Introduction and explanation.
My mind is the only one that I have ever experienced!
Well, yes, but my mind is also always associating,
reasoning, connecting, analyzing, and concluding (at least
A new connection, reason, or conclusion will come to me,
as I read, meditate, engage in conversation, take a shower, or
even while jogging.
For a long time, I wrote these out in longhand, filling page
after page. But
then, I mused, what
are computers for, if not to
muse more concretely
And, then, what are webpages for, but to post such
musings for others
Now, this posting is profoundly both good and
bad. It is good, if
these musings, turn
out to be true, meaningful, coherent, and useful.
are just that, musings.
So, I post these with some fear and trepidation.
They may be wrong! But, likely they are not totally
wrong. I may change my
mind in the future!
(Not likely, at least completely, as I usually have it
mostly right the
first time.) I may
modify them in the future with better explanation or
understanding. (I may
never even look at them again.)
So, read the following in that light, even as
I muse that
Augustine said that we only discover what we already know, and
it is Christ Himself who is the teacher.
(See his De
But, as is the goal of
this site and all that I do, test everything with Scripture.
If you do not test in this way, then you are guilty,
Musings differs from
Ed's Penseés in that the
latter is (I hope) better thought out.
If you want to respond or want to know when
these are posted, let me know.
Index of Musings
There is no epistemology (knowledge) without
omniscience. February 22, 2011 (date is correct)
Major Problem! April
it self-refuting when stated by one who believes it?
God as unchanging and truth that varies
from person to person (subjectively conditional)
Biblical authority ... what analogy?
The idea of university started with
the idea of di-versity
The idea of university found in the
66 books of the agreed-upon Bible
Exclusive beliefs vs. being simply
irrational January 9, 2010
How can the universe be both lawful
and irrational? January 9, 2010
Being and becoming... the not yet
becoming the already. February 6, 2010
God's Common Grace Masks the
Complexity of Language. February 7, 2010
Does the success of philosophers have
to do with the confusion of their work? February
Ad hominem arguments are “murder intended.”
February 12, 2010
Authority and Epistemology
March 13, 2010
Faith and Reason March 13,
and the Creation Mandate
April 9, 2010
Operationalism and functionalism as
the method of The Creation Mandate April 21, 2010
Christ as Mediator ... the Word as
mediator. June 13, 2010
Only God can make communication
possible. June 13, 2010
Eureka! Six Creation
Days. June 15, 2010
Logic--the Syllogism and the Problem of Evil
October 7, 2010
The debate is not about evolution!
October 24, 2010
The only concern of philosophy is
epistemology and theology. Date not recorded
All is one, and one is all—the
necessity of a complete system from one term.
Date not recorded
No "graven" image and the image of
God in man. December 19, 2010
ontological change in the soul? December 31, 2010
Logic and Unity? Arminian vs.
Calvinist January 12, 2011
Mysticism and irrationalism pervades
"Bible-believing" Christians January 25, 2011
The strength of those who are
demon-possessed. January 25, 2011
The only concern of philosophy is
ethics. January 28, 2011
know nothing of “substance” in the material or immaterial
realm... but we do know of Mind.
February 17, 2011. Addenda: Substance of the
"whole thing" - October 17, 2011
superficiality of modern theology and “Christian philosophy.”
February 20, 2011
Dualism of body and spirit (soul) should be a test
of orthodoxy. February 21, 2011
Tacit knowledge (Michael Polayni) and a
transcendental argument for God. March 11, 2011
Music: the beauty of holiness? March 31,
What is progress? Success? A word for
missions. April 1, 2011
Induction, deduction, faith, truth, operationalism,
science... their interdependency. June 1, 2011
Destroy (natural) science, and you have destroyed
atheism. June 1, 2011
"Progress" is understanding and applying the Reformed
faith. June 2, 2011
The atheist has no alternative to certain of the Ten
Commandments. June 5, 2011
David Hume refuted by his own reasoning—twice!
June 24, 2011
Methodological naturalism binds man to his animal
nature. September 5, 2011
"Man as the measure of all things" in modern
evangelicalism. September 16, 2011
"There is one absolute." September 21, 2012
An insight into infinity and omniscience in whole
numbers. October 7, 2011
Why man understands his
November 24, 2011
Emergence and the Trinity January 16,
Philosophers and possible worlds. January
God judges men by their own standards... and they are
found wanting. January 29, 2012
"What is" is "what ought to be." February 23,
Emergence: the supernatural in plain sight!
June 7, 2012
There is no epistemology (knowledge) without
omniscience. Charles Peirce, Martin Heidegger,
and other philosophers have noted that any proposition (claim to
knowledge) is predicated on prior knowledge and that knowledge
predicated on its prior knowledge ad infinitum and
infinite regress. In natural science this process has come
to be known as the Duhem-Quine thesis.
Thus, any claim to knowledge requires omniscience—all
As Christians, we know Who is
omniscient. Thus, only God has knowledge; that is, only
God is epistemologically sound. But... we have His Special
Revelation: The Holy Bible. Thus, any knowledge presented
in the Bible is grounded in God's omniscience. The only
logical conclusion, then, is that the only knowledge (synonym of
truth) available to humans is the Bible.
P.S. By the way knowledge is not an infinite regress.
If it were, God could not know everything.
P.P.S. See "transcendental argument" below... more on
knowledge and the necessity for God.
Solipsism Is A Major Problem for Philosophy.
The difficulty of solipsism, the belief that only my
mind exists, is one of the great problems in philosophy that
seems virtually to be ignored. But without Special
Revelation from a Mind that knows all other minds (and
in fact, created them), how do we know that other minds exist?
We don't! I know of no other way to be certain that other
minds exist, except by probability, and that way is fraught with
Determinism: Is it self-refuting when stated by one
who believes it? (Ronald Nash, Faith and Reason, 53-54)
That is, if I am determined or pre-determined to believe in
determinism, then my stating that fact has no significance.
I agree—if we leave God out.
But in Biblical philosophy, God cannot be left out.
It is clear from Scripture that God does predestine
(pre-determine) all things; even the words that I choose here to
refute the refutation of determinism. It is
God that causes me to believe in determinism (predestination in
Biblical language). He is the Determiner.
Now, what is the reason for me to try to convince you that I
am right, or you to convince me that I am wrong?
This process is also a part of God’s predestination.
At this point the idea that I am a robot is usually
brought up. Well, a robot is not
self-conscious! Thus, while I may be
predestined to think and act, I am conscious that God has
predetermined everything. I am watching
the Great Drama by the Greatest Producer and Director, and I am
in the cast from birth to death. I do not
know what is exactly my part, nor my speaking lines, but I will
know as I get there. How exciting!
unchanging and truth that varies from person to person
If there is indeed a subjective-objective encounter, that
is, a person with his own experience and learned knowledge, and
that knowledge varies from person to person, then all knowledge
of Scripture is therefore different.
“David was King of Israel” is different in my
understanding from that of another Christian, because what I
know of David as King of Israel is different from that other
Christian. There is
the fact of David’s kingship as simply stated in that simple
sentence—objectively it can convey all that God understands of
his kingship, but I cannot know it as God knows it.
The simple statement, “David was King of Israel,” is true
for all those who believe it, but that statement in the whole of
a person’s knowledge is different.
God, however, knows
everything about that statement immediately and necessarily.
So, truth within a person
can be only partial, and even change, but as he understands
Scripture, what he knows about that statement is true.
This “truth” also seems relevant to the
philosophical idea that finite truth is morally wrong in itself.
In fact, we can never
know truth the way that God does.
“You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you
free” declares that a regenerate person can know the truth.
Thus, partial truth is
truth, as it is consistent with Scripture.
That is why the only
truth that we can know is Scripture.
Since Scripture was
written by God, He knew the “whole truth,” as he wrote it (and
still does). Thus, the
only knowledge of which we can have certainty as truth is
Scripture. I know that
“David was King of Israel” because it stands in the omniscience
of God’s knowledge. I can
only know that Socrates was a man because it was stated by
finite men. Even they
cannot know the omniscience of that statement.
