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November 28, 2012

Comments

I once recommended Jonathan Edwards' The Freedom of the Will to Greg, and he said it was too hard.

Sam,

I went to Amazon and quickly looked at a page or two. Seems fun! Was there a net-sum conclusion? (I'd love to read it but haven't the time) The Triune Topography of God strains our concept of Choice. Three Perfect Wills which are Distinct, and not just Distinct, but Perfect. A is Perfect, B is Perfect, and C is Perfect, and each is Person, and A is neither B nor C, and B is neither A nor C, and C is neither A nor B. "Holy-Most-Perfect! Holy-Most-Perfect! Holy-Most-Perfect!"


It seems Choice is found Uncreated within the Triune God, only, like Three Persons that are One, it is hard to grasp Three Wills in A-Will. But, this does give us grounds for Perfect Options: pleural, and thus Choice within God. The statement "There is only one Best, only one Perfect" is perfectly correct, and, perfectly incorrect. There are Three. And, there is One. Now, if we do not like this Triune Topography used with the word Will, then, also, we must not like it used with the word Person. We cannot have one without the other. God's sort of Person has God's sort of Will: Triune.


Well, I was just curious if there was a net-sum conclusion in the book? Can Man choose/refuse God?

Sam,

Just for the record, I find thinking about the Triune "hard". And, fun. And, lovely. And helpful in solving seeming contradictions which, once inside the Triune, end up being beautiful some-things and not contradictions at all. But, still, it is, well, hard......

scbrownlhrm, there were two main points that he made: First, that compatibilism is true and libertarianism is false. Second, that morality is compatible with determinism, and that morality is incompatible with libertarianism. Basically, the whole book reconciles moral accountability with God's absolute sovereignty.

The reason I recommended that book to Greg was because he had said a number of times on his radio program that one of the hardest theological difficulties for him was to reconcile the fact that God holds us accountable for all of our sins even though we are incapable of being morally perfect. We have an intuition that "ought" implies, "can," but we also have an inability to avoid sin altogether. Edwards solved these problems in his book (to my satisfaction at least).

This came up when I called into the radio show on April 3, 2005 at about 21:10 into the program.

Sam,

Can you give a thumbnail sketch of how you think Edwards solves that problem?

Personally, I don't see it as a problem due to my own preferred solution. But before I show my hand, I'm curious to hear how you think it can be solved.

Ben,

Do you mean to speak in terms of Triune & Love, or your own Monolithic Mathematician whom we cannot know?

Sam,

It's not so much what we do as it is what we are. Grace is sufficient for the former while an Amalgamation that just is Word-Flesh regenerates the later.

Ben,

What I imply there is a maximum of but one possible world: W1. His Image. And that invokes necessary choice which Power Wills to Exist.

Ben,

I summarized some of Edward's arguments here, but I'll try to summarize my summaries.

First, people are free in the compatibilist sense which means your choices are determined by your strongest motivation. The more hand your own desires, inclinations, preferences, motives, intentions, etc., have in your choices, the more free those choices are since those choices are not spontaneous accidents, nor forced by non-rational factors against the will. It follows that you are the most free when your choices are determined by your desires/motives/etc.

Second, Edwards makes a distinction between a moral inability and a natural inability. A moral inability consists in either a lack of desire/motive/etc. to act, or a contrary desire/motive/etc. to act in the opposite way. A natural inability consists in a lack of power or physical ability to act. A person cannot be held responsible for their actions if they have a natural inability to do otherwise, but they can be held morally responsible if they have a moral inability to act otherwise. For example, if the only reason you do not comply with a command is because you are duct taped to a tree and are physical incapable, then you cannot be worthy of blame for failing to act. But if you are not taped to the tree, and you have full physical ability to act, but all of your desires are bent against it, then you have a moral inability to act, and you are worthy of blame. Nobody is excused from doing their duty just because they didn't want to.

Third, what makes you worthy of praise or blame is whether you did it on purpose or not, and to do something on purpose is to do it because of a prior motive/desire/etc. So moral accountability is only possible under compatibilism. Libertarians deny the moral relevance of the distinction between moral and natural ability, saying that ought implies can in both situations. If you have a moral inability to obey, then you are just as excused as you would be if you had a natural inability to obey. But this is counter-intuitive because even in libertarianism, our motives have some influence over our behavior. The stronger that influence is, the harder it is to resist, and the harder it is to resist, the closer it is to determining out actions. It follows that the deeper your hatred, the more influence your hatred had over your behavior, and the less blameworthy you are for acting with cruelty. Also, the deeper your love, the greater you are motivated by that love to act, and the less praiseworthy your loving acts are. But that is clearly counter-intuitive. Just the opposite is the case. The more your acts are motivate by hate, the more blameworthy they are, and the more they are motivated by love, the more praiseworthy they are. So they are the most blameworthy or praiseworthy when they are determined by your hatred or love, respectively. So libertarianism is inconsistent with morality, but compatibilism is necessary for morality.

Fourth, God is sovereign over everything that comes to pass. It is all part of his decree. That includes all of our decisions, whether moral or not, including our decision to accept or reject Christ. It is all ultimately determined by God, and God brings it about by disposing the world in such a way that it is inevitable.

Fifth, the will is the proper object of command, so it's the faculty of volition that is responsible for obeying or disobeying. Whatever causes there are for the desires that determine our choices do not lie under the control of the will, so they are not the basis upon which we are worthy of praise or blame. It follows that we cannot be excused by them. From that, it follows that if God causes us to have praiseworthy or blameworthy desires (whether directly or indirectly), then that does not remove our culpability anymore than if our desires are caused by other influences (such as temptations, our biology, our environment, etc.).

Sixth, being responsible for acting our desires doesn't require that we choose the desires themselves. In fact, that would be impossible since it would lead to an infinite regress. To choose a desire, you'd have to first have a desire to do so. But then you'd have to choose that desire as well, ad infinitum. So ultimately, all of our choices are determined by factors that lie outside the will.

Seventh, God himself is not the author of evil in the sense that God does something wicked by disposing the world in such a way that people sin. The reason is because God does so for good and praiseworthy ends. God's action is praiseworthy because of his intentions. For example, it was God's intention that Pharaoh not let the Hebrews go free, and he hardened Pharaoh's heart so that he wouldn't, and his purpose was to make his name known, bringing glory to himself (the highest good, according to Edward's other book on The End For Which God Created the World).

There's a lot more to it, but that's a thumb nail sketch.

Sam,

Thanks for all that. It was more than I expected!

#2 is the relevant point to the issue of "ought implies can." It is almost exactly my standard response.

In fact, with minor quibbles, I am in full agreement with points #1,2,4,5,6. So that's cool to have such common ground.

