Re: virus: Fundamentals

Vicki Rosenzweig (
Wed, 27 Mar 1996 14:22:00 -0800 (PST)

Let's see. As long as one thing is more powerful than another,
either one is most powerful or there's a place in the ordering
where two things are equally powerful. What that _doesn't_
give us, however, is any information on how powerful the
most powerful thing is. There's no reason I can think of to
believe that the most powerful thing in the universe has an
arbitrarily great power, or to assume (before identifying this
entity) that it is conscious.

From: virus-owner
To: virus
Subject: Re: virus: Fundamentals
Date: Wednesday, March 27, 1996 1:39PM

Vicki Rosenzweig wrote:
>I think the "properties" being discussed are the fairly traditional
>Christian trio, namely that god is supposed to be omniscient,
>omnipotent, and omnibenevolent. The argument is, fairly simply,
>that the amount of pointless suffering in the world proves that the
>universe is not being run by an all-powerful being who is aware of
>everything that happens and whose wishes toward everyone in
>the universe are entirely benevolent. (This isn't the "problem of
>evil," but what Poul Anderson called the "problem of pain": free
>will does not explain why people suffer chronic pain from incurable

I'm going to apologise in advance if any of this sounds spurious, but this
is what I got from my medieval philosophy class:

God is omnipotent, in the sense that he can do anything- some say that he is
limited by the force of logic (can He create a rock He can't lift?), others
say that he is not limited by the logic that we as humans are (don't even
ask me to try to back that one...)

God is omniscient- this one by itself doesn't seem to present too many
contradictions, it just states that there is nothing "outside" of God's
sphere of influence.

As for the sticky third definition, of how He is omnibenevolent, all things
are part of his Divine Plan (which we as humans can't know), and are good.
Wait, you say, does this mean that Evil does not exist? Yes- Aquinas assers
that Evil is not a thing, it is a lack of thing- a "privation" to take the
usual translation- so nothing is evil. All the travesties that you see are
happening to the body- and in the long run, the body isn't worth a thing
compared to the soul.

As for my own beliefs, lets see...

Omnipotent? I would say more like Superpotent... God is more powerful than
anything else- call it what you like- God, the Dharma, the Unified Field
Theory, whatever- not even the same thing at the same time, but as long as
one thing is more owerful than another thing, something is most powerful.

Omniscient? Yes in the sense that the concept of a most powerful thing is
all-pervasive... No in the sense of "all-knowing"- I don't think that the
Supreme Cause is sentient... Sometimes I find it hard to believe that humans
are sentient, for that matter.

Omnibenevolent? No. Only if you assume that whatever happens is good, which
most people don't... If the Supreme Causer is not subordinate to anything,
then it can't be subordinate to morality.

-Pat Bunt
Patrick D. Bunt

"Nobody can make coffee as strongly as I can."
-Johannes Brahms