Now, that knowledge (and
all empirical knowledge) is certainly useful for one’s
experience on earth, but it is conditional truth or practical
truth, not God’s truth. Or,
perhaps, we can use the philosophical language of “matters of
fact,” “statements of fact,” or even “self-evident facts,” but
they are not truth.
Biblical authority… what analogy?
Looking through “the lens
of Scripture” (Calvin and Belangia).
As “an anchor,” Ed.
Scripture must be the
ultimate reference… authority. We
must foremost determine what it says or does not say on a
subject. Maybe there is
no adequate analogy. “Hovering
authority” … picturing the Book above the morass of human
reference?” “The filtering grid.”
“The small gauge sieve" through which all which all
opinion must be forced.” What
about "the rock to which we are anchored?" We could not
drift very far if we are moored to the Rock of Ages! What do
idea of university in the Scholastics had one major flaw: they
developed di-versity instead.
Aquinas believed that the cosmological argument proved
God’s existence, that some theology (natural theology) was
possible without Revelation, and that the empirical method was
valid. Thus, the
unifying nature of knowledge never had a chance… it was di-vided
from the beginning of modern scholarship and thinking.
And, this di-versity continues to this day, even among
Bible-believing, evangelical Christians with such phrases as
“all truth is God’s truth” and How Evangelicals Became
Over-Committed to the Bible and What Can Be Done About It” (an
address given by J. P. Moreland at the Evangelical Society
Meeting in 2007).
In reality, only the Reformed community has
the theology that would ground a true uni-versity of knowledge,
but they have their own divisions in their battles over their
own side issues.
(See John Frame,
Machens' Warrior Children.) One
of these battles is over the very approach that would make
uni-versity possible—the central concepts of Cornelius Van
Til, Greg Bahnsen, and Gordon Clark—if
their followers could ever put away their "majoring on minutia"
and a prideful avoidance of trying to understand each other.
Bible-believing Christians have at least narrowed the search for
a university to one source: the 66 books of the Bible.
philosophies and religions can do is point out the flaws in each
other’s systems. Meanwhile,
evangelical Christians have at least narrowed their source to
the 66 books of the Bible. Whether
Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant, those who actually believe
the Bible have agreed upon those 66 books.
While they differ greatly
in their interpretations of these books, nevertheless they are
consulting the same source. This
unity is cause for great celebration.
If indeed the laws of
logic are true, these 66 books are true, and the Holy Spirit is
directing the inquiry, then an increasing unity in Christendom
What about the Quran for Muslims and the
Old Testament for the Jews? The
Quran is demonstrably a weak and false derivative of the Bible
without coherence of text or its history.
Its culture has proven
the disastrous inferences from its falsehoods.
The Old Testament is true
enough, but incomplete without the Jews’ Messiah and the clarity
that He would bring for them. Their
own narrowness and blindness caused them to miss His coming.
being narrowly exclusive in one’s beliefs vs. holding
inconsistent positions. Critics
of Biblical Christianity often say that it is narrowly
ought to be more ‘inclusive’ or ‘pluralistic.’”*
But Alvin Plantinga
directs us to an unavoidable problem.
Either we become narrowly
exclusive or we accept beliefs that are incompatible,
inconsistent, and incoherent. (“A
Defense of Religious Exclusivism, in Thomas D. Senor [Ed.],
The Rationality of Belief
and the Plurality of Faith, 201-205) Which is preferable: to
hold to beliefs that are coherent, a well-defined system, or to
believe in incompatibilities and violations of the law of
answers seem obvious.
Further, if one believes in everything
(pluralism), then how can one be passionate about anything.
The only consistent
(coherent) attitude about pluralism is “ho-hum,” anything goes.
Who could really want
that kind of life? Practically,
no one does because anyone will always get passionate about
“some thing” that they believe!
*One wonders from where this “ought” comes.
the universe be both rational and irrational?
How can the universe be
“lawful” (that is, consist of inductive laws), and yet those
laws not apply anywhere in the universe?
How can the universe
exist if it is now running down?
imperfection begin in the first place?
Does not the presence of
imperfection require perfection?
This conclusion was that of Descartes.
No thing that a man
creates is perfect, yet it is functional … highly functional.
Eventually, it will wear
out and break … be no longer functional.
Functionality does not
require perfection, only a state in which its imperfection will
not destroy itself for some useful period of time.
Does an imperfect universe imply that at one
time it was perfect? No,
but the existence of the universe for 6000 to 14 billion years
requires a degree of precision that is almost infinitely beyond
the ability of humans. The
Creator was incredibly precise … at the least.
Or, He created perfection which has since been
altered in some way … the Fall. The
Big Bang is not an option. The
bigger the bang, the bigger the destruction.
There is no way … no way
… that a Big Bang could have created a zillion atoms and
molecules, as well as one organized solar system.
That possibility requires
a faith that exceeds comprehension!
Being and becoming... the already and
the not yet. How is it that a person "is," and
yet "not is" what he will be? I was once a little boy,
trying to catch tadpoles in a muddy creek. Now I have
completed a medical and writing career, but still have 10-20
years left, q.v. Who am I? We forget that God is not
subject to time. For Him, all history is now.
He sees us in our totality ... our completed lives as a
composite. We do not have this perspective. Then, in
a real sense we are becoming what we are ... as He sees
us. So, actually the phrase "the already and the not yet"
is backwards. It should be "the already is the becoming of
the not yet." "Already" cannot exist until we have drawn
our last breath, and even then the "already" will include our
eternal destinies. The real mystery is how does God keeps
one mind separate from another, since the spiritual is the
substratum of the physical, and we are able to make the
transition from our earthly, bodily existence into our eternal
existence with our minds intact and whole ... He preserves that
which has "become" now and forevermore!
God's Common Grace in Language.
Language seems simple. I talk to you, you understand me,
and vice-versa. I talk to a group, and they mostly
understand me. I write a book, and most people understand
it. Communication in language works! (Most of the
time ... that is not to say that misunderstanding do not occur.)
But the simple act of communication masks its extreme
complexity. The differences in opinion over methods and
grounding of epistemology define the complexity.
Philosophy of language, philology, and analytic philosophy add
further dimensions of complexity. Words are made of
individual symbols (letters). Each word is a symbol of
something simple, like dog or cat, or something much more
complex, like logic and mathematics. Further, it is
impossible fully to translate one language into another, e.g.,
Greek and Hebrew into English. (Thus, preachers go to
seminar to learn these languages.) Formal logic is the
most precise method of reasoning, but it depends upon words and
definitions and copulas to make propositions.
How many have considered that the seeming
simplicity of language and communication is one of the great,
perhaps the greatest, manifestation of God's common grace to all
men. I say, "common grace," because most communications
between believer and unbeliever are effective, yet their
worldviews (properly understood) are "light and darkness" and
"truth and foolishness." If God did not give the human
race the innate structure and faculty to manipulate language, no
communication would ever take place. One might be able to
make the case that communication is more complex than cells,
tissues, organs, and physical bodies! Yet, we take it for
granted, and when misunderstandings occur, we wonder why.
Let us praise God that He has given us the wonderful gift of
language that allows one mind to communicate with other minds,
and with His Great Mind.
Does the success of philosophers
depend upon the confusion of their writings? It
almost seems that those philosophers who have achieved fame and
study for the past 400 years have been those who are most
loquacious, vague, and even confused in their writings.
Hegel dominated the 19th century and seemed to vary his
definitions from context to context to the extent that his
followers split into right and left groups after his death—how
much more confused can that situation be? Kant will make
your head spin, trying to following the difference between
intuition, understanding, judgment, inference, and antinomy.
Then, there is the early and later Wittgenstein—will the real
one please grow up and be definite? And, on and on.
Before you react, just consider whether there might be some
truth to my view.
Ad hominem arguments are “murder intended.”
Jesus said, “But I
say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a
cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall
say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but
whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire”
(Matthew 5:22). When a
person resorts to an ad
hominem argument, he has essentially said, “I cannot answer
your argument. Therefore,
I will kill you!” “All
who hate me, love death” (Proverbs 8:36).
