"God is Beyond our understanding" is beyond atheist's understanding
I had an interesting discussion on the Secular Outpost Blog. The atheists were reacting to the concept That , "God is beyond human comprehension". They argue that this means we can;t know anything about God thus we can't make a rational belief. This was part of a larger argument, Bradley Bowen; argument against Christian apologist Kreft, part 87 or something. Poster Susan Humphreys in the comment section starts thinking down a tributary of that discussion
I was watching the news one evening, only half listening and a Cardinal was being interviewed (possibly Dolan). The interviewer asked a question that I don't think the Cardinal wanted to answer because he said, in an attempt to stop the questions I think, "God is beyond human comprehension". This is taken from several places in the Bible. At the time I thought does the Cardinal realize what he just said? If God is beyond human comprehension than anything a person says about God--his characteristics, purposes, plans, what he can or can't do, what he wants us to do or not to do, even if he is a he and not a she or an it, or even if he/she/it exists--is nothing more than the figment of human imagination.
Metacrock: Of course that kind of statement comes with an implicit qualification which should be self evident, that while we can't ascertain God by our own intellectual powers, that does not preclude God's own willful revelation to us about himself.We cannot even know what good is in an ultimate sense even assuming a naturalistic world. I have never been able to get an atheist to give me a valid justification form moral motions, but given my own limited experience I can say I know what good is relative to my own milieu. Thus while I cannot say my parents were the absolute good I can say they were good to me,
"If some being is beyond human comprehension, then that being is beyond human evaluation and beyond human understanding. We cannot evaluate a being as "morally good" if that being is beyond our comprehension. We also cannot KNOW (or even make reasonable probability estimates about) what such a being will do or not do. "
Metacrock:I think that is a rather fallacious argument, of course God is beyond human evaluation in an ultimate sense, in order to understand God exhaustively you would have to create your own universe. That does not mean we can't understand aspects of God as they pertain to our own lives. Analogy: I don't know very much about quantum gravity but I do know it requires highly specialized education to understand,Now If we take statements literally like you want us to take statement about God I can't say that. Perhaps Quantum gravity is stupid. perhaps it's a game for mentally challenged people. I can't say because It's beyond my understanding. There are natural qualification to those concepts that should be understood I don't think it's fair for us to have to spell them out every time we talk about it. Brad:
We cannot see God perform any actions, nor can we photograph or video God. We cannot hear God, smell God, touch God, or taste God. God leaves no physical evidence of his activity. The only hope we have of identifying God as the CAUSE of a particular event is to KNOW the PLANS or PURPOSES of God, and to determine that God, if God exists, would be likely to CHOOSE to cause that particular event.
Metacrock:We don't have to understand the plans and purposes of God to know that God caused the universe, in fact that is irrelevant. We can understand God as cause through logic. We can understand it through self disclosure of God to us. But there is a problem with just understanding God as a cause,I write a essay on this for my blog recently
We don't have to understand the plans and purposes of God to know that God caused the universe, in fact that is irrelevant.
I have argued for the opposite conclusion, and you have not shown there to be ANY PROBLEM with my argument.
I disagree with your arguments Brad.
QUESTION: Do you think that ANY of Swinburne's arguments for God or ANY of Kreeft's arguments for God can be successful WITHOUT making some assumptions about the PLANS or PURPOSES of God?
I said we don't need to know that for certain arguments such as the CA or OA. But I think we can reasonably assert that God's plans and purposes are benevolent based upon what logical and and experiential evidence we do have, We don't need that much intellectual comprehension to understand love.
If so, please point me to at least ONE such argument by Swinburne or Kreeft.
I don't know their arguments well enough to defend, But I do know mine,would you like me to introduce you to a couple? The God is being itself thing, I could tell you about that,, again.
[end dialogue] The irony in that last comment is that I debated him on the existence of God he totally ignored my comments and acted shamefully. He made no effort to understand my countless explanations and in depth attempts to clarify what everyone agrees was crystal clear he kept whining it was so unclear. Total debate version of boxing strategy called "rope-a-dope." The phrase "beyond our understanding" does not mean that we can't understand anything about God at all. We can understand somethings. But God is infinite we are finite so we cannot understand God as a whole. WE can understand the fact that God loves us,we not understand why but we can know it as a fact, We can experience God's love in our hearts, that is all we need to understand. The creator of the universe loves me what else do I need to know?
We have a gap in knowledge where the mass of what we don't know about God resides,that gap is bridged by faith. This is where faith plays it's role. So of course this is bothersome to skeptics who have trouble with faith anyway.
 Bradley Bowen, "The Logic of Miracles – Part 4: Kreeft’s Last Ten Arguments" Secular Outpost Blog (Dec 20,2018), comment section.