Quick Hitters or Ed’s Pensées
Now! New Additions!
(With some trepidation, I have used the title from Blaise Pascal’s Pensées. I do not claim to have a mind equal to his. I only hope to stimulate other minds perhaps to consider and think through issues that they might otherwise confront.) Philosophers strain at gnats (minutia or micro-sized particles) while swallowing camels (concepts the size of planets). Philosophers try to cast out the mite in the eyes of other philosophers while not seeing the motes in their own eyes.
These are miscellaneous notes—on the spur of the moment and should be taken as such … but perhaps there is some truth in there somewhere!
Tentative and sometimes speculative. Some of the following is well-reasoned, other parts may be speculative (in the philosophical sense). Be careful; do you own reasoning. However, as stated, I want to get as much of my thinking “out there” to give others my ideas for them to develop further or to refute. But, if I do not get them “out there,” there are lost to posterity forever. Well, OK, maybe no great loss. But like everyone else, I think that my ideas are the more important in the world. (For those who follow Polanyi, they are my “universal intents.”
“Agree to disagree.” There can be only one right answer by the law of non-contradiction. While we must show brotherly affection* when we differ, disagreement among Christians is a most serious issue. Failure to agree is failure to achieve Christ’s mind on a matter. His mind is unity, and can only have one answer. On a practical level, we cannot debate every issue endlessly. However, perhaps the recognition that the failure of unity is the greater problem than the issue itself.
*Scholars frequently say that each person is to “love” the other through this conflict. While love does apply to this situation, kindness, outward affection, parting in peace, grace (even mercy), and continued fellowship are more specific. Love has a much more profound and specific application, as found here.
Whether knowledge is true has no necessary correspondence to the amount and degree of study that preceded. One interesting thing about any specific knowledge is that whether it is true or not (that is, whether it conforms to reality, as defined by Scripture) has nothing to do with the degree of study for the derivation of that knowledge. For example, the recently born-again Christian can know the truth of Jesus Christ as His Lord and Savior simply from a few Bible verses as John 3:16. The most serious and studied imam (Muslim priest) still knows and lives a lie. The American Academy of Pediatrics, members of which, are specialists, have taken a stand against spanking. The Bible (God) says that they stand on a lie (Proverbs 22:15). One person may hear a stock pick in a casual conversation that makes a great profit, while another spends weeks studying and tracking a stock that eventually is a big loser. Truth is not related to one’s study, number of footnotes, academic rank, or number of Ph.Ds.
In general, I strongly advocate study to arrive at knowledge. But, study alone does not guarantee knowledge that is true. (In reality, the only truth that we will ever know is that of the Bible.)
He who attempts to integrate the Bible and any other knowledge neither understands the authority of God’s Word nor ever arrive at truth. By this statement, I do not disparage the difficulty of understanding Special Revelation and General Revelation. They are two languages that must be translated from one to the other. But superior authority must always be given to Scripture on any point or subject to which both speak with any relevance to each other.
The Bible narrows the field of philosophy to logic alone. Areas of philosophy which are commonly agreed upon are logic, ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology. The Bible, accepted as one’s first principle, gives the philosopher his source of ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology. Through logic and its derivative disciplines, the fullness of God’s Word to man will come to be understood. Van Til and John Frame agree. http://www.frame-poythress.org/frame_articles/2003VanTil.htm
Faith is action taken, based upon knowledge. Whether that knowledge is true will be determined by Reality (God’s Providence).
Ideas have consequences–only for those who believe them to be true. And, belief (faith) does not exist in the absence of failure to act on those ideas.
Faith and belief (believe, verb form) are not just synonyms, they are identical in meaning, as they come from the same root word in the Greek New Testament.
What did Doubting Thomas “believe” when he said, “I believe?” He did not say, “I believe that You (Jesus) were dead and were resurrected.” He did not say, “ You are powerful in being able to overcome death.” He believed that Jesus was “My Lord and my God!” His statement is several steps removed from a simple conclusion from the empirical evidence. Thomas was reasoning syllogistically.
Empirical evidence in itself never causes belief. The evidence is believed only on the basis of the prior assumption that inductive reasoning and experimentation is valid.
God must “ordain whatsoever comes to pass,” from the smallest thought to World Wars, because the contingencies for any one thought or event as so complex that for any one to happen, they would have had to be worked out in complete detail beforehand. (Quote from Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 3, Section 1.)
God must “ordain whatsoever comes to pass,” from the smallest thought to World Wars, because He said that He did, does, and will do–Ephesians 1:
Bible students and theologians should learn more philosophy; philosophers who are Christians should learn more Bible and theology. Their knowledge in each area will be stronger for understanding the other.
The problem of immediacy. Philosophers may discuss jots and titles ad nauseum et ad infinitum, but most people need answers today! Their bills must be paid; the conflict with spouses must be settled, one way or another; they must vote for or against political candidates; and, they are ever faced with the specter of death. They need answers, and they need them immediately. Praise God in his mercy and grace to give us His Word which is “sufficient” to answer all of life’s problems and questions. Certainly, there is the work of philosophers that is legitimate, but they should remember that major decisions about life have to be made before their work is done!
Truth must exist or nothing else matters. If truth does not exist, my opinions do not matter; why say them? If truth does not exist, why listen to another person? If truth does not exist, I may not complain about “the way things are” (the government, my church, my spouse, my job or anything else). If truth does not exist, even hedonism is condemned because I will never know that it is a worthwhile pursuit. If truth does not exist, the only logical conclusion is suicide. But, it is rare, rare in the history of mankind that one ever does that, so the remainder of us must either reason illogically or we believe that truth does exist.
All speaking is teaching or reminding of what one already knows. Augustine of Hippo in “Concerning the Teacher”
On presuppositionalism vs. evidentialism: I defy you to start anywhere without assumptions. I believe that my senses are trustworthy. “I think; therefore, I am.” I am not dreaming, and therefore will not wake up to find out a different reality. You are there, and you are not silent. I believe that words have meaning. I believe that I can trust my thinking. I believe that everything is a dream and that I will wake up one day (to what?). I believe in nothing at all. Assumptions, belief, axioms, starting points, or presuppositions.
If facts are self-interpreting, why do psychologists (and others) interpret true conversion and repentance as anything but a miracle? If facts are self-interpreting, why are there so many scientific explanations about how the universe, and particularly life, came to be? If facts are self-interpreting, how are the facts about which one is concerned, selected?
Judgments of value that cannot be obtained by description. A theory must precede the choice of facts.
A Christian, by definition, should believe in the infallibility and inerrancy of the Scriptures. The Holy Spirit will not divorce the Word of God, as both the Lord Jesus Christ and the Word of John 1:1.
If evidentialism were true, all great philosophers would become Christians!
“Let God be true but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4).
Faith is action taken, based upon knowledge. Saving faith in justification is knowledge that Jesus Christ paid the price for one’s sins. Saving faith in sanctification is action taken upon the commands of God, or “trust and obey.”
