[QUOTE=Smokering;12952799]I couldn't disagree more that God transcends logic; I believe that logic stems from God and is a part of His nature. Saying that God is trans-love or trans-wisdom or trans-powerful is the same as saying He is other than, ie not love or wisdom or power;
No, I don't think it is the same, in fact I would say it is the opposite. It is closer to the difference between being, not-being, and beyond being. I don't disagree that logic comes from God, I think the logos underlies all of creation. But I would be very careful in saying that God needs to conform to logic as we understand it.and the Bible clearly states that He is those things. It wouldn't have been hard for God to have added a biblical 'But I am really beyond all those things, and only describe myself as such because of your limited human understanding' - we could understand that concept easily enough, given that you and I are discussing it.
I think the Bible does say that, in several places. I already mentioned Job, but there is also the place where Paul say us that we see "through a glass darkly" or describes God as "dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see" Also all the cases where God appeared to people, they were never able to really get hold of what he was, they could only see his "hind parts." Or when he names himself to Moses.If the Bible is God's way of communicating with Creation, one can expect it will reveal actual knowledge about Him - and 'God is not a man that he should lie' by telling us things that aren't true (ie that He is loving, just, holy etc). Where things are too complicated (or forbidden) for humans to know God spells that out, but He never makes a peep in that regard on the subject of attributes.
I do think that as Christians we have actual knowledge of God. I think that negative theology is useful, but clearly we do have scripture, and Christ, who told us true things about the nature of God. I think those are the things we need to think about, most of the time.
You're confusing temporal and logical priority also. Eternity doesn't impact upon causation; we speak of cause following effect, which I admit sounds like a time-based system, but it isn't.
I don't think I am, though I suspect that it is because I expressed myself poorly that you thought so. I do understand the difference between logical causation and temporal causation. I was thinking more of how we process the idea of causation, intellectually. But I will have to think more about how to say what I mean about this, I am having no luck at the moment.
Also, I'm a big fan of the book of Job, but how is it illustrating what you claim? Job does ultimately recognize and accept God's justice.
But I would say that he doesn't really understand it, although he understands that God is indeed just. But that God's justice is far beyond what he comprehends as justice, so much so that it seems almost alien to poor Job. God asks him if he can "Can you pull in the leviathan with a fishhook or tie down his tongue with a rope? Can you put a cord through his nose or pierce his jaw with a hook? ...Can you fill his hide with harpoons or his head with fishing spears?" For Job to presume to comprehend God's justice is similarly impossible.
The unity problem you mentioned can be solved by a God who is both one and many, I think; but this isn't an area of theology I've studied deeply, so I'd have to see a formulation of the actual argument. At first blush I can't see why having attributes would violate God's unity, but how exactly are you defining unity? (Remembering that I'm a Christian who views God as a trinity).
Yes, I guess I've been unclear, because that isn't what I meant at all. I don't think that God having attributes violates his unity or simplicity. I think we do have to realize that all of those attributes are not separate, in God, but are themselves a unity. That would mean that love and mercy, in their highest reality, are also a perfect unity. I don't think anyone considers that a problem and it seems to work well when we consider attributes like love and mercy that seem to fit well together. Perfect love = perfect mercy seems right.
Where some people run into difficulty is when we talk about God having attributes that seem to contradict each other. They feel that if God, who is perfectly simple, has two mutually exclusive attributes, he is violating the law of non-contradiction. Some examples that people have historically had trouble with are justice and mercy, or being passionless and compassionate, omnipotent and unable to change, among others.
Many of these problems disapear when we think about what the words mean from God's point of view, instead of our own.I agree with "I might say, God is perfect justice, but always keeping in mind that I cannot hold Him to my limited understanding of what that means", if you mean that humans often judge God by what they perceive to be just (ie. it would be unjust of me to kill an innocent man, therefore it is unjust of God to do the same. Apart from the obvious theological problem of 'an innocent man', such an attitude ignores the fact that God has sovereign rights over His creation, that He is not bound by the civil laws He applied to men, and so forth).
That is an interesting example, I wouldn't have thought of the solution you have here. I would have said killing an innocent man was a moral rather than civil crime, and I think moral 'law' is another form of the law of non contradiction. So, if that were true, I would imagine that you would say that God would be bound by moral law?So I agree that saying 'God is love' or 'God is wrath' is not the same as saying 'Mary is love' or 'John is wrath'; but to extend that and say that God is trans-love or trans-wrath is quite a different matter. The human mind can comprehend, to a functional degree at least, the difference between the nature of God's love and the nature of man's. We're OK with words having different definitions under different circumstances ('Mary loves chocolate'). But 'something that transcends love' is not love. If it is 'beyond' love, it is not love; and God says He is love. (Rinse and repeat for other attributes). If anything, as we are created in the image of God and not vice versa, it would make sense to speak of the human versions of God's attributes as 'sub-love' or 'sub-wrath'.
I agree with your conclusion, but not necessarily your argument. But I suspect it is partly a language issue, because you are reading the word trans as "not", whereas I don't. But yes, I think it would be much more accurate to call our understanding of love sub-love, since it is a kind of shadow of the real thing, that God has. But I suppose that we are working from our own experience, and then extrapolating to the real love that is God's, ad which we only know imperfectly or in part. So we name the thing we know. Not to mention the difficulty in conversation if we had to add sub to everythingBut the 'trans-logic' thing particularly worries me. If God, who among other things is a creator, is trans, which is say not -logical, then we can say nothing about Him, including the fact that He is trans-logical, because He might be both trans-logical and not trans-logical at the same time and in the same sense. We would also have to cease to expect uniformity in nature, distrust the reliability of our minds and so forth, ending up in chaos... it ain't pretty.
Yes, if you wanted to take it that far. Which as Christians (or Muslims, Jews, or Hindus) I would say we shouldn't, because we can see God's creation and we believe it reflects him. So I think the orderly nature of creation tells us something about God. (I would even say that if it weren't orderly, we couldn't know there is a God.) But, I think we have to be so careful when we try to take our understanding of logic and expect God to conform to that. Rather, I would say we should not be surprised when sometimes he seems falls outside of that. But that reflects our limitations, not God's.