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February 06, 2014


Speaking of Paul Copan and Michael Martin, here's the rest of that interaction:

Michael Martin: "Atheism, Christian Theism, and Rape"


Paul Copan: "Can Michael Martin be a Moral Reaslist?"


Michael Martin: "Copan's Critique of Atheistic Objective Morality."


Paul Copan: "Atheistic Goodness Revisited: A personal reply to Michael Martin"


Michael Martin: "The Naturalistic Fallacy and Other Mistaken Arguments of Paul Copan"



My problem is that if God's not the foundation of morality, then the alternative has to be evolution and social conditioning, and that is what's dreadful to me. If that is the case, then nothing has ultimate meaning, and we just "are", and we will vanish and it will have no importance ultimately.
The universe would be a giant cosmic accident...
Of course I have my problems with this view. How could nothing create something? Must there be mind before matter can exist? If so, then everything is devoid of any meaning. How could creatures such as ourselves arise in a world where there is no meaning? How could we have guessed centuries ago that our world has a beginning? It seems we have some inherent knowledge that can't come from nature itself.

I wanted to correct my previous post:

"Of course I have my problems with this view. How could nothing create something? Must there be mind before matter can exist? If NOT, then everything is devoid of any meaning. "

Thanks for your frank honesty, Al, in admitting that you reject evolutionary morality because it's dreadful.

You say in that case "nothing has ultimate meaning, and we just 'are'," but Brett Kunkle was just saying in this video that God himself just "is". How is that not also dreadful?


Brute Fact: Indifference.

Brute Fact: Love.

Perhaps Al was meandering over in that corner somewhere......


Perhaps another approach would be something along these lines....

Brute Fact:

A = Indifference
Z = Indifference

[Actuality] = [A - (Effervescing Fragments of Psychic Phosphorescence) - Z]

Brute Fact:

A = Love's fully singular, fully triune [Self-Other-Us], as in the Triune God Who is One, Who is Love’s E Pluribus Unum.

Z = Love's fully singular, fully triune [Self-Other-Us], as in the Triune God Who is One, Who is Love’s E Pluribus Unum.

[Actuality] = [A – (Fragmentations of Self, of Other, of Us) – Z]


You say that God's nature is "all of his essential properties." But then you go on to say that "God's nature ends up being The Good."

This commits you to saying that The Good is just all of God's essential properties, which seems strange. I think you do not want to say this. Instead, you want to say---and DID say---that goodness is an essential property of God (as opposed to ALL of God's essential properties).

Also, you repeatedly say that everyone has to have an ultimate standard. But occasionally you admit that actually, only moral realists have this problem. I'm not sure if even that much is true, but perhaps so, given a suitable concept of moral realism. In any case, it does not seem to be a problem for nonrealists.

More importantly, to point out that theists are not alone with their problems doesn't change the fact that theists still have their problems.

that goodness is an essential property of God (as opposed to ALL of God's essential properties).
The doctrine of Divine Simplicity holds that God IS His Power, IS His Widsom, IS His Goodness and so on. None of the essential properties of God are really separable from each other or from God's existence.

God is Good because God is The Good.

You say in that case "nothing has ultimate meaning, and we just 'are'," but Brett Kunkle was just saying in this video that God himself just "is". How is that not also dreadful?
It is not dreadful because there is a distinction between necessary and contingent. Evolution does not present us with a necessary standard of goodness, but a contingent one. One that is, because of that, an accident of history.

This is not what Christianity presents us with.

WisdomLover, I don't think that's what divine simplicity asserts. My understanding of divine simplicity is that God has no separate parts. But God can still have separate properties.

But maybe I am wrong. Maybe divine simplicity (or a certain version of it, perhaps) really does assert that God has no separate properties. But that would be incomprehensible to me, and I would have to dismiss it immediately.

The word inseparable implies multiple, and, it implies inseparable.

We don't get one without the other.

Definitions. Ontology.


No. I think I got it right.

God's Knowledge is His Power is His Goodness is Him.

When we predicate things of God we do so by analogy. It means something different to say God knows X than it does to say I know X. But the concepts are analogous.

In some case, I think we may get glimpses of how this works, though probably not in every case.

For example, How is it that God knows contingent things? Well, it analogous to us in that He bases His knowledge of the contingent on intuition. In our case, we use empirical intuition...our senses. But in God's case we say that, unlike us, it is logically impossible for God to be wrong even about contingent matters. How can this be? How is it that God cannot possibly have a breakdown between what He 'sees' and what is in fact the case?

