This is the 3rd article in the series on philosophical evidence for God.
In our last post, we discussed the logical necessity for the existence of an uncaused being (existing through itself) which is the cause of everything else that exists. Now, we will demonstrate that the uncaused being must be absolutely unrestricted and utterly simple.
Boundaries/Restrictions are limiting and exclusive
Boundaries/restrictions exclude. If something has the boundaries of a square it cannot have the boundaries of a circle or a triangle in the same respect at the same time and in the same place. For millennia philosophers have recognized that having fewer boundaries or restrictions allows for unification of seemingly disparate realities.
An example from physics is the concept of a field. The properties of electricity differ from those of magnetism but are unified in the relatively less-restricted electromagnetic field. Space and time are very different realities that become unified in a gravitational or space-time field. The implication here is that fields, which have less boundaries/restrictions and are thus more inclusive, can unify lower orders of being without being subjugated to the boundaries of the things that they unify
Less boundaries/restrictions and more inclusion equal greater simplicity
Here we want to put forth the principle of simplicity as espoused by the Greek philosophers like Thales, who proposed water as the absolutely simple element from which all other matter is composed. For Thales, Parmenides, Plato, and Aristotle, the simpler a reality is, the fewer intrinsic and/or extrinsic boundaries it has. As we have just seen, boundaries exclude. Hence, greater simplicity means less intrinsic and extrinsic boundaries which entails less exclusion within itself and with other beings, which further entails greater possibility for interaction and interrelationship with other realities.
What would absolute simplicity be like?
Thus far, we have discovered an important metaphysical principle: the less exclusive and more compatible a thing is, the fewer restrictions or boundaries it has to limit its mode of being—or, as the aforementioned philosophers would put it, the simpler it is. If we take this concept to its logical end, an absolutely simple being would have no boundaries or restrictions. In other words, it would not be restricted to existing in this way or that way; nor be restricted to existing here instead of there; nor be restricted to existing now instead of then; but simply be. Furthermore, it would be able to unify all other being within itself because it would have no restrictions to give rise to exclusion or incompatibility.
Joseph Miller is the Executive Director of the Magis Center