As for #3, I'm sympathetic to that point, but it seems like that sort of criticism of libertarianism grants it too much respect. IMO, libertarianism is just a mess of confusion. But how does one criticize a position that is utterly incoherent? In the end, I think, one has to simply try to reveal the confusion which underlies it. So I don't think it's a good idea to say that "libertarianism is inconsistent with such and such" because libertarianism is inconsistent, period. In other words, the problem lies within libertarianism, and not between libertarianism and some other, external position or set of facts.

The only point where I completely disagree is #7. For I do not regard it as good in any sense for a moral agent to glorify himself, especially when doing so requires other people to suffer. Also, I don't see why it is any more "glorious" for God to cause people to suffer than not.

My apologies to my fellow Christians for the theological difficulties which my response to Ben here will naturally raise. I don’t mean to raise such among Christians but only to describe to Ben the nature of what it means for a Self to Glorify an Other, and why it is necessarily a Good and Lovely thing to so Glorify Other.


Ben,


It takes a few steps so my apologies for this too thick slice. Your issue with number 7 is due to your view of Glory from the perspective of Pride, which is our Fall into the Self, and also from the perspective of simple addition and subtraction rather than from that of Person. “To Glorify Another” is simply misread, entirely, by your mind as you skip over the Triune and over Love in all your analyses and view all through the lens of Pride and Self-Serving. Thus you see the delight which two loves have, the Love and the Beloved, as a Self-Focused, Self-Serving arena, rather than that which we find within the Triune, which is that Eternally Sacrificed Self unto, into, and upon Other, and that not simply in Delight, but also ever and always as the Singular-We eternally proceeds thereby.


The Cross is exactly that which He does forever within Himself from before forever and is the bridge by which Derived Life and Un-derived Word are joined within just such an embrace. This Death of Self is the Glory of God which Man partakes of and offers up in loving return just as Love Himself first initiates and thus makes possible by His Own pouring out toward us, as His initiation makes possible our response. He raises us up and we in return raise Him up, and in Himself just these sorts of embraces are forever found uncreated.


In the Triune we find just this Necessary Movement and Motion Among and Between Real and Distinct Selves, and in Suffering we find the Move Toward Self, which, while yielding Life within the Triune, is Necessarily Death for any Created Self and Necessarily Present for the particular Self called Adam as Power Wills to make him in His Own Image. The Way to Life is to be like Him, in His Image, which is His Glory, which is there up on a Hill, with His arms spread wide, in that Eternally Sacrificed Self Who forever cries “Other and not Self”, “Thy and not My”. This is necessarily life and, therefore, by our motion toward Self, and thus out of the Uncreated Other, we must necessarily know Death for we never can be Self-Sufficient by definition, while All Distinct Selves in Him are by definition Self-Sufficient within Perfection’s Triune Topography.

Evil is but one-third of Good, or, it is Less-Good, or, it is God-less-two, as it is no more than that Isolated-Self, the Pure-I whereas Love’s Triune is I-You-We, and Man, destined to Know-Him, will, regardless of which end of Love’s Palindrome he chooses there in Eden, Self or Other, necessarily come to know the Whole and thus the Parts intimately. Some choices are left up to Man. To come to the knowledge of the Whole, of God, is not a choice which is left up to Man: such cannot be otherwise. How he comes to that knowledge it seems was left up to him in some fashion or to some degree, as expressly stated to him by Power in Eden, and therein we find your statement of “God caused us to suffer” to be wholly indefensible. Such motion into Self/Other just is what Power Wills when He Wills His Own Image. And, Power cannot create a Self-Sufficient Self who can move into It-Self, and thus out of God, and still Live, for God alone is self-sufficient. Power cannot create God. Thus your mathematics deceive you, and us, for W1 is the only possible world should Power Will His Own Image, and thus Choice necessarily, as described in the Triune’s fully Perfect, yet fully Distinct, Options of Will. God’s sort of Person has God’s sort of Will: Triune.

“To Glorify”? One way or the other, that Eternally Sacrificed Self is Man’s Destination wherein Insufficiency will be known and All-Sufficiency will be beheld and in Delight each will embrace one another and, in lifting the other up, glorify the other, as love just does this, for we will therein glorify Him, and He therein glorifies Man to his final state. We will *actually* be *glorified* by God finally as we are made into the Image of that Eternally Sacrificed Self, and, we being thus glorified, will in loving return then Eternally Sacrifice our Self unto Him, into Him, upon Him-ward, as He has done us-ward, and He will thus be glorified by us, and we by Him, and Him by us, and we by Him, and Him by us, and back and forth forever, for such just is the Dance which we find forever proceeding within Love’s Community of the Triune I-You-We. We find here the nature of “Glorify” as viewed through the lens of, not Pride and Self-Serving, but that of the Triune and of Love, for He comes as our Suffering Servant, and we so also to Him, as love just does Glorify Other and not Self.

There will be no Self in Heaven who can say, “God has not first Glorified me” for every Self there will be necessarily a Glorified Self whom that Suffering Servant has in His Suffering Glorified, as Love just does Glorify Other and not Self. We will say in Heaven, “Thou hast glorified me, and I now thee!” And back and forth, and back and forth, and thus forever.

In this Dance He first Glorifies us, and we then Glorify Him, and He us, and we Him, and so on forever, and that Uncreated Pattern of Love’s Eternally Sacrificed Self simply proceeds unendingly, for Love necessarily begets yet more love, and so on without ceasing, and thus such cannot be otherwise. We think this sort of Death of Self is a Created thing, but it is not. It is Uncreated and Eternal for by such Love Glorifies the Beloved. Why does Love Create? Love simply Begets Love within Himself and thus outward forever, and as Water has never “gotten wet” but simply “is wet” so too Love just is this Begetting of yet more Love. It has always been for Love’s Triune has always been, and it will always be for God, Who is love, will always be. It cannot be otherwise for such just is the Uncreated Eternal. The-Other just is Glorified by The-Self from before forever and unto forever within the Triune. God just is love. Self just does Glorify Other. That’s just what love does.

Once again, if you do not view reality through the lens of “God is Triune” (and all which that invokes necessarily) and “God is Love” (and all which that invokes necessarily) you end not just in confusion, but in needless confusion, as your response readily displays.

A very slightly paraphrased C.S. Lewis describes all of these things about pains and sufferings and glorifyings and self and other and love with this:


“……..[the soul’s] union with God is, almost by definition, a continual self-abandonment- an opening, an unveiling, a surrender, of it¬self……….. We need not suppose that the necessity for something anal¬ogous to self-conquest will ever be ended, or that eternal life will not also be eternal dying. It is in this sense that, as there may be pleasures in hell (God shield us from them), there may be something not all unlike pains in heaven (God grant us soon to taste them). For in self-giving, if anywhere, we touch a rhythm not only of all creation but of all being. For the Eternal Word also gives Himself in sacrifice; and that not only on Cal¬vary. For when He was crucified He "did that in the wild weather of His outlying provinces which He had done at home in glory and gladness." From before the foundation of the world He surrenders begotten Deity back to beget¬ting Deity in obedience.


