Reasoning To The Ultimate/Absolute Being and Reality
- R. Totten - (c) 2016
Since a "worldview" should assert what the prime or "ultimate Reality" is (such as "God" or Energy/Matter), we would like to arrive at a depiction of that reality. Of course, many readers would object that I (as a Christian) would just "conveniently" describe the Bible's viewpoint. --So it seems better that we approach this from another direction: Let us start from a "blank slate" and simply imagine what an ultimate/absolute being would be like if such a thing might conceivably exist. To accomplish this, let us create a number of propositions indicating what an ultimate/absolute and greatest being would be like --if it could exist. We will try to conceive of the greatest being possible (disregarding our own personal worldview).
Propositions Which Point to The Ultimate/Absolute Being --Which is "Greater"
1. Existence is greater than non-existence.
If there is an Ultimate/Absolute Being, it must actually exist in factual reality. It could not be just imaginary or fictional. An absolute Being must really "Be." Existing must be part of its essence and attributes. There could never be a possibility or circumstance in which that Being would not really exist. Such a Being must necessarily exist in-and-of-itself. It must be a non-created and "necessary being," and thus, everything else would ultimately derive its existence from this necessary being.
2. Logic is greater than no logic or non-logic.
An ultimate/absolute Being must possess logic and be consistent with logic. --If one posits that there is no logic, then there would also be no thinking, perceiving, or meaning that could exist, and it would be ultimately meaningless to talk and try to reason about anything --including an absolute Being. If anyone rejects all logic, then thinking and reality are ultimately meaningless and impossible, and we would have nothing real to think or say to each other. -- Thus, non-logic is a self-destructing, nonsense proposition; it cannot be ultimate, greatest or absolute. --Nobody in their right mind lives their life (or raises their children) as if there is no logic or thinking in our existence. A truly absolute/ultimate Being must possess logic, be consistent with it, and be logical.
... To basically spell them out, the three laws of logic (also called laws of "thought") are:
- 1. The "Law of Identity": Briefly states that "A is A." In a certain specific context (set of facts and circumstances), a proposition (thing, idea or situation) has only one actual meaning. --For example, a pencil is a pencil. It is not an apple or anything else that is a non-pencil. "It is what it is." Any actual thing has a set of characteristics consistent with what it really is. Something may need to be described in exacting detail within a specific context, but this law must stand nonetheless.
- 2. The "Law of Opposites" (or "the Excluded Middle"): States that "A proposition (thing, idea or situation) is either true or false at a certain time and in a certain respect." --For example, the statement: "I am pregnant" is either true or false at a certain time regarding a certain person; it cannot be both true and false at the same time and in the same respect. -- And the third law is an outgrowth of this second one.
- 3. The "Law of Non-Contradiction": States that "A is not also non-A at a certain time and in a certain respect." OR: "a proposition (thing or idea) cannot be both true and false at one certain time and in a certain respect."-- Thus, a thing cannot possibly be what it also is not (at one time and in the same respect). That would be nonsense. Likewise, a coherent statement cannot be both true and false at the same time and in the same respect; For that statement to be regarded as both true and false is a "contradiction." Truth and reality cannot be a contradiction. -- Also, for example, the ultimate/absolute Being cannot also be non-ultimate/absolute.
If anyone were to try to reject these laws of logic, that rejector would have to use these laws in order to think about them and to try to reject them --and to communicate that rejection. Again: Non-logic is self-defeating, self-destructing and nonsense. If there is a truly ultimate/absolute Being, it must always be consistent with these three laws of logic. --Anything else would be nonsense; and discussion about an ultimate/absolute Being would be over. The ultimate Being must possess perfect logic and be consistent with logic.
