Showing posts from 2010

A So-Called Independent Analysis of the Gospels

While surfing the 'net, I came across an article that I thought would be of interest to those interested in apologetics. Carried on MacLeans.CA, the article is entitled Jesus historians get an earful from Maurice Casey.

Coming from the so-called middle, Professor Casey has spent a life-time studying the texts of the New Testament and has issues his own book about the subject entitled "Jesus of Nazareth: An Independent Historian’s Account of His Life and Teaching." The article goes on to briefly say what he finds problematic with the conservative side (accepting "as historically valid such sources as the Gospel of John, which presents Jesus as fully divine, capable of walking on water and raising the dead, and virtually a Gentile, embroiled in constant tensions, not with scribes and Pharisees, but with 'the Jews'") and the liberals (the insistence on "mining documents of no historical value, including Gospels ascribed to the Apostle Thomas or Mary Ma…

A Problem with the Multiverse Theory

I am a huge fan of the Teleological Argument because it is intuitively obvious that there is something special about out universe. For those that have never explored the Teleological Argument, it basically is the argument that notes how the basic conditions of the universe appears to be finely-tuned to support life. Moreover, contrary to the hopes and expectations of our atheist friend, as science has advanced, the appearance of fine-tuning in the universe has become more pronounced. Individual factors such as the expansion rate of the universe following the Big Bang and the ratio of protons to electrons appear (for no apparent natural reason) to be finely-tuned to allow life to arise. And these are not the only two factors. Rather, after noting that if "the initial explosion of the big bang had differed in strength by as little as one part in [10 to the 60th power], the universe would have either quickly collapsed back on itself, or expanded too rapidly for stars to form" a…

Peace Among Men Of His Delight! -- A Christmas Gospel Message

The 14th verse of the second chapter of the Gospel According to Luke is, frankly, kind of hard to translate.

The classic English translation works well enough: “Glory to God in the Highest! And on Earth, peace, goodwill to men!”

Strictly speaking, though, the Greek reads... well, it could read several things. A number of rather different things in fact.

{Doxa} ‘glory’
{en} ‘in’ or ‘among’
{huposistois} ‘(the) highest’
{the(i)o_} ‘to God’
{kai} ‘and’ or ‘now’ or even ‘but’ or ‘yet’
{epi} ‘upon’
{ge_s} ‘(the) land’ or ‘earth’
{eire_ne_} ‘peace’
{en} ‘in’ or ‘among’
{anthro_pois} ‘men’ or ‘mankind’
{eudokias} or {eudokia} ‘of his delight’ or ‘delight’

Does “highest” mean that glory is given among the highest angels to God? Or is the highest glory being given to God? Both of course would be true.

Is the glory being also given to God upon the earth or land? And if so, is the glory on the land, or is God upon the land as well as in heaven?! Either or both could be true!--if the Incarnation is true.

Is peac…

Creation and the Second Person -- God and Creation

[Note: the contents page for this series can be found here. The previous entry, chapter 25, can be found here.]

[This entry constitutes chapter 26, "God's Relationship To Nature".]

Although I was unable (yet) to deductively remove from the option list the concept that what we call 'physical Nature' is God, I will remind you now that my own status as either a rebel (even if only occasional rebel) or as a deluded victim of illusion, indicates (even if nothing else did) that I am not fully divine in and of myself; and this indicates that at least two levels of reality, or two substantially different systems, exist: God and (in one way or another) not-God (namely myself).

Therefore, although I could only give a conceptual strike (not deduction) against 'practical pantheism' in the previous chapter, I do think I have deductively argued that pantheism must technically be false: not everything is fully God, because--as far as it is possible for me to tell--I am not…

Creation and the Second Person -- Supernaturalism

[Note: the contents page for this series can be found here. The previous entry, chapter 24, can be found here.]

[This entry constitutes chapter 25, "Supernaturalism".]

By comparing my behaviors and characteristics with what I have discovered about God so far (and despite the wide-reaching implications, the actual number of details I have developed is still quite limited), I find that one way or another I must not be an entity with fully divine status. I am not God. I may perhaps be partially divine (whatever that means--and it's a topic I will get back to), but even the concept of being 'partially' divine necessarily indicates that a distinctive level of reality must exist which is not itself God.

This means a distinctively real supersystem/subsystem relationship exists; and I seem to be representative of the subsystem. As I explained last chapter, this strikes a serious blow, in a technical sense, against pantheism.

Either everything is equally God (including the di…

Creation and the Second Person -- Creation or Creator?

[Note: the contents page for this series can be found here. The previous entry, the conclusion of chapter 23, can be found here.]

[This entry constitutes chapter 24, "Creation or Creator?".]

