Saturday, November 08, 2008

G-d Again

I have come to the following conclusions (largely based on Leibniz's Monadology, or at least concluded while reading it:)

1) That because G-d is completely perfect, thus encompassing all possibilities; that the existence of evil is not only inherent in the existence of G-d, but also inherently necessary in the definition of G-d's existence.
2) That since G-d encompasses all possibilities, including the possibility that He does not exist, G-d must by definition, simultaneously exist and not exist.
3) This concept is both supported and embodied by the quantum theory of infinite possibilities - that if in an infinite universe, all possibilities must at some point in the space-time matrix of infinite existence be actualized, then, in an infinite universe, G-d must also exist and not exist.
4) That therefor, based on these ideas, existence itself hinges on a basic and inherent contradiction.
And so does G-d.

:)

28 Comments:

Blogger Baal Habos said...

So where does that leave you?

What counts is not God, but whether Orthodoxy is "true".

BTW you say "That because G-d is completely perfect"

Why is that a given?

6:34 PM  
Blogger Miri said...

it's a given bc it's almost always a part of anyone's definition of G-d, ever. And if you want to debate whether or not orthodoxy is true....whole different can of worms. first you have to start defining truth.

6:12 AM  
Blogger Rogue Unicorn said...

oy, you and your logic. :)

12:39 PM  
Blogger Tobie said...

God can be infinite without being everything . He could, for example, just be everything that can be been (?), which would exclude His being anything oxymoronic. Just as some people limit His omnipotence to everything that can be known and thus allow for the possibility of free will.

11:35 PM  
Blogger B. Spinoza said...

God is the infinite universe, not an object within the universe. this was Spinoza's point

5:36 AM  
Blogger Miri said...

Tobie-
"God can be infinite without being everything . "
No, He can't. That's what infinity means. It means everything.

b. spinoza-
yes, exactly.

5:51 AM  
Blogger Baal Habos said...

>it's a given bc it's almost always a part of anyone's definition of G-d, ever.

As you say "almost". But that doesn't mean it's correct. So you can't come to any conclusions based on what might be a faulty assumption.


>And if you want to debate whether or not orthodoxy is true....whole different can of worms. first you have to start defining truth.

Truth as in historical truth.

And why are you imposing word verification in Blogger comments? It just slows everything down

6:21 AM  
Blogger Crawling Axe said...

1) That because G-d is completely perfect, thus encompassing all possibilities; that the existence of evil is not only inherent in the existence of G-d, but also inherently necessary in the definition of G-d's existence.

Possible and actual are different things.

2) That since G-d encompasses all possibilities, including the possibility that He does not exist, G-d must by definition, simultaneously exist and not exist.

G-d does neither. Just like G-d is neither happy nor said, he doesn’t exist nor not exist. G-d is not X, whatever you want to put inside X.

3) This concept is both supported and embodied by the quantum theory of infinite possibilities - that if in an infinite universe, all possibilities must at some point in the space-time matrix of infinite existence be actualized, then, in an infinite universe, G-d must also exist and not exist.

Why must all possibilities exist? Does G-d have no control of what possibilities are actualized?

4) That therefor, based on these ideas, existence itself hinges on a basic and inherent contradiction.

The seeming contradiction is based on misunderstanding of what G-d is (or, rather, is not). G-d is First Cause and therefore must have will (be under no control of any conditions inside or outside — for no such things exist) and control what comes out of Him.

7:01 AM  
Blogger Miri said...

BHB-
"As you say "almost". But that doesn't mean it's correct. So you can't come to any conclusions based on what might be a faulty assumption."

What I meant to say was, GIVEN THE CONDITION THAT WE ARE DEFINING G-D AS A PERFECT BEING, etc.

"Truth as in historical truth."

Historically, Orthodox Jews existed. Thus far, OJ is true.

CA-
"Possible and actual are different things."

Good, I'm glad we clarified that.

I think the problem in this particular case is that we have failed to define our terms. In my personal opinion, that which is, is real - including thoughts, ideas, and possibilities. The fact that these things may not have a corporeal embodiment does not necessarily make them less real. Just ask Kant.

