SPECIAL METAPHYSICS / THEODICY
As we have discussed recently, metaphysics deals/elucidates/demonstrates or studies beings which are beyond nature. Thus, questions about the existence and nature of minds, bodies, God, space, time, causality, unity, identity, and the world are all metaphysical issues.
This part is called special metaphysics because it specializes or focuses solely about God and those that are related to God. Hence, special metaphysics is also known as Theodicy which literally mean the science of God (Theos).
As a branch of philosophy theodicy does not mention the true name of God neither discusses who really the true God is. But theodicy demonstrates, through reason and not faith, the existence of the Supreme Being known as God. Hence, it differs from theology.
1. THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
From time immemorial people are divided by geographical locations, principles, traditions, social status and even in faith.
Some believes in one God (monotheism), some believes in many gods (polytheism), some denies the existence of God (atheism), while others contend that human beings do not have sufficient evidence to warrant either the affirmation or the denial of God’s existence (agnosticism). The agnostics believe that we lack knowledge of the existence of God. In this, the agnostic, who holds that we cannot know whether or not god exists, differs from the atheist, who denies that god exists.
Nowadays, most of us believe in God. In fact we always profess our faith that He exist every time we say the Creed: “I believe in God, the Father Almighty…” (Credo in Deum, Patrem Omnipotentem).
But let us take some of the questions concerning God and His existence.
v Do you believe in God?
v What if bible were not written or was burned during the persecution of Christians, are we still going to believe in God?
v Is our belief about God’s existence based on faith or reason?
v And most importantly, does God really exist?
v And if you answer it with affirmative, can you demonstrate God’s existence aside from faith?
Let us consider first the following definition before we elucidate the above questions.
v Existence – that which actualizes an essence and sets it outside its cause as a thing produced.
v Demonstration – reasoning out of truth so thoroughly and completely that the person who understands every step of the process is compelled to recognize it.
v a priori argument – is an argument that is taken to reason deductively from abstract general premises
v a posteriori argument – is an argument that relies upon specific information derived from sense perception.
v Essence – that which makes a thing to be it is.
v Faith – the assent to truth on account of the authority of God.
Note well that the true essence of God is incomprehensible. Thus, we will never know the totality of God’s essence but ONLY SOMETHING ABOUT HIS ESSENCE.
God’s existence can be demonstrated through a posteriori and through the five ways known as the quinquae viae of St. Thomas Aquinas, viz.
v Cause and Effect
v Design/Teleological argument
v Moral Order
Thursday, December 4, 2008
CHAPTER VII: THEODICY
SPECIAL METAPHYSICS / THEODICY