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atha
04-14-2008, 04:50 PM
Assalam-u-alaikum Everyone

I was writing a poem and was reminded of a philosophy dilemma I read once. It goes something like this.

"If God is perfect and functions outside the laws of physics, then the idea of finite does not apply to him. Technically speaking, He can create another perfect being like Him. If He does create one, than He is no longer perfect. If He doesn't/can't then is He really perfect?" :-)

Kindly don't try chiding me because I am asking a question like this one. The Quran says ask questions so why should I be afraid of asking? I know its non-traditional way of asking but whatever! I hope people on this forum will respect the way I seek knowledge. I would apprecaite it if my question is taken and answered seriously.

Thank You
Kind Regards
Assalam-u-alaikum

www.orion2007.wordpress.com
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- Qatada -
04-14-2008, 07:27 PM
asalaam alaikum


The argument is flawed because Allah is not created, that's why He is Perfect. If Allah was to create another being 'like him' - then that being cannot be 'like him' because it is created, whereas Allah is not created (He is eternal without a beginning.)


here's a good thread:

Can God create a stone He cannot lift?



Allah knows best.
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atha
06-20-2008, 03:04 PM
Cool answer. I like it. Jazakallah Khair. :-)
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Azy
06-20-2008, 03:27 PM
I suppose you could ask if it was possible in all attributes except his 'createdness'.
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SixTen
06-20-2008, 05:06 PM
The infinite term, is often misunderstood by people. For example, people ask if God is infinitly merciful, why would anyone go to hell. Also, people say, infinite mercy contradicts infinite justice.

His mercy is infinite, in that, if he wills, he can forgive every single person - and no one knows for sure what his will is. If I recall correctly, hell is not eternal, so everyone is forgiven. He who has infinite power, has infinite everything, as he has the ability to do everything.

It is like a battery, unused. Even if it was never used forever, it doesn't mean it could not power a radio if it was used. The potential is their, it just wasn't used. The finiteness of the battery is irrelevant, if you take the analogy correctly.

The reason why we call his attributes infinite is, the potential first exists - so even if he does not fullfill it does not mean he does not have it. Secondly, for us to state its not infinite, we would have to say whats the limit - can we do that? No.

How many humans can God create? We would have to say as much as he wants - we can't limit it, so we say infinite. If he does not create infinite humans, does this mean he did not have the potential?

Take infinite more metaphorically, as its the only way we can ever hope to understand the attributes of God.
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جوري
06-20-2008, 05:12 PM
Originally Posted by SixTen
The infinite term, is often misunderstood by people. For example, people ask if God is infinitly merciful, why would anyone go to hell. Also, people say, infinite mercy contradicts infinite justice.

His mercy is infinite, in that, if he wills, he can forgive every single person - and no one knows for sure what his will is. If I recall correctly, hell is not eternal, so everyone is forgiven. He who has infinite power, has infinite everything, as he has the ability to do everything.

It is like a battery, unused. Even if it was never used forever, it doesn't mean it could not power a radio if it was used. The potential is their, it just wasn't used. The finiteness of the battery is irrelevant, if you take the analogy correctly.

The reason why we call his attributes infinite is, the potential first exists - so even if he does not fullfill it does not mean he does not have it. Secondly, for us to state its not infinite, we would have to say whats the limit - can we do that? No.

How many humans can God create? We would have to say as much as he wants - we can't limit it, so we say infinite. If he does not create infinite humans, does this mean he did not have the potential?

Take infinite more metaphorically, as its the only way we can ever hope to understand the attributes of God.
:sl:
I really enjoy your perspectives on jurisprudence and philosophy..
I'd like to welcome you to the board.. I am personally delighted to have you here..
waslaam 3lykoum wr wb
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SixTen
06-20-2008, 05:31 PM
Originally Posted by Skye Ephémérine
:sl:
I really enjoy your perspectives on jurisprudence and philosophy..
I'd like to welcome you to the board.. I am personally delighted to have you here..
waslaam 3lykoum wr wb
:ws:

Much appreciated :).
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Mr. Baldy
06-20-2008, 05:43 PM
Originally Posted by SixTen
The infinite term, is often misunderstood by people. For example, people ask if God is infinitly merciful, why would anyone go to hell. Also, people say, infinite mercy contradicts infinite justice.

His mercy is infinite, in that, if he wills, he can forgive every single person - and no one knows for sure what his will is. If I recall correctly, hell is not eternal, so everyone is forgiven. He who has infinite power, has infinite everything, as he has the ability to do everything.

It is like a battery, unused. Even if it was never used forever, it doesn't mean it could not power a radio if it was used. The potential is their, it just wasn't used. The finiteness of the battery is irrelevant, if you take the analogy correctly.

The reason why we call his attributes infinite is, the potential first exists - so even if he does not fullfill it does not mean he does not have it. Secondly, for us to state its not infinite, we would have to say whats the limit - can we do that? No.

How many humans can God create? We would have to say as much as he wants - we can't limit it, so we say infinite. If he does not create infinite humans, does this mean he did not have the potential?

