• Pilgrim
    21
    but 'many Gods' is definitely heresy from a Christian P.O.V — Wayfarer

    In point of fact, the Bible itself mentions multiple Gods in many places. E.g.

    Deuteronomy 10:17

    "17 For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward"

    There are numerous other examples but this gets us off topic. Point being that according to teh OT there were many Gods but one in particular wanted people to deem him "THE God", the boss, top dog. If there had been a democratic election for that position back then one is left to wonder if that particular God would have won. Seems pretty unlikely imho.
  • Pilgrim
    21
    (1) If we don't know this, then it is more reasonable to infer a single being rather than many, due to the Law of Parsimony or Occam's Razor, stating that the simplest hypothesis that explains all the data is the most reasonable one. — Samuel Lacrampe

    I confess I find that reasoning difficult to take on board. If there exists a maximum value for a quality or attribute and if the beings in the universe are moving in the direction of that maximum, i.e. actively trying to attain that maximum position (in Christian terms, to be more like Jesus/God) then it stands to reason that eventually over time, that maximum position will become flooded. This is common sense to me. The being who is already at the maximum position has nowhere to go, he can not improve, whereas all other beings are gradually getting better and better and will ultimately attain the same maximum attribute. That is unless the supreme being(s) make some form of limitation to actively prevent that from happening, which I actually think is the case.

    (2) If the ideal is essentially made of that one property only, (e.g. the ideal red), then there can only be one ideal being with that property, as per the principle of Identity of Indiscernibles. Other beings with that property may also reach the maximum degree, but they have it only 'in participation', where as the ideal being would have it 'essentially', and would be the source of that property in others. (This is admittedly getting quite technical). — Samuel Lacrampe

    Hmmm. I'm not sure there whether you are now redefining the "maximum quality" and creating 2 separate categories of it. That a being could have the quality "essentially" and another being have the quality "in participation" kind of implies that there are still 2 different levels of "maximum". It almost belittles the quality of the lesser being as being nearly but not quite the true maximum.
    If this were the case then what motive or value is there in other beings striving to reach the "maximum quality" if in truth it is impossible to achieve on the basis that they don't have the quality inherently or "essentially"?

    Your ideas there do lead to an interesting point though. Your word source is the key term there. If one being is the given source of an attribute/property like moral goodness then any moral goodness in any other being must by definition, be a part of that one being. This gels with the ideals of some religions which hold that God is in us and we are in God. We are part of that cosmic attribute or "oneness". In Christian terms, "God IS love" meaning not that god is a loving person or "full of love" but rather that he IS love itself, he is what love is, he is the source of love, the pure unequalled stream of love. Thus any love that is within other beings must by definition be a part of God, not an attribute or a participatory mimic of love, but an actual piece of God.

    If I think this through it leads to some interesting conclusions. Primarily that no matter how hard a being might try or desire to be like God or his attributes, it is simply impossible because God IS the source of the desired attributes and thus to reach that ideal one has to actually become God. Even if a being sheds every single attribute it has and is left with nothing but that single attribute, love, moral goodness, ideal red whatever, that being remains "second fiddle" because the being is not the source of the attribute. The being is merely a receiver of donations from the source. Why then do beinbgs strive to be like God when it is clearly impossible?
  • Ciceronianus the White
    728
    To evaluate the argument, you must pick a property.

    P1: If there exists beings who are flatulent, there must exist a being who is flatulent to the maximum degree.
    P2: There exists beings who are flatulent.
    P3: Flatulence to the maximum degree exists (which we call something...say "Thomas Aquinas").

    It seems less than persuasive to me.

    Flatulence is probably more a property than moral goodness, though. A person may be moral, but I don't know if a person possesses "moral goodness."
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739
    This is just a vicious circle, using goodness in human beings to determine the human purpose, in order to use the human purpose to identify goodness. To say that so and so is a good person would require already that one has an idea of the human purpose, if goodness is determined relative to the human purpose. So we can't look for good human beings to determine what the human purpose is because we wouldn't know how to identify a good human being without already knowing what the human purpose is.Metaphysician Undercover
    I see your point; but we need here to introduce another notion to show that the reasoning is not circular: Conscience or Moral Compass. When we observe a person as being morally good or bad, this is information that comes to us, not from us. This makes sense because if the moral judgement of men came strictly from men, then the whole exercise would be circular and pointless, like a prisoner being its own judge.

    The reasoning thus goes like this: Through conscience, we acquire information that some persons are better than others; and from this, we induce the human purpose; which coincides with the moral ideal.


    Regarding the quantity-quality-ideal topic: I now see there was indeed a misunderstanding, mainly in these terms. It is odd to define 'ideal' as the scale rather than as the maximum degree of a property. In common language, the ideal grade for a homework is clearly 100%, not the percentage scale. You define 'quantity' as "that which can be measured", and thus cannot be infinite; but a length can be measured, and the length property can go to infinity. In common language, 'quantity' simply means that we can put numbers to it, and numbers go to infinity. You define 'quality' as "that which cannot be measured as a definite quantity", and therefore can go to infinity; but 'red' is a quality, not a quantity, and we know that there is a pure red, and red to the maximum degree.

    Let's take your example of heat. It has a relative scale, K, a minimum, 0 K, and is measurable and quantifiable. Yet, we know that there is no such thing as a maximum heat in K, for we can always add one more K to the previous measurement. On the other hand, nothing can be more red than the pure red.


    If the units are arbitrary, then there is no real quantity. The quantity is relative to the arbitrary scale, there is a possible infinity, and no maximum. If the units are real, then there are real limits, no infinity, and a maximum, there is a quantity in an absolute sense.Metaphysician Undercover
    Can you give examples of what you call real units vs arbitrary units? As I understand it, it doesn't make sense: Say I am counting spoons. A spoon is a real unit. Yet there is no possible maximum number of spoons.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4.3k
    Rubbish.

    Numbers are names of quantities. Numbers are existentially dependent upon language. Quantities are not. Quantities exist prior to numbers. Thus, there were quantities prior to numbers.

    A quantity is not always a number of units.
    creativesoul

    You seem to have confused "number" with "numeral". There's a difference between these two, and that's why there are two distinct words with two distinct meanings. And so the "rubbish" is what you have written.

    I see your point; but we need here to introduce another notion to show that the reasoning is not circular: Conscience or Moral Compass. When we observe a person as being morally good or bad, this is information that comes to us, not from us. This makes sense because if the moral judgement of men came strictly from men, then the whole exercise would be circular and pointless, like a prisoner being its own judge.

    The reasoning thus goes like this: Through conscience, we acquire information that some persons are better than others; and from this, we induce the human purpose; which coincides with the moral ideal.
    Samuel Lacrampe

    I'm not sure of your use of "conscience" here. Conscience is an inner feeling, an intuition, so how can you say that it does not come from us? If it came "to us", it would not have that inner source, which it clearly does have. So you appear to have a contradiction here. Conscience is clearly an inner thing, within, yet you say that it comes to us, as if it comes from outside.