According to this opinion, the possibility of G-d's existence contains about as much reality as the possibility of His non-existence. You can call Him the First Cause or anything else, but the fact that you've given Him a new name doesn't make Him any more or less real.

"G-d does neither. Just like G-d is neither happy nor said, he doesn’t exist nor not exist. G-d is not X, whatever you want to put inside X."

K. So what if what I want to put inside x is "real?" That would make Him not...real. Right?

"Why must all possibilities exist? Does G-d have no control of what possibilities are actualized?"

I'm not saying that I know for a fact that all possibilities exist. (Although, they do, at least as possibilities.) However, it is a premise of the theory that I was (apparently badly) trying to express that all possibilities exist.

2:31 PM  
Blogger Miri said...

and, (sorry, left this out)I'm sure G-d has all the control He wants over actualizing stuff in the event that He does, in fact exist; but a possibility not actualized is still a possibility and if we are saying that possibilities have their own reality, then what difference does it make, in the context of this discussion, whether in fact said possibilities are actualized or not?

2:38 PM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

>>"God can be infinite without being everything . "
>No, He can't. That's what infinity means. It means everything.

Not really. In geometry, a line is infinite, yet a line is limited to be the set of points on the line.

6:22 PM  
Blogger Tobie said...

Exactly what E-kvetcher said. G-d can be infinite without being infinitely infinite- infinite instead of infinite to the infinite or whatever. He can be perfect without being everything, because to lack contradictions may be more perfection than to include them, willy-nilly.

And to partially fail to be is impossible- He either totally isn't or else He actually is. Non-existance is binary that way.

2:11 AM  
Blogger Baal Habos said...

>What I meant to say was, GIVEN THE CONDITION THAT WE ARE DEFINING G-D AS A PERFECT BEING, etc.

I see. So if you're basing it on a definition, then change the definition and dispense with the thinking. Just state your bullet one as follows:

God is a perfect entity which allows for the existence of Evil. Case closed.




>Historically, Orthodox Jews existed.

Nice and evasive :)

5:21 AM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

I think you're mixing many metaphors here, Miri.

First of all, if you want to describe a quantum mechanical God as both existing and not existing, you'd have to stick with the analogy and say that this is only the case as long as you do not seek to observe God. As soon as you do, then the probability wave function collapses and God will either exist or not exist, but not both. of course, this argument is utter nonsense, since quantum mechanics describe the behavior of particles in this universe and God should not be contained by the limitations of existing in this universe.

But ultimately, you have defined God in such a way that it is impossible to say anything meaningful about God. Instead, a much more meaningful argument would be to discuss the notions of how God is said to interact with the universe and specifically with human beings.

8:11 AM  
Blogger Miri said...

Tobie-
"He can be perfect without being everything, because to lack contradictions may be more perfection than to include them, willy-nilly. "

How can He be perfect without being everything? I think that to be perfect would necessarily include contradictions. That's what I'm trying to say - that existence is based on a fundamental inherent contradiction. Therefor to be perfect must necessarily include contradictions.

"And to partially fail to be is impossible- He either totally isn't or else He actually is."

First of all, no one said He was partially doing anything - He exists completely, and He also does not exist completely. Perhaps He is succeeding in non-existing as opposed to failing to exist.

Once again I'd like to make something clear - that in this discussion, we're discussing G-d and not lines. A line might be limitedly infinite, but G-d is supposed to be unlimitedly infinite. My working definition of G-d, in the context of this discussion, is everythingness - and so to claim that He is not everythingness is outside the relevance of this discussion.

BHB-
I'm interested in the discussion in the context of this particular definition. I don't want to change the definition, bc of the possibilities I'm exploring under this definition.

Also, I wasn't being evasive. I don't know what you mean by historically true. Historically, Orthodox Jews existed, so historically it's true that there was Orthodox Jewry. What were you looking for?

