Divine Simplicity - who here knows it?

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Illusive
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Divine Simplicity - who here knows it?

#1 Post by Illusive » 1 week ago

Curious to see who holds to the Doctrine of Divine Simplicity, or if anyone in this forum even knows what it is.

I say this because I hold that anything other than Divine Simplicity is simply not monotheism at all. What do you guys say? Curious to hear your thoughts.
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Re: Divine Simplicity - who here knows it?

#2 Post by Bobcat » 1 week ago

Welcome to the forum Illusive.

For readers who may not have heard of Divine Simplicity (such as myself), here is a Google search listing.

This subject reminds me of super-string theory and how energy exists, theoretically speaking, at the Planck level.


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Re: Divine Simplicity - who here knows it?

#3 Post by Illusive » 1 week ago

Bobcat wrote: 1 week ago Welcome to the forum Illusive.

For readers who may not have heard of Divine Simplicity (such as myself), here is a Google search listing.

This subject reminds me of super-string theory and how energy exists, theoretically speaking, at the Planck level.


Bobcat
What is it about Divine Simplicity that reminds you of super-string theory?
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Re: Divine Simplicity - who here knows it?

#4 Post by Illusive » 1 week ago

Sadly, google does a very poor job of explaining divine simplicity.
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Re: Divine Simplicity - who here knows it?

#5 Post by Bobcat » 1 week ago

Hi Illusive,
What is it about Divine Simplicity that reminds you of super-string theory?

Well, first I would have to say that I had never heard of "Divine Simplicity" before. My comment was based on a brief look at a few of the Google search returns that I linked to.

Be that as it may, Super-String theory is/was hoped to be the 'theory of everything.' It posits the idea that everything we are familiar with can be further and further broken up into smaller/simpler parts. (For example, diverse items we are familiar with, such as wood, metal, plastics, even ourselves, can be sub-divided into molecules. Molecules can be broken down into atoms. Atoms can be broken down into protons, electrons, and neutrons. And on and on.) This goes on until one reaches the theoretical Planck Level (named after physicist Max Planck). At the theoretical Planck level, energy can no longer be sub-divided. It is at its most basic or simple form.

As things are sub-divided they become increasingly energetic. (Thus, the idea of splitting atoms into their smaller parts forms the basis of nuclear weapons.) Also, as matter/energy is sub-divided, the differences between things becomes increasingly blurred. For example, for us, there is a huge difference between wood and steel and plastic. But as we look deeper and deeper into what makes those materials up, the differences between them start to disappear. The deeper we go, the more apparent it becomes that those different materials are made from the same things.

At the Planck level, where there can no longer be any further sub-division (again, theoretically speaking), energy is infinite and everywhere at the same time.

Theoretically speaking, energy at the Planck level would be what makes everything, from angels to material things.

And that, to me, is where String theory meets the infinite Creator of the universe. At one point He was all by Himself. It wasn't Him and a pile of building materials. It was just Him. And now, everything, both spirit and material, has come into existence by Him. And thus it could be said that everything, spirit and material, are/is made up of the same 'stuff' (so-to-speak).

So I said all that to say that there is a sort-of 'simplicity' to God. But that 'simplicity' shouldn't be equated with Him being a 'simpleton.' Everything, including all knowledge that exists, originates with Him. He is, in a way, 'simple,' and yet infinite beyond anything our finite selves can comprehend.

Anyways, that's Bobcat's take on Super-String theory. As I understand it, the theory has been revised a number of times (to include M Theory). But that's to be expected. Like the Bible says, 'mankind will never get to know the work of God from beginning to end.' (Qoh 11:5)

I wish I could have explained that in fewer words, but I was trying to take into account other readers of the forum.


Bobcat

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Re: Divine Simplicity - who here knows it?

#6 Post by goghtherefore » 1 week ago

Greetings Illusive,

Three words in this scripture comes to mind:

1 John 4:8...

"7Beloved, let us love one another, because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9This is how God’s love was revealed among us: God sent His one and only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him.…

...and Isaiah 40:26

“To whom will you liken Me, or who is My equal?” asks the Holy One. 26Lift up your eyes on high: Who created all these? He leads forth the starry host by number; He calls each one by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.