And as the [Word-Made-Flesh] glorifies the Fa¬ther, so also the Father glorifies the Son. From the highest to the lowest, self ex¬ists to be abdicated and, by that abdication, becomes the more truly self, to be thereupon yet the more abdicated, and so forever. This is not a heavenly law which we can es¬cape by remaining earthly, nor an earthly law which we can escape by being saved. What is outside the system of self-giving is not earth, nor nature, nor "ordinary life," but sim¬ply and solely Hell. Yet even Hell derives from this law such reality as it has. That fierce imprisonment in the self is but the obverse of the self-giving which is absolute reality; the negative shape which the outer darkness takes by sur¬rounding and defining the shape of the real, or which the real imposes on the darkness by having a shape and posi¬tive nature of its own...... We know much more about heaven than hell, for heaven is the home of humanity and therefore contains all that is implied in a glorified human life: but hell was not made for men. It is in no sense "parallel" to heaven: it is "the darkness outside," the outer rim where being fades away into non-entity.

The golden apple of selfhood, thrown among the false gods, became an apple of discord because they scrambled for it. They did not know the first rule of the holy game, which is that every player must by all means touch the ball and then immediately pass it on. To be found with it in your hands is a fault: to cling to it, death. But when it flies to and fro among the players too swift for eye to follow, and the great master Himself leads the revelry, giving Himself eter¬nally to His creatures in the generation, and back to Him¬self in the sacrifice, of the Word, then indeed the eternal dance “makes heaven drowsy with the harmony.”


All pains and pleasures we have known on earth are early initiations in the movements of that dance: but the dance itself is strictly incomparable with the sufferings of this present time. As we draw nearer to its uncreated rhythm, pain and pleasure sink almost out of sight. There is joy in the dance, but it does not exist for the sake of joy. It does not even ex¬ist for the sake of good, or of love. It is Love Himself, and Good Himself, and therefore happy. It does not exist for us, but we for it. The size and emptiness of the universe which frightened us at the outset of this book, should awe us still, for though they may be no more than a subjective by¬product of our three-dimensional imagining, yet they symbolize great truth. As our Earth is to all the stars, so doubtless are we men and our concerns to all creation; as all the stars are to space itself, so are all creatures, all thrones and powers and mightiest of the created gods, to the abyss of the self-existing Being, who is to us Father and Redeemer and indwelling Comforter, but of whom no man nor angel can say nor conceive what He is in and for Him¬self, or what is the work that he “makes from the begin¬ning to the end.” For they are all derived and unsubstantial things. Their vision fails them and they cover their eyes from the intolerable light of utter actuality, which was and is and shall be, which never could have been otherwise, which has no opposite.”

Ben,

Thanks for all that. It was more than I expected!

Looking back, it's more than I should've written. When I first read your question, I thought you were asking for a thumb nail schetch of the whole book. But after I posted it, I went back and noticed you were just asking for a thumb nail sketch for how Edwards reconciled our intuition that ought implies can with the fact that we can't avoid sinning. My bad.

So I don't think it's a good idea to say that "libertarianism is inconsistent with such and such" because libertarianism is inconsistent, period

Edwards attacked libertarianism from both angles. He showed near the beginning of the book that it was incoherent, and showed later in the book that it is inconsistent with morality.

Also, I don't see why it is any more "glorious" for God to cause people to suffer than not.

I don't think it's the suffering itself that glorifies God, but what comes out of the suffering. In the case of Pharaoh, it provided God with the opportunity to demonstrate his power and make his name known.

For I do not regard it as good in any sense for a moral agent to glorify himself

I would agree with you in the case of anybody but God. I think what makes it wrong for people to glorify themselves is precisely that they are not God.

Sam,

Well remember, I'm not saying it's bad for God to glorify himself. It may well be a neutral thing for God to do. But I'm saying, I don't see why it's good for God to glorify himself.

According to you, Edwards thinks (and presumably you agree) that God's glorification is the greatest good. But in what sense is it good for God to be glorified? Who exactly is it good for? Is it good for God only? Then God acts selfishly in making people suffer for the sake of his glorification. Or is it good for us? But then how could it be good for us, if it requires us to suffer so severely? Wouldn't it be better for us not to suffer, even though God doesn't get to be glorified then?

Another problem is the matter of causality. I've talked about this in several other blog posts here on str. I argue that God's actions, since he is not bound by causality, cannot be satisfactorily explained by appealing to causal ends. So, for example, you suggest that the suffering the Hebrews endured in bondage provided God with the opportunity to demonstrate his power and make his name known. But God could have made people aware of his power and name quite apart from any causal demonstrations. He need only wish it to be so, and it will. That is, we will be granted an understanding of his power and name without having witnessed his demonstrations. So then the question becomes, why did God also want to go through the motions of performing the demonstration, when he could have simply wished us to understand what he wanted us to understand?

Ben,

The subject of the glorification of God wasn't part of Edward's book on The Freedom of the Will. I was just using that as an example to explain why God is not guilty of sin just because he disposes the world in such a way that others sin. I could've used a different example. One that's frequently made is that God intended Joseph's brother to sell him into slavery in order to save many lives during a famine. God meant it for good, but the Joseph's brothers meant it for evil. Or I could've used the example of God predestining Pilate to crucify Jesus.

The subject of God's glory is something Edwards goes into detail in his book on The End For Which God Created the World. In there, Edwards gives both philosophical and scriptural arguments for why the glory of God is the greatest good, why it is God's ultimate end in everything else he does, and why it is right for him to do so. It's a short book if you want to have a look see. Here's a PDF.

But in what sense is it good for God to be glorified?

In the moral sense.

Who exactly is it good for?

That question uses "good" in the pragmatic sense, not the moral sense. For something to be good in the moral sense, I don't think it is necessarily good for somebody. In fact, it may be bad for somebody.

There is a sense in which God's glorification is bad for some people. God is glorified in the demonstration of his wrath, but God's wrath is bad for those who suffer because of it.

There is also a sense in which God's glorification is good for some people. God is glorified in the demonstration of his mercy, and God's mercy is of great benefit to those who receive it.

There is also a practical good in God's glorification for those who worship him since it fulfills their hearts' desire. Kind of like when you see your favourite sports team win, or when somebody you love and admire finally gets recognized for their worth.

Wouldn't it be better for us not to suffer, even though God doesn't get to be glorified then?

I guess that depends on what you mean by "better for us." If you mean "of benefit to us," then maybe. I guess it depends on whether you're saved or not. If you're saved, then our suffering might have been worth seeing God glorified or beholding his glory in eternity. But if you're not saved, then it's all doom and gloom.

So then the question becomes, why did God also want to go through the motions of performing the demonstration, when he could have simply wished us to understand what he wanted us to understand?

