It is good to want to be like God

July 14, 2014 § 22 Comments

God is infinitely powerful, infinitely knowing, infinitely loving, infinitely just.  Who wouldn’t want to be all of those things?

Positivists think that they are God, that there may be ‘gaps’ in their knowledge but that those gaps are just contingent upon learning more. Postmoderns are at least wise enough to recognize that the whole notion of localized omniscience with ‘gaps’ is malformed; this leads to despair, but despair can be a bad news good news thing.

The problem then isn’t that people have a desire to be like God. The problem is the means that they choose.

§ 22 Responses to It is good to want to be like God

  • InTheProcess says:

    In the end, since every sin is really pride or self-idolatry (my desire over God’s will), it all goes back to the Adamic sin of wanting to be like God, without God.

  • The operative word here seems to be “like”.

  • William Luse says:

    Who wouldn’t want to be all of those things?

    I wouldn’t. There are people who genuinely need despising, and I’m just the man for the job.

  • Chad says:

    I’ve been pondering this and the attempts to be God through positivism all day. Its really a fascinating train of thought in regards to all knowledge and truth – both scientific and theological.

    Modern science seems to have forgotten that science is but mortal men offering an interpretation of facts, backed up by the fact that they can not prove it wrong, in order to attempt to find a small truth. Positivist science seems to be filled with appeals to authorities that deny there is any interpretation of evidence, claiming the evidence speaks for itself, and that the Truth is loudly proclaimed there for all to see. If you can’t see it, you’re too dimwitted to talk to, so just trust us (and forget your Faith and any other authorities because we’re the only legitimate one if theres any at all).

    You see the same in religion. Traditionally if you had a question with interpretation you went to your priest as the authority, whom would base his answer on the authority he answered to (councils, fathers, doctors, popes, etc) with his own personal understanding of what he thought would be best for you to hear so as to grow more in Christ’s image. Now you have an appeal to either Sola Scriptura or ‘personal interpretation/relationship with God’ as the appeal to authority. If you don’t get it you’re simply not devout enough and obviously stuck in the past or too modern (or both!), so just trust us (and forget your Faith and any other authorities because we’re the only legitimate one if there’s any at all).

    In both cases the individual is attempting to play God by appealing to the highest power the individual believes in as having handed him the answers. They deny room for any other authority on this side of Heaven, usually deny any sort of objective Truth AND any room for our beloved Mysteries of Faith to meditate and contemplate upon, or that there’s nothing saying, anywhere, that knowledge and the means in which The Faith is displayed are unchanging. We have promises that some parts are unchanging, that the church is founded upon the Rock of Peter, what ever the Church binds is bound, and she will endure to the end.

    To simplify all the authority down to the post modern thought that all authority lies in God, twisting how God has placed the hierarchy of creation, poisons the beauty of God in religion, theology, philosophy, science… in every subject man can strive to offer to God.

    In the attempt of making men God, you attempt to destroy God, destroy authority, and conquor the world in the image you would Pridefully have of it. Sadly, it seems to only, very successfully, dim the light in the soul and in your eyes through which you see the world for all its Faith, Hope, and Love. Lacking those, a man can only seem to cling to false authority handed to him by positivism in a militant fashion.

    Is this a good start? I read Plato’s Gorgias for the first time today, and all the connections between the love of fraternal correction, appeal to correct authority on subjects so as to avoid false authority giving evil and wicked advice, and suffering for the sake of the good… well, the connections just lit up rather beautifully

  • Zippy says:

    That’s where being infinitely just would be rather satisfying. Hell is real.

    Interesting that you connect this discussion to Gorgias. I suspect there are some ways in which Aristotle may have watered down Plato, much to our loss. Socrates would not have made a very good neoreactionary.

  • Chad says:

    I simply happened to be reading it. But the subjects seemed deeply relevant to clearing my head of some false ideas I mentioned above.

    I have no idea about Aristotle. I’m working my way through Plato first; I want to see how western thought evolved and do what i can to avoid projecting modern thought onto old text.

    I can agree with you that Socrates would be a horrible neoreactionary. He likes to explore terms and find what their core truth is before he even explores their value; neoreactionaries I’ve seen merely make statments and run.

  • Chad says:

    I thought about it more, and the better core difference is that Socrates both searches for the best authority, appeals to them, and searches for Truth with (some) humility. He can be an ass and a bother at times, and isn’t above winning a discussion for the sake of winning; but when he really gets inspired and on the right path, there’s a beauty to his logic that I admire.

    He was very aware of the bad news, and searching for the good news the best way he knew how

  • Zippy says:

    What I primarily had in mind was the Anarchopapist NRx article on language and philosophy that I linked to in my previous comment. I am sure some folks were and still are baffled that I see NRx as just insane modernism remixed, because Heavens, isn’t there at least some agreement on superficial policy? But every new article I see confirms the disastrous underpinnings of this new thing: it is a trap, a way of using superficial ‘anti-modern’ ‘red pill’ epiphanies to dig modernist metaphysics in deeper.

