Thursday, August 18, 2005

Christ Jesus: Still a Jumble of Contradictions

Earlier this month I published on my blog an article titled Christianity as the Worship of Self-Contradiction. In that piece, I explained how the Athanasian Creed makes it clear that the Jesus of the Christian New Testament constitutes the embodiment of contradiction as an object of religious worship. The Athanasian Creed tells us that Jesus is "fully God, fully man," making the Christian savior both fully divine and fully human at the same time. I listed 20 different attributes and properties ascribed to the Christian god that pose diametric conflict with human nature when those attributes and properties collide with their human counterpart in the so-called "incarnation" of the man-god Jesus, as conceived in the Athanasian Creed, which is taken as an authoritative statement in summary of what constitutes essential Christian doctrine by most believers in the West.

Of course, several who are confessionally invested in the devotional program of Christianity and who want to believe its teachings are true, were clearly disturbed by the findings of my critique. This is most likely the case because they want to believe that non-Christian worldviews are contradictory, and thus carrying on as if the presence of contradiction in one's worldview were in their eyes objectionable, they hold such defects as counting against those worldviews' claim to truth. Naturally, when this strategy is shown to apply against Christianity itself, and major contradictions are exposed in this primitive worldview, Christian apologists wax in anger and resentment, often unwittingly showing their true colors as a result.


Following Orders: Defending the Faith at All Costs

But there were a few attempts - albeit rather weak and unsubstantial - to counter my criticism. Some of these attempts were posted on the publicly accessible comments section of my blog, and others were sent to me privately on e-mail. In my present article, I would like to explore these responses.

To be sure, the exposure of a contradiction in one's worldview could spell disaster, especially if elsewhere in that worldview we find objections to contradictions. And though I don't recall reading anywhere in the bible that the presence of contradiction invalidates anything (its authors in fact appear to have been concerned with promulgating mysticism, and not with logical consistency), modern apologists, having borrowed from secular models in the formation and development of their defense strategies, carry on as if contradictions spelled death to one's worldview. And while these Christian adherents have had to seek outside the bible for such principles of thought in order to import them into their religious defenses, this may be an indication that some thinkers who like to style themselves as pious 'scholars' may in fact be slowly growing beyond the primitive and superstitious constraints of their arbitrary confession. However, it may be premature to consider such signs as a cause for hope.

One amateur apologist, a Mr. Paul Manata, who has commented on my blog in the past, was generous enough to provide a specimen of the kind of empty rejoinder that we should expect to find in reply to the kind of criticism that I have presented. Seeking to reply to me, Mr. Manata singled out the following statement of mine:

But herein lies a long list of contradictions, for God is not a man, and man is not a god. The Athanasian Creed is essentially saying that Jesus is both A and not A.

In response to this, Mr. Manata wrote:

So, take A, where A refers to, say, God. You just said that the athanasian creed said that Jesus is both A and not-A, tranlated, you just said the athanasian creed said that Jesus is both God and not God, but is that what the creed says? [sic]
Again, the Athanasian Creed says that Jesus is "fully God, fully man." That's what it says, and that is the statement that I interacted with to show that on this conception, Christianity amounts to the worship of contradiction as such. But Mr. Manata begged to differ (if not the question), and proceeded with the following frail defense:

So, in the case of Jesus we would have A (God) and B (man). Jesus is both A and B.
Mr. Manata says that "Jesus is both A and B," and contends on this basis that there is no contradiction. But by admitting that there are two distinct qualities joined together in one entity, Mr. Manata makes no progress in recovering lost ground. For unless B is identical to A, then B may in fact be just another way of saying non-A (or ~A, as Mr. Manata prefers). Now of course, there are cases of compatibility in which one can say that the same entity is A, B, C, and so on. For instance, one could say that Mr. Brown is A (a tax attorney), B (a good racketball player) and C (a father). In such a case, there is no contradiction. Mr. Manata has not shown that the Athanasian Creed's statement about Jesus being "fully God, fully man" amounts to this kind of benign combination of attributes. Indeed, no effort has been made to show that divine attributes are compatible with human (i.e., non-divine) attributes in the combination that is explicitly affirmed in the Athanasian Creed.

Furthermore, if an entity is said to be both A and B such that A has attributes which are directly negated by B, then any entity which is said to possess both A and its negation B (i.e., non-A), in fact amounts to a contradiction. For instance, if one said that Mr. Brown is both A (a tax attorney) and B (not a tax attorney), then he would be making two statements which are in direct conflict with each other. It is in this latter manner that the Athanasian Creed commits Christianity to a contradiction when it identifies Jesus as both "fully God, fully man." For so long as constituent terms have stable meanings, this is essentially saying that Jesus is both fully uncreated and fully not uncreated, fully divine and fully not divine, fully supernatural, and fully not supernatural, and so on down the list of attributes which I provided in
my original article. Mr. Manata's unnecessary berating tone and slanderous remarks aside, he has not shown that the statement in the Athanasian Creed is not contradictory in this way.


Symptoms of Desperation: Meeting Stated Stipulations

In order to take control of the matter, Mr. Manata also offered the following statement:

A contradiction, dear Dawson, would be if the creeds had said that Jesus was God and was *not* God in the same sense and relationship. If they said this *then,* then dear Dawson, you'd have your A and ~A.

One immediate point that needs to be made here is that I cited only one creed in formulating my criticism, namely the Athanasian Creed. The use of the plural here is unwarranted. But the issue at hand is whether or not the conception of Jesus found in the Athanasian Creed commits believers to the worship of a contradiction. Unfortunately for many Christians in the West, since this creed "has been adopted by the Lutheran and several Reformed churches" [1] along with numerous other Protestant denominations, if in fact the Athanasian Creed paints Jesus as a self-contradiction, then it is likely the case that these Christian factions have been worshipping a contradiction all along, and its members, uncritical of church doctrine as they typically are, never really fully realize this.

Mr. Manata says that for the statement to be contradictory it would have to affirm "that Jesus was God and was *not* God in the same sense and relationship" in order to stick. Now the relationship in question would be an internal relationship, since the issue revolves around a single entity and its several mutually contradictory attributes. And since the Athanasian Creed is speaking of a single entity, the relationship in question would be between the entity in question and itself. So this portion of Mr. Manata's stipulation is satisfied. Additionally, the Athanasian Creed supplies the sense in which we are to understand what it is saying, for it says "fully God, fully man," which could only be taken to mean "in every sense and relationship." To say otherwise would be to say that Jesus is somehow less than "fully God, fully man." By use of the modifier "fully" to qualify the sense intended, the Athanasian Creed is telling us that there is no exception here: Jesus is in every way God, and in every way man. Anything less than this would compromise the sense intended by the Athanasian Creed as well as the mystical nature of Jesus that Christianity seeks to promote. It happens to be that God is said to be uncreated, divine, supernatural, perfect, immutable, immortal, infinite, etc. That is, by saying that Jesus is "fully God," the Athanasian Creed is saying that Jesus is therefore fully uncreated, fully divine, fully supernatural, fully perfect, fully immutable, fully immortal, fully infinite, etc. In other words, Jesus as "fully God" is uncreated in every sense that something could be uncreated, divine in every sense that something could be divine, supernatural in every sense that something could be supernatural, perfect in every sense that something could be perfect, immutable in every sense that something could be immutable, immortal in every sense that something could be immortal, infinite in every sense that something could be infinite, etc. Would believers say that their god is in some sense not uncreated, in some sense not divine, or in some sense not supernatural? It's up to them if they want to start watering down their own religious affirmations.

Contrariwise, man is none of these things. As I pointed out in my blog (and which has not been challenged), Christianity teaches that man is not uncreated, not divine, not supernatural, not perfect, not immutable, not immortal, not infinite, etc. And since Jesus is, according to the Athanasian Creed, "fully man," Jesus is therefore fully not uncreated, fully not divine, fully not supernatural, fully not perfect, fully not immutable, fully not immortal, fully not infinite, etc. That is, Jesus as "fully man" is not uncreated in every sense that something could be not uncreated, not divine in every sense that something could be not divine, not supernatural in every sense that something could be not supernatural, not perfect in every sense that something could be not perfect, not immutable in every sense that something could be not immutable, not immortal in every sense that something could be not immortal, not infinite in every sense that something could be not infinite, etc.

I submit, therefore, for the reasons I have given here, that according to the Athanasian Creed's formulation, "Jesus was God and was *not* God in the same sense and relationship," and this is vouchsafed by the modifier "fully" applied to both components of Jesus' alleged nature. For "fully" could only mean complete in every sense. And to the discredit of his own rebuttal, Mr. Manata failed to identify any sense in which Jesus is neither "fully God" or "fully man," which is what he would have to do if he wanted to wage an effective case against the charge of contradiction. Thus the stipulations which Mr. Manata has stated have been met.

Even per Mr. Manata's own criterion for deciphering the Athanasian Creed, there is on every point in question a standing contradiction affirmed in the notion that Jesus is "fully God, fully man." His protestations to the contrary have been unhelpful in salvaging his worldview from being found to consist essentially of the worship of a self-contradiction. And though he presented very little substance (if it could be called this) in response to my criticism, Mr. Manata proclaims that he has "proven, by strict rules of logic," that there is no contradiction affirmed in the Athanasian Creed, even though it's clear that he nowhere fully engaged the issue, but rather simply offered a semantic device ("B" in place of non-A) to make it appear that no contradiction was being affirmed.


A Test Case: Square Circles

But in case I have misunderstood the essence of Mr. Manata's rejoinder, I am willing to explore his suggested solution a little further. As a hypothetical case by which apologetic attempts to rebut my criticism can be tested, let me apply those attempts to the delightfully playful notion that defenders and critics of religion have for so long enjoyed batting back and forth. I am speaking of the notion of square circles. It is commonly accepted without challenge that the notion of a square circle is a self-contradiction: something cannot have both the shape of a square and the shape of a circle at the same time and in the same sense. One shape is "a rectangle with all four sides equal," and the other is "a closed plane curve every point of which is equidistant from a fixed point within the curve."
(Webster's) The notion that a single shape is both a square and a circle constitutes a contradiction and as such the notion of a square circle can serve as a case in which proffered solutions to the charge of contradiction in Christianity can be tested. If the notion of a square circle can pass unscathed through apologetic solutions to the problem of the Athanasian Creed, then we can safely say that those solutions are unhelpful in untangling the matter in favor of the Christian worldview.

The apologetic effort that we have seen - an effort to interpret the Athanasian Creed in order to dissolve the charge that it entails a contradiction by saying that Jesus is both A and B (instead of A and non-A) - can be used to show that the notion of a square circle is, by the same "logic," not contradictory. Mr. Manata says that Jesus is "A (God) and B (man)," that is "both A and B." On this basis, he dismisses the charge of contradiction. However, by the very same logic, the charge that the notion of a square circle is self-contradictory can be dismissed by saying that a square circle is A (a square) and B (a circle). Since a square circle would be "both A and B" on Mr. Manata's reasoning, the notion of a square circle is not self-contradictory.

Who would accept this in the case of the notion of square circles? Would Mr. Manata? Perhaps we would rather not want to know the answer to such questions.


Pauline Shuffle: The Manata Maneuver

But the problem here should be clear: if the same attempts used to rebut my detection of a contradiction in the nature ascribed to Jesus Christ in the Athanasian Creed can be used to make the notion of square circles seem logically consistent, then why should we expect such tactics to be effectual in dissolving the contradiction exposed in the nature of Jesus as the Athanasian Creed describes it? Mr. Manata says that Jesus is both A (God) and B (man), and thus it's not a contradiction. Similarly, the advocate of square circles could say that a square circle is both A (a square) and B (a circle), and, on Mr. Manata's logic, there's no contradiction. In fact, one could use this ploy in dispelling any charge of contadiction. One could, for instance, say that the moon is A (rock) and B (cheese), that Albert Einstein was A (a man) and B (a woman), that the Queen Elizabeth II is A (a cruise ship) and B (an omlette). On Mr. Manata's "logic" none of these statements could be found to be contradictory. Indeed, any charge of contradiction can be met with what I shall dub the Manata Maneuver, since this ploy consists of moving out an uncomfortable term (e.g., non-A) and replacing it with a euphemism (e.g., B) which enables the apologist to carry on with the pretense that there is no contradiction, when in fact there is.