Maybe simply because he wanted to. Or maybe because the demonstration itself is part of what glorifies God, and not simply the mental recognition that God is glorious.

There are some interesting approaches to show why Artifical Programming actually leads to necessary suffering where Person is concerned as all that is Good by definition (His Image) is destroyed by that move. Also, there are some obvious reasons why artifical programming where Person is concerned is not the Best sort of Knowing nor the Best Thing Known and thus were God to employ such He would not be doing the Best sort of creating.

In my earlier responses to Ben here I showed that it is both lovely and good, and eternal, that Self glorifies Other, and described that phenomenon within the topography of both Triune and Love, and our own glorification by Him and of our glorification of Him, and thus we see that Ben’s view of Glorify is viewed not from within God’s topography but from the lens of Pride, of Evil, of Self-Serving, and so he actually views this from an angle which suggests that Omnipotence can be somehow “served” by this process. Which is Nonsense. What Love does, He does both for the ‘What’ of what He is (Triune) and also in and through the ‘Who’ of who He is (Love) and we find that He both glorifies us and we Him, and so on forever back and forth, just as occurs within the I-You within His uncreated Triune. In Love Self just does Glorify Other, He us and we Him. All of that was covered earlier here in a way that is logically, philosophically, and intellectually coherent both internally as well as externally in that it has congruency with the real world.

If I may borrow from WidsomLover to show a bit further the error of Ben’s Self-Serving lens (meaning He seems to view the phrase “Glorifies Himself” in the way that Pride views that phrase, which is non-sense), “Though I think we will perform acts of service to God in heaven, I do not think God needs them. There is a very real sense in which it is correct to say that God will not be served by them (so Peter was right when he said in Acts 17 that God is served by no man)”. This ties in nicely with my earlier descriptions here of the word Glorify.

Now, this word which Sam uses, “demonstration” (“…the demonstration itself is part of what glorifies….”) bridges us to a nuance of just how it is that God brings Man to his (man’s) eventual Glorification; we find hints of Knowledge in Eden and both Trees lead Man, ultimately, to Knowing-Him (which necessarily includes knowing evil, as described earlier here and also ad nauseam in ‘Does God Have Free Will?’ etc). This Literal (not fake) mode of Knowing ties into God’s sort of knowing, and thus how Man will, in at least some fashion, also Know and Keep On Knowing (assuming He is to mirror God’s Image in some sense). Ben thinks God should just Program a Microchip and insert it into Man’s head rather than place Man into an environment of sheer (not fake) community wherein he has actual (real, not fake) interaction with persons that are not himself. In other words, we see in scripture that God knows the Son and Keeps On Knowing the Son, and in that real (not fake) environment of Interactions we find part of what is actually tied to God’s sort of Knowing in scripture, and also in what we find in the Triune. “Demonstration” here in the Created World (as Sam eludes to) is just that sort of real (not fake) Created environment in which the Created Person has that pattern reproduced for itself. God gives to the Created what the Uncreated has: Knowing tied to actual Interaction, actual Environment, actual Community (in Man’s case ‘community’ is both man-man and man-God). The Environment within the Triune is Literal, and scripture ties God’s sort of Know / Keeps-On-Knowing to that I-You, and, thus, Man, if he is to mirror God, will have also some sort of Literal, Exact Environment which is tied to his knowing. “Demonstration” here trumps fake-memories.

This brings us to Ben’s error (again) in asserting that Power can make fake memories and still reproduce His Own Image or His own sort of Knowing. Which is, again, Non-Sense for God’s Image is a rather exact Image in several regards. This was addressed ad nauseam in “Challenge Response: Does God Have Free Will?” in a way that is logically, philosophically, and intellectually coherent both internally as well as externally in that it has congruency with the real world. But a little more here for completion’s sake.

It is interesting. Within the Triune we find actual persons bumping up against one another. Literal, exact, and unembellished Singular Community. And Hence is all Knowing. L.T. Jeyachandran has a DVD with RZIM (Ravi Zacharias International Ministries) entitled “The Trinity and Apologetics”. In a few areas he discusses the notions of both transcendence and imminence as they apply to the sort of knowing which God has. His sort of knowing has a topography which is not simply linear, obviously, and houses both knowing and also a kind of keeps-on-knowing and such is tied to a kind of ‘I-You’ topography. His sort of knowing is far more robust than a mere microchip full of Fake-Memories and even that simple statement has its own brawny tangents in multiple and formidable directions.

The sort of Knowing which must be described when we speak of God is far more dynamic then various descriptions of Artificial Programming and Fake-Memories. We can add here the fact that what Fake-Memories will ultimately do is destroy Personhood itself and also bring inevitable *suffering* by embracing isolation; as described elsewhere here on STR (Does God Have Free Will? etc), again ad nauseam, though Ben cannot fathom a God Who is Triune nor a God Who is Love, and thus he also approaches this topic in a confused manner.

What Ben is offering with his Fake-Memory thesis is that we insist that the Triune God do something less than what is perfectly available to Him and call it His Own Image.

In Him, and available to Him as a creative tool, is person bumping up against person, or Community, or E Pluribus Unum, and such is even tied to His sort of Knowing in scripture, and such is also just as available to Power in fashioning Man’s sort of Knowing both among one another and between God and Man such that it would, to the degree that it can, mirror His Own Image. Some-Thing that is distinct from Me impacting upon The-Thing that is Me. Literal. Exact. Actual. “Demonstration” and not Fake. There in those sorts of motions, inside that sort of arena, we discover Know, and we discover Knowing, and we discover Keeps-On-Knowing and so we find that both Epistemology and Ontology have triune topographies. The hollow appeal of “because He can” make memory chips full of fake memories when clearly a Mode which more precisely approaches His Mode of knowing is readily available to Him shows the short sightedness of such a thesis, and we know of that more Exact Mode that we can just as easily say, and in fact must also say, “Because He can.”

Why mirror His Own sort of Knowing within the literal I-You in the Created world? Because He can.

The Triune God is not Artificially-Programmed and does not have Fake-Memories, and, also, to Know-As He knows is a sort of knowing which necessarily more closely approaches the Best-Sort-Of-Knowing. Also, He is by definition the Best, and thus to Know-Him is necessarily the most Perfect sort of Knowing.

And so Omnipotence, to do the Best Thing, or to approximate the Most-Perfect thing, especially if He means to fashion His Own Image, will employ both “Know-As” and to “Know-Him” because both necessarily entail the Best-Sort-Of-knowing and thus must be employed in the Best-Sort-Of-Creating. We are speaking of Perfection / Omnipotence, after all. And so all the cries of “Because He can!” are more logically, by far, transferred over into the camp of Knowing-As and Knowing-Him, and thus out of the camp of Fake-Memories and Artificial-Programming.

