So much for omnipresence.
The third omni- attribute I referred to was omniscience. I probably led you to believe we’d look into that next.
Turns out, you don’t know everything. Or maybe you saw this coming?
Omniscience probably could be drawn out of the KCA, but I think we may be stretching the thing uncomfortably. Eventually it will get some treatment.
For now, one last look at the KCA: It would seem to give us a mind which created and transcends the Universe, true enough. There is one more thing – I noted it seemed to be a later addition to William Lane Craig’s thought.
And, for me, it begins to touch the heart. Until now, these things – creation, power, and presence – while they do have the ability to comfort and inspire and awe, might belong to a deistic God,* one who creates and stands back. Authors will sometimes tell stories just to see what happens, just to engage the mind. Some write text books, which isn’t really storytelling so much as it is instruction. Well and good.
Here, we seem to have a personal cause of the Universe.
Why say that?
Well, I noted that if the laws of physics are really to credit for the creation of our Universe – if, because they are abstract, they can transcend the Universe, and if, by some ability unsuspected until lately, they could create a Universe out of nothing – we would have a few questions about this. Relevant here: Why did the laws of physics create a Universe when they did, and not sooner? Why did they create a Universe at all?
After all, the laws of physics are abstract objects. Even if they are forces (and no longer abstract), this does not explain why a thing should happen at one time, when it conceivably could have happened at any other time. Nor does it explain why it should have happened at all. This represents an impersonal cause of the Universe.
While abstract objects do not have the capacity to choose anything, a person does. Free agents are the only beings who can start a causal chain of events. “God” has answers for the questions we posed.
“Why did God create a Universe when he did?” – Because he willed it. And if the issue of “timing” is relevant, then we can see that God would likely have reasons for that timing, whether we are aware of them or not. (Does “timing” remain a coherent question in view of eternity?).
“Why did God create a Universe at all?” – Because he willed it. And again, we can see that he would likely have reasons. Religion begins to postulate what those reasons might be.
A person can make something happen at one time, and not another. A person can make a thing happen at all (or not). And is there anything else that does make such decisions?
The last few posts have been a bit lengthy. Let’s cut out early. When we come back, we’ll see what the analogy of an author can show us.
*A deistic God, you might object, can still make a decision to create the Universe, could still be a “person” in the sense described here. Right you are, but then the usual (or at least, layman’s) view of the thing has shifted. For the deistic God is usually seen as “impersonal,” and the deist’s objection, or hesitation, is against a “personal” God.
The God of deism would fit the description gleaned from the KCA – all-powerful, omnipresent, creator of all, and even “personal.” That is, everyone who admits a deistic God believes that God is capable of making decisions – the decision to create the Universe, for instance. And yet the deist wants to be careful to distinguish himself from the theist. What is that distinction?
It would seem to result from “immanence.” And a careful reader might think I’ve conflated “transcendence” with “immanence” in recent posts. But that is a perfectly theistic thing to do (and indeed I have, hopefully in a defensible way).
Sticking with the present point: We seem to be shifting our meaning when we first say “a person” and then say “personal.” Perhaps a person can be a very impersonal being – what can that mean?
It would mean, at least, that such a person is indifferent, aloof – reminiscent of the God of deism. Such a person participates as far as is necessary – as far as she is interested – and then retreats. Such a person is not “personal,” in the sense of being “personable,” and is not interested in relationships with other persons.
So, the deistic God would be “a person” but not “personal,” while the theistic God would be both – a person and personal. The theistic God has the capacity for making decisions (a person) and has a desire to be in relationship with other persons (personal).
Taking this back to our present discussion: We have only gotten as far as talking about a deistic God, one who is a person. We don’t know if this God is also personal (in the layman’s sense), also desiring relationships with other persons.
But, I will continue to use the word “personal” as the adjective form of “person,” and speak of a “relational” God at another time. (Colloquialisms be damned!)