In the standard condescending tone that is typical of his discourse, Mr. Manata emphasized his point that "Jesus is both A and B" in a comment which he later apparently retracted (since he deleted it), saying:

Technically, to any trained dimwit, as it stands the athanasian creed sayeth, "Jesus is both A and B" where A stands for God and B stands for man. [sic]

And though the Athanasian Creed in fact says that Jesus is "fully God, fully man," the particular terms used to signify the variables matters not. We could use X and non-X just as well. The point, however, is that if God is something other than man, then if A refers to God, man must be designated as something other than A, that is, not A. Substituting B for "not A" is simply an attempt to cover a real and present contradiction. If it's not a contradiction for a single entity to be both "fully God" and "fully man" since this amounts to it being both A ("God") and B (man), then similarly a square circle is not a contradiction since it, too, is both A (a square) and B (a circle). What is to keep a thinker from thinking of a square circle as both A and B? As we saw above, Mr. Manata's own formulation proposed to undo the contradiction affirmed in the Athanasian Creed can be used to make the notion of a square circle seem non-contradictory, even though it is. Why then should we accept Mr. Manata's formulation as a suitable explanation of the notion that Jesus is "fully God, fully man"? Blank out.

A similar attempt to rebut my criticism was sent to me by one apologist who contacted me privately. His response was to say that "Christ was God that took on a human nature," saying that "these are two distinct categories," and thus there is "no contradiction" in the notion that Jesus is "fully God, fully man." Again, using this approach one could say that a square circle is a square that "took on" a circular nature, and thus the notion of a square circle, on this "logic," is not self-contradictory. After all, don't squares and circles constitute "distinct categories"? This same individual also stated that "a contradiction is defined as a proposition and its negation." Indeed, this works for me as well. The claim that Jesus is "fully God, fully man" thus amounts to the claim that Jesus is fully immortal (since God is said to be immortal) and fully not immortal (since man is not immortal). Similarly, Jesus is fully uncreated (since God is said to be uncreated) and fully not uncreated (since man according to Christianity is part of creation). Again and again, my criticism survives the challenges brought against it in flying colors.


Venturing Out: Identifying Unspecified Contexts

But one might ask: What about biblical context? Do statements in the bible rescue Christ-worship from internal contradiction? The apologist who contacted me privately said I should take into account "immediate and larger contexts." And though this individual did not specify what he had in mind or where to find these "immediate and larger contexts," I don't see how a Christian apologist could object to my consulting the Christian New Testament to identify them. The question at issue is the nature of the Christian god vis-à-vis the nature of man, for Jesus is supposed to be both the Christian god and a man. John 4:24 says that "God is a Spirit." And in Luke 24:39, we read that "a spirit hath not flesh and bones." Already a major internal discrepancy is taking shape in the pages of the bible itself. For we know that man has flesh and bones, and since "a spirit hath not flesh and bones," this could only mean that man is not, unlike the Christian god, "a Spirit." So given what the Athanasian Creed says informed with the "immediate and larger contexts" as found in the Christian New Testament, we have the following:
Jesus is fully Spirit ("fully God") and fully non-Spirit (since man has flesh and bones).
Indeed, the more we look into this matter, the more secure is the conclusion that Christianity in fact and in principle boils down to a perverse worship of contradiction as such.

Mr. Manata, in his characteristic puffery, repeats his poorly defended claim that there is no contradiction here, and ejaculated that "any dimwit within 57 pages into an intro to logic text could have figured this out." But what "logic text" has Mr. Manata cited that agrees that square circles are not contradictions? Indeed, no citation to support his rebuttal attempts has been provided. Thus we have an empty appeal to an uncited, unspecified "logic text," and it's certainly doubtful that any logic text worth its salt is going to say a contradiction is not a contradiction.

In the final analysis, it's clear that apologists recognize that there's a fire here, for if they didn't think their doctrine were burning in devouring flames, they'd not be in such a rush to put it out. Can apologists devise some way to make "fully God, fully man" logically coherent? Apparently only by not engaging the details of the matter, for none have presented a worthy defeater of the points I have raised.

by Dawson Bethrick

[1] Michael Martin, The Case Against Christianity, (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1991), p. 10.

47 Comments:

Blogger groundfighter76 said...

Dawson,

I'm a bit rushed so i'll address what I can.

First, no one that I know of was actually disturbed with "your findings" (as they can hardly be called "yours"). I actually thought it was funny and if this is the best you can do, then you have miserably failed.

Second, can you actually make a valid argument that if something is not specifically listed in the Bible then I am borrowing from your worldview or 'other secular models'. I'm afraid that I may be hit with the Stolen Concept bomb here.

Then you say, "But herein lies a long list of contradictions, for God is not a man, and man is not a god. The Athanasian Creed is essentially saying that Jesus is both A and not A."

Dawson, we have agreed with you that man is not God and God is not man. I'm not so sure what's hard to understand about what we have so far stated. What we have continually said is that Jesus had two natures that are distinct yet inseparable.


Dawson said, "Furthermore, if an entity is said to be both A and B such that A has attributes which are directly negated by B, then any entity which is said to possess both A and its negation B (i.e., non-A), in fact amounts to a contradiction."

Right and we would say that his divine nature is not his human nature and his human nature is not his divine nature. You are going to have to do better than this as all you have done is repeat yourself from your earlier blog.


Dawson said, "For instance, if one said that Mr. Brown is both A (a tax attorney) and B (not a tax attorney), then he would be making two statements which are in direct conflict with each other."

The example is flawed and doesn't make your point. Jesus has both A (divine nature) and B (human nature). Now of course his human nature is not his divine nature and his divine nature is not his human nature. A (the divine nature) is not B (his human nature). Likewise, B (his human nature) is not A (his divine nature). No one has ever claimed that. They are two natures (distinct yet inseparable) in one essence/person.

To get your example to work, you would somehow have to 'mix' his two natures into one, which is not what we claim and is why the supposed 'contradiction' fails.


Dawson said, "Mr. Manata says that for the statement to be contradictory it would have to affirm "that Jesus was God and was *not* God in the same sense and relationship" in order to stick. Now the relationship in question would be an internal relationship, since the issue revolves around a single entity and its several mutually contradictory attributes. And since the Athanasian Creed is speaking of a single entity, the relationship in question would be between the entity in question and itself. So this portion of Mr. Manata's stipulation is satisfied. Additionally, the Athanasian Creed supplies the sense in which we are to understand what it is saying, for it says "fully God, fully man," which could only be taken to mean "in every sense and relationship." To say otherwise would be to say that Jesus is somehow less than "fully God, fully man." By use of the modifier "fully" to qualify the sense intended, the Athanasian Creed is telling us that there is no exception here: Jesus is in every way God, and in every way man. Anything less than this would compromise the sense intended by the Athanasian Creed as well as the mystical nature of Jesus that Christianity seeks to promote. It happens to be that God is said to be uncreated, divine, supernatural, perfect, immutable, immortal, infinite, etc. That is, by saying that Jesus is "fully God," the Athanasian Creed is saying that Jesus is therefore fully uncreated, fully divine, fully supernatural, fully perfect, fully immutable, fully immortal, fully infinite, etc. In other words, Jesus as "fully God" is uncreated in every sense that something could be uncreated, divine in every sense that something could be divine, supernatural in every sense that something could be supernatural, perfect in every sense that something could be perfect, immutable in every sense that something could be immutable, immortal in every sense that something could be immortal, infinite in every sense that something could be infinite, etc. Would believers say that their god is in some sense not uncreated, in some sense not divine, or in some sense not supernatural? It's up to them if they want to start watering down their own religious affirmations.

Contrariwise, man is none of these things. As I pointed out in my blog (and which has not been challenged), Christianity teaches that man is not uncreated, not divine, not supernatural, not perfect, not immutable, not immortal, not infinite, etc. And since Jesus is, according to the Athanasian Creed, "fully man," Jesus is therefore fully not uncreated, fully not divine, fully not supernatural, fully not perfect, fully not immutable, fully not immortal, fully not infinite, etc. That is, Jesus as "fully man" is not uncreated in every sense that something could be not uncreated, not divine in every sense that something could be not divine, not supernatural in every sense that something could be not supernatural, not perfect in every sense that something could be not perfect, not immutable in every sense that something could be not immutable, not immortal in every sense that something could be not immortal, not infinite in every sense that something could be not infinite, etc."

You are still confusing the two natures as if they were somehow one nature (or as though one nature overrid the other).

As the Westminster Confession states, "The Son of God, the second person in the Trinity, being very and eternal God, of one substance and equal with the Father, did, when the fulness of time was come, take upon Him man's nature, with all the essential properties and common infirmities thereof, yet without sin; being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, of her substance. So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures - the Godhead and the manhood - were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion. Which person is very God and very man, yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and man" (Chap. viii. sec. 2)

As stated before, in the hypostatic union, Jesus' two natures are totally separate, but they are united in one person (essence). Because they are totally separate, each nature retains its own attributes. That means that in his human nature, Jesus' knowledge is limited to what he has learned as a man, while in his divine nature he is totally omniscient, knowing everything.

In the other blog comment section, Aaron had stated these attributes are mutually exclusive. I would say that he's right and thats why Jesus is said to have two natures. His human attributes are exclusive to his human nature while his divine attributes are exclusive to his divine nature.


Dawson then states, "I submit, therefore, for the reasons I have given here, that according to the Athanasian Creed's formulation, "Jesus was God and was *not* God in the same sense and relationship," and this is vouchsafed by the modifier "fully" applied to both components of Jesus' alleged nature."

Here is the problem; you said "Jesus' alleged nature". This is singular; however, as we have continually said, Jesus has two natures. It's not two components of one nature. The 'fully' describes his *two* natures, fully God and fully man.


Dawson said, "For "fully" could only mean complete in every sense."

Right and in every sense, his human nature was fully man and his divine nature was fully divine.


Dawson said, "And to the discredit of his own rebuttal, Mr. Manata failed to identify any sense in which Jesus is neither "fully God" or "fully man," which is what he would have to do if he wanted to wage an effective case against the charge of contradiction. Thus the stipulations which Mr. Manata has stated have been met."

Mr. Manata identified that Jesus had two natures and the human nature would not be divine and vice versa. Remember A and B.

Now to address your "square circles" nonsense. You say: "Again, using this approach one could say that a square circle is a square that "took on" a circular nature, and thus the notion of a square circle, on this "logic," is not self-contradictory. After all, don't squares and circles constitute "distinct categories"?"

If you want to use this example the square will still remain a square and the circle still remain a circle as each nature maintains its essential identity in the hypostatic union.

Of course, if you would actually study systematicians such as Shedd, Hodge, Turretin, Berkhof, etc, you would know all this and we may not be having this conversation.

As it stands, you have thus far failed to deliver on your contradiction.

August 18, 2005 8:25 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

GF76: “First, no one that I know of was actually disturbed with "your findings" (as they can hardly be called "yours").”

Is this supposed to be an argument, or simply an announcement of your ignorance?

GF76: “Second, can you actually make a valid argument that…” if something is not specifically listed in the Bible then I am borrowing from your worldview or 'other secular models'. I'm afraid that I may be hit with the Stolen Concept bomb here.

Again, you remind me of Paul Manata. In one blog comment section, Paul asked the following:

”care to post a valid decuctive argument proving all those claims you made about my intersubjective state of beliefs?”

In another one, he wrote:

”Franc, let's see the valid/sound argument here.”

And then in yet another:

“Now, give an argument that shows how you *know* the intersubjective states of others. You do know how to give an argument, right?”

The resemblance here and elsewhere is uncanny.

Anyway, I’m wondering where Jesus made any proclamations about the value of valid arguments. And I wonder where any bible character challenged his rivals to provide valid arguments for anything. Indeed, it seems that the authors of the bible nowhere discuss issues pertaining to the validity of inferences. Where did Jesus offer any valid arguments? If apologists were truly concerned about the presentation of valid arguments for positions affirmed, why not demand such from Jesus?

GF76 asked if I could present an argument to the effect that “if something is not specifically listed in the Bible then I am borrowing from your worldview or 'other secular models'.”

The issue here is not simply a lack of being “specifically listed,” but whether or not the very idea is completely alien to the teachings and concerns of what we read in the bible. Since men are born ignorant, we have to learn our knowledge from some source or another. If you wanted to learn about what the early Christians believed, I’d say the New Testament would be a suitable source to consult for this. You’ll get a tattered and varying picture of this in that source. But if you wanted to learn about the rules of inference, or how man’s perceptual faculty works, or about concept-formation, you’re not going to learn about these things in the bible. You’d have to look outside the bible for them. And any source outside the bible would have to be considered something that is not “God-breathed,” and thus potentially (if not actually) contaminated with “the wisdom of the world” (i.e., reason), which the apostle Paul rejected according to letters that he wrote and which were included in the Christian canon (cf. I Cor. 1-2). “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump,” writes the apostle (cf. Gal. 5:9). Now, if you could show where the bible addresses such concerns as those I mention here, then you might be able to have a prayer (but then again, nothing fails like prayer).

GF76: “I'm afraid that I may be hit with the Stolen Concept bomb here.”

I wonder if you understand what this fallacy is any more than Paul Manata does. He’s not shown any understanding here. And your words here suggest that you have no understanding of what is being charged when someone accuses you of the fallacy of the stolen concept. You’re confusing “stolen” with “borrowed.” There’s a big difference here. Christianity commits the fallacy of the stolen concept. Do you think you could show otherwise?