It seems these simple revelations quite easily give us all the intellectual, logical, and philosophical justification needed to lay to rest various offers of Fake Memories. We are speaking of Perfection / Omnipotence, after all, and of His sort of Epistemology and Ontology which themselves have His Triune Topography. We find here in that topography what is logically, philosophically, and intellectually coherent both internally as well as externally in that all of this has congruency with the real world.


It is within and by the literal, exact, and actual I-You where Knowing 'happens' and takes place. 1 John confirms this: "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."

It is within the arena, the environment, of the I beholding the You, of the You beholding the I, wherein we are formed, wherein the Singular-We is begotten. Such does not happen in chips of fake memories. This is Personhood. This is Love's Triune of the I and the You and the Singular-We. This is Love's Image and His Image is to be our image.



What I wrote as, "It is within the arena, the environment, of the I beholding the You, of the You beholding the I, wherein we are formed, wherein the Singular-We is begotten."

Would be more precise as, "It is within the arena, the environment, of the I beholding the You, of the You beholding the I, wherein we are both formed and transformed, wherein the Singular-We is begotten."

Sam,

You wrote:

"One that's frequently made is that God intended Joseph's brother to sell him into slavery in order to save many lives during a famine. God meant it for good, but the Joseph's brothers meant it for evil."

I don't see how God could have meant it for good either. God may have had other good things in mind---for instance enriching Joseph or teaching his brothers some kind of life lesson, or whatever else. But these things can all be accomplished quite apart from having Joseph suffer in the interim. Where necessary, God even has the power to "fast-forward" through the bad parts of the story without having the players actually suffer. (This would involve implanting false memories.)

I also asked you, in what sense is it good to be glorified? You responded: "In the moral sense." But I'm not sure what you mean here. If God's action isn't good for anyone else, then I don't see how it could be good in any "moral" sense. As I understand it, morality is primarily about caring for the well-being of conscious creatures. If one of God's actions isn't motivated by that kind of concern, well, that's not necessarily bad or anything, but it wouldn't be morally good, as I understand morality.

But maybe you have a different understanding. That is, maybe you have something else in mind than I do when you speak of morality. But then I'd be curious what you think morality is, and why you would care about something which has zero bearing on the well-being of conscious creatures.

Finally, I argued that due to God's power over causality, any causal answer to the question of why God disposed the world the way he did will just invite another question of why God wanted to set up that causal relation instead of just bring about the same end sans causality. You replied:

"Maybe simply because he wanted to."

Ah, but I already grant that God wanted to. I'm asking why God wanted to.

You also suggest:

"Or maybe because the demonstration itself is part of what glorifies God, and not simply the mental recognition that God is glorious."

But this is essentially saying that God values his demonstration more than the well-being of conscious creatures. God just wants to perform this demonstration, and if people suffer in the process, well, they're just going to have to suffer.

Of course, that seems to paint God as a kind of brutish monster. Or at least, that's the impression I would get from learning that he prioritized his favorite glorification demonstration so far above the well-being of other conscious creatures.

Ben,

I agree God could've done things differently, but I'm not in a position to speculate on why he didn't. Maybe he had other purposes that he didn't reveal. God does whatever he wants to do. The Bible explicitly says that God meant Joseph to be sold into slavery for good, and the good it's talking about is saving many people during the famine. Saving many people from famine is a good motivation regardless of how else we might imagine God doing it.

The word "good" can be used in different senses--moral, rational, pragmatic, and a fourth I can't think of. A pragmatic good is just a benefit. It's a good idea for a bank robber to have a get-away car, but that doesn't mean arranging for a get-away car is a morally good thing to do. The typical argument for the mortality of Socrates is a good argument, but that doesn't make it a moral argument. When we speak of good arguments and good ideas, we're not using 'good' in the moral sense, but in the rational and pragmatic sense. Good, in the moral sense means something different. When I said the glory of God is good in the moral sense, I meant to distinguish it from being good in the pragmatic or rational sense. You asked me what sense the glory of God was good. If this doesn't answer your question, then I don't understand your question.

If God's action isn't good for anyone else, then I don't see how it could be good in any "moral" sense.

A lot of people seem to struggle with this, I've noticed, but I don't understand where the confusion lies. There are plenty of things we would consider good if one person did it, but not good if another person did it. It's good when inferiors obey superiors, but it's not good when superiors obey inferiors, for example. Some people have obligations and privileges that other people don't have. God has the right to be worshipped, the right to seek revenge, and the right to take life, but we don't. It is wrong for us to want to glorify ourselves, but it is not wrong for God to want to glorify himself. It is wrong for us because reality does not revolve around us. It is right for God because reality does revolve around him.

That is, maybe you have something else in mind than I do when you speak of morality. But then I'd be curious what you think morality is, and why you would care about something which has zero bearing on the well-being of conscious creatures.

My concept of morality is a little more broad than yours. In my view, morality is about right, wrong, good, evil, virtue, vice, etc. Being kind to people is just one particular item in morality; it's not morality itself. In some cases, it's not right to care for the well-being of other people. In some cases, the right thing to do is punish them, and not simply for their own edification, but because they deserve it.

I'm asking why God wanted to.

If God is the source of all other things that exist (including time), and if God is all knowing, then whatever desires God has, he has always had those desires. They didn't come about because of some prior cause. His desires, I suppose, come from his character. They're just the way he is.

But suppose we don't know the answer to this question. So what? Does anything of interest follow from our ignorance?

But this is essentially saying that God values his demonstration more than the well-being of conscious creatures.

I suppose in some cases he does. We creatures are means to his ends. He is glorified by his kindness and mercy to some, and he is glorified in his wrath toward others.

Of course, that seems to paint God as a kind of brutish monster.

I've said this a number of times, but I really think the only reason some people are Christians is because they don't fully understand God to the extent that he is revealed in the Bible. If they did, they'd reject him. I don't think a person can love God unless God changes that person's heart. A lot of people worship what they wish God would be, and not what he actually is. Many of the Christians recorded in the New Testament rejoiced at being counted worthy to suffer for being followers of Christ. If my suffering results in God's glory, then I should rejoice if I value the glory of God as a greater good than my own well-being.

Sam,

You will discover that your specific well-being in any other World other than W1 (addressed elsewhere) will be quite raveged and quite isolated and quite void of both person and love. However in this W1, the only possible world which by which Power could beget Love's Image, as we focus our sight on Other, our Self will in that dying gain Other and therein find Life in that union and, to our surprise a fully intact well-being. If we would find our life we must lose it. God Himself shows us this very same pattern in Himself. The further Love Himself brings us along in this pattern the closer He brings us to Himself

Sam,

Thanks for the thoughtful response. You write:

"I agree God could've done things differently, but I'm not in a position to speculate on why he didn't."

