all about: the feeling that there must be consciousness at the most basic level rather than 'empty' matter. And it's not clear that this view is basically silly. Actually, it seems like a pretty reasonable (50/50) guess at the nature of reality.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Infinity and divine simplicity

1, 2, 3 are different numbers, used to make distinctions between things. It's because we have a concept of '1' that we can distinguish one parrot from no parrots, and '3' that we can distinguish 'three' persons from 'one' person.

But what if you had a kind of number that didn't fit in with this pattern of distinctions (1, 2, 3 and so on)? That is basically what infinity is - a different *kind* of number compared to finite numbers because of its infinitude. You might think that ∞ is just a really high number, a number like e.g. '8', but infinitely higher. But infinity can't be something like '8' otherwise it couldn't be actually infinite. For example, try adding zeroes on to the end of the highest number you can think of and see whether it ever reaches infinity. The lack of distinctions is what enables infinity to 'reach' infinity, because as soon as you introduce '1, 2, 3...' then everything breaks down into finitude and you can never reach infinity.

To put it another way, there must be something about infinity that prevents you from taking away or adding to it (infinity + infinity = infinity in a manner of speaking). How so? The reason is that infinity doesn't allow for our ideas regarding distinctions, so you can't get e.g. lots of infinities by adding them to each other.

(Picture of infinity compared to the finite above, click to enlarge)

If God was like a human, then God couldn't be simple. I have two arms, so obviously I can't be absolutely simple. I have different thoughts, so mentally I can't be absolutely simple. But I'm a finite human, and finiteness always contains distinctions (1, 2, 3...)

But if God is an infinite kind of person, then He's a personification of a world where there aren't any distinctions. There can't be a '1' of anything in God, nor a '3', nor an '8', because distinctions belong to finite concepts. Ergo, God is absolutely simple.

This also refutes Richard Dawkins' complexity argument against a designer. If infinity is absolutely simple (without internal distinctions) then God - as a personification of infinity - can't be said to be complex in any way. Dawkins' argument then falls apart.

Link to a great lecture on the nature of infinity.

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

A philosophical account of the gospel in pictures

This picture summarises this site's theology in one go, more detailed pictures below this one:

[Click to enlarge]

(Explanation of this picture here).

Part 1: how are humans made in the image of God? Where does consciousness, free will and morality come from?

[Click to enlarge]

Part 2: what is sin; where does it come from?

Part 3: what is hell, why does it exist, and why do people suffer? The atonement.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

What's Wrong with Human Reason?

This illustration helps explain the ideas in this article (click to enlarge).

A lot of Christian thinkers attack human reason as not being very good. In Romans 3 Paul criticises a common philosophical argument against God as mere 'human reason'. So what's wrong with human reason?

Well, the only thing wrong with human reason is that it's finite - it's limited. Because only God can be fully infinite (as there can be only one infinity), creatures had to 'lose' (in a manner of speaking) God's way of reasoning to be created, and the result is finite reasoning, which is infinitely less than the reasoning of God. The problem is that finite reasoning just can't understand everything about God.

I'll illustrate how this might work in practice using some examples from mathematics.

Let's say that you wanted to solve an incredibly hard mathematics problem. Let's say that you wanted to test whether all numbers follow a certain prediction. A mathematician wouldn't look at every number to find out the answer; that's impossible (for us). They'd find some technique that would allow them to figure out the answer after looking at a large but not infinite selection of numbers. Whereas God, with infinite reasoning, could look at *every* number to figure out the answer. God could solve e.g. the Riemann hypothesis by looking at every number there is, an actually infinite series of numbers. God could do the same for every mathematical problem.

Now, if God were finite, then we could eventually come to understand God using our reason. If God were finite, then understanding God would be like understanding a very difficult but ultimately graspable concept. But because God is an actual infinity (see what I mean by this here) then understanding all the mysteries of God would be like looking at every number (as in the above example). We can use 'shortcuts' to talk about God - e.g. say that God is loving - but we cannot actually understand God through limited reasoning. As Paul says in Romans 11:33 "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgements, and his ways past finding out!"

The difficulty that every creature faces in understanding God is bigger than not being able to 'search out' His ways. There's a different kind of 'logic' applying in the infinite world compared to the finite world, that we just can't grasp very well.