  • vishmehr24 says:

    Is it positivist to define physics as the science of metrical aspects of things?
    Is there any other definition that passes the positivism test or is any attempt to define physics positivistic?

  • Chad says:

    Ah. I didnt click over to the article thinking you were linking to one of your own posts I’d already read; my apologies for the presumption.

    I think that definition of Philosophy is possibly one of the most destructive things I’ve read in a long time.

    Bryce seems to be writing as if his only use for philosophy is to control the thoughts of others. He’s combining both mental discipline and modern psychology into a modern philosophy of social control.

    Philosophy is meant to be used as a tool to get closer to Truth, God. Words and mental discipline are a part of that, but the focus is on ordering your own thoughts in lime with God’s will. His very language and thought process eschew that noble calling to play God with social experiments. I can’t imagine that, even when trying to use philosophy to search for truth, his foundational assumptions hinder his efforts to do so.

    The post makes me want to go hand him Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy

  • Zippy says:


    Is it positivist to define physics as the science of metrical aspects of things?

    One problem with that definition is that there are all sorts of things that involve quantitative measurement that are not physics. Economics, cooking, sociology — the set of counterexamples is really rather obviously large.

    Is there any other definition that passes the positivism test or is any attempt to define physics positivistic?

    It depends on what you expect from a definition. If you expect a definition to be a solution to the demarcation problem that is certainly positivist. If you don’t, then reasonable definitions aren’t hard to find. Google gives the following definition of physics, which isn’t bad:

    the branch of science concerned with the nature and properties of matter and energy. The subject matter of physics, distinguished from that of chemistry and biology, includes mechanics, heat, light and other radiation, sound, electricity, magnetism, and the structure of atoms.

  • vishmehr24 says:

    Not all demarcations are problematic. We distinguish astronomy (a valid science) from astrology (a pseudo-science) and it can be done on basis of the ‘how’ of astronomical prediction vs astrological prediction.

    The information content of an astronomical prediction is less than the information content of the input data.
    While reverse is true for astrological prediction. In astrology, the input is sparse, while the output is potentially limitless.

    Similar demarcation exists between the geometrical spirit and intuitive spirit. Consider a prediction made in astronomy or meteorology (by following formal procedures) to a prediction made by a wife regarding her husband’s behavior or prediction of a sheep’s behavior by her shepherd.
    The later CAN NOT be formalized.

  • vishmehr24 says:

    “the branch of science concerned with the nature and properties of matter and energy.”
    Not a good definition since “matter” and “energy” are left undefined.
    Plus, the significant thing is that physics deals with only certain aspects of things, namely the metrical, formal aspects.

    That is, physics deals with those aspects of things that can be captured in some algorithm.

  • vishmehr24 says:

    Economics, cooking, sociology do not deal with “things” as such.

  • vishmehr24 says:

    Ironically, given the discussion here, the goal of positivism lay precisely the eliminating or reducing the spirit of intuition to the spirit of geometry.

    Thus, the analogies to phase space of possibilities and paths through such phase spaces are entirely in the positivistic spirit.

  • Zippy says:

    You are being silly. Nobody has suggested that human action is nothing but a phase space or that its meaning is completely captured by a formalism.

  • Mike T says:

    The problem then isn’t that people have a desire to be like God. The problem is the means that they choose.

    In a very narrow sense, that’s true, provided that it is desired with the knowledge and acceptance that it is an absolute impossibility even when pursued with perfect intent (ha!)

  • Zippy says:

    As Malcolm proposed, the “like” is critical; but Matthew 5:48 may suggest that it shouldn’t be understood too

  • CJ says:

    As Malcolm proposed, the “like” is critical

    Yeah, I was trying to explain the difference to my six year old earlier this year when we were discussing Adam and Eve’s sin of eating the fruit to be like God. He said “I thought we were supposed to be like God.” I answered that we are, but we have to do it His way, not ours, and that you can’t be like God by disobeying him. I think he got it, but then he asked which Ninja Turtle I thought he was, so I’m not entirely sure . . .

  • Matthew 5:48 may suggest that it shouldn’t be understood too

    “Be perfect” in the sense Jesus means it here (which seems to be “love everybody, even if you don’t like them) isn’t synonymous with “Become Lord and Master of the Universe”.

    I know you weren’t implying that, but I just wanted to make that point specifically.

  • vishmehr24 says:

    The positive program was essentially laid down by Hobbes in 17C as tracing back of all mental operations to addition and subtraction.

    That is, formalization of the intuition.

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