“The fool who has said in
his heart, ‘There is no God,’” has already rejected the highest
reason for morality. Why
not kill all those with whom he disagrees!
Authority and epistemology. Epistemology
is simply subjectivism—what an individual believes is true.
Philosophers can discuss
all the various pathways and pre-conditioned concepts that are
possible for knowledge. They
can give profound and detailed arguments why this or that
approach is or is not “proper” or "rational." But
the individual himself has veto power by the simple statement,
“I do not believe what you are saying.”
The argument is over.
Authority of self—authority
How can this be?
How can a person,
especially a simple lay person, reject my carefully reasoned
arguments? They can do so
simply because they are their own final authority to what they
believe is true. This
conclusion is unavoidable and inescapable.
How else can the
confirmed atheist reject God and His Word, as together, they
form the most logical and evidential source of knowledge
available to mankind. By
comparison, all other philosophies are just facile attempts to
provide meaning and direction for human lives.
God demonstrates this fact in his division of
mankind into two, and only two, groups: the unregenerate and the
unregenerate is his own authority, choosing some other
“religion,” philosophy, or other “-ism” by which to live his
life. And, the regenerate
is his own authority. Do
not Christians say among themselves, “I just do not believe what
you are saying, or “Let us agree to disagree.”
So, we have authority of
the self for both the regenerate and the unregenerate.
The unregenerate can just go his own way and
do his own thing. But
this issue is more serious for the regenerate.
He must constantly
challenge his own authority with the authority of God’s Word.
While he does still rest
upon his own reasoning, he faces primarily the challenge of
Scripture, the authority of his elders in the faith, and the
Holy Spirit within. He
must tread more cautiously than the unregenerate.
And, here is the ultimate
challenge. To the extent
that he is “transformed by the renewing of his mind” (by the
Scriptures), that is, by being consistent with the whole of the
Bible, then he will “prove what is good, acceptable, and
perfect” (Romans 12:2), that is, mature in the faith.
Thus, God’s authority
must gradually replace his own authority.
Even the Christian retains his
subjectivism—his self-authority—but to grow, he must give it
over to the challenges of his elders in the faith, the Word of
God written, and the witness of the Holy Spirit.
May God change us all in
and reason. Language
per se is highly developed reason. Johann
Hamann stated, “Language is the perfect hypostatic union of the
sensible and the intelligible.” Thus,
just to formulate a proposition (simply, a declarative sentence)
in order to have something to
believe in is to have
exercised reason to a considerable degree in the process.
Even Kierkegaard’s “leap
of faith” has a number of propositions in the background: God
is, the person is, the leap is reasonable for the person, the
leap is the highest purpose of man, etc.
After the “leap,” then
one must reason whether it was, after all, the good and right
thing to do. Thus, reason
and faith are inextricably intertwined.
conflict of faith and reason is simply false.
The "real" and the Creation Mandate.
Philosophers have fretted over the "real" for millenia.
Kant went so far as to say that we could not know the real
"thing in itself" (TII). I suggest that we do not have to
know the real, because God's intention was not to "know" or
"understand" the real (world); instead, He intended for us
to "use" it. Modern science (that is, technology) has
accomplished great ends: mass production of food, the internet,
the computer, space travel and observation, open heart surgery,
etc., etc. Because of these great accomplishments, we
think that we know the TII, but we do not, re: quantum theory,
chaos theory, space vs. matter, and rapidly changing sub-atomic
theory. However, these great accomplishments do not
require that we know the TII. And, this situation is
exactly as God intended it in the Creation Mandate. We can
learn the characteristics of a TII, but not the TII because
ultimately God is behind the creation—God
is not of the "gaps," but of the whole and all of its parts.
To know the TII is to know God.
The Creation Mandate is a functional mandate,
not a mandate to understand. We have the Special
Revelation of God to understand as much as He wanted us to
understand. We accomplish this task by deduction. We
learn the function of the world by induction. The former
concerns truth; the latter concerns predictable behavior.
Anything that has spirit (God, angels and demons, man, animals)
must be understood by Special Revelation. Anything that is
matter without spirit is understood by General Revelation.
There is some overlap. The material world points clearly
to the Creator (Romans 1:20). The spiritual world (Special
Revelation) explains origin and maintenance of the material
A term to describe this functional system is
"operationalism." I prefer the term "functionalism."
But the most important concept here is not the term, but two
systems of epistemology. One concerns truth; the other
concerns function. To confuse the two, as has been done
since philosophy began, is to roam in the mists of spiritual primevalism.
With all of our technology, we cannot solve the problems of
mankind because of this confusion. The situation is almost
as bad among Christians, as non-Christians, especially in
philosophy. But, if I am right, we can correct the
situation by not confusing the epistemology of the two systems,
and by developing the "science" of Biblical interpretation to
the extent that we have developed technology.
Each epistemology has its own language.
There is the language of Scripture written in its languages of
Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. There is the language of
function written in the languages of sensory observation and
modern science. As modern linguists are fond to
demonstrate, one language cannot be fully translated into
another. Thus, at the outset of any attempt to reconcile
Scripture and science is a difficult impasse which is
illustrated all too well in attempts to reconcile Genesis 1-11
with modern science. The Hebrew of those passages were
written in a particular language within a cultural context over
3000 years ago. Modern science is written in a particular
language within a cultural context. Interestingly, Genesis
1-11 will not change markedly, if at all. (There may be a
few cultural and linguistic insights gained.) But the
language of science will change markedly. So which is the
more durable? Which is the more likely to communicate what
we might call truth? The answer seems obvious.
Operationalism and functionalism as
the method of The Creation Mandate.
Functionalism* is my preferred term for technical or scientific pragmatism,
that is, a technical or scientifically derived procedure that
"works" or produces desired results.
Operationalism is an approximate synonym. The
tricky aspect of this definition is that "what works" does not
have to be true, even when the desired results occur. For
example, placebos in medicine can reduce blood pressure,
significant pain, tense muscles, and more. But there is no
possible correlation between the chemical ingredients of the
placebos and the physiological effects.
This concept may be considerably broader than its application
to science—it may be applicable to everything that concerns the
physical world. For example, the understanding and theory
of language is quite complex, but it works remarkably (not
perfectly) well. Statistics have a certain usefulness, but
their basis and interpretation are somewhat tentative. I
would even propose that functionalism (or operationalism) is the
mode by which The Creation Mandate is to be achieved in the
*Since I used this term here, I have
discovered that "functionalism" is almost entirely limited to
the philosophy of mind today. Too bad! Functionalism
communicates better than operationalism, but its use has been
too narrowed for general use.
Christ as Mediator ... the Word as mediator.
The role of Christ as Mediator between God and man is well
understood and well articulated among Bible-believing
Christians. But I propose that the Word is also a mediator
in a different sense. As such, the Bible can be our only
source of truth.
Virtually every Christian would agree that God's knowledge
exceeds, not only that of any individual person, but that
of the entire human race combined. That is, His knowledge
quantitatively is almost infinitely greater.
No man can be omniscient.* Philosophically (and
religiously), true and accurate knowledge is dependent upon
knowing not only the object (which can be a material object or a
mental object—an object of thought), but its relationship to
every other object in the universe. In other words, unless
one is omniscient, he cannot really know anything that is not
relative. Leibniz understood this connectedness is his
concept of monads that affected every other monad in the
Taking this position does not mean that such relative
knowledge is not useful. (1) Scientific knowledge or
method (induction or empiricism) is quite useful. Just
look at all the modern technology, including the internet, space
travel, and atomic reactors. But modern science is not
true. The scientific method by definition is not
true because it does not and cannot examine every condition in
the universe to establish its universality. One could say
that science is an amalgam of Newton, Einstein, quantum
mechanics, chaos theory, and every other theory that comprises
"modern science." (2) All knowledge is based upon
faith—basic beliefs, presuppositions, basic propositions,
axioms, assumptions, foundational beliefs, first principles, and
any of the other terms for one's most basic starting point.
(See elsewhere on this site.)
Faith cannot be proven—believing
without proof is the definition of faith.