Every man and woman on planet earth is a “person of faith.” While I want to applaud the work of Christians in philosophy over the last several decades, they have overlooked perhaps the most important fact for modern times: that faith underlies every philosophy, worldview, religion, cosmology, and -ism. Once this truth is established, the debate become which faith will we as individuals, society, and government life by.
Without a canon of Holy Scripture that is infallible, mankind is hopelessly lost. Corollary: Without a canon of Holy Scripture that is infallible, mankind’s hope for our woes is dependent only upon a majority vote or the tyranny of a dictator–that is, no hope.
What happens when a person dies? There are only three possibilities within all the world‘s religions and philosophies. (1) He goes to heaven or hell. (2) Nothing. Since man is only a body, it decays and that is the end. (3) He lives within a monism of the universe without consciousness of self A variant of the latter is reincarnation, but there is still no self-consciousness. (My thanks to Bill Jack for this insight.)
Groups do not think, only individual persons do. But, groups may prevent each other from thinking–group-think. Therefore, any doctrine that depends upon a church body, involves a group-vote of individuals, not the group itself. And, that is why Jesus Christ is the only Head of the Church.
The word, “Christian,” must be restored to its original meaning, “Christ ones.” That is, Christian is a person with a doctrinal commitment to the Christ of the Bible, the 66 books that all of Christendom agree are the “very word of God written.” As a member of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit “breathed out” His Word. Therefore, to deny the Scriptures as infallible and inerrant is to deny the Spirit. A denial of the work of one of the Trinity is not “Christian.”
The Bible is every honest philosopher’s greatest desire: an objective source of truth! Yet, in their lost or confused state, they do not embrace their holy grail.
Reason challenges faith until faith has sufficient answers to rest.
Ideas have consequences. Eve was given an idea by Satan. Cain had an idea. All the peoples of the earth had only evil ideas. The Tower of Babel was an idea. Alexander the Great had an idea. Caesar Augustus had an idea. The Pope Leo III had the idea to crown Charlemagne. English nobles presented their idea to King John. The Council of Trent had several ideas. Joseph Stalin had an idea. Adolph Hitler had an idea. Pol Pot had an idea.
God’s Idea answered Adam and Eve’s Fall. The Great Flood was God’s idea. He gave Adam the idea of a boat. Abraham had an idea revealed to him. Moses had an idea revealed to him. David had an idea revealed to him. Jesus knew that He is The Idea. Paul the Apostle had an The Idea revealed to him. Augustine of Hippo had an idea revealed to him. Martin Luther had an idea revealed to him. John Calvin had many ideas revealed to him. John Knox learned an idea from John Calvin. The Puritans and others took that idea and founded the United States of America. God says that Jesus Christ is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords–one day all the living and dead will know that Idea.
Definitions. One of the most important elements of communication is precise use of definitions. Yet, almost everyone is bored by definitions. Almost everyone is less specific about definitions than is necessary for good communication.
Philosophers are particularly guilty about defining words because they are their “stock in trade.” But then, if they defined their words, more people might understand them. That result could be good or bad for either the philosopher, his hearers, or both!
Philosophy for the “common man.” If a philosopher cannot reduce his theories into a language that the “common man,” then he has no claim to a hearing by anyone. One beautiful dimension of the Bible is that its central message and its primary instructions can be understood by any creature with a reasonably rational mind!
Creation ex nihilo. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1
Rationality and Irrationality. Whether an argument is rational or irrational is a matter or personal opinion, the vote of a committee, or the Great Sez Who (authority or Authority).
The trivium and the tools of philosophy. Classical education centers on the “trivium” of grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric. The primary tools of philosophy correspond: definitions and language, logical reasoning, and argumentation (practice of the first two). Interesting!
Language is both adequate and inadequate for communication. Language works great in most communications, especially where the situation is person enough that questions and clarifications are possible. However, in complex arguments shades of meaning can considerably alter meaning. Perhaps this is the problem of philosophy. Meanings of words are stretched beyond a precision that communicates.
Everyone wants absolute proof. However, since the Garden, God has chosen not to give us absolute proofs in this earthly life. All knowledge exists by one’s faith commitment.
“In times of war, poverty, famine, and anarchy, philosophy does not flourish.” Gordon H. Clark, Thales to Dewey, page 248)
… but religions do, especially Christianity – Ed.
If Christians ever learn a Biblical epistemology and apply it to the same extent as Creation science is now advocated, the world will again be “turned upside down” for Christ and His Kingdom. Creation science is still science and can never be true and, thus, is an argument that has already been conceded to the evolutionists. A Biblical epistemology forces unbelievers to face the nonsense that anything of structure could appear in a universe of chance without matter!
“If even one truth is known, skepticism is removed.” Gordon Clark, The Philosophy of Gordon Clark, page 413.
Free will or predestination? Martin Luther wrote a book on free will entitled Bondage of the Will. Jonathan Edwards wrote a book on free will entitled Freedom of the Will. They both argued basically the same position while choosing titles that are apparently antithetical!
The best philosophers are those who are professionals in some other area, for example, Spinoza who ground eyeglasses or Michael Polanyi who was a scientist?
Impersonal, chance universe is insanity. If any particular man (and some have) were to arrive at the unquestioned conclusion of an impersonal, chance universe, then he would instantly commit suicide because he could not truly exist in that environment.
Truth is reality. One of the few, almost universal definitions in philosophy is that truth is reality. There is almost no agreement on what is reality. Indeed, perhaps, there can be no agreement since all minds are, to varying degrees, different.
New Additions beginning November 3, 2013
This file was one that is original to this site. It has existed essentially as it was originally posted until now. But I have accumulated thoughts over the years that I want to post now. There are qualifications, however, that need to be considered by the reader.
The renewed posting of this file was November 4, 2013. However, it is the accumulation of more than five years studying the subject of philosophy, and obviously continuing. Previously, I had spent more than 30 years studying ethics—medical ethics in particular. I have been studying theology for more than 40 years. I am 69 years old. At this stage of life, one does not know how much longer he will live. I have learned much about philosophy and want to write about much that I have learned in the time that I have left on this earth. Perhaps, my thoughts have matured a little more since the above “beginnings.” The dates that follow are the days upon which they are posted, not rarely are they the dates of the ideas that entered my mind.
November 3, 2013
Adventures in philosophy by the early Church Fathers. It was the early church fathers who were philosophically adventuresome. The Arians and others (who would now be considered heretics) took the traditional “Hellenistic” path. These orthodox church fathers infused philosophically thinking with Biblical ideas of which the Greeks never dreamed. http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2013/10/the-adventure-of-orthodoxy
The “greatness” of philosophers is not determined by their inherent greatness (whatever that its—erudition, complexity of understanding, eloquence of speech, true innovation of ideas, etc.), but the “status” given them, first by their own culture, and secondarily by subsequent cultures. For example, Descartes’ idea of “clear and distinct” is a woefully inadequate criterion of certainty. Many ideas are “clear and distinct” after a wonderful cup of coffee in the early AM in contrast to the muddled ideas of a tired mind the night before. “Clear and distinct,” then become dependent upon a good night’s rest and the awakening effect of coffee. Descartes’ own thinking was perhaps muddled by his “warm room,” “stove,” or whatever is the best translation of the cell in which he meditated. Kant stands as one of the “greats” of philosophers almost universally. Johann Georg Hamann was a peer and fellow-town-person of Kant whose acumen in philology is almost indecipherable in its broad and deep scholarship, but Hamann fought against the Enlightenment which dominated the next several centuries. Since he was not riding the tsunami of the Enlightenment, he has remained obscure until the present day.
