sunnuntai 5. elokuuta 2018

Joachim Darjes: Elements of metaphysics 2 – Goal of creation

All Wolffian metaphysics thus far have concluded with natural theology – study of the infinite entity behind everything else. Although natural theology isn't the end of Darjesian metaphysics, he certainly wasn't able to ignore it completely. He starts by noting that an infinite entity is characterised by being perfect in all senses. Thus, infinite entity must be active and spontaneous. It must also not be dependent on anything, hence, it cannot be a material entity consisting of other entities. In other words, infinite entity must be a spirit, which acts perpetually. If there are infinite entities, Darjes finally notes, there can be only of them.

Now, Darjes notes that some philosophers have denied the existence of any infinite spirit. Such philosophers can be called atheists, since they deny the existence of God, which would be infinite spirit. But Darjes goes even further and insists that even skeptics that doubt the existence of an infinite spirit should be called atheists. Indeed, Darjes extends the notion of atheist even further, by defining God as a certain kind of infinite spirit – that is, God is also defined, according to him, by having freely created all the finite entities. Therefore, Aristotle, who thinks that the perfect self-thinking intellect has not created anything, and Stoics, who think that even divine Logos doesn't do anything freely, could be called atheists, Darjes concludes.

Darjes spends quite a lot of time on debunking the arguments of all these supposed atheists, but his main argument is undoubtedly his supposed proof of God's existence. While Christian Wolff based his assumption on the existence of God to a variant of cosmological argument – the existence of e.g. my own soul can be explained only through God – and used the so-called ontological argument merely as an explanation of God's existence (i.e. by noting that God in its perfection has all that it takes to exist) and while Baumgarten had exclusively relied on ontological argument (that is, by arguing that a combination of all perfections must also contain perfection of existence), Darjes appears to just try to throw various arguments and see what sticks. He begins by noting that a notion of infinite spirit must be possible – indeed, spirits are possible, and there seems to be no problem in supposing a spirit that is more perfect than anything else, he insists. Then, Darjes continues, infinite spirit must exist, because it is such a thing that exists, if it just is possible. As if not completely convinced of this ontological proof, Darjes defends the existence of God with two other proofs – firstly, he uses the cosmological argument that all finite entities must be dependent on God, and secondly, a somewhat weaker proof that God's existence is probable, because otherwise we would have to make too many assumptions to explain everything in the world.

A topic that Darjes seems to regard as wanting a more thorough examination is the characterisation of God. A general foundation of the examination is that as a perfect entity God must have also perfect attributes. Indeed, these attributes are unique to God, Darjes says, and one cannot then make a true distinction between God's essence and his attributes, because there isn't any entity that would have similar attributes and still not be God.

Darjes notes that some attributes of God, such as his infinity, spirituality, immutability, necessity and uniqueness, do not concern anything that God does, while others or the so-called operational attributes do. A good example of the latter is the cognition of God, which should be the best kind of cognition possible – that is, Darjes says, God should be omnipotent. This omnipotent cognition of God is for Darjes threefold. Firstly, God knows through his very constituting force all the things that could be – this is natural cognition of God. Secondly, God also knows freely all the things happening through his spontaneous actions. Finally, Darjes notes, God must have cognition mediating between the other two kinds of cognition, that is, cognition of causal chains that lead to actualisation of different possibilities.

A counterpart to God's cognition is his volition, which Darjes classifies into two kinds corresponding with two kinds of God's cognition. Firstly, God wills through his very nature that all things must cohere with all the attributes of God. Of course, Darjes notes, all things simply must cohere with the perfection of divinity. In other words, God wills that some things, which necessarily are in a certain manner, must be as they are. Secondly, God's volitions are not restricted to necessities, but God also wills things that might not be as they are, such as the existence of some non-divine entities. Whatever the kind of volition, Darjes notes, the object of this volition must be optimally good. More particularly, God wills that there are finite, but free entities, that they will always have means for perfecting themselves through their free actions and that they should not squander their freedom. Furthermore, Darjes remarks, God never wills anything evil, but at most permits evil, that is, lets something bad happen, if it is necessary for the existence of something even more good. God doesn't even punish people, Darjes says, if this punishment does not contribute to the development of the punished persons.

Merely willing, God would just decree things, but in addition, he also executes his decrees, Darjes notes. In particular, this means that God has caused the existence of finite entities, that is, has created them. Darjes notes that it is unsure whether this act of creation happened at some particular point or whether it has been going on through eternity. In any case, Darjes continues, God does not just create finite things, but also continues to sustain them with the same act, by which he created them in he first place. God could, undoubtedly, just annihilate all finite entities, but he doesn't have any reason to do that.

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