All these introductory comments are necessary to the Word a
mediator. Since only God can truly "know," and man cannot
know as God knows, then a mediator is necessary for God to
communicate with man. This communicator is the Bible—the
Word of God. The Bible gives a reference point—the only
reference point to knowledge so that its relativity is fixed.
(1) The Bible establishes language as a means to
understanding. As God talked with Adam directly, He has
spoken through the Bible as His objective Word or fixed
reference point. If God, by this example, reveals
(non-revelation) that communication is possible via language,
then man can be assured that he can communicate back to God and
to his fellow man. Without the Bible, one could not be sure
that other minds exist (contra solipsism) or that they
can understand us and vice-versa. (2) The Bible, as
Special Revelation, is the only true knowledge (a redundant, but
necessary term) that man can know. It grounds knowledge
that can be understood; it grounds knowledge that "works," that
is, is functional;
We have hints in the Bible of this grounding and mediatorial
relationship. In Genesis 1, "God said, Let there be light,
and there was light," and He continued to speak all creation
into existence. "In the beginning was the Word, and the
Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1).
Christ the Mediator was Christ the Word, the mediator of
communication between God and man. He is the "light"
(understanding) of "every man" (John 1:9) and specially
enlightens every regenerate person (Matthew 5:14). "God,
who at various times and in various ways spoke
(communicated by language) in time past to the fathers by the
prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His
Son... " (Hebrews 1:1-2). In this role, Christ is God
speaking to man as His voice piece, his mediatorial
spokesmen, as the go-between God and the human race. Many,
many other verses link the language of communication to Christ
as a speaking as the speaking "go-between" God and man.
Some theologians and philosophers have written about Christ
as Word-mediator (although they did not used that term—I
just invented). Augustine of Hippo wrote of Christ the
means by which man knows anything, especially in his De
Magistro. One of central propositions of Gordon H.
Clark, that is virtually absent from most other Christian
philosophers, is that the Bible is mankind's only
source of truth. Vern Poythress does not mention Christ in
this mediatorial role, but does link the Word as revelation to
the Word as Christ in his In the Beginning Was the Word.
(See next musing below.)
*Omniscience is not infinite. God knows everything.
If knowledge were infinite, God could not know everything.
Speaking Things Into Existence.
Only God can make communication possible.
Based upon the above, I have come to the conclusion
that communication through language, whether written or spoken,
is not possible without the direct action of God (as Word or as
the Holy Spirit) in both the speaker and hearer. The
complexity of language is too great for man to achieve this end.
How is it possible that all the deconstructors of language, even
the most rabid, must use language to explain their theories?
Why must they use the very tool that they want to destroy to
attempt its deconstruction? Why is it impossible to
completely translate one language to another? How is it
possible for person to grasp all the nuances of language,
especially the spoken word with its many-varied inflections and
arrangement of words? By exchanging a few punctuations
marks, a message can have opposite meanings. For examle, Wellington
sent the message, "Napoleon defeated. Wellington."
What was received was, "Napoleon defeated Wellington."
Of course, my conclusion is mostly conjecture. One has
to investigate the intricacy and complexity of language to begin to
understand my conclusion. And, God could have given to man
the ability to communicate by language. But, the whole
process seems to me to be too complex without an omniscient mind
on each end of the communication. Certainly, this human
ability is one of, if not the greatest, facet of man's being
created in the image of God.
Eureka! Six Creation Days.
There have been a great many pages and words spoken on the
length of the days of Creation Week, but there is a simple
solution. Creation Week was a Miracle Week. When
miracles occur, they are not subject to time as we know it.
So any time measurement for that period is really irrelevant.
In this debate, it is recognized that "day" can mean a normal
calendar day or a longer period of time ("in the day
that I was raised"). Well, I suggest adding another
definition, "Creation Day." This term has no definite time
that can be ascribed to it except that each day was a period in
which God created the very things that are listed in Genesis 1
on each day. No clock could have measured the "time"
because time did not apply, as God is not subject to time in His
Eternity. God created in six special, miracle days!
This definition could clear up many conflicts between Young
Earth and Old Earth Christians. However, Creation Days
ended with the Sixth Day. All the genealogies of Genesis
that record years have to be taken as actual years as we know
them. There is no reason to think of them as anything
Logic--the Syllogism and the Problem of Evil.
The classical problem for the presence of evil has been stated
this way. How can the presence of evil be explained if God
is both omnipotent and good? This problem has a simple
answer in the most basic syllogism.
God is omnipotent.
God is good, as He defines it.
Only that good exists.
If God is omnipotent and good,
then evil (non-good) cannot exist. Omnipotence is what it
says—all power in the universe.
Therefore, omnipotence will only allow the good. There is
no evil that can overcome omnipotence—all power.
To say that good does not exist is to equivocate
by changing the definition of "good." You see, good is
relative to a standard. The syllogism states God's
definition of good is the standard. So, if evil (non-good)
exists, then a standard other than God has been sneaked into the
discussion. That standard is whatever the person
presenting the argument chooses as his standard, usually
himself. Changing definitions within an argument is a
fallacy known as equivocation.
Reader, if you do not understand, keep going
over it until you do. This presentation is important for
two reasons. (1) You need to understand basic logic.
If more people understood simple logic (really, the only true
logic), then there would be fewer disagreements and issues would
be simplified. (2) This syllogism is simple, but is a
powerful, irrefutable argument against the classic presentation
of theodicy—the problem as presented in the
2nd sentence of this segment. An opponent who will not
accept the valid conclusion of a syllogism must argue with the
truth of the first two premises, not the syllogism itself.
I am frankly stunned that in all my reading, I
have never encountered anyone who has argued in this way.
Sometimes, the simplest argument is the one that is most
powerful and irrefutable!
The debate is not about evolution!
Evolution (or not) is a secondary issue. Origins
(cosmology, ontology, meta-physics, first principles, arché,
etc.) are logically, and therefore categorically, prior in discussion.
Simply, all discussions of reality begin with one's concept of
God or being. If God, which God? If not God, then
only material objects. So, all the debate about the
"facts" of evolution will, of course, be interpreted
differently. The real debate is a Personal or impersonal
universe. Then, once we agree on that prior issue, we can
debate and agree about evolution (or not). Why debate
evolution, then? Let us debate our concepts of origins,
meta-physics, and cosmologies. Then, we all stand on
individual beliefs and choose those which are most consistent with the
universe and ethics—as we are able to interpret them.
The only concern of philosophy is
epistemology and theology. Traditionally, the
four categories of philosophy are metaphysics (ontology),
epistemology, ethics (aesthetics and politics), and logic.
Metaphysics is simple: there is the uncreated Being of
God over against all that He created. The only
study need here is natural science: the study of the
characteristics of created things. Ethics is dependent
upon epistemology: how does one know what is right and
wrong? Logic is simply the tool of all thinking and
rhetoric, both spoken and written. The only real study of
philosophy, then, is epistemology: how can we know anything with
The answer is that the only way that we can
know anything with certainty is by Special Revelation.
Thus, epistemology is dependent upon that theology which is
systematically Biblical. November 22, 2010
All is one, and one is all—the
necessity of a complete system from one term. It
is quite amazing that one can begin with virtually any subject
in philosophy and and suddenly become aware that its thread is
leading to every category and concept in philosophy! For
example, today I began to muse on "transcendence." Well,
the word itself leads to transcendental, transcendental, and
transcendentalism. Then, how can one talk about
transcendence without monism, idealism, dualism, pantheism, etc.—the
whole of metaphysics. Transcendence or the argument
against is central to continental philosophy. And, we must
include the whole theological enterprise. Plato talked of
The Good and Ideas which transcended the world of
shadows and imperfect forms. And, certainly in this
pursuit we must know how we know (epistemology) and
whether it is right and just (ethics) so to do.
Finally, to build a coherent system the laws of logic must be
Briefly here are two ideas. (1) To
address any term in philosophy virtually necessitates a complete
philosophical system. (2) The only complete and coherent
philosophical system is that revealed by Holy Scripture—"the
LORD our God is One."
