How Many Ways to Analyze the Word ‘God’? – Part 5

I have previously shown that using just four divine attributes (power, knowledge, freedom, goodness) that can occur in four different degrees (human, superhuman, perfect, eternally perfect), one can create more than 200,000 definitions of 'divine person'.That is not quite as impressive as the estimate of three million definitions that I made initially, based on some mistaken assumptions. However, it is very easy to get up into the millions of defintions. By adding just one more divine attribute, … [Read more...]

A Simple Statement of the Problem of Evil

I have been trying to come up with a statement of the problem of evil that is comprehensible to undergraduates. Below is my draft. It makes for a rather long post, but any comments, suggestions, or criticisms would be appreciated. A SIMPLE STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM OF EVILBelievers tell us that God is good. Not only is he good, he is perfectly good, supremely good, as good as can be. God is also powerful. Not only is he powerful, he is omnipotent, that is, all-powerful. Most theologians and … [Read more...]

Kleptocracy as secularism

Among some secular people observing events in the Middle East, I run into some worries that secular dictatorships will be replaced with worse—theocracies like what the Muslim Brotherhood has envisioned throughout most of its organizational history.Maybe. What is going to come out the present upheaval in unpredictable. In the Middle East, often the only opposition that has been allowed to exist has had an Islamic flavor. It is likely that if and when popular rule makes its inroads, cultural and h … [Read more...]

How Many Ways to Analyze the Word ‘God’? – Part 4

I'm going to cut to the chase now, for those who have no interest in following the details of my reasoning ("Dear God, please make him stop! I will barf on my keyboard if he mentions 'criterial conditions' or 'range of degrees' one more time."): 205, 240 definitions of 'divine person' can be generated from four divine attributes (power, knowledge, freedom, and goodness), four degrees of each attribute (resulting in 10 ranges of degrees for each attribute), assuming that at least one of the … [Read more...]

How Many Ways to Analyze the Word ‘God’? – Part 3

II. Only Three Attributes are RelevantIn this second case there will be far fewer possible definitions of 'divine person' because the assumption that one of the four attributes is irrelevant means that we only have three attributes to use in constructing sets of conditions that will in turn be used to generate definitions. Fewer elements means fewer combinations of elements can be formed.The following table illustrates the various possibilities in which only three of the four attributes are … [Read more...]

How Many Ways to Analyze the Word ‘God’? – Part 2

I will now try to determine how many different definitions of 'divine person' can be generated from the four previously specified attributes, in the case that all four attributes are relevant to a definition of the phrase 'divine person'.I. All Four Attributes are RelevantA. Four Conditions are Criterial and None are Necessary ConditionsIf all four attributes are relevant, one sub-category of definitions would be purely criterial definitions, where all four conditions were criteria, rather than … [Read more...]

How Many Ways to Analyze the Word ‘God’?

My estimate that there are more than three millon ways to analyze the word 'God' (using just four attributes in the analysis) was inflated by some incorrect assumptions. I will now make a second attempt to determine an accurate count of the various combinations and permutations of conditions that form different definitions, taking into consideration some things I learned from the first attempt.The word 'God' is a proper name, and I agree with Swinburne that the meaning of this proper name should … [Read more...]

Three Million Ways to Analyze the Word ‘God’

Assume there are only four possible divine attributes:powerknowledgefreedomgoodnessEach of the above attributes can occur in four degrees:humansuperhumanperfecteternally perfectThere can be 14 different combinations of acceptable degrees for each attribute:Four combinations with just one acceptable degree (e.g. only ‘perfect’ knowledge is acceptable).Six combinations with just two acceptable degrees (e.g. either ‘superhuman’ or ‘perfect’ knowledge is acceptable)Three combinations with three accep … [Read more...]


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