Is a Perfect Being Possible?



By
Al
Serrato

Many
atheists
claim
that
the
God
described
in
the
Bible
is
not
possible.
They
raise
philosophical
challenges
meant
to
show
that
inherent
in
the
very
nature
of
God
are
contradictions
which
make
belief
in
him
foolish.
One
such
challenge
I
encountered
went
like
this:

“If
God
was
all
that
existed
back
then,
what
disturbed
the
eternal
equilibrium
and
compelled
him
to
create?
Was
he
bored?
Was
he
lonely?
God
is
supposed
to
be
perfect.
If
something
is
perfect,
it
is
complete–it
needs
nothing
else.
If
God
is
perfect,
there
can
be
no
disequilibrium.
There
is
nothing
he
needs,
nothing
he
desires,
and
nothing
he
must
or
will
do.
A
God
who
is
perfect
does
nothing
except
exist.
Therefore,
a
perfect
being
that
creates
is
impossible.”

Challenges
like
these
can
be
daunting,
especially
for
someone
not
interested
in
philosophy.
On
its
face,
the
challenge
appears
to
have
validity,
reasoning
to
a
conclusion
about
God.
But
in
fact
what
is
at
play
here
is
the
“straw
man”
fallacy.
The
challenger
sets
up
a
God
whose
attributes
are
not
those
of
the
true
God,
as
described
in
the
Bible,
and
then
argues
from
this
mistaken
depiction
that
the
God
we
worship
could
not
exist.

Notice
what
is
implicit
in
the
challenge:
the
skeptic

seems

to
be
acknowledging
God
as
an
eternal
being,
but
his
questions
assume
that
God
has
no
power
to
control
time.
Time
becomes
a
force

over

God,
and
not
one
that
God
created
and
controls.
Consider:
the
challenger
asks
“what

compelled

God
to
create?”
as
if
God
is
sitting
around
for
eons
wondering
what
to
do.
He
uses
words
like
“bored,”
“lonely,”
“needs,”
and
“desires.”
Each
of
these
concepts
is
temporally
based:
“boredom”
means
an
awareness
that
one’s
present
circumstances
lack
sufficient
stimulation
and
an
anticipation
of
changing
this
condition
by
engaging
in
some
future
activity;
“lonely”
means
an
awareness
of
the
lack
of
others
to
help
bring
meaning,
activity
or
joy
into
one’s
life;
“desires”
means
an
awareness
of
something
lacking
and
the
formation
of
a
plan
to
acquire
that
thing
in
the
future.
Each
of
these
concepts
necessarily
implies
a

limited

being,
a
being
who
lacks
something
necessary
for
fulfillment
and
who
is
seeking
to
remedy
this
lack.

With
each
question,
the
skeptic
betrays
that
he
has
not
grasped
the
attributes
of
the
God
we
worship.
The
God
of
the
Bible
describes
himself
as
the
“I
am.”
In
the
beginning,
he
created
“the
heavens
and
the
Earth.”
Interestingly,
modern
science
has
confirmed
that
in
the
distant
past
there
was
a
singularity,
a
point
at
which
both
matter
and,
more
importantly
for
this
discussion,
time
came
into
existence
from
absolute
nothingness.
Though
we
cannot,
in
our
limited
present
circumstances,
ever
fully
grasp
all
this
entails,
it
is
apparent
that
God,
as
an

eternal

being
who
created
time
as
we
experience
it,
is
not
himself
limited
by
time.
All
times,
as
we
perceive
them,
are
in
an
eternal
“present”
to
him.
He
was
never
“alone.”
Composed
of
three
persons
in
one
being,
God
is
in
an
eternal
loving
relationship
and
has
no
needs,
fulfills
all
desires
and
lacks
no
stimulation.
In
fact,
these
concepts
are
nonsensical
to
such
a
being,
examples
of
a
category
error,
because
each
of
these
concepts
makes
sense
only
if
viewed
from
the
perspective
of
a
being
that
is
limited
or
controlled
or
defined
by
time.