.02,

goghtherefore
“This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!”
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Re: Divine Simplicity - who here knows it?

#7 Post by Illusive » 1 week ago

goghtherefore wrote: 1 week ago Greetings Illusive,

Three words in this scripture comes to mind:

1 John 4:8...

"7Beloved, let us love one another, because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9This is how God’s love was revealed among us: God sent His one and only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him.…

...and Isaiah 40:26

“To whom will you liken Me, or who is My equal?” asks the Holy One. 26Lift up your eyes on high: Who created all these? He leads forth the starry host by number; He calls each one by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.

.02,

goghtherefore
Hello Gogh.

I like your thinking. I've given a few hours to see what others might know so I'll explain what I understand and you can tell me what you think.

Your thinking is on the right track, because it seems that pondering the divine attributes of God came into mind for you.

Divine Simplicity is a doctrine that was held by the Ancient Jews of Israel, and by the early Church Fathers who were the direct students of the Apostles themselves, such as Polycarp, Ignatius of Antioch, Irenaeus of Lyons, Clement of Rome, and others.

It was also held to be the case by the ancient Greek Philosophers, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle to say the least(other Greek Philosophers held this later as well, as they believed in the divine eternal logos, although some of them had errors). Socrates, Plato and Aristotle can be said to be the first recorded monotheists in ancient Greece, and make no mistake, Plato and Aristotle were monotheists.

Plato showed through logic that God must be one and eternal, and Aristotle was the first to try and prove it through an early variation of the cosmological argument with physics.

"The following argument also makes it evident that the first movent must be something that is one and eternal. We have shown that there must always be motion. That being so, motion must also be continuous, because what is always is continuous, whereas what is merely in succession is not continuous. But further, if motion is continuous, it is one: and it is one only if the movent and the moved that constitute it are each of them one, since in the event of a thing's being moved now by one thing and now by another the whole motion will not be continuous but successive."
- Aristotle, Book VIII, Physics.




Anyway, Divine Simplicity is a part of what is called Classical Theism, meaning, the Theology about God that the Ancient Wise Men held to. That the ancient Israelites subscribed to, that the Apostles and their students taught. We are taught many heresies today about Gods nature(such as certain types of so-called trinitarian doctrines, or modalism) which basically result in a form of crypto-polytheism, if not out-right polytheism.

When we say God is simple, we are not saying he is easy to understand, but that he is not complex in the sense that he is not composed of parts.


I'll define a few terms to try and help.

Essence or Nature = "The "whatness" of a thing. So for example, the essence of a flower is that it is a flower. Which is why it has the nature or essence of a flower.

Being or Existence = The principle by which something is real.


So imagine a dinosaur. The essence of the dinosaur is that it is a dinosaur. But it is much different for me to tell you to imagine a dinosaur, and then to tell you to look outside and see a dinosaur walking around in the street. This is because the existence or "being" of a thing, is separate from the essence or nature of a thing.

Let's say my name is Jack Harper. You know who I am and what I am. But if I died, my essence or nature would continue, because you know the whatness of Jack Harper, but I may no longer exist or have being. Therefore, my essence and my existence are two separate things.

This is the way these words are used in Aristotelian language.

All finite creatures, like myself, are composed of essence and existence. When I cease to exist my essence will still be there.

But in physics and according to the laws of logic. Nothing can be contingent without being preceded by something. In other words, everything that has parts will be preceded by those parts. If I am a being which is composed of matter, energy and an immaterial soul/mind, then all of my parts precede me. The matter in body precedes my existence, as does whatever it is that God fashioned my mind with, both my material and immaterial parts precede me.

God however, is preceded by nothing since he is eternal, ineffable, immutable, and unchanging. An infinite nature without beginning and without end. We know that because God does not change, that he is in fact the unchanged changer and unmoved mover. Meaning he has no potentiality whatsoever, he is therefore non-composition.

By virtue of being an eternal being, he is not composed of parts and is preceded by nothing. Instead everything he has, he is. There is nothing within God that is different from another part of God. Because while in finite beings our essence is separate from existence. God's essence or nature, is one and the same with his boundless existence, since everything God has, he is.