3. Being rational is greater than being non-rational or irrational.
If something is ultimate, greatest and logical, it must (as an out-growth of #2) also be rational and possess rationality. Rationality is the application and use of logic. -- But if something is irrational or non-rational, then it is also self-destructive, self-defeating, failing and disintegrating. It cannot possibly be ultimate or absolute, and (like point #2) it is ultimately nonsense and not worth talking about. The ultimate Being must be rational.
4. Having knowledge is greater than non-knowledge or ignorance.
This comes out of the above two points since logic and rationality must be connected to knowledge. Ultimate knowledge is connected to reality. --And as an extension of this: Being All-knowing is greater than knowing only in part. --A Being which is truly ultimate/absolute must be all-knowing.
5. Having wisdom is greater than non-wisdom or stupidity and foolishness.
This is an extension of the above three points of having all logical, rational knowledge. Wisdom is the judicious, rational, economical, productive use of knowledge, facts and things; wisdom involves the best planning and interaction with all true facts in reality. And in addition, being All-wise is greater than only somewhat wise. --Something truly ultimate/absolute must be All-wise.
6. Being truthful and true is greater than being un-truthful and un-true.
Truthfulness is an out-growth of being perfectly logical and rational and having all-knowledge and wisdom. Any such ultimate/absolute Being must be absolutely truthful and true.
7. Having a mind is greater than being mindless.
-- This is an extension from the previous five points. -- Logic, rationality, knowledge, wisdom, and truth unavoidably imply and describe the possession of a thinking mind as an attribute of the ultimate/absolute Being.
8. Being organized is greater than being disorganized.
-- This must be a characteristic of an ultimate/absolute logical mind with all knowledge and wisdom, as indicated by the above points.
9. Being purposeful is greater than being non-purposeful.
-- Being purposeful is an outgrowth of a mind possessing all the above attributes. --This describes the absolute Being as having a "will" ...the ability to plan, decide and do things.
10. Being creative is greater than being non-creative.
-- This would be an outgrowth of a mind that appreciates organization and the various possible and ideal relationships of things --and who can decide to do something with that creativity. --This also implies the appreciation of beauty.
11. Being personal and self-aware is greater than being non-personal and unaware.
-- The above nine items imply and describe the attribute of personality and self-awareness in the ultimate/absolute being. In contrast, non-personality would lack them and would be lesser and non-ultimate.
12. Being all-powerful is greater than being somewhat strong ...or powerless.
-- When one considers the massive immensity and powers of the universe, the ultimate/absolute (creator) must be something even inconceivably greater. To be ultimate it must be all-powerful.
13. Being un-caused is greater than being caused.
-- If something is caused, it is derivative and dependent on what caused it; it is not as great. --The Ultimate must be un-caused; un-created.
14. Being eternal is greater than being temporal.
-- Temporal things have a beginning and must be caused to begin, and therefore are dependent and not as great. --The ultimate must be eternal and have no beginning. (NOTE: The universe had a beginning (Big Bang) and must have been caused by something greater; therefore the universe is not the Ultimate/Absolute).
15. Being perfect is greater than being imperfect.
- - Being imperfect is derivative and lesser, since it is measured in comparison to the perfect.
16. Being immutable is greater than being mutable.
-- Immutability is an extension of being perfect, eternal and all-powerful (above). The ultimate --being perfect-- cannot change away from being perfect. Everything that is mutable is not ultimate or absolute, so the absolute/ultimate must be immutable.
17. Being independent is greater than being dependent.
--Anything that had a beginning (e.g. matter, forces, dimensions or time) is dependent on what came before it, caused it to exist or keeps it in existence. -- Any dependent thing is weaker, mutable and finite; it is not ultimate. - The ultimate is independent of all else.
18. Being spirit is greater than being material.
-- This derives from the above propositions and the fact that all material things (and things connected to matter, e.g. forces) are finite, temporal, mutable, dependent and have a cause that created them. --The ultimate/absolute must be spirit ...more specifically, a spirit with personality (per propositions 2 through 9).
