The Necessity of the Omnipotent

I here intend to argue the necessity of the existence of an all powerful intelligent being as the ruler of all reality.  I will do so beginning in a more practical, absolutist scope and then moving to a less functional one as I feel necessary. Please feel free and encouraged to comment. I would like to make this a dynamic discussion if at all possible (though this seems highly unlikely because I have so few readers at present).

Let me begin, as all logical arguments must, by assuming that logic is true and capable, if used well, of leading even human beings to higher absolute truths.  This statement cannot be proven true or false (though we can make speculations about it) but must ultimately be either accepted or rejected by each individual.  I will return to this later; however, one thing is clear: this assumption must be made for any scope of logical argument to exist.

Based on all human reason and logic, it is most plausible that the universe is made up of one long chain of causality. Whether you believe in physics, physiology, math, computer science, or any of the natural sciences, there is no rational way to escape this conclusion. And why would we want to? Would it be better that the universe operated on arbitrary randomness than on arbitrary rules or patterns? The objective explanation for the sequencing of events, then, is causality.

The only problem with causality is an apparent impossibility it presents: the question of the “cause of causality.” There are two possible solutions to this problem that I will address. One being the assumption that the chain of causality is infinite and encompasses all of reality; the other being the conclusion that an Omnipotent force or being must exist beyond the chain and be its root cause. Many prefer the former of these solutions to the latter. I speculate that the reason for this is that, at first glance, it appears to put a limit on what humanity doesn’t know and allows humanity to answer to itself alone. However, this first impression of the solution is a bit deceiving.

If we assume that the chain of causality we see in the natural universe is infinite, then we have not, in fact, escaped from a belief in the Omnipotent–we have merely replaced our vision of an Omnipotent being with the vision of an Omnipotent set of arbitrary laws: the laws of physics (as the quality of an infinite domain of existence is one of the defining characteristics of the Omnipotent). It is for this reason that it so quickly becomes clear in any sort of an investigation like this that the rational rejection of the Omnipotent is impossible almost by definition.

Suppose then that we nonetheless assume that the chain of causality is this Omnipotent force at the root of the universe. As I mentioned earlier, this seems to give humanity a freedom from authority. After all, if the ultimate truth of reality is just the laws of physics, than who, in their right mind, would answer to it, let alone worship it? This is true, there would be no need for ethics or the rest, but there would also be no possibility for Meaning (in an absolute sense). If all there was to reality was something so arbitrary as physics, then we exist in relative states of being, and to the relativist, sensation alone is virtue. This exudes the possibility of Love or Virtue actually being anything Real at all.

But aside from all the unfortunate consequences of the naturalist idea of the Omnipotent I have described, there is also a logical error that it presents that I see no way around. That is, the exclusion of the possibility of human reason, a possibility which, as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, is absolutely essential to logical argument and therefore–as I will now add–to what we call “sanity.” For if one were to believe that his or her human logic is the result of arbitrary rules, then there is no reason he or she should believe that logic to hold any weight in discovering the truth, and therefore no reason he or she should believe his or her logic to be the result of arbitrary rules, for it is by that very logic that he or she first reached such a conclusion. This is an example of the infinite recursion I discussed in a different post. Therefore, it cannot be logically concluded that the Omnipotent force behind the universe is a set of arbitrary rules. Rather, the force must itself be intelligent and logical.

Now comes the question: How can the Omnipotent be logical? At this point in the argument people often forget that the Omnipotent being to which I’m referring is beyond causality.  As I explained in the previous paragraph, it is impossible for a rational being to exist as the result of the arbitrary, therefore when one naturally imagines the Omnipotent as being bound to arbitrary causality, he or she cannot imagine It (or Him or Her) being rational.  But because the Omnipotent is Omnipotent, It may exist without cause (just as the naturalist argues cause to exist without cause–in fact it is impossible to, in the human imagination, conceptualize a reality where nothing exists without cause).  Therefore, by definition, the Omnipotent may be, and must be, a Rational Being.

8 thoughts on “The Necessity of the Omnipotent

  1. Call me…Handsome Mystery Relativist

    Woah woah woah woah (that sounds a lot better than it looks written out).

    Ok, so first of all, I must concur regarding the issue of causality. Now, as to the issue of whether I’d prefer to see the chain of causality as a long infinite chain or one having a root in some Omnipotent. Neither of these views accurately reflects my own. First (and I know that this is a first in a first): causality is a human construct, and our way of relating events / observations, and not necessarily a fundamental, or “real”, quality. Second, even within the scope of relating events in this manner, we should not perceive a long chain stretching out for ever and ever, but rather the figure-eight of infinity, because everything is interconnected. I can link certain events up to supposedly “higher” laws, but using an equally valid reasoning system, I might draw the connection to other way, since such generalizations are defined by their cases.