E-Kvetcher-
"say that this is only the case as long as you do not seek to observe God. As soon as you do, then the probability wave function collapses and God will either exist or not exist, but not both. "

I never said that He both existed and did not exist at the same time and place. That would just be silly. :) I'm saying that within the entire framework of existence, somewhere He exists, and somewhere else, He does not. Of course we don't know where or when is which. That would take the fun out of it.

"But ultimately, you have defined God in such a way that it is impossible to say anything meaningful about God. Instead, a much more meaningful argument would be to discuss the notions of how God is said to interact with the universe and specifically with human beings."

On the contrary. I think this theory is extremely meaningful, especially in terms of the way the universe has been set up, and the way it exists and functions. I happen to find discussions on how G-d interacts with the world, and people, to be meaningless. First of all, what if He in fact does not exist? Then you don't even have a foundation for a discussion. Second, as soon as you try to have a meaningful conversation about how G-d functions, you get stymied with the same old problems that lead to "we cannot understand the mystery of G-d's ways." I think my theory is much more useful bc if true it explains things about the fundamental nature of reality, which understanding I find to be extremely useful in terms of understanding existence a bit more. But you start randomly speculating about why He does what He does and you never get anywhere useful. In my limited experience, that is.

9:54 AM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

>I never said that He both existed and did not exist at the same time and place. That would just be silly. :) I'm saying that within the entire framework of existence, somewhere He exists, and somewhere else, He does not.

I don't think I am smart enough to follow what you're saying. God has to exist everywhere at all times. Cross reference to your earlier point about being perfect in every way (which from now on I'll call the Mary Poppins theology). But like I tried to convey in my previous comment, you need to define existence, which for God is a meaningless concept IMHO.

10:28 AM  
Blogger Tobie said...

How can He be perfect without being everything? I think that to be perfect would necessarily include contradictions. That's what I'm trying to say - that existence is based on a fundamental inherent contradiction. Therefor to be perfect must necessarily include contradictions.

It's very nice that you allege this, but you haven't really proved it. If you define perfect as including everything, including contradictions, and you define G-d as perfect, then why yes, He will include contradictions. But why define perfection that way? I would like to define perfection as, among other things, logically consistent. Perhaps perfection means including only all of the positive sides of things- isnesses as opposed to notnesses, to make up some words. Maybe it means something else entirely.

Further, to say that G-d exists in some places and/or times (or even some quantom possibilities) and not in others is silly and you know it. You can't start applying place and time to G-d or else you're limiting Him a heck of a lot more than saying He can't not exist. So again, anything that G-d is, He is 100%. That seems, to me, a lot more basic to any understanding of infinitude.

12:53 AM  
Blogger Miri said...

Tobie-
"So again, anything that G-d is, He is 100%. That seems, to me, a lot more basic to any understanding of infinitude.
"

I use the terms time and space more as a visual aid than a literal meaning. obviously time and space do not exactly apply to G-d the way they apply to us.
Let me try and explain my thought process to you one more time:

G-d= omniscience, omnipotence, all-inclusive, infinity.
Ok. Now once you say that G-d is everything, you've already got contraditions - as a matter of fact, all the contradictions that exist. Because EVERYTHING that exists is G-d. Once you've established that, it makes a certain amount of natural sense (by which I mean, it just fits right) to suppose that the universe is founded on a contradiction. It explains a lot about the world and the nature of reality. However, to follow the line of thinking more closely; to suppose that G-d includes everything, including any and all possibilties; and assuming that the possibility of His existence is just as real as the possibility of his non-existence; that insofar as He exists at all, He must necessarily include the possibility of His own non-existence. Therefor the fact that he exists (should He in fact exist) would necessitate that on some level, He also does not exist. This is the inherent internal contradiction on which the universe hinges, in my personal opinion.

4:22 AM  
Blogger Crawling Axe said...

I think the problem in this particular case is that we have failed to define our terms. In my personal opinion, that which is, is real - including thoughts, ideas, and possibilities. The fact that these things may not have a corporeal embodiment does not necessarily make them less real. Just ask Kant.