19. Being infinite is greater than being finite.
-- Being infinite is only possible for a spirit-being since it is not possible to have an actual infinite number or extent of physical things: Everything in (and connected to) the material universe (including all forces and dimensions) is finite; they can be counted or measured (no matter how many or how extensive). --The ultimate/absolute must be infinite to be truly ultimate.
20. Being immortal is greater than being mortal.
-- Immortality is an extension of a personal, eternal spirit-being. The ultimate Being must be immortal.
21. Being good is greater than being evil.
-- because evil is derivative, since it is merely a privation or lack of goodness. Only goodness can be eternal, as it must precede evil. -- The ultimate/absolute being must be good. --Good will overcome evil.
22. Being just is greater than being unjust.
- - Justice is an extension of goodness (above) ...and therefore, Justice will cause good to stand and evil to fall. - The ultimate is just; it is right-ness.
23. Being loving is greater than being unloving.
- - love is an extension of perfection, creativity, beauty, wisdom, truth, goodness, justice and personality.
24. Loving another person is greater than an empty love in lonely isolation.
- - Perfect and fulfilled love involves infinitely deep sharing, commitment, faithfulness, truth, admiration, and expression of closeness with another person. - Thus, the ultimate/absolute being must include more than one infinite, eternal personality, between which these ultimate qualities of perfect love are shared.
Identity of this Ultimate / Absolute Being
In broad brush-strokes, what we have described as the "Ultimate" and "Absolute" being --which must be an all-powerful, all-knowing all-wise, personal and eternal spirit, who is perfect in goodness, logic, truth, justice and love, and is the creator of all things (etc., listed above)-- these points have basically described many of the essential attributes of the God of the Bible. There are other attributes the Bible describes which could have been included. No other religious or philosophical framework or "Scriptures" describes this ultimate being as completely as the Bible. The apostle Paul also adds that "what may be known about God is plain to them (mankind), because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities --his eternal power and divine nature-- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made (in creation), so that men are without excuse" (Romans 1:19, 20).
--Thus, we fill out the above propositions:
1.The God of the Bible "exists."
-- God declared to Moses that one of his essential names is "YHWH" (perhaps pronounced YaHWeH), derived from the Hebrew verb "to Be," because God is; He always exists. So God told Moses to tell people that his name means "I Am," or as God said to Moses, "I Am that I Am." (Exodus 3:13-15). Only God exists as part of his own essential nature. So he never came into being, but (in contrast) he "created all things" (Revelation 4:11). Cosmologists tell us that the Cosmos (including all matter, forces, time and space) had a beginning point (look up the "Big Bang"). For anything to exist now, something had to already exist forever in-and-of itself. That is the un-caused being who always existed, and who caused everything else to exist: the "I Am." --In history (not merely in mythological legend), the God of the Bible actually spoke to and through real people who really lived and reported it --namely, Israel's patriarchs, prophets, and Jesus and the apostles of the New Testament.
2.The God of the Bible is ultimate logic and is logical.
-- This is exhibited in the fact that the Bible --God's revealed Word-- exists as natural human language which is given with the purpose of communication of facts, truth and reality. Regarding God's communication, Jesus said: "Your word is truth" (John 17:17). Jesus himself is called "the Word" ("Logos" in Greek, John 1:1) which means the ultimate logical principle. And in giving its communication, the Bible consistently uses the three laws of logic (described above) throughout. We also see these three laws in the scope of the Bible's contents, as there is overall consistency and non-contradiction in its history, message, and teachings. For example, in 2Cor. 1:18-20, Paul says that their teaching about God's promises to people through Christ are not both "Yes" and "No" at the same time, but only "Yes." This aligns exactly with the "Law of Non-contradiction." (It is the case, however, that some Bible statements are difficult to grasp, and there are things like figures of speech and not every statement is at first easily understood by a mere superficial reading.) -- People learn and use these three laws of logic from the day they are born. It is the nature of things in reality, "being understood from what has been made" (Rom.1:20). -- The reason logic is used in human thinking and language and all through God's Word is because that is how God communicates because that is what God is like: Ultimately and perfectly logical.
