CADRE Comments

A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth

Well, since we're still here... {lopsided g} I suppose we should get back to the work of, as I put it Friday, "helping people believe God lives and cares about such things".

The following argument (unlike the galumphing 600+ page monster I finally finished posting up sometime before Easter this year) does not arrive deductively at trinitarian theism, despite its deductive form. Rather, it illustrates that ortho-trin theology (if true) offers the most assurance of a person being ultimately 'saved' compared to other philosophies and theologies (broadly categorized).

Usually I would qualify 'saved' as meaning something like 'saved from sin', but for purposes of this argument I have allowed a broader and more general notion of salvation: as will be seen below, I mean something more like assurance that a person shall be saved from injustices or suffering sooner or later. This would, however, also include being saved from sin (whether from other persons' sins, or from one's own sins.)

(P)remises and (O)bservations are roughly approximate, the main difference being that I expect Observations to be readily agreeable either as topics of common experience or as reasonably obvious summary conclusions from tacit subarguments. A premise may only be an assertion, although ideally it is either a necessary assertion or else is a conclusion imported in from some other not-especially-obvious argument. But either premises or observations may be challenged for purposes of analysis.

(H)ypotheses are the worldview propositions to be compared to one another in conjunction with the various premises and observations (and relevant conclusions).


P(remise) 1.) Salvation (per se) of a person requires that the person to be saved must be saved by at least one person.

O(bservation) 1.) P1 requires some kind of interpersonal union between the saving person and the person to be saved (even if the union is minimal to the extent of there being only one person saving himself).

O2.) The intentions of derivative persons may fail insofar as they may be trumped by the behavior of the ground upon which the derivative persons depend for existence.

C(onclusion) 1.) Other things being equal, a person to be saved has better assurance of finally being saved by some person (whatever 'salvation' is supposed to mean) in proportion to the characteristics of the ultimate ground of reality. (from P1, O1, O2.)

P2.) 'Salvation' involves doing some kind of good to the person being saved.

C2.) Other things being equal, a person to be saved has better assurance of finally being saved in proportion to the likelihood that the characteristics of the ultimate ground of reality involve doing good to persons. (from C1, P2.)

Subsequent hypotheses shall thus address the result of C2 by considering various ideas about the ground of all reality.

H(ypothesis) 1.) The ground of reality is not personal at all. (i.e. naturalistic or supernaturalistic atheism is true.)

C3.) If H1 is true, the ground of reality offers no assurance at all that a person may be saved. (from H1, C1.)

H2.) The ground of reality is such that a derivative person's "personhood" is some kind of declension or fall, that ideally ought to be reversed. (For example, most or all types of negative pantheism.)

O3.) If H2 is true, the personhood of the derivative person should cease to exist eventually.

C4.) If H2 is true, the ground of reality is such that the person to be 'saved' should cease to exist. (from H2, O3.)

O4.) If a person ceases to exist, that person no longer can be the receiver of good done to that person.

C5.) If H2 is true, the ground of reality offers (less than!) no assurance at all that a person (as such) may be saved. (from C2, C4, O4.)

H3.) The independent ground of some reality is personal, but it has nothing to do with the system of reality in which the person to be saved exists. (i.e. cosmological dualism is true or some other philosophy proposing a limited number of Independent Facts, with God being one of the IFs.)

C6.) If H3 is true, the existence of an ultimate God is completely irrelevant to whether a derivative person in that other system of reality (not dependent on God for its existence) may be saved. (from H3, C1)

H4.) The ground of all reality is (somehow) both personal and non-personal.

O5.) Any expectation of behavior of the H4 ground of reality is perfectly balanced by its equal and opposite characteristics.

C7.) If H4 is true, the ground of reality offers no particular assurance that a person may be saved. (from C1, H4, O5.)

H5.) The ground of all reality is personal (i.e. God exists), but God refuses to have anything to do with this system of reality other than being (in some way) its originator. (i.e. minimal deism is true.)

C8.) If H5 is true, the ground of reality (God) offers (less than?) no assurance that a person may be saved. (from C1, H5.)

H6.) The ground of reality is personal, but although God is interested in subordinate realities, God refuses to act in regard to the operations of those subordinate realities. (i.e. nominal deism is true.)

O6.) A derivative person, as a derivative person, must exist in a subordinate system of reality, one way or another.

C9.) If H6 is true, the ground of reality offers (less than?) no assurance that a person may be saved. (from C1, H6, O6.)

H7.) Entities more powerful than human persons exist, but the ground of reality is still essentially as stated in one of the previous hypotheses.

