Published online by Cambridge University Press: 24 October 2008
God, as viewed by Muslims, Jews and Christians, is a transcendent being. To say that God is transcendent is to say, among other things, that spatiotemporal predicates do not apply to him. He is disembodied and absolutely immutable. God, nevertheless, is on this same view an agent. He makes things happen, he answers prayers, he judges, he forgives, he punishes, he guides, etc. The concept of God as a being worthy of worship seems to require that God be an absolutely eternal being on the one hand with all that this entails and a being that is absolutely just, merciful, forgiving, loving, good, on the other. It is the predication of such attributes of God that yields the concept of transcendent agency. This means in effect that for a being to be God this being must be, at least, a disembodied agent. But the concept of a disembodied agent, it is argued, is a contradiction in terms.
page 446 note 1 It will be argued in more detail later that the concept of a disembodied action is incoherent.
page 446 note 2 Some philosophers argue that it is not necessary to ascribe non-temporality to the nature of God. This view will be discussed later from Penelhum's point of view. See Penelhum, Terence, Religion and Rationality (Random House, 1971), p. 152.Google Scholar
page 447 note 1 Alston, W. P., ‘The Elucidation of Religious Statements’, in Process and Divinity, edited by Reese, W. L. and Freeman, E. (LaSalle, Illinois, 1964), p. 151.Google Scholar
page 448 note 1 Penelhum, op. cit. p. 151.
page 451 note 5 Penelhum, , Survival and Disembodied Existence (New York, Humanities Press, 1970), chap. 5Google Scholar.
page 451note 6 Penelhum, Religion and Rationality, op. cit. p. 156.
page 454 note 2 Survival and Disembodied Existence, p. 41.
page 457 note 1 Hampshire, Stuart, Thought and Action (The Viking Press, 1959), p. 41.Google Scholar
page 459 note 3 Hampshire, op. cit. p. 42.