God is the necessary being, attributed with all the necessary qualities. However, someone might ask: “are those necessary qualities themselves attributed with even more qualities?”

We respond: this would entail the existence of an infinite number of essences, which is impossible. We argue:

    • If it were not impossible for the necessary qualities to be attributed with qualities, then an infinite number of qualities would exist.
    • It is impossible for an infinite number of qualities to exist.
    • Therefore, it is impossible for the necessary qualities to be attributed with qualities.

Premise 1: If it were not impossible for the necessary qualities to be attributed with qualities, then an infinite number of qualities would exist.

If it were not impossible for the necessary qualities to be attributed with qualities, then the qualities of the necessary qualities would either be:

    • Necessary existents
    • Contingent existents

The qualities of qualities cannot be contingent existents, as this entails change for the qualities that they are attributed to. And whatever changes is necessarily emergent[1]. Therefore, if it were not impossible for a necessary quality to be attributed with qualities, then it would be necessary for this necessary quality to be attributed with qualities.

Given the above, if it were necessary for a necessary quality to be attributed with qualities, then the qualities of qualities would themselves be attributed with more qualities[2]. And the qualities of qualities of qualities would also be attributed with more qualities… and so on, and so forth. Ultimately, this would entail the existence of an infinite number of qualities.

Attributes of Attributes squared

Premise 2: It is impossible for an infinite number of qualities to exist.

This is true given the conclusion of Burhan Al-Tatbiq. It is impossible for an infinite number of essences to exist, and since qualities are existent essences, it is impossible for an infinite number of qualities to exist. More on this here.

Therefore, it is not impossible for the necessary qualities to be attributed with qualities.

The two premises are true, so the conclusion necessarily follows. Thus, it is impossible for the divine qualities themselves to be attributed with even more qualities.


 

[1] Whatever has the potential to change is inseparable from accidents. And that which is inseparable from accidents is emergent. Therefore, whatever has the potential to change is emergent. And since necessary qualities are not emergent by definition, then they are necessarily immutable. More on this here.

[2] Since the existence of the qualities of qualities would also be necessary.

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