Response to Locke

  1.  Why does Locke think we can know God with certainty? The ability to know God for certain comes from a basic understanding of what is existence and what is nonexistence. After examining what is existing the question of where it came from comes into play. Once we establish what things are in existence, it is clear that the evidence for God is found in the creation itself. Even if all thing, but our mind, were brought into question of actually existing, the fact that we have thought, knowledge, perception, must have been created by one who has equal then or greater characteristics. The very fact that we can reason whether there is a God, shows that we have a given and fundamental understanding of what is eternal. The basic understanding of what is eternal cannot be found in consciousness for the sake of consciousness, in thought for the sake of thought, knowledge for the sake of knowledge, or perception for the sake of perception. All of these attributes of the self and the mind have come from one, the one they come from does have those attributes, but those attributes themselves would not be found to exist if not for the one who is the author of existence.
  1.  What is the argument Locke gives to show that something must be eternal? AND
  2.  What is the argument that Locke gives to show that material being is not eternal?

The argument that something(s)- or even all things- must be eternal is an essential, as well as fundamental, concept to understand. To argue that nothing is eternal, in this instance referring to without beginning rather than to say everlasting- without end-, shows a lack of fundamental understanding of basic scientific and philosophical concepts. To say that nothing is eternal is to say that all things came from nothing, which it is known that something cannot come from nothing. For instance, someone does not get an apple from nothing, but rather from an apple tree, and that tree from a seed and that seed from an apple from a tree and so on. It can become possible to assert the question of where the first seed or tree came from, and it is possible to go all the way back to the beginning of time tracing down the origins of the tree, but notice that to origin does not come out of nothing; it derives from something, even if a previous ancestor. The basic and most fundamental unit of all things that exist, matter, did nothing. After accepting this first true and justified belief, it then becomes possible to explore in more understanding the implications of both something(s) are eternal or all things are eternal. Locke, himself, would argue that only something is eternal, The Creator. Locke can deduce that something is eternal because he knows that it is not possible for nothing to be eternal, which then leads him to contend against the notion that all things are eternal. Now, to say all things are eternal is a big assumption, as it could mean that someone thinks that all things material and immaterial have always existed, as state of being co-eternal. Now it can safely be said that matter cannot be co-eternal because matter cannot come from nothing, which means it had to be brought into being by something. It would seem to be that if matter was created by a being that it is by definition not co-eternal and therefore not as powerful as The Creator. The notion that there is only the material cannot be supported by this understanding, as even the material things that forms a person is not the same as the thinking thing that anybody is, just as much as an idea on a piece of paper houses and represents the idea but is not itself the idea.

  1.  What is the argument to show that God is immaterial? AND
  2.  How does Locke deduce the nature of God?

Whatever The Creator is, it is the most supreme being. The Creator is the most powerful being even if only a singular atom, it is still responsible for creating all that is, it would be the most powerful being, by nature, due to the fact that all thing derived from it. An atom, however, does not have thought and thought has to come from one who has thought. The material cannot produce thought, whether it being a single particle, group of particles or a working system or particles; nor can the material produce the immaterial, whereas the opposite does have that capacity. It could be asserted that, however, that man creates ideas and dreams. The very fact that man can do that is proof enough, then, that man does have a part of them that is immaterial; seeing how in the last question it was outlined that a piece of paper with a thought written on it is not the thought itself. Man then, and their bodies, is much like the piece of paper, it has a material part that houses the immaterial, intangible being. All of this should be followed by the argument that shows how God himself is immaterial. If God created all things, including the material then God himself could not be material as that would mean he created himself, which would be as much a paradox as saying that matter is eternal; which as stated before is not the cases as we can contemplate and illustrate the origin of all mater. Because God then is not able to be material, God himself must be immaterial.

  1.  What is the argument to show that incognitive being cannot produce cogitative being?

We can, perhaps, elevate our minds to answer and identify the creation of all things material and incognitive (how it is done) but we would be remised to think we could do the same to the soul, presumably cognitive, and its creation. Locke continues to argue that something cognitive cannot come from something incognitive because if cognition did come from an incognitive being then that would mean instead of there being one infinite and eternal being, there would be there would be an infinite number of finite beings. This ultimately does not lead to the level of complexity and organization found in the natural world.

  1.  How does Locke show that there are two kinds of being, cogitative and incognitative?

Locke illustrates his concept of there being the cognitive and incognitive that exist by showing that there are things that exist that are purely material and are without sense or perception, much like hair trimmings, these are the incognitive material beings in life. Whereas the cognitive beings are those that do have some sense of perception and sense, even if minimal; they are not the tool in perception but rather they themselves perceive.

  1.  How does Locke show that the material world is not co-eternal with God?

The material world can be shown to not be co-eternal with God by going even further in depth about why matter itself cannot be eternal. Matter cannot be eternal because if it were, when a new thing was to be formed that would mean that matter is created- which it has been stated that this idea goes against natural science- or then that there is an infinite amount of matter where all things are made, which then cannot be; this because the infinite supposes continuous creation. If it is to be such a way then what is a thing before it was created, if not matter. Locke illustrates this point by posing the question of what a human is before it was conceived. Therefore, all things material, at least in the most basic form of matter, were created at one definitive point- Ex nihilo. It seems imperative that another point, which after contemplation of Locke comes to mind, must be addressed. If matter is eternal what about scientific hypothesis such as the Standard Cosmological Model- the Big Bang Theory? It would seem that if all matter was eternal, which could be seen as an attempt by those who would be considered materialists to disprove that there is a God, then the Big Bang itself does not serve to answer the question of modern physics and that the Big Bang only address a middle step in the process of an evolving universe rather than a start to the universe. Therefore, the Big Bang cannot be used as a proof to disprove the ultimate existence of God.

  1.  In Locke’s view is there any excuse for not knowing God?

There is no reason for anyone person to not know that God exists. Locke supposes that God has given man a sufficient amount of knowledge about himself and that with this knowledge people have the capacity of faith. Not only has God given an abundance of special revelation but he can be observed in the natural world through general revelation. How can something so complex have organized itself by a series of accidents? This also ties back to the question of whether or not something cognitive can come from something incognitive. How can all of life in its great complexity and grandeur have originated and come into existence through an incognitive being? Since God has given so much, and reveled so much of himself, it comes down to either a lack of understanding on man’s part or a general sense of arrogance and the unwillingness to adapt one’s lifestyle.


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