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BillO
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God
« on: Jun 25, 2017, 01:33PM »

I’m starting this thread to try to come up with a construct for God.  What I mean by this a listing of the attribute of God that makes God, well God.  I’m using the term ‘construct’ because I think it will suffice for the religious and the atheist.  Please don’t take the term as a disrespectful denotation of what you believe God is.  It merely describes what I hope we will construct here – a description of God we can all agree on to use in our religious discourse.

I want the initial description (for want of better words) to be that of the ‘physical’ nature of God rather than the behavior/acts/personality/disposition (nurture?) of God.
 
To give you an idea, here is a list of such physical attributes of a human.

Corporeal existence
Animal
Mammal
Of relatively extremely high intelligence
Of relatively medium stature
Relatively physically weak
Offspring are born totally helpless
Environmental senses are only mediocre
Omnivore
Secondary physical characteristics can vary regionally
Etc…

As you can see from this partial list, we can deduce a lot of things about humans and their general behavior.

If we do a good enough job of describing the ‘physical’ nature of God, everything else should follow from that.  We should them be able to move on to deduce and describe the more important behavior/acts/personality/disposition attributes which God uses to deal with and that are consistent with the ‘physical’ attributes.

Let me begin the list.  Please feel free to add to it or refute anything mentioned:  Jut let us know why you are refuting something on the list.

Non-corporeal: God does not have a physical form.
Immortal:  God has always been and always will be.
Omnipotent:   God is all powerful.  His power sustains everything.
All Knowing: God knows everything that has been, that is and that will be.
Immutable:  God never changes.

Do we have anything that tells us God’s relative intelligence?
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« Reply #1 on: Jun 25, 2017, 01:54PM »

Do we have anything that tells us God’s relative intelligence?

You listed it already.

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All Knowing: God knows everything that has been, that is and that will be.


You could split hairs and say they are not the same thing, but I think infinite knowledge = infinite intelligence.




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« Reply #2 on: Jun 25, 2017, 02:09PM »

"Fictional" seems to encompass all those other attributes you mentioned, and more besides.  KISS.
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« Reply #3 on: Jun 25, 2017, 02:15PM »

You listed it already.


You could split hairs and say they are not the same thing, but I think infinite knowledge = infinite intelligence.
I'm not convinced of the equivalence just yet.  The internet, or a large library, have a lot of knowledge yet nether posses any intelligence.  I guess I looking at intelligence as the ability to apply knowledge.
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« Reply #4 on: Jun 25, 2017, 02:20PM »

God is a construct of man. Various people have defined it over time and called it religion. If that is your goal here, I propose it have a Mt. Vernon bell (there's your physical) because that is something we can all agree on.
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« Reply #5 on: Jun 25, 2017, 02:32PM »

I'm not convinced of the equivalence just yet.  The internet, or a large library, have a lot of knowledge yet nether posses any intelligence.  I guess I looking at intelligence as the ability to apply knowledge.

That may be better described as "information" than "knowledge," which the OED defines as: "facts, information, and skills acquired through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject."

"Information" might therefore be a more appropriate attribute for a god than knowledge or intelligence -- how would one conceive of a "process of acquisition" for an infinite being?
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« Reply #6 on: Jun 25, 2017, 02:45PM »

Assuming that we describing the Christian God I think we should include:

- God is triune: ie
 (1) the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct Persons,
 (2) each Person is fully God,
 (3) there is only one God.
- God cannot lie
- God is love
- God is just and holy

I'm not sure about immutable because Jesus became flesh.

There are a few others but I will want to clarify them a bit first
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« Reply #7 on: Jun 25, 2017, 02:48PM »

That may be better described as "information" than "knowledge," which the OED defines as: "facts, information, and skills acquired through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject."

"Information" might therefore be a more appropriate attribute for a god than knowledge or intelligence -- how would one conceive of a "process of acquisition" for an infinite being?