Well that's sort of the point, though. We don't know why God does what he does. In fact, from our perspective it sure looks like God should have done something different. So a natural question to ask is: Why did God do something it appears to us he should not have done? Namely, why did God dispose the world in such a way that we suffer? But unfortunately we have no answer to this question.

Now please keep in mind, I'm not suggesting by this that God is immoral. God may well have morally sufficient reasons for his actions. What I am saying is that these morally sufficient reasons, if they exist, are unknown to us.

You continue:

"There are plenty of things we would consider good if one person did it, but not good if another person did it."

That's true, but it's not what I'm concerned about here. Rather, I'm suggesting that, at least in God's case, an action is not moral if it is not motivated by the care for the well-being of others. And even in our case, it must connect similarly to the well-being of others.

None of this means that moral actions are always moral for anyone who practices them. But it does mean that moral actions have to tie into the well-being of others somehow.

But it's hard to see how God setting up his own glorification is motivated by a concern for the well-being of others. Indeed on Edwards' view it apparently has the opposite effect---causing people to suffer. So it couldn't be a moral action.

You continue:

"It is wrong for us to want to glorify ourselves, but it is not wrong for God to want to glorify himself."

Maybe not. Remember, I said that perhaps it is morally neutral. My point is, whether or not it is wrong, it couldn't be a morally good action without being good for someone.

You continue:

"My concept of morality is a little more broad than yours. In my view, morality is about right, wrong, good, evil, virtue, vice, etc."

Well I'm going to understand these other terms also in light of caring for the well-being of other conscious creatures.

"In some cases, the right thing to do is punish them, and not simply for their own edification, but because they deserve it."

It is true that it is often morally good to punish someone. However, this is because, in the context of human experience, punishment is essential to protecting the members of society. And it is moral---again, in the context of human experience---to have values and habits which promote the protection of conscious creatures.

But God is not in our context. In particular, he's not bound by causality, and so he doesn't need to teach us lessons using causal means such as punishment.

"His desires, I suppose, come from his character. They're just the way he is."

Sure, but what I mean is, why does God want what he wants, given that he is perfectly moral? In other words, how can we reconcile the stipulated morality of God with the apparent immorality of his actions? I argue that we can't do this with causal explanations, since God is not bound by causality. So whatever explanation exists must be noncausal, i.e. God must be logically bound somehow to act as he does and still maintain his perfect morality. Unfortunately, those purely logical connections are unknown to us.

"But suppose we don't know the answer to this question. So what? Does anything of interest follow from our ignorance?"

I guess that depends on what interests you. : )

I agree that it does not follow that Christianity is any less likely to be true. On the other hand, I think Christians would be far more skeptical of God's supposed moral character if only they appreciated the scope of an omnipotent and omniscient being's options for bringing about his ends. We are naturally curious why God would allow suffering in the world. Most Christians, I strongly suspect, allow themselves to be satisfied by causal explanations. If they understood that causal explanations aren't helpful in the case of God, then they would cease to be satisfied, and hopefully develop a greater skepticism of God's motivations.

Personally, I find this interesting, given that I am generally interested in promoting skepticism in religion.

"If my suffering results in God's glory, then I should rejoice if I value the glory of God as a greater good than my own well-being."

Well there are a couple of things I should say in response to this. First of all, even though you may want to pay the cost of suffering in order to get the benefits you seek, nevertheless it's not morally good for you to force others to pay that cost. Indeed, it's not a morally good for God to force others to do it, either.

Second, even in your case, it's not as if your suffering is really helping you except in the context of causality. If God wanted to do so, he could have arranged things so that you would be just as joyful without having first suffered.

So, in light of these observations, I don't see how you or others appreciating your own suffering gets God off the hook for having disposed the world as he has.

Ben,

You said: “God should have done something different.”


You have no way of knowing this (or do you?) thus this is simple assertion and not argument. When Logic and Love bring us to the End of the Ad Infinitum (which they do) it turns out that we end up with great congruency between the real world and Christianity’s odd embrace of those triune patterns within the uncreated and “should have” fades out of sight as Love’s Logic swallows whole all contexts.


You said: “why did God dispose the world in such a way that we suffer?”

This assumes God provides Man with no option but to sin and thus enter into a separation from Life/Wholeness. Your assumption here is incorrect, as addressed ad nauseam earlier here and in the “Does God Have Free Will?” thread.


You said: “But unfortunately we have no answer to this question”

We do have His answer; it is to make Man in His, Love’s, Image. This means there is only one possible world, W1, and not many possible worlds, for Power wills in Man those nuances which we find in Him, which includes Choice (Will’s triune topography), and we know Power certainly *can* make those nuances exist, don’t we, and all of this is as addressed ad nauseam earlier here and in the “Does God Have Free Will?” thread.


You said: “God may well have morally sufficient reasons for his actions. What I am saying is that these morally sufficient reasons, if they exist, are unknown to us”

He does have those reasons, and they are quite apparent, and quite to our benefit, as addressed ad nauseam earlier here and in the “Does God Have Free Will?” thread.


You said: “an action is not moral if it is not motivated by the care for the well-being of others”

The well-being of Man is Man’s final amalgamation with Love Himself, rather than isolation within himself, void of wholeness, and, such maneuvers which permit such to be real and actual are in the forefront. Also, He glorifies Man, and, Man glorifies Him, though each is necessarily a different sort of act, as addressed ad nauseam earlier here and in the “Does God Have Free Will?” thread.


You said: “it does mean that moral actions have to tie into the well-being of others somehow”

The well-being of Man is Man’s final amalgamation with Love Himself, rather than isolation within himself, void of wholeness, and, such maneuvers which permit such to be real and actual are in the forefront. Also, He glorifies Man, and, Man glorifies Him, though each is necessarily a different sort of act, as addressed ad nauseam earlier here and in the “Does God Have Free Will?” thread.


You said: “But it's hard to see how God setting up his own glorification is motivated by a concern for the well-being of others”

The use of the phrase ‘Glorify Himself’ is used by you from the vantage point of our Fall, which has a Self-Serving Flavor embedded in it: you actually use this phrase in a way which implies you think God MAY be able to get some benefit here by Man’s service to Him. This is nonsensical as we all know Omnipotence can derive no such benefit. As it turns out, Self necessarily glorifies Other in Love’s Own Triune and thus necessarily in Creation too as was already described ad nauseam earlier here and in the “Does God Have Free Will?” thread.

You said: “it couldn't be a morally good action without being good for someone”

Again, we know God cannot benefit from anything He creates, thus your entire premise here is misguided for you accuse the Christian of asserting that God is in the business of creating things to benefit Himself, which is logically impossible. What Love does He does via Love, which is necessarily defined by His Own Eternally Sacrificed Self, wherein the motion is that of “Other and not Self” (among other motions which defend the worth and goodness of the self) and this was already described ad nauseam earlier here and in the “Does God Have Free Will?” thread.