No "graven" image and the image of God
in man. Certainly, the Second Commandment is a
prohibition against making a physical image of God. But
might it also be the prohibition of a deaf, dumb, and mute
substitute for worship by the image of God in man! The
highest worship of God is "to worship Him in
spirit and truth" (John 4:23-24). The best
definition of the image of God in man is his mind, reason, and
ability to communicate (speak). The Greek logos
is usually translated "Word" in John 1:1ff, but the concept of
logos is deep and profound, variously rendered as reason,
speech, understanding, account, etc. which reflects the image of
God in man.
All commandments have a negative and positive
pole. (See the Westminster Confession Larger and Shorter
Catechisms on the Ten Commandments.) Thus, the powerful
positive pole of the 2nd Commandment is for regenerate man to
worship God with his mind in speaking back to God (that is, to
glorify Him by the action of man's soul or spirit) the truth
that God has revealed about Himself in His Word—the
Scripture and the Son as The Final Word (Hebrews 1:2).
ontological change in the soul? No one whom I
have read in the evangelical or Reformed churches has ever
spoken of an ontological change that occurs in the
soul/spirit at regeneration. Neither have I
considered that possibility until the last week. I have
regeneration seriously for about 30 years because it is a
miracle that God still instantiates by the tens of thousands
every year. However, I heard one theologian (about 25
years ago) say that regeneration is an ethical change.
It was not metaphysical because there is no change in
the body's chemistry, and the body is ethically neutral—sin
does not reside in the physical dimension of man nor does it
cause one to sin.
But reviewing the historical study of
"substance," I have come to see that any substance is known by its
properties and relationships, not its physicality or non-physicality. The
substance of the soul/spirit is almost, if not entirely, in the
function of the mind in thought and speech. While the
soul/spirit is immaterial (non-physical), it is still substance*
in this classical sense. The soul/spirit is responsible
for sin—the sin nature (Greek sarx,
often translated flesh which is not physical flesh).
Thus, the ontology (substance) of the soul/spirit could
undergo a metaphysical change. While I do not want to
develop a lengthy case here, certain Bible verses indicate the
possibility of this metaphysical change of the soul.
Galatians 2:20 says "Christ lives in me." If we are "born
again" (John 3), what is this new life force, if it is not
physical? Who (what) is the "I" (Greek, ego) of
Romans 7 in which Paul deeply regrets his ongoing sin? Who
is the "new creature in Christ" (II Corinthians 5:17). If
the "old man" has died, who lives on (Romans 6:6). This
change might be in the will or heart as both power (Greek
dunamis) and personal value/love. The only other
choice seems to be a duality of persons, "new" and "old," but I
cannot imagine any Biblical scholar positing that idea.
*Substance is predicated of Jesus Christ in
formulations of the Trinity, e.g., "being of one substance with
the Father" in the Nicene Creed. Since the Father has
never been incarnated, as the Son has, this proposition cannot
refer to the physical body of Christ.
Logic and Unity? Arminian vs.
Here is a thought experiment that
could make an interesting actual experiment.
Bring together theologians of both Arminian and Calvinist
persuasion. Have them take a brief, but thorough course in
basic logic. Then, have them engage in debate about their
different positions under the direction of an atheist
logician. What would be the outcome? At the
least, it would be interesting. At the best, it might lead
to what are the logical gaps between the two camps.
Mysticism and irrationalism pervades
"Bible-Believing" Christians. Mysticism is actively
present from the most right wing evangelicals to
left wing existentialists. For the latter, the "personal encounter" of
Barth and other existentialists is well known. To their
right are pentecostals whose mysticism and irrationality are
well known, also. What may not be as well known is a
corresponding concept among Bible-believing evangelicals
(including the extreme right of theonomists). Among them we often hear that God
does not use "mere human logic." But, if the method of
God's logic is not the same as human logic (apart from
the fact that He reasons perfectly and we do not), then we know
nothing of God, His Son Jesus Christ, or what He has done in
history. How else can we know the "truth and the truth
make us free?" How else can we be "sanctified by His truth?"
How else can we "worship Him in spirit and in truth?" If
we are using a different logic, we are using a different
language? How else can we know anything—anything
The greatest need for true Christians is
to study, know, and use the Bible thoroughly for all of life.
This task cannot be achieved without logical, deductive
inference—even with the indwelling Holy
Spirit! Thus, the study of logic becomes necessary to this
"greatest" need. To evaluate how well we are doing, we
need only examine the curriculum of "Christian" high schools, colleges, and
seminaries for their courses in logic. How greatly we fail
Let's see now. The Holy Spirit uses one
type of logic when He instructs our hearts and mind. God,
the Father, (and the Son?) use a different type of logic in
their discourse? How ridiculous! Yet, that is what
these "Bible-believing" Christians think.
The strength of those who are
demon-possessed. The strength of demoniacs is
well known among Christians. But from where does this
strength come? Perhaps it has to do with the mind-body
relationship. Spirits do not have bodily form; therefore,
they are pure mind (as best we can understand them). When
they possess someone, they possess their minds. Through
their minds, they may be able to manipulate the normal
mechanisms for strength in extraordinary ways. I offer two
(1) Genesis 6:4 tells of the "sons of God" who
came to the "daughters of men," thus creating the Nephilim—giants
of enormous size and strength. Again, there is pure spirit
united with physical body to achieve powerful offspring.
(2) It seems well-documented that in times of stress, both women
and men can do extraordinary feats of strength—open wrecked car
doors, lift cars off pinned people, fight animals with their
bare hands, etc. In the past we have attributed these
actions to some kind of enhanced physical prowess, but could it
be a mind so intensely focused on a great need at hand?
I may have strayed the furthest yet in these
Musings on this issue. However, I have now made it public
for others to evaluate its Biblical and physiological
The only concern of philosophy is
ethics. In a prior musing (above) I posited that
philosophy is really only concerned with theology in Biblical
revelation. I want to suggest here that philosophy is only
concerned with ethics (right and wrong). In a real
sense, epistemology is impossible. To truly know anything,
one must know everything. Every atom, molecule, and
sub-atomic particle in the universe is related to every other.
Every idea has been preceeded by and is linked to every other
idea. Per Plato's Ideas, Aristotle's Categories, Kant's
transcendental judgments, William James' unity of subject and
object in experience, and the Duhem-Quine theory, all knowledge
is dependent and interdependent upon all other knowledge.
To know anything, one must be omniscient, and only One is
Epistemology of a Flea.)
So, if metaphysics is impossible (see prior
post "The Only Concern..." above), and epistemology is
impossible, then what is left for philosophy? Ethics:
right and wrong behavior. To know right and wrong, one
must have a standard, a "canon" or measuring stick by which to
judge. "Canon" gives the clue to knowing right and wrong
behavior: Biblical Revelation. Perhaps, this conclusion is
the reason that all accounts of The Day of Judgment in the Bible
concern right and wrong behavior, e.g., Matthew 25, II
Of course, going back to the first paragraph
of this section, if the One Who is omniscient gives knowledge,
then we can accept that knowledge as true without our having to
be omniscient ourselves. Thus, the Bible is the only
knowledge (truth) that we can know.
nothing of “substance” in the material or immaterial realm...
but we do know of Mind.
There are vigorous debates over the nature of the
immaterial or spiritual realm.
In Biblical and secular philosophical circles the term
“substance dualism” is often posited.
Substance? What is
substance? I will
not review the historical etymology of the word more than to say
that ousia in Greek
and essentia in Latin are considered equivalent.
So both terms should be kept in mind.
We are familiar with “material” (physical)
objects. So familiar
that we overlook that we really do not know the
ding and sich—the
thing in itself. All
the familiar objects to our everyday experience are composed of
atoms which are composed of subatomic particles which are
composed of ____ what?
What are they?
We can describe their behavior to a minimal extent, since
Heisenberg observed that our very observation affects their
theory tells us that we know even less, as movements of
sub-atomic particles are unpredictable.
If wee throw in chaos theory and black holes, what do we
know? Very little,
Thus, we have the present concept of
“substance” in the material world.
Then, what can we possibly know of the spiritual world
where sense data is impossible?
What is “substance” spirituality, as in “substance
dualism?” What is
substance dualism, if we know so little of “substance
know nothing of the spiritual world.
