The cause of Creation’s (all objects which physically exist; obviously including man ) ability to BE, which means, really, to do whatever it can do, must be Creation itself. It is rationally impossible to declare that God is the “first cause” of Creation in a certain metaphysically logical sense because in declaring this, one is forced to concede that the root ABILITY of Creation to actually be caused upon so that it can—is ABLE to– act in a manner which can be declared a “reaction” is God, Himself. Creation’s ability to be IS God’s ability to be. And therefore, the only thing we can conclude from this is that Creation IS merely God, for they share the same ability to exist. Creation is a direct function of God; thus, there is no logical separation between Creation and God. They are one and the same.
Or shall I say “One” and the same.
Thus, I submit that not even God can cause that which is inherently UNABLE on its own to be. If the ABILITY to be is from God, it cannot be from itself; and that makes Creation merely an extension of God, Himself. Which is to say that Creation IS God. As I said above.
You see, not only does God cause the thing to exist if He is considered the “direct” cause of it, but He must also be the direct cause of its ability to ACT, which includes BEING; and this means that it can have no ability or being of its own, because this would mean that its ability must only be a direct function of ITSELF. And this, of course, is uproariously denied in Christendom.
But the logical and practical extension of existence is the maintenance of that existence by BEING, and BEING equals, quite literally doing whatever it does. And a thing doing whatever it does is a direct function of existence which is a direct function of ability which can only logically be a direct function of the OBJECT. Thus, God can only, in a sense, Create an object out of something that is already there. And that something must have inherent in it the ABILITY to become whatever God creates, already. And that ability cannot come from God; it can only come from itself. This is a hard metaphysic to grasp, but it is the only one which does not concede that Creation is God and God is Creation. It is the only one that is rationally and metaphysically consistent.
If we do not concede that Creation’s ability to be (exist) and do is wholly a function of itself, then the problem is obvious: If God is the direct first cause, then not only is God the direct power behind Creation’s existence, He must also be the direct power behind ALL that Creation does; and of course, with man, this would include thinking, willing, choosing, knowing, and, of course, believing in Jesus. Which makes both Christ and God redundant.
And this is not considered orthodoxy in ANY school of Christian thought.
4 thoughts on “The Logical and Metaphysical Problem With “First Cause””
Your logic here clearly is using a Platonic metaphysic. Something I learned when reading Joseph Priestley’s An History of early opinions concerning Jesus Christ was that the “church fathers” who invented the Trinity used a Platonic understanding of the sun originally to make the claim that the Son could be one God with the Father.
They believed the Sun’s rays were always connected to it, so that during the day, the rays were extended to touch the earth, and at night they were drawn back in. So that the rays never had a unique existence of their own.
They used this to argue the idea that the Son could be God just like the Father, without being a separate being, because the Father is the Sun and the Son the Rays, in their analogy.
Of course, the Sun doesn’t actually work like that. But my point is that your point sort of supposes that it does. You are basically saying that if God creates something, that something is part of him which is never disconnected from him and can be drawn back in, like the Rays of the Sun in Platonic metaphysics are part of the Sun and are never disconnected from him and can be drawn back in.
But if, rather, the Sun emits its rays, never to draw them back in. If they disconnect and have a separate existence….then why can’t God create something such that is has a separate existence.
Apples and oranges. The sun is a composite of “parts”. It is three dimensional. Each part then is distinct, with its own innate ability to exist and relate to the other parts in a way which leads man to observe and conceptualize the sun as an “object”. But though we conceptualize it and refer to it in the singular, we understand that the sun is a function of many separate components. The sun’s rays then are observed as a distinct component of what the sun is at its root: a conglomeration of parts.
God is not parts, according to Christian orthodoxy. God is infinite, indivisible, absolute, with NO distinctions within Himself. Using this metaphysic, any extension of God (e.g. The creation of the universe from within Himself) could by no means be a distinct component of God. Any extension of an infinite singularity must by definition BE that infinite singularity. (Argo’s Universal Truth Number One: Anything which is a direct function of an absolute IS the absolute.)
And I’m reasonably sure that that logic is not Platonic.
I’m not sure I get what you just said. You’re siding with “orthodoxy” in your metaphysic, and yet you don’t think its Platonic? If it agrees with “orthodoxy” that should be a dead giveaway that its Platonic.
They’re thinking of him like a material substance and trying to avoid the idea that he’s put together like a Lego castle. Now, they say, he’s just a giant sheet, a perfectly “simple” being.
Personally, I think this is pretty stupid. If he’s “simple” he’s not God. I mean, seriously, he has to have complexity to be so awesome. But they’ll say: Its impossible for a complex being to exist without being created. And somehow its more possible for a sheet to exist without being created? God simply is what he is, as he told Moses “I am what I am.” I’m not going to rule out complexity; to do so robs God of being a personal being and makes him an emotionless, thoughless blob…..which is what they want, because that helps them deny all religion and promote atheism in the name of religion.
I think we are both confused.
I was attempting to explain how “orthodoxy” views God…that is, infinite, with no beginning nor end, and therefore, not a conglomeration of parts. That being the case, anything He “created” would need to be nothing more nor less than an extension of Himself, which eradicates man from the existential equation, because man, like any other created thing, is merely a full extension of God…that is, is God, Himself. And that’s why I stated that the “sun and its rays” analogy is a false comparison. According to the “orthodox” interpretation of God as infinite, there can be no distinction between any “part” of God, because He has no parts. There can be no “rays” of God to be created and then separated from Him. Every “part” of God, in other words, is fully and 100% God. There is no separation in such a case, as there would be in the case of the sun and its rays.
I disagree with this description of God. Well…in part. It is somewhat complicated. God is metaphysically ONE, as are you and me and everything. In this sense, yes, we are at our roots, and I mean physical, infinite. At the root of every object which is, is a substance which is truly infinite (without beginning or end)…and yes, I understand that physics does not concede this, but physics does not consistently apply its own ideas, so I don’t look to physics to explain the TRUE nature of material existence. It deals in abstractions; and abstractions are how we organize what we observe; it is not the causal force of what we observe and therefore it cannot express the…well, TRUTH of it.
Anyway, the question then is, how is what is infinite mitigated in order that it can be relatively finite, and thus present as distinct objects with individual existential characteristics that are meaningful, relevant, and efficacious?
And that is a good question. And the answer has to do with the presence of an observer; which begs even more questions.