Reviews for Philosophy Essay 1:The JudeoChristian God
Complex Variable chapter 1 . 9/11/2012
This is interesting! You usually don't see people posting such deep inquiries on FictionPress, but, I guess that you're an exception. The essay is well ordered—like any good paper; you have a good structure in addressing the three "omnipresence", "omnipotence", and "omniscience".

You also bring up a classic philosophical paradox—several actually—in talking about the fact that "God cannot make 2 2 5".
The paradoxes are:

1) is God truly omnipotent if he/she/it remains bound by the rules of his/her/its creation? (Or, more abstractly: can an omnipotent being create a boulder too heavy for itself to lift?)

2) I because God wills it to be so? Or is there an underlying/unintentional sense of order to reality that goes beyond even the divine?

3) Also—about Judas: how could Jesus have sacrificed himself to redeem humanity's sins if Judas hadn't "betrayed" him? Since Judas' betrayal is pivotal in allowing Jesus to fulfill his divinely ordained mission, shouldn't he be praised for following God's plan, rather than cursed to live in the ninth circle of hell?

Just a thought.
The Autumn Queen chapter 1 . 5/19/2012
"He must know everything that has an is happening" - and is happening?

This is an interesting philosophy. I remember a similar discussion when I took philosophy. I'm Muslim myself, and while the God is the same and in terms of particular branches, particularly Unitarian, the beliefs of God is also the same, I don’t think you’ve managed to encompass that. In particular, I wasn’t too happy with the omnipotent part of your essay. And there wasn’t a whole lot of “God is separate from his creation”. A part of that, time and logic and space, they are all God’s creation so we believe the laws he created, ie. conforming to logic in saying that 22 cannot equal 5, does not apply to him. In the case of free will, if you don’t know the future, how can you argue your actions towards it have been predetermined? If you knew something was going bad was going to happen by your actions, chances are you’d be more mindful and refrain from doing it. Thus, you’ve made a choice while condemning yourself to the assumption that the future you or someone else predicted would come true. In the end, it may not, but how do you know that wasn’t the future predicted and the other/your own brain simply told you otherwise to cause you to make that choice?

I’d say more, but it’s midnight now. I’m off to bed. Goodnight.
Lara Bykirk chapter 1 . 10/2/2011
I have two main categories of revision for you to think about: content and structure. I'm not going to touch on things like grammar or syntax, because I assume that you have people around you who are able to go over your writing with a fine-toothed comb, and it's more useful to do that when you've got your content fixed, in any case.

First, structure. Right now, you've structured your essay around some of the traits that Swinburne identifies. This is probably an all right way to structure things, but you don't touch on all of the traits that he mentions (what about perfect goodness, or being the source of moral obligation?) If you set up Swinburne's definition as the one you base your essay on, it would make more sense to address each of his terms. If I were you, I would find a definition of God that only encompasses the things you want to talk about. Also, you should give a source if you claim that three traits are "basic" to Christianity-according to who? And if benevolence is so central, why don't you talk about it any more in your paper?

All right, now for the content. I warn you, I'm a theology nut, and so this might a lot more than you bargained for. I don't know the scope of your assignment, so I can't speak to that. But here goes. Usually, people don't see it as problematic to say that God is eternal and still acts in the world-just as it wouldn't be problematic to say that an author can "change" things in a story he's writing. That God doesn't exist in our timeframe doesn't mean that he can't affect it. What God's activity usually seems to challenge is his immutability, or unchangingness. Since he's perfect, then any change must be for the worse, so how could he start to do any action? There are of course counterarguments, but that's something you could bring up.

Your discussion of creation is a little confusing-probably the most important thing about the Judeo-Christian view of God is that he /is/ separate from his creation. Creation ex nihilo means that God didn't take part of himself (or all of himself) and make it into the world; he created it out of nothing, so that it is wholly different from who he is. The idea that God is identical with the world, or a process in the world, is pantheism, not Judeo-Christian monotheism. If you want a really good discussion of this that might be outside the scope of your essay, read "First-Century Jewish Monotheism" in The New Testament and the People of God, by NT Wright (pp248-250).

The problem of evil is a huge problem for the Judeo-Christian worldview, and I think your essay would benefit from giving it a fuller treatment than you've given it here. It's not a problem just because of omnipotence, but because of omnipotence and benevolence combined. After all, it's easy to imagine a god powerful enough to stop evil who doesn't care about humans, or a god who cares but isn't powerful-the problem is why a god who is all-powerful and all-loving doesn't stop bad things from happening.

There are all sorts of interesting arguments to explain why God's omniscience doesn't rule out free will, and I don't think you've picked the best one. (Also, who is Brian Davies? Why are we listening to him?) Again, this might be more than you've bargained for, but if you're interested in this you might read The Consolation of Philosophy, which is a really, really famous text written by Boethius in about 525AD. The last chapter of that book lays out an argument defending omniscience and free will that theologians still use today, in a pretty similar form.

The very last thing I have to say (promise!) is that I think your essay would benefit from a stronger conclusion. Just give us one paragraph to wrap things up and send your readers off. Other than that, though, you've got a really good start! Good luck!
Trimontad chapter 1 . 9/13/2011
Interesting, but it would be better if you drew from specific religions in your explanations. When describing predestination, explain the Calvinist doctrine of it, etc. When you just lay it out and say people view it differently, you miss the wealth of possibilities that can be found in comparing the different beliefs and doctrines of established religions. Also, do not forget that the Judeo-Christian God is also the God of Islam.