Unless… unless we have special knowledge of
that world. And, we
do… The Revelation of God in His Holy Scriptures.
In fact, we know that the material world is predicated on
the spiritual world (Genesis 1:1, John 1:1, Acts 17:28 , Hebrews
1:3, etc.). Further,
we know that the “material” world was spoken into being by the
Father and the Son (Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1).
In John 1:1 speech (according to John Calvin and many
other scholars) is logos—word.
The material universe is predicated on The Word… The
Spoken Word. The
spoken word comes from mind… The Mind of God.
The material universe is predicated on mind or The Mind.
The only illustration that comes to my “mind” is that of
a non-fiction author (an idea that comes from C. S. Lewis).
An author of fiction creates a world for his characters.
In fact, he is omnipotent in this world.
He could even defeat God, if he chose—fiction of course.
There are many major differences.
A human author cannot even begin to create the detail
that God did. And,
he is only a sub-creator of God who created him in the first
place. Perhaps the
greatest difference is that the characters of the novel do not
(Or, do they?)
My points are these.
(1) We think that we know so much of the “real” world of
material objects when we really know so little or nothing of its
“substance,” even though we
function quite nicely
in this universe.
(2) No “substance” can be
predicated of the spiritual world
in any way that is
sufficient to describe what it is.
What it is is that which is created by the mind of God by
thought and language.
We live in a universe that is thought and mind and
speech… that is “reality.”
Our material world is that visible stage upon which we
“strut and fret.”
While our task is to “subdue” it and fill it with our offspring
(Genesis 1:28), the real world is not one of “substance” but of
Mind… The Mind of God.
Addendum October 17, 2011
I recently came across the idea of "wholes" as
substance. This idea seems to make a lot of sense.
For example, an individual tree, dog, car, chair, star, etc. is
substance. Certainly, "wholes" as entirely different from
the sums of their "parts" forms something (substance?) that is
entirely different. I will have to ponder this idea for a
while, but it seems to have substantial merit (pun intended!).
superficiality of modern theology and “Christian philosophy.”
The dependence of modern preachers and theologians on
creeds of the past is an indictment of the superficiality of
their theology and philosophical understanding.
Here are some examples.
(1) “Substance.” The Nicene Creed, The Athanasian Creed, and the
Westminster Confession of Faith all use “substance.”
Its use at the time that these were written is
understandable, as the molecular, atomic, and sub-atomic nature
of things had not been discovered.
But with the modern understanding of physics, what is
nature of the atom is that it is mostly “space” and “particles,”
not “solid” objects.
What then is the essential nature of an object?
If we no longer know what constitutes the “substance” of
things, how can substance be predicated of the Trinity who are
how can “substance” be predicated of each Person of the Trinity
when they are spiritual beings without any correspondence to
While science cannot drive theology, if science
demonstrates the emptiness of a word, it necessitates that
theology re-define the word or find other words.
Surely, an understanding of the most basic concept of
Christianity demands such development.
Person also appears in the Creeds to define the Trinity.
Person comes from “persona,” “a Latin word signifying
primarily a mask used by actors on the stage.”
(Webster’s Dictionary of 1828)
Surely, we need a word more substantial than this “mask”
or at least a more substantial definition of “person.”
And, then, there is the
question whether “person” can be used of the Trinity in the same
way that is used of a human being.
Or, do we need two
definitions of person—one for the Godhead and one for humans?
mystery, analogy, and paradox.
There seems to be an increasing avoidance of the hard
work of defining terms, as substance and person above, by using
these nebulous terms. In
the place of this needed work, theologians and philosophers use
what I am calling “avoidance” words, such as those listed here.
Perhaps, with more
Biblical study and logical application many of the supposed
“avoidance” terms could be “avoided” themselves.
(4) Then, there is the pious sounding
“God’s logic” vs. “mere human
, if the logic of man is not the same as the logic that God use,
there is no chance that we can “know the truth” and have it make
us “free.” Neither
can we have the mind of Christ (I Corinthians 2:16).
(5) What does God teach us other than
“truths?” Perhaps the
foremost Christian philosopher today, Alvin Plantinga, states”
(6) See dualism and orthodoxy below.
I don’t intend for a moment to suggest that
teaching us truths is all that the Lord intends in Scripture:
there is also raising affection, teaching us how to praise, how
to pray, how to see the depth of our own sin, how marvelous the
gift of salvation is, and a thousand other things.
Christian Belief, page 380fn)
By the law of noncontradiction, there are only truths and
un-truths: two categories and two categories only.
Does that mean that the remainder of “all that the Lord
intends in Scripture” is un-truth?
Now, I do not think that Plantinga means that, but what
he said is most easily interpreted that way.
The reader should consider that this “something other
than truths” was stated by a trained and lifelong philosopher
who claims to be a “Christian” philosopher.
These terms and statements are a small tip of
the iceberg. What is
most surprising is that reasoning in these and other areas is
not that complicated.
One just has to stated clearly defined terms and be
consistent with them!
Left to such reasoning, modern Biblical Christianity is
in serious trouble.
But, then, perhaps the Holy Spirit will not leave us there.
Dualism of body and spirit (soul) should be a test
of orthodoxy. I have decided that dualism should
be a test of orthodox (Biblical) Christianity.
Simply and plainly, that is what the Scripture teaches.
I favor idealism as an all-encompassing philosophy.
I can build an evidential base for it, but it would be
personal preference and speculation from Biblical evidence.
God has posited the spirit world and the physical world.
Man is both body and spirit. Jesus
Christ was both—the Incarnation seals the necessity of both
entities. There are many Christians today, especially
those working in neurophysiology and evolutionary psychology who
are positing physicalism of human beings. Not only are
they wildly speculating about how the complexity of mind
(consciousness, thought, will, meditation, etc.) can be an
epiphenomenon, they are flying in the face of clear Biblical and
derived theological teaching. Their orthodoxy should be
Tacit knowledge (Michael Polayni) and a transcendental
argument for God. Polanyi wrote:
The declared aim of modern science is to establish strictly
detached, objective knowledge. Any falling short of this
ideal is accepted as a temporary imperfection, which we must aim
at eliminating. But suppose that tacit thought forms an
indispensable part of all knowledge, then the ideal of
eliminating all personal elements of knowledge would in effect
aim at the destruction of all knowledge. The ideal of
modern science would turn out to be a fundamentally misleading
and possibly a source of devastating fallacies. ("Tacit
Knowing," The Tacit Dimension, [New York, NY: Doubleday
and Company, 1983], page 20—Ed's emphasis)
Tacit knowledge is an almost entirely intuitive grasp of a
subject matter or a skill. Some mathematicians, even as
young children, can "figure" in their heads, but cannot tell you
how they do it. Or, you can't be a skillful carpenter by
reading a book; you must get a "feel" for the tools, how to use
them, and how to apply both to a situation. A
transcendental argument is simply goes like this. For a
concept A to exist, then B must exist. Concept A exists.
Therefore, B exists. Kant was the first to call this
Polanyi did not intend a transcendental argument. (It was
reported that his own Christian commitment
was "tacit.") But if
any knowledge at all requires a person, then there must have
been a First Person. Thought does not exist in either
organic or inorganic chemicals, as Polanyi the chemist, would
tell you. But by his argument for thought to exist, then a
person is necessary. Thought exists. Therefore, a
person exists. Since humans did not make themselves, and
thought from an evolutionary point of view is impossible, then
an original Person exists.
A must read for any aspiring philosopher and/or
scientist is Polanyi's book, Personal Knowledge.
He has destroyed forever any pretense that modern science has
Music: the beauty of holiness? Perhaps,
the most purely mathematical aesthetic. All musical notes
are precise mathematical frequencies that are arranged in a
harmony that is pleasing to human ears. Violation of these
precise harmonics results in cacophony—like the screech of
fingernails on a blackboard. Thus, music is a blend of the
most objective of the sciences—mathematics—with the most
subjective of disciplines—human art. We can only worship
our Creator at this wonderful combination of law and beauty.
Does this arrangement being to unpack an understanding of "the
beauty of holiness?"