    To resolve this, let's suppose it comes from within, like any inherited thing, genetic features, etc.. It appears to us to be the deepest within us, yet it really comes to us through inheritance, so it comes from outside the person. So inner things like intuition and conscience come to us from a seemingly "external" source, but it is not really external in the normal use of the word, because it comes to the individual from the internal, evidently having a source which is other than the individual, so it appears to be external. It comes from "outside" of the person, but that "outside" is really through the "inside". So we have two distinct boundaries which separate what is "me", from what is "not me". One boundary separates me from what is outside, and the other boundary separates me from what is inside.

    The reasoning thus goes like this: Through conscience, we acquire information that some persons are better than others; and from this, we induce the human purpose; which coincides with the moral ideal.Samuel Lacrampe

    By considering this "internal" source of conscience, I can avoid the circle, but infinite regress looms. We can trace our heredity through humanity, and even follow genetics back through evolution, but where does it end? It may end at the beginning of life, but if life is just a random occurrence as some suggest, there is no real beginning here. Unless we know the reason why life began, we cannot find the human purpose here. So as much as "conscience" may lead us in specific directions, we cannot validate that it is leading us in the right direction, toward the real human purpose, because conscience itself may just be a chance occurrence, directed by random environmental events, like an evolutionist might argue. We need something to assure us that conscience is leading us in the right direction, and this can only come from knowing the purpose of life. So once again we're back to the circle.

    It is odd to define 'ideal' as the scale rather than as the maximum degree of a property. In common language, the ideal grade for a homework is clearly 100%, not the percentage scale.Samuel Lacrampe

    An ideal exists only as an idea. Further, it is the best idea, the most perfect conception. So when you say "the ideal grade for a homework is clearly 100%", you really distort the meaning of "ideal". On this use of "ideal" you might say "I got 100% therefore my paper is the ideal paper". But that doesn't really make sense because others might have 100% and you cannot all have the ideal paper. That's because you give "ideal" a different meaning here, it is not the highest idea, or most perfect conception, it is a work on a paper with a mark on it.

    When you see the ideal as an idea, a conception, you'll apprehend the ideal as the scale by which things are graded (the conception), rather than as a particular grade. The "perfect grade", the ideal, is neither the minimum nor the maximum, but perfection is to be found in the scale which gives us the most veridical, or objective, measurement of gradation. Consider the example of heat. The ideal is not the maximum heat, nor is it the minimum heat, the ideal is the scale which gives us perfect veridical measurements. Think about all the different qualities which come in degrees, the ideal, the most perfect, is never the highest quantity, or maximum. That's why Aristotle's doctrine of the mean, when discussing virtue, is so important. Virtue is not found at either extreme, he says it is in the mean.

    You define 'quantity' as "that which can be measured", and thus cannot be infinite; but a length can be measured, and the length property can go to infinity.Samuel Lacrampe

    It is impossible that something has an infinite length. This would not be "a length". A length is something definite and infinite is not definite.

    In common language, 'quantity' simply means that we can put numbers to it, and numbers go to infinity.Samuel Lacrampe

    That's what I said, "quantity" means that it is measurable, that we can put numbers to it. The problem, and where we disagree, is that we cannot put numbers to infinity, this is impossible because the process of putting numbers to it would never end. Therefore we could never put numbers to it. All we could do is try, but it would be a futile effort. By definition, infinity is that which we cannot put numbers to, it is indefinite, unlimited. Therefore it is impossible by way of contradiction, to have an infinite quantity.

    You define 'quality' as "that which cannot be measured as a definite quantity", and therefore can go to infinity; but 'red' is a quality, not a quantity, and we know that there is a pure red, and red to the maximum degree.Samuel Lacrampe

    There is no such thing as "red to the maximum degree". There is a range of light wavelengths which are said to be red. Further, there are many different combinations of light wavelengths which are said to be red. There is not one single wavelength, or combination of wavelengths, which can be said to be "red to the maximum degree".

    Can you give examples of what you call real units vs arbitrary units? As I understand it, it doesn't make sense: Say I am counting spoons. A spoon is a real unit. Yet there is no possible maximum number of spoons.Samuel Lacrampe

    At any given time, there is a quantity, i.e. a countable number, of spoons that exist. This is the maximum number of spoons which you can count. You cannot count more spoons than the number of spoons which exist, so clearly there is always a maximum number of spoons which you can count. But let's say you arbitrarily make up something not real, like unicorns, and start counting unicorns in your mind. There is no limit to the number of unicorns you can count, you can keep counting them forever.





    .
  • creativesoul
    3.1k
    You seem to have confused "number" with "numeral". There's a difference between these two,Metaphysician Undercover

    Both are existentially dependent upon language. So the difference doesn't make a difference here.

    Have fun.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739
    But how to arrive at any kind of consensus about what is good, absent something like a Platonic view or its equivalent?Wayfarer
    We need first to establish what good is in general. My definition of good refers to any type of good that is objective, not merely moral good. Thus it applies to circles, hammers, homework, health, morality, or really anything that has a nature, an identity. People may not all agree about the moral system, but all can agree that this circle is a better circle than this circle. Thus I believe that the definition of good is fitting. Once established, then we can move on to the next objections.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739
    If there exists a maximum value for a quality or attribute and if the beings in the universe are moving in the direction of that maximum, i.e. actively trying to attain that maximum position (in Christian terms, to be more like Jesus/God) then it stands to reason that eventually over time, that maximum position will become flooded.Pilgrim
    Yep, I now agree with you. The Law of Parsimony made me lean towards the hypothesis of a single being, until a better reason is provided, and you provided a good one. Furthermore, I forgot about the principle that "ought implies can", and as such, if we ought to be morally perfect, then it implies that the moral good to the maximum degree can be reached.


    Regarding being with essential quality vs being with accidental quality: I confess I got ahead of myself on that last post, where I made assertions without much explanations. I should backtrack and explain my reasoning.
    • As per the argument in the OP, there must exist a being with moral perfection. This being must have that quality essentially, as part of its essence, for if it was not essential, then the being could have it removed and there would not be a being with moral perfection at all times; which there is.
    • Other beings may possess the quality of moral perfection, but that quality is only accidental (not essential) because these beings existed prior to the quality reaching maximum degree. E.g., a bad person remains a person despite being bad, but the being with moral perfection cannot remove its moral goodness without ceasing to be.
    • The being that possesses moral perfection essentially must be the source of moral goodness in other beings that possess it accidentally, for two reasons: (1) because without some knowledge of moral perfection, we could not know how to progress towards it. (2) An act is considered moral only insofar that it was done with the intention of moral goodness. Unintentional acts cannot be considered either morally good or bad. And intention of x implies the knowledge of x. Therefore the essential being acts as the source that informs us of its existence.


    If this were the case then what motive or value is there in other beings striving to reach the "maximum quality" if in truth it is impossible to achieve on the basis that they don't have the quality inherently or "essentially"?Pilgrim
    Why be morally good? As morality is about "what we ought to do", the question is self-explanatory. Because we ought to do what we ought to do. To return the question, why not be satisfied in becoming like God as opposed to becoming God? If it not part of our nature to have the ability to become God, then this desire is literally unnatural.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739
    Hello Mr White.

