Aseity and Abstract Objects
A good number of philosophers since Plato have thought that reality is not only comprised of corporeal and sensible objects, but that alongside the physical universe, there exists an invisible realm of abstract entities like properties, numbers, propositions, sets, and the like. Among other things, Platonism, seems to provide a unified account of predication so that for something like 1) Socrates is white, there is a subject, “Socrates,” and a real abstract entity, the property “whiteness,” distinct from and exemplified by Socrates. A subject has its properties either essentially or accidentally. The essential properties of a subject are called its essence or nature. Now theists have long confessed that a Perfect Being must be completely self-sufficient and depend upon nothing for its existence. This notion is often expressed in the statement, ‘God exists a se,’ that is, of Himself. Hence the aseity thesis: 2) Necessarily, God depends on nothing distinct from Himself for His existence. A problem seems to arise, however, when we think of God and abstract objects. If God has a nature, then how should we understand His properties? Take the property omniscience which God has essentially, how should we understand God’s relationship to this entity? Plantinga wonders,
If that property didn’t exist, then God wouldn’t have it, in which case he wouldn’t be omniscient. So the existence of omniscience is a necessary condition of God’s being the way he is; in this sense he seems to be dependent upon it (Plantinga, Does God Have A Nature?).God it seems, must exist in an asymmetrical relation of dependency on His properties for while say, the property omniscience is a necessary condition for His existence, it does not seem that His existence is a necessary condition for the existence of omniscience. But what of the aseity thesis? If God is dependent on the property omniscience, then it seems that He does not exist a se after all. Should theists then reject the aseity thesis?