The Finite

and

The Infinite

By

George A. Blair


Copyright © 1996

by

George A. Blair


Description

This is an objective investigation into the question of whether there actually is something that can meaningfully be called "Infinite," in the sense of an unlimited existence--or, in other words, whether there is objective evidence that there is a God.

The traditional arguments for the existence of God are treated and shown to be faulty, and the arguments against God's existence are also found to be fallacious; though in both cases there are some that are strongly suggestive.

The evidence then investigates why we say that anything at all exists, and how we know that there is anything except our own consciousness. It turns out that our conscious act is finite, or an act that is less than itself; and therefore it is not self-explanatory, and needs a real object (either directly or indirectly). But analysis of this object (this existence) shows that it too is finite, and therefore needs a cause; and it is shown that the only possible cause of any finite existence's finiteness is a non-finite existence. This is the Infinite.

The investigation then explores the "characteristics" this Infinite has to have in order to be able to make sense out of finite existence: first the negative "characteristics," and then the positive ones. Finally, the relation between this existence and the created universe is treated (the "causality" of this cause).


Contents

PART I: THE EVIDENCE
Chapter 1: Preliminaries I: The Object and the Method
1.1. What are we doing
1.1.1. Allowing for bias
1.1.2. Faith and the investigation
1.1.2.1. A non-issue: the crimes of believers
1.2. The philosophical God
1.3. The method
1.3.1. Contradictions and effects
1.3.1.1. Evidence
1.3.2. A type of conclusive proof
1.3.2.1. Effect and affected object
1.3.2.2. Cause and causer
1.3.2.2.1. Implications for the God of faith
1.3.2.3. Causality and condition
1.3.2.4. Theorems about effect and cause
1.3.2.4.1. Similar effects and analogy
Summary
Chapter 2: Preliminaries II: Arguments for God's Existence
2.1. Standard proofs
2.2. Where did you come from?
2.3. The need to believe
2.4. The moral argument
2.5. The "ontological argument"
2.5.1. Descartes' version
2.6. The argument from design
2.6.1. A note on the supernatural
2.7. The "five ways" of St. Thomas Aquinas
2.7.1. The first way
2.7.2. The second way
2.7.3. The third way
2.7.4. The fourth way
2.7.5. The fifth way
2.8 The argument from contingency
2.9. Final remarks
Summary
Chapter 3: Preliminaries III: Arguments Against God's Existence
3.1. Fallacious "refutations"
3.2. The world is self-sufficient
3.3. "God exists" is meaningless
3.3.1. Immanuel Kant's argument
3.4. The problem of evil
Summary
Chapter 4: The Argument I: From Consciousness to Existence
4.1. The problem about existence
4.1.1. The structure of the argument
4.2. Preliminary step: losing consciousness
4.3. Second step: Multiple-unit consciousness
4.4. Third step: the single act of consciousness
4.5. Fourth step: toward the cause
4.6. Existence and the imaginary
Summary
Chapter 5: The Argument II: From Existence to the Infinite
5.1. Existence and the ontological argument
5.2. Existence and essence
5.2.1. A note on St. Thomas's "real distinction"
5.3. On to the Infinite
Summary
PART II: PROPERTIES OF THE INFINITE
Chapter 6: The Infinite: Negative Properties
6.1. A look back and forward
6.2. Unity
6.3. Simplicity
6.4. Distinctness
6.5. Self-sufficiency
6.5.1. The Infinite and "where did you come from?"
6.6. Formlessness
6.7. Spirituality
6.7.1. Energilessness
6.8. Imperceptibility
6.9. Positionlessness
6.10. Incorporeality
6.11. Sizelessness
6.12. Shapelessness
6.13. Immutability
6.13.1. Eternity
Summary
Chapter 7: The Infinite: Positive Properties
7.1. Activity
7.1.1. Omnipotence
7.2. Truth
7.3. Beauty
7.4. Goodness
7.5. Life
7.5.1. Freedom
7.6. Consciousness
7.7. Selfhood
7.7.1. Personhood
Summary
Chapter 8: Creation
8.1. The Infinite's causality
8.1.1. The Infinite as the only creator
8.1.2. The Infinite as Creator of everything
8.1.3. The Infinite as not the only cause
8.2. The Infinite and finite causes
8.2.1. The Infinite and free choices
8.2.2. Predestination
8.2.3. The "permissive will of God"
8.2.4. The Infinite and sin
8.3. Love
8.3.1. Why the Infinite creates; His will for His world
Summary
Appendix for the Christian

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