Who says necessary beings are (a) one and not a many? That God is the only necessary being? Of course this takes you into needing to define your terms. Is there some reason you did not?2. If something is not a necessary being, then it is impossible for it to be identical with God. — CurlyHairedCobbler
And, is nothing a being? — tim wood
Eriugena proceeds to list ‘five ways of interpreting’ (quinque modi interpretationis) the manner in which things may be said to exist or not to exist (Periphyseon, I.443c-446a). According to the first mode, things accessible to the senses and the intellect are said to exist, whereas anything which, ‘through the excellence of its nature’ (per excellentiam suae naturae), transcends our faculties are said not to exist. According to this classification, God, because of his transcendence is said not to exist. He is ‘nothingness through excellence’ (nihil per excellentiam).
The second mode of being and non-being is seen in the ‘orders and differences of created natures’ (I.444a), whereby, if one level of nature is said to exist, those orders above or below it are said not to exist:
For an affirmation concerning the lower (order) is a negation concerning the higher, and so too a negation concerning the lower (order) is an affirmation concerning the higher. (Periphyseon, I.444a)
According to this mode, the affirmation of man is the negation of angel and vice versa (affirmatio enim hominis negatio est angeli, negatio vero hominis affirmatio est angeli, I.444b).
"Existence" refers to what is finite and fallen and cut of from its true being. Within the finite realm issues of conflict between, for example, autonomy (Greek: 'autos' - self, 'nomos' - law) and heteronomy (Greek: 'heteros' - other, 'nomos' - law) abound (there are also conflicts between the formal/emotional and static/dynamic). Resolution of these conflicts lies in the essential realm (the Ground of Meaning/the Ground of Being) which humans are cut off from yet also dependent upon ('In existence man is that finite being who is aware both of his belonging to and separation from the infinite' (Newport p.67f)). Therefore existence is estrangement.
Although this looks like Tillich was an atheist such misunderstanding only arises due to a simplistic understanding of his use of the word "existence". What Tillich is seeking to lead us to is an understanding of the 'God above God'. ...The Ground of Being (God) must be separate from the finite realm (which is a mixture of being and non-being), and that God cannot be a being. God must be beyond the finite realm (therefore, beyond existence and non-existence). Anything brought from essence into existence is always going to be corrupted by ambiguity and...finitude. Thus statements about God must always be analogical (except the statement 'God is the Ground of Being'). Although we may claim to know God (the Infinite) we cannot. The moment God is brought from essence into existence God is corrupted by finitude and our limited understanding. In this realm we can never fully grasp (or speak about) who God really is. The infinite cannot remain infinite in the finite realm. That this rings true can be seen when we realize there are a multitude of different understandings of God within the Christian faith alone. They cannot all be completely true so there must exist a 'pure' understanding of God (essence) that each of these are speaking about (or glimpsing aspects of)...."
"... However in many cases Tillich's theology has been misunderstood and misapplied and this most notably with his statement that God is beyond existence (mistakenly taken to mean that God does not exist). Tillich presents a radically transcendent view of God which he attempts to balance with an immanent understanding of God as the Ground of Being (and the Ground of Meaning)...
What, then, is the status of "necessary"? Of necessity, of necessitation?If... God is a necessary being, — CurlyHairedCobbler
You could say that if Jesus is God then Jesus is a necessary being. But that's not at all the identification claim you're asking about.
A necessary being is a being that exists in every possible world. — Kornelius
Re your argument, you're substituting a claim about necessary beings with claims about identification. I'm not sure why you'd not realize that the two are not at all the same thing. — Terrapin Station
I don't see how this criticism is relevant. If God is a necessary being, then everything about him is necessary. If God is a triune being with Jesus being one part of the Trinity, then God is necessarily a triune being and Jesus is necessarily God. This all just follows from the logic of necessity. — Janus
1. It is a conceptual truth (or, so to speak, true by definition) that God is a being than which none greater can be imagined (that is, the greatest possible being that can be imagined).
2. God exists as an idea in the mind.
3. A being that exists as an idea in the mind and in reality is, other things being equal, greater than a 4. being that exists only as an idea in the mind.
4. Thus, if God exists only as an idea in the mind, then we can imagine something that is greater than God (that is, a greatest possible being that does exist).
5. But we cannot imagine something that is greater than God (for it is a contradiction to suppose that we can imagine a being greater than the greatest possible being that can be imagined.)
6. Therefore, God exists.
The idea of 'necessary being' is most clearly laid out in Anselm's ontological argument. It's based on the axiom that 'being' is a good, and that 'non-being' or 'non-existence' is a deficiency. So when 'the fool' claims that 'God does not exist', then he's contradicting himself, because the very idea of 'God' is something which by definition, must be, because to not be, or to not exist, is a deficiency, and God, by definition, is not deficient in any respect, and so, therefore, could not "not be". Put another way, if God is indeed God, then God must be; His being is in that sense 'necessary'. — Wayfarer
because the very idea of 'God' is something which by definition, — Wayfarer
The idea is that if a necessary being is necessary, then necessity precedes being. Further, if absent a necessary being, then nothing can be, then there is necessarily nothing if not something; again, the priority of necessity. Perhaps it is not God - whatever that means - that is first cause, first mover. & etc. - that is primary, first, foundational, but necessity. But in that case just what exactly is necessity?
i suspect this is just a rabbit hole in language; still, though, it is necessary to deal with it.
As it sits, the idea of a necessary being is a kind of nonsense. Who will make sense of it? — tim wood
if absent a necessary being, then nothing can be
I am not convinced that there is anything problematic about speaking of necessity in this simple way, and extending our talk of necessity to the existence of objects. If I imagine a situation where one object has the property PP, and some object that does not have this property, then there necessarily exist at least two distinct objects.
Now if I want to say that an objects exists necessarily, I am simply saying that this object exists in every possible situation, and that I cannot conceive of a situation in which such an object does not exist. — Kornelius
Some argue that certain abstract objects exist necessarily. Mathematical structures/objects would be a prime example. — Kornelius
You'd have to explain how that follows. — Terrapin Station
Ah, so you're asking for an explanation! :wink: — Janus
You would need to know a little bit about the history of Western philosophy to know what the ideas of necessity and necessary being logically entail. Perhaps read some Spinoza or Aquinas. — Janus
A necessary being is one whose existence depends upon nothing outside itself. Obviously no physical being could be a necessary being, because a necessary being cannot come into existence, since it necessarily always and forever exists. It follows that whatever qualities such a being possesses are also necessary. — Janus
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