I expect that the OED wasn't thinking of God when it was constructing its definition.  I think that Knowledge is knowledge whether it was gathered through a process or innate
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« Reply #8 on: Jun 25, 2017, 03:00PM »

I'm not convinced of the equivalence just yet.  The internet, or a large library, have a lot of knowledge yet nether posses any intelligence.  I guess I looking at intelligence as the ability to apply knowledge.

Included in "all knowledge" is the knowledge of how to use the knowledge, and if you already have all knowledge your rate of learning is absolute. You could take the negative tack and argue God is therefore unable to learn and has no intelligence, or you can recognize that God is literally, infinitely, off the scale.
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« Reply #9 on: Jun 25, 2017, 03:21PM »

I expect that the OED wasn't thinking of God when it was constructing its definition.

I should hope not.

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I think that Knowledge is knowledge whether it was gathered through a process or innate

"Innate" knowledge is something more like instinct.  Knowledge proper is acquired through a process; worked, struggled and even suffered for.  It is not, dare I say, to be simply plucked whole from a tree.  That might make you as a god, and we know god won't be having any of that.
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« Reply #10 on: Jun 25, 2017, 04:00PM »

Assuming that we describing the Christian God I think we should include:

- God is triune: ie
 (1) the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct Persons,
 (2) each Person is fully God,
 (3) there is only one God.
- God cannot lie
- God is love
- God is just and holy

I'm not sure about immutable because Jesus became flesh.

There are a few others but I will want to clarify them a bit first

Why do we have to limit ourselves to a Christian god?  Jews and Muslims worship a single god with no offspring.  God taps people to do his work on Earth because he is immaterial (not comprised of matter).

We have other religions where there are multiple gods and the rule is by committee; each god having sway over a single aspect.
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« Reply #11 on: Jun 25, 2017, 04:22PM »

I would think that God could be as basic as the fact that the laws that govern the universe actually allow it to exists. If you changed the value of the force of gravity, or the strong force, or the weak force, even just a tiny bit, the universe and matter would cease to exist.

Scientists who study these forces are amazed that there is such a finite and specific set of allowable values that would even allow atoms to stay together.

My parameters would be:
The one who pushed the start button on the experiment
The one who found and set the parameters that caused this end state in the experiment.

The stuff that deals with religions is great and all, but it's so specific that it misses the really big point: the universe existing is basically God, or at least it's like a signature that says "God was here"
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« Reply #12 on: Jun 25, 2017, 06:46PM »

Assuming that we describing the Christian God I think we should include:

- God is triune: ie
 (1) the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct Persons,
 (2) each Person is fully God,
 (3) there is only one God.
- God cannot lie
- God is love
- God is just and holy

I'm not sure about immutable because Jesus became flesh.

There are a few others but I will want to clarify them a bit first
Thanks Driz,

The Christian God is fine, but we must admit that said God is the same God as that of the Jews and of Islam (at least).  I'm just looking for consistency here.  That is key.  God is Triune I feel definitely belongs in this round. We need to be aware though that at least on branch of Christianity does not believe in the Trinity. So it may not be something we can add in.  Your other points nevertheless are more like 'behaviors' of God and belong to that category.  They have evidence in scripture so in that sense I have no issue with them as long as they don't make God just fit the Christian definition.  I'd like to hear from all denominations here.

As to God being immutable, I did not mean that in the sense of 'form'.  His omnipotence must allow change of form.  I meant in it the sense of Malachi 3:6, Samuel 2:2 or Hebrews 13:6.  But if you think that belongs in the behavioral category then let's discuss.

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« Reply #13 on: Jun 25, 2017, 06:47PM »

Why do we have to limit ourselves to a Christian god?  Jews and Muslims worship a single god with no offspring.  God taps people to do his work on Earth because he is immaterial (not comprised of matter).

We have other religions where there are multiple gods and the rule is by committee; each god having sway over a single aspect.
Good point.
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« Reply #14 on: Jun 25, 2017, 06:49PM »

I would think that God could be as basic as the fact that the laws that govern the universe actually allow it to exists. If you changed the value of the force of gravity, or the strong force, or the weak force, even just a tiny bit, the universe and matter would cease to exist.