What is progress? Success? A word for
missions. Is the aborigine of the Australian
outback worse off than the millionaire in a penthouse in New
York City? Worse off than the typical suburbanite of any
American city with all their "modern" technologies? Who is
happier? Who is more "successful?" Or, to phrase the
question another way, "Is the modern man (choose whatever
situation that you like) happier than any aborigine anywhere?
One of the major goals of the Greek philosophers was
eudaimonia, happiness. Is the modern man happier than
any of the Greeks?
I propose that the native is better off—happier—than
any modern man (with one exception to follow). All men
die. All men have disease: in fact, modern man has created
his own diseases of heart attacks, diabetes, arthritis, strokes,
obesity, sedentary life, etc. All men face challenges.
The reader can create his own comparisons and contrasts.
The native has a well-defined worldview in which he lives.
Modern man does not; he has "liberated" himself from
superstitions and the spiritual world. The aborigine
lives in a spiritual world. He has purpose, meaning,
and a place in his cosmos. Modern man has no place; he
lives in a cold, purposeless, random victim of chaos (theory).
Modern man can kill by the millions with his atomic weapons; the
native can only kill one person at a time.
There is one exception: the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Read
the beatitudes—how man is blessed—if
he has a certain attitude towards God (regeneration and
justification) and right behavior (righteousness). In our
Gospel missions we should know what we are doing. The only
"better way of life" that we bring to the native is a true
purpose to life; one that is spiritually true, not physical.
I am not naive to think that we can take the Gospel without
taking Western technology, but we should be vividly aware of
what we are doing. We bring no "progress" to the native
except the Gospel of Christ. We can make him live longer
with public health measures and some of the measures of modern
medicine, but he will still have diseases for which there are no
cures, and he will eventually die. In that sense, we have
only exchanged the diseases that he will experience and
prolonged the inevitable—his own death. He will have different
frustrations of life, but frustrations nevertheless.
Western "civilization" is not the Gospel. We must be
careful that we do not equate the former with the latter.
Further, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is far more than just
"getting someone saved." It is a total worldview that
brings the greatest dimension of "peace on earth." For
The New Missionary with a Complete Worldview.
Induction and faith:
induction examines a limited number of similar situations,
and makes predictions. Faith
assumes certain things are “true” and makes plans based upon
those assumptions. Experience
is a form of induction in which every situation is compared to
every other one, and conclusions (predictions) drawn.
is based to some extent on
experience, but also
on deduction from
(what are thought to be) true premises.
induction also include other inductive (science) and experiential conclusions.
and deduction, then,
are hopelessly interdependent. Faith
is the ability to decide to act based upon less than
absolute truth or
certainty. This process is
all carried out tacitly,
although its operations are powerful and complex in the simplest
Destroy (natural) science, and you have destroyed
atheism. Over the past month, I have focused on
the philosophy of science. I never realized the powerful
arguments that natural science is such a hodge-podge of
assumptions, guesses, eliminated inconsistencies, arbitrary
measurements, imprecise data, and more, as well as, a product of
the zeitgeist and Gestalt of the time
period in which its knowledge is developed. Using the
insights of philosophy of science, of which Michael Polanyi may
be the best, claims of natural science as truth can be destroyed
easily and thoroughly. Christians have made a great
mistake trying to pit "creation science" against "natural
evolution." They are simply debated their false system
against another false system. Worse, they have assumed the
opponent's position in order to refute him. They have lost
the argument before it was begun!
Progress is understanding and applying the Reformed
faith. I have been searching for specifics
about the nature of “progress.” I
think that I have found it… progress in the purity of church and
state government. The
Reformed faith is growing… for sure and definitely.
While the vast majority
of currently Reformed only have a partial picture, they have the
Westminster Confession of Faith which is the best systematic
presentation of the Gospel. Other
Reformed creeds are progressive (in the sense in which I am
using it here), but not as coherent or philosophical as the WCF.
Any other claim to
“progress” fails for (1) “want of conformity or transgression of
the law of God,” and (2)
“glorifying God”—education, legislation, technology, science,
etc. without its intended to be coherent with the laws of God
and His worship fails in the Biblical notion of progress.
The atheist has no alternative to certain of the Ten
Commandments. These commandments are "You shall
not commit murder... adultery... steal... bear false witness to
your neighbor." Today in the United States, the Ten
Commandments have been banished from the "public square," and
atheists rail against them. But, I contend they are caught
in a inescapable bind. While they want (and do)
countenance sexual immorality, but what alternative to they have
to Commandments 6, 8, and 9? Do they want to advocate
violence of students against teachers; violence in union
strikes; rape of women; and violence against police? Do
they want to advocate stealing; to cheating on school exams; to
stealing from their employers; and to giving permission for
politicians and bureaucrats to steal from the public. Do
they want to advocate voiding of contracts; allowing politicians
to lie about policies; lying of children to their parents; and
deception about one's actual intents in any situation?
It is apparent where denunciation of the Ten Commandments leads:
anarchy in family, social, and civil situations. Few,
other than Biblically oriented Christians are willing to show
where an absence of these commandments leads: a total breakdown
David Hume refuted by his own reasoning—twice!
(1) David Hume stated that cause and effect are not necessarily
linked. That a rock becomes heated in the sun does not
necessarily mean that the sun caused it to heat up. Now,
there is a certain plausibility to this argument. It is
possible for these two events to occur simultaneously and
independently. But this reasoning has necessitated two
causes and coordination. No event happens without a
cause—nothing moved without a mover. So, the heating of
the rock and the presence of the sun must have their own causes.
Then, something or someone must precisely
coordinate the two events together. Now, in both
philosophy and science, one fundamental tenet has been to
simplify wherever possible. However, Hume has greatly, if
not almost infinitely, made the problem complex: two causes
instead of one and a precise coordination of the two events!
Which is simpler and more certain?
(2) Hume denied miracles, yet he affirmed science. Oh?
What is science but conclusions based upon observations—empiricism
(induction). How are miracles testified—by
the observations of eye witness—empiricism
(induction). One might counter that miracles are not
repeatable, but empiricism is. The world is always
changing—no particular event is ever the same—recognized
more than 2500 years ago by Heraclitus and many philosophers
since. Thus, no empirical method is ever entirely the
same. Both miracles and empiricism are empiric—both
should be suspect and accepted only conditionally by faith—in
self and senses or the word of God written.
Methodological naturalism. "Methodological
naturalism,” by limiting investigation (i.e., any knowledge
whatsoever) to the material realm misses, all transcendence.
It is not only method
bound, it binds the heart, soul, mind, and imagination of man to
lower levels than he could otherwise reach.
In essence, this method
misses everything that makes man more than the animals and has
no identity with being made imago Dei.
"Man as the measure of all things" in
modern evangelicalism. In the 5th century B.C.,
Protagoras said that "man is the measure of all things."
This idea necessarily continued with subsequent Greek
philosophers. The only "philosophy" that could counter it
was Judaism, and it had not penetrated into the central thinking
of the Greeks and Romans. With the establishment of the
canon of Revelation and the Holy Spirit, God and His Word in the
66 books of the (almost) universally accepted Bible became the
"measure of all things."
However, 19th-21st century evangelicals have made themselves
(man) the center of all things—again!
They have come to see their salvation as the culmination of
God's Providence. Premillenialists believe that God's only
purpose in history is to save souls. Both premillenialists
and some (many, most?) amillenialists believe that once the
gospel has been preached to everyone on earth (falsely based upon
Matthew 24:14), history will end and Christ will return.
Perhaps, the phrase that best describes this salvation-of-souls'
centeredness is, "Why polish brass on a sinking ship"—the
sinking ship of God's plan in history.*
Everything that God has done has been in history. He began
history "in the beginning..." The Garden, the Fall, the
Flood, Abraham, Moses and the nation of Israel—all
"pre-Christian" history. Then came the birth, life, death,
burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ—in
history! Acts and the Epistles were written in history.
"Turning the Roman Empire upside down" and the conversion of
Constantine was in history. Christendom of the Middle Ages
was in history. The Reformation and founding of
America—the greatest and most free nation on earth was in
And, God is going to just end history because all Christians
have been saved? History will end without the earth being
full of man's fruitfulness. The "subduing of the earth"
will be left unfiinished?
