Tuesday, September 9, 2014

I couldn't be a god, so God exists

Zeus is a godlike being. However, if God created Zeus with all of Zeus's godlikeness, Zeus wouldn't be a god. Zeus would merely be a godlike being. In the world where God created Zeus, Zeus would be infinitely more like us than like the highest being—namely, God—in that world. But in the world of Greek mythology, where there is no God, Zeus would be a god.

Being a god is, I think, partly a relational property. While one might imagine a hierarchy of gods, the gods will be approximately at least as similar to each other in respect of their divine attributes (intelligence, power, etc.) than to us. But God is a god, and Zeus is infinitely more like us than like God.

With this in the background, here is an interesting argument:

  1. Pruss couldn't be a god.
  2. If Pruss could exist in the absence of God, Pruss could be a god.
  3. So, Pruss couldn't exist in the absence of God. (1,2)
  4. Pruss exists.
  5. So, God exists. (3,4)

Premise (1) should be obvious to you. Premise (2) relies on the following line of thought. Surely if I could exist in the absence of God, I could grow to have all the superpowers that Zeus is said to have, and to exceed all other intelligent beings very, very far. I would be godlike, and would have nobody close to on par, and so—horrors!—I would be a god. And while premise (4) is obvious to me, it should be pretty plausible to you, too.

8 comments:

xRisingForce said...

dr. pruss, i formulated an argument to undercut solipsism that has very similar premises.. does this argument's conclusions carry any implications for solipsism?

Prince Randoms said...

This feels like a type of ontological argument, like the Greatest Possible Being line of thinking?

Dieu sans barbe said...

I may be wrong, nevertheless it seems to me that the argument presupposes somehow that nothing may exist unless it is self-existent (that is , is God) or owing its existence to God.
To this extent, the argument presupposes the existence of God.
It is an argument from teh humble acknowledgment of Pruss non-self-existence to a creator.

Alexander R Pruss said...

Dsb:

I don't think so. It's a *conclusion* of the argument that I couldn't exist in the absence of God. It's not one of the assumptions.

Alexander R Pruss said...

xRF:

It follows from the argument (and the plausible assumption that God is a god) that God is distinct from me. Therefore, there are at least two beings, and so solipsism is false.

Heath White said...

I am not inclined to accept (2) in the case of beings other than Pruss. Say, a tree, or a roach, or a rock. What is special about Pruss? Is it just rational beings the argument applies to?

Alexander R Pruss said...

I think the argument is only plausible in the case of beings that are capable of being rational.

Jakub Moravčík said...

Therefore, there are at least two beings, and so solipsism is false.

Yes, if we regard solipsism as thesis about only one bein existent. Not if we regard solipsism as immaterialism.