November 5, 2013
Postmodernism’s (positive?) effects on traditional, evangelical theology.
- Knowledge does not exist apart from a person.In a real sense, Barth was correct.Truth exists at the intersection of the person and the Word—an encounter of subject and object. Truth cannot exist apart from a person or Person. “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”
- This universe is a unified whole.
- This universe is personal, even possibly to have some sort of consciousness.“Stones will cry out,”“Valley of dry bones become living,” “the creation groans for deliverance,” etc.
- Every individual thing and person is thus significant.
- The universe is personal—created by God who is a person.It is not a cold, sterile, hostile place. It is a warm, friendly milieu disordered by sin. It was created for man in which to live.
- Language is infinitely complex.Communication requires a background, living and active, logos. (George Steiner in Real Presences)
- The nature of power structures; that government is force, sinfully and frequently wrongly directed—force.
- The dangers of empiricism (induction, scientific method, individual, and group experience)
- The influence of tradition, culture, language, etc. onevery worldview.
- The need for theology at a personal level.My definitions of love, faith, etc.
- Synonymy—language is a whole, infinitely interrelated.This connection is my own contribution to this wholeness of postmodernism.
- Hermeneutics and its circle.A. Each person comes with a unique individual and group worldview to interpretation of the Bible and every other text. B. Encounter with any other thoughts (person, speech, books, etc.) alters our hermeneutic—the butterfly effect of chaos theory in language and communication.
- The above are “off the cuff” … much more could be added. Perhaps, the reader wants to make some suggestions.
The Facts on Facts: Complexity Masquerading as Simplicity. This article is one of my more profound treatises. You can read it here.
Geocentrism? Myth? Surely, there is not one today who seriously believes in geocentrism. Actually, I have not come to conclusion of the matter myself, but I find it fascinating that there are reasonable arguments for geocentrism. One of the best is a here.
November 7, 2013
Reason, noetic effects: “Reason is the faculty of finding excuses for doing what we want to do.” Ed: sounds like Nietzsche!
Upton Sinclair—The Jungle. I just read this book late in life (age 67). As I read it, I wondered how truly Biblical churches* might have addressed the problems that Sinclair narrates. The reader can also make observations about cultural and political changes since that time—both for good and for evil. (This post originally dated April 22, 2011.)
Unions: now do more harm than good. Group bargaining cannot be justified Biblically. Each person works differently for a variety of reasons: motivation, religious beliefs, skill, perseverance, attention to detail, etc., so each person should negotiate his own wage with his employer. This particular strategy cannot work with unions—it is a move towards the poorest worker, destroying the value of the good worker, as well as the profit of the owner.
Churches: direct aid, education, each family take one family.
Swindles of the poor: loss of houses and equity, resale as new. Lawyers willing to step in and assist the poor against the swindles to which they are subject, as “poor.”
Laws that necessitate lawyers:
Just a new, complex situation that takes time to work out all the difficulties… the rapid development of industrialization. There were more refugees than jobs. Thus, the Chicago labor market was flooded, allowing owners to pay the very minimum of wage. Sometimes, circumstances can only be addressed over time because of a confluence of events.
Availability of jobs in the country…
** Christian activism: A Christian who tackles employment of these people… finds jobs and transportation for them…
** Civil justice: how to make justice available to the poor: the wife who was raped, dangerous street conditions, workers grievances…Christian legal services… foreclosure on houses with exorbitant interest rates and other costs… transportation: public or private? Laws of usury… excessive or no interests…
** Christian “superiors”: Christians who were “bosses” and supervisors…
**Preaching to employers, “superiors”, lawyers, bankers, etc.
****What modern problems correspond in being a heinous as those of meat-packing Chicago…trafficking in girls for sex trade, illegal immigration by groups of thugs, government inflation, DCFS—Child and Family Services abduction of children,
November 11, 2012
Solas of Reformation: no sola lex (only the law of Scripture). There is no gracia without law. Christus fulfilled the law. There is no soli de Gloria without the law. Scriptura is the law. Fides is ground in the law. In ignoring the place of the law, the Reformers set up the later extreme emphasis on “We are under grace, not under law!” This extreme further galvanized into “I am saved no matter what I do or do not do.” Or, more accurately, my justification does not require sanctification. These people have not read and understood James, “Faith (justification) without works is dead”—that is, saving faith does not exist.
Reformation not self-initiated. The Reformation did not cause itself. There had to have been many with similar ideas. Thus, the soil of the Reformation could not have been entirely bad. One could say that the seeds of Protestantism were not protestant, but Roman!
Science is about prophecy… predicting the future, i.e., future events. Thus, it conflicts with God who only is able to fully accurately predict the future. The penalty for false prophecy in the Old Testament was capital punishment. Thus, those false prophets of science should be under a pile of stones today.
History and science… random events. Just as history is determined by random, sometimes trivial events, science is just as likely to be determined in the same way. While we look at macro events of causation, who is to say that the “butterfly” effect is not more universal. All we see are the macro events. “For want of a nail, a shoe was lost, for want of a shoe a horse… kingdom was lost.”
Tragedies in nature and forgetting God: One purpose of tornados (so many this year… and deadly!) might be to let us know that we are NOT in control. For all man’s mastery of “science” and technology, he is helpless against the destructive forces of the world and the universe. Neither can he prevent the heinous crimes of nations, groups, and individuals. But, oh what a price to pay!
November 13, 2013
God’s immutability and election. Any sound orthodoxy agrees that God does not change—He is immutable. Thus, election must be or else God’s attitude towards a person changes at the point at which he professes Christ, or more accurately, is regenerated. God, from eternity has and does always see His elect as His elect! He does not change; His predestination does not change; His election of particular persons does not change; His attitude towards any person does not change. There is “no shadow of turning.” God sees all events as now—there is no “before” regeneration and “after” regeneration. There are no events that are “past, present, or future” for Him.
Absolutes of life. “Phenomena such as love, aging, disease, fear of one’s own death and sorrow for the death of others, the brevity and frailty of human existence, the contrast between the weakness of humanity and the apparent infinite of the cosmos: these are recurrent features of human cultures, however variously they may be represented. However left-historicism may suspect that universals are governing-class conspiracies, the fact is we die anyway. It is, to be sure, a consoling thought for pluralists that we meet our end in such a richly diverse series of ways, that our modes of exiting from existence are so splendidly heterogeneous, that there is no drearily essentialist ‘death’ but a diffuse range of cultural styles of expiring. Indeed, perhaps we should speak of death as a way of being ‘challenged,’ a mode of being which is neither inferior nor superior to breathing or love-making, simply different. Perhaps the dead are not really dead, just differently capacitated. But we die anyway.” Terry Eagleton, Sweet Violence.
