Does God Have A Nature: Problems In Plantinga -- By: Max Herrera
CAJ 3:2 (Fall 2004) p. 50
Does God Have A Nature:
Problems In Plantinga
The great orthodox creeds and confessions of the church affirm that God has a “nature,” which denotes what God is.1 For example, in A.D. 270, Gregory Thaumaturgus put forth the Ante-Nicene Creed, which states “There is one God, the Father of the living Word, who is substantive wisdom and eternal power and image of God. .. a perfect Trinity not divided.”2 In A.D. 373, the church put forth the Athanasian Creed, which states, “We worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity; neither confounding the Persons nor dividing the substance [essence].. . the Father eternal; the Son eternal; and the Holy Ghost eternal. And yet they are not three eternals, but one eternal.”3 In A.D. 1647, the church put forth the Westminster Confession of Faith, which states “There is but one only living and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions, immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise.. . .”4 From the aforementioned creeds, one observes that many things are attributed to God: wisdom, eternality, etc. All of these attributes are said
CAJ 3:2 (Fall 2004) p. 51
about God’s nature. In other words, these attributes tell us what God is.
Although many things are attributed to God (e.g., Goodness, Wisdom, etc.), it is worth noting that the Westminster Confession understood the unity of God to mean that God has no parts. Why would one assert that God has no parts? Doesn’t God have many attributes? Are not these attributes parts that make up God? Though it is true that God has many attributes, the confessions deny that God has parts, for a thing that has parts is composed of its parts. In addition, every composed thing requires a composer. Because God is the First Cause, He cannot have a composer; hence, God cannot be composed of parts.
The notion that God is not composed of parts entails that God is indivisible and that God is one. Consider the following: That which has no parts cannot be decomposed or divided because when a thing is divided or decomposed, it is divided or decomposed into its parts. However, God has no parts, so God is indivisible. Yet, to affirm that a thing is indivisible is to assert that a thing is one. Thus, by asserting that God has no parts, one affirms that God is indivisible, uncomposed, and that God is one. In theological terms, one affirms that God is simple.
Given the aforementione...
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