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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 1: Wed Jul 06, 2016 3:44 pm
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Discussion of "perfect."

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So we often come across the use of perfect and God in the same sentence.
I am finding this to be an Inigo Montoya moment for myself: I didn't seem to find an answer on
http://debatingchristianity.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=29019

Can anyone describe how God is perfect, without calling on perfection in the definition. Why and how is God perfect?
Cite an example if you would as well...

Just as a spoiler --
God is perfect because he created the Universe and the Universe is perfect.

Well, the universe isn't perfect, if you catch my drift...

In order to make this debate, I suppose I'll have to take a position -but I really wouldn't mind a roarin' discussion...

Position: God is imperfect because none of his actions can be described as such, and when "perfection," is used it is used definitionally, not descriptively.

(I know, it's weak, but can justify getting the ball rolling.)

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 2: Wed Jul 06, 2016 4:07 pm
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This got me thinking of arguments for Godly morality. Knowledge of what 'perfect' means, what it entails, what an entity must be in order to meet that definition, would have to come from someplace OTHER than the being.
In other words, we have to know/understand what 'perfect' means BEFORE we start talking about God. If there is some standard of perfect that God meets, that standard 'exists' (best word I can think of to use here) independent from God.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 3: Wed Jul 06, 2016 4:14 pm
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Re: Discussion of "perfect."

Like this post (1): Zzyzx
[Replying to post 1 by Willum]

Quote:
Can anyone describe how God is perfect, without calling on perfection in the definition. Why and how is God perfect?


In my experience, this seems to mean that God is always right or correct. In other words God can make no mistakes, even if we perceive something attributed to God as a mistake. If we point out something that with think God did that is a mistake, either it wasn't God's doing or we don't understand. i.e. it's always our problem.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 4: Wed Jul 06, 2016 4:17 pm
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Re: Discussion of "perfect."

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benchwarmer wrote:

[Replying to post 1 by Willum]

Quote:
Can anyone describe how God is perfect, without calling on perfection in the definition. Why and how is God perfect?


In my experience, this seems to mean that God is always right or correct. In other words God can make no mistakes, even if we perceive something attributed to God as a mistake. If we point out something that with think God did that is a mistake, either it wasn't God's doing or we don't understand. i.e. it's always our problem.


Then here, 'perfect' doesn't mean anything. I can be told by my friend John that Jack speaks perfect Swahili. Well, when I hear Jack speak...how do I tell whether or not he actually is speaking perfect Swahili (given that I don't know a word of it myself)?
Does Jack still get the descriptor of "perfect Swahili speaker"?


Last edited by rikuoamero on Wed Jul 06, 2016 4:18 pm; edited 1 time in total

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MPG Recipient Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 5: Wed Jul 06, 2016 4:17 pm
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The Problem of Perfection and Changeability

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[Replying to post 1 by Willum]

Two questions:

If God is perfect, then that is just one of God’s attributes; perfection. But, what would this mean? What does it mean to be perfect? If there was a perfect being, what would be the motivation for action?

If one was perfect, one would have no needs, no wants, no desires, for there would be nothing you would need or want. For, if there was something you would want or need, you would not be perfect.

It has been suggested God being perfect, is full of love, and wants to share this love with others. (Even if there is no such thing as "others" until you create them.)

Where does this “want” come from?

The desire of want and need something are motivated by a real or perceived lack of it. Perhaps you want someone to respond to your love. But why do you need a response? If you are prefect, why would you care if someone loved you or not? What would be the motive?

It would seem odd, that a god would decide to create something merely to demonstrate its love. What would be the purpose? If one is perfect there is no need to share anything. And if one was perfect no response would be necessary.

What was the motive for creating human beings? If it is suggested God’s love was for humanities benefit; if humans were never created, we would not have missed anything. To create humans so they could benefit something does not make sense.

Question 1

1.If God exists, then he is perfect.
2. A perfect being can have no needs or wants.
3. If God exists, then he is the creator of the universe.
If any being created the universe, then he must have had some motive.
5. Hence, it is impossible for a perfect being to be the creator of the universe (from 2 and 4).
6. Therefore, it is impossible for God to be perfect.

Or God does not exist.

#4, It has been suggest that the reason the universe exists, is God created it. But the question still remains, what was the motive? To offer God as a reason for the existence of the universe is not an explanation, it does not give a reason for its existence. But, to answer the question ”why?” would suggest a motive. But any motive to do anything would suggest some desire. If there is some desire, this would suggest something wanted. Does it make sense to suggest that a perfect being can want something? Not if he is to remain perfect. So, God can do whatever he wants. He just cannot be “perfect” in doing so.

Perhaps a better question would be, How can a being be perfect and do anything?

Question 2

Now, a perfect being would not need to change. Because it is perfect. Change would mean something is not perfect, or less than perfect and some adjustment is necessary. It has been said that God is unchanging. And I have even seen some references to scripture to support this belief. So, one of the attributes of God is immutability. God is unchanging. If something is perfect, then there is no need to change.

With this in mind, let us consider another idea.

Question 2

1. If God exists, then he is unchangeable (immutable).
An unchangeable (immutable) being cannot at one time have an intention and then at another time not have that intention.
3. If God exists, then he is the creator of the universe.
4. For any being to create anything, prior to the creation he must have had the intention to create, then at another time, (after the creation), no longer have the intention.
5. Thus, it is impossible for an unchangeable (immutable) being to have created anything (from 2 and 4).
6. Therefore, it is impossible for God to change (from 1, 2, and 5).
Or perhaps God does not exist.

There are a couple of issues to deal with.

#2, it has been suggested that God is outside of time, so one cannot suggest that there is such a thing as time when talking about God.

But we are talking about a sequence of events, not time, as such, that is part of the universe . And one cannot escape the sequence without running into other problems.

