Monday, March 05, 2018

The Signature of God

I think belief in God reasonable only if it is based on considerations available to all humans: not if it is claimed on the basis of a special message to oneself or to the group that one belongs.
Anthony Kenny ("Knowledge, Belief, and Faith," Philosophy 82, 381-97)
      So what better signature of the creator of homo sapiens than an elementary logical proof that there is a God? In my last post, I described the argument that given some things, cardinally more selections from them are possible.
      That post ended with a brief description of how that means that paradox arises: we naturally assume that each of the possible selections that such endlessly reiterated selection-collections and infinite unions would or could ever show there to be is already a possibility, that it is already there, as a possible selection; it would follow that they were all there already, that they are collectively some impossible collection of all those possible selections.
      Logic dictates that we have made some mistake; and this version of Cantor's paradox arises because we are considering combinatorially possible selections: that is why the sub-collections that define those selections were able to become so paradoxically numerous, why the paradoxical contradiction did not just show that there are not, after all, so many extra things, over and above the original things.
      My resolution begins by observing that apparently timeless possibilities could, possibly, become more numerous over time; it begins that way because if possible selections are always becoming more numerous, then we would never have all of them. A Constructive Creator could, possibly, make the definitive selections; and if that is the only logical possibility, then that is what has been shown.
      Note that serious mathematicians have taken Constructive mathematics seriously, and when constructed by a transcendent Creator the mathematics would be much more Platonic, and much more Millian. Consider, for an analogy, how God's commands could, just possibly, define ethics. And note that such creative possibilities are not that different to the Creating of mere things ex nihilo, if you think about it: how is such Creation even possible? For us, the laws of physics present immutable limits to what can be done; for a God, such laws are, metaphorically, a brushstroke.
      We live in a world of things, and numbers of things; and for us, numbers appear timeless. But logic does seem to say that such numbers are impossible. When we first think of the origin of things, we might think of things that could have been there forever, like numbers. But logic seems to say that there was originally stuff, not things; perhaps mental stuff, perhaps a God that is not exactly one thing. There would have been some possibility of things, and more arithmetic the more that God thought about that possibility.
      I should add a note about what sort of God is being shown to exist. The proof does not show that God could not have created a four-dimensional world in a Creative act above and beyond that temporal dimension. So this God might be what we call "timeless," and might know all about the future; or not. And either way, this God could always have known all of our textbook mathematics, if only because that is essentially axiomatic.

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