I wrote: "But herein lies a long list of contradictions, for God is not a man, and man is not a god. The Athanasian Creed is essentially saying that Jesus is both A and not A."

GF76: “Dawson, we have agreed with you that man is not God and God is not man.”

Then my criticism stands. Since according to the Athanasian Creed Jesus is both God (not man) and man (not God), it affirms a contradiction.

GF76: “I'm not so sure what's hard to understand about what we have so far stated.”

Oh, I understand alright. As one pastor put it, "You know too much."

GF76: “What we have continually said is that Jesus had two natures that are distinct yet inseparable.”

Yep, clearly a contradiction. Jesus is an inseparable combination of A (God, not man) and non-A (man, not God). If Jesus is a single entity, then the notion that he has “two natures” only adds to the incoherence of the idea. This makes Jesus a disintegrated being. James 1:8 says that “a double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”

I wrote: "Furthermore, if an entity is said to be both A and B such that A has attributes which are directly negated by B, then any entity which is said to possess both A and its negation B (i.e., non-A), in fact amounts to a contradiction."

GF76: “Right”

I know I’m right.

GF76: “and we would say that his divine nature is not his human nature and his human nature is not his divine nature.”

And yet, since Jesus is supposedly both divine and not divine, you have a contradiction on your hands.

GF76: ”You are going to have to do better than this as all you have done is repeat yourself from your earlier blog.”

So far your comments are sealing my case.

I wrote: "For instance, if one said that Mr. Brown is both A (a tax attorney) and B (not a tax attorney), then he would be making two statements which are in direct conflict with each other."

GF76: “The example is flawed and doesn't make your point.”

Really? Let’s see.

GF76: “Jesus has both A (divine nature) and B (human nature).”

Let’s explore this. Jesus has both an immortal nature and not an immortal nature. Hmmm…. Yep, contradiction.

GF76: “Now of course his human nature is not his divine nature and his divine nature is not his human nature.”

Exactly. Jesus is a single being that is both divine and not divine, both immortal and not immortal, both uncreated and not uncreated, and so on. You’ve not shown otherwise. By the way, which one died on the cross - Jesus the god (but an immortal being cannot die, by definition), or Jesus the man (the death of a man cannot atone sins)? Incoherence keeps popping up all over the place, like mushrooms after a long day of rainy weather.

GF76: “A (the divine nature) is not B (his human nature).”

Indeed, A is not non-A. B is just another way of saying non-A. But when you say that a single being is both A and B, you’re saying that it is both A and also non-A. Again, any way you slice it, you have a contradiction on your hands.

GF76: “Likewise, B (his human nature) is not A (his divine nature).”

Again, you’re making my point for me. See, nothing hard to understand here.

GF76: “They are two natures (distinct yet inseparable) in one essence/person.”

And since Jesus is a single being which allegedly has these “two natures,” and since these "two natures" are contradictory to each other (e.g., one is uncreated, the other uncreated, etc.), Jesus is literally a walking contradiction (to the extent that Christians want to believe Jesus ever walked).

GF76: “To get your example to work, you would somehow have to 'mix' his two natures into one, which is not what we claim and is why the supposed 'contradiction' fails.”

Actually, it is what Christians claim, and this is confirmed in numerous ways. For one, Jesus is referred to in the singular. When speaking of Jesus in the third person, he is referred to with the pronoun “he,” just as I did here. He is not referred to as “they,” which is what would have to be the case if he were more than one. Also, the gospels use the pronoun "I" (first person singular) when Jesus is speaking in reference to himself (cf. Matt. 5:44) as well as the pronoun "me" (cf. Matt. 4:19). Also, the Westminster Confession of Faith, which you yourself cited, affirms that Jesus is “of one substance,” thus confirming that Christianity conceives of Jesus as a single entity. And even though the notion of a single entity having two natures (indeed, two natures which contradict one another on at least 20 points) is blitheringly incoherent in itself, it is in this “one substance” that is Jesus that these two natures are combined to form a single entity, which constitutes an embodiment of contradiction.

GF76: “You are still confusing the two natures as if they were somehow one nature (or as though one nature overrid the other).”

Actually, it seems to me that it would be impossible to hold that one or the other nature did not override the other in some way. For instance, look at the question: Is Jesus immortal? Yes or no? If you say that Jesus is immortal, then this could only be taken as confirming that Jesus’ divine nature overrides his human nature. Is Jesus omniscient? Yes or no? If you say that Jesus is omniscient, then this could only be taken as confirming that Jesus’ divine nature overrides his human nature. Now if you respond to such questions as saying both “yes and no,” then you’re simply affirming the contradiction which I have pointed out. Boy, you're in a real bind here, buddy.

GF76: “As stated before, in the hypostatic union, Jesus' two natures are totally separate,”

Here you contradict yourself, for above you said that Jesus’ “two natures” are “distinct yet inseparable.” To say on the one hand that two things are “inseparable,” and then to turn around and say of the same two things are “totally separate” as you do here, is a blatant contradiction. Something that is "inseparable" cannot also be said to be "totally separate." It seems you're making this up as you go. Anyway, as I concluded: Christians worship contradiction as such. Again, you simply seal my case for me.

GF76: “but they are united in one person (essence).”

First they are “inseparable,” then they are “totally separate,” and now “they are united in one person (essence).” You’re simply turning up the volume on the incoherence of your worldview. Christian double-talk seeking to protect the enshrinement of a double-minded man. I'm glad these aren't my problems!

GF76: “Because they are totally separate, each nature retains its own attributes.”

So again, Jesus is both immortal (“fully God”) and not immortal (“fully man”). Yep, that’s a contradiction.

GF76: “That means that in his human nature, Jesus' knowledge is limited to what he has learned as a man, while in his divine nature he is totally omniscient, knowing everything.”

So Jesus is both omniscient AND not omniscient. As James 1:8 points out: “a double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”

GF76: “Mr. Manata identified that Jesus had two natures and the human nature would not be divine and vice versa. Remember A and B.”

And so long as B is something other than A, then A and B is another way of saying A and non-A. Can you find a logic text which disagrees with me?

I wrote: "Again, using this approach one could say that a square circle is a square that "took on" a circular nature, and thus the notion of a square circle, on this "logic," is not self-contradictory. After all, don't squares and circles constitute "distinct categories"?"

GF76: “If you want to use this example the square will still remain a square and the circle still remain a circle as each nature maintains its essential identity in the hypostatic union.”

Well, at least you’re consistent in your loving embrace of contradictions, for here you allow for the reality of square circles.

GF76: “Of course, if you would actually study systematicians such as Shedd, Hodge, Turretin, Berkhof, etc, you would know all this and we may not be having this conversation.”

I see you don’t cite any of the bible’s authors in there. Why is that?

GF76: “As it stands, you have thus far failed to deliver on your contradiction.”

Au contraire. As it stands, you have thus far failed to puncture my criticism. Your lance is flaccid and has no point.

I notice that you didn't deal with the other matter I brought up, namely the problem that John 4:24 ("God is a Spirit") and Luke 24:39 ("a spirit hath not flesh and bones") introduce in this matter. Were you in too much of a rush to get to this, or did you avoid it for some reason?

Regards,
Dawson

August 18, 2005 8:04 PM  
Blogger groundfighter76 said...

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August 19, 2005 12:19 AM  
Blogger groundfighter76 said...

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August 19, 2005 12:23 AM  
Blogger groundfighter76 said...

Dawson said, ”Is this supposed to be an argument, or simply an announcement of your ignorance?”

What is your problem Dawson? Does this look like an argument? It was addressing what you had previously said.


Dawson said, “Again, you remind me of Paul Manata. In one blog comment section, Paul asked the following:

”care to post a valid decuctive argument proving all those claims you made about my intersubjective state of beliefs?”

In another one, he wrote:

”Franc, let's see the valid/sound argument here.”

And then in yet another:

“Now, give an argument that shows how you *know* the intersubjective states of others. You do know how to give an argument, right?”

The resemblance here and elsewhere is uncanny.”

Wonderful, Dawson. So now I must be Paul! Brilliant reasoning. Hey since you and franc use the farcity of the stolen concept and other objectivist lingo then you are the same person!


Dawson said, ”Anyway, I’m wondering where Jesus made any proclamations about the value of valid arguments. And I wonder where any bible character challenged his rivals to provide valid arguments for anything. Indeed, it seems that the authors of the bible nowhere discuss issues pertaining to the validity of inferences. Where did Jesus offer any valid arguments? If apologists were truly concerned about the presentation of valid arguments for positions affirmed, why not demand such from Jesus?”
The issue here is not simply a lack of being “specifically listed,” but whether or not the very idea is completely alien to the teachings and concerns of what we read in the bible.”

The ‘very idea’ is not alien to the bible. Jesus reasoned with the Pharisees and the Sadducees His entire ministry.

1 John 4:1-2
a Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
1 Peter 3:15-16 “15 ... Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.
Acts 17- Paul on Mars Hill reasoning in front of the Aeropagus.
Prov 8:5 5 "O naive ones, understand prudence; And, O fools, understand wisdom.


Dawson said, “Since men are born ignorant, we have to learn our knowledge from some source or another. If you wanted to learn about what the early Christians believed, I’d say the New Testament would be a suitable source to consult for this. You’ll get a tattered and varying picture of this in that source. But if you wanted to learn about the rules of inference, or how man’s perceptual faculty works, or about concept-formation, you’re not going to learn about these things in the bible. You’d have to look outside the bible for them. And any source outside the bible would have to be considered something that is not “God-breathed,” and thus potentially (if not actually) contaminated with “the wisdom of the world” (i.e., reason), which the apostle Paul rejected according to letters that he wrote and which were included in the Christian canon (cf. I Cor. 1-2). “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump,” writes the apostle (cf. Gal. 5:9). Now, if you could show where the bible addresses such concerns as those I mention here, then you might be able to have a prayer (but then again, nothing fails like prayer).”

Potentially the ‘secular source’ could be contaminated. However, one’s interpretation of the “God-breathed” Bible itself could be ‘contaminated’ and so your little story proves nothing. Nevertheless, this does not show that I ‘borrow’ from “secular worldviews” as our contention is that “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Prov 1:7) and “2…Christ Himself, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Col 2:2-3). Since this is our contention (that all knowledge is found in God - yes that means all knowledge), you are going to have to do more than merely say we use secular sources in order to prove that we borrow from your worldview/secular worldviews.


Dawson said, “I wonder if you understand what this fallacy is any more than Paul Manata does. He’s not shown any understanding here. And your words here suggest that you have no understanding of what is being charged when someone accuses you of the fallacy of the stolen concept. You’re confusing “stolen” with “borrowed.” There’s a big difference here. Christianity commits the fallacy of the stolen concept. Do you think you could show otherwise?”

Didn’t we talk about this before and you ran off?


Dawson said, ”Then my criticism stands. Since according to the Athanasian Creed Jesus is both God (not man) and man (not God), it affirms a contradiction.”

No Dawson it doesn’t. You love taking people out of context don’t you. His God nature is not his man nature and these two natures are not ‘mixed’. I am going to assume you are attempting to convey this contradiction to the one essence as you have below. I don’t know why you couldn’t have said this from the start, so read the rest.


Dawson said, “Yep, clearly a contradiction. Jesus is an inseparable combination of A (God, not man) and non-A (man, not God). If Jesus is a single entity, then the notion that he has “two natures” only adds to the incoherence of the idea. This makes Jesus a disintegrated being. James 1:8 says that “a double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”

Let me quote Charles Hodge, “…the elements united or combined in the person of Christ is, that the elements united or combined in his person are two distinct substances, humanity and divinity; that He has in his constitution the same essence or substance which constitutes us men, and the same substance which makes God infinite, eternal, and immutable in all his perfections. The second point is, that this union is not by mixture so that a new, third substance is produced, which is neither humanity nor divinity but possessing the properties of both. This is an impossibility, because the properties in question are incompatible. We cannot mingle mind and matter so as to make a substance which is neither mind nor matter… Christ’s person is **theanthropic**; but not his nature, for that would make the finite infinite and the infinite finite.” Systematic Theology, Vol 2, page 387.

By “theanthropic” he means God-man. I will delve into this more below so keep reading and reply taking that into consideration so we can shorten this.

His *nature* is not theanthropic as there is no transfer of the attributes of one nature to the other.

As far as James 1:8, i'll take that into consideration and in context later in this comment.


Dawson said, “I know I’m right.”

That’s cute Dawson. But you have yet to show it.


Dawson said, “And yet, since Jesus is supposedly both divine and not divine, you have a contradiction on your hands.”

No because it’s not ‘in the same sense’.


Dawson said, “Exactly. Jesus is a single being that is both divine and not divine, both immortal and not immortal, both uncreated and not uncreated, and so on. You’ve not shown otherwise.”

