Third person divine propositions

I have already said that I think it is mistaken to say “There is a logically possible world in which only God exists” (though I find myself hoping that I am wrong about this). However, let’s grant for the sake of argument that God alone exists in some logically possible world. what then of propositions such as “I exist”? Can God know “I exist” to be true of himself? I’m not sure that language can exist without a world, but of course I have granted for the sake of argument that God existing alone is sufficient for a ‘possible world’ – so perhaps God could know that ‘I exist’ is true. What, then, of the proposition “God is omnipresent”? Does God himself know that the proposition “God is omnipresent” is true? It entails, after all, that God recognizes himself, from the third-person perspective, to have the property of being omnipresent (of course, defining omnipresence is itself a tricky thing, as Aquinas wanted to do it with reference to God’s power, and others have sought to do it with God’s occupancy of/at all regions). However, in a world where ‘regions’ do not exist, since nothing like space (or ‘relations between phenomenal bodies’) exists, it is hard to imagine omnipresence being true of anything (let alone ‘presence’ being true of anything). Therefore, doesn’t it seem as though the proposition “God, in all possible worlds at which only God exists, knows that the proposition ‘God is omnipresent‘ is true.” is simply meaningless, or else false?

What does this mean? One reason for accepting the B theory of time theologically is just that the A theory, even when it is presented in its most sophisticated forms, poses an indissoluble logical challenge to divine simplicity. It entails that God can learn propositions over time (namely, God learns that some tensed proposition, such as “it is now February 14th” is true as it becomes true). However, if what I have said above about omniscience is true, then it seems as though God could have learnt the proposition “God is omnipresent” at the moment of creation, such that, although there was never a time at which God did not know the proposition “God is omnipresent”, God still did not know the proposition “God is omnipresent” absent creation. There may be a good argument here to say that propositions are just contingent on creation.

I am inclined to think, along with Aquinas, that God actually has no intrinsic properties relating him to the world (such as ‘God is the Lord of the world’ which would only become true of God at the moment of creation, implying God could change his intrinsic properties). Rather, I think, with St. Thomas, that these are just constructs in the mind – that God doesn’t have any essential relations to the world in this strong sense.

I need to think this over in future more carefully.

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About tylerjourneaux

I am an aspiring Catholic theologian and philosopher, and I have a keen interest in apologetics. I am creating this blog both in order to practice and improve my writing and memory retention as I publish my thoughts, and in order to give evidence of my ability to understand and communicate thoughts on topics pertinent to Theology, Philosophy, philosophical theology, Catholic (Christian) Apologetics, philosophy of religion and textual criticism.
This entry was posted in Epistemology, Language, Modality, Philosophical Theology, Philosophy and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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