I had asked:
3. According to the bible, why is it that we have existence rather than non-existence?
Because God, according to His own pleasure and sovereign will determined to create. (Gen.1:1, 26; Isa.46:10; Ehp.1:11).
So again, we have another affirmation of metaphysical subjectivism. You can’t get more subjective than all this.
I don’t think you are grasping the Christian claim that no reality exists outside of God.
But notice how Dave charges me with failing to grasp Christian metaphysics while at the same time completely confirming what I had said about it. For he continued:
Metaphysics is subjective but only to God, not to man.
Dave tried to perform some damage control by pointing to non-essentials which only multiply his worldview’s problems. He wrote:
Man is finite, God is infinite, and He is from everlasting to everlasting (Ps.90:2), “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things” (Rom.11:36). If it were not so He would not be God.
So calling the Christian god “infinite” does not undo the damage resulting from the confession that Christian metaphysics is ultimately subjective. On the contrary, it only drives Christian theology deeper into incoherence.
I had asked Dave an epistemological question, pertaining to the how of knowledge on the believer’s part:
4.According to the bible, how does one know the way in which things exist today will be the same tomorrow?
Because God, who is the creator of the universe has promised in His word to uphold the world in a uniform consistent and regular way (Gen.8:22; Heb.1:2).
Stating “because God” does not identify the how of cognition, so this does not answer my question. Also, even the Christian bible says that there will come a day when everything changes – an apocalypse, an “end times” which was promised way back when but has never come. Believers supposedly expect that Jesus is coming back “soon” (per the Book of Revelation). So if one goes by the bible, the same Christian god which supposedly promised to uphold the world in a uniform way also promised to demolish the world through an act of will, a “judgment.”
Firstly, you must remember that if God is who the bible says He is (i.e. the sovereign and immutable creator of the universe), then His word is likewise immutable (Num.23:19). Therefore if God promises that “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease” then upon His authoritative and immutable word we have an absolute certain foundation for belief in the uniformity of nature.
Also, notice how insufficient Dave’s biblical citations are to the task he enlists them to perform. Affirming a supernatural “promise” to the effect that the Christian god will ensure that seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter and day and night shall continue, does not provide a fundamental principle pertaining to uniformity in nature as a whole. Rather, it only speaks to what is specified, leaving room for deformity elsewhere. Will water always be water? Not if a supernatural being wishes it into wine (cf. John chap. 2). Will men never be able to walk on unfrozen water? Not if a supernatural being wishes that men shall walk on unfrozen water. Will dead men remain dead? Not if a supernatural being wishes that they rise out of their graves and show themselves unto many (cf. Mt. 27:52-53).
Presuppositionalist Brian Knapp, in his paper “Induction and the Unbeliever,” makes the damning concession that, according to Christianity, nature is not absolutely uniform (cf. The Portable Presuppositionalist, p. 140). He has to do this given Christianity’s insistence on the notion of “miracles” – i.e., interruptions to the “normal order” of things resulting from a supernatural being’s choices to alter that “normal order.” But if nature is not absolutely uniform, then it makes no sense to speak of nature as uniform at all, especially if it is forever subject to revision by an invisible magic being. If nature is not absolutely uniform, then one must allow for exceptions to everything one considers an expression of uniformity. One might suppose that dogs do not write Chinese poetry. But given that the Christian god can make its creation do whatever it wants, and since it created Chinese, poetry and dogs, it could put these into any combination it wants. And since believers claim that everything their god does is "rational" and according to a "plan," they need not see such proposals as inherently absurd or proposterous, any more than they consider Jesus and Peter walking on unfrozen water absurd or turning water into wine preposterous.
Secondly, I feel as though you are trying to ascribe an eschatological position to me which I do not personally hold, namely the dispensational school of pre-tribulational rapturism. I don’t expect that Jesus is coming back “soon” not until all His enemies become the footstool of His feet (Ps.110:1; 1 Cor.15:25; Heb.10:12-13). Furthermore the book of Revelation does mention that Christ is coming “soon” but this was a judgment coming of Christ upon the house of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. (I’d refer you to “Before Jerusalem Fell.” K en L. Gentry).