    To clarify the position in the OP, opposing Aquinas, I do not believe that there must exist a being with maximum property for all beings with degrees of a property. I only claim that it must be the case for some properties, like colours and objective goodness.
  • Wayfarer
    6.5k
    If only it were so simple.... :sad:
  • Pilgrim
    21
    Thank you for your thoughts Samuel.

    I forgot about the principle that "ought implies can", and as such, if we ought to be morally perfect, then it implies that the moral good to the maximum degree can be reached. — Samuel Lacrampe

    I don't quite agree with that statement. The "ought to" part simply implies that the benchmark maximum exists albeit notionally (as the 'ought to' could just be an ideal or concept). It doesn't for me imply that the benchmark can be reached. For example, we "ought to" figure out a way to ignore the effects of gravity so that our bodies can rise above the ground, levitate and ultimate fly like Superman. There would be multiple benefits of doing this so we really ought to do it. We thus create the notional benchmark that it is possible to be like Superman though it is pure ideal, thought and idea not science, not fact. It may be that one day it turns out to be possible but at this stage it is purely an ideal.

    The problem in that example however is that Superman is Superman, he is not human and thus he has different qualities to humans. A human might strive to be like Superman but he strives in vein because ultimately Superman and humans are distinctly different things, different beings on every front. Hence it is simply not possible for humans to reach that ideal benchmark.

    Humans are not God. The Bible tells that humans are built in the image of God and that pretty much says all you need to know. We are mere constructs mimicking something else. Look at humans and what we do. We build robots, some very sophisticated. Many are factory machines with pneumatic arms and grabbers which build vehicles. Others like those in Japan, are built to mimic humans. They look like humans, their "skin" is as close to human skin as it can be without actually being skin, Eventually the "image" of the robot vs the true human will blend into one as to be indistinguishable, yet the robot will remain a robot and a human a human. Two extremely distinct and different "beings", the one shall never ever become the other or attain its attributes. The robot will always be an image, it will always mimic, it will never be a human.

    In the same way then God is God (assuming he exists) and humans are humans. Distinctly different beings. Having his image is of little benefit. We don't have God's abilities or attributes. We are weak, vulnerable, perishable, imperfect, fickle and essentially little more than robots. We act and do according to the programming that has been put into us. Hence one human can appear kind and benevolent and another cruel and evil. Both are humans, they are simply programmed/conditioned in different ways. Windows vs Linux, Xbox vs Playstation etc

    We stray now into tangential territory from the OP, the pathways that seek to determine who and what we actually are and why there is a need for any kind of ideal or "god" to treat as a benchmark for life behaviours. I will thus leave these particular thoughts here until and unless you wish to explore that pathway.


    the being with moral perfection cannot remove its moral goodness without ceasing to be. — Samuel Lacrampe

    Yes here we agree. The being with the maximum property must by definition actually be that property itself, essentially, innately, completely. Hence when the Bible says "God is Love" it doesn't mean he is a loving entity, or a being filled with love, it means he literally IS love itself, the very personification of love. As such all love in the universe is a part of that source, a part of god.

    . . . I pause here to ask whether the actual source property itself, love, goodness, life-energy, whatever, must in any sense be an actual being rather than just being that simple thing/property itself. In this respect Aquinas's statement needs another read:

    "P1: If there exist beings with varying degrees of a property, then there must exist a being with that property to the maximum degree."

    After our exchanges I no longer believe that Aquinas's proposition holds true or rather I suggest that the proposition can only be talking about beings with an "amount" of the property rather than the being which is the actual property itself. As we have agreed, the being with the maximum of the property that it can possibly have is still lesser than the being that has the property innately, essentially. The being with the maximum amount of love is still lesser to the source of love itself (which Christians would call God).

    For myself, I don't subscribe to the notion that the source of a property HAS to be an actual being.
    If there is say a "life energy" which pervades everything and which is the true source of all life, then there is no need or universal requirement for it to be a person or a being. It is simply a form of energy, perhaps THE ultimate form of energy, the true singular source. To call it "God" would therefore seem somewhat odd to me, but as a name, I guess it doesn't matter.

    My ideas in this respect are somewhat underpinned by the problems we have with the accounts of "God" in the OT. If God is deemed the actual personification and true source of love or goodness then by definition God can not be evil or produce evil. If the source is true and pure there can be no evil within it.

    That being the case the entire set of books in the OT would seem to be in gross error for they describe a God who is, at least to our minds and set of values, inherently evil. A God whose anger leads to violence, a God who engages in murder, ethnic cleansing, child killing, mauling of children by bears, genocide and much more. To try to envisage such actions as "love" would appear impossible and thus the God spoken of in the OT can not by any reasonable deduction be the God that most people imagine or conceive of today. This is one of the foremost dilemmas in the Christian faith, how to explain away and tuck under the carpet the OT accounts of God. This in itself brings us back to the notion of there being many Gods (which as I posted earlier the Bible confirms in numerous places), and thus what we seem to have (or rather to have had back then) was a set of Gods all competing for the loyalty and favours of human beings. There is something about that situation which doesn't sit easy with me. It speaks of hierarchy, dictatorship, the desire for one being to dominate and rule over others and the use of force to achieve it.

    Now once again I worry that I stray off topic and I have no desire whatsoever to derail the thread so forgive me if this is the case. I do find the journey of such thinking extremely interesting and productive nonetheless.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4.3k
    Both are existentially dependent upon language. So the difference doesn't make a difference here.creativesoul

    Seems you do not know the meaning of "number".
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4.3k
    We need first to establish what good is in general. My definition of good refers to any type of good that is objective, not merely moral good. Thus it applies to circles, hammers, homework, health, morality, or really anything that has a nature, an identity. People may not all agree about the moral system, but all can agree that this circle is a better circle than this circle. Thus I believe that the definition of good is fitting. Once established, then we can move on to the next objections.Samuel Lacrampe

    The mistake is in referring to the one which is better than the other, (the circles for example), in terms of quantity, "the maximum". The "best" is the nearest to the ideal (the perfect conception), it is not the "maximum", which implies a quantity.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739
    It comes from "outside" of the person, but that "outside" is really through the "inside".Metaphysician Undercover
    I accept the clarification.


    [...] So as much as "conscience" may lead us in specific directions, we cannot validate that it is leading us in the right direction [...]Metaphysician Undercover
    While your argument is valid, its conclusion unreasonable, as it fails the Law of Parsimony. It is like saying that although we all perceive the same boat at the horizon, we should not conclude that it is real because there is always the possibility of collective hallucination. Yes, it is possible, but the former hypothesis is simpler than the latter.

    More importantly however, let's recall why conscience was brought up. The argument from degree is based on the hypothesis definition that good is the measure of how close a being gets to its perfect nature or function. You attempted to falsify it by pointing out that we perceive persons as being more or less good despite not knowing the human purpose. Thus conscience was brought up to explain how we are able to perceive goodness in persons without the need to know human purpose. Whether or not conscience is a reliable source of data, its existence is sufficient to counter the objection.


