Tags

, , , ,

Reading Peter Geach’s 1973 Stanton Lecture ‘On The Virtues’ made me think about the claim Christian theists often make: that God is truth. Now, for the Christian this is undoubtedly correct to say and, indeed, should be said. Nevertheless, this is prima facia strange. I for one hold that truth is a certain correspondence relation holding between beliefs and states of affairs, propositions being the primary bearers of truth. I am joined in this by the majority of philosophers through the ages.

Yet, this surely cannot be what we mean when we say that God is truth. God is not a correspondence relation (assuming the is in ‘is truth’ is the is of identity). God cannot be identified with truth if truth is correspondence, nor can this ‘is’ be the is of predication, for ‘God is true’ is not alike with ‘snow is white’. Truth as correspondence is a property, and God is not a property.

So, we arrive at a conundrum. If ‘God is truth’ is not the ‘is’ of predication and rather the ‘is’ of essence, then what God IS is truth. But, then, either our understanding of truth as correspondence is entirely off (since God is not a property) and the “is truth’ of God is entirely other and distinct from our notion of truth, or God is a property. If the former, then when we say that God is truth we say nothing intelligible (we merely state an uninformative platitude). If the latter, then God is not the God we understand God to be, and hence is not God.

Advertisements