Inigo And Fezzik Talk Theology

There is no idea we can have about God that is ultimately not absurd. The reason for this is because God is incomprehensible and all statements about God are purely logical. Insofar as they go, to delay hitting absurdity (which all purely rational ideas do as a matter of fact), we have to be consistent with our terms.

An example is whether or not God can do what is logically impossible to do, such as creating a rock too heavy for Him to lift. Another is whether or not God can know what is logically impossible to know, such as the future.

So, if God is omnipotent, we can only mean God can do all things logically possible to do. If God is omniscient, we can only mean God knows everything logically possible to know.

Sure, God may be able to do things we don’t know or know things we can’t, but in trying to say God even knows things that haven’t even happened and may not ever happen, we haven’t said anything. We’ve said essentially at that point that whatever we say about God is only true when it isn’t absurd and when it is, nothing we’ve said about God matters at all because we have appealed to “mystery”; that which we cannot make rational sense of. It makes as much sense as saying God is omnipresent and literally meaning that God is everywhere, even where He is not!

So, these terms belong to us and we cannot have a double standard. We have no justification to say God knows “everything” and can do “everything” or is “everywhere”. That is unless we say, “There is nothing beyond God and God is in all things.” Unless we say “God can only know what is logically possible to know, which means God does not know the future.” Unless we say “God can only do what is logically possible to do, which means creating very heavy rocks is, but omnipotence by definition means asking if He can make one He can’t lift is an incoherent thing to ask.” Otherwise, we absolutely have no idea what we mean by calling God omnipotent, omniscient, or omnipresent!

“The rock thing makes sense, and the ‘being only where you are’ thing does too, but God CAN know the future! He has a plan, right!?”

The one has nothing to do with the other!

If what we use to define all things is logic, and if it is logically impossible to “know” the future, then it is incoherent to say God “knows” the future or that omniscience is defined as not only knowing everything possible to know, but things that also cannot be known.

Just as I plan on going home from the store, I know I will go home from the store. Since it is logically possible to get home from the store, and if I’m omnipotent, nothing will prevent me from going home from the store. I know what I WILL do AND I have no idea about anything that may happen on my way home from the store. I WILL make that happen. That is what I know. That it WILL happen entails NO commitment to “knowing” the future like illogical thinkers think it does.

Too, this has implications. If God is truly impassible and immutable, then no prayer ever prayed has any effect on God at all! However, not tying omniscience to determinism (ie knowing the future), God has a plan and you are a vital part of it. God will still make it home from the store, but on the way home, he may have good reasons to change everything that could have happened along the way to getting there. If God is maximally rational, then God can only logically will what is best to will, and will is determined not by events but by ethics and means, as we always hold that any ends God has are good.

In that kind of thinking, God is omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, impassible, and immutable if and only if God is not deterministic but dynamic instead; responsive, collaborative with creation; if and only if God cannot know the future and can change His mind.

We are not entitled to any other rational view because the terms used are not logically applied and we literally don’t mean what we mean by them, or they outright contradict other terms we are using; such as a God who can forgive, being offended or having a debt owed, when God is defined as immutable or impassible or determined.

Augustine addressed these issues over a thousand years ago, and it seems only Process Theology still finds value in making coherent statements about God. The rest, in no uncertain terms, revel in claiming to know God by certain terms that when pushed to their logical ends, are abandoned by saying “No, you don’t know that! God’s a mystery!” To wit, I can only say “You’re absolutely right, but that absolutely means that if you believe THAT, then you cannot claim to know anything about God at all.”

This is Inigo telling Fezzik, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

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2 thoughts on “Inigo And Fezzik Talk Theology

  1. campeador says:

    Steven:

    To paraphrase the BeeGees: “It’s only words, and words are all I have, to take your doubt away.” So, we can tie ourselves up in verbal knots as to the nature and attributes of God, but to what end? Each of us will, as Inigo pointed out, use the same words, yet won’t agree with each other as to their ‘true’ meaning. Meanwhile, God will continue being God, quite apart from what man says of Him. Man’s words affect, not God, but man himself. So, we must take care to say ‘good’ things, healing things, nurturing things about God, as these words will redound to our benefit. Waste our words on dry, esoteric, nihilistic things, and we will make of ourselves sad, pessimistic cynics.

    • Steven Hoyt says:

      i completely agree, which is why i suggest we recognize the difference between talking about god and knowing what we’re talking about, “god”.

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