The answer is that He makes what He knows. So His Creation IS His Knowledge.


That seems to me downright incoherent. Perhaps someone might want to speak POETICALLY about God's knowledge being the same as his power and as his goodness, etc. But poetry aside, knowledge is simply not the same thing as power or goodness, regardless of whose knowledge/power/goodness we have in mind. If you want to insist that they ARE the same, then IMO you have run off the rails.

It seems that it would be quite difficult for one who knows only shifting semantics and ever changing stances atop ever morphing definitions to grasp the notion of an unshifting ontology. At the first sight of a word like “inseparable” such a one wants to immediately redefine, and then, to carry on the conversation with some new definition to his own liking. It’s like an itch. And then, a few paragraphs later, when the new definition becomes too burdensome, that itch strikes again and the sematic dance of equivocation inevitably begins anew.

This is why “E Pluribus Unum / Love” is such a hard concept to embrace for those who suffer from this allergy to real words with real definitions speaking of a real ontology……the Ontology is itself the Hard Stop, and thus, the hard stop is not the Contents of Thought being ever pushed around by an ever unnamed precursor ever in regress to ever new definitions.

I think that is the difficulty some have with this whole affair of the Unchanging God’s fully singular, fully triune [Self-Other-Us] Who is Love's E Pluribus Unum. We find Unshifting Oneness amid True Plurality. Love is the I/Self, and, Love is the You/Other, and, Love is that singularity of unity that is the ever alive Us. Ever One. Ever Three. There is no Us void of Self. There is no Self void of Us, and so on with You/Other, and all these ipso facto.

Inseparable has Multiplicity ipso facto within it. Inseparable has Oneness ipso facto within it.

E Pluribus Unum.

That is an Immutable Property of Immutable Love. Ever One. Ever Three.


We are given an analogy of this in Scripture at which to look should we desire to “see into” this Image which is His Image, which is to be our Image in Him, and that analogy is Marriage. Having been both outside of Marriage looking in – seeing – from the outside in, and, now, inside of Marriage looking –seeing – from the inside, the self-evident breaks through. Sight is far better from within Marriage, where Analogy fades and Sight actualizes. Outside, one must settle for Analogy. Inside, one tastes and sees. Love is I. Love is the Beloved Other. And that third very present actuality is ever alive, that amalgamation that is Us. In the fragmentation of all that is human in and by analogy this is a – blurred – window.

When we speak of Immutable Love, these are the sorts of vectors we, necessarily, find breaking into our consciousness.

Of course, this gets far worse for those who cannot resist the itch to ever redefine, for, inside of Love, we also find Motion which Changes Not wherein we find Love’s Distincts ever within Love’s Eternally Sacrificed Self timelessly pouring-out, and, ever in restoration timelessly filling-up, ever abandoned, utterly – to a degree which make of our word ‘death’ a miniscule ‘degree’ – and – ever being found timelessly alive-again within Embrace as Love and the Beloved manifest all such motions within Timelessness and – ipso facto – to the bitter ends of Time and Physicality. And so on…….

When Love manifests within Time and Physicality we begin to see these lines, these vectors, these images….. and we use things like words to convey that which is tasted, that which is seen………. Before I was married I logic-ized about what Love was….by analogy...from the outside looking in. I thought myself quite intellectual. I was a fool. When I got married and….seeing from the inside out….all the analogies of love faded, and the self-evident actualized.

I would say that there's really nothing incoherent about the Divine Simplicty unless you're wedded to the idea that God is kinda like us, but more so. But it's that sort of view that is absurd. God is a Necessary Being, or better THE Necessary Being. We should not expect to be able to speak about Him the same way I can speak about my cat, Socrates' beard or Frodo Baggins.

You, Frodo and I have our natures (if we have them) by exemplifying them. God is sui generis in having His nature by being identical to it.

Just in His being a Necessary Being, God's existence and His essence come as a logically inseparable package (that's what "Necessary Being" means). Divine Simplicity says that there's a straightforward reason for this: the one is identical to the other.

Here's the link to the article on Divine Simplicity at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

It contains an extended discussion of the coherency of the view. Not its coherency with the Divine Mysteries like the Trinity and the Incarnation (which I actually think is the more serious challenge), but it's logical coherency as a view (which is, I think, your problem with it).

But poetry aside, knowledge is simply not the same thing as power or goodness
Really? I don't know that. And, in fact, when we start talking about the knowledge, power and goodness of a Necessary Being, it becomes increasingly obvious that they are the very same thing.

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