You said: “Well I'm going to understand these other terms also in light of caring for the well-being of other conscious creatures”

As already described ad nauseam earlier here and in the “Does God Have Free Will?” thread God fully satisfies this condition of yours; though we must add He can (and certainly does) have interests and ways and means which we cannot grasp (we cannot see the end, among other things.)


You said: “But God is not in our context”

This is true; He exists in His Uncreated Exact, Literal, Actual Triune Context (I’m sure you can grasp ‘context’ there as used in this ‘context’ here) where we find that even Person and Will and Epistemology and Ontology all have triune topographies; and we know that Power wills to fashion Man into that Image, which necessities that sort of exact, literal, and actual Context: Some-Thing that is distinct from Me impacting upon The-Thing that is My-Self, and other Exact, Literal, and Actual relations. It is the All Context of the Uncreated which brings in Immutable Semantics of an Eternal Language (this clearly permits but one possible world) and all of this was addressed ad nauseam earlier here and in the “Does God Have Free Will?” thread. God does this “because He can”.


You may want to see what "Uncreated Context" brings to bear on your notion of Knowing, Ben.

You said: “he's not bound by causality”


Fake Memories fail all logical tests when it comes to Person, to Evil, to Triune, and to Love and especially in Knowing-As-God-Knows (Man must have His sort of Knowing if Man is to be in His Image). It is particularly the fact that Power Wills to make Man in His Image and it is particularly the fact that God’s sort of Knowing is the Best Sort of Knowing which leads us to see why Omnipotence just will fashion the Best Sort of Knowing in Man (His Own sort of knowing) and we certainly know that Power *can* do so, don’t we? And we certainly know that Power *will* use the Best-Sort-Of-Knowing in designing the created’s sort of knowing, don’t we? Especially if He Wills to give Man His Own Image. All this (and more) gives to us all the logical and philosophical justification needed to ignore your thesis of Fake Memories. All of this was addressed ad nauseam earlier here and in the “Does God Have Free Will?” thread.


You said: “reconcile the stipulated morality of God with the apparent immorality of his actions”

There is no apparent immorality to His actions especially when we realize what is found inside of Love, inside of Eden, inside of the Triune, inside of Man’s Options there in Eden, inside of Christ’s Eternally Sacrificed Self, inside of the definition of Evil, and inside of Man’s Final Amalgamation with Word (God In Man / Man In God), and of course all of this was addressed ad nauseam earlier here and in the “Does God Have Free Will?” thread.


You said: “whatever explanation exists must be noncausal”

Once again, this assumes God is Monolithic and thus necessarily void of Love’s Triune Interior and you also assume that God does not will to make man in His Own Image (but He does Will such). Fake Memories fail all logical tests when it comes to Person, to Evil, to Triune, and to Love and especially in Knowing-As-God-Knows (Man must have His sort of Knowing if Man is to be in His Image). It is particularly the fact that Power Wills to make Man in His Image and it is particularly the fact that God’s sort of Knowing is the Best Sort of Knowing which leads us to see why Omnipotence just will fashion the Best Sort of Knowing in Man (His Own sort of knowing) and we certainly know that Power *can* do so, don’t we? And we certainly know that Power *will* use the Best-Sort-Of-Knowing in designing the created’s sort of knowing, don’t we? Especially if He Wills to give Man His Own Image. All this (and more) gives to us all the logical and philosophical justification needed to ignore your thesis of Fake Memories. All of this was addressed ad nauseam earlier here and in the “Does God Have Free Will?” thread.

In fact, Fake Memories actually *guarantee* suffering and isolation, which was addressed ad nauseam in the “Does God Have Free Will?” thread.


You said: “If they understood that causal explanations aren't helpful in the case of God”

Once again, this assumes God is Monolithic and thus necessarily void of Love’s Triune Interior and you also assume that God does not will to make man in His Own Image (but He does Will such). Fake Memories fail all logical tests when it comes to Person, to Evil, to Triune, and to Love and especially in Knowing-As-God-Knows (Man must have His sort of Knowing if Man is to be in His Image). It is particularly the fact that Power Wills to make Man in His Image and it is particularly the fact that God’s sort of Knowing is the Best Sort of Knowing which leads us to see why Omnipotence just will fashion the Best Sort of Knowing in Man (His Own sort of knowing) and we certainly know that Power *can* do so, don’t we? And we certainly know that Power *will* use the Best-Sort-Of-Knowing in designing the created’s sort of knowing, don’t we? Especially if He Wills to give Man His Own Image. All this (and more) gives to us all the logical and philosophical justification needed to ignore your thesis of Fake Memories. All of this was addressed ad nauseam earlier here and in the “Does God Have Free Will?” thread.

In fact, Fake Memories actually *guarantee* suffering and isolation, which was addressed ad nauseam in the “Does God Have Free Will?” thread.


You said: “it's not a morally good for God to force others to do it, either”

Where in Eden do you see God forcing Man to do evil? Power’s words to Man there in Eden expressly grant him access to another Door (a Door which Man is fated to take eventually). Or perhaps you mean to give a Proof that Power is incapable of forcing choice to exist inside of a created person? If Man does do Evil, and becomes the slave of sin, shouldn’t God, once that happens, from that point forward, use our choices, in fact use every single thing whatsoever, both good and evil, to our betterment and to our amalgamation with Himself? Why should He leave something out in what He uses to fashion Man from that point forward? Or are you claiming He should not grant Choice initially, and, if He does, and we dive into the Self, and out of the I-You (which any created Self must have if it is to live, for no created self is Self-Sufficient) then once we are the slaves of sin, He should just leave us there without antidote? God is Triune, and, God’s sort of Person necessarily has God’s sort of Will: Triune. Now, Triune Wills necessarily invokes Choice (which Power wills to exist, and which Power certainly can force to exist), but, again, all of this was addressed ad nauseam earlier here and in the “Does God Have Free Will?” thread.


You said: “God wanted to do so, he could have arranged things so that you would be just as joyful without having first suffered”

God did do that. In Eden. Love’s Triune Person necessarily has God’s sort of Will: Triune. This shows us Perfection’s triune topography, which shows us Option’s triune topography, which necessarily invokes choice, and Power Wills His Own Image in Man. And we know Power *can* do so, and so why shouldn’t He? Added to this is the fact that Knowing Evil is both Necessary for Man and Good for Man, and whichever Motion Man made there in Eden, whether into the prison of the Isolated-Self or into Love’s Community, Man would know Evil and also, necessarily, Love’s Eternally Sacrificed Self simply because such are housed within God’s Whole (which is Himself). “Evil is God-And” is not only illogical and impossible, it speaks against Epistemology’s Triune Topography. But all of this was addressed ad nauseam earlier here and in the “Does God Have Free Will?” thread (and in a few other threads).