3.The God of the Bible is ultimately and perfectly rational.
-- The Bible describes the divine God-man --Jesus Christ-- as "the Word," or "the Logos" (in New Testament Greek) when we read about him in the Gospel of John 1:1,14 --where it says, "In the beginning was the Word (Logos), and the Word was with God, and the word was God." A study of the Greek "Logos," reveals that it (Jesus) is: "the rational and logical principle which governs the Cosmos (universe and all creation), which is its basis and gives everything coherence and meaning." This same concept was applied to God's infinite creative power as he "spoke" the universe into existence (Psalm 33:6). -- Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, and he is the rational, logical principle and basis for the universe and everything ...a substantiation of propositions two and three. --We see this logical rationality in the "laws" and principles of the cosmos and in the laws of nature and biological information and design of living things... again, "being understood from what has been made" (Rom. 1:20).
4.The God of the Bible is All-Knowing.
-- This point comes out of points two and three. --"God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything" (1 John 3:20). --"Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account" (Hebrews 4:13). --"Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD" (Psalm 139:4). --God is " him who has perfect knowledge" (Job 37:16).
5.The God of the Bible is All-wise.
-- "Oh, the [infinite] depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!" (Romans 11:33). -- "His understanding is infinite" (Psalm 147:5). -- "to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen" (Romans 16:27).
6. The God of the Bible is Truth and Truthful.
--The God of the Bible is "the God of truth" (Isaiah 65:16; Psalm 31:5). -- "God is true" (John 3:33). -- He is "the only true God" (John 17:3). -- God's "word is truth" (John 17:17). -- Speaking of "God, who cannot lie" (Titus 1:2). -- Christ is "the Word" (Logos) and he is "full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). -- "It is impossible for God to lie" (Hebrews 6:18).
7. The God of the Bible has a mind.
-- God who "searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit" [of God] (Romans 8:27). -- God "will not lie or change his mind" (1 Sam. 15:29). --
8. The God of the Bible has organized all things according to his purpose and plan.
-- "The LORD Almighty" declares: "Surely, as I have planned, so will it be, and as I have purposed, so it will stand" (Isaiah 14:24), and he says, "My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. ...What I have planned, that will I do" (Isa. 46:10,11). --All events in history are not random, but are organized and directed by the sovereign God, as the apostle Paul declares that they will occur "according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will" (Ephesians 1:11). -- In fact, God's plan is organized so specifically, that King David says, "All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be" (Psalm 139:16). -- In addition, the design of living organisms (codified in their DNA) shows unimaginable organizational skill, which existed before mankind did... again, "being understood from what has been made" (Rom. 1:20)..
9. The God of the Bible is purposeful and has a "will" in deciding and planning actions.
-- We read that God "works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will" (Eph. 1:11). This is God's deciding and planning in regard to everything that happens at all times. God Almighty declares, "as I have planned, so will it be, and as I have purposed, so it will happen" (Isaiah 14:24) --so, God wills, purposes, and plans, and then carries it out. And Psalm 115:3 says that God "does whatever he pleases," as nothing can stop or frustrate his will and plan.
10. The God of the Bible is the creator and creative beyond all understanding.
-- "God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1), indicates the creation of the whole universe. The rest of Genesis 1 and chapter 2 outline the creation of all plants and animals, and mankind as well. In fact, it is explained in the New Testament that all the work of creation took place through Christ (before his incarnation), as it says, "All things were made through him (Christ)" (John 1:3), and in addition, Paul says that "in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible" (Colossians 1:16), which would include all space and time and all sub-atomic properties and forces of physics. The design and perfect balance of all the forces of physics in the cosmos is beyond the grasp of all human intellect. --