    Regarding the terms ideal, quantity, quality: I don't mind trying to adjust the terms to apply to your meanings. As for me, I can find other terms to fit my meanings as intended in the OP. Thus what I meant by 'ideal' or 'maximum degree' can become 'perfection' or 'best'.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739
    The "ought to" part simply implies that the benchmark maximum exists albeit notionally (as the 'ought to' could just be an ideal or concept). It doesn't for me imply that the benchmark can be reached. [...]Pilgrim
    'Ought' is different than 'should'. 'Ought' means 'should' specifically in the moral sense, in the sense of duty, obligation; in the sense that we are labelled as good if we do, and bad if we don't. Your superman example is an example of should, but not an example of ought, because as you said, it is not currently possible to ignore the effects of gravity, despite the benefits it could bring.

    Example: The rich ought to donate to the poor, because it would be in accordance with the Golden Rule, and they can. On the other hand, the poor ought not to donate to the poor or the rich, because they cannot. See the story of Rich man and Lazarus for support from the Bible on this.


    I pause here to ask whether the actual source property itself, love, goodness, life-energy, whatever, must in any sense be an actual being rather than just being that simple thing/property itself. [...]Pilgrim
    Another clarification on definitions. In Aristotelian language, a 'being' is not necessarily a living organism (which would be a living being) or person, but simply a thing in the sense that that which is not a being is nothing. So the being with the maximum property as its essence can be just that, the maximum property.


    If God is deemed the actual personification and true source of love or goodness then by definition God can not be evil or produce evil. If the source is true and pure there can be no evil within it.Pilgrim
    Yes, that follows.

    That being the case the entire set of books in the OT would seem to be in gross error for they describe a God who is, at least to our minds and set of values, inherently evil.Pilgrim
    The conventional interpretation of the Bible in Christianity is that the New Testament should be interpreted literally, and the Old Testament should be interpreted figuratively, in the sense that agrees with the NT. Thus the OT is like the section with riddles, and the NT is like the section with the answers. It sounds like a cop out, but Jesus says himself in the NT: "Don't suppose I came to do away with the Law and the Prophets. I did not come to do away with them, but to give them their full meaning." Pascal gives a good explanation for this in his book The Pensées.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4.3k
    While your argument is valid, its conclusion unreasonable, as it fails the Law of Parsimony.Samuel Lacrampe

    When this occurs, that the argument is valid, but the conclusion unreasonable, then we must verify the premises. This is how we may test premises. If certain premises can produce unreasonable conclusions, then we know that there is a problem somewhere with the premises. The premise which appears like it could be faulty is the idea that conscience may be a chance occurrence. If we dismiss this premise, then there is a reason for conscience, let's say it serves a purpose.

    Further, for the sake of argument, let's associate purpose with good, as you suggested. To judge a being's goodness, we need to know that being's purpose. The obvious question is how do we get from knowing that there is "a purpose", to knowing "the purpose". See, judging goodness requires knowing the purpose of something, and I have admitted that conscience serves "a purpose", so now we need to know "the purpose" of conscience in order to know that what conscience determines as good, is really good.

    More importantly however, let's recall why conscience was brought up. The argument from degree is based on the hypothesis definition that good is the measure of how close a being gets to its perfect nature or function. You attempted to falsify it by pointing out that we perceive persons as being more or less good despite not knowing the human purpose. Thus conscience was brought up to explain how we are able to perceive goodness in persons without the need to know human purpose. Whether or not conscience is a reliable source of data, its existence is sufficient to counter the objection.Samuel Lacrampe

    The simple existence of conscience does not suffice to validate judgement of the degree of goodness. As the definition dictates, the degree of goodness is judged according to the designated purpose. This requires knowing the purpose. Conscience tells us that there is "a purpose", and free will allows us to choose "the purpose", so we have a number of possible purposes to choose from. The degree of goodness is therefore dependent on the choice of purpose. This is why a person's act may be judged by one person as good, but by another as not good, or even judged this way by the same person, in relation to different purposes. Therefore conscience cannot be used to validate our judgements of goodness. We still need to determine "the purpose", as knowing that there is "a purpose" does not suffice.

    Regarding the terms ideal, quantity, quality: I don't mind trying to adjust the terms to apply to your meanings. As for me, I can find other terms to fit my meanings as intended in the OP. Thus what I meant by 'ideal' or 'maximum degree' can become 'perfection' or 'best'.Samuel Lacrampe

    OK, that was my main objection with the argument by degree, "maximum" implies quantity. So let's remove this term and see what happens to the argument.

    P1: If there exist beings with varying degrees of a property, then there must exist a being with that property to the maximum degree.Samuel Lacrampe

    Notice how "maximum degree" implies more in quantity. Any time we compare quantities, there is a distinct judgement of more or less. And, if a number of different quantities are compared, there is always one which is the most, "the maximum". So if a property is numbered, graded by quantity, we can make a judgement as to which quantity is the maximum.

    Now, instead of "maximum", let's assume that we judge a property by "best", or "ideal". We cannot say that the highest quantity is "the best". Further, what is best for me is not necessarily the same as what is best for you. So there is my judgement of "best", your judgement of "best", and all the other judgements of "best". Why would you assume that there must be a being with the best of any particular property, when "the best of that property" is a number of varying degrees of that property, depending on who is making the judgement. Doesn't it seem more logical that it is actually impossible that there is a being with the best of that property, because this would mean that the being would have to have a number of different degrees of that property at the very same time, to satisfy what every different person considers as "the best" of that property?

    Now what is goodness? Rather than seeing good and bad as two separate and opposite beings, it is more correct to see good/bad as how close/far a being gets to its perfect nature or function.Samuel Lacrampe

    Now let's continue, and analyze your conception of goodness. What is a being's perfect nature? Any being is the being which it is. If it were something other than the being which it is, it would not be the being which it is. This "otherness" would be an imperfection to that being's nature. So every being, by its very nature of being the being which it is, is perfect in goodness because if it had any otherness, this would be an imperfection to the nature of that being.

    That is to judge goodness by the being's "perfect nature". Every being is that particular being's own perfect nature because to have a different nature would make it other than the being which it is, and it's perfect nature would then not be the nature of the being which it is. So it's impossible that a being's perfect nature could be other than what the being actually is.

    If you want to judge goodness by the being's function, then this is something completely different. To judge the being's function is to place it in relation to something else, give it context in relation to a larger being for example. Now we are not judging goodness according to the being's perfect nature, rather we are judging it according to another being's nature.
  • Pilgrim
    21
    The conventional interpretation of the Bible in Christianity is that the New Testament should be interpreted literally, and the Old Testament should be interpreted figuratively, in the sense that agrees with the NT. Thus the OT is like the section with riddles, and the NT is like the section with the answers. — Samuel Lacrampe

    Having learned some astonishing secrets hidden cryptically, allegorically and in code in the OT, that part of your statement holds true, however I have never seen the NT confirm or explain the secrets hidden in the OT. Thus for me, we still have the situation where the masses (Sheeple) are being hoodwinked about what the Bible is saying and they are not being given the truth. It's a sorry state.

    So the being with the maximum property as its essence can be just that, the maximum property. — Samuel Lacrampe

    That being the case the Conclusion in the OP, seems slightly off:

    •C: The moral good to the maximum degree exists (which is what we call God).