If it is suggested that God is “outside” of time and that his “intention” cannot have happened in what we would call a sequence. What this would suggest is that God both intended and did not intend. (Since time is not a part of God’s existence). But this leads to a contradiction. So, does the concept of God, define as unchanging, still exist?

Of course prior to the existence of the universe God had not willed the universe into existence, so there was a change from God not having yet willed the universe into existence to doing so.

There was a point that the universe came into existence. Since it has been suggested that God created the universe, and suggested the universe is not eternal, there has to be some point that the universe came into existence. At that point, God “willed” the universe into existence. But at some point it was over. The universe exists. So, there is no longer the need to “will” anything. So, there was a change. God willed the universe into existence, when it was done, he stopped, He changed.

#4, Now, did God intend to create the universe? When he created the universe, did he still intend to create it? This last question does not seem to make much sense. So, either God changed because his intentions changed, which means God is not unchangeable (immutable), or God does not exist. One can suggest that God cannot change. But then how do you explain the change from nonexistence to existence of the universe? If God, “did it” then God changed. Even if it was just his intention or will that changed.

I would tend to think that if one was rational, one would either have to change one’s belief about the attributes of God, or consider the possibility that such a thing as a God, does not exist.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 6: Wed Jul 06, 2016 4:24 pm
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Like this post (1): rikuoamero
I actually wonder why a god has to be considered perfect at all. Would any god's ego be damaged by being considered imperfect? Surely if there is a god, he is allowed to make mistakes? Why must everyone have to stroke his ego just because he's a god?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 7: Wed Jul 06, 2016 4:52 pm
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Like this post (2): OnceConvinced, Kenisaw
I have long maintained that the worst disservice done to apologetics (obviously unintended thousands of years ago) was in giving this god omni-qualities and perfection.

If "god" was just insanely more powerful, smart, loving, and talented than anything we could conceive of, but without mandatory perfection and omni-qualities, the theist's job at defending these ludicrous ideas would be exponentially easier.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 8: Wed Jul 06, 2016 4:54 pm
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Re: Discussion of "perfect."

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[Replying to post 1 by Willum]


Discussion of "perfect." Can anyone tell me what this means?

Below is the entry under "perfection" in my bible encyclopedia, maybe it wil be of help

Quote:
The thought of perfection is expressed through Hebrew terms drawn from such verbs as ka·lalʹ (perfect [compare Eze 27:4]), sha·lamʹ (come to completion [compare Isa 60:20]), and ta·mamʹ (be completed, come to perfection [compare Ps 102:27; Isa 18:5]). In the Christian Greek Scriptures the words teʹlei·os (adjective), te·lei·oʹtes (noun), and te·lei·oʹo (verb) are used similarly, conveying such ideas as bringing to completeness or full measure (Lu 8:14; 2Co 12:9; Jas 1:4), being full grown, adult, or mature (1Co 14:20; Heb 5:14), having attained the appropriate or appointed end, purpose, or goal (Joh 19:28; Php 3:12).

Source Insight on the Scriptures vol II p. 602


Here's the link if you want to read further (its quite long)
http://m.wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200003440



#1 Can anyone describe how God is perfect, without calling on perfection in the definition?

In view of the above, it would mean that God is complete in the absolute sense, he needs nothing and noone to be all he wants to be and achieve all he wants to achieve. There is nothing missing lacking in him.

#2 Why is God perfect? Why? Why is a reality a reality? That's like asking why is "up" up and not down. It just is, "up" has to be ... up or it isn't "up" at all. That's like asking an atheist "Why doesn't God exist? for what reason is he not there?" The question makes no sense, it is what it is. (I might just ask that question here and see what happens... for a laugh). There is no "why" about an absolute because there's nothing that precedes it to cause it to be.

#3 How is God perfect? "How" as in: How does he achieve perfection (see above) or "how" as in in what ways is that perfection expressed?




JW

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 9: Wed Jul 06, 2016 5:57 pm
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Re: Discussion of "perfect."

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[Replying to post 8 by JehovahsWitness]

Given your response, would you be able to answer my questions above?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 10: Wed Jul 06, 2016 6:08 pm
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Re: Discussion of "perfect."

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anontheist wrote:

Given your response*, would you be able to answer my questions above?


I can give it a go...

* Note my response above was bible based, my answers below are also based on the bibiblical definition of "perfect".

Question 1

1.If God exists, then he is perfect.

No, God could exist and be imperfect, that just isn't the case.

2. A perfect being can have no needs or wants.

Incorrect. A perfect being can have no needs (since he is complete in himself) but he can have "wants" ie. things he desires/purpose. On the contrary, being perfectly intelligent, with a limitless imagination would mean there would be and endless number of wants to explore. Being perfect means you lack nothing, including an imagination. It is the imagination which permits someone to have purpose and desire. Imagination is not "real" until you make the thing imagined, so having an purose - in your imagination cannot be viewed as evidence of a lack.

Quote:
To illustrate: If perfection is a full glass, does it become less full if it can imagain a second empty glass?


For an infinite god there would be an infinite number of possibilities; but if you take an infinite number from an infinte number you are left with ... an infinite number. nothing can be lacking. Purpose (born of an infinite imagination) is like that infinte number.


3. If God exists, then he is the creator of the universe.

Not necessarily but yes, in reality I am using God/The Creator of the universe interchangably in this instance.

4. If any being created the universe, then he must have had some motive.

Correct.

5. Hence, it is impossible for a perfect being to be the creator of the universe (from 2 and 4).

Incorrect (see #2)

6. Therefore, it is impossible for God to be perfect.

Incorrect (see above).


Last edited by JehovahsWitness on Wed Jul 06, 2016 6:28 pm; edited 1 time in total

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