November 15, 2013
Life and death in words? When one uses the word, “life,” the image of biological life comes to mind: an amoeba is alive; a rose bush is alive; a pet dog is alive; and my child is alive. But what about the “life of words?” Are not spoken or written words within the rules of grammar, syntax, etc. “alive?” Are they not really more alive than organic matter? What is life? What animates the body? The Biblical and Greek answer would be the soul in which the mind is located and language and communication are possible.
Consider the phrase, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” Consider that phrase in the context of “Ideas have consequences.” The ideas (although we call them by other appellations) of Jesus Christ have had great consequences, mostly good, but some not so good in their misinterpretation. The ideas of Marx, Lenin, and Mao Tse-Tung resulted in the deaths of untold millions. Ideas of freedom within structure allow the fullest development of plant, animal, and human life. Totalitarianism (strangling form and structure that is unnatural and unbiblical) destroys development and even the existence of plant, animal, and human life. “Words have a life of their own.” Or, words restrict the life of everything that they affect. “My words are spirit and they are life,” said Jesus. As Creator, He said, “Let there be… light, plants, animals, and Adam and Eve.”
Further, words have a certain force to direct animals and others. “Gee” and “haw” give explicit directions to mules. “Sit” and “stay” are directives to an “understanding” dog. “Children, behave or else” from a parent may direct children’s behavior in certain ways. J. L. Austin called these “locutionary acts.” Words carry the power of the person who speaks them. In Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, the attendees are required to state, “I am an alcoholic,” which has powerful denotation to assist in their overcoming of their addiction. “Off with their heads” from a king or queen has caused just that event by the thousands. At one time, and probably even now, the words of a president of the United States could launch a nuclear holocaust. And, the words of a Person of the Trinity is even more powerful.
No, life and words are not independent realities, but life is dependent upon words directly and indirectly. Georg Hamann stated that “Language is the hypostatic union of the sensible and the intelligible.” We would do well in the experience of our lives and in our worship to ponder and apply this “hypostatic union.” The empirical world of the senses is “hypostasized” on the spiritual, as “God is Spirit” and He was before His own Creation (Hebrews 11:3).
Arthur Leff’s appeal to ethical absolutes. In his great paper that has become a classic, “Unspeakable Ethics, Unnatural Law,” this former Yale law professor screams to the nations that the following are universal ethical absolutes…
Napalming babies is bad.
Starving the poor is wicked.
Buying and selling each other is depraved.
Those who stood up to and resisted Hitler, Stalin, Amin, and Pol Pot—and General Custer too—have earned salvation.
Those who acquiesced deserve to be damned.
There is in the world such a thing as evil.
… but as an unbeliever, he is screaming to a godless universe, or at least a universe in which God does not speak. For all of the intellectuals’ cry of “There are no absolutes,” they deeply hope for one, not realizing that they have just stated their own absolute which could be a springboard to find the absolutes of the God of the Bible.
November 18, 2013
The one and the many. Every brain/mind is different (see John Horgan, The Undiscovered Mind, an easy-to-read book on the brain, mind, and neuroscience), yet there is a collective consciousness within groups. So, Polanyi’s “personal knowledge” is unique in every person, but there is also an agreeing (consensus) community in which general rules and acceptance of science resides. No two people agree on any subject completely—think about that—no two minds on planet earth have identical knowledge or beliefs. One’s mind is more unique than one’s fingerprints. “Knowledge” is different for different people. No one has the same knowledge as another.
God’s sovereignty and man’s free will: one and the many… God’s one will and man’s many, many wills…sometimes corresponding to God’s prescribed will, but more often his own selfish will. God deliver us!
Love and belief. Love (good works) is obedience to God’s commandments; belief is the predisposition (motivating force) to obedience; so, belief is the precondition to love; love is belief in action. Love is the exercise of good works. Good works and love are identical—synonyms, if you will.
Love is the Creation Mandate, the Great Commission, biblical ethics, etc. “If you love me, keep my commandments—all those from Genesis to Revelation.
Faith precedes love… as one must believe that God’s commandments are love and therefore necessary for good works.
November 20, 2013
Language and thoughts; analogy of God’s words and mans: is language a “translation” of thoughts. As one language cannot entirely be translated into another, so thoughts cannot be entirely put in words. What would this concept say about the analogy of God’s thoughts and His Special Revelation? See http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/leibniz-mind/#LanMin
Language must assume God’s presence. “Any coherent understanding of what language is and how language performs, that any coherent account of the capacity of human speech to communicate meaning and feeling is, in the final analysis, underwritten by the assumption of God’s presence…. the experience of aesthetic meaning, that of literature, of the arts, of musical form, infers the necessary possibility of this ‘real presence’ …. The wager on the meaning of meaning, on the potential of insight and response when one human voice addresses another, when we come face to face with the text and work of art or music, which is to say when we encounter the other in its condition of freedom, is a wager on transcendence.”
“This wager – it is that of Descartes, of Kant and of every poet, artist, composer of whom we have explicit record – predicates the presence of a realness, of a ‘substantiation’ (the theological reach of this word is obvious) within language and form. It supposes a passage, beyond the fictive or the purely pragmatic, from meaning to meaningfulness. The conjecture is that ‘God’ is, not because our grammar is outworn; but that grammar lives and generates worlds because there is a wager on God.” (George Steiner, Real Presences, pages 3-4)
For more on language, see Logic and Language.
November 22, 2013
Might, power, ethics, right… How are states established—by the coalescence of smaller groups or tribes… from which customs are inherent… Biblical ethics comes from outside culture… Rule over others is inherent in man… The question is not whether or not there should be any civil government, but government by which laws. Laws are always established by force—power of arms or power of persuasion. The former requires an army, and the latter requires a population who will willingly accept those laws. No such group will ever agree entirely, so one could say that force of arms (or the threats thereof) is always necessary to enforce law. And, law is always necessary to “order,” as in “law and order.”
Might makes right, or might is necessary to make right.
Hate and love. If love is the fulfillment of the commandments, hate is the neglect, shirking, or railing against them. “If you hate me, do not keep my commandments.” Those who divorce their spouses for unbiblical reasons “hate” them. God hates those who hate His commandments. Hate is lawlessness… chaos, antinomy, anarchy. Hate is random, purposelessness. This attitude is that of anti-Christ (I John 2: 18, 22; 4:3; II John 1:7).
Kierkegaard: Sin is the opposite of faith and vice-versa. Sin is despair. Faith, hope, and love… the greatest of these is love. Love is eternal; faith and hope are not.
Inerrancy is not orthodoxy!! But should be. What is the importance of inerrancy to the individual, Church, and society? If particular doctrines do not save in the eternal sense, is inerrancy necessary to salvation? How much of Scripture must be considered inerrant to be saved? Inerrancy is not required for membership in almost all churches, including the RPCUS!!! Thus, inerrancy is not “orthodoxy!!! Orthodoxy is what is required for church membership. This is the greatest of errors that churches should correct!