Here's an example of finite logic versus infinite logic. In finite terms, 1 + 1 = 2, and one orange plus another orange makes two oranges. That's the logic of the finite world. Now, let's try to put infinity into the finite world. We don't know the value of infinity, so let's just say that infinity = 'X' and leave 'X' undefined. If infinity = X, then according to human reason X + X = 2X, so infinity + infinity = two infinities. But we know that infinity always remains infinity. You cannot take anything away, or add anything to infinity to change it. So infinity + infinity = infinity. So X + X equals 2X... but X + X in this case also equals X! That implies that 1 = 2.

But, you might say, human reason actually can understand infinity because at least we know that these puzzles exist...

But is that really the case? What kind of reasoning do humans use to understand the infinite? Finite reasoning. What kind of reasoning fits best with the infinite? Infinite reasoning. So shouldn't we be drawing mainly on infinite reasoning to understand the infinite, i.e. to draw conclusions about it, and make judgements as to its nature?

Christians believe (in the philosophical interpretation of this essay) that if we looked on the infinite with infinite reasoning then we would understand all mysteries of God. The problem is that to create us God had to give us a form of reasoning that is monumentally 'cut down' compared to what He has. A side-effect of this severely cut down form of reasoning is that we need to use the 'tool' of faith to understand the infinite (God) in the way that He really is (Hebrews 11:6).

OK, why is it such a big problem that we can't understand all the mysteries of God, or the logic of the infinite very well? What's so significant about this?

Well, just like we can't understand God fully, the fact that we have finite reasoning means that we can't understand other people fully!

Let me explain... it's the fact that we have finite reasoning that makes humans unable to fully understand themselves, other people, and God, and this allows us to be tempted by sin.

How so? Well, there's something about infinity that is incredibly perfect and wonderful, such that when people see infinity as it really is they give unconditional love and understanding to whoever they see. Because God encompasses all of infinity, the first and greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind (Luke 10:27). God's infinite nature is why God deserves the most love, honour, and respect above anyone else when He is perceived by a mind that desires to follow infinite reasoning (Rev 4:9-11).

We know that God is infinite, but what is less well-known is that when God made us in His image He used His power to put "eternity (i.e. infinity) in our hearts" - Ecc 3:11. In other words, the good news for humans is that there's a divine spark in all of us as well. Because we have infinity inside us (i.e. our soul), the same love, honour and respect that applies to God also applies to humans to a lesser (but still great) degree. So if anyone saw you or me as we really are - if they saw our soul - then they would love us unconditionally forever. In such a way do we receive the next greatest commandment from the Bible "You shall love your neighbour as yourself".

Why is it that everyone who looks on infinity as it really is (i.e. who follows infinite reasoning) will love God and other people with all their heart, mind, soul and strength? How does that come about? I don't actually know with finite reasoning. It comes somehow from infinity, in a way that finite reasoning just can't understand.

If we only had infinite reasoning, then we would never struggle to love others and God with all our strength, any more than we currently struggle to figure out whether one plus one equals two. That's why it is impossible for God to be tempted by evil. God cannot be tempted by evil (James 1:13) because He knows these infinite truths through His reasoning. On the other hand, humans can never know these infinite world truths through our reason (infinite reasoning always being inaccessible to humans) but only through our moral sense that comes from our soul. Because our finite reasoning knows nothing about infinite reasoning the way God knows, humans are continuously tempted to act against infinite reasoning, which is sin (i.e. not being perfect).

Of course, finite reasoning can be used to honour the truths of the infinite world - for example, using reason a scientist can cure a terrible disease and help many. But it can also lead us astray very easily. As David Hume famously said "It is not contrary to [finite] reason to prefer the destruction of the whole world to the scratching of my finger". Hume here illustrates how disconnected finite reason is from morality.

It's humanly impossible to do justice to infinite reasoning because we would only see why we should be perfectly good if we understood infinite truths. But we can't understand any infinite truths through our reason, so we simply can't know why we should always be perfect in a way that would actually be effective (although we can understand infinite truths on an emotional level). Because we can never know these things, human beings, consequently, can never be perfect without a miracle from God.