According to this opinion, the possibility of G-d's existence contains about as much reality as the possibility of His non-existence.


I didn’t say anywhere that I believe “ideal” things to be non-existing. They do exist — inside your head. What does that have to do with reality of the actual thing’s existence? You can believe that an orange apple exists, and I can believe that an orange apple does not exist. Both of our thoughts do exist (in our heads), but the actual, physical orange apple either exists or doesn’t.

K. So what if what I want to put inside x is "real?" That would make Him not...real. Right?

Right. G-d is not real in our terms. He is not part of our (or anybody else’s) reality.

but a possibility not actualized is still a possibility and if we are saying that possibilities have their own reality, then what difference does it make, in the context of this discussion, whether in fact said possibilities are actualized or not?
The only reality where all possibilities can exist is G-d (by definition of a First Cause). So, such a situation can hardly pose a conundrum to G-d’s existence.

10:01 AM  
Blogger Crawling Axe said...

That's what I'm trying to say - that existence is based on a fundamental inherent contradiction. Therefor to be perfect must necessarily include contradictions.

I totally agree with this. That’s what G-d is.

10:02 AM  
Blogger Tobie said...

Okay, you are taking a certain train of thought and following it to an inherent contradiction and then being all excited by the oxymoron that you have achieved. To me, the fact that a certain train of thought leads to an inherent contradiction is a good sign that there is a flaw either in the premises or in some stage of the logic. Thus, either G-d does not exist, or else He is not everything, or else our definition of everything is flawed, or else there is some other mistake in this logic that I have yet to identify. The proof that I would offer for this is the very fact that your train of reasoning leads to a riduculous conclusion. In math, when your hypothesis boils down to 2=3, you don't celebrate the inherent contradictions of mathematics. You reject your hypothesis or re-check your proof.

2:01 PM  
Blogger Miri said...

CA (Formerly known as the dude with the Greek name)-
"Both of our thoughts do exist (in our heads), but the actual, physical orange apple either exists or doesn’t.
"
It either exists or it doesn't as far as we know the reality in front of us. It might exist somewhere in the universe and we wouldn't know. In the world of infinite possibilities this would almost certainly mean that somewhere one does exist.

"The only reality where all possibilities can exist is G-d (by definition of a First Cause). So, such a situation can hardly pose a conundrum to G-d’s existence."

Ok. But that's really neither here nor there. I'm not saying it poses a conundrum for G-d's existence. I'm just saying, that's the way I like to think it actually is.

Tobie-
"The proof that I would offer for this is the very fact that your train of reasoning leads to a riduculous conclusion. In math, when your hypothesis boils down to 2=3, you don't celebrate the inherent contradictions of mathematics. You reject your hypothesis or re-check your proof."

Ah see there's a problem there. For the purposes of the discussion, we had a very specific definition of what G-d is. But you forget that most religious concepts of G-d follow just this definition; and personally, I've always been suspicious of the religions that have claimed that G-d is in some way limited, bc then what's the big deal with being Omniscient and Omnipotent and all seeing and all hearing and all knowing and "I swear He's got a plan!" A limited G-d is frankly not my idea of a very impressive G-d. I suppose that's also neither here nor there.

My point is twofold:
1)That the religious perspective on G-d is logically flawed and
2)G-d isn't math. He's supposed to transcend a few more dimensions.
3)Engels once said that the purpose of man's existence is to slowly overcome and reconcile all contradictions. But since that is their purpose what happens when all contradictions have been solved? We will hve fulfilled the purpose of our existence, so it's all over. And yet we must still continue to exist - thus introducing a new unsolvable contradiction. Why do we have this desperate need to figure everything out? I don't know. But it would make sense that this were true if the dna of existence contained a gene for contradiction. It just makes a lot of sense to me cosmically, which I know isn't a very logical argument. Nevertheless I think it has some weight, and I certainly think it's meaningful in a reasonably relevant fashion.

5:03 PM  
Blogger Tobie said...

It does strike me as meaningful, and possibly deep. I'm just not entirely sure that it's true.

