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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

You say that God is omniscient


Let

it be granted for the sake of argument that God exists. Does his mere abstract existence produce the world? Well, in that case, the abstract existence of a potter may also create the world, for the abstract existence is the same in both cases. Does he produce the world by knowledge and will? Well, that is impossible, for there cannot be any knowledge and will without a body. Does he produce the world by physical movement or any other kind of movement? In any case that is impossible, for there cannot be any movement without a body. If you suppose that he is omniscient, you may do so, but that does not prove that he can be all-creator.

Let us again grant for the sake of argument that a bodiless God can create the world by his will and activity. Did he take to creation through a personal whim? In that case there would be no natural laws and order in the world. Did he take to it in accordance with the moral and immoral actions of men? Then he is guided by a moral order and is not independent. Is it through mercy that he took to creation? Well then, we suppose there should have been only happiness in the world and nothing else. If it is said that it is by the past actions of men that they suffer pains and enjoy pleasure, and if men are led to do vicious actions by past deeds which work like blind destiny, then such a blind destiny (ad@r@s@ta) might take the place of God. If He took to creation as mere play, then he must be a child who did things without

a purpose. If it was due to his desire of punishing certain people and favouring others, then he must harbour favouritism on behalf of some and hatred against others. If the creation took place simply through his own nature, then, what is the good of

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admitting him at all? You may rather say that the world came into being out of its own nature.

It is preposterous to suppose that one God without the help of any instruments or other accessories of any kind, could create this world. This is against all experience.

Admitting for the sake of argument that such a God exists, you could never justify the adjectives with which you wish to qualify him. Thus you say that he is eternal. But since he has no body, he must be of the nature of intelligence and will. But this nature must have changed in diverse forms for the production of diverse kinds of worldly things, which are of so varied a nature. If there were no change in his knowledge and will, then there could not have been diverse kinds of creation and destruction. Destruction and creation cannot be the result of one unchangeable will and knowledge. Moreover it is the character of knowledge to change, if the word is used in the sense in which knowledge is applied to human beings, and surely we are not aware of any other kind of knowledge. You say that God is omniscient, but it is difficult to suppose how he can have any knowledge at all, for as he has no organs he cannot have any perception, and since he cannot have any perception he cannot have any inference either. If it is said that without the supposition of a God the variety of the world would be inexplicable, this also is not true, for this implication would only be justified if there were no other hypothesis left. But there are other suppositions also. Even without an omniscient God you could explain all things merely by the doctrine of moral order or the law of karma. If there were one God, there could be a society of Gods too. You say that if there were many Gods, then there would be quarrels and differences of opinion. This is like the story of a miser who for fear of incurring expenses left all his sons and wife and retired into the forest. When even ants and bees can co-operate together and act harmoniously, the supposition that if there were many Gods they would have fallen out, would indicate that in spite of all the virtues that you ascribe to God you think his nature to be quite unreliable, if not vicious. Thus in whichever way one tries to justify the existence of God he finds that it is absolutely a hopeless task. The best way then is to dispense with the supposition altogether [Footnote ref 1].


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