When the apostle Paul says that 'All have sinned and come short of the glory of God' I believe he refers to three things: a) We have no hope of avoiding the temptation to sin because we have finite reasoning, b) We know whenever we sin that we shouldn't sin through the witness to infinite truth given by our soul, and c) We are fully responsible for our sin because we have free will through our soul (which is a gift from the infinite world).

In my interpretation of hell, these three things together force God to push the infinity that He's loaned to us really far away from Himself, in order to separate the part of Himself being used to sin from Himself, and this results in earthly suffering, and in the same way later on, hell (Gen 2:15-17; Romans 1:18-19).

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Why is there something rather than nothing?

The question of why there is something rather than nothing has perplexed everyone, especially philosophers, since people started asking philosophical questions. It's so hard to answer that most philosophers have entirely sidestepped the issue to concentrate on other things.

The thing is, the reason why we ask 'Why is there something rather than nothing?' is because existence seems to cry out for an explanation. In other words, the existence of a 'Something' has to be explained, but not a 'Nothing'. 'Nothing' is seen as the default position. From the default position of 'Nothing', the mind asks: 'Nothing should be, so why then is there something?'

Maybe we see the default position as 'Nothing' because we have finite reasoning, and in the world of the finite the default position is 'Nothing'. For example, as a finite thinker you start with '0', and then go up to '1', '2', '3', and so on, ad infinitum. It's because you start with zero as a finite thinker that 'Something' rather than 'Nothing' is more perplexing, because '0' is where all finite thinking starts, and '0' is nothing.

But if you're an infinite being, then you start with infinity '∞', and always end up with infinity. You can never subtract from or add to infinity; take anything finite away from infinity and it's still infinity. So in God's way of thinking, it's completely natural to start off with a 'Something' because you start with a 'Something', that is infinity, whenever you think as an infinite being. And for that reason the situation of there being 'Nothing' would seem utterly bizarre and incomprehensible.

The point is, that if the infinite way of thinking rejects the meaningfulness of the question, then we should see the question as ultimately mistaken because reality comes from the infinite world. It's the infinite way of thinking that is actually the 'natural' way of thinking. Our finite way of thinking is a lesser deviation from the infinite way, which we use because God was restricted to creating partly finite beings (see what I mean by this here) as there can only be one infinity. For these reasons we should dismiss the question as erroneous although as partly finite beings it will always make sense to us. The question might be profoundly puzzling to God, or God might see it as a human eccentricity to ask it.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Podcast: What is atheism? Is atheism the default position?

Podcast Notes:

-Atheism isn't the position that there's only the universe, or that a mind didn't create the universe. It's the view that at a basic level the foundations of reality are made of matter rather than 'conscious stuff'. Christianity is a variant of the view that the foundations of reality are 'conscious stuff' rather than matter.
-Is God-belief totally unreasonable? It's often argued that the best argument for atheism is that there's no evidence for a god. But it may be more of a 50/50 thing rather than a slum-dunk for atheism if there's no evidence for a god. There possibly isn't a 'default position' on the issue.

Title: What is atheism?
Time: 13:43 minutes
Size: 6.3 MB mp3

Direct link to the audio file (Right click and 'Save As')
Link to the audio file page

Further Reading:

-An article on this.

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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Suffering, Hell, and the Atonement

This is a series of interesting theological conjectures that deal with suffering, hell, and the atonement.

I would say that the answer to why we suffer is that when God made us in His image, He put something in us exactly like what He has (Ecc 3:11; John 10:34). What God put in us we call our 'soul'.

I think that the way a soul works is that through a miracle performed by God, our brain is made to somehow 'draw on' or 'make use of' the divine to a small extent. From that we get a soul, which is what we borrow from God, and yet we're distinct persons to God.

This 'soul' of ours gives us free will, consciousness, and a moral sense. You can't get those things from a physical body (in the sense of a person rather than a machine).

In other words, personhood, free will, consciousness, and morality are things that only God has, and we get to have them since we 'draw on' God to a small extent through a miracle performed by God.

Because our soul is borrowed from God, it is always 'hanging around' God, even though our bodies are here on earth. So while half of us is on earth, half of us is always 'up there' with God, in a sense. It's like we have one foot in the sea (our physical body) and one foot on shore (our soul that is with God, connected to the brain through a miracle).

