Thursday, March 12, 2009

The return of the breakdown: Number of Gods Issue

This is a summary of the number-of-gods subject. I sincerely apologize for neglecting this subject and this whole blog for months. Other things were going on.
Here is the outline, approximately.

Number of gods issue:
If one is most powerful:
And if they always agree
then the result would be indistinguishable from the effect of one god
If one is most powerful
And if they disagree
then the most powerful could annihilate or restrain or diminish the others; there would then be just one God
or the most powerful could freely choose to compromise or mitigate the effects of the actions of the others, but the results would include a universe with compromised, varied laws and patterns that don't hold. This is not the case. Conclusion: There are not many gods of unequal power and in disagreement among themselves.
If all are equally powerful
and if they always agree
then the effect would be indistinct from that of one God
If all are equally powerful
And if they ever disagree
then they would always agree to disagree and compromise
or there would be an endless war among them, resulting in a disjointed and chaotic universe with laws hostile to intelligent life anywhere due to constant breakdown in the laws of nature. This is not the case. Conclusion: There are not multiple gods of equal power unwilling to work together.
If there are many gods who always agree
Either they would work as a harmonious team
and then there would be no way of distinguishing the result from that of one god
or they would have specialized domains and functions in the universe.
In which case the universe would be disjointed and its rules and patterns would vary from domain to domain.
This is not the case. Conclusion: There are not multiple gods controlling the universe together with separate domains.

The evidence says there are not:
Multiple gods with varying domains and conflicts (Classical paganism).
Apathetic gods with major areas of domain.
Anti-human gods with major areas of power.
A single apathetic god.
A single anti-human god.
An impersonal force (God as something that{whatever}; God as a way of {whatever}; God as the best aspects of our emotional lives etc.)
No God.
An incompetent or error-making God.
A totally controlling God.
A limited God.
However many gods there are, we know we have:
At least one, loving, pro-human, involved, conscious, individual, limitlessly powerful and wise, freedom-giving, eternal, uncreated, either lone or fully cooperating, gods or God of everyone and everything all the time forever.

Let us now bring Occam's Razor to the situation. This is a principle that one must not assume entities beyond those necessary to explain all the data. Though it isn't an infallible law of reason, the Razor is used because it tends to produce right answers more often than the opposite principle. People argue all the time without resolution about how many and which entities are necessary to account for all the data, so it can't really even be defined whether one is using the Razor correctly.
However, suppose a house stands in a field with the door open. Knowing nothing else about the case, should we assume someone has a home in a meadow and has opened the door to air out the house? Or should we decide that there is a Cub Scout meeting inside a house that is really just the upper story of a much bigger, mainly subterranean, clubhouse with the meadow around it a sprouting alfalfa field by which the meeting house is supported? Well, the data of a house in a field with the door open can be accounted for by the first hypothesis. If we then learn that there are many signs pointing to the house, the meters say it consumes several times more electricity than a normal house of the apparent size of it and a Scout's badge has been found near the road, say the neighbors, then the second makes sense.
Likewise, the laws of nature and the patterns in the universe suggest no more than a single God of the description I've given above. One, loving, intelligent, individual, rule-making, rule-keeping, rule-giving, life-loving, creative, humanity-sustaining, humanity-helping, humanity-teaching, communicating, merciful, caring, involved, conscious, eternal, almighty, wise-beyond-any-possible-mortal-wisdom, unchanging, consistent (and therefore consistently good, consistently wise, consistently right) God exists.
In the next segment (sorry once again about the delay) I'll start discussing the Incarnation.


  1. This is a singularly interesting blog. You have a very good handle on the sovereignty of God, a difficult concept sometimes for even believers.

  2. Thank you. I apologize for the long lapse in blogging. I've had many things to do. I look forward to pursuing all these topics further.