Showing posts from March, 2011

Ethics and the Third Person -- The Sinners Before the First Sinners

The contents page for this series can be found here. The previous entry, concluding Chapter 46, can be found here. This entry constitutes Chapter 47, and ends Section Four. This chapter mainly reiterates and spells out in some more detail how I arrived metaphysically at the conclusion that rebel supernatural entities exist, but it also arrives at the conclusion that these devils need the same help any of us sinners do: to be saved from their sins. This is a very controversial position; and I can't quite figure out where plausibly to split the chapter into two entries, either. So, to avoid posting an extra-long chapter on a controversial topic among Nicene trinitarians, seeing as this journal is dedicated to ecumenical Nicene apologetics (what trinitarian affirmers of the Nicene Creed generally agree on instead of what we disagree about), I have posted the whole chapter, about 16 pages, to a thread at the Evangelical Universalist forum instead (where I have been posting these Sword

The Earliest Christian Documents?

Tom Gilson, author of the always entertaining and informative (and aptly named) Thinking Christian , has linked to a fascinating article about an archaeological find in Jordan that may prove invaluable to understading the first few years of Christianity. According to Jordan battles to regain 'priceless' Christian relics , an article on BBC News by Robert Pigott, a collection of "70 or so 'books', each with between five and 15 lead leaves bound by lead rings, was apparently discovered in a remote arid valley in northern Jordan somewhere between 2005 and 2007." These books are written in some type of Hebrew code, but they contain several relatively clear Christian symbols. The books are presently believed to date about 2000 years ago -- within the first few decades after the death and resurrection of Jesus. Photos of the book can be found here . The question, according to the article, is not really about the age of the books as much as the content. The books ar

Asherah: Not God's Wife

Peter Kreeft once remarked words to the effect that the only thing required to believe any one of the 100 most absurd things that any human being can believe is to have a Ph.D. Such is the case with the recently publicized beliefs of Dr. Francesca Stavrakopoulou of the University of Exeter who argues that God had a wife who was edited out of the Bible. According to God had a wife but edited out in Bible, says British theologian , Dr. Stavrakopoulou believes that the goddess Asherah, who is mentioned in several places in the Old testament, was not some competing false god, but was the wife of the biblical god Yahweh. While I realize a brief article in a newspaper is not going to contain the complete argument, the news source generally gives at least one argument that supports the thesis. Such is the case here, and the argument cited if representative of the good doctor's theory is not particularly good. Here's the argument: After noting that there were competing gods to the God

Ethics and the Third Person -- we the unjust, beloved by God

[Note: the contents page for this series can be found here. The previous entry, starting Chapter 46, can be found here. ] [This entry concludes Chapter 46, "The Children of the First Sinners".] [I ended the previous entry asking, "Why is it that other people suffer thanks to my sin? Why does God not negate the harmful, baneful results of my own actions, sparing those who find themselves standing in the paths of effect?"] The first answer I reach is: I do not know that God does let every possible baneful consequence from my actions affect other people. On the contrary: I know I find myself thanking Him, that by providential circumstance other people have been spared from suffering which might have followed from some sin of mine. This does not, by itself, provide a solution to my question, for if even one minor suffering of a victim resulted from a whole history of (otherwise silent) human sinning, then the question of why God would allow such an effect would rem

Ethics and the Third Person -- the broken inheritance

[Note: the contents page for this series can be found here. The previous entry, concluding Chapter 45, can be found here. ] [This entry starts Chapter 46, "The Children of the First Sinners".] I have argued that recorded history--even the history recorded by people who do not follow my own tradition--indicates that the tendency to act intransigently, in willful rebellion against what we perceive to be true, has been a perennial characteristic of our species. Because God would not have created us automatically in rebellion against Him (or against as much of Him as we could perceive), then our progenitors must have fallen into this state; and I think I can argue that the number of these progenitors must have been small, and the percentage of 'fallens' within that number must have been large: for the whole human race, as it stands now and as it has stood throughout history, exhibits the characteristics of sinful rebellion. [Footnote: I am not arguing this from the world