When we sin we sin with our soul. Why? Because you need personhood, free will, and a moral sense to sin, and we get those things by borrowing from God... without those things you cannot sin, so without being a 'god' (in the sense of John 10:34) it is impossible to sin.

It's because we sin with our soul that leads to all our problems. When we sin we essentially 'corrupt' our soul. We corrupt what we've borrowed from God by doing evil which is totally against God's nature. This is a problem because God is normally connected to our soul, because our soul is borrowed from Him. But if we sin and do evil, then God has no choice but to separate the sinful soul from Himself, otherwise the soul's evil choices would transfer to God by remaining connected to God, and thereby corrupt God (another way of viewing it would be that God's holiness cannot tolerate the presence of sin).

This process causes a lot of pain - actually all the pain in human existence - because we feel through our soul and our soul is only free from pain when it is connected to God. But God is right to do it, even though it causes unimaginable suffering, because He has the right to take what steps are needed to protect Himself from our sin.

This results in a buildup of pain every second for the soul of a sinner according to a 'constant' of how much it hurts our soul not to be connected to God. This might be about 50/50 good experiences to bad experiences. People in our world who have unhappy lives have this constant 'front-loaded' so they suffer more in this life, which is then made up for in the eternity to come. Some people have it the other way around. But the constant always stays the same and is the same for every person. So every sinner who remains a sinner will ultimately end up suffering the same, necessary amount as long as they remain sinful (souls cannot be destroyed because they're made in the image of God and God is eternal).

These bad experiences don't have to be accompanied by any physical stuff, but God chooses to make them go along with physical stuff (like e.g. diseases, earthquakes, and so on) because He wants a visible cause of suffering, rather than have people suffer for no apparent reason.

The only solution is to become sinless, which allows God to keep with Him what we've borrowed from Him. This makes the person who is sinless happy in a kind of happiness that we can't imagine and have never known (1 Cor 2:9).

God enabled this to happen through the atonement, where Christ died for all possible sins that we have, or could ever have, committed. The sins were put on Christ, and through Christ's Spirit we have access to a sinless person who has the happiness of God.

Everyone who accepts Christ could be free from all suffering in the moment that they do that. God wants to accomplish something with suffering, however, which is why people who have accepted Christ still suffer (Zec 13:8-9).

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Sunday, January 04, 2009

Who are we? How are we made in the image of God?

Who are we, and in what sense are we made in the image of God?

Genesis 1:27 says that humans are made in the image of God, but what does that mean?

Is it our ability to reason, to know that 2 + 2 = 4 and other rational truths, that makes us in the image of God?

Maybe. But then again, computers can reason in a sense. With advanced enough technology, we could easily make thinking computers just as smart as we are. So either humans can design and build stuff in God's image, or being made in God's image is something more than this.

Let's look at the God who made us. There's an important distinction that people often forget about God, which is that He is infinite. Not infinitely good, or infinitely smart, but actually infinite. So we're made in the image of an infinite God.

This raises an interesting question: how can anything finite be made in the image of the infinite? You literally cannot imagine anything more different than a finite object and an infinite object. Humans in one sense have more in common with rocks than with God if we're finite, because at least rocks are finite. Yeah, but rocks can't think, you might say. But if thinking is just a matter of doing mental calculations, then actually we have more in common with computers than with God, because computers can 'think' in a sense and are also finite like we are. And advanced enough computers could think as intelligently as humans or be even more intelligent.

So there are a couple of problems with thinking that we have much in common with God if we're finite and God is infinite. Actually, it's relatively common to think that our finite language and knowledge are utterly inadequate to talk about the infinite hence = agnosticism.

Yet the apparent alternative of saying that humans are infinite like God makes no sense... it's even worse than saying that we're finite. If we were infinite then we could do an infinite number of calculations a second. Obviously, we can't. Being infinite would also make us equal to God, which is not the Christian view. Does this mean that we have to see humans as being *finitely* made in God's image, despite the problems?

But could there be a third option? What if you said that humans are partly infinite and partly finite? That way you could have the best of both worlds. If you said that human reasoning, knowledge and bodies are finite then you could make sense of our limited knowledge, power and understanding. And by saying that we're partly infinite you could show how we're made in the image of an infinite God without making humans in any way equal to God.