Such varieties of interpretations only point to the vagueness and ambiguities within the texts themselves. I need not “ascribe an eschatological position” to Dave personally, and indeed I am not doing this at all. It’s up to him to determine what he believes. In the statement to which Dave was reacting, I was only going by a plain reading of the Book of Revelation (to the extent that a plain reading of this bizarre, indeed “trippy” text is possible), which most scholars date to about A.D. 95 (well after the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70). It seems conspicuously anachronous to suppose that Revelation’s promise of Jesus’ words to “come soon” would refer to events that have already taken place, but I realize that Christians find very creative ways to make bible verses mean what they want them to mean (the old “that’s what it says, but that’s not what it means”). A good example of this is Jesus’ requirement that his followers “hate” their mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, spouses, even their own lives as a condition of discipleship (cf. Luke 14:26). Believers often try to “soften” such stipulations to mean something along the lines of “love less.”
The book by Gentry which Dave cites can be found in PDF form here. Gentry characterizes Revelation’s mentioning of Jesus’ return as a judgment of Jerusalem occurring in 70 A.D. largely by arguing that Revelation was written prior to this date (the so-called “Neronic dating” since this view holds that Revelation was written during the reign of Nero). No doubt many Christians find it persuasive (which does not say much: once one accepts arbitrary premises, additional arbitrary premises will always hold some persuasive weight in his worldview). That Christians find it necessary to produce such arguments itself suggests a theological need, namely to quell doubts about Jesus’ alleged “second coming.”
In response to Gentry’s thesis, Mark L. Hitchcock argues for the later date of A.D. 95-96 (which most modern scholars hold) in his Ph.D. dissertation The Defense of the Domitianic Date of the Book of Revelation (2005), which interacts extensively with Gentry’s book.
But Dave’s retort against the common interpretation of Revelation’s “behold, I come quickly” misses the larger point. The issue under discussion is the uniformity of nature and how one can know the future. Dave has repeatedly pointed to his belief in a god as serving somehow as his epistemological method for this. And yet, that same belief grants that the Christian god can do anything it wishes. For example, it can send a worldwide flood; it can speak through a burning bush; it can allow men to walk on unfrozen water; it can wither a fig tree; it can raise dead people from the grave; it can turn water into wine, etc., all by wishing. Nothing in “the created realm” can stop it from doing whatever it wants, and “miracles are at the heart of the Christian position” (Van Til, The Defense of the Faith, p. 27). If an invisible magic being can revise reality at will, even if it chooses not to, the assumption that it can only causes havoc to inductive generalization and forecasting. Nothing Dave offers in defense of his god-belief overcomes this fatal deficiency plaguing his worldview’s epistemological implications.
Nowhere in the bible does God say He will demolish the world.
We don’t await the destruction of the world but the restoring and renewing of it.
You don’t even try to persuade me here.
Your right, I don’t. It’s not my job to persuade you
but there is a difference between proof and persuasion.
I cannot invoke psychological persuasion within you, what you take to be persuasive is subjective.
People can be persuaded by poor argumentation or even lack of evidence
but proof is objective
I had written:
Using an objective means of knowledge (i.e., reason) to discover the nature of an entity is not question-begging.
My question is what objective means of knowledge do you use to discover the nature of reason?
Once we begin to discover and identify anything by means of reason, reason itself – as the method by which we discover and identify things – becomes available as an object of study. Should we then abandon reason as the means by which we study reason? Clearly, if reason is the proper methodology for studying things in the world, then reason is the proper means if studying reason itself, for this is the only methodology proper to man's mind. Science is the systematic application of reason to some specialized area of study. Epistemology is the science that studies the nature of knowledge. As a science, epistemology must apply reason systematically to the area of knowledge itself, including the means of acquiring, validating and applying knowledge, which is reason itself.
To be continued…
by Dawson Bethrick