November 25, 2013
The idea of created things has always existed … in the mind of God, but created things have not always existed! (Gordon Clark, Trinity, page 129) Their reality thus has always been, but their existence has not. Real things therefore are mental (exist in the mind of God), not physically (same reference, 128). Reality exists in the mind of God absolutely, but in man only partially. But, whether in man or God, reality is spiritual, not physical (Hebrews 11:3). The mind knows the physical properties (attributes, relations), but there can never be a ding an sich! Wow, wow, and more wows! The only substance, therefore in the traditional sense, is God Himself… as it has always been and always will be.
November 27, 2013
The ethics of self sacrifice. “1) We are radically and ultimately vulnerable only because we might die—an immortal would be in the most crucial aspects invulnerable. Hence it is the fact of death alone that lends serious gravity to the ethical demand which vulnerability imposes upon us. 2) At the limit, the ethical agent might die for the vulnerable other person. This readiness to die alone guarantees the ultimate disinterest of his ethical gesture, since it would seem that a good (for which) one is prepared to die) … cannot be the secret vehicle of one’s own power or (presently enjoyed) glory. In this sense, readiness to die precludes the will to power.” John Milbank, http://www.firstthings.com/article/2009/02/004-the-ethics-of-self-sacrifice-20
Absolutes of life (Eagleton) or “the permanent things” or “the things that cannot be changed”: 1. one’s own death and the fear of it, sorrow for the death of others 2. disease 3) tragedy 4) sexual pleasure 5) economic cycles 6) aging 7) war 8) taxes 10) tyrannical governments 11) human greed, 12) so much in the universe that cannot be understood, 12) a great number of other things. http://www.leithart.com/archives/000508.php
November 29, 2013
There is an unrecognized ‘linguistic turn.” “Descartes wrote the Meditations, and found that he was writing. What Descartes failed to put into doubt when he put everything in doubt was language. His title aimed, mystic-like, at a denuded self, a pre-linguistic and naked self, but ‘everything he said, every last word of it, was deeply embedded in the words he used that he had inherited from the Jesuits, and from the scholastic philosophers before them, and from his mother and father, and from the books he read in school, and so on.’ Our words ‘come equipped with ingrained grooves that will carry you down pre-established routes like a canoe.’ Wittgenstein argues there are no private languages, so that as soon as Descartes begins writing, he is ‘in the middle of a public language. There is no such thing as a pure, private, pre-linguistic sphere.” http://www.leithart.com/archives/003301.php
“Descartes sitting in his German room in front of his fire trying to escape every thought he has ever received from outside his own head—that is modernity’s founding act of ingratitude.” (Ed’s emphasis) http://www.leithart.com/archives/001606.php
Do not rule out foundationalism yet because of performative contradictions in our common behavior and beliefs… The “majority” of people believe the following. 1. That communication is possible… 2. That life has meaning… 3. That what I believe is true (at least in part)… 4. That illusions exist… 5. That being overweight is bad. 6. That I will never die… at least not yet. 7. That I will die. 8. That my ideas should have universal intent (Polanyi). 9. That God (very powerful, helpful, controls the universe, has existed for a very long time, etc.) 10. That hunger is bad. 11. That there is an ought… a morality… an ethic: property ownership, promises should be kept, injury should have retribution, that there are absolutes to which to appeal. Etc. There is a commonality of beliefs that is “foundational” to communication and commerce.
December 2, 2013
Drawing lines—freedom is only possible in form (law): Was Adam a real person or only a type to contrast with Christ? Is the Bible inerrant or not? What is the canon of Scripture? It seems to me that the major problem with these with loose ends is just that—many Christians are not willing to tie up loose ends—to draw lines which they will not cross. Where does Peter Enns stop moving his line towards the authority of natural science? Where does N.T. Wright draw the line at the authority-inerrancy of Scripture? Compromise on women in ministry? On homosexuals? Where does one draw the line? And, perhaps, the particular line is not as important as the fact of a line! That one is willing to limit encroachment—Hegel’s dialectic, if you will. Is Zeno’s Paradox applicable here? Form and freedom? Freedom within form? The individual and the group. Where are homosexual Christians willing to draw their line? Perhaps, the reconstructionists have drawn too many lines?
The Ten Commandments (form) and freedom (no commandments)? Some of the commandments seem absolute (“you shall not commit adultery”), some are not (“you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor”—allowance made for enemies; “You shall not murder (killing in self-defense is allowed); honor your father and your mother (vague, rather non-specific); Sabbath (“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath”);
Grace and law; sin and forgiveness, “full of grace and truth”: Luther, “sin boldly.” We could not live under the full details of the law. First, we could never make a casuistry of it. Second, that is all that we would ever do—all our energies would go into minute details of our daily lives.
December 4, 2013
Logic and predestination: (1) Inescapable choice: the universe is personal or impersonal. No meaning can come from the latter—random forces of “nature” with no logical direction. Meaning is strictly personal. There can be no meaning apart from a person. (2) But, the universe exhibits extreme order: from the atom to the solar system to the orderly-chaos of the sun—even the proposal of an anthropic universe. Orderliness is always attributed to a person in every culture in history. One sees organization—crude dwelling, drawings in the sand, garden, totem or directing symbol, etc.—one thinks “a person did this.”
Faith is logic. Logic excludes any explanation of the universe other than the Biblical God. Or, one could say that logic is one side of faith. The other side is willingness to embrace this logic—this God—this logos!
Irrationality rules among human persons! Basic beliefs are personally held, ontologically axiomatic and manipulated by life experience.
Romans 1:18ff… man knows! Because of this logic…
Evangelism based upon emotion produces its “natural” (not supernatural or regenerative) fruit.
December 6, 2013
Feelings (emotions) and being (ontology): feelings are ontological because they enhance (good feelings) or threaten (negative feelings) the “being”—one’s very existence. The mind understands the threat and reacts appropriately (or inappropriately).
Faith (generic sense) and ontology: Faith is understanding what is one’s personal and universal cosmology—ontology, worldview, or beliefs that govern how one perceives reality). Thus, whatever threatens one’s ontology is positively uplifting or negatively depressing—what one feels.
Ontology first, but dependent on epistemology and ethics. Ontology is the hypostasis for language, but ontology cannot be realized or known without language (epistemology) and does not know whether “to be” or “not to be” is right or wrong without ethics. Language is the “translator” of ontology, epistemology, and ethics.
Belief as hypostasis: thinking comes out of the substrate of being (ontology). “Faith is the hypostasis of things (outcomes) hoped fort; the nature (phusis) of things unseen” (Hebrews 11:3).
Beyond articulation. The “beauty of holiness,” the sublimity of music, the rapture of wonder, the awe of greatness, and a thousand other expressions of the “Other”—of God? What is this “beyond words—beyond expression?” Is it truly “beyond”? What is this event horizon? Is it looking into the infinite—not the infinite void, but the infinity of God—His mind? His what? George Steiner’s wager on the transcendent (see his Real Presences). The beatific vision? Not the precipice, but the upward manifestation of never-ending ascension. A fullness that the soul cannot contain. Science is the ugliness of measurement and (more or less) precise prediction. Ah! But a necessity is measurement in this earthly existence. The Glory of God Triune. All that man is and could ever want to be! The ultimate human desire. The bursting of bounds—of form.
