What is God1 or who is God? Western religions represent a wide variety of different “churches” or houses of God, but when it comes to the concept of God, they share a common foundation. Christianity, Islam and Judaism have a common figure in faith: Abraham, hence referred to as the Abrahamic religions. And God is seen as a personal agent of divine simplicity. What does this mean? How can a supernatural being be simple?
- God is a supernatural being.
- God is simple. Is he therefore a simple being?
The traditional concept of God ascribes the following properties to Him: Transcendence, immanence, omniscience, omnipotence, benevolence, perfect freedom, necessity, eternality and divine simplicity. These essential properties of God as an omni-God are thusly necessary accruing to His nature. It becomes obvious from this that God is not another being as I am, but he is the “higher” being of this universe as its creator or in Aristotle’s words the „unmoved mover”2. However, how are these different attributes of God held together? He doesn’t consist of different parts, He is no partite entity. He is the exception to the rule: In Aristotle’s way of thinking of God as the „unmoved mover”, He is in fact the primary cause, principle and substance (οὐσία) and as such the best, eternal being.3 Thus, the Aristotelian distinction of potency and act does not apply to Him because He is pure form and absolute principle.
Divine simplicity means that God is a simple being, in that He is not composed of separate parts. There is no plurality in Him, no accidents, no complexity. This would mean that everything in God is God. When claiming God as a simple being, there is no need to look at attributes, as His attributes aren’t His essence but just aspects of God from different human angles. God is the only being that doesn’t require both principles of essence and existence to explain His being. Therefore, He is simple.