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Classic Theology and Aesthetics

Use this forum to have philosophical discussions about aesthetics and art. What is art? What is beauty? What makes art good? You can also use this forum to discuss philosophy in the arts, namely to discuss the philosophical points in any particular movie, TV show, book or story.
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Ben
Posts: 10
Joined: February 15th, 2011, 11:08 am

Classic Theology and Aesthetics

Post by Ben » February 28th, 2012, 2:04 pm

Given:
I. That art is essentially creation (or creative expression)
II. That true creation requires freedom of the creator
III. That classic theology views God as one with knowledge of the future as actualities
IV. That that were the future known "actually," the future then must already be an actuality
V. And that Judeo-Chrsitian anthropology calims that man is made in God's image (part of that image including the capacity to create)
VI. Therefore: according to classic theological paradigms, true art is impossible for men to accomplish. And being that according to Judeo-Christian anthropology, men are created in God's image, and that part of that image includes the capacity to create (via the arts), Classic theology actually defeats its own anthropolgical stance.

In a paragraph: Classic theology and art are incompatable because in order for God to know the certain future, it must be known as an actuality, and if it is an actuality, then it already exists. If it already exists (even given real human choice/free will), the path of time is already locked in and set. Freedom is then locked, which denies men creative capacity.

This clearly poses a bigger theological question (along with questions of time) as it requires a shift in basic views of who God is, or even if he could exist, but I wanted to focus here simply on the incompatability of Classic theology and aesthetics.

dowhat1can
Posts: 187
Joined: May 21st, 2008, 2:38 pm

Re: Classic Theology and Aesthetics

Post by dowhat1can » February 28th, 2012, 10:32 pm

You are outlining a version of the problem of foreknowledge and free will and are opting for the incompatiblilist position that infallible future knowledge of human behavior implies that human choice is determined (i.e., no creativity).

Historically, there are quite a few compatibilist philosophies which argue the opposite -- that divine foreknowledge is compatible with human free will -- including Aristotle (i.e., "The Sea-Fight Tomorrow", Boethius and Aquinas (Summa Theologica Question 14 God's Knowledge -- God is not in time so God's transcendent knowledge does not include beliefs which occur in time), Augustine/Frankfort (consideration of alternative realities) and various current theories.

One view, similar to occasionalism, tries to resolve the paradox by noting that from God's point of view everything is known but from the human point of view there is free choice. In a word, because God is all knowledgeable he simply knows in advance what our free choice will be. Q.v., "Free Will and Determinism", p. 4. (I suppose it's the same kind of knowledge my girlfriend has when she claims to always know in advance what I will choose.) :(

Ben
Posts: 10
Joined: February 15th, 2011, 11:08 am

Re: Classic Theology and Aesthetics

Post by Ben » February 29th, 2012, 12:17 pm

Indeed there are, and I am familiar with the compatibilist philosophies. I take however a libertarian stance, and this by hermenuetic, which (I apologize if prematurely), takes us to the highest held Western Judeo-Christian scriptures found in the Old Testament.

Classic theism holds the somewhat Platonic idea that God (or ultimate form) is perfect, and in his perfection unchanging. However in the major western religions, the very source of their theology comes from a book which reveals a God who cahnges course in action, and who is seemingly dependent and responsive to human action. This is not to say that he relies on humans to exist, or for His power, but simply that his will is intertwined and in flow with the decisions they make each day. It seems a stretch to believe that a God who knows everything outside of time, would have a will and purpose which is fluid and subject to change depending on human action.

This changing will indicates no prior knowldge of the actual future. Even if one is to consider God outside of time, it does not require that the future be already in actual existence, but rather is still being created moment by moment. God then may even know all possible futures, with out knowing it as an actuality. His movements and actions and desires as shown in the Judeo-Christian scriptures reflect that he has a will which is fluid.

The problem for me then is not that free will is incompatable with God's knowledge of the future but rather that his fluid will is incompatable with with a knowldge of the future in actualites, rather than possibilities.

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