    So, yes, the moral good to the maximum degree exists but to equate that as God is questionable unless we are simply using the term God as an arbitrary name. I haven't studied Aquinas but I feel sure that when he refers to God he is talking about a living person, being, personification rather than just the property or source itself. I don't believe he has proven or deduced that the maximum property is this being, he has only proved that the maximum property exists.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739
    [...] See, judging goodness requires knowing the purpose of something, and I have admitted that conscience serves "a purpose", so now we need to know "the purpose" of conscience in order to know that what conscience determines as good, is really good.Metaphysician Undercover
    We are still not quite on the same page. First, I think we can both agree that this conscience, this moral compass, is real (not necessarily truthful but we do perceive something). Next, the assumption is that it is also truthful; its info is correct. As such, its purpose is clear: to inform us on which behaviour is morally good and morally bad. Next, based on particular data from conscience, we induce general moral laws like the Golden Rule or Kant's Categorical Imperative. Finally, based on the common language that what we call a "good person" is a morally good person, we deduce that the human purpose is to abide to the general moral rules.


    As the definition dictates, the degree of goodness is judged according to the designated purpose. This requires knowing the purpose. Conscience tells us that there is "a purpose", and free will allows us to choose "the purpose", so we have a number of possible purposes to choose from. The degree of goodness is therefore dependent on the choice of purpose.Metaphysician Undercover
    If a being is able to choose its own purpose, then that purpose is merely subjective, which means it has no objective purpose; and by extension, the degree of goodness, relative to that subjective purpose, would also be subjective. Furthermore, if conscience judges our behaviour, then we do not get to choose our purpose over what our conscience tells us.

    Instead, with the assumption that our conscience is truthful, we are able to determine if a person is truly morally good. It is also able to tell us if a person is a good person, for to be a good person is to be morally good. From this, we can deduce the human purpose which is to be morally perfect. Yes, free will gives us the freedom to choose, not our purpose because it is objective, but rather choose to accept or decline our purpose of moral perfection; which itself is not changeable.

    I will respond to the rest of the post at a later time.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739
    Having learned some astonishing secrets hidden cryptically, allegorically and in code in the OT, that part of your statement holds true, however I have never seen the NT confirm or explain the secrets hidden in the OT. Thus for me, we still have the situation where the masses (Sheeple) are being hoodwinked about what the Bible is saying and they are not being given the truth. It's a sorry state.Pilgrim
    Did somebody read Dan Brown :wink: ? Jokes aside, do you have an example of passage in the OT that is not clarified in the NT? I myself am not all that familiar with the OT so I could learn something too.


    [...] I don't believe he has proven or deduced that the maximum property is this being, he has only proved that the maximum property exists.Pilgrim
    You are correct that the argument only proves merely a slice of the christian God. In fact, christians believe that a complete picture of the true God is only possible through Jesus, not through reason alone. That said, we can associate this source of moral goodness with the christian God based on the Bible:

    • 1 Peter 1:16 "Be holy, because I [God] am holy."
    • Mark 10:18 "Why do you call me good? - Jesus answered - No one is good except God alone"
  • Pilgrim
    21
    do you have an example of passage in the OT that is not clarified in the NT?Samuel Lacrampe

    Well now, here we risk totally derailing the thread. I will proceed with caution.

    Whenever I talk to anyone in matters concerning the Bible, esp the OT, I tend to ask a simple question to immediately ascertain whether or not they are clueless and have swallowed the literal/religious interpretation (which is flawed, makes zero sense and is full of contradiction) or whether they have some appreciation of what the verses are really saying, what secrets are hidden there allegorically, cryptically and in code.

    My question is this:

    "What do you understand the opening passages of Genesis to be speaking about?"

    If the answer comes back "It is a recount of how God created the universe in 7 days" then I know they are ignorant of the truths displayed there, hidden in plain sight.

    Here is a passage from Genesis:

    KJV, Genesis 2:4-7:

    "This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown. For the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground. And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being."

    This passage is not talking about the creation of the universe or Earth. It is talking about a process, a physical process to make something. The passage contains key terms, key words that are not literal. Those terms leap off the page to me as if they were in large bold red text but that is only because my eyes have been opened to their meaning. Prior to this I was as ignorant as everyone else.

    Here is another important passage:

    KJV, Proverbs 3:13-20:

    "Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her. The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens. By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew."

    Once again this passage is dripping with key terminology and is referring to the same thing as the Genesis passage. Note the last 2 sentences and how they repeat what was stated in Genesis. This passage is NOT talking about "wisdom" despite the opening line, but the wise most assuredly know what it is talking about and the great value of it.

    Nowhere in the NT does Jesus come out and explain the truths in these passages nor does he explain the process I spoke of or its end product anywhere in the NT. In fact Jesus simply perpetuated the cryptic approach, leaving "ordinary" people clueless.

    For example he said:

    John 12:23-24:

    "Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit."

    He's not talking about how to grow wheat, he is being allegorical. He is outlining an important, in fact absolutely vital part of the overall process that was referred to in the Genesis and Proverbs passages. He's explaining that in order to create the end product of that process, there must along the way be the process of "death" or putrefaction/decomposition. It is a process of Nature herself by she makes all things, taking one thing, disassembling it to its fundamental components (Prima Materia) and then building something new from those universal parts.

    Staying with the NT, the book of Revelation also makes a cryptic mention of our secret:

    KJV, Revelation 2:17:

    "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it."

    I could provide you with lots of Bible passages that repeat these same hidden truths and I could point out where many key terms have been embedded in the texts using letter spacings.

    Do not think however that the secrets here are unique to Christianity or to the Bible. The very same "thing" is written about in the same allegorical way in the Quran, the Bhagavad Gita, in Taoism and many other places. The understanding of this serves to highlight that all these religions are not enemies of each other and that essentially they have the same founding source, the same underpinning set of truths which have sadly, over the years been manipulated and massaged and presented in a way that keeps the truth hidden from the masses. The secret is huge, and those who have it keep it jealously guarded, to the detriment of the rest of mankind.
  • Pilgrim
    21
    do you have an example of passage in the OT that is not clarified in the NT?Samuel Lacrampe

    Well now, here we risk totally derailing the thread. I will proceed with caution.

    Whenever I talk to anyone in matters concerning the Bible, esp the OT, I tend to ask a simple question to immediately ascertain whether or not they are clueless and have swallowed the literal/religious interpretation (which is flawed, makes zero sense and is full of contradiction) or whether they have some appreciation of what the verses are really saying, what secrets are hidden there allegorically, cryptically and in code.

    My question is this:

    "What do you understand the opening passages of Genesis to be speaking about?"

    If the answer comes back "It is a recount of how God created the universe in 7 days" then I know they are ignorant of the truths displayed there, hidden in plain sight.

    Here is a passage from Genesis:

    KJV, Genesis 2:4-7:

    "This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown. For the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground. And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being."

    This passage is not talking about the creation of the universe or Earth. It is talking about a process, a physical process to make something. The passage contains key terms, key words that are not literal. Those terms leap off the page to me as if they were in large bold red text but that is only because my eyes have been opened to their meaning. Prior to this I was as ignorant as everyone else.

