Monday, March 19, 2018

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you" (Jeremiah 1:5)

  1. Always: If x (objectually) knows y, then y exists (simpliciter). (Premise)

  2. Before I came into existence, it was true that God (objectually) knows me. (Premise)

  3. Thus, before I came into existence, it was true that I exist (simpliciter). (1 and 2)

  4. If 3, then eternalism is true. (Premise)

  5. Thus, eternalism is true. (3 and 4)

A variant of this argument uses “has a rightly ordered love for” in place of “(objectually) knows”.


Husain Alshehhi said...

Good one, but it is hard to assume that the author is trying to make a philosophical argument here.

But here is another one that would not favor eternalism:

1. If eternalism is true, there is no state at which the universe does not exist.
2. Therefore, if eternalism is true, then there is no state at which God alone existed.
3. But God alone existed prior to creation.

CWEC Small Group said...
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CWEC Small Group said...

If eternalism is true but the time dimension extends further in the past direction than the universe, then there are temporal slices in which the universe is not extended and yet God exists, so (2) is false (well, time exists and God exists, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem for you given your endorsement of (3)). (3) also begs the question against eternalism becuse it assumes tensed facts about God and a temporal relation between God and the universe.

Alexander R Pruss said...

Mr. Alshehhi:

It is actually a pretty standard view -- held by St. Augustine, for instance (and as far as I can tell, Augustine was pretty much a presentist) -- that time began with creation, so that there was no time at which God alone existed.

Christopher Michael said...

Mr Alshehhi's argument can be rephrased without reference to a time when God existed alone:

(1) If eternalism is true, then the universe had no beginning (simpliciter).
(2) If the universe had no beginning, the it is false that God alone has no beginning (simpliciter).
(3) But God alone has no beginning (simpliciter).
(4) Therefore, eternalism is false.

Alexander R Pruss said...

I don't think "a beginning" (with or without a "simpliciter") is the same thing as a "beginning of existence-simpliciter". The universe had a beginning, simpliciter, but there was no beginning of its existence-simpliciter.

My preferred analysis of "x had a beginning" is: "There is a time t at which x exists and a duration of time delta such that x does not exist more than delta units prior to t." (This is designed carefully to take into account the case where x has a first moment of existence and where x exists over an interval of times open at the lower end.) This analysis might not work if time has backwards branches, or maybe on some other weird topology of time assumptions, but it seems to work fine on linear time.

Martin Cooke said...

When a creator creates, she first forms a conception of what is to be created.
Being a good creator, she will know what it is that is later created.
But at this point, the thing to be created does not exist.

Martin Cooke said...
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Alexander R Pruss said...

I think there is a difference between x knowing y and x knowing a conception of y.

Alexander R Pruss said...

And in the case of love, the difference is even more glaring.

Martin Cooke said...

There is indeed such a difference, although there are paradoxes in the vicinity of it: You see a dog, but in doing so your brain creates a conception of the dog; and so on.

Is there much of a difference for a Creator ex nihilo, though? You are exactly as He thought of you; your physicality and your soul are entirely His creation, etc. That would the case for Presentist Creation as well.

I would suggest that for love it is the same. There is a sense in which He cannot know you until you are there: it is not you, just the idea of you, that He knows. And the same for love. But, is the force of that 'just' justified when it is perfect Creation ex nihilo?

If He did not properly love you before He Created you, would your Creation have been properly justified?

Martin Cooke said...

I guess that last line of mine could be construed as an argument for Eternalism, though!

Dagmara Lizlovs said...

"If He did not properly love you before He Created you, would your Creation havd been properly justified?" - good point.

If God is Love then how can He not love us properly? Therefore, He loves us properly and therefore, our Creation is properly justified. Therefore, our existence is properly justified.

Just one question - What does it mean to be properly loved?

Dagmara Lizlovs said...

Can anyone answer the question - What does it mean to be properly loved?