Take infinite more metaphorically, as its the only way we can ever hope to understand the attributes of God.
I don't know if I agree with everything you have said... hmm... I know I don't agree with the bold part. We can't hope to understand god. The analogy I use for 'understanding god' is; If you imagine all the oceans in the world and then try and fit all the oceans of the world into a cup... it's impossible. The same applies to the Mind (as a vessel) and Allah.

The fact is when you try to understand god you get on a slippery slope, there is a lot of paradoxes that can be linked with god. We need to apply the principle of Occam's razor to this problem. The answer lies in basically saying that we can't really answer the question, but then we're not supposed to either. We as humans aren't capable of understanding anything that we can't sense (including empirical evidence) or think about rationally. Ideas like Infinity, omnipotent, omnipresence et cetra are not something we can a) sense or b) think about rationally because our minds just handle that.

In short, just because we cant understand that question, doesn't mean that Allah does not/cannot exist, it just means we cant comprehend his powers. Rationally we can know that Allah exists, but thats a different question/topic.
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SixTen
06-20-2008, 05:49 PM
What the bolded part meant is, if you would take the extreme-literalist view of infinite - you may become confused and find it all a bit contradictive (some atheists, even confused themselves so much that they believe God with such attributes cannot exist, having taken the very literalist stance), hence it is easier to understand Gods existance when taken in a more contextual way.

Even more so that we can't take the very literalist stance is, God is in a metaphysical realm, he is not connected nor bound by anything in the Universe. So, taking anything literal would be taking it in context to this universe, which will automatically cause problems when referring back to God.
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Mr. Baldy
06-20-2008, 05:58 PM
Originally Posted by SixTen
What the bolded part meant is, if you would take the extreme-literalist view of infinite - you may become confused and find it all a bit contradictive (some atheists, even confused themselves so much that they believe God with such attributes cannot exist, having taken the very literalist stance), hence it is easier to understand Gods existance when taken in a more contextual way.

Even more so that we can't take the very literalist stance is, God is in a metaphysical realm, he is not connected nor bound by anything in the Universe. So, taking anything literal would be taking it in context to this universe, which will automatically cause problems when referring back to God.
Ok, I'm with you. But are you saying that god does not literally have the abilities we have talked about? As in, they are more metaphorical than anything, or are you saying that when you try and apply gods abilities to this reality [universe] that is in fact an error?
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SixTen
06-20-2008, 06:02 PM
Originally Posted by Mr. Baldy
Ok, I'm with you. But are you saying that god does not literally have the abilities we have talked about? As in, they are more metaphorical than anything, or are you saying that when you try and apply gods abilities to this reality [universe] that is in fact an error?
I didn't deny any ability of God, if you read, for example I stated - God can forgive everybody he wants, can we limit how much he can forgive? No, so in that sense, his mercy is infinite. But because, some people will go to hell, does not mean that he is limited (so my post was enforcing the attributes, explaining why it is not contradictory).
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Mr. Baldy
06-20-2008, 06:10 PM
Originally Posted by SixTen
I didn't deny any ability of God, if you read, for example I stated - God can forgive everybody he wants, can we limit how much he can forgive? No, so in that sense, his mercy is infinite. But because, some people will go to hell, does not mean that he is limited (so my post was enforcing the attributes, explaining why it is not contradictory).
Ok, I see. But I feel like your almost begging the question (the original question). Just because we cant limit it, doesn't mean it isn't limited. For example, we can't colour the sky blue, but it is.
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SixTen
06-20-2008, 06:26 PM
Originally Posted by Mr. Baldy
Ok, I see. But I feel like your almost begging the question (the original question). Just because we cant limit it, doesn't mean it isn't limited. For example, we can't colour the sky blue, but it is.
Not only can we not limit, how many humans God can forgive, we also know he has the potential to do as many as he wishes - so in that sense - it is infinite.

I am not understanding the relevance of your sky anaology (or if it makes any sense).

It is like, I cannot personally limit how many breaths of air you will take - but I know you can't do it forever as much as you willed (hence you don't have the potential to do as many as you want) - because you will die once. However, God is not limited by time, hence anything he wishes to do, he can do as much as he wants. So we are comparing this realm to a metaphysical realm - which I said we should avoid to avoid confusion.
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Mr. Baldy
06-20-2008, 06:40 PM
potential is not always fulfilled.

I absoloutley agree with you, we can't confuse the creator and the creation. But I'm just not sure how you have reached that conclusion.

[Oh, and I think your using the term 'infinite' a bit loosely in your 'forgivness' analogy... the number of humans god can forgive is limited, from the first human being, Adam, to the last, whoever that may be.]
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SixTen
06-20-2008, 06:49 PM
Originally Posted by Mr. Baldy
potential is not always fulfilled.

I absoloutley agree with you, we can't confuse the creator and the creation. But I'm just not sure how you have reached that conclusion.