11. The God of the Bible is personal --with self-awareness.
-- Although some conceptions portray God as an impersonal "force," the Bible portrays God as a personal being with a mind, emotions, will and conscious self-awareness, who interacts with other personal beings in a personal way. God has a mind, which is brought out in points 2 through 7; his possession of a will is shown in point 9. Various emotions of God are described such as pity (Psa. 103:13), anger (Ex. 32:10), rejoicing (Isa. 62:5), love (Psa. 103:17 + John 3:16) ...and he hates evil (Isa.61:8; Prov.6:16-19). In self-awareness, YHWH says, "I am God, and there is no other" (Isa. 46:9), and God's interactions with people are throughout the Bible. So God is a personal being.
12. The God of the Bible is All-powerful.
-- God is called "Almighty" about 345 times in the Bible, for example, God said to Abraham: "I am God Almighty" (Gen. 17:1). -- "Is anything too hard for the Lord?" (No, it's not.) -- "God is in heaven; he does whatever he pleases" (Psa. 115:3). -- Jeremiah said to God: "Nothing is too hard for you" (Jer. 17:11).
13. The God of the Bible is un-caused.
-- God is the creator of all other things, and He must therefore be un-created and un-caused. -- e.g: "Through him (God the Son) all things were made" (John 1:3). -- "You are worthy, our Lord and God, ... for you created all things" (Rev. 4:11).
14. The God of the Bible is eternal.
-- Isaiah declares that "the Lord is the everlasting God" (Isa. 40:28). -- The Psalmist says, "Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God" (Psa. 90:2)... thus, God was already eternal before all creation.
15. The God of the Bible is perfect.
--Concerning God, Scripture says: "His way is perfect" (2Sam. 22:31); "His works are perfect" (Deut. 32:4); God is "the One who has perfect knowledge" (Job 36:4); God is "perfect in beauty" (Psa. 50:2)... as God's perfection has many facets.
16. The God of the Bible is immutable.
--In Scripture, God says: "I the Lord do not change" (Malachi 3:6). James 1:17 (ESV) states: "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from [God] the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." God does not change and he --being almighty-- cannot be changed by anything else.
17. The God of the Bible is independent.
--While in Athens, Paul proclaimed: "The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all men life and breath and everything"(Acts 17:24-25). We see that God is the creator of all things. He is over everything, sustains it all and lacks nothing. Nothing exists that could add anything to him or sustain or support him in any way. He is absolutely independent from all else.
18. The God of the Bible is spirit.
--Jesus informed his listeners that "God is spirit" (John 4:24). He did not merely say that God is "a spirit," but that God is spirit. So when people wonder what God is made of, he is comprised of spirit; He does not have a physical body, and is not comprised of anything such as energy or matter or anything dimensional or localized.
19. The God of the Bible is infinite.
--This is related to the fact that "God is spirit" and he should not be thought of as being localized, but it is more that he "fills heaven and earth" (Jer. 23:23-24). And it isn't merely that God is very big, but rather, that God is everywhere all at once, as it is expressed in Psalm 139:7-10 that there is nowhere that God is not fully present. God is infinite. In addition --as has been expressed-- God is also infinite in his other attributes such as knowledge, wisdom and power.
20. The God of the Bible is immortal.
--This is a necessary outgrowth of the fact that God is the "I Am" (Ex. 3:13-15), who always exists in-and-of himself; he is the "necessary being" who is the source and creator of all other things (Rev. 4:11; John 1:3). He is also the one who existed "from everlasting" (in eternal past) "to everlasting" (in the eternal future) (Psa. 90:2 and Isa. 40:28) ...infinitely longer than the mere 14 billion-year-old universe. In addition, he is almighty (Gen. 17:11) and absolutely unopposed in power. So it is totally logical that he is specifically described as being "immortal" (Rom. 1:23; 1Tim. 1:17; 6:16).
21. The God of the Bible is good.
Praying for you all the best! - R. Totten
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