- Religion: Cosmological Argument, Part 1
- Religion: Cosmological Argument, Part 2
- Religion: Classical Theism, Part 1 (Two Conceptions of God)
- Religion: Classical Theism, Part 2 (In Favor of Classical Theism)
- Religion: Classical Theism, Part 3 (God's Omnipotence)
- Religion: Classical Theism, Part 4 (God's Omniscience)
- Religion: Classical Theism, Part 5 (God’s Goodness and Justice)
- Religion: Classical Theism, Part 6 (Evil and Goodness in the World)
- Religion: Classical Theism, Part 7 (Atheistic Arguments from Evil)
- Religion: Pascal's Wager
Both Classical Theists and Theistic Personalists agree that God created the world. But they disagree about how we should understand God’s causality. Does God cause things in the same sense in which we humans cause things, or is God’s causality fundamentally different from any causality we exercise?
Speaker: Dr. Elmar Kremer, Emeritus Professor, University of Toronto.
Speaker: Dr. Elmar Kremer, Emeritus Professor, University of Toronto.
Want to join the conversation?
- Wasn't this meant to be about omnipotence? That only came up very briefly and the rest was about causality. Is there more to say about omnipotence than this? Like, what does it actually mean? Does it have limits? Is it potentially self-contradictory?(1 vote)
- Doesn't the discussion of "cause" also impact the characterization of God as a ruler or sovereign ruler of the universe? I think it does. Just like the issue or meaning of "cause" being direct or analogical, the notion of "ruler" such as "sovereign ruler" at4:11may also need to be interpreted analogically. How can a being be a ruler if he/she/it does not act as a direct cause in the universe? But then, if God's role of sovereign ruler is analogical and God does not "rule" with "caused" acts, isn't the notion of an analogical ruler meaningless? Our typical and human notion of a ruler is one who acts or will act to punish or enforce some rule or order in a realm or jurisdiction. But if ruling is not direct but merely analogical, and the "ruler" does not act or punish as a "causer", then the ruler does not rule, in the human understanding of the term. It's almost like God is a ruler in name only, like the Queen of England is the queen with no actual (or very limited) power to rule or punish or control what happens in her realm. That is, the Queen of England is a figurehead. In turn, is God a figurehead? God has the "power" in name only, but does not or even cannot exercise such power?(1 vote)
- We don't even know if God exists or not. So he cannot possibly be a figure head if he does not prove himself enough to be worthy of a figure head.(1 vote)
- Do I detect a bait and switch here? Wasn't "cause" used in exactly the normal way to try to prove God's "necessary" existence a few videos back? And now it has served its argumentative purpose there, "cause" (as applied to God) can be redefined (or obscured) for a completely different argumentative purpose here? It seems a bit like Humpty Dumpty paying his words extra when he needs them to mean different things.(0 votes)
- As created beings, or beings with a definite beginning and end, we necessarily need a cause. Something must come before us, just like a series of dominoes. We need a cause as is normally meant by the word.
God is beyond and above the physical world (including time). Using the word "cause" is association with God can only be a metaphor, as we can understand anything outside of the physical world.(1 vote)
hello my name is amar Kramer I'm a professor emeritus of philosophy at the University of Toronto this talk is part three in the series on classical theism classical theists and theistic personal lists agree that God has causal power and that he can produce anything that is possible they also agree that God causes by willing for example he brings it about that there be light by willing let there be light nevertheless they disagree about other aspects of God's causality theistic personal lists think of God as originally creating the universe by one active will and causing different things in the history of the universe by other acts of will classical theists argue that this account of God's will is inconsistent with his being the sovereign creator of the entire universe in their view God is a simple entity in which there is no composition of parts and consequently God's causality is one simple eternal act by which he creates and sustains the entire universe throughout its history if God does cause everything other than himself by a single simple act of will as classical theists contend his causing is profoundly different from the causality of any creature for whenever a created thing acts causally it acts on given materials as when a powder makes a vessel out of some clay or on a given situation as when you are I illuminate a dark room by flipping a switch but since everything outside of God is the result of his causal action it cannot be an action on given material are on a given situation God causes the entire universe ex nihilo classical theists hold that this difference is so deep that the word cause does not apply in the same sense to God into ordinary objects here they disagree of course with theistic personal lists who hold that God and creatures are causes in the same sense of the word theistic personal asst grant that God is more powerful than any creature more powerful even than the President of the United States who sometimes called the most powerful man on earth but in their view the difference between God and the president or any other created agent is a matter of degree 4 theistic personal lists God is more powerful than the president just as a president is more powerful than say the mayor of New York City for classical theists in contrast God's power does not even belong on the same scale as the power of the president in the mayor classical theists therefore deny that the word cause is true of a creature and of God if it is used unif Utley that is in the same sense but neither do they hold that the word cause applies to creatures and to God only equivocally that is in different and unrelated senses like the word pen when it is used for a writing instrument and for an enclosure for pigs rather the word cause applies to a creature and God analogically that is in different yet related senses a good example of the analogical use of a word is the use of the word healthy in the statement that a human being is healthy and in the statement that exercise is healthy another example is the use of the word family to refer to a group composed of parents and our children and it's used to describe say the employees of a company when a word is used analogically it is often possible to identify one sense as primary and another as an analogical extension of the word in the examples just given the word healthy in its primary sense stands for a property of human beings not for a property of exercise and the word family in its primary sense stands for a group composed of parents and their children similarly according to classical theists the word cause in its primary sense stands for a property of creatures only in an analogical extended sense is it true of God as a result classical theists hold that we understand God's causality much less perfectly than we understand the causality of ordinary created causes like you and me theistic personalist sometimes take this to be a defect in classical theism but if God indeed creates the entire universe ex nihilo and is its sovereign ruler throughout its history as he is thought to be in Judaism Christianity and Islam then it should not be surprising that God's causality can be described only by an analogical extension of the language we use to describe created causes classical theists think that theistic personal lists are mistaken when they say that God's causality differs from the causality of creatures only in degree and not in kind for if that were the case God would be just another being in the world not its creator and sovereign ruler for more discussion on the limits of human understanding of God and His causality you might consult my recent book analysis of existing Barry Miller's approach to God published last year by bloomsbury you