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Theists: What do you mean when you say that God is 'perfect'?
#1
Theists: What do you mean when you say that God is 'perfect'?
In a recent conversation with a theist, I asked what makes something 'perfect'. Their response was that something is perfect if it is "maximally ideal for its intended purpose." I see this as basically correct. What makes something a perfect coffee maker would make that same thing a lousy microwave oven, and vice versa. It seems that to be perfect, a thing must be in some relation to a purpose or an end or a goal such that it maximally fulfills that end. But here we come upon a problem, because God doesn't have such. There is no end or purpose or goal which is defined for God. It would seem at first glance then, that the word simply doesn't apply to God. If I had a nondescript object on my kitchen counter which had no purpose, what would it mean for me to say that it is 'perfect'? The best that could be said is that I'm using the word 'perfect' as a superlative, like saying that something is 'super' or 'awesome'. Yet theists continually assert that their God is 'perfect' and seem to want to mean something more by it than just a superlative, but what do they mean? Some take the lazy way out and claim that God's perfectness applies to "everything" -- God has all possibilities in the maximal degree, but this is clearly incoherent. An object which contained all perfections (whatever that means) would include perfect justice and perfect mercy. Since justice consists in giving people what they deserve, and mercy consists in giving people less than they deserve, the two can't be perfectly fulfilled at the same time. So the 'everything' answer is ruled out.

So what do you mean when you say that God is 'perfect'?
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#2
RE: Theists: What do you mean when you say that God is 'perfect'?
I think it is a blank check. God is perfect .. whatever that turns out to be. Of course they don't know because only god is perfect.
#3
RE: Theists: What do you mean when you say that God is 'perfect'?
If I remember correctly the same theist said that in God's case he has a perfect 'nature'.

Of course such a thing is nonsense. I also deny that God's existence is more perfect than God's nonexistence. All things being equal I think nonexistence is preferable, because at least if nothing exists nothing can possibly go wrong.
#4
RE: Theists: What do you mean when you say that God is 'perfect'?
(November 28, 2017 at 10:45 pm)Jörmungandr Wrote: So what do you mean when you say that God is 'perfect'?

"He hates all the people I hate, and agrees with me on every point of principle"

He's a perfect proxy.

Argue
I am the Infantry. I am my country’s strength in war, her deterrent in peace. I am the heart of the fight… wherever, whenever. I carry America’s faith and honor against her enemies. I am the Queen of Battle. I am what my country expects me to be, the best trained Soldier in the world. In the race for victory, I am swift, determined, and courageous, armed with a fierce will to win. Never will I fail my country’s trust. Always I fight on…through the foe, to the objective, to triumph overall. If necessary, I will fight to my death. By my steadfast courage, I have won more than 200 years of freedom. I yield not to weakness, to hunger, to cowardice, to fatigue, to superior odds, For I am mentally tough, physically strong, and morally straight. I forsake not, my country, my mission, my comrades, my sacred duty. I am relentless. I am always there, now and forever. I AM THE INFANTRY! FOLLOW ME!
#5
RE: Theists: What do you mean when you say that God is 'perfect'?
(November 28, 2017 at 10:49 pm)Hammy Wrote: If I remember correctly the same theist said that in God's case he has a perfect 'nature'.

He never did complete his thought. But I notice him and other theists around the forum continuing to make the claim that God is perfect, so I thought it fitting to ask them what exactly they think they are saying by this.
[Image: Fenrir-sign.jpg]
#6
RE: Theists: What do you mean when you say that God is 'perfect'?
god commits the perfect crime? Works for me. 

god plays a perfect game of hide and seek? It seems so.
I don't have an anger problem, I have an idiot problem




#7
RE: Theists: What do you mean when you say that God is 'perfect'?
(November 28, 2017 at 10:55 pm)Jörmungandr Wrote:
(November 28, 2017 at 10:49 pm)Hammy Wrote: If I remember correctly the same theist said that in God's case he has a perfect 'nature'.

He never did complete his thought.  But I notice him and other theists around the forum continuing to make the claim that God is perfect, so I thought it fitting to ask them what exactly they think they are saying by this.

Yeah he alluded to it but didn't wanna talk about it. Lol.

(November 28, 2017 at 10:57 pm)mh.brewer Wrote: god commits the perfect crime? Works for me. 

god plays a perfect game of hide and seek? It seems so.

God's never made a mistake!




. . . or anything for that matter.



God is without flaws!





. . . it's not the only thing he is without.
#8
RE: Theists: What do you mean when you say that God is 'perfect'?
(November 28, 2017 at 10:45 pm)Jörmungandr Wrote: In a recent conversation with a theist, I asked what makes something 'perfect'.  Their response was that something is perfect if it is "maximally ideal for its intended purpose."  I see this as basically correct.  What makes something a perfect coffee maker would make that same thing a lousy microwave oven, and vice versa.  It seems that to be perfect, a thing must be in some relation to a purpose or an end or a goal such that it maximally fulfills that end.  But here we come upon a problem, because God doesn't have such.  There is no end or purpose or goal which is defined for God.  It would seem at first glance then, that the word simply doesn't apply to God.  If I had a nondescript object on my kitchen counter which had no purpose, what would it mean for me to say that it is 'perfect'?  The best that could be said is that I'm using the word 'perfect' as a superlative, like saying that something is 'super' or 'awesome'.  Yet theists continually assert that their God is 'perfect' and seem to want to mean something more by it than just a superlative, but what do they mean?  Some take the lazy way out and claim that God's perfectness applies to "everything" -- God has all possibilities in the maximal degree, but this is clearly incoherent.  An object which contained all perfections (whatever that means) would include perfect justice and perfect mercy. Since justice consists in giving people what they deserve, and mercy consists in giving people less than they deserve, the two can't be perfectly fulfilled at the same time.  So the 'everything' answer is ruled out.

So what do you mean when you say that God is 'perfect'?

For a something  to be described as 'perfect', I did say "maximally ideal for its intended purpose." You have very good examples of that above. 

I think for a someone, it simply won't work to discuss purpose. We don't say someone is 'perfect' period. We talk about components--ideal attributes, characteristics, abilities, etc. For example, a perfect husband, a perfect gentleman, a perfect friend, a perfect student, perfectly innocent, has perfect pitch, is perfect for the job. No human is perfect in all attributes, characteristics or abilities. 

In the case of God we also talk about attributes. It just so happens that the attributes are all perfect (part of the definition of God) so it is handy and appropriate to say God is perfect. 

Regarding perfect justice and perfect mercy, I think there are two problems with your argument 

1. Justice is an application of objective standards so if applied without error, you can have perfect justice. But mercy is not the same thing. First, I don't think mercy is an essential attribute of God like justice or holiness is. I think rather that mercy flows from another essential attribute: Love. Second, as only a product of an essential attribute, it is qualified and limited by all the essential attributes (the nature of God) as well as his free will to make choices consistent with that nature. 
2. When God shows mercy (like salvation), it is not instead of justice. Justice was satisfied--the price paid by Christ.
#9
RE: Theists: What do you mean when you say that God is 'perfect'?
This is what a Christian would usually say:

"Gawd is perfect 'cause de bible said so."
#10
RE: Theists: What do you mean when you say that God is 'perfect'?
It means FSM is without any flaws and is complete in all ways, if he wasn't, He'd be an impasta
"For the only way to eternal glory is a life lived in service of our Lord, FSM; Verily it is FSM who is the perfect being the name higher than all names, king of all kings and will bestow upon us all, one day, The great reclaiming"  -The Prophet Boiardi-

      Conservative trigger warning.
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