It still fails. In the example given, your Mr. Brown has *one* nature. This one nature cannot be both a tax attorney and not a tax attorney at the same time and in the same sense. Jesus had *two* natures. So you have not shown anything.


Dawson said, “By the way, which one died on the cross - Jesus the god (but an immortal being cannot die, by definition), or Jesus the man (the death of a man cannot atone sins)? Incoherence keeps popping up all over the place, like mushrooms after a long day of rainy weather.”

See below (theanthropos).


Dawson said, “Indeed, A is not non-A. B is just another way of saying non-A. But when you say that a single being is both A and B, you’re saying that it is both A and also non-A. Again, any way you slice it, you have a contradiction on your hands.

And since Jesus is a single being which allegedly has these “two natures,” and since these "two natures" are contradictory to each other (e.g., one is uncreated, the other uncreated, etc.), Jesus is literally a walking contradiction (to the extent that Christians want to believe Jesus ever walked).”

By taking on the human nature of the man Jesus Christ does not change the divine nature. The divine nature of the Son was uncreated; however, in the “when the fullness of time was come, He took upon Him man's nature” (West. Conf.) This can be said of his other attributes as well.


Dawson said, “Actually, it is what Christians claim, and this is confirmed in numerous ways. For one, Jesus is referred to in the singular. When speaking of Jesus in the third person, he is referred to with the pronoun “he,” just as I did here. He is not referred to as “they,” which is what would have to be the case if he were more than one. Also, the gospels use the pronoun "I" (first person singular) when Jesus is speaking in reference to himself (cf. Matt. 5:44) as well as the pronoun "me" (cf. Matt. 4:19). Also, the Westminster Confession of Faith, which you yourself cited, affirms that Jesus is “of one substance,” thus confirming that Christianity conceives of Jesus as a single entity. And even though the notion of a single entity having two natures (indeed, two natures which contradict one another on at least 20 points) is blitheringly incoherent in itself, it is in this “one substance” that is Jesus that these two natures are combined to form a single entity, which constitutes an embodiment of contradiction.”

Of course Jesus would not be referred to in the plural since He is one essence. However, I’m not referring to his essence but rather His two natures. So saying that He is referred to in the singular is irrelevant.

The single entity is not God and it’s not man; rather, it is God-man (theanthropos in the Greek). The attributes of the two distinct natures acted on the God-man Jesus Christ (theanthropos). If the God-man be called Jesus Christ, then it is no contradiction to say that Jesus Christ raised the dead and Jesus Christ died; that Jesus Christ is God and Jesus Christ is man. If the God-man be called the Redeemer, then it is no contradiction to say that the Redeemer created all things and the Redeemer hungered and thirsted. ***Only if you defined the single entity as either God or man then you would have your contradiction.***

So your contradiction has failed.


Dawson said, ”Actually, it seems to me that it would be impossible to hold that one or the other nature did not override the other in some way. For instance, look at the question: Is Jesus immortal? Yes or no? If you say that Jesus is immortal, then this could only be taken as confirming that Jesus’ divine nature overrides his human nature. Is Jesus omniscient? Yes or no? If you say that Jesus is omniscient, then this could only be taken as confirming that Jesus’ divine nature overrides his human nature. Now if you respond to such questions as saying both “yes and no,” then you’re simply affirming the contradiction which I have pointed out. Boy, you're in a real bind here, buddy.”

As stated above, since the ‘single entity’ (one essence) is theanthropos, there is no overriding of anything ‘buddy’.

See my comments directly above.


Dawson said, “Here you contradict yourself, for above you said that Jesus’ “two natures” are “distinct yet inseparable.” To say on the one hand that two things are “inseparable,” and then to turn around and say of the same two things are “totally separate” as you do here, is a blatant contradiction. Something that is "inseparable" cannot also be said to be "totally separate." It seems you're making this up as you go. Anyway, as I concluded: Christians worship contradiction as such. Again, you simply seal my case for me.

First they are “inseparable,” then they are “totally separate,” and now “they are united in one person (essence).” You’re simply turning up the volume on the incoherence of your worldview. Christian double-talk seeking to protect the enshrinement of a double-minded man. I'm glad these aren't my problems!”

Dawson this is exactly why some people don’t like talking to you as you don’t read your opponent in the best light. But in this instance I can see how you got confused and attempted to show a contradiction so let me explain. When I said the natures were ‘distinct yet inseparable’, I meant that they kept their respective attributes and you could not separate them as they have been forever joined at the Incarnation. By inseparable, I was referring to the heresy of Nestorianism who held the natures of Christ “so distinct” as to be two *persons* (they separated the natures). Now when I said they were totally separate (later on), I meant that they were distinct and retained their own attributes but were still ‘joined’ in one essence. Note the *context* of my entire comment post. I then said, “Because they are totally separate, each nature retains its own attributes. That means that in his human nature, Jesus' knowledge is limited to what he has learned as a man, while in his divine nature he is totally omniscient, knowing everything.” I think a fair reading would show that this meant distinct by them retaining their attributes. But maybe I should have been more clear, so my fault if you were truly confused.


Dawson said, “So Jesus is both omniscient AND not omniscient. As James 1:8 points out: “a double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”

Remember our one essence is theanthropos, not anthropos or theos.

Let’s quote James in context, “James 1:5-8 5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”

As a sinless man, Jesus Christ did not ‘doubt’ God. Things are so much easier when one takes them in context.

Dawson said, "Again, using this approach one could say that a square circle is a square that "took on" a circular nature, and thus the notion of a square circle, on this "logic," is not self-contradictory. After all, don't squares and circles constitute "distinct categories"?"

GF76: “If you want to use this example the square will still remain a square and the circle still remain a circle as each nature maintains its essential identity in the hypostatic union.”

Dawson said, “Well, at least you’re consistent in your loving embrace of contradictions, for here you allow for the reality of square circles.”

So is this all you have to say in reply? You’ve just reasserted a contradiction without refuting my point.


Dawson said, “I see you don’t cite any of the bible’s authors in there. Why is that?”

Well I figured with your wonderful knowledge of everything you would know that most of the creeds as well as systematicians (Westminster that I quoted) used scripture as proofs and would be able to look it up for yourself. But maybe I was wrong.


Dawson said, “I notice that you didn't deal with the other matter I brought up, namely the problem that John 4:24 ("God is a Spirit") and Luke 24:39 ("a spirit hath not flesh and bones") introduce in this matter. Were you in too much of a rush to get to this, or did you avoid it for some reason?”

I didn’t avoid it purposefully.
But this has been continually dealt with in this post (I may not have specifically mentioned this example in the above but did so with other attributes of the two natures).

August 19, 2005 12:26 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

GF76, your comments are getting weaker and weaker, and it appears you're running out of options. Anyway, I'll speak to a few of your comments, even though there's so little substance in them.

GF76: “The ‘very idea’ is not alien to the bible. Jesus reasoned with the Pharisees and the Sadducees His entire ministry.”

Which “very idea” are you saying is not alien to the bible? You listed four bible quotes, but which idea were you trying to isolate? The three examples I gave are:

1. the rules of inference
2. how man’s perceptual faculty works,
3. concept-formation

Were you suggesting that the four passages you quoted speak to these three issues? If so, could you shed some more light on this? If not, what were you trying to say with the four quotations?

A story element that portrays Jesus "reasoning" with someone is not the same thing as a serious exploration of the way the mind works. The story element is simply anecdotal, and one could include this in his writing without a very deep understanding of the processes that take place in the discovery and validation of knowledge. We don't find in the bible any discussion of these processes. It's all taken completely for granted. Now, if you know where there is an extended discussion in the bible about the issues pertaining to the rules of inference, man's perceptual faculty and/or the method by which he forms concepts, please point it out. But something as threadbare as "Jesus used a concept" won't fill the bill. No one's denying that the authors used certain cognitive processes in order to tell their stories. The issue is whether they had a self-conscious understanding of those processes, and if such an understanding were a major concern in their writings. Since they were writing stories and not technical essays, it's apparent to me that this was not their major concern. But perhaps you differ. Again, if the bible addressed all these topics under the sun, then it's a wonder why Christians would have any other books on the shelf.

GF76: “Potentially the ‘secular source’ could be contaminated. However, one’s interpretation of the ‘God-breathed’ Bible itself could be ‘contaminated’ and so your little story proves nothing.”

Actually, it doesn’t follow from the supposition that “one’s interpretation of the ‘God-breathed’ Bible itself could be ‘contaminated’,” that the points I was trying to make have been weakened. Since the apostle Paul especially condemns what he roundly calls “the wisdom of the world,” something he nowhere defines with any clarity but treats as a source of evil ideas, it’s quite likely that anyone taking his preaching seriously would soon become suspicious of any learning that does not have its origin in the bible. I’m speaking from firsthand experience of Christians who have adopted precisely such an orientation. It’s quite sad to see. The congregations which I have visited expressly prohibit their children from pursuing education in any secular institution, be it a public high school, a junior college, or a four-year university. Since they take the teaching that “the world” is an evil place, they are deeply suspicious of anything that comes from it or just seems to have come from it. Now, again, these persons do take their Christian teaching seriously, so this may explain why you don’t share in their hysteria. Indeed, if anything, there’s no uniformity among Christian practice.

GF76: “Nevertheless, this does not show that I ‘borrow’ from “secular worldviews” as our contention is that “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Prov 1:7) and “2…Christ Himself, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Col 2:2-3). Since this is our contention (that all knowledge is found in God - yes that means all knowledge), you are going to have to do more than merely say we use secular sources in order to prove that we borrow from your worldview/secular worldviews.”

That’s fine. You can commit yourself to such faith positions all you like. I’ve seen much worse, and such childishness is quite unimpressive and does not speak to the issue. The issue is that the authors of the bible do not address fundamental epistemological issues which you, like them, take for granted all the time and make use of without any coherent methodology native to the bible’s teachings. That you insist that you do not borrow from secular sources simply suggests that you are either more naïve than you have appeared thus far, or that you’re simply ungrateful. Christianity as such is a result of borrowing from pagan and secular ideas and attempting to fuse them with Jewish ideas. The borrowing goes back to its very inception, and continues to this day. A critical review of the New Testament exposes the legendary development of Christian themes, from very primitive and undeveloped notions in the beginning, to more and more detailed accounts which built on those earlier notions. The idea that it is “divinely inspired” is one of the most silly things I hear grown adults repeating.

I wrote: ”Then my criticism stands. Since according to the Athanasian Creed Jesus is both God (not man) and man (not God), it affirms a contradiction.”

GF76: “No Dawson it doesn’t. You love taking people out of context don’t you.”

Interesting how you suddenly “just know” what I “love.” I think it would be about now that Paul Manata would ask something like: “care to post a valid decuctive argument proving all those claims you made about my intersubjective state of beliefs?”

GF76: “His God nature is not his man nature and these two natures are not ‘mixed’.”

I’m not sure what you mean by “mixed” here, but you do agree that Jesus is one entity, do you not? In my previous comment I showed how this is suggested linguistically (by use of singular personal pronouns to refer to Jesus) and by doctrinal formulations (e.g., the WCF refers to Jesus as being “of one substance”). Moreover, you say that these two alleged natures (which btw you’ve nowhere proved to be the case; your statements thus far only show that you imagine Jesus having two natures) of Jesus are “inseparable” (even though later you said they were “totally separate”). You’ll have to explain what you mean by “mixed” and show how your insistence that Jesus’ alleged “two natures” can belong to a single entity and yet not be “mixed” can be integrated without contradiction. Until you do this, it’s just more tiresome Christian doubletalk whose only use is for pointless bickering.

GF76 quoted Charles Hodge, “…the elements united or combined in the person of Christ is,”

Already there is either a grammar error (if “the elements” is supposed to be the subject which is plural followed by a verb “is” in the singular), or the quote leaves off an important word which should be the singular subject corresponding to the singular verb “is.” Go on.

Hodge: “that the elements united or combined in his person are two distinct substances,”

Wait a minute, we have two “substances” now? The WCF said that Jesus is only “one substance.” See, you’re confusing yourself by reading all these speculating theologians whose only guide is their imaginations. Go on.

Hodge: “humanity and divinity;”

Yes, that’s the claim. And human beings are not immortal, yet divine beings are alleged to be immortal. Jesus, now, is supposed to be both “fully God, fully man.” So again, is Jesus immortal, or not? Why no clear answers here?

Hodge: “that He has in his constitution the same essence or substance which constitutes us men, and the same substance which makes God infinite, eternal, and immutable in all his perfections.”

I won’t ask how Hodge knows this, because he probably won’t be able to offer any better than John Frame (“We know without knowing how we know.”) But even though Hodge has now contradicted the WCF (which affirms only “one substance” for Jesus), Christians still need to explain whether Jesus is immortal or not immortal. Since Jesus is a single entity (I showed above why one should at least be forgiven for thinking this), he cannot be both immortal and not immortal. Or, are you willing to affirm such contradictions?