    Here is another important passage:

    KJV, Proverbs 3:13-20:

    "Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her. The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens. By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew."

    Once again this passage is dripping with key terminology and is referring to the same thing as the Genesis passage. Note the last 2 sentences and how they repeat what was stated in Genesis. This passage is NOT talking about "wisdom" despite the opening line, but the wise most assuredly know what it is talking about and the great value of it.
  • Pilgrim
    21
    Cont . . .

    Nowhere in the NT does Jesus come out and explain the truths in these passages nor does he explain the process I spoke of or its end product anywhere in the NT. In fact Jesus simply perpetuated the cryptic approach, leaving "ordinary" people clueless.

    For example he said:

    John 12:23-24:

    "Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit."

    He's not talking about how to grow wheat, he is being allegorical. He is outlining an important, in fact absolutely vital part of the overall process that was referred to in the Genesis and Proverbs passages. He's explaining that in order to create the end product of that process, there must along the way be the process of "death" or putrefaction/decomposition. It is a process of Nature herself by she makes all things, taking one thing, disassembling it to its fundamental components (Prima Materia) and then building something new from those universal parts.

    Staying with the NT, the book of Revelation also makes a cryptic mention of our secret:

    KJV, Revelation 2:17:

    "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it."

    I could provide you with lots of Bible passages that repeat these same hidden truths and I could point out where many key terms have been embedded in the texts using letter spacings.

    Do not think however that the secrets here are unique to Christianity or to the Bible. The very same "thing" is written about in the same allegorical way in the Quran, the Bhagavad Gita, in Taoism and many other places. The understanding of this serves to highlight that all these religions are not enemies of each other and that essentially they have the same founding source, the same underpinning set of truths which have sadly, over the years been manipulated and massaged and presented in a way that keeps the truth hidden from the masses. The secret is huge, and those who have it keep it jealously guarded, to the detriment of the rest of mankind.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4.3k
    Next, the assumption is that it is also truthful; its info is correct.Samuel Lacrampe

    This is where we disagree. There is a disconnect, a gap of incompatibility between "goodness is judged according to purpose", and "goodness is judged by conscience". "Judged by purpose" allows for many possible purposes, so goodness is relative, what is good for one purpose is not good for another. "Judged by conscience" is different from "judged by purpose".. If "conscience" is adapted to allow for many possible purposes, it becomes completely useless because it looses the capacity to say that one purpose is better than another purpose, and conscience cannot judge goodness, as goodness is relative to purpose. If "conscience" is supposed to determine which purpose is better than another, then we judge goodness by conscience, and not by purpose at all. "Good" according to conscience and "good" according to purpose are distinct and have not been made compatible.

    As such, its purpose is clear: to inform us on which behaviour is morally good and morally bad. Next, based on particular data from conscience, we induce general moral laws like the Golden Rule or Kant's Categorical Imperative. Finally, based on the common language that what we call a "good person" is a morally good person, we deduce that the human purpose is to abide to the general moral rules.Samuel Lacrampe

    So you proceed here to say that goodness is judged by conscience. This means that goodness is not judged relative to purpose, these two are distinct. So we must dismiss the premise of good according to purpose. We had two incompatible "goods" which have not been made to agree with each other, so if we choose one we must dismiss the other. Since purpose has been dismissed, we cannot "deduce that the human purpose is to abide to the general moral rules". That would be equivocation.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739
    Doesn't it seem more logical that it is actually impossible that there is a being with the best of that property, because this would mean that the being would have to have a number of different degrees of that property at the very same time, to satisfy what every different person considers as "the best" of that property?Metaphysician Undercover
    When we talk about the good, I mean specifically the objective good. I agree with you when it comes to subjective goods like best song or best flavour of ice cream. But when it comes to objective goods, like best circle, hammer, math homework or health, that best is objective, and hence not a matter of opinion. Surely you must agree that the best circle is something like this, and not this.


    What is a being's perfect nature? Any being is the being which it is. If it were something other than the being which it is, it would not be the being which it is. [...]Metaphysician Undercover
    This type of belief forces you to forfeit terms like change, good, and potentiality; which is absurd.

    Change: For you, a being could not change because the changed being is no longer that original being. Yes, in actuality, a being is the being which it is. But all (or most?) beings belong to species which make them in potential to change.

    Good: You would need to forfeit terms like good, bad, better, worse, etc; because for you, all beings are perfect beings as you said. This means there is no such thing as a bad health state, but only "the health state which currently is".

    Potentiality: Surely you understand the metaphysical difference between the terms actual, potential, and non-potential. When I close my eyes, I actually cannot see, but I potentially can see. In contrast, a tree actually and potentially cannot see. Furthermore, a human that is blind or deaf is a bad thing because it is part of human nature to have the ability to see and hear. In contrast, a tree that cannot see or hear is not a bad thing because it is not part of its nature to see or hear.


    So we must dismiss the premise of good according to purpose.Metaphysician Undercover
    I agree with everything you have said up to that point. The distinction is between metaphysics and epistemology. As per the definition of good, if there is a real degree of good, then there is a real purpose, regardless if we know it or not. Indeed, if we don't know the purpose, then we cannot know or judge what is good; unless the judgement comes to us by another which knows the purpose.

    So, at first we don't know our purpose so we cannot judge of what is good. But we are told what is good by another which we call conscience. Assuming that our conscience speaks the truth, then what is judged to be good is a real good. This therefore implies a real purpose, which the conscience must know. We then can find our purpose through inductive reasoning based on data from conscience. Once we know our purpose, then we can judge of what is good, which should coincide with the judgement from conscience because it all comes from there in the first place.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4.3k
    When we talk about the good, I mean specifically the objective good. I agree with you when it comes to subjective goods like best song or best flavour of ice cream. But when it comes to objective goods, like best circle, hammer, math homework or health, that best is objective, and hence not a matter of opinion. Surely you must agree that the best circle is something like this, and not this.Samuel Lacrampe

    If good is associated with purpose, how can there be an objective good? Good would be determined relative to one's intention, and intentions vary. Your example, "best circle", is not an example of purpose. I think if we are talking about a supposed objective good, we must remove the idea of purpose.

    This type of belief forces you to forfeit terms like change, good, and potentiality; which is absurd.Samuel Lacrampe

    That's not necessarily true. A thing's perfect nature, could be a changing nature. All I am saying is that a thing's perfect nature cannot be other than what the thing is, or else that is not that thing's perfect nature it is something else's perfect nature.

    Good: You would need to forfeit terms like good, bad, better, worse, etc; because for you, all beings are perfect beings as you said. This means there is no such thing as a bad health state, but only "the health state which currently is".Samuel Lacrampe

    No, it just means we'd have to define "good" in another way. That's an objective good, good is in the object, by virtue of being the object which it is, it is good. Now we might relate one object to another, and say that one is better according to some principle like a "purpose", and come up with a relative, or subjective good. We could do this with human beings for example and compare them in terms of "health", and say that one is better than the other.