I have been discussing the application of principles of self-generation, which must be the most basic possible action of the Independent Fact. By such an action, God begets Himself; and because His property characteristics include rational sentience, which implies consciousness, then I think it must be true that the begetting and begotten unity of God must be a unity of distinctive Persons.

This is admittedly a rather difficult concept to picture, but I think it can be most usefully analogized by saying that God the Father eternally begets God the Son, Who eternally submits in self-consistency back to the Father. The Son is of one mind with the Father and does the Father's will, and indeed does nothing except what the Father does, being the very action of God Himself. The Son may be sai…

Creation of the Second Person -- the interpersonal Unity of God

[Note: the contents page for this series can be found here. The previous entry, the start of chapter 23, can be found here.]

[This entry concludes Chapter 23, "The Unity".]

Is it necessary that God must be Self-Begetting and Self-Begotten?

Well, it is necessary that God (as the intentionally active, self-existent Independent Fact) must be self-generative; and it is necessary that what He self-generates must be fully and completely Himself. This might only mean, that as part of an increasing knowledge of God's aspects, we could treat this aspect of God (a Unity of Persons) as being something of a "useful legal fiction"; as we might consider a self-consistent equation to be two 'different' formulas, because the formulas (although they are ultimately the same) 'look' different. For certain purposes we might use the formula on the left side of the equal sign; while for other purposes, we might be better served by using the formula on the right. The sta…

Creation and the Second Person -- aseity and the Unity of God

[Note: the contents page for this series can be found here. The previous entry, chapter 22, can be found here.]

[This entry begins Chapter 23, "The Unity".]

Recently I have been talking about what it means for foundational reality to be self-existent. And for various reasons, I have concluded I ought to believe that the foundational reality, the one Independent Fact of all existence, must not be privatively self-existent, but instead positively self-sustaining--especially if (as I have also concluded) I ought to believe the IF is rationally active.

If, therefore, God (the rationally active Independent Fact) is self-sustaining, then I conclude that the most fundamentally basic action of God is His own 'upkeep', so to speak. Without this action, no other actions of God would be possible. Because this action remains eternally successful, all other actions of God are possible. If God acts in any other fashions than this, then He can act in those fashions only because He con…

Creation and the Second Person -- The Aseity

[Note: the contents page for this series can be found here. The previous entry, the last for chapter 21, and the last for Section Two, can be found here.]

[This entry constitutes Chapter 22, "The Aseity", and starts Section Three, "Creation and the Second Person".]

I have discovered (if my argument holds water) that the fundamental ground of all reality is active and sentient, and thus is a Personality. He must, at the barest minimum, be sentient to the degree that I require my own active and sentient properties to be distinctively real. What more He may be, remains to be discovered, if possible.

Let me look at a potential problem that many readers will now have. Where did God come from?

In one sense, the answer can be deferred; for no matter what philosophy we espouse--atheism or pantheism or theism or anything else--we will fetch up eventually with a reality that just is. (Even if an infinite regression could be possible, it still would finally be an infinite regress…

Timely Seasonal Message on Atheistwatch

On Atheistwatch (my "other" blog) I have a two part peice on Nazareth (without meaning to be Christmas oriented). I suppose a timely Christmas Message would be about Bethlehem. Not that much has change in the "was Nazareth really a town in Jesus' day" issue, although the atheists seem to be reviving it for some reason. The biggest piece of hard evidence has been the discovery of a house that dates to Jesus' era. This is not the first actual archaeological proof of habitation in Jesus' day. Jesus mythers use their usual tricks to deny evidence cliaming that Jewish coins, oil lamps, and pot shards were from tombs, Hebrew never lived near tombs, so it wasn't habitation. Well here's a house that was "near by." It's a Hebrew style house. The problem with that tomb argument, well I will answer that on Wednesday.

see part I now.

Part II is now up)

Reason and the First Person -- gender language, names and God

[Note: the contents page for this series can be found here. The previous entry, the second for chapter 21, can be found here.]

[This entry concludes Chapter 21, "Some Detours", and also concludes Section Two.]

In philosophy, there is a relationship that may be described as agent-to-patient. The 'agent' acts; the 'patient' receives the action. When philosophers of old described this relationship, they quite naturally put masculine pronouns on the side of the agent, and feminine on the sides of the patient. This reflected the most basic of male/female relationships: biologically speaking, when a child is conceived, the male gives and the female receives.

'Action', in this human situation, does not necessarily have its full philosophical rigor: it might only indicate one very particular cause/effect relationship. [See first comment below for footnote here.] Yet true actions do still exhibit this relationship. If I act, and you react, then for that interchan…