Cease to be human? But would we cease to be human in that ineffable state? Humans are concrete—earthly. Form and substance. Bones with flesh. Thinking in terms, words, concepts, and propositions. Is wanting to “be” in that ineffable state a negation of “being human?” Should not we be content just to gaze—that heaven is the “seeing face to face,” but still “seeing,” not “being?”
God creating to give form to His essence? The fullness of the manifestation of all His attributes—all that “He is.”
December 9, 2013
Belief is for earthly life. It is clear from John 3 that “salvation” is by regeneration—not belief—an ontological change (relationship with God and properties—characteristics of the person). It is clear that Christians are divided on what they believe—thousands of sects. (They seem less divided on ethics.) Thus, “correct” (even detailed and developed) knowledge cannot save. If salvation is not dependent upon belief, then what use is belief? It is for us, our time on earth, and for eternity. Belief then becomes important for the “abundance” of one’s life and the life of the world in which we live. Heaven is secured. We are to work out our salvation in “fear and trembling” while on earth.
Personal cosmos. What is the personal dimension of the “stuff” of the universe? (1) We, as natural scientists, develop descriptions (analogies?) of the universe. (2) Analogies. Everything is linked by analogy. Light is like a sound wave (not!). (3) The universe has a great deal to do with our perception of it—wearing lenses that distort and invert what we see, e.g., wearing colored glasses or what the color blind person sees. Defective hearing. Experiments have shown that human subjects can adapt to wearing glasses that turn everything upside-down when worn in only 2-3 weeks. (3) To a person with a hammer, everything is a nail. To atheists, everything and every event is a purposeless, random act. (That is their conclusion in theory, but they live as though there is purpose.) To a believer in God’s Providence, everything is His creation and all events are His personal actions in history. (4) Prime Mover vs. random chance (which does not exist). (5) Why do we keep distorted drawings that our young children paint? Because they are persons beginning to bloom, and they are ours! (6) Horrendous accidents and storms and the broken, distorted limbs of the elderly are a personal result of the Fall. (7) Helen Keller at the moment of her understanding that she and the universe are not one: “water” comes to be know by a symbol—a word. (8) God’s creative genius in the lightning and the thunder. (9) The Observer Effect in quantum mechanics; that sub-atomic particles only exist when they are “looked for.” (10) Chaos theory demonstrates that the most minute change in one location (the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Japan “causing” a hurricane in the Atlantic). (11) In Romans 8, the created universe “groans” with the anticipation of its renewal in the regeneration (Matthew 19:28).
December 11, 2013
God said, “Let there be…” Being… ontology… cosmology… cosmogony… the ultimate “being” of something exists in the mind of God, and then spoken by God becoming reality as the creation of God… not just as God sees His kosmos, but as He designs it to His purposes.
“Outside” the mind of God?” How can matter exist…”be”… ? How can “space” be? If God is omnipresent, and He “is,” then nothing can be “outside” His mind. He is imminent in His Creation. How to avoid panentheism? Of course, there is no “in” or “outside” God’s mind, as He is not spatial
Tolerance: who gets the front page headlines? In the ultimate practice of tolerance, who gets to make the headlines? In true Polanyian fashion (universal intent), I want my ideas to be front page on every newspaper of the world. Why not, if you are tolerant of all views? Why should yours, and not mine, be there? Why should the Editors choose the headlines? Are they tolerant of all views? This practical application shows the ridiculous notion of tolerance. Every person has both tolerance and intolerance. The question is, “Whose ideas are better?” Or, more heuristically, who has the power of press, of position, of money, or of a state institution to implement what they tolerate and what they do not. The opportunity to universalize one’s ideas only comes with power—perhaps, not exactly Nietzsche’s “will to power,” but power nevertheless.
December 13, 2013
Ed’s names for God: The Great Shakespeare, The Great Non-fiction Writer, The Grand Demonstrator (Adams), The Great White Swan (opposed to black swan), The Original Lord Whimsey, The Great Interrupter of Ongoing Design, The Great Orchestral Composer, and more, infinitely more.
On Basic Beliefs and Presuppositions
How many premises does a person have? Basic vs. experiential? E.g., I “believe” that my car is basically trustworthy. I have beliefs about every person, object, theory, politics, etc. that exist in my mind. Thousands of beliefs. Perhaps, most of all, I believe in my beliefs!! Polanyi: “Belief for the believer always works.”
Only one belief? Is there then in reality only one belief…that I believe in my own beliefs. Is this God-like? Pragmatically, it seems necessary. I “believe” that I can type the next letter here, and the next, and all these in sequence… and so I continue. I “believe” that I can achieve everything in life that I set out to accomplish.
Origin of beliefs? Personality, nature, all kinds of nurture, serious study, life experience, etc. Just where do all these beliefs come from? Are all equally valid? Certainly not, but how does one know?
Community of beliefs: One “certifier” of my beliefs is a community of believers, not the Church, but a community based upon commonality of beliefs. I.e., Michael Polanyi.
Certain beliefs are necessary to living: belief in communication through conversation (all forms: speaking, writing, etc.), virtually reliable world (sun will rise tomorrow), certitude in my own judgment, in both nominalism (things, objects, etc.) and universals (categories, Ideas, etc.). Belief in experience and empiricism (induction).
Most basic belief is… I believe in my own judgment, but…even that is undetermined by me…
The most basic belief should be… determinism…predestination… Providence. The is a Personal universe with an omnipotent, omniscient, and omni-wise God who plans, controls, and purposes.
The Black Swan… God’s Providential interruption, chaos theory? Death is the biggie, serious accidents (cars, falls, impacts or encounters with others), sudden illness…the great interrupters of life…the unexpected…when did I last have an interruption? Am I due? When, what? Have I had one my entire life? Many almost interruptions… threats averted … “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Scripture: Can there be a “properly basic belief before Scripture? Gordon Clark would say no. Trust in language? But where does trust in language come from… only from Special Revelation. Empirical and experiential evidence is tentative at best.
December 18, 2013
Throwing out logic. Many, many of the world’s and Christian’s dilemmas could be solved by the application of logic and coherence.. For example, there can be no universal religion because unless each religion draws lines (logical or propositional positions) they have no meaning. Anything that means everything means nothing. “All religions lead to salvation” is nonsense. If one can choose any path to God, then that God is everything which means he is nothing. A word that means whatever one wants it to mean cannot be used in a grammatical sentence because the person hearing/reading it will not know among the entire vocabulary of that language to what the word refers. All inclusivists have certain exclusions. Perhaps, the greatest example of an inclusivist exclusion is that rarely does the former include Biblical Christianity. All inclusivists have their exclusions. If they did not, there would be no discernible difference. On a background scene (for example, a polar bear in a snowstorm) with no discernible colors, nothing can be seen. The same is true of so-called universalism. (See next entry for more.)