1:23 AM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

>But you forget that most religious concepts of G-d follow just this definition; and personally, I've always been suspicious of the religions that have claimed that G-d is in some way limited, bc then what's the big deal with being Omniscient and Omnipotent and all seeing and all hearing and all knowing and "I swear He's got a plan!" A limited G-d is frankly not my idea of a very impressive G-d.

You really need to study religious traditions outside of Judaio-Christian-Muslim, which are really Judaic, since the other two religions built on top of it. The idea of an all powerful omniscient being just seems the most logical to you because of your bias.
Frankly, in my opinion it could be argued that even the Jews didn't come up with this idea of God until much later, when they started getting influenced by Greek ideas. The Greeks became obsessed with perfection, and the their philosophy focused greatly on that.

Engels? Friedrich Engels??? He is not from our Beis Medrash! :)

6:52 AM  
Blogger Miri said...

Tobie-
"and possibly deep."

thanks!
;)

E-Kvetcher-
I don't know man. All the eastern conceptions of the One, the tao, the Way, all strike me as sounding, biikar, the same idea as monotheism. It's all one thing man! One G-d, One Will, One Force - but in every example, what's included within that one is EVERYTHING. so what's the practical difference?

And I don't know what beit midrash you've been hanging out in. Nieschte and Pascal have a chavruta in mine.

3:25 PM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

>All the eastern conceptions of the One, the tao, the Way, all strike me as sounding, biikar, the same idea as monotheism. It's all one thing man! One G-d, One Will, One Force - but in every example, what's included within that one is EVERYTHING. so what's the practical difference?

The practical difference is huge. You are trying to come up with some type of panentheistic view of God, which even allowing for your chassidic bent is darn near heretical the way you are making it sound.

The eastern conception of the Tao is something very different from an omniscient, omnipotent God. If your kid gets sick, you can't pray to the Tao for mercy. The Tao, the Universe, does not care whether you are a tzaddik or a rasha, it just is. I can go on...

In most ancient eastern traditions, as well as the earlier Near Eastern religions, the God or Gods dwell inside the Universe, they are not omnipotent nor omniscient. And as we make our way through Genesis, see if you can spot echoes of this worldview in the narrative.

7:03 PM  
Blogger Crawling Axe said...

1)That the religious perspective on G-d is logically flawed and
2)G-d isn't math. He's supposed to transcend a few more dimensions.


What is flawed in religious (Jewish) perspective on G-d? Number 2 contradicts number 2.

5:44 AM  
Blogger Miri said...

E-Kvetcher-
"The eastern conception of the Tao is something very different from an omniscient, omnipotent God. If your kid gets sick, you can't pray to the Tao for mercy. The Tao, the Universe, does not care whether you are a tzaddik or a rasha, it just is. I can go on..."

Granted, according to this theory, prayer seems a little out of place, until you put it in a slightly different context. Prayer is a fantastic form of meditation. It helps you re-focus, think things through, and deal with spiritual and emotional issues in a phsycologically healthy way. Taoists are way into meditation. See the thing about prayer is that it isn't really supposed to be for G-d, it's supposed to be for man. So what does that mean? As a forum for connecting to the Creator. Meditation is a way of tuning into the Tao, or the life force in the Universe. So, practically speaking.... what's the difference?

"In most ancient eastern traditions, as well as the earlier Near Eastern religions, the God or Gods dwell inside the Universe, they are not omnipotent nor omniscient."

Granted, I'm mostly thinking of Buddhism and Taoism. I don't know that much about eastern religions. I just know a little bit about these. Anyway, the point is irrelevant bc I already stated the definition of G-d on which my argument is based, and that includes omnipotence and omniscience.

CA-
"1)That the religious perspective on G-d is logically flawed and
2)G-d isn't math. He's supposed to transcend a few more dimensions.

What is flawed in religious (Jewish) perspective on G-d?"

The logic.

"Number 2 contradicts number 2."

I do not understand. Please explain.

1:06 PM  

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