May I remind my brothers and sisters in Christ that The Creation
Mandate preceded the Fall. It was part of God's
"very good" Creation. If history ends before those
mandates are fulfilled, then man is a failure in history, in
spite of many "being saved." Infinitely worse, God
fails in history. He fails in the purpose of man for
I have been told that the most common quote of the Old Testament
in the New Testament is, "Every knee will bow and every tongue
will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord." If the
premillenialists are right, and if the amillenialists are right,
then this confession will take place outside of history.
Such a conclusion is contradictory to all God's work in history
until the present.
The Creation Mandate preceded the Fall and has never been
cancelled. Salvation in history is the means by which this
Mandate will be fulfilled in history. The Great
Commission then becomes the means by which the Creation
Mandate will be fulfilled.
Otherwise, all of God's work in history has been only "polished
brass on a sinking ship." This result would be anathema to
God's prior work and with His character. God,
through the Holy Spirit, in His people will complete
His work in history. Man's salvation is not the center of
all things. God's Providence, as His work in history, and
Himself is the center of all things. Only man, even
Christian man, could so misconstrue God's work.
*The church was always postmillenial until the 18th
There is one Absolute. A favorite phrase
among postmoderns is, "There are no absolutes." Well, in
spite of their protestations, the law of noncontradiction is
still in effect. Since "There are no absolutes" is an
absolute, the contradictory must be true, "There is an
absolute." Now, among all possibilities there can only be
one absolute: to be absolute is to be The Absolute. Of all
claims to be absolute, only one can be the greatest—The
Absolute. Thus, if one is serious about answers to this
universe of great good and heinous evils, one looks among the
claims of absoluteness. As far as I am familiar with such
claims, there is only one. "In the beginning, God ..."
The one claim is the only claim and the Only Absolute.
An insight into infinity and omniscience in whole
numbers. How can God know everything ("be
omniscient"), if infinity means "limitless knowledge?" The
latter phrase states that knowledge is "limitless," that is, it
has no boundaries. With no boundaries, how can "all" be
known? Many persons might be content with just accepting
the polarities, as mystery or paradox. And, they may be
right. Yet, should we not probe as far as Scripture allows
in expanding our minds after God (Deuteronomy 29:29)?
How many numbers are there? (I am considering only
positive numbers. What do negative numbers count? I
don't know. What are "negative" things?) The answer
is that there are as many numbers are there are numbers!
But we know how many numbers there are. We know the
progression: we simply add one number to the next—x+1,
if you will. We know all the next
numbers. But the numbers are infinite, also. Thus,
we know all the numbers into infinity. There
would never be any numbers that were not familiar to us.
We would only be limited by "space and time" to be able to write
them down. Yet, we do know them.
The Bible never says that God is "infinite." It does say
that He is eternal—above and beyond (if
even those prepositions apply) space and time. "Before
Abraham was, 'I AM.'" We are created in God's image—the
greatest identity of that image is our minds. The Apostle
Paul even said, "We have the mind of Christ" (I Corinthians
2:16). While God's mind is certainly beyond our
understanding (Isaiah 55:8), we glorify Him in attempts to
expand our own minds. In "knowing" all the numbers, we
know a little more of God—always to God's glory and our good.
Why man understands his
said, “Let there be
___ (light, land, plants, animals, persons, etc.).
spoke. “In the
beginning was the Speech" (John Calvin's interpretation of
logos in John 1:1).
And, God created man
imago Dei which is
speech. Speech requires
mind—image of God is speech and mind.
The universe is
speech-mind created—man is speech-mind.
Thus, man can naturally
understand the universe.
Emergence and the Trinity. Emergence is
the greater effect of a whole than the individual effects of its
parts. An atom has characteristics that none of its
subatomic particles has. Sodium chloride (table salt) is
totally different from sodium and chloride as elements that are
dangerous to life and health. Naturalism has no
explanation for emergence. This phenomenon may only be
understood according to God's creative design, not from the
physical properties of the "lower" level parts.
I speculate that the phenomenon of emergence reflects the
effects of the unity of the Trinity. As unity, they are
the totality of the functions of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The Father "begot" the Son (John 3:16). The Son created
the cosmos (John 1:1). The Holy Spirit
proceeds from the Father and the Son (Nicene Creed). And
so on. In the sense of function or roles, the Persons of
the Trinity have characteristics peculiar to each one, but
together their functions encompass all "live and moves and has
being" in the universe.
many philosophers, both Christian and pagan, like to speculate
about possible conditions in other "possible worlds." For
a Christian, this approach is absurd. God necessarily
created this cosmos, the universe that we know.
Since God's thought is intuitive, rather than discursive, what
He thinks to create becomes or "is." He has given us no
hint of other worlds; thus, this cosmos is the only one
that is. Gottfried was correct that this is the "best
possible world" and the only world.
A logical problem of possible worlds is
that it creates infinite possibilities because of infinite
worlds. If philosophy cannot draw any consensus views
after 2500 years, then possible worlds makes any possible
progress virtually zero.
God judges men by their own
standards... and they are found wanting. It has
long seemed strange to me that God will judge
both the regenerate
(believers) and the unregenerate (unbelievers)
on their works!
We see this judgment in Matthew 25:34-46 concerning the
sheep (regenerate) and the goats (unregenerate).
Also, II Corinthians 5:10 we see a judgment of works in
The huge question is, “If God’s plan through
all history has been to prepare and fulfill salvation in His
Son, on judgment day, why is He not seeking the Evangelical
Explosion answer to their first question, ‘Why should I let you
into my Heaven?’” That answer is, “You should let me into heaven
because Jesus Christ died in my place.”
But nowhere is Scripture is eternal judgment based upon
acceptance or rejection of Christ.
This morning the answer came, as I was
pondering Romans 1:18ff where God says that the unregenerate are
“without excuse” in not “honoring” and “thanking” God, in spite
of the abundant evidence in the
cosmos of His “eternal
power and divine nature.”
There, God is judging men for their failure to
acknowledge what their own minds see.
In the passages named here, God is judging men by their
own moral standards and found eternally wanting—literally and
fairness and equity—indeed his longsuffering—extends far beyond
what men themselves would call “reasonable" in both cases.
"What is" is "what ought to be." From the
standpoint of total predestination, the consistent and logical
position of those theologically Reformed (Calvinists,
Presbyterians, Puritans, etc.), any object, event, or situation
that "is" or "occurs" was planned by God from "eternity past."
Now, I am not presenting this proposition as a means to
understand ethics. Biblical ethics is the norm that we are
to pursue in society and civil law—it is
the God-given standard by which we are to live. In that
sense, the naturalistic fallacy applies, "What is" is not
necessarily "what ought to be." The "is" of America's laws
that allow abortion is not "what ought to be."
things work together for good to those who love God, to those
who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans
8:28). The conflated attributes of omnipotence and
holiness (righteousness, good, goodness, justice) allow no evil
(from God's perspective) in the universe. "The Lord gives,
and the Lord takes away, Blessed be the name of the Lord" (Job
1:21). "You will keep in perfect peace whose mind is
stayed on you" (Isaiah 26:3). All that "is" is indeed how
He has planned time and eternity.
There is one caveat. I strongly believe what I have just
said, but my ability to live at peace within this scenario is
beyond my ability. I am never at perfect peace, and I
doubt that you are either. Soli Deo gloria.
Emergence: the greater effect of a whole
than the individual effects of its parts. An atom has
characteristics that none of its subatomic particles has.
Sodium chloride (table salt) is totally different from sodium
and chloride as elements that are dangerous to life and health.
Naturalism has no explanation for emergence. This
phenomenon may only be understood according to God's creative
design, not from the physical properties of the "lower" level
parts. See supervenience.
The supernatural hidden in plain sight.
Because emergence results in properties which are often
considerably beyond those of constituent parts, what explanation
is to be given except that the Creator has supernaturally, that
is, exceeded naturalistic phenomena? Thus, the existence
of "super-nature" is "hidden in plain sight," in the functions
of the universe!