December 20, 2013
The Glory of God over man’s opinion…
Regeneration and Armianism. The Bible divides the world’s people into the regenerate and the unregenerate—the greatest comment on anthropology anywhere. Based upon John 3, this division is the work of the Holy Spirit—the “Spirit spirits” where He will. For Arminianism, this division is a work of man (as is all of Arminianism). Incoherently, how can Arminians believe in the omnipotence of God (thoroughly and demandingly stated throughout the Bible) and their version of free will. Logic: perhaps the most important hermeneutic, yet rarely mentioned by theologians who write about the subject (?).
Why this concern about being saved? Should not our concern be the glory of God?? If it is to God’s glory that I be sent to Hell, should not I choose that eternal damnation? Moses and Paul were willing to be banished to Hell in order to save the Jews. Should we not be willing to be condemned for His glory? Certainly, I do not want my own condemnation, but is not this attitude the correct one? Is it not the most certain way of one’s own personal salvation? Is it not one of the paradoxes of right epistemology?
December 23, 2013
Ed’s 46th wedding anniversary… an anthropological, theological, and philosophical statement in itself (about God’s Sovereignty). ‘Nuff said for this day.
December 25, 2103 – Christmas Day
Traditionally, the birth of Christ. Got that, you liberals and the ACLU? Our (your) calendar says so in spite of silly attempts at “C.E.—Common Era” to replace it. Everyone knows your lie, including yourself. Dwell on that, you haters of Christ!
December 30, 2013
The “Messiah” of the Greeks. The Old Testament is the foundation of the New Testament. Messiah is predicted, but the Jews misunderstood, thinking that he was to form an earthly kingdom. They did not understand that He was to establish a spiritual kingdom that would eventually become a worldly “kingdom.” But the Greeks had a “Messiah,” as well, and got it wrong. With Heraclitus came the logos—the glue that stabilizes the universe of flux. With the Stoics, logos was seminally in everything created—a “spark of divinity” within its very nature—a sort of “world soul” (pantheism). The logos was lurking, omnipresent, and immanent. But, it was not a person; neither was it god or a god. Jesus Christ was the true logos for which the Greeks had “groped” (Acts 17:27) Who “was God” (John 1:1) and became incarnate (John 1:14).
January 1, 2014
Words and “knowing” God… death! No man can see God and live! Could “seeing” God mean knowing him without analogical representation, that is, words? God is the only essence, substance, and hypostasis. God dwells in “inaccessible light” (I Timothy 6:16). He is the “light that enlightens every man” (John 1:9). (See Augustine’s De Magistro.) When we say, “I see” or that “I am enlightened,” we say that we understand. To understand God fully is to be God—and, that is impossible—thus, death!
January 3, 2014
Matter, physical stuff: what is it? Epiphenomenalism, consciousness, emergence, supervenience, “mind,” etc. If physical matter has no “real substance,” how can these phenomena exist? How can sub-atomic particles give rise to consciousness? Talk about a leap? How can the sub-atomic (quantum world of quarks and quirks) become solid matter? How can matter be matter when it is on the aggregate of force fields? All is energy, not matter. Indeed, that which is seen is made out of which that is not seen!”
Organizing principle of the universe: how could almost infinite diversity and complexity result from anything other than omniscience? From sub-atomic structure to the brain of homo sapiens. From where does inherent organization of the universe from the physical planets, stars, etc. of the universe to the quarks and Bosons of the sub-atomic world? Only omniscience.
January 6, 2014
Light and energy—the “stuff” of the universe is finally only mind. It seems that the scientific consensus today is that matter does not really exist, but is formed by the energy fields of atoms. God spoke, and the universe came into being. Reading John’s Gospel Prologue, light and life have an inseparable union. “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” ((John 1:4-5) We see this union in common speech when we understand with “I see” (I understand, I comprehend). “I have been enlightened.” Then, there is “-ology,” the study of ____________ (a subject, such as bi-ology, the-ology, microbi-ology, soci-ology, etc. ). “In the beginning was the logos” (“word” or “speech,” Calvin). Thus, every “study of” or field of study involves The Word—The Logos—the One who “enlightens every man” (John 1:9). (See Augustine’s De Magistro where he discusses this subject at length.) Thus, the building blocks of “matter” of the universe is simply the creation of the mind of God. If you think that conclusion is too facile, then consider: which is more “real?” A concept, thing, or entity that exists in the mind of God, or as understood by human senses (touch, taste, smell, etc.)? The answer is obvious.
Knowing “is” or the union of epistemology and ontology. Gurus have said that to know anything fully and completely, then one must become that thing. There is an Indian saying, “Do not criticize until you have walked in the moccasins of that person.” Modern psychologists say that we must “empathize,” or put ourselves into the thinking and experience of the other person. Thus, to know univocally and without equivocation, is to become that thing or person. Thus, “knowing” is “is” or “becoming.” Epistemology becomes ontology. Fascinating! (Even Spock displayed emotion, although Gene Rodenberry tried to convince us otherwise.)Creation. How then are persons and the universe distinct from God? Somehow, God is able to project His creation apart from Himself. It is a tenet of orthodox Christianity that panentheism (that God is both transcendent to His Creation, as well also being its substance) is false. He has created a “reality” for persons that is somehow separate from Himself. He is immanent in His Creation, but still transcendent to it.
January 8, 2014
Necessity and contingency—the same? If God predestines all things, is there really a difference between necessity and contingency?
January 13, 2014
Those who believe in evolution have no reason to trust reason. Man’s mind and consciousness, by the theory of evolution, is an accidental, random occurrence in the universe. Therefore, to trust one’s reasons is to trust in random, accidental processes. Thus, man’s reason is less than the predictability of a roulette wheel which has only 38 or 39 possibilities. The possibilities of in a random universe are infinite. By reason, man’s must choose among an infinite number of possibilities, and since his choices are random, he has no means by which to choose.
The possibility of choice denies evolution. Again, evolution is supposedly random with no directing intelligence. If so, nothing can happen. All effects have causes. If the effect is unknown, there can be no cause.
January 15, 2014
“The theory of creation and the theory of evolution are attempts to explain the origin of the universe and of its inhabitants. There were no human observers to the origin of the universe, the origin of life, or, as a matter of fact, to the origin of a single type of living organism. These events were unique historical events which have occurred only once. Thus, no one has ever seen anything created, nor has anyone ever seen a fish evolve into an amphibian nor an ape evolve into man. The changes we see occurring today are mere fluctuations in populations which result neither in an increase in complexity nor significant change. Therefore, neither creation nor evolution is a scientific theory. Creation and evolution are inferences based on circumstantial evidence.“ Institute for Creation Research
Ed: Let us then be careful with statements about science, especially about origins. If they become our ground for truth, that ground is shifting sand because it will almost surely change tomorrow.
January 17, 2014
Modern physics, philosophy, person, and revelation (interpretation). Personal universe: “the observer effect” of photons, differing whether an observer is there, or single-fired photons that ‘know” where those prior went and where those that follow will go—timelessness, infinity, unity of past and future.