C10.) If H7 is true, the ground of reality is at best irrelevant to the salvation of a person; and might offer less than no assurance of the salvation of a person. (from H7, C{3:9})

H8.) Some theism more immanent than nominal deism is true; but God is primarily concerned with the mere exercise of effective power.

O7.) Someone needing 'salvation' is at least being threatened by an effective exercise of power (one way or another).

C11.) If H8 is true, the ground of reality offers no assurance that a person may be saved; and maybe less than no assurance! (from H8, O7, C11.)

H9.) God exists, but is not in Himself a unity of Persons.

O8.) If H9 is true, then God has nothing intrinsically to do with unity between persons.

C12.) If H9 is true, the ground of reality offers (at best) less assurance that a person may be saved, than if God had intrinsically to do with unity between persons. (from H9, O8, C1, maybe also C2.)

H10.) God exists, and is in Himself a unity of Persons; but this unity has nothing to do with His own self-existence.

O9.) If H10 is true, then God could act finally against unity among persons, without acting against the ground of His own self-existence.

C13.) If H10 is true, the ground of reality offers (at best) less assurance that a person may be saved, than if God's own self-existence had intrinsically to do with unity between persons. (from H10, O9, C1, maybe also C2.)

H11.) God exists, and is in Himself a unity of Persons, and this unity has something to do with His own self-existence (i.e. positive aseity is true, and God exists at least as the person of God self-begetting and the person of God self-begotten).

C14.) If H11 is true, the ground of reality offers more assurance that a person (even an enemy of God) may sooner or later finally be saved, than all previous hypotheses. (from C1, maybe also C2, H11, C{3:13})

H12.) God exists, and is in Himself a self-begetting and self-begotten unity of Persons; and the next ontologically prior action of this Unity (beyond the positive upkeep of self-existence of the Persons in Unity of fair-togetherness with one another) is the generating and giving of that-which-is-God between the Persons. (i.e., trinitarian theism is true, with the 3rd Person of God proceeding eternally from the begetting and begotten Persons as a gracious gift from person to person.)

P3.) Doing good between persons ideally involves giving that which is the greatest good from one person to another.

C15.) If H12 is true, the ground of reality offers even more assurance that a person (even an enemy of God) may sooner or later be saved, than all previous hypotheses. (from C1, definitely also C2, H12, C{3:14})

(Note: the argument as formulated does not of itself consider the question of distinction between naturalistic theism or supernaturalistic theism. H12, for example, might involve some kind of trinitarian pantheism, so far as this argument goes.)


The final conclusion above, is (as I said) not an argument that orthodox trinitarian theism is true; but it helps show something important at stake, in trying to discover which of the hypotheses (and their subgroups) is true compared to the others.

If ortho-trin is not true, it is quite literally too good to be true. We shall have to be satisfied (so far as we can be) with something less good being true.

Any news less than this, is less of a gospel: less-good news.

1 comments:

The argument presented above can be extended farther in an important but controversial way; so, since this is an ecumenical apologetics journal, I have not done so above.

Comments, however, are fair range. {g} So, for anyone who is curious:

O11.) If H12 (or even H11) is true, then any action by such a God that resulted in the final severing and/or non-restoration of unity between persons (whether between Himself and derivative persons or between derivative persons and each other), would involve God acting against His own ground of self-existence.

O12.) An entity that acts against the ground of its own existence, will cease to exist, unless the ground of its existence behaves in such a way as to prevent the cessation of its existence.

O13.) A self-existent entity has nothing to save it from the cessation of its existence if It acts against the ground of its own existence.

O14.) If H12 (or even H11) is true, then all reality, including the past and present existence of derivative entities, depends on God's continuing existence for existence.

P4.) I am a derivative entity. (ideally should be established by another analysis; one which, in my experience, leads to the missing distinction between naturalism and supernaturalism mentioned in my main post, btw.)

P5.) I exist. (a self-reflexive claim tacitly necessary for any personally responsible argumentation.)

C16.) If H12 (or even H11) is true, God shall certainly continue persistently acting toward restoration of interpersonal unity, where some derivative entity is acting toward breaking this unity. (from O11, O12, O13, O14, P4, P5.)

P6.) Hypotheses presented in this argument concerning the existence and characteristics of God, are sufficiently exhaustive as relevant options.

C17.) H12, if true, offers exclusively certain assurance that God shall persistently act toward the restoration of interpersonal unity, where some derivative entity is acting toward breaking this unity. (from C16, P6.)


That final two conclusions are a fancy way of saying that if orthodox trinitarian theism is true, then some kind of universal reconciliation is true (i.e. universalism); and moreover that universal salvation (of one or another kind) can only be certainly true if ortho-trin is true.

JRP

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