1) All that exists is either God, or a creature. Now, if this is true, what is predestination? It cannot be something “in” the divine essence if simplicity is true. For there is nothing “in” the divine essence: there is only the divine essence. Now, the divine essence is necessary. Therefore, if predestination is the divine essence, predestination is necessary. On the other hand, if predestination is a creature, then it either exists right now, or not. If not, then predestination does not exist. If it does, then it cannot be false that those who are predestined are not predestined. Therefore, whoever is predestined right now, is necessarily predestined (they cannot be unpredestined.) But then, if predestination is true right now, no person can change whether or not they are in fact predestined. In fact the word “can” loses meaning. For a person simply does what he is predestined to do and that cannot be otherwise. Unless you want to hold that predestination can fail or be different than it is now.
Also, if predestination is a creature, then given predestination, a creature causes men to do acts in such and such a way. But then, given predestination, men cannot perform their acts otherwise than such and such a way. Therefore, this creature causes men’s acts, and they are not free.
2) Creation cannot be an act of the divine essence, because the divine essence is itself necessary, and then creation would be necessary. But neither can creation be something outside the divine essence as depending on it, for then there is nothing in the divine essence to explain why it exists rather than not. If you say creation is a free act, then this free act is either the divine essence itself, or something outside it, and the same conclusion follows. In fact to say creation is a free (i.e. contingent) act while affirming it of the divine essence, which is a necessary act, you implicitly contradict yourself by saying the divine essence is both a contingent and necessary act.
3) If things are possible in God’s mind (say he necessarily has the ideas of all possible beings) then it cannot also be true that those beings actually exist. For what is actual is not possible, but actual. For suppose that no being existed and only God existed. It would then follow that the beings which actually did exist and were still merely possible in God’s mind were also possible in God’s mind when they don’t exist. In other words the beings are merely possible in God’s mind whether or not they actually exist – but that is absurd. Also, God would have the same belief about a thing’s existence whether or not the thing really existed.
Its modal problems like these that make the idea of divine simplicity and timelessness unravel for me. The notion just becomes unintelligible. God becomes this sort of inert property (whichever one I am thinking of at the moment): and each property excludes the possibility of being something else if I try to attribute another or different property to that same God.
In fact, if God’s essence is his existence, then God is simply “is.” But then, we can’t say anything more about God than “God is” – which is really just redundant. Therefore when talking about God, when describing him and what he “does” we are reduced to saying simply “God.” God loves, God thinks, God wills, God necessarily exists, God freely creates, etc. all just reduce to “God.”
The notion is absurd. How can “a” thing or substance also be simply “being” itself? How is that not a contradiction: for “a being” to also be “being”? How is that intelligible?
All our explanations and all observable phenomenon ultimately seem to reduce to following: “that’s just the way it is.” Existence seems just a brute fact – a given. Nor do I see how it can have a “giver:” for that giver itself would also have to exist; and then we would still be left with the same phenomenon: a given existence.
This can be put another way by the following collapse of modal categories: for every explanation, there either is a previous explanation that is contingent or necessary. Now, all explanations cannot be contingent. For then nothing would be necessary. Something, however, must be necessary, or nothing contingent could exist. (That’s just what “contingent” means – to depend on something else.) Now, if we finally run into a necessary explanation, it must be the case that, given this explanation, what is contingent follows. Otherwise, there is nothing in the necessary explanation which accounts for the contingent phenomenon. But in that case, there is no reason why the contingent phenomenon should exist or not exist. Therefore, their existence would be a matter of brute fact. Why do they exist? That’s just the way it is.
In short, by positing either something contingent or something necessary we simultaneously affirm the opposite category. It is inconceivable to postulate only the purely necessary or the purely contingent, without supposing their opposites. But then if both categories must be supposed, one can ask: why do we have the contingent and the necessary to begin with? And again the answer: there is no reason: that’s just the way it is.