A new meaning to general and special (personal) “revelation.” Modern physics underscores the personal nature of the universe; its order in chaos or out of chaos; a background of consciousness; philosophy merging with physics; special and general revelation both needing “interpretation”: an interpretation that is personal and subjective on both accounts.Key to understanding: special revelation. Not necessarily “inerrancy,” but interpretation by God’s regenerate persons who honor, cherish, protect, study, defend, believe, embrace, indwell (tabernacle)… in it.Intentionality. Consciousness is always consciousness about something. There is always an “I-thou” or an “I-it.” Consciousness is particularly and exclusively individual and unique, like fingerprints. Is/can there be such a thing as “group-consciousness?” Perhaps, but only in a limited way. There is mass hysteria, in which a state of mind is “infectious.” There is the group-consciousness of Polanyi.
January 27, 2014
Enlightenment or Endarkenment? The supposed focus of the Enlightenment on “reason” seems like a lot of hokum to me. It was really an attempt to escape the idea of revelation and its attendant authority in the preached word and in the Church.
Faith is an ontologically-grounded attitude that inevitably leads to action according to the explicit and practical specifics of that epistemology that includes an expected hope (result) from that knowledge. Whether that hope is achieved is dependent upon the truth of that epistemology and its agreement with Biblical revelation and God’s Providence.
Thus, faith as prophecy (as is “hope”). An expectation is a prophecy; belief or faith is thus prophecy.Worldview. Belief or faith is a function of how the world is.Faith is personal. When one considers all the kinds of generic beliefs that one person holds at any given time, no two belief systems on earth are ever the same.Emotive force. The degree to which a proposition is believed; the degree to which I am willing to commit a little, a lot, or my entire existence.
February 10, 2014
Throwing out logic: inclusivism and exclusivism. Many, many of the world’s and Christian’s dilemmas could be solved by the application of logic. For example, there can be no universal religion because unless religions draw lines (logical or propositional positions) they have no meaning. Anything that means everything means nothing. “All religions lead to salvation” is nonsense. If one can choose any path to God, then that God is everything which means he is nothing. A word that means whatever one wants it to mean cannot be used in a grammatical sentence because the person hearing/reading it will not know among the entire vocabulary of that language to what the word refers. All inclusivists have certain exclusions. Perhaps, the greatest example of inclusivist excluding is that rarely does the former include Biblical Christianity. All inclusivists have their exclusions. If they did not, there would be no discernible difference. On a background scene (for example, a polar bear in a snowstorm) with no discernible colors, nothing can be seen.
May 28, 2014
The dialectic as emerging predication. “Let there be … light,” “In the beginning was the logos—the Speech, Adam “named” the animals (Steiner), “I AM” God to Moses and Jesus to Pharisees, etc. But, dialectic is the merging or emerging of differences into something new. Thus, dialectic is predication of a new ontology, a new being. Hegel’s Begriff results in continual emergence until its final state of being.
The Logos made the cosmos and John 3:16 “All things were made by Him… nothing exists that was not made by Him.” For God so loved what His Son created that He gave the Creator, as begotten (“created by God”) that by the hypostasis of faith àeverlasting life. Not the life within the Creation, but a higher Creation… the Heavenly Jerusalem.” Since Christ created the cosmos, there is a certain logic to His saving what He created and what man had distorted, demeaned, smeared, disrupted, demeaned, and destroyed its efficiency and fullness.
Deconstruction has a similarity to, but is less than, analytical philosophy. Is not deconstruction the same as the process of analytical philosophy? Actually, it is worse. Analytical philosophy aims at purpose and meaning; deconstruction aims at no meaning at all. Deconstruction as Analytic Philosophy
Objectivity or subjectivity in science? For Christians, objectivity in science cannot is not possible because the universe (the subject matter of science) was created by a Person. Further, all observations are made by persons. Thus, all observations and conclusions about the universe have a doubly personal dimension—that of the Creator and that of human persons.
September 8, 2014
Objectivity or subjectivity in science? For Christians, objectivity in science cannot is not possible because the universe (the subject matter of science) was created by a Person. Further, all observations are made by persons. Thus, all observations and conclusions about the universe have a doubly personal dimension—that of the Creator and that of human persons.
Truth is, and can only be, held by a person. The human person will know truth or ‘the truth” only to the extent that his understanding conforms to the mind of Christ (I Cor. 2:16). Truth is never objective.
A computer cannot “believe.” Thus, artificial intelligence is just that, “artificial.”
Sets — wholes and parts. A set can be any number of objects selected by a person. Proofs only exist within sets (Gödel), and all sets are chosen by persons. So, all proofs reside within the person. A person determines his own truth.
Imago Dei. As God determines truth and reality, so He has given the power of personal truth in His design of imago Dei. The degree to which that “personal” truth corresponds to His truth is the degree to which the imago Dei is present, and the degree to which that person has happiness and peace.
October 20, 2014
The “average” Christian and reading books. I am doubtful, extremely doubtful, that any Christian can achieve maturity without reading books. Yes, books, not just articles, and certainly not just light devotional matter. There is a fullness to books that articles do not have. The Christian must first achieve a theological “skeleton, and a considerable knowledge of the Bible, perhaps achieved by reading through the Bible once a year or every two years..
November 26, 2014
The person is a mini-cosmos; the cosmos is personal, created by a Person. Being made in the image of God, I am a mini-universe. What I know, I know as a part of my whole. I live in my universe. I am omnipotent and omniscient in my own thinking and behavior—no one can force me to do anything against my will (except perhaps by drugging me—hypnosis will not). No one knows my thoughts except me. I can be omnipresent in my mind—I just visited Betelgeuse and came back—in my mind. Of course, God can enter and control this universe at His will and choosing.
But I am also parts of wholes. Every person or persons with whom I partner in some endeavor is a whole that is different from all other wholes. Community—communion.
The greatest obstacle to human happiness: acceptance that “Father knows best.” That “what is” is “what ought to be.” We “kick against the goad.”
February 7, 2016
Mercy: God’s greatest attribute because God, Who is righteous and in Whom is no sin, and Who cannot sin, Who is also perfectly holy and just; yet, He is willing to grant to His elect, the greatest blessings that He has to offer—inheritance and perfect holiness—over and above this a se righteousness. Of course, this offering required the greatest possible offering—that of His Begotten Son, as the Son of Man and God Himself. Mercy granted at infinite cost is “higher” than righteousness. Thus, God predestined the Fall (not “allowed it”) in order to demonstrate this mercy to “vessels of wrath” (Romans 9:22).
Miracle: Either everything is a miracle or there are no miracles! In common parlance, miracles occur when usual events or “natural laws” are violated. However, few reason that even miracles require pre-conditions. Water changed to wine is not possible without water, jars, people with taste buds, an occasion to drink wine, etc. Then, there are pre-conditions to these objects: atomic and molecular structure that is water; DNA coding and all else that pre-conditions one person, much less several; then, there are the pre-conditions for the situation in which wine is being drunk—all preparations and materials to make that possible. So, what is the probability of all those pre-conditions being present at the moment of the “miracle?” At least as great as the miracle itself for the universe and people in it have to exist, and that great pre-condition is one that we all recognize as the 2nd greatest miracle in the history of mankind. (The 1st being Christ’s resurrection.)
January 6, 2020
Still Here… just in case anyone is wondering, though there has not been an entry here in 4 years, I am still active on this site. Not as active as I use to be, but still active.