William Lane Craig, as with most contemporary analytic philosophers of religion, objects to the classical Thomistic idea that God cannot be said to be a being in the sense that we can. I aim to argue that at least some of his claims here are unreasonable.
Craig objects: "One of the aspects of Thomas Aquinas’ thought that I find most disturbing is his claim that we can speak of God only in analogical terms. Without univocity of meaning, we are left with agnosticism about the nature of God, able to say only what God is not, not what He is."
This does not follow in the slightest; in fact, I wonder if Craig actually understands what analogy is, since it is one of the main points of Aquinas's theory of analogy to avoid this problem. Aquinas sought to show, in contrast to Maimonides, that though we can't predicate attributes of God in the same sense as us we can still speak meaningfully and make positive predications about him. Craig fails utterly to show how from the semantic analogy of the term 'being' we are left only with negative theology.
Next, Craig says: "When in discussions with atheists I affirm, 'God exists' and they reply, 'God does not exist,' we may need to be sure that we mean the same thing by 'God,' but there is no equivocation on the meaning of 'exists.'"
I guess what Craig is trying to say here is something like this: If the word 'exists' is analogical, then when I affirm God exists and when atheists affirm God does not exist, we are both equivocating past each other. But this is a genuine ontological dispute and so there is no equivocation; hence, 'exists' is not analogical. The problem is that the main premise is simply not true; if analogy is true, then we affirm that God exists in one sense, and the atheist simply denies that God exists in any sense, including the one I am predicating of God.
In the next paragraph, Craig says this: "The problem you pose brings us to the heart of my current work on divine aseity. What makes God more than just one being among many is precisely His aseity: God alone is self-existent; everything else exists contingently. Only God exists of Himself (a se); everything else exists through another (ab alio). That makes God the source of being for everything apart from Himself."
Now, I really like this, and I agree with this completely. The only problem is that Craig himself doesn't; for if what Craig says is literally true then divine simplicity is true, from which it is a small step to the doctrine that talk about God is analogous. Here's why:
(1) Whatever is non-identical to God is created by God. [conceded by Craig]
(2) If God has metaphysical proper parts ('parts' hereafter), then at least one of these parts is not created by God. [prem]
(3) Either God has parts or he doesn't. [LEM]
(4) Suppose he does have parts. [assp]
(5) All of God's parts are created by God. [by 1]
(6) One of God's parts is not created by God [by 2,4]
This is a contradiction. Hence, we must reject our assumption. Hence:
(7) God has no parts.
So by 'metaphysical proper parts' here I mean things like ontological constituents, such as a property-instance (or trope or accident or whatever). (1) is just Craig's own thoughts on the matter, and (2) is true because clearly God doesn't create his essential properties; he depends on those for his existence, since if they didn't exist then neither would he. The rest follows by the meanings of the terms and the rules of logic.
Craig says that he considers God to be a substance, presumably in the same manner we are: "Not a physical substance, of course, but a spiritual substance like a mind."
However, the case is even more clear if Craig thinks God's mind and will are distinct; for if he does, granting Craig's doctrine of aseity, then from (1) it follows God's will must be created by God. But it is absurd to suppose God creates his own will; after all, he must have a will to do that! So, either Craig's doctrine of aseity is false (which I agree with Craig it isn't) or God is not distinct from his will (which I think is right, but is really only intelligible given divine simplicity).
Craig thinks getting rid of Platonism will solve the problems concerning God's aseity; but it doesn't, since even if there are no abstract properties in us there are clearly ontological constituents (my brownness, my height, my shape, etc.). Even taking 'parts' in this sense, I think the above argument shows that if he wants to hold on to the strong doctrine of aseity set out in the quote above he needs to get rid of the idea that God has any parts at all. And if God has no parts in the metaphysical sense then it can be shown speech about God is analogical; for in our case, to say I am good is to say the quality of goodness inheres in me as an accident (or is exemplified as a property, or inheres as a trope or whatever). But since God has no parts in any of these senses, to say God is good cannot be to say this about him. And the same with any of the divine attributes. Thus our terms must be said analogically of God.
[Edit: Craig's reply here. My reply here.]