Ethics and the Third Person -- a question of salvation

[Note: the contents page for this series can be found here. The previous entry, continuing Chapter 45, can be found here. ] [This entry concludes Chapter 45, "A History of the Fall".] The first sinners might want to put their corrupted synthetic shape back to its uncorrupted state, and that would be a good thing, as far as it goes. Indeed, love and justice on God's part would suggest that He will institute ways for them to know they have made a serious mistake that should be fixed. It might be purely self-serving for Adam and Eve to want this; but the problem to be fixed is the result of their intentions to be self-serving. This cannot be fixed by being merely self-serving again. To truly want to fix it, must involve at least a partial negation of that intention. It is the first step, or one of the first, on the road of repentance. But can they do it? Basically the question is: once they have hampered their connection to the source of their knowledge and power, can th

New Book Sets Record Straight on Role of Religion in Rise of Modern Science

James Hannam is a Historian, Ph.D. from Cambridge. He has also been "Bede" one of the major internet apologists known for "Bede's library." He is a member of the CARE. On March 21 a ground breaking work, The Genesis of Science : How The Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution , (Washington DC: Regnery Publishing Inc. 2011), by Cambridge-trained historian James Hannam, takes its place in the United States on the shelf alongside other historical classics. The book has already been released in the UK (as God’s Philosophers ). For the last several decades historians of science have known something that still eludes the general public. Thanks to great books such as Margaret Jacob’s The Newtonians [ i] or Lindberg and Numbers’ God and Nature,. [ii] the whole field of history of science is routinely aware of the fact that Enlightenment-spawned notions of the church persecuting burgeoning science in the Middle Ages, are just so much propaganda. A

Ethics and the Third Person -- results of the Fall

[Note: the contents page for this series can be found here. The previous entry, starting Chapter 45, can be found here. ] [This entry continues Chapter 45, "A History of the Fall".] The first sinners have breached the derivative unity between themselves and God, insofar as it was possible for them to breach it. If God did that to Himself, if the Persons of God did that to Themselves, utter death would immediately entail for God, and for all of reality. We humans can only have been designed along similar, if derivative, principles. These creatures with great power and responsibility have chosen to rebel against the reality upon which they nevertheless inescapably depended. As I reach this point, I remember something I deduced earlier: humans are 'human', to whatever degree, due to what I have called the synthetic shape. This shape is itself the most fundamental relationship to God that we have: all our other relations to Him, including our personal relations to Him, d

Ethics and the Third Person -- the original sinners (and I)

[Note: the contents page for this series can be found here. The previous entry, concluding Chapter 44, can be found here. ] [This entry starts Chapter 45, "A History of the Fall".] In the previous chapter, I deduced that given the universality of certain observations (observations sceptics not only agree with but often use as grounds for their scepticism!), and given the validity of previous deductions on my part concerning the existence and character of God, the human race as a species is in a condition we must have 'fallen into' through the willful intransigence of (at least some of) our progenitors. I do not think I successfully deduced that there must have been only two ancestors to our species--an Adam and Eve--but I think I successfully induced that such a pair, falling either simultaneously or in quick succession, grants the highest intuitive probability of the condition spreading successfully throughout the whole human species so early, so prevalently, and i

Ethics and the Third Person -- the fall of man

[Note: the contents page for this series can be found here. The previous entry, starting Chapter 44, can be found here. ] [This entry concludes Chapter 44, "The Fall".] I can look at two different sets of data and infer my next conclusion independently from either of them. If I was in total harmony with God originally, then I think my relationship to this Nature would have been significantly different than what I find it to be now. Yet, I don't ever remember being in that relationship with Nature. As far as my own memory goes, I seem to have been born in this condition. But perhaps that is an illusion. However, I also have access to plenty of examples of other entities similar to my own type--other human persons, such as you, my reader--in all stages of life from cradle to the grave. All of them, or virtually all, are in the same relationship with Nature I am. There are some interesting hints of an improved relation here and there, among a few individuals or at partic