Hodge: “The second point is, that this union is not by mixture so that a new, third substance is produced, which is neither humanity nor divinity but possessing the properties of both.”

Again, it’s not clear how Hodge or anyone could know such things, but it’s clear that men often affirm things as knowledge even though they themselves have no idea how they might know them (cf. John Frame’s admission above). But this point is irrelevant in any case, since I’ve nowhere affirmed that there is some “third substance” produced by some kind of “mixture.” I’ve not asserted any kind of “mixture.” I am being generous by treating Jesus as Christian sources do: as a single entity. Now, you could say that I am wrong in treating Jesus as a single entity. If so, you’ll have to develop that point in detail, and explain the use of singular personal pronouns and verbs when speaking of Jesus, and why the WCF applies the term “one substance” to Jesus. Indeed, most treatments of Jesus the Son with respect to his participation in “the trinity” typically refer to Jesus as “one person.”

Hodge: “This is an impossibility, because the properties in question are incompatible.”

So is Hodge agreeing with me that there is an incompatibility issue in the entity of Jesus? Also, how does he determine whether or not something is impossible? According to the bible, “with God all things are possible.” (Mt. 19:26)

Hodge: “We cannot mingle mind and matter so as to make a substance which is neither mind nor matter…”

Just curious here… How does Hodge know this? How would someone prove that this is not possible?

Hodge: “Christ’s person is **theanthropic**; but not his nature, for that would make the finite infinite and the infinite finite.”

Here Hodge refers to “his nature” – in the singular, whereas earlier it was affirmed somewhere that Jesus has “two natures.” Is this a slip?

GF76: “By ‘theanthropic’ he means God-man.”

Is a “theanthropic” being immortal or not immortal? Go down the list in my original blog on this matter and query through the attributes that I have cited. What’s the verdict?

GF76: “His *nature* is not theanthropic as there is no transfer of the attributes of one nature to the other.”

Again, your words suggest that Jesus now has only one nature (for you do not use the plural here), where earlier you insisted that he has “two natures.” Anyway, I still wonder if you'll answer my question: is Jesus the person immortal, or not immortal?

GF76: “No because it’s not ‘in the same sense’.”

I’ve covered this already in my blog, showing why “fully” can only mean in every sense. You’ve not shown otherwise. Indeed, all you offer is more double-talk.

I wrote: “And yet, since Jesus is supposedly both divine and not divine, you have a contradiction on your hands.”

GF76: “No because it’s not ‘in the same sense’.”

I’ve covered this already in my blog, showing why “fully” can only mean in every sense. You’ve not shown otherwise. Indeed, all you offer is more double-talk.


Dawson said, “Exactly. Jesus is a single being that is both divine and not divine, both immortal and not immortal, both uncreated and not uncreated, and so on. You’ve not shown otherwise.”

GF76: “It still fails.”

Are you saying that Jesus is not both divine and not divine? My point could only fail if this is not what Christianity teaches. But if that’s not what Christianity teaches, then the Athanasian Creed (since it affirms this view) must be rejected and Christianity’s theologians have to go back to the drawing board. Again, I’m glad these aren’t my worldview’s problems.

GF76: “In the example given, your Mr. Brown has *one* nature.”

Where do you establish this? Mr. Brown is one person. According to what you’re saying, that’s not the same thing as being only one nature. At any rate, you have yet to explain how one person can have two natures. To say that a single entity has two natures is like saying A is both itself and more than itself, i.e., A is A and more than A. Again, more nonsensical Christian doubletalk recruited to put out a fire that has already burned down the house.

GF76: “This one nature cannot be both a tax attorney and not a tax attorney at the same time and in the same sense. Jesus had *two* natures. So you have not shown anything.”

Actually, I was speaking about the person of Christ. Since Christians want to introduce the notion that a single person or entity can have more than one nature, they need to validate this. Where do you do this? I’ve not seen it. So far, you offer no reason to suppose this “two natures” notion is simply a contentless invention whose sole purpose is to alleviate the tension of a very bad and worthless idea. Meanwhile, I’m wondering if you’ve read Martin’s interaction with Thomas Morris’ attempts to defend the so-called “two minds of Christ” theory. Martin’s points there can only serve to preempt the empty counterpoints that you’ve been repeating over and over and yet not adequately explaining.

GF76: “By taking on the human nature of the man Jesus Christ does not change the divine nature.”

So again, we have a single person who is both immortal and not immortal, uncreated and not uncreated, infinite and not infinite, etc. To say that Jesus has “two natures,” one which is immortal, uncreated and infinite, and another which is not immortal, not uncreated and not infinite, is simply to assert a being that is at odds with itself. No wonder Jews saw Christianity to be blasphemous.

GF76: “The divine nature of the Son was uncreated; however, in the “when the fullness of time was come, He took upon Him man's nature” (West. Conf.) This can be said of his other attributes as well.”

This only suggests that there was a time when Jesus had only one nature, for it asserts a time when Jesus took on his allegedly second nature. That’s quite a change. And it can only mean that one nature overrides the other, something you didn’t seem very comfortable with in your earlier comment.

GF76: “Of course Jesus would not be referred to in the plural since He is one essence. However, I’m not referring to his essence but rather His two natures. So saying that He is referred to in the singular is irrelevant.”

Again, I’m going to give you the opportunity to explain this so that you do not further seal the impression that you’re just engaging in contentless double-talk. What is the difference between an “essence” and a “nature” as you understand it, and where would one go to get this understanding? I’m hoping you can point to a source more reliable than the speculations of someone like Charles Hodge or John Frame or Cornelius Van Til, who were clearly groping in the dark on such matters. And even if you wanted to say that Jesus has two natures, you do not explain why his being a single essence or single entity is “irrelevant.” It seems you just want to dismiss a very important point which complicates your position so that you don’t have to deal with it. Your whole response to my criticism is to say there’s no contradiction because Jesus has two natures. You don’t prove that Jesus has two natures. You don’t explain how having two natures would alleviate the problem, especially since we’re talking about one person. Can the same person be both immortal and not immortal? You tell me. Try to come back and really explain these things, and speak to the many points that I’ve brought up rather than dancing around them as you have.

GF76: “The single entity is not God and it’s not man; rather, it is God-man (theanthropos in the Greek).”

Is this single entity immortal or not immortal? Which is it?

GF76: “The attributes of the two distinct natures acted on the God-man Jesus Christ (theanthropos).”

You’ll need to explain what you mean here. For instance, how does the attribute ‘immortal’ “act on the God-man Jesus Christ”?

GF76: “If the God-man be called Jesus Christ, then it is no contradiction to say that Jesus Christ raised the dead and Jesus Christ died; that Jesus Christ is God and Jesus Christ is man.”

It would be a contradiction to say that an immortal being died, for by definition an immortal being is one that does not die.

GF76: “If the God-man be called the Redeemer, then it is no contradiction to say that the Redeemer created all things and the Redeemer hungered and thirsted.”

But given the statement from the WCF above (“The divine nature of the Son was uncreated; however, in the ‘when the fullness of time was come, He took upon Him man's nature’”), there was a time when this “God-man” did not yet exist, for part and parcel of the “God-man” is Jesus’ alleged “human nature,” and it was not until “the fullness of time was come” – that is, at some point in time – that Jesus the God “took upon Him man’s nature.” See, your silly doctrine is all over the place. Good grief, man, do you see what this stuff is doing to your mind?

GF76: “***Only if you defined the single entity as either God or man then you would have your contradiction.***”

This is not at all the case, for I could define a single entity as man and note that he is in fact not immortal. The contradictions start coming in when you want to marry an immortal nature and a non-immortal nature in the same being.

Anyway, it's clear that all you have here is double-talk. You've not shown otherwise. It's all very imaginative, GF. But in the end, that's all it is: imagination. No reality here.

Have a good day.
Dawson

August 19, 2005 4:19 AM  
Blogger groundfighter76 said...

Dawson said, “GF76, your comments are getting weaker and weaker, and it appears you're running out of options. Anyway, I'll speak to a few of your comments, even though there's so little substance in them.”

Another worthless statement by you, Dawson.


Dawson said, “Which “very idea” are you saying is not alien to the bible? You listed four bible quotes, but which idea were you trying to isolate? The three examples I gave are:

1. the rules of inference
2. how man’s perceptual faculty works,
3. concept-formation

Were you suggesting that the four passages you quoted speak to these three issues? If so, could you shed some more light on this? If not, what were you trying to say with the four quotations?”

The very “idea” I was speaking to was that of knowledge, reason, and wisdom which involves the rules of inference. Maybe you could show how it is necessary that I need to know *how* concepts are formed or *how* man’s perceptual faculty works in order to be *able to reason*. What is necessary is that I am able to *trust* that I have properly functioning mental facilities as well as sensory perception.


Dawson said, “A story element that portrays Jesus "reasoning" with someone is not the same thing as a serious exploration of the way the mind works. The story element is simply anecdotal, and one could include this in his writing without a very deep understanding of the processes that take place in the discovery and validation of knowledge.”

I never said that it was the ‘same thing’. I was pointing out the ‘very idea’.


Dawson said, “We don't find in the bible any discussion of these processes. It's all taken completely for granted. Now, if you know where there is an extended discussion in the bible about the issues pertaining to the rules of inference, man's perceptual faculty and/or the method by which he forms concepts, please point it out. But something as threadbare as "Jesus used a concept" won't fill the bill. No one's denying that the authors used certain cognitive processes in order to tell their stories. The issue is whether they had a self-conscious understanding of those processes, and if such an understanding were a major concern in their writings. Since they were writing stories and not technical essays, it's apparent to me that this was not their major concern. But perhaps you differ. Again, if the bible addressed all these topics under the sun, then it's a wonder why Christians would have any other books on the shelf.”

Wow Dawson, you have just reasserted the very same thing without any argumentation! You are all bark and no bite. You’ve still not shown why it is *necessary* that the Bible be a technical journal.


Dawson said, “Actually, it doesn’t follow from the supposition that “one’s interpretation of the ‘God-breathed’ Bible itself could be ‘contaminated’,” that the points I was trying to make have been weakened. Since the apostle Paul especially condemns what he roundly calls “the wisdom of the world,” something he nowhere defines with any clarity but treats as a source of evil ideas, it’s quite likely that anyone taking his preaching seriously would soon become suspicious of any learning that does not have its origin in the bible.”

Yes it does follow as you have completely missed the point I was making. An evil idea would be “knowledge falsely so-called”. These evil ideas could have originated from a complete misunderstanding of the biblical text. Remember that our contention is that knowledge has it’s foundation in Christ. It does not follow that just because knowledge may be from a so-called “secular source” that it is “the wisdom of the world” in the sense in which the apostle Paul is speaking (as there really are no ‘secular sources’ for true knowledge).


Dawson said, “I’m speaking from firsthand experience of Christians who have adopted precisely such an orientation. It’s quite sad to see. The congregations which I have visited expressly prohibit their children from pursuing education in any secular institution, be it a public high school, a junior college, or a four-year university. Since they take the teaching that “the world” is an evil place, they are deeply suspicious of anything that comes from it or just seems to have come from it. Now, again, these persons do take their Christian teaching seriously, so this may explain why you don’t share in their hysteria. Indeed, if anything, there’s no uniformity among Christian practice.”

When the word 'world' is used in an antithetical sense of the biblical worldview, then yes it is evil because it opposes God. However, it is our contention that since man was made in God's image, he is able to come to a knowledge of the world around him. It also doesn’t follow that because congregations do not allow their children to pursue education in any secular institution that they believe that all knowledge obtained from secular sources is ‘the wisdom of the world’. The parents I know who don’t send their kids to secular institutions is because they don’t want their kids to be indoctrinated with ideas that are contrary to Biblical principles, such as evolution, at such a young age. Plus many times a secular education is inferior to a private education.


Dawson said, “That’s fine. You can commit yourself to such faith positions all you like. I’ve seen much worse, and such childishness is quite unimpressive and does not speak to the issue. The issue is that the authors of the bible do not address fundamental epistemological issues which you, like them, take for granted all the time and make use of without any coherent methodology native to the bible’s teachings. That you insist that you do not borrow from secular sources simply suggests that you are either more naïve than you have appeared thus far, or that you’re simply ungrateful. Christianity as such is a result of borrowing from pagan and secular ideas and attempting to fuse them with Jewish ideas. The borrowing goes back to its very inception, and continues to this day. A critical review of the New Testament exposes the legendary development of Christian themes, from very primitive and undeveloped notions in the beginning, to more and more detailed accounts which built on those earlier notions. The idea that it is “divinely inspired” is one of the most silly things I hear grown adults repeating.”

Well this does not speak at all to what I said. Only if my worldview is first false would this even be the case (that I borrow from secular sources). So this is boring.