    All that it means is that we recognize two distinct meanings of "good". One, the objective good, is what is proper to the object, by virtue of existing as an object, any object is good. It is said that is why God created existence in general, He saw that it was good. So every object according to the fact that it has existence, is good. Existence is good, and that is the objective good. But there is also a more common, subjective meaning of "good", and that is a relative good. When we compare things, we use a principle of comparison, or measurement, and that is the subjective good, because we are free to choose which principle to use.

    I agree with everything you have said up to that point. The distinction is between metaphysics and epistemology. As per the definition of good, if there is a real degree of good, then there is a real purpose, regardless if we know it or not. Indeed, if we don't know the purpose, then we cannot know or judge what is good; unless the judgement comes to us by another which knows the purpose.Samuel Lacrampe

    The point is that if you want a true "objective good" you must dismiss the notion of purpose, because "purpose" is inherently subjective. Therefore we cannot know "objectively" the purpose whereby we would judge degrees of good, because this is inherently subjective. That is why theologians turn to the other sense of "good", the one I outlined above, the good of existence, the good which is inherent within every being by virtue of it being, to find an objective good. This does not mean that the subjective good is rendered as "useless", but we must be careful to maintain the separation, and not represent the subjective good as if it were objective.

    So, at first we don't know our purpose so we cannot judge of what is good. But we are told what is good by another which we call conscience. Assuming that our conscience speaks the truth, then what is judged to be good is a real good. This therefore implies a real purpose, which the conscience must know.Samuel Lacrampe

    You are just repeating the same mistake. Conscience apprehends "good" which comes to us from the source of "other". It doesn't apprehend the purpose because the purpose inheres within the other. It only apprehends that this or that is good. We can relate "good" within our own intentional minds, to purpose, and assume that the good which comes to us from "other" is also associated to some purpose, but we cannot conclude that the conscience must know this purpose.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739
    Hmmm... This post is quite large, and you are correct that this is not really related to the main topic of this discussion any more. We can pursue, but how about we focus on one specific passage for now? Your choice. Better to have quality than quantity. I respond below to the three passages that I can interpret. What hidden truth do you see, and why?

    Genesis 2:4-7: This passage seems to me to be not fully literal but partially literal, where the human body comes from evolution (dust of the ground) and the human soul comes from God (the breath of life).

    Proverbs 3:13-20: Why not interpret this passage literally? Wisdom, the ability to judge things rightly, is surely a good thing to obtain and grow.

    John 12:23-24: Jesus tends to speak in parables but then also tends to explain them right away. In this case, he explains it in John 12:25 "Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity." In other words, one ought to treat things according to their proper value, and so to value eternal things more than temporary things. And letting go of worldly obsessions requires a sacrifice, a small death.
  • Pilgrim
    21
    Better to have quality than quantity — Samuel Lacrampe

    In this instance I would disagree. The sheer number of Bible references to this secret serve to underpin it's credibility imho. What all these passages are referring to is the alchemical process for creating the Philosopher's Stone, Elixir of Life or whatever name you choose to call it. The same kind of references are found all over, in the Quran, Bhagavad Gita and elsewhere. One universal truth, spanning world religions but hidden in plain sight, allegorically, cryptically and in code.

    In order to understand the references one must first understand something of the processes involved and also something of the Nature of the "Stone" itself. Since we have limited space I will provide a brief run through.

    The Stone is actually twofold. There is a White Stone and there is a Red Stone. The White Stone bestows perfect health on the person that imbibes it. The Red Stone bestows longevity, extremely long life of the order of Biblical characters like Noah and so on who lived 900+ years.

    You will also be aware of the alchemical goals to turn base metals into gold. Well, the White Stone reputedly turns base metals to Silver. The Red Stone turns base metals into gold.

    Ok so far so good. So . . .

    White Stone = health and is associated with Silver.
    Red Stone = longevity and is associated with Gold

    By the same alchemical processes lesser crystals could be perfected into valuable gems too.

    Now here's what you need to understand about the process for making it. There are multiple processes (as explained in the Emerald Tablet) but the 2nd part of the "Great Work" as it is called involves putting a pure white salt in the bottom of a flask, adding some special liquid, sealing the flask and then putting the whole thing in a warm sand or water bath at body temperature. Thereby it incubates and undergoes a number of changes.

    Here is an image of the flask. Note the allegorical names given to it.

    Stone.png

    The top of the flask is referred to as the "Heavens"
    The salt or earthy substance in the bottom is called the "Earth"

    The gentle heat causes the liquid and damp salt in the flask to vaporise creating a "mist", often also referred to as spirit.

    The mist is a form of water so we have 2 types of water in the flask, the lower dampness and the rising vapour/mist. The separation of waters.

    The mist rises to the top, the Heavens, and then condenses into little water droplets.

    The droplets then fall back down to the bottom, like rain

    This whole thing is a microcosm which cycles in a continual loop much like our weather systems. Mist rises, rains back down, waters the ground, then the mist rises again and so on.

    This process goes on for 1-2 years.

    Along the way the substance in the flask goes through changes. The first major change is it's total decomposition. It essentially rots in the flask as the cycle reduces it to its prima material, its fundamental matter. At this stage the previously white damp salt turns a jet BLACK. The stage is allegorically often referred to as the Crow or Raven.

    Once this stage is complete the substance goes through other colours but eventually turns a brilliant WHITE again, which is the White Stone and if it is left to cycle further it turns a deep crimson RED.

    So, the important point to note here is that the colour changes of the overall process start WHITE, then go BLACK, then WHITE then RED.

    I pause at this stage to allow you to digest the above and to tell you that I am not asking you to believe in the Philosopher's Stone as real, but rather I'm asking you to understand the processes by which it is made, the colours it goes through and the benefits the White and Red stones bestow to humans.

    With all that in mind we can now revisit those Bible passages. I will place in bold the relevant allegorical terms which refer to the alchemists flask and it's contents and processes.

    KJV, Genesis 2:4-7:

    "This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown. For the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground

    You should be able to see here how this refers to the cycle in the flask, the heavens and earth, the mist and condensing to water the earth like rain.

    KJV, Proverbs 3:13-20:

    "Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her. The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens. By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew."

    No question that this passage refers to the Stone, not "wisdom". It could not be more obvious now that you know what I have told you. Length of Days (longevity) in one hand and Riches in the other hand, the very things that the White and Red Stones bestow and the passage is telling us how much more valuable the properties of healing and long life are compared to the ability to create riches. Again look at the last 2 lines and how they iterate the processes in the flask. The heavens, earth, the depths being broken up is the decomposition stage, the clouds dropping down the dew is the mist condensing at the top of the flask. Pretty easy stuff to understand but only once someone explains the Stone to you.

    The passage in Revelation again. . . . says:

    "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone"

    There it is in plain sight. A White Stone which is the hidden manna. Manna being that "magical" substance that sustained the people in the desert in the OT. The "Tree Of Life".

    Here's another Bible quote for you, the terminology should leap off the page to you now:

    KJV, Song of Solomon 5:10-16:

    My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand. His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven. His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set. His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers: his lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh.

    Remember the colour changes of the Stone creation. The BLACK (raven) stage, then white and then red (ruddy).

    One more . . .

    KJV, John 6:53-58:

    "Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever."