    Second, when you say that I, as a relativist, feel that “sensation alone is virtue”, which supposedly leads to the conclusion that “This exudes [sic] the possibility of Love or Virtue actually being anything Real at all”, you cast me as an Absolutist who is pretending to be a relativist, and doesn’t really know how to play to role. “Sensation alone is virtue” to me? Really? Because said sensation is just as arbitrary, and therefore just as miraculous, as “Love and Virtue”. There is no ultimate reason to reject or favor either one, and yet to reason to not do so at the same time.

    Anyway, I know this is a pointless argument, since our viewpoints offer no handholds to one another, but it is still fun. And now, I think I shall read Aquinas’s “proofs” so that I can make fun of them. Or perhaps I’ll go now and enjoy a nice stuffed omelet.

    • In regards to your second anticomplaint, it is a simple misunderstanding. I did not intend to imply that the Relativist intelectually holds sensation as the Absolutist virtue, but rather that, by his ideology, he might well act on it as a “good” Absolutist may act on virtue.
      And, antiscriptologically, as to your first, and ignoring your relativist comment about the human cause of causality–it doesn’t matter weather your chain of causality is linear or loopty loop (and I apologize for being a bit silly, you started it); the important thing is that it arises from nothing beyond itself, and thus is, by definition, omnipotent. That is, if causality causes itself, then it, like the model of the casualty-causing-being, is omnipotent.
      Once that is established, you have to consider the ramifications an omnipotent causality (and I realize I’m reiterating my article a bit). It is, by logic, impossible for logic to burst out of the illogical; therefore, in summary (more matter with less art), if one is to believe in logic and infinite causality, then one must believe that causality is driven by a logical force, or has a logical character. That being concluded, you are really back to the Omnipotent Being, you’ve just renamed him Mr. D’Holbach.

  2. Come now, the big problem in this argument is that neither of us can accept the other’s axioms, as it may be. I see no need to believe that “causality is driven by a logical force, or has a logical character”. What I mean is, our placement of logical rules to describe causality and events is nothing more than a model or approximation of what happens, suited to our own thinking processes that rely heavily on pattern-seeking.
    Since any seeming pattern or logic in events has the possibility of only being a chance occurrence, or to put it better, it may behave according to the pattern for a time though extrapolation will fail to accurately describe behavior, we cannot even say that the causality has a definite logical character.
    And there may or may not be a “cause” behind causality, which is both the cause of it and caused by it (whether the causality is according to the linear or the loopty-loop model), and I just can’t know.

    • “I see no need to believe that ‘causality is driven by a logical force, or has a logical character'”—you refuted this with a Relativist perspective which is absurd considering that logic is the child of Absolutism (let’s see how many times we can quote ourselves quoting each other). If you don’t believe in the Absolute-hood of logic or causality, then of course you don’t believe in the “‘logical character'” of causality, but that is beyond the scope of the argument–you can’t just bring up Relativism in the midst of a logic based argument, it itself undercuts logic.

      “And there may or may not be a ’cause’ behind causality, which is both the cause of it and caused by it”–to quote our dear friend Torny “there you go!” … loopty loop. My point is it doesn’t matter. If we accept that causality exists, then it or the thing that causes it, or the whole chain of things that cause causality and are caused by causality are omnipotent.

      As to our reluctance to accept the other’s axioms, I agree with you (ironically); consequentially (i.e. by cause), our whole argument is almost utter nonsense. Perhaps we should try to focus more on a rhetorical argument between relativism and absolutism; although, this has little to do directly with this post. See “The Necessity of Reason.”

  3. Your argument goes back to the ancient Greeks. Philosophers refer to it as primum movens (“first cause”). The problem is that, no matter how you conceive it, one can always ask the question, “Well, what caused that?”

    Something omnipotent caused all reality? Well, what caused that? Even the figure-eight mentioned above raises the question. You can always push it back one level. This leads to the cute expression, “Turtles all the way down.” (Based on an ancient myth that the world rides on the back of a giant turtle. What does the turtle stand on? Another turtle. And what does that turtle stand on? It’s just turtles all the way down, man!!)

    Logic is just a form of mathematics. It is necessarily true by definition, just as 2+2=4 is necessarily true by definition. The human mind frequently transcends (or ignores) logic (that was one point of the Spock character in the old Star Trek). The mathematician Kurt Gödel demonstrated through his Incompleteness Theorem that logic (math) cannot answer all questions. (Alan Turing demonstrated something similar with The Halting Problem.)

    It may be true (in fact, science believes it is) that the universe is deterministic, and we’re all basically just machines. Chaos and complexity theories explains why life seems so rich and full of choice. But in reality, as you suggest, there is no meaning. Most people (not surprisingly) resist this interpretation. It may be that the human mind transcends the machine of the brain, but so far we haven’t found a way to say how that happens.

    But to believe in an intelligent creator is, so far, just wishful thinking and amounts to religious belief (nothing wrong with that, and some form of metaphysics may turn out to be the correct answer–personally, I hope it is).

    • That’s why it’s called omnipotent, because nothing caused it. Just as you’re saying, there has to be something that exists without cause–or else, there’s the loopty-loop model, but in any case, whether its an infinite loop or an infinite chain, or a single being, it exists without cause. It is the definition of existence, if you like.

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