Dawson said, “Interesting how you suddenly “just know” what I “love.” I think it would be about now that Paul Manata would ask something like: “care to post a valid decuctive argument proving all those claims you made about my intersubjective state of beliefs?””

I said this because in most of conversations thus far you have done this. But maybe I’m wrong but you haven’t shown me otherwise. And you have also done this to James 1:8 which was shown.


Dawson said, “I’m not sure what you mean by “mixed” here, but you do agree that Jesus is one entity, do you not? In my previous comment I showed how this is suggested linguistically (by use of singular personal pronouns to refer to Jesus) and by doctrinal formulations (e.g., the WCF refers to Jesus as being “of one substance”). Moreover, you say that these two alleged natures (which btw you’ve nowhere proved to be the case; your statements thus far only show that you imagine Jesus having two natures) of Jesus are “inseparable” (even though later you said they were “totally separate”). You’ll have to explain what you mean by “mixed” and show how your insistence that Jesus’ alleged “two natures” can belong to a single entity and yet not be “mixed” can be integrated without contradiction. Until you do this, it’s just more tiresome Christian doubletalk whose only use is for pointless bickering.”

Well you obviously did not read my post or edit this before responding. But I’ll address ‘mixed’. By ‘mixed’, I mean that no attribute of one nature is transferred to another. This was repeatedly said in the previous post. I also spoke to Jesus being ‘theanthropos’. I also said that if you want proof texts you could consult the Westminster Confession and/or the systematicians mentioned as I don’t have the desire to type them out for you. So this is the second time all this has been addressed.


Dawson said, “Wait a minute, we have two “substances” now? The WCF said that Jesus is only “one substance.” See, you’re confusing yourself by reading all these speculating theologians whose only guide is their imaginations. Go on.”

When Hodge was speaking of ‘substances’ he was speaking of natures as when he said the ‘divinity and the human’ in the rest of the sentence.

Dawson said, “I won’t ask how Hodge knows this, because he probably won’t be able to offer any better than John Frame (“We know without knowing how we know.”) But even though Hodge has now contradicted the WCF (which affirms only “one substance” for Jesus),”

He has not contradicted the WCF but is using different language. Hodge affirms that Christ was ‘one person’ as he said later in the quote. See what I mean by missing the context.


Dawson said, “Christians still need to explain whether Jesus is immortal or not immortal. Since Jesus is a single entity (I showed above why one should at least be forgiven for thinking this), he cannot be both immortal and not immortal. Or, are you willing to affirm such contradictions?”

Well you have still not made it to the rest of my post obviously.


Dawson said, “So is Hodge agreeing with me that there is an incompatibility issue in the entity of Jesus? Also, how does he determine whether or not something is impossible? According to the bible, “with God all things are possible.” (Mt. 19:26)”

Another stellar example of Dawson taking things out of context.


Dawson said, “Hodge: “We cannot mingle mind and matter so as to make a substance which is neither mind nor matter…”

Just curious here… How does Hodge know this? How would someone prove that this is not possible?”

He was using an analogy. Mainly that the incorporeal is not ‘mixed’ with the corporeal.


Dawson said, “Hodge: “Christ’s person is **theanthropic**; but not his nature, for that would make the finite infinite and the infinite finite.”

Here Hodge refers to “his nature” – in the singular, whereas earlier it was affirmed somewhere that Jesus has “two natures.” Is this a slip?”


Another example of you not taking things in context. He is talking about a third nature and whether that nature would be theanthropic as a result of the joining of the other two natures (into one nature). He says no as that would lead to the contradictions and rather points out that Christ’s *person* was ‘theanthropic’. So no it was not a slip; rather it was you taking things out of context again.


Dawson said, “Is a “theanthropic” being immortal or not immortal? Go down the list in my original blog on this matter and query through the attributes that I have cited. What’s the verdict?”

This ‘theanthropic’ person would be both as I have pointed out in the previous comment post according to each nature with it’s own attributes.


Dawson said, “Again, your words suggest that Jesus now has only one nature (for you do not use the plural here), where earlier you insisted that he has “two natures.” Anyway, I still wonder if you'll answer my question: is Jesus the person immortal, or not immortal?”

No Dawson, are you doing this on purpose? Anyway, I said there are two natures. The two natures were not combined into one and considered ‘theanthropic’ as this would lead to ‘one’ nature and would have all the contradictions which you listed. This question is repeatedly answered in this post and the last.


Dawson said, “I’ve covered this already in my blog, showing why “fully” can only mean in every sense. You’ve not shown otherwise. Indeed, all you offer is more double-talk.”

Let’s see if I can do as good as you – yes I have.


Dawson said, “Where do you establish this? Mr. Brown is one person. According to what you’re saying, that’s not the same thing as being only one nature. At any rate, you have yet to explain how one person can have two natures. To say that a single entity has two natures is like saying A is both itself and more than itself, i.e., A is A and more than A. Again, more nonsensical Christian doubletalk recruited to put out a fire that has already burned down the house.”

Being one person is not necessarily the same as having one nature. Mr. Brown has a human nature and only that nature. It was the divine personality that took on human nature (impersonal - the divine nature gave the personality) when He ‘took on’ human flesh. Keep reading before you respond and take things out of context again…


Dawson said, “Actually, I was speaking about the person of Christ. Since Christians want to introduce the notion that a single person or entity can have more than one nature, they need to validate this. Where do you do this? I’ve not seen it. So far, you offer no reason to suppose this “two natures” notion is simply a contentless invention whose sole purpose is to alleviate the tension of a very bad and worthless idea. Meanwhile, I’m wondering if you’ve read Martin’s interaction with Thomas Morris’ attempts to defend the so-called “two minds of Christ” theory. Martin’s points there can only serve to preempt the empty counterpoints that you’ve been repeating over and over and yet not adequately explaining.”

I have to keep repeating it over and over because you keep taking things out of context and misrepresenting my position, so here’s another: remember that the ‘single person’ is not anthropos or theos but rather theanthropos (from whence the two natures come). You seem to want to assume that I am speaking of anthropos or theos. It’s validated by the Word of God, so if the Word of God is true then this is true. But we are not discussing whether the Word of God is true, we are discussing whether there is a contradiction in this idea, so let’s stay on topic.


Dawson said, “This only suggests that there was a time when Jesus had only one nature, for it asserts a time when Jesus took on his allegedly second nature. That’s quite a change. And it can only mean that one nature overrides the other, something you didn’t seem very comfortable with in your earlier comment.”

Right but it did not change the divine nature itself as I’ve repeatedly said they are distinct and the attributes are not transferable between natures.


Dawson said, “Again, I’m going to give you the opportunity to explain this so that you do not further seal the impression that you’re just engaging in contentless double-talk. What is the difference between an “essence” and a “nature” as you understand it, and where would one go to get this understanding? I’m hoping you can point to a source more reliable than the speculations of someone like Charles Hodge or John Frame or Cornelius Van Til, who were clearly groping in the dark on such matters. And even if you wanted to say that Jesus has two natures, you do not explain why his being a single essence or single entity is “irrelevant.” It seems you just want to dismiss a very important point which complicates your position so that you don’t have to deal with it. Your whole response to my criticism is to say there’s no contradiction because Jesus has two natures. You don’t prove that Jesus has two natures. You don’t explain how having two natures would alleviate the problem, especially since we’re talking about one person. Can the same person be both immortal and not immortal? You tell me. Try to come back and really explain these things, and speak to the many points that I’ve brought up rather than dancing around them as you have.

I have explained how having two natures alleviates the problems; you just keep asserting that I haven’t and don’t deal with what has been said. Since this is an explanation and not a refutation per se (as I don’t really like footnote/link/quote refutations) let me quote Brian Schwertly,

“(1) We have noted that Christ is truly God and truly man. Everything that can be predicated of God is true of Jesus. He is truly God in every way. He is consubstantial with the Father according to the godhead. When the creed speaks of the Mediator having God’s nature (Greek, ousia; Latin substantia, or natura) it means identity of essence and implies numerical unity. God is three persons who are one in being. God the Son (who was and is one with the Father and the Holy Spirit) became man. The second person of the trinity assumed a human nature.
When Chalcedon speaks of Christ assuming a human nature consubstantial according to manhood, it refers to generic unity with man. Jesus has all the attributes of humanity: a real flesh and blood body, a rational soul that grows in knowledge, which is finite (i.e., He doesn’t know all things), that experiences the full range of human emotions.”

“(3) The Bible and the Chalcedonian creed insist that the Mediator is one person, not two. When the second person of the trinity was incarnated He was hypostatically united to a genuine human nature. The Mediator did not unite Himself to a human person with a separate personality but with a human nature and thus the personality of Christ and the personality of the Logos are one and the same.
The unipersonality of the Mediator is by far the most difficult aspect of the incarnation to understand (note: this does not make it a logical contradiction- me). The doctrine of the two natures in one person is to a certain degree beyond human comprehension (but has been revealed in the Word so that one can know about it yet he may not fully understand it – me). Thus, the best way to explain it is to first present the Scriptural evidence for the unipersonality of Christ and then define it theologically as best we can. Note the following arguments from Scripture…”

“To all those who are not satisfied with the difficult, somewhat abstract language of “nature” we offer the following considerations.
(1) The term nature is used because the word person would result in a Nestorian impingement upon the oneness of the divine human person. Theologians must deal with the fact that although the Mediator has both a human and divine consciousness He possessed only one self-consciousness. “[T]he very notion of personality can never be predicated of him except as it draws within its scope his specifically divine identity. And if this is so, it is not feasible to speak of his human personality.” [31]
(2) The word “nature” is used of the manness of Christ precisely because it is impersonal. “We measure the reality and dignity of a human nature by the essential properties of the nature, not by the characteristic of individuality subsequently added to it. Personality is not an integral and necessary part of a nature, as it were, the terminus to which it tends.” [32]
(3) We must take into account that a divine person assumed a human nature. “If the Logos had obtained personality by uniting with a human nature, [then] he must have previously been impersonal. The incarnation would then have made an essential change in the Logos, and thereby in the Trinity itself.” [33] If the second person of the trinity had united with an individual human person then the Mediator would be two persons and not one.
(4) If the Mediator was two persons and not one then with regard to the ontological trinity there would be three persons; but, with regard to the economic trinity there would be four persons. The Bible teaches that the two natures in one person continue forever (Heb. 13:8; 4:14-15; Col. 2:9; Rom. 9:5). “A finite glorified human nature is now eternally united with the second Trinitarian person, and a God-man is now the middle person of the Trinity.” [34] If the incarnation involved two separate persons then there would be two Sons on the throne in heaven and not one. Instead of one harmonious work of redemption accomplished by the trinity as it works in creation, there would be a partnership between the triune God and a distinct human person—Jesus. Such a view of course is unbiblical and absurd.
(5) The all controlling self consciousness in the Mediator was the divine person and not the human nature. This was true regarding the power of the God-man as well as the knowledge of the theantropic person. The Logos determined when and where the divine power was demonstrated. “If the Logos so determined, Jesus Christ was all-powerful. When the divine nature withdrew its support from the human, the latter was as helpless as it was in an ordinary human creature.” [35] The Son’s divine power knocked the soldiers who came to arrest Him to the ground and then permitted them to arrest Him and lead Him away to torture and the death of the cross (Jn. 18:6). When our Lord was dead and in the tomb, the Logos preserved the human body and kept it from decay (Ac. 2:27). The Logos also united Jesus’ human soul with His body, glorified it and raised it from the dead.”

Brian Schwertly, The Incarnation of Christ




Dawson said, “You’ll need to explain what you mean here. For instance, how does the attribute ‘immortal’ “act on the God-man Jesus Christ”?”

The immortal attribute would act on the God-man Jesus Christ as that part would not be mortal and die as a result since God cannot die. So the immortal did not die; rather, the mortal part of the God-man did.


Dawson said, “It would be a contradiction to say that an immortal being died, for by definition an immortal being is one that does not die.”

Amazing, I have repeated myself over and over. I never said that an ‘immortal’ being died.


Dawson said, “But given the statement from the WCF above (“The divine nature of the Son was uncreated; however, in the ‘when the fullness of time was come, He took upon Him man's nature’”), there was a time when this “God-man” did not yet exist, for part and parcel of the “God-man” is Jesus’ alleged “human nature,” and it was not until “the fullness of time was come” – that is, at some point in time – that Jesus the God “took upon Him man’s nature.” See, your silly doctrine is all over the place. Good grief, man, do you see what this stuff is doing to your mind?”

There was a time when the divine nature had not yet taken on the human nature. But then all you do is call it silly with no substance to your comment.


Dawson said, “This is not at all the case, for I could define a single entity as man and note that he is in fact not immortal. The contradictions start coming in when you want to marry an immortal nature and a non-immortal nature in the same being.”