Scientists who study these forces are amazed that there is such a finite and specific set of allowable values that would even allow atoms to stay together.

My parameters would be:
The one who pushed the start button on the experiment
The one who found and set the parameters that caused this end state in the experiment.

The stuff that deals with religions is great and all, but it's so specific that it misses the really big point: the universe existing is basically God, or at least it's like a signature that says "God was here"
Good points also, but I want to come up with an understanding of God that can be used for religious discussions that religious people will accept.
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« Reply #15 on: Jun 25, 2017, 06:58PM »


Included in "all knowledge" is the knowledge of how to use the knowledge, and if you already have all knowledge your rate of learning is absolute. You could take the negative tack and argue God is therefore unable to learn and has no intelligence, or you can recognize that God is literally, infinitely, off the scale.
We're getting pretty close to Russell's paradox here, but okay.  Others have argued similarly.  I'm convinced.
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« Reply #16 on: Jun 25, 2017, 07:06PM »

Saying that God could be all-knowing and yet not be infinitely intelligent is to say that he may know something and still not understand it which would be impossible since he knows all that preceded it and all of why it is as it is now and all that will become of it.

And, of course, as creator of all the universe it is unlikely he would not understand that something which he made himself.



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« Reply #17 on: Jun 25, 2017, 07:10PM »

"Fictional" seems to encompass all those other attributes you mentioned, and more besides.  KISS.

God is a construct of man. Various people have defined it over time and called it religion. If that is your goal here, I propose it have a Mt. Vernon bell (there's your physical) because that is something we can all agree on.

Valid points and views held by many, but not really what I'm looking for.  There is no doubt about which side of the "Does God exist?" question I stand, but I feel that hampers my ability to join in discussions about the subject of religion as I tend to use my innate definition of God.  This hampers the discussion.  I'm looking for a definition we can all use for the discourse.  Even if the definition does match the one you hold, I believe it will be beneficial to use when entering into religious discussion.  I don't intend that everybody accept it for any other purpose, but I do believe it will be useful.
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« Reply #18 on: Jun 25, 2017, 07:11PM »

Saying that God could be all-knowing and yet not be infinitely intelligent is to say that he may know something and still not understand it which would be impossible since he knows all that preceded it and all of why it is as it is now and all that will become of it.

And, of course, as creator of all the universe it is unlikely he would not understand that something which he made himself.

Point taken.
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« Reply #19 on: Jun 25, 2017, 08:40PM »

Why do we have to limit ourselves to a Christian god?  Jews and Muslims worship a single god with no offspring.  God taps people to do his work on Earth because he is immaterial (not comprised of matter).

We have other religions where there are multiple gods and the rule is by committee; each god having sway over a single aspect.

I wasn't trying to enforce the Christian God on the thread, but I thought it important to identify assumptions so that we knew what I was talking about.

Valid points and views held by many, but not really what I'm looking for.  There is no doubt about which side of the "Does God exist?" question I stand, but I feel that hampers my ability to join in discussions about the subject of religion as I tend to use my innate definition of God.  This hampers the discussion.  I'm looking for a definition we can all use for the discourse.  Even if the definition does match the one you hold, I believe it will be beneficial to use when entering into religious discussion.  I don't intend that everybody accept it for any other purpose, but I do believe it will be useful.

Bill

I think its great that you want to to clarify what is meant by "God". Christians often get frustrated with atheists critiquing or disproving the existence of a god-construct that is not the one that they believe in and having them think that what they have said is applicable to the "REAL" God, ie the one that I believe in.  (It may be an urban myth but Richard Dawkin's is sick of getting emails from Christians telling him that they don't believe in the god he doesn't believe in either)

But I think if you want 1 consistent definition for a god-construct, all you are going to get is a stereotype that is not true of any god. From the a 'believers' point of view most gods are individual, even if the believer is a polytheist, and the description of one god is not necessarily applicable to another.

So if you talk about a stereotypical god, I'm unlikely to think that its applicable to the God I believe in.
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