So,
to
specifically
answer
the
questions:
Nothing
“disturbed”
the
eternal
equilibrium.
Time
was
not
flowing
“against”
God
and
no
force
can
disturb
him.
Nothing
“compelled”
him
to
create,
because
a
compulsion
would
require
a
source
greater
than
God
and
there
is
no
such
force.
God
created
the
universe
and
this
timeline
because
he
chose
to
for
reasons
of
love.
The
love
he
exercised
was
in
the
agape
sense,
love
for
the
sake
of
love
and
with
the
goal
of
seeking
the
good
of
the
one
loved.
He
was
not
seeking
gain,
nor
was
he
motivated
by
desiring
something
in
return.
God
was
not
bored
or
lonely
and
is
and
always
was
complete.
There
was
no
disequilibrium.
How
that
plays
out
in
God’s
perception
is
something,
again,
we
could
not
expect
to
fully
grasp,
just
as
the
whale,
if
conscious,
could
not
know
what
living
on
land
would
be
like,
even
if
he
understood
that
it
involved
breathing
air,
living
in
houses,
and
walking.
In
other
words,
our
lack
of
detailed
and
specific
knowledge
does
not
prevent
us
from
drawing
conclusions
from
what
we
do
know.

The
challenger
might
respond
by
saying
that
God
somehow
added
to
his
distinctiveness
when
he
created
us.
He
went
from
a
“before”
to
an
“after.”
In
so
doing,
he
“changed,”
and
because
he
changed,
he
cannot
be
“perfect.”
But
this
challenge
again
fails
to
recognize
that
God
is
not
trapped
by
time,
but
instead
was
the
creator
of
time.
There
was
no
“before”
and
“after,”
as
those
concepts
apply
only
to
temporal
beings
living
within
the
flow
of
time.
To
an
eternal
being,
all
is
eternally
in
the
present.
While
we,
as
mortal
and
limited
beings,
cannot
truly
understand
what
an
eternal
present
would
be
like,
we
can
conclude
that
a
being
not
bound
by
the
movement
of
time
would
experience
all
events
without
having
to
resort
to
memory
or
wait
for
the
future
to
arrive.
Moreover,
the
challenge
fails
to
fully
consider
what
“infinity”
involves.
As
an
infinite
being,
God
added
nothing
to
himself
by
creating,
for
it
is
not
possible
to
“add”
to
infinity.
This
concept
was
fleshed
out
by
a
mathematician
named
David
Hilbert,
who
asked
the
reader
to
imagine
a
hotel
with
an
infinite
number
of
rooms,
all
of
which
are
filled.
An
infinite
number
of
new
guests
arrive
seeking
lodging.
What
does
the
innkeeper
do?
Is
he
not
“full
up?”
No,
actually,
at
least
not
when
infinity
is
involved.
The
innkeeper
simply
moves
everyone
from
the
room
he
or
she
is
in
to
the
room
whose
number
is
two
times
the
original
room
number.
By
so
doing,
the
innkeeper
opens
up
an
infinite
number
of
new
rooms

all
odd
numbered

for
his
new
guests.
The
point
is
that
when
you
are
dealing
with
infinity,
limitations
simply
do
not
exist.

In
the
end,
though,
I
would
submit
that
the
challenger’s
most
glaring
error
is
the
claim
“A
God
who
is
perfect
does
nothing
except
exist.”
This
would
seem
to
reduce
God
to
nothing
more
than
a
jellyfish

alive,
perhaps,
but
showing
few
signs
of
it
and
simply
existing.
This
seeks
to
reduce
God’s
infinite
perfection
to
a
limitation,
when
it
is
quite
literally
the
opposite
of
any
limitation.
This
attribute
of
infinite
perfection
does
not
constrain
God,
and
to
suggest
that
it
leaves
him
essentially
powerless

he
simply
“exists”

is,
in
my
view,
to
get
things
precisely
backwards.

I
have
seen
this
challenge
in
various
permutations,
but
they
almost
always
stem
from
a
misunderstanding

intentional
or
otherwise

of
the
actual
attributes
of
the
God
worshipped
by
Christians.
Next
time
you
confront
something
similar,
it’s
worth
taking
a
moment
to
tease
out
the
unspoken
assumptions
that
are
leading
the
skeptic
astray.



Recommended
resources
related
to
the
topic:


Counter
Culture
Christian:
Is
the
Bible
True?
by
Frank
Turek
(
Mp3),
(
Mp4),
and



(DVD)
 


What
is
God
Like?
Look
to
the
Heavens
by
Dr.
Frank
Turek
(
DVD

and



Mp4
)

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Al
Serrato
earned
his
law
degree
from
the
University
of
California
at
Berkeley
in
1985.
He
began
his
career
as
an
FBI
special
agent
before
becoming
a
prosecutor
in
California,
where
he
worked
for
33
years.
An
introduction
to
CS
Lewis’
works
sparked
his
interest
in
Apologetics,
which
he
has
pursued
for
the
past
three
decades.
He
got
his
start
writing
Apologetics
with
J.
Warner
Wallace
and
Pleaseconvinceme.com.