    The Christian faith taking a literal interpretation believes that the actual flesh and blood of Christ is what bestows eternal life, though they partake in an allegorical communion act using WHITE bread and RED wine.

    Do you not see now that Jesus is actually referring to the Stone here. The White Stone and the Red Stone. And he is giving a very stark warning. He is saying that if you don't have this Stone, you have no life in you. This makes perfect sense. Our "Life force" or life energy is a finite amount which started running out around age 30yrs. We all feel it when our strength and vigour first begin to wane. From that point we are just using up what remains of our life energy and eventually we age and die. If we have the Stone, we have an abundance of life energy and so our bodies heal very quickly indeed and we do not age. The Stone IS the real truth here.

    We can happily say that Jesus is the allegorical name for the Stone if you like but the truth is the Stone is a product of Nature, produced in the alchemist's flask, not some mumbo jumbo magical belief system.

    I could go on as there are many more Bible quotes and a whole host of key terms associated with the Stone that are encoded in Genesis. Space alas does not permit.

    I hope I have done enough here to explain :

    1. What the Stone is
    2. What it does for humans
    3. How it is referred to in allegorical terms
    4. How the Bible should NOT be taken literally
    5. How the Bible is seen to contain this important secret right throughout

    ATB
  • pico
    4
    Aquinas says in many places that God is not a member of any genus. Let's take a genus in the category of quality, "the just" in the plural. According to the Fourth Way, God would be maximally just, and all just creatures would be just but less so than God.

    But if God is not a member of the genus, the just, then "just" does not have the same value when predicated of God as it has when predicated of creatures. It's as though we have grades of J and then argue to that which is Jg. But Jg is not identical to J because it is not in the genus J.

    So how does this argument go through? It seems to involve a vicious equivocation.

    One might reply, well, 'just' is predicated of God analogously. Analogical predication of names of God is a major piece of Thomist analysis of religious language. But then we get into problems with analogical predication, such as:
    Thomistic analogical predication is not either of Aristotle's two kinds of analogy
    Aristotle says that terms have to be predicated univocally for a demonstration to go through
    We do not have access to the sense of terms that are allegedly predicated analogously, so we can't know what it means to say that God is Jg
    In a proof for God's existence, it will beg the question to import the doctrine of analogical predications of names of God, since God's existence and attributes have not been established

    I have much to learn, but the above seem to me to be problems with the Fourth Way, in addition to those that some of the others have pointed out already. I'm happy to be shown where I may be wrong.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739
    If good is associated with purpose, how can there be an objective good? Good would be determined relative to one's intention, and intentions vary.Metaphysician Undercover
    That sounds ad hoc. Why is purpose subjective? The purpose of the eye is to see, and that of the nose is to smell. It would be objectively wrong to believe that the purpose of the eye is to smell, and that of the nose is to see.

    All I am saying is that a thing's perfect nature cannot be other than what the thing is, or else that is not that thing's perfect nature it is something else's perfect nature.Metaphysician Undercover
    How do you reconcile this idea with the idea that there is a worse, better, and best circle?

    That's an objective good, good is in the object, by virtue of being the object which it is, it is good.Metaphysician Undercover
    This definition of 'good' effectively makes the term superfluous: any thing is by definition a good thing, and a bad thing would be a contradiction.

    Now we might relate one object to another, and say that one is better according to some principle like a "purpose", and come up with a relative, or subjective good.Metaphysician Undercover
    This almost sounds like what I am saying in the OP, with the exception that you make all purposes subjective, and I make them objective. We should therefore clarify this.

    Conscience apprehends "good" which comes to us from the source of "other". It doesn't apprehend the purpose because the purpose inheres within the other.Metaphysician Undercover
    No sir. If the "other" can judge a person as being good or bad, it follows that the purpose known is the human purpose; not the other's purpose. Here is an analogy: The purpose of a tugboat is to tow larger boats. Say the tugboat does not know its purpose, but we do. We can judge the tugboat by its action, relative to its purpose. Note that it is its purpose and not ours, even though we know it and it does not. The same goes for the conscience and the "other" when judging humans.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4.3k
    That sounds ad hoc. Why is purpose subjective? The purpose of the eye is to see, and that of the nose is to smell. It would be objectively wrong to believe that the purpose of the eye is to smell, and that of the nose is to see.Samuel Lacrampe

    To see what, to smell what? There is no objectivity here, just a general principle produced by inductive reasoning. The eyes sees things therefore it's purpose is to see. The nose smells things therefore its purpose is to smell. But not everything can be seen, nor can everything be smelled, so these senses are selective and not objective.

    How do you reconcile this idea with the idea that there is a worse, better, and best circle?Samuel Lacrampe

    I already explained this, the judgement of a worse or better circle is made relative to some principle or principles. We have an idea of what a circle ought to be, and we judge things accordingly, as a better circle or worse circle, This is a relative good. it is subjective because the principle by which the thing is judged to be good or bad, "circleness", is chosen. The same thing which is good relative to this principle, is bad relative to the principle of "squareness". So the same thing is both good and bad, depending on the principle it is related to.

    The good which an object has, by it's very existence, is an absolute, objective good. This good inheres within the object simply by being an object, so it is objective. It is not a particular property of the object so it requires no relation to a principle for judgement of that property, the object is just said to be good, by virtue of being an object.

    This definition of 'good' effectively makes the term superfluous: any thing is by definition a good thing, and a bad thing would be a contradiction.Samuel Lacrampe

    It only appears to be superfluous if you do not recognize the possibility of not-being. If to be is good, then not-being is bad. How is this superfluous? It is, by definition, good to be a thing, and to be nothing is bad.

    This almost sounds like what I am saying in the OP, with the exception that you make all purposes subjective, and I make them objective. We should therefore clarify this.Samuel Lacrampe

    Go ahead then, and explain to me how purpose is objective, I'll explain why this is impossible. "Objective", means of the object, adhering within the object. "Purpose" is to have a function. So if an object has a purpose, this means that it has a function relative to something else. This "something else" may itself be an object, so that the original thing is a part of that larger object, but the purpose of the original object is always external to that object, determined by its relation to some larger object. So the purpose of any object can never be property of that object, it is not "of the object", nor does it inhere within the object, it is dependent on that object's relation to something else.

    No sir. If the "other" can judge a person as being good or bad, it follows that the purpose known is the human purpose; not the other's purpose. Here is an analogy: The purpose of a tugboat is to tow larger boats. Say the tugboat does not know its purpose, but we do. We can judge the tugboat by its action, relative to its purpose. Note that it is its purpose and not ours, even though we know it and it does not. The same goes for the conscience and the "other" when judging humans.Samuel Lacrampe

    You left out one critical premise required for your conclusion. How does judging good or bad determine a thing's objective purpose? The tugboat tows boats and is judged to be good because of this. The "purpose" is in the one who judges, this is the desired end, to have boats pulled. The judgement is subjective. How does this put the purpose into the tugboat so that you can say objectively, that the tugboat's purpose is to tow boats. Consider this. I dig in the ground with the claws of my hammer. We can say that the hammer's purpose is to dig in the ground. But that is a subjective purpose, dependent on my desired end. How can we say objectively that the hammer's purpose is to dig in the ground?
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