Huh? I can only assume here that you were really stretching for any kind of comment to make. I agreed that man is not immortal (except in the sense of the soul) and that God is immortal. However, here we have a combination which you have continually danced around and not addressed. There is no logical contradiction here. You may reassert by saying that’s incoherent but that does nothing to show that it’s incoherent or that there’s a contradiction.


Dawson said, “Anyway, it's clear that all you have here is double-talk. You've not shown otherwise. It's all very imaginative, GF. But in the end, that's all it is: imagination. No reality here.”

Anyway, it’s clear that you have not shown there to be a contradiction. Another empty assertion.

August 19, 2005 9:17 AM  
Blogger VanTilsGhost said...

1 Corinth 14:33

For God is not the author of confusion but of peace

So...seeing as this man-made doctrine of 'fully man/fully God' is about as confusing as can be, and is contentious as well, I will simply dismiss it as not being from God, since the Bible is inspired and all. :)

August 20, 2005 6:13 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Those are some good points, VTG. Indeed, the idea that a single entity can have two entities is in serious need of convincing explanation, which I've not seen. But this is academic, for I know that I would not be able to trust a man who supposedly has two natures, especially if one of those natures stood as the negation of the other (one being one thing, the other being its opposite). At any rate, in a cartoon universe (the essential conception that theism promotes), one can argue anything he wants.

Francois Tremblay made this point quite eloquently in his article How to Debate a Christian when he wrote:

“The disadvantage of following reality is that you also need to follow its complexity. Fictional positions are not bound to this restriction.”

The only thing I would say in objection to this is that I do not consider following reality a disadvantage. However, in terms of debating an issue with someone who has abandoned reality, remaining honest to reality may in fact seem disadvantageous if one's concern is merely to score points. But if one is not willing to betray what he knows to be true, there really is no disadvantage for such honesty, just as there is no advantage for those who are willing to betray reality. When fantasy is your guide, you can claim anything, and the sky’s the limit on the notions you can invent to defend your claims. Notions of invisible magic beings with multiple, conflicting natures are to be swallowed - not because they are true or because they make sense - but because the protect the believer's confessional investment. But if you hold to reality, you’re not going to invent things ad hoc to overcome difficulties that spring from irrational ideas. If you're honest to reality, you're going to abandon irrational ideas altogether.

Anyway, I don’t have the delusion that those who in fact do worship contradictions in one form or another, would be prone to admitting such a vice. And quoting others who worship the same set of contradictions will not validate them. It’s a faith commitment, meaning that they will simply not admit that such ideas are indefensible, even though their own explanations of such positions are themselves incoherent and irrational. In the end, apologists can only give us the theological speculations of thinkers who take such primitive writings as the bible seriously and who want to vindicate them as some kind of life-governing truth. The original writings themselves are so ambiguous and imprecise that they can be recruited to support virtually any position believers want to take. That is why the landscape of Christianity throughout its history has been one of unceasing schisms and infighting.

Best regards,
Dawson Bethrick

August 21, 2005 7:17 AM  
Blogger Paul Manata said...

Dawson, a response is forthcomming. Stay tuned. You may not like it because I will require strict adherence to the laws of logic. Your posts ignore technical logic. Anyway, it will be embarrassing. Here's one gem:

Bithrack [sic] said: "the idea that a single entity can have two entities."

Christian dummy thinks: "is a sandwich an entity?"

everyone answers: "yes"

Christian dummy asks: "can a sandwich have penut butter and jelly, i.e., two entites?"

everyone answers: "yes"

christian dummy says: "so a single entiity (sandwich) ca have two entities (penutbutter and jelly)?

atheist dummy: "no fair! leave me alone and stop making the wisdom of this world (me) turn into foolishness before God!

have a good day, mmmkay

-The Christian Dummy

August 21, 2005 8:26 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

I see. You worship something analogous to a sandwich that is both immortal and not immortal, divine and not divine, infinite and not infinite?

Leave it to Paul to step his feet all over in it... With equivocationes like this, one could argue anything.

Regards,
Dawson

August 21, 2005 11:36 AM  
Blogger groundfighter76 said...

Wow still no substantial response from Dawson...

August 21, 2005 11:57 AM  
Blogger Paul Manata said...

Hmmm, so I take it you agree that I showed that one entity can have two entities? LOL.

Poor Dawson, a drowning man flailing his arms about, grasping for anything, is a sad site. I keep trying to help you, but you're so intellectually wild I'm afraid you'll pull me down with you.

Yup, that was another analogy. Get it? Got it? Good.

August 22, 2005 2:50 AM  
Blogger Paul Manata said...

Dawson said: "With equivocationes [SIC] like this, one could argue anything."

How were those "equivocationes" [SIC]? Care to logically break it down for everyone? Kinda like A and B means A is ~A. Laughable!

Or, maybe it's like when you said "man is another way of saying ~God." Well, cat is another way of saying "~dog." Therefore, according to Dawson, "all dogs are four-leged animals" could be contradicted by "some cats are not four-leged animals."

You're a joke, bro.

August 22, 2005 2:56 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

I love it, Paul. Please, keep doing this! As I've said before, Christians are the entertainment. When it's pointed out that they worship contradiction in the form of a being that is both immortal and not immortal (that is, a being allegedly comprised of two natures, the one negating the other), their true colors come out. Great effort was poured out in trying to put out the fire (an admission that there's a fire here?), but the house continues to burn down to ashes. It's not my fault you've chosen to remain in the house. Then, Paul, you come along and liken your Jesus to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Bloody hilarious!! So when you take communion, you're eating the flesh of a being that is both immortal and not immortal. I suppose it is also both tasty and not tasty. Perhaps now you can start a new trend: peanut butter and jelly flavored communion wafers. Should go great with grape juice! It's the new edible Jesus - "Making the bland a little more exciting!"

And you say I'm ignoring logic? That's fine, Paul. I expect this. We would be wrong to suppose that those who worship a contadiction would actually admit it. The desperation we see in Christian apologetics is precisely the kind of panic we would expect to find among adults who take their cartoon view of the universe seriously. We've got Elmer Fudd and Daffy Duck here trying to defend their belief in an invisible magic being which is both immortal and not immortal, divine and not divine, infinite and not infinite, and when this is pointed out, it heaps hot coals on their heads (as it burns down their house).

Truly an amazing sight to behold. Thank you both for posting your words for all to see.

Regards,
Dawson

August 22, 2005 4:20 AM  
Blogger groundfighter76 said...

Well still nothing substantial.

August 22, 2005 6:40 AM  
Blogger Paul Manata said...

Do you have a refutation or are you just going to let everyone read your posts where it is easy to see you're getting progressively more frusterated?

Homework assignment for Bethrick:

Dawson said: "When it's pointed out that they worship contradiction in the form of a being that is both immortal and not immortal."

Now show, logically, how Jesus is immortal and mortal in the same sense. You can do this, correct?

Let me "entertain" your guests some more: Watch as I peer into the crystal ball and fortell the future: Dawson Bethrick will not take me up on my challenge, he'll come back with more flapping of his gums, thus showing that he can only make an assertion. If Bethrick is asked to actually argue for his position, then you can expect that when hell freezes over.

August 22, 2005 7:07 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Watch as the two worshippers of contradiction gather like ravenous zombies who lust after living blood, their carnal desires to devour flesh watering at the mouth! Your view has already been refuted, and your “responses” have been shown to be nothing more than inventive rationalizations. Nothing more substantial has been offered in defense of your primitive, bankrupt worldview since. As I pointed out, we should not expect those who worship contradiction disguised in fake piety to admit their shame. The kind of threadbare rationalizations you’ve presented are precisely what we expect to see in your sad and desperate defenses. And even though you somehow suppose (how, it is unclear) that I am “frusterated,” it’s obviously you whose buttons have been pushed. Who’s running over to post snide comments on my blog? Those who religiously enshrine incoherence are doing this. It bugs the snot out of you.

As is typical of Christians, Paul confuses himself with the god he says he worships and issues a commandment: “Now show, logically, how Jesus is immortal and mortal in the same sense.” For one, you miss a fundamental point: I have no obligation to present a proof about something that doesn’t exist. This much should be clear, and was covered in previous conversations. Moreover, I pointed out above that the Athanasian Creed makes it clear that the attributes ascribed to the so-called “two natures of Christ” can only be taken to apply in every sense, and GroundFighter76 clearly agreed with me on this very point. (I can hear the screams now: “No! No! That’s not true!!!” as they flush themselves down their own ideological toilet.) So if you disagree that these things apply in all senses, then you and GF76 will have to slug it out between you, for this would mean that you disagree with each other. It wouldn’t be the first time that two Christians disagree on the fundamentals of their religion. Indeed, none of these points are explicitly laid out in the bible itself. It was only after they were debated in a series of political councils that worked to define the ‘authorized’ version (that is, one that is sanitized and whitewashed) only then to be distributed like tasteless, unsubstantial wafers that readily dissolve on the moistened tongues of hoodwinked believers the world over. As Price points out (Deconstructing Christ, p. 21): “They wouldn’t call it [‘authorized’] unless there was something to hide and they had managed to hide it.” They tried to hide the fact that Christ is a jumble of contradictions, but they didn’t hide it very well.

Worshipping a contradiction is a mental disease, guys. Seek help now!

Regards,
Dawson

August 23, 2005 4:49 AM  
Blogger groundfighter76 said...

Dawson,

You are desperate to save your worthless blog entry.

You have not interacted at all. My 22 month old niece could do better at interpreting Hodge, the Bible, and others than you have shown yourself capable of and she can't even read yet. That's how pathetic you have become. For instance, let's reminisce about your use of James 1:8! how bad!

Now this statement amazes me: "For one, you miss a fundamental point: I have no obligation to present a proof about something that doesn’t exist. This much should be clear, and was covered in previous conversations."

Umm do you not realize you have already presented a proof against Jesus and tried to show a contradiction (however bad it actually was)? You have therefore assumed the burden of proof as far as showing there to be a contradiction and now when you get slapped around you try to get out of it. Amazing! **THIS IS NOTHING MORE THAN AN ADMISSION OF THAT YOU HAVE BEEN DEFEATED.**


Dawson blundered, "Moreover, I pointed out above that the Athanasian Creed makes it clear that the attributes ascribed to the so-called “two natures of Christ” can only be taken to apply in every sense, and **GroundFighter76 clearly agreed with me on this very point**."

Woahhh Dawson. You know you don't have to resort to LYING to save yourself from the embarrassment you've experienced these past few days. You are desperate and pathetic with your weak psycho assertions and lies. **But again when you resort to this, you are merely admitting that you have been smacked around too much. So take it like a man Dawson.**

I saw your first 'article' (the one before this) on Franc's scholarly (that's a joke) website about strong atheism. I bet he won't post any comments on there. Too bad.

You are incompetent, Dawson.

Best Regards,
GF76

August 23, 2005 7:18 AM  
Blogger groundfighter76 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

August 23, 2005 7:33 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

I don't think anyone is interested in watching you overexcite yourself with misconstrued trivialities in your ambition to convince yourself that you’ve vindicated your position. And we already know what you’re trying to vindicate: belief in invisible magic beings, the cartoon view of the universe, deification of contradiction, enshrinement of incoherence, etc.

At any rate, you are becoming miserably boring. So I’m going to give you one more opportunity to prove that your Jesus sandwich is not a contradiction, that it is not only coherent, but also true. If you don't come through, and all you do is offer more puffery and doubletalk, then you'll have to find another forum to post your debris. The fake distinctions and doubletalk that you have parroted from the annals of agenda-driven theological speculation are quite unimpressive, and upon examination only make Christianity's tangled mess all the more indefensible. Doubletalk is not a defense, so if that's all you have, you'll have to take it elsewhere. Until a worthy defense against the contradiction within the person of Jesus has been presented, I will consider this a settled matter in which the Christian apologetic defense team has simply defaulted on their twisted "logic," which is simply a mockery if there ever were any.

Also, it's good to see that you chose to retract your last comment. It appears you have reconsidered exposing your Christian misogyny for others to see. That was a wise choice, but again I urge you to seek help for your condition. Worshipping a contradiction is a serious mental disorder, and there's very little hope for your recovery if you don't want and seek out help.

Regards,
Dawson

August 24, 2005 6:27 AM  
Blogger groundfighter76 said...

Dawson,

Dawson said, "Also, it's good to see that you chose to retract your last comment. It appears you have reconsidered exposing your Christian misogyny for others to see. That was a wise choice,.."

My last statement was retracted to try and stay more on topic. Basically I said that the burden of proof discussion was hardly 'clear' as you claimed. It consisted of me showing that you had the burden as well and then you whined like a woman and ran off. So there was/is nothing to hide from others. But of course you probably want to get off topic since you have been embarrassed but not this time. Is that the best you can do?

I can see you still have not posted anything worthy of even reading much less refuting.

Paul and I have both showed there's no contradiction and to rebut you simply shout that 'there's a contradiction'. You have not interacted. I can only take that to mean you don't know what you are talking about. Then you resort to lying! NOW DO YOU KNOW WHY PEOPLE DON'T TAKE YOU SERIOUSLY?

