400.40 UNIVERSAL LAWS (p.97)
hard cover page 97
While an omnipotent Deity may have an impact on nature, even an omnipotent Deity does not violate universal laws, as they are implicit in the universal Deity’s essence, and violating them could unravel the cosmos.
God indeed is bound by His own universal laws,366 for they are intertwined with God’s essence.367 Just where the physical laws and imperatives of the universe end, and God begins, is an open question under our formulation and under many other formulations.
The removal of all potentialâ€”both good and evilâ€”from the universe would have dire consequences. It would be both effective cosmocideâ€”the destruction of a cosmos which wash energized by holy potential-and, as well, akin to Divine suicide, since holy quest for potential is at the epicenter of the Divine. Thus potentials for evil are not so easily truncated by the Divine.
. . . we do not ascribe to God the power of doing what is impossible.
God is no capricious potentate, violating the laws that He himself has promulgated. In Einstein’s words, “God does not play dice with the universe.”
While in some quarters variations on the proposition that the existence of potential for good necessitates the existence of potential for evil are employed as a self-contained theodicy, there is no such intent here, for the classic question remains: Why does an omnimerciful, omnipotent God not intervene and counter specific evil? Thus. proposition 400-that good and evil form a duality-addresses the important but more abstract question of why evil exists at all in a cosmos reigned over by a good and omnipotent Divine. It does not answer the question of intervention.
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366 See Wolfson, Religious Philosophy, pp. 18-19.”. . . our hypothetical scriptural philosopher would say that not only Maimonides and St. Thomas . . . but also all other scriptural philosophers would admit that God does not change impossibilities. In support of this he would refer offhand to Origen (Cont. Cels. Ill, 70; V, 23) and St. Augustine, (Cont. Fatut. Manich. XXVI, 4-5) among Christian philosophers, to the Mutakallimun, among Muslim philosophers (Ibn Hazm, Fisal fi al-Milal [Cairo, A.H. 1317-1327], IV, 192 11. 13-14; Ghazali, Tahafut al-Falasifah, XVII [ed. Bouyges], 24, p. 292, 11. sff); to Maimonides (Moreh Nebukim I, 73, Prop. 10) and Saadia (Emunot ve-De’ot, 11, 13, p. 110, 11. 4-7) among Jewish philosophers. He would also add, in passing, that all these scriptural philosophers had been re-echoing a sentiment expressed in the same words and illustrated by the same examples by such pagan philosophers as Alexander Aphrodisiensis (De fato 30) and Plotinus (Enneades VI, 8, 21) and others. (Cf. chapter on ‘Omnipotence’ in R. M. Grant, Miracles and Natural Law in Graeco-Roman and Early Christian Thought, pp. 127-134)”
Cf. Benedict de Spinoza: His Life, Correspondence, and Ethics (trans. R. Willis), p. 299. “To ask of God, however, why he did not give Adam a more perfect will were as absurd as to inquire why a circle had not been endowed with the properties of a sphere.” As cited in Hick, Evil and the God of Love, p. 21.
367 See Wolfson. Religious Philosophy, p. 20. “For God does not change the laws of nature in vain, nor does He, like a stage magician, perform miracles to amuse or to impress the spectators. . . . Now, in the wisdom of God, the world is so ordered that to attain that purpose of miracles there is only a need for a change of the laws of thought or of the laws of mathematics. . . . St. Thomas’ explanation of why God cannot do that which implies a contra- diction by saying that a contradiction implies the notion of non-being and is therefore not ‘the proper effect’ (proprius effectus) of God’s power. (Cont. Gent. 11, 22, Item).”Cf. Schlesinger. Religion and Scientific Method, p. 43.
368 Maimonides, Guide 3:15 (Dover ed., p. 279).
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