[Oh, and I think your using the term 'infinite' a bit loosely in your 'forgivness' analogy... the number of humans god can forgive is limited, from the first human being, Adam, to the last, whoever that may be.]
The number of humans God can forgive has no limit - as he can choose how many humans to create - hence we have an infinite potential. As stated (infact my whole arguement) is that the infinite should be noted due to potential - ofcourse their will be a set amount of humans, but the idea is this does not contradict with him being infinitly merciful, in that he has the potential to forgive as many people as he wants.

Potential is not fullfilled yes, but I would not use the word fullfilled, rather I'll use practiced, as God does not act by potential, but by will. Just because he has the potential to forgive everyone does not mean people will not be punished.

Basically, we cannot limit anything God does to anything precise, we know that he has the ability to do what he wants indefinatly (as he is not constrained by time or energy) and hence the only suitable word that can describe his abilities is infinite - due to these circumstances - which concludes that their is no contradiction - i.e. if God forgives 5 out of 10 people, it does not mean he is not infinitly merciful just because he could have forgives 10/10, we say infinite is potential, and actual is his will.
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Mr. Baldy
06-20-2008, 09:17 PM
Originally Posted by SixTen
The number of humans God can forgive has no limit - as he can choose how many humans to create - hence we have an infinite potential. As stated (infact my whole arguement) is that the infinite should be noted due to potential - ofcourse their will be a set amount of humans, but the idea is this does not contradict with him being infinitly merciful, in that he has the potential to forgive as many people as he wants.

Potential is not fullfilled yes, but I would not use the word fullfilled, rather I'll use practiced, as God does not act by potential, but by will. Just because he has the potential to forgive everyone does not mean people will not be punished.

Basically, we cannot limit anything God does to anything precise, we know that he has the ability to do what he wants indefinatly (as he is not constrained by time or energy) and hence the only suitable word that can describe his abilities is infinite - due to these circumstances - which concludes that their is no contradiction - i.e. if God forgives 5 out of 10 people, it does not mean he is not infinitly merciful just because he could have forgives 10/10, we say infinite is potential, and actual is his will.
Ok then, lets go on this premise. So your saying that it is in gods 'potential' to create an equal being. So, what do you have to say on the second part of the question, if he can create this being, he is no longer perfect. Are you telling me its in gods potential to be imperfect?
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SixTen
06-20-2008, 09:20 PM
Originally Posted by Mr. Baldy
Ok then, lets go on this premise. So your saying that it is in gods 'potential' to create an equal being. So, what do you have to say on the second part of the question, if he can create this being, he is no longer perfect. Are you telling me its in gods potential to be imperfect?
For God to create an equal being - it is a logical contradiction. God himself is not created, so how can something equal to him be created, if what is created will become a creation and hence not equal?
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Mr. Baldy
06-20-2008, 09:25 PM
So its not in his potential...
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SixTen
06-20-2008, 09:32 PM
Originally Posted by Mr. Baldy
So its not in his potential...
No. Reasons for this:

If we conclude to God's existance from the principle of causality, it is because we conclude something must have existed without a cause, in the cycle, we lead to one.

If the cycle, for whatever reason, split, and was a result of several uncaused deities, we would have multiple "God's" in a sense.

In Islamic context, their is only 1 God. If the cycle then terminated at one, it is logically impossible for an equal to exist, for this to exist, it could only exist if their was an original split for the cause of more than 1 uncaused deity. If this principle was true, then their would be more than 1 God to start with. But if Islam states that their is 1 God, we cannot now conclude that another deity could be created by the sudden existance of another deity which did not have a cause if we have had the fundamental principle 1 God exists to begin with.
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Mr. Baldy
06-20-2008, 09:46 PM
I agree with you whole heartedly, however it seems your contradicting yourself. First you say that there is potential, now your saying that it is logically impossible for another to exist.


(I hope your not finding me boorsih or obtuse brother/sister)
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SixTen
06-20-2008, 10:00 PM
Originally Posted by Mr. Baldy
I agree with you whole heartedly, however it seems your contradicting yourself. First you say that there is potential, now your saying that it is logically impossible for another to exist.


(I hope your not finding me boorsih or obtuse brother/sister)
Don't worry, I enjoy discussions :).

When I said God has potential, it was on logically possible things. God forgiving people doesn't contradict logic - hence I argued why it is possible for God to be infinitly merciful while not forgiving everyone - due to potential.

Now creating himself, is logically impossible - their is no potential to do such things and hence being infinitly powerful does not equate to doing illogical things.
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Mr. Baldy
06-21-2008, 08:17 PM
Well as long as im not getting on your nerves... heehee

Well thats the thing, can we reduce god to mere logic?
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SixTen
06-21-2008, 10:55 PM
Can God do illogical things?

This is probably a philosophical question - if humans are reaching God, through what they see as logical reasoning - is this all moot as what seems logical in this universe may be completly irrelevant in a metaphysical realm - their may well be no such thing as logic - infact logic is maybe a limiting factor itself - being the result of many laws.

I think at this point, we would be going into a world so complex and unknown, we can only guess.
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Mr. Baldy
06-22-2008, 08:03 PM
I agree with you.

But I don't think we need to 'guess' we can use our rationale to reach us up to a certain point, and then have faith.
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