The Biblical God is not infinite

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Irish1975
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The Biblical God is not infinite

Post by Irish1975 » Wed Sep 23, 2020 9:33 pm

Our predominant concept of God as an infinite being does not line up with what scripture has to say. I read somewhere that God is never named or described in the Bible as infinite. Quite the contrary. The first chapters of Genesis, which are normative for all monotheistic religions, give us a very different account of God. For the Bible, water and darkness are lying around when God decides to step in and “create the heavens and the earth.” His first act is to say, “let there be light,” upon which follows his first thought “that it was good,” and then he divides the light from the darkness. But the darkness was already there before God started creating. There was water and chaos and darkness before any actual creating gets underway. So this is very much a god who does not create the universe in the way imagined by conventional Augustinian/medieval/modern theology, where God exists in perfect eternity and then suddenly creates time and aeons and all the forms of finitude. No. YHWH is able to create light, and light as goodness, over against a mysterious and unexplained pre-existing canvas of darkness and wate and chaos.

This is a very interesting type of god. But not infinite. And not a source of all existence.

Geocalyx
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Re: The Biblical God is not infinite

Post by Geocalyx » Fri Sep 25, 2020 11:57 pm

Darkness and water both mean death to ancient laymen. Which is practical non-existence (in platonist's sense, if the last human being died, there would've been no more world) but here in particular it could imply God's canvas is ashes of a defeated universe.

In that sense, nothing really exists, as everything that did is dead.

On the subject of water, I find it interesting, how a fisherman is supposed to bring you life by bringing you out of water, and do what the OT God did without creating anything. The Carpenter is just the main dude's dad. He plays a marginal role, it's the fisher dude that matters in NT. A philosophical move is made herein from Plato to Aristotle, where focus is shifted from omnipotent creator to the prime mover, instead - the "first thought" - and the religion is thus no longer subject to traditional creation-based theologies.

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Irish1975
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Re: The Biblical God is not infinite

Post by Irish1975 » Mon Sep 28, 2020 10:00 am

Geocalyx wrote:
Fri Sep 25, 2020 11:57 pm
Darkness and water both mean death to ancient laymen. Which is practical non-existence (in platonist's sense, if the last human being died, there would've been no more world) but here in particular it could imply God's canvas is ashes of a defeated universe.

In that sense, nothing really exists, as everything that did is dead.
But darkness does exist for YHWH. It just seems to be something he didn't create. When he created the light, he had to separate it from the darkness.

It's obviously very important to YHWH to keep human beings away from the dark of evil and in the light of goodness. His first attempt is to keep them good by keeping them ignorant of evil. So he forbids eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which somehow he cannot refrain from planting in the middle of the garden where he creates Adam and Eve. But that effort fails, so then he has to give us the law. YHWH uses bargaining ("covenant"), promises, and threats to try to force the children of Israel to obey the law, so that they can stay in the light, which YHWH created specially for them, and not stray into the darkness, which he did not create at all.

This too fails.

For a few centuries, after the exile, YHWH seems to be more of an Abraxas figure, a synthesis of light and dark, good and evil. Job and Isaiah 45.

But then the God of pure light returns with the NT. A God that is "pure light" (1 John) cannot help also being consumed with rage at the darkness of the present world (1 Thess, Romans, Revelation). The God of Light is a God of Wrath. Right through the end of John's apocalypse, God is always extremely upset that his creation didn't go the way it was supposed to.

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