This is why we say, he is pure being, that his essence is one and the same as his existence, and that the divine attributes such as the ones you mentioned in the passages you quoted in 1 JOhn 4:8 and Isaiah 40:26.

Since God is not composed of any parts either material or immaterial, he is also not composed of different emotions or thoughts the way we are. He is pure actuality without potentialities by virtue of being completely unchanging in a way that to us, seems mind-boggling.



Forgive my overly long post, I wish to be concise. I also have a 2 minute long video here that may help.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WE099eH9HWI
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Re: Divine Simplicity - who here knows it?

#8 Post by Illusive » 1 week ago

Bobcat wrote: 1 week ago Hi Illusive,
What is it about Divine Simplicity that reminds you of super-string theory?

Well, first I would have to say that I had never heard of "Divine Simplicity" before. My comment was based on a brief look at a few of the Google search returns that I linked to.

Be that as it may, Super-String theory is/was hoped to be the 'theory of everything.' It posits the idea that everything we are familiar with can be further and further broken up into smaller/simpler parts. (For example, diverse items we are familiar with, such as wood, metal, plastics, even ourselves, can be sub-divided into molecules. Molecules can be broken down into atoms. Atoms can be broken down into protons, electrons, and neutrons. And on and on.) This goes on until one reaches the theoretical Planck Level (named after physicist Max Planck). At the theoretical Planck level, energy can no longer be sub-divided. It is at its most basic or simple form.

As things are sub-divided they become increasingly energetic. (Thus, the idea of splitting atoms into their smaller parts forms the basis of nuclear weapons.) Also, as matter/energy is sub-divided, the differences between things becomes increasingly blurred. For example, for us, there is a huge difference between wood and steel and plastic. But as we look deeper and deeper into what makes those materials up, the differences between them start to disappear. The deeper we go, the more apparent it becomes that those different materials are made from the same things.

At the Planck level, where there can no longer be any further sub-division (again, theoretically speaking), energy is infinite and everywhere at the same time.

Theoretically speaking, energy at the Planck level would be what makes everything, from angels to material things.

And that, to me, is where String theory meets the infinite Creator of the universe. At one point He was all by Himself. It wasn't Him and a pile of building materials. It was just Him. And now, everything, both spirit and material, has come into existence by Him. And thus it could be said that everything, spirit and material, are/is made up of the same 'stuff' (so-to-speak).

So I said all that to say that there is a sort-of 'simplicity' to God. But that 'simplicity' shouldn't be equated with Him being a 'simpleton.' Everything, including all knowledge that exists, originates with Him. He is, in a way, 'simple,' and yet infinite beyond anything our finite selves can comprehend.

Anyways, that's Bobcat's take on Super-String theory. As I understand it, the theory has been revised a number of times (to include M Theory). But that's to be expected. Like the Bible says, 'mankind will never get to know the work of God from beginning to end.' (Qoh 11:5)

I wish I could have explained that in fewer words, but I was trying to take into account other readers of the forum.


Bobcat

Your response is well-thought out. I imagine you must be knowledgeable in this field compared to me. I know of experts who are familiar with Super-String theory and Quantum Physics, many of them are Thomist Monks(That is, Monks who adhere to the logical arguments of Saint Thomas Aquinas).

I generally agree that God can be perceived in each profession and train of thought, for example I am a student of psychology so I think about God often in terms of the mind, but I know someone who is an expert in English literature who pursues and understands God through words, and her reasoning is that God is the ultimate and eternal word, and we strive to understand him through the finite words which are mere reflections of his infinite logos.
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Re: Divine Simplicity - who here knows it?

#9 Post by AmosAU » 1 week ago

Hi Illusive,

I was hoping that you would post your thoughts on Divine Simplicity.

I can say that I'm disappointed at the moment, having read your thoughts. I've put it into a document and will have another read tomorrow.

Regards, Amos.

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Re: Divine Simplicity - who here knows it?

#10 Post by Illusive » 1 week ago

Feel free to ask any questions and I'll try to help, maybe your disappointment can be alleviated. I myself find the topic of divine simplicity interesting and look forward to knowing your thoughts.
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