But why are we partly infinite rather than completely infinite? It's easy enough to suggest a reason: God *is* the infinite, all that is infinite is God, and there can be only one infinite ("Hear O Israel: the Lord is our God, and the Lord is one" - Deu 6:4). So we can use (or 'borrow') some of the infinite, but not all of it, as then we'd be God.

We're made in the image of God, and that means that we're like God in some way. What is God like? He feels things: happiness, love, hurt, joy, anger and so on. We're like that as well. Where do we get it from? I'd say from our infinite part. God has free will, so we get free will from there as well. And moral knowledge in the same way. Our infinite part could be called our (infinite) 'soul'.

But because we can't be fully infinite, we have to be made out of parts that are not infinite, and that means finite parts. Finite parts are infinitely less than God. So the rest of us, whatever isn't our soul, has to be made out of finite stuff, and that stuff is our physical body in this universe (a 'spirit' as distinct from a 'soul' - Heb 4:12 - is a finite 'nonphysical body'.) Through God's power, the infinite can have some kind of contact with the finite (but the finite cannot of its own power interact with the infinite).

God had to give all His children finite reasoning and understanding because every child of God had to be made partly finite. There's something about having infinite reasoning that is one and the same with being fully infinite, and only God can be fully infinite, see for instance Matt 24:36 "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only". Also see Ecclesiastes 3:11 "God has set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end". I.e. our soul is infinite, but our reasoning is finite, because only God can be fully infinite.

There's a question of how we can have our own personality if we're actually borrowing our soul from God. I would speculate that as long as not all of infinity is used (i.e. all of God), then God can reuse infinity as many times as He wants to make many creatures. And that through our finite body and infinite soul interacting we take on our own personality different to God's.

But is there any need for a soul? Can't the brain account for why people act the way they do?

Well, just because we see our brain working when we make decisions doesn't mean that the brain is all that a human is. God needs to connect the finite to the infinite to make creatures, because creatures cannot be all-infinite. We must get our reasoning from something in the finite world, so why not use the brain as the source of finite reasoning and knowledge in humans? So clearly God has to give the brain a lot to do, since it is responsible for our reasoning, knowledge, and carrying out the free choices that we make through our soul. When we look at the brain doing lots of things, we're really looking at the brain doing its required tasks as the finite aspect of humanity, whereas we cannot look at the soul, as that's actually infinite (and yet infinity is all around us as shown by Zeno's paradox).

Wait a second, if we get the stuff that makes us like God from the infinite soul, then that means we get feeling from the soul. But don't we get feeling from the brain?

Not in the way that we might think. God wanted to put something in our brains that would allow us to react quickly and easily when something happened in the physical world. So when a person reacts to pain, God wanted there to be something in the brain that would allow a quick response to pain. God wants our bodies to have automatic responses, to deal quickly and easily with situations that come up. And that requires circuitry in the brain that deals with emotions and feelings more generally. But I don't think that the circuitry in the brain actually does feel anything, I think it's just like the circuitry in a computer, only organic and a lot more complicated. It only helps our bodies react/act when we make choices in the infinite world. The circuitry itself feels nothing, any more than a box or a couch feels anything.

God has also given infinite souls to animals and other living things so that they can feel things. We can know this because our moral intuitions tell us that animals need to be protected, that come from God. They are given much less understanding of the things of God, however (Job 39:13-17).


Friday, January 02, 2009

The Trinity

Part of a forum post

...I find the idea of simplicity in infinity is interesting because (as an aside) it makes sense of the trinity (to me). In finite logic 1 + 1 = 2. So one orange plus another orange equals two oranges. Now what happens if you apply finite logic to infinity? We don't know the value of infinity, so let's just say that infinity = 'X' and leave 'X' undefined. According to the logic in the orange example, 'X' + 'X' + 'X' = 3X. But infinity always has the same value. So 'X' + 'X' + 'X' also equals 'X'. That implies that 3 = 1. I think that when we look at our infinite God with finite reasoning we always see three equal Gods, but they would really be one if we looked at them with infinite reasoning.