The Transcendent, Omniscience and Transparency

Transparency is one of the most significant features of a moral authority. The moral authority is aware of any thought, word or deed of moral significance. See Core Concepts of Authoritarian Morality.

If we start with a traditional notion of God as an omniscient being, transparency is a corollary of divine omniscience. However, we are starting with the notion of God as total Transcendence about which we can form no adequate representations. We need the faith which seeks understanding. We need faith that we are able to form inadequate but approximate representations of Transcendence as provider of sufficient conditions for basic features of what we can represent such as motion, causality and intelligence. In other words, we need faith that we can attain some understanding of Transcendence by developing notions of what Transcendence has as sufficient conditions for basic features of immanence, i.e., what we can represent.

This is philosophical theology; not pure philosophy. Atheists who concede that arguments about the existence of God are not about the presence or absence of some “super being” in what we can represent – the immanent, can accept via arguments in pure philosophy the existential dependence of the immanent on transcendence. Their atheism consists of lack of faith that transcendence has any significance for human life: thought of transcendence is the same as thought of nothing which is the same as not thinking anything. See Proof of Transcendence for a discussion of the issue between “sophisticated” theists and atheists.

In future posts, I need to explore the sources of faith. Undoubtedly, faith is stimulated and formed by traditional religions. Also faith is suppressed in some because of traditional religions. I leave open, though, the prospect of some necessary conditions for faith in Transcendence.

Hereafter, I reveal my faith that we have an approximate notion of referring to Transcendence by writing “the Transcendent” instead of “Transcendence.” After all, having items on which we focus attention in the way we call “referring” is perhaps the most pervasive feature of the immanent. We use the definite article “the” in referring thought. So, Transcendence has sufficient conditions for there to be objects of referential thought. I dare to take these sufficient conditions for the existence of objects of reference as warranting thinking of Transcendence as analogous to an object of reference. Conceptually, this is very significant. It is objectifying Transcendence.

To establish something analogous to transparency to the Transcendent of our morality, I need to show that the sufficient conditions in the transcendent for intelligence are enough like omniscience to warrant claiming that any morally relevant thought word or deed is known by the Transcendent.

Are the sufficient conditions in the Transcendent at all similar to that for which they suffice? In the case of motion, the transcendent sufficient condition is unmoving. In the case of causality, the transcendent sufficient condition for causality, is uncaused. Thinking of it as uncaused differentiates it from any cause we can represent. Objects we represent as passively beginning an action by being a goal are not represented as being totally out of the cause and effect processes.

We need to use a metaphysical concept of sufficient condition for what it means for conditions of the Transcendent to be sufficient for basic features of the immanent. This is the concept of a sustaining cause or sustaining condition. To say that the Transcendent is a sustaining condition for an X which we can represent is to say that the Transcendent is necessary and sufficient condition for the existence of X.

I set aside the philosophic obligation to elaborate on this notion of sustaining condition. Yes, it does seem to treat “existence” as a predicate which can be applied to the description of a possibility depending upon whether or not the possibility is actual or merely still only possible.

It follows from the definition of the Transcendent that it is the sustaining condition for everything. In particular, the Transcendent is the sustaining condition for everything which is the case. In other words, the Transcendent is the sustaining condition for all conditions which would make a claim true. Also the Transcendent is the sustaining condition for all thoughts that such-and-such is the case. Putting together these propositions about the Transcendent, we can say that the Transcendent is the sustaining condition for all true thoughts. A thought being is true is also a fact. So, the Transcendent is the sustaining condition for all true thoughts as true.

I appreciate a demand for much, much more analysis. Still, I propose that the we attribute omniscience to the Transcendent because it is the sustaining condition for all true thoughts as true. The Transcendent holds in existence the truth of the thoughts of our most secret sins! Isn’t this transparency to the Transcendent?