The 7 Concepts of God: #5 - FINITE GODISM

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Worldview #5 - Finite Godism:  

"There is one limited god!"


Though the words are not in Greek, he may not be very familiar with the worldview of finite godism.  As the name suggests, this view of reality beliefs that God exists, is beyond the world, but is limited in power and imperfection. This view happens to be very similar in some ways to the worldview of polytheism, however, finite godism believes that there is only one single god in the universe.  This worldview suffers from many of the same problems and defeaters as polytheism.

Here is a comparison of the beliefs of finite godism and biblical Christianity:

Limited God of Finite Godism:            The One God of Biblical Christianity:
God partially controls the universe.         God is sovereignly ruling over the universe.
God is very imperfect.                            God is absolutely and infinitely perfect.
God is finite and very limited.                  God is absolutely infinite and unlimited.
God has limited power.                           God is All-Powerful (omnipotent).
God has limited knowledge.                     God is All-Knowing (omniscient).
God does not do miracles.                       God can do miracles and supernatural acts.
God needs our help and prayers.             God needs nothing and is in total control of all.
God can't control all evil in the world.        God has total control over all that happens. 

 A person who seriously believes in the god of finite godism might say something like this:

"We have to pray for god and try to help him out.

After all, god is doing the best that he can with His limited power.

He can't be expected to control everything."


Though this may sound strange to a believer in the God of Scripture, devoted followers of finite godism such as Rabbi Kushner have been quoted many times saying things of this nature. Unfortunately, Rabbi Kushner lost one of his sons in a Nazi concentration camp in the second world war, and because of this has concluded that God isn't able to stop the evil and suffering in the world. Many people also consider the god of finite godism to be the object of worship that Plato described in his writings, and also the god of John Stewart Mill, a scientific intellectual of the 1800's.

As is our habit, let's put the worldview of finite godism to the "boomerang test" and see if it does any better than the previous worldviews we've discussed.

The first problem that we notice, is that by definition, God cannot be something that is finite or limited in any real way. The classical definition of God, even outside of Christianity, is a being that is unlimited, perfect, and infinite in all of his attributes and qualities.  Right from the start, we see that finite godism doesn't even define God in a logical fashion, and therefore, doesn't even get off the ground has a decent or logical worldview of reality.

Secondly, it appears that finite god ism goes against one of the most important laws of logic, namely the Law of Causality.  By the way, this is an extremely valuable law of logic to have a good understanding of when you talk to people of different worldviews. Since this is such a fundamental principle in reality, any worldview that violates it cannot logically be true. Some people call this "the law of cause and effect" and it can be stated in many different ways all equally true. Here are some of the ways it can be expressed:

- "Every contingent being is caused by another."
- "Every limited being is caused by another."
- "Every thing that begins to exist has a cause."
- "Nonbeing cannot cause being."
- "Out of Nothing, nothing comes."
- "Nothing cannot /create something."

though some of these definitions of the law of causality may be unfamiliar to you, I'm sure that you've heard it expressed its most common form:

"Every effect has a cause."


As I said earlier in finite god ism flows contrary to this law of causality. The reason for this is that the God of finite god ism would need to cause himself, in which case he would not be God at all but simply a finite creature. It appears that finite godism, just as with pantheism, atheism, and polytheism, is also guilty of incredible self-contradictions!

Thirdly, in the worldview of finite godism there is no ultimate guarantee of God's victory over evil. This is due to the fact that followers of finite god ism freely admit that God is not in ultimate control over all of the evil, suffering, and pain in the world. Rather, as Rabbi Kushner has often said, people need to pray for God and help him so that the evil in the world can be conquered and defeated. Again, we see that finite God is and is guilty of a horribly self-defeating idea. If God were not in ultimate control of the universe, and needed help in combating the evils of our world, this would make evil more ultimate than good, and even more ultimate than God himself! God wouldn't be God, since by definition God is the most ultimate being metaphysically that there is.

Fourthly and finally, the limited god of finite guys is not ultimately worthy of worship and devotion. On the practical level, if the God of finite godism is very imperfect, and extremely limited in its knowledge, power, and ability to guide reality, then why should anyone be expected to worship him?  Only a God that is infinite and unlimited in power, goodness, knowledge, and all other perfections is ultimately worthy of a person's praise, devotion, and worship.

As with the other worldviews we have already surveyed, finite god ism takes its place among those perspectives of reality that are self-contradictory, self-defeating, logically incoherent, and practically unlivable.

- Pastor J.