This is boring.

August 24, 2005 6:46 AM  
Blogger Not Reformed said...

GF76 said:

"you whined like a woman and ran off"

If GF76 is indeed someone different than Paul "clown-prince" Manata, at least he does share the same lack of respect for women, and people in general. Way to go GF76...go "groundfigher" go! Go "groundfighter" go! You're so powerful! You're a groundfighter! You like to fight on the ground. Neat.

I guess the new phrase could be:

"you deleted your post like a groundfighter and ran off"

You sound like Paul, you delete posts like Paul, you use the exact same phrases and insults...either you're the same person, or you've been brainwashed in a similar fashion. Either way...pyscho material.

August 24, 2005 3:11 PM  
Blogger groundfighter76 said...

Well still no substantial reply or even something worthy of reading....

August 25, 2005 6:26 AM  
Blogger groundfighter76 said...

Well still no substantial reply or even something worthy of reading....

August 25, 2005 6:26 AM  
Blogger VanTilsGhost said...

So...let's see here:

1. Jesus = God (based on John 1:1)

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

2. God = knows everything

3. Jesus = doesn't know everything (based on verse below)

Matthew 24:36:

"But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.

So Jesus isn't God.

Contradiction?

Am I not "reading it right," or "interpreting the scriptures" properly? If I'm not, show me where in the Bible it describes how to interpret disparate biblical claims correctly.

August 25, 2005 12:49 PM  
Blogger Not Reformed said...

looks like your points stand unrefuted VTG...GF76/Manata have run off like the little cowards they are. Typical...since their Christ was a coward too.

August 28, 2005 9:10 AM  
Blogger groundfighter76 said...

NR,

I have not responded and am not going to respond b/c this and 'other' objections like it have been addressed. I'm not going to hold VTG's hand. If he wants, he can go back and read my posts to find his answer as this is nothing new and is boring.

By the way, have you ever contributed to any discussion on these blogs? I having trouble remembering any contribution...

Have a wonderful day.

August 28, 2005 3:27 PM  
Blogger Not Reformed said...

I see you're "thinking God's thoughts after Him" again GF76...splendid! LOL!

I am having a wonderful day, by the way. All sorts of good things going on. Its good to be alive! I'm glad I don't have to subscribe to a 'deny myself' worldview full of contradictions...it would be difficult to have a wonderful day if I did, I'm sure!

If you're reading Vantilsghost, good point above! The one's who are thinking God's thoughts have no response! You've stupified the Almighty!

August 28, 2005 5:53 PM  
Blogger VanTilsGhost said...

NR,

Glad you liked my post...I'm not sure what GF76 has contributed beyond disrepecting women and his fellow humans in general, so it seems kind of silly for him to ask what you've contributed.

Those reformed christians are a snarky bunch, believe me, I know because I used to be one! Trying to defend the 'invisible dragon in the garage' is bound to make a person grumpy.

August 29, 2005 9:10 AM  
Blogger groundfighter76 said...

Well still nothing substantial as usual. Oh well...

August 30, 2005 6:50 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

In a cartoon universe, anything can be dismissed as "nothing substantial." Repeating this over and over thus gains your position nothing. Now, when you have a reasonable rebuttal to the issue at hand, please present it. The nonsensical double-talk you've provided so far is pure invention, and thus does not require a response.

August 30, 2005 8:32 AM  
Blogger Francois Tremblay said...

"Now show, logically, how Jesus is immortal and mortal in the same sense. You can do this, correct?"

What bumbling fools these two are. Even when they put the contradiction in front of their own eyes, they still don't see it. It's like they say, "no one is blinder but the one who does not want to see" !

Jesus = human = mortal
Jesus = divine = immortal

Therefore, obviously, Jesus died and did not die. Jesus lived and did not live. Slavery is freedom. War is peace. Paul Manata and GF76 are intelligent.

August 30, 2005 7:09 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

It is incredible, Franc. Christianity puts the believer's mind into a very deep coma of denial. A roaring, frothing tiger can be sitting 10 feet in front of him and he'll say "there's no tiger here!" The apologist is even worse; he issues a commandment: "Prove there's a tiger here!" He sees it, just as we all do. He just doesn't want to admit it is all. With apologetics, the Christian believer seals his self-deceit completely. Thus, as I pointed out, we should not expect those who worship a contradiction to admit it.

If Jesus had two natures, one human, the other divine, which nature died on the cross, the human nature, or the divine nature? We know it could not be the divine nature that died, because the divine nature would have to be immortal, and something that is immortable by definition does not die. So that leaves the human nature: Jesus' human nature must have died on the cross (assuming anything died to begin with). But that's a big problem, as the death of a human is insufficient to atone for sins. If a human's death were sufficient to atone for sins, then the incarnation of Jesus was completely unnecessary, nonsensical even.

I'm really glad these aren't my worldview's problems!

What's interesting, though, is that the apostle Paul never makes the statement that Jesus had two natures. None that I know of anyway. When he speaks of Jesus being crucified, he says "Jesus died" (cf. Rom. 8:34, I Thess. 4:14, et al.). The apostle never makes statements like "only Jesus' human nature died on the cross," or anything remotely close to this. The whole "two natures" baloney was a later invention that was codified in councils whose purpose was to define an orthodoxy for political purposes - thus enabling the persecution of "heretics." Today's apologists all too conveniently overlook the shaky and splintered beginnings of Christianity. Wells sheds some well-needed light on this in his Earliest Christianity, as well as in his numerous books on early Christianity. Also, a very good introduction to how the NT canon was decided is found in historian Richard Carrier's The Formation of the New Testament Canon.

Anyway, since Jesus' life was allegedly restored, there was in the end no real sacrifice. A genuine sacrifice involves real and permanent loss, and not of something trivial. Getting something back after you've pretended to give it up is a sham. And knowing that you're going to get something back after pretending to give it up, is no formula for a genuine sacrifice. The animals that were sacrificed in the Old Testament times surely did not come back to life. Their deaths were permanent. Again, the New Testament is a non sequitur to the Old.

Having a really wonderful day,

Dawson

August 31, 2005 6:42 AM  
Blogger groundfighter76 said...

Well it's the same psycho assertionism, double talk, and repetition from Dawson with no response to my last rebuttal.

Wow Franc, what a genius post! hahaha

August 31, 2005 7:17 AM  
Blogger Francois Tremblay said...

GF76, are you a masochist like many other Christians ? Maybe this is the kind of thing you people live for... getting persecuted. Just like your ancestors who gave themselves to the lions. Ironically, idiots like you are probably the best argument against Neo-Darwinism.

August 31, 2005 11:28 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

GF76, worshipping contradiction is a very serious mental problem, and is in dire need of professional attention. It's clear that you're in a state of denial now, but you don't have to remain in that state. With the recognition that you have a problem, and the life-turning decision to be honest about the fact that there is a fundamental distinction between the real and the imaginary, you could be on your way to recovery. Continuing to demand rebuttals to nonsensical conjecture and concocted council rulings will only reinforce the state of denial that has presently taken you as its hostage. There is no need to refute the arbitrary. Once it's been exposed for what it is, my job is done on that task. So long as you want to believe in a being that is both A and non-A in at least 20 senses, you will not be able to break free of the bondage of the incoherent. Ask yourself: what does worshipping a contradiction gain for GF76?

Let us know what you come up with.

Regards,
Dawson

September 01, 2005 3:20 AM  
Blogger Jesse Gritter said...

I don't think Paul Manata was arguing consistently in terms of presuppositional apologetics.

I think that what needs to be pointed out with respect your (you being Dawson) concerns over the Athanastian Creed, in particular Jesus Christ, is that you are, to put it quite simply, reasoning in terms of your presuppositions (your worldview). How can Jesus Christ be true God and man? Is this not a contradiction? Well, it depends on whether or not you believe in God.

The Christian claim is that it is not a contradiction for Jesus to be true God and true man at the same time. That's the Christian position. So when you say that it's not possible for Jesus to be true God and true man, you're begging the question. If God exists, then Jesus is who the Bible says he is. So when you say that Jesus is not who the Bible says he is, you're assuming to be true the very thing you need to prove, i.e. that God does not exist. You're reasoning in a circle. You're not presuppositionally neutral.

Now, you might say, and rightly so, that I'm doing the same thing -- I'm assuming in advance the very thing I need to prove, i.e. that God exists. Yes, I am. Neither of us are neutral. Neither the theist nor the atheist can avoid begging crucial questions.

So how, then, can the dispute between the theist and the atheist be settled? Well, let's consider eachother's worldviews and consider them on their own terms. We need to ask: when I reason consistently about this worldview on its own terms, where does it take us? Can it provide the preconditions of intelligibility? Can it account for universal, invariant laws of logic and morality? Can it account for the uniformity of nature that makes science possible?

My position is that Christian Theism is true because of the impossibility of the contrary. If Christian Theism were not true, you could not prove anything. Certainly many atheists are very intelligent people. They have many true beliefs. But they can't justify their beliefs to thus be considered knowledge. They can't account for the very preconditions of intelligibility -- can't account for universal, invariant laws of morality and logic, nor the uniformity of nature.

But even if the theist and atheist were to debate, would the atheist change his mind? Not on his own. God must change one's heart and mind to believe and love him. A complete paradigm shift -- a conversion is necessary, and this can only be accomplished by the Holy Spirit so that the one converted now accepts God as the final authority for epistemology, ethics, and ontology. God is pleased to save people because of the work of Jesus Christ who paid the penalty for sin and lived a perfect life so that all those who put their trust in him might have everlasting life.

Cheers.

September 15, 2005 10:54 AM  
Blogger Not Reformed said...

Christian Theist,

you said:

"If Christian Theism were not true, you could not prove anything."

Since you specified 'christian theism,' I'm assuming you're basing your beliefs on the Bible...a man-made book, and on the man-made theologies contained within. Seeing as men/humans wrote the Bible, and men/humans have written all of the other holy books in the world, why should one base their theology on one particular holy book?

How can you set up such a grand statement/idea as the impossibility of the contrary without establishing the authority of your holy book first?

September 15, 2005 9:07 PM  
Blogger Paul Manata said...

Hi Christian Theist,

Maybe you could show how I was not arguing consistently as a presuppositionalist?

I asked Dawson to prove it was a contradiction.

I showed that it was not, according to simple logic. We didn't even need to get into his presuppositions.

I hold to the WCF where we read that God's word is consistent. Greg Bahnsen certainly showed how we can forumlate doctrines in a non-contradictory way (see his Philosophy of Christianity series).

Greg Bahnsen, on many tape series, tells us that we do not always need to get into the "impossibility of the contrary" but that sometimes all that is needed is to simply show that something isn't a contradiction.

Some of my illustrations came from one of John Frame's students.

So, are you sure that you're the one who's familiar with presuppositionalism?

best,

September 16, 2005 5:30 AM  
Blogger Jesse Gritter said...

Hello, Paul. I wanted to respond to you by email but I can't find it on your blog anywhere. Can you send me an email?

Hello, "not reformed." I'd like to give sufficient time to your response, and I'll post my response to you on my blog when it's ready. Things are busy now. I'll come back here and let you know when I've responded.

Cheers.

September 16, 2005 12:56 PM  
Blogger Paul Manata said...

presuppositionalist_70@yahoo.com

thanks,

September 16, 2005 6:41 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

This is really amazing: My blog comments section has become another Christian-singles.com! Gather ye here, and meet other Christian singles. Get to know one another, and take your conversations into secret corners, where no non-believer is permitted to spy (and where none would want to anyway). All believers welcome, even those with fundamental disagreements in theological and apologetic perspectives.

May they form the perfect union.

Violins, please! The night is still young!

September 16, 2005 7:13 PM  
Blogger Jesse Gritter said...

Ok. I made something of a reply to not reformed here.

September 18, 2005 9:45 AM  
Blogger VanTilsGhost said...

BB said:

"My blog comments section has become another Christian-singles.com! Gather ye here, and meet other Christian singles."

I'm a single, white male, bald, and kind of dead. My apologetic lives on though! I'm seeking a Christian Calvinist woman (do they exist?) who doesn't mind being submissive to her man.

I'm much cuter than Paul Manata, and more well-read!

September 18, 2005 7:35 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Unfortunately, Dr. Van Til, at this time we have no Christian Calvinist women registered with us. And indeed, it is a good question: do they exist? For that matter, no women claiming to be Christians have registered with us, so we will probably not be able to fix you up with one. But we do know that Paul is available and looking for a date. So you two might hit it off, supposing he understands what you're saying in that charming Dutch accent of yours.

September 19, 2005 5:51 AM  
Blogger klas_klazon said...

Wow, Manata and friends have been so badly owned here that I can't imagine how one could be more owned.

July 04, 2007 1:15 PM  

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