You said: “So, in light of these observations, I don't see how you or others appreciating your own suffering gets God off the hook for having disposed the world as he has”


So, we do not see, at all, how, in light of what Christianity shows us about Man and about Eden and about God and about Suffering and about Pain, and about what Evil actually is, and about our Redemption from it, and about Love’s Eternally Sacrificed Self, and about the Necessity and Goodness of knowing both Evil and God’s Eternally Sacrificed Self, and about what the phrase “Glorify Himself” means in the context of Love’s Triune, you persist in these arguments against Christianity for views which Christianity does not assert in the first place. We see that all of this is given to you in a manner which is intellectually coherent, logically consistent internally, and logically consistent externally as all of this is nicely congruent with the real world we find around us, but, again, all of this was addressed ad nauseam earlier here and in the “Does God Have Free Will?” thread (and in a few other threads, but who has the time to list them all. I guess we could, but who wants to).

Ben,

Why your notion of contextual knowing is not that far from the truth of all things:

When I said 'You may want to see what "Uncreated Context" brings to bear on your notion of Knowing' I refer in part (again to previous threads) where God's sort of 'To Know' and 'To Keep On Knowing' is described. His sort of Knowing is naturally tied to His sort of Being and in that Uncreated Context we find both Know and Keeps On Knowing tied to the uncreated (I-You-We) context where notions of both transcendence and imminence as they apply to the sort of knowing which God has are discussed. The Uncreated Context is Exact. Literal. Actual. Some-Thing that is Distinct from My-Self impacting The-Thing that is My-Self, and this also Vise-Versa, all within and among the I and the You and the Singular-We. Power grants to the Created this same image and we find that Knowing in this fashion is God's sort of Knowing, which is necessarily better than Fake Memories. God necessarily does the Best Sort of Creating (assuming He means to fashion His Own Image, which He does) and thus will provide this sort of Knowing. It is Exact. Literal. Actual. And it is tied necessarily to that triune topography in both transcendence in knowing and imminence in knowing. And we know that Power certainly *can* provide that which more closely approximates Perfect in His modes of creating person and that person’s sort of knowing. Power *can* create choice and *can* create relational (what you call contextual) knowing, and so He does. Knowing just is tied to the dimensions of Self-Other arrangements. Lastly, the Triune's Uncreated Context affirms on one level your own relational notion of Knowing and affirms on another level Ultimate Reality's Relational Bedrock. All that is Known is Known in Relation and by Relation (or as you say, in Context and by Context) as Uncreated Being (and thus Uncreated Knowing) just is Relational through and through. Your sort of Relational (contextual) notions about Knowing cannot help but lead you toward that Uncreated Knower Who is Himself Relational through and through and Who Knows All Contexts within Relation. Knowing’s Imminence and Knowing’s Transcendence just is Relational. The Triune Topography of Love’s I, You, and Singular I-You or Singular-We (Self-Other) affirms the Triune Topography of Epistemology and of Ontology. We find that your own contextual notions are leading you towards a Truth of a larger sort and we find that all of these other exacting topographies within the Triune God ultimately affirm that Triune Topography of Epistemology and of Ontology, all of which swallows up whole the All-Context necessarily for such just is the Uncreated End of all Ad Infinitums wherein we find the Uncreated’s Immutable Semantics of His Own Eternal Language there inside of the Everywhere and Always.


All of this was addressed ad nauseam earlier here and in the “Does God Have Free Will?” thread and in several other threads as well.

The Triune Topography of God strains our concept of Choice. Three Perfect Wills which are Distinct, and not just Distinct, but Perfect. A is Perfect, B is Perfect, and C is Perfect, and A is neither B nor C, and B is neither A nor C, and C is neither A nor B. "Holy-Most-Perfect! Holy-Most-Perfect! Holy-Most-Perfect!"

It seems Choice is found Uncreated within the Triune God, only, like Three Persons that are One, it is hard to grasp Three Wills in A-Will. But, this does give us grounds for Perfect Options, pleural, and thus Choice within God. The statement "There is only one Best, only one Perfect" is perfectly correct, and, perfectly incorrect. There are Three. And, there is One. Now, if we do not like this Triune Topography used with the word Will, then, also, we must not like it used with the word Person. We cannot have one without the other. God's sort of Person has God's sort of Will: Triune. It would take a little more dissection, but, we find here solid ground for the eternal presence of uncreated choice as a part of what God just is or has within His Being. This then translates to choice necessarily present within any created person who is to be in His Image. When we add to this His Own Relational Modes of Knowing as just described we find that (with a little more dissection) the only possible world (W1) which can mirror His Image would be a world in which the Created-Self has both Choice and Relational Knowing, or, Knowing within and by Relation as described with, “Some-Thing that is not My-Self impacting upon The-Thing that is My-Self, and Vise-Versa”. Reality and Love and Logic will, if we allow them, lead us towards that Uncreated Triune Topography of not just Epistemology but also of Ontology and not just of those two but also of Love’s necessarily triune I-You-We. All these are found within the Triune God, and nowhere else, and though we may not like it the only place we find this Triune God is in a place where we also find His Eternally Sacrificed Self inside of Love’s Embrace of Man, there on a Hill where Word manifests, by which God first glorifies Man forever and by which Man then Glorifies God forever, for, inside of that Uncreated Triune, Self just does glorify Other. That’s just what love does.

Ben,

Namely, why did God dispose the world in such a way that we suffer? But unfortunately we have no answer to this question.

When I said that God's ultimate end was to glorify himself, and you suggested that he could've done the same thing a different way, I said I wasn't in a position to speculate on why he didn't do things differently. I think we can know God's ultimate end in disposing the world however he disposes it. I just don't think we can know the immediate ends, i.e. why he uses certain means or why specific things that happen were allowed or caused and how those things ultimate result in God's glorification. We'd have to know that before we could say that God should've done things differently.

Rather, I'm suggesting that, at least in God's case, an action is not moral if it is not motivated by the care for the well-being of others.

I guess we're going to have to disagree about that.

But it's hard to see how God setting up his own glorification is motivated by a concern for the well-being of others

In many cases, I think it's the other way around. God concerns himself for the well-being of others because it results in his own glorification.

However, this is because, in the context of human experience, punishment is essential to protecting the members of society.

I don't think that's the only reason we punish people, nor that it should be the only basis for punishment. I think the primary purpose of punishment is for the sake of justice--giving people what they deserve.

In other words, how can we reconcile the stipulated morality of God with the apparent immorality of his actions?

This is how I think about it:

1. Whatever God does, he has a morally sufficient reason for doing it.
2. God does X.
3. Therefore, God has a morally sufficient reason for doing X.

I don't have to know what that reason is to know that he acted rightly. There are many cases even in our own experience where people behave in a way that seems prima facie immoral only because of our ignorance.

And example is on an episode of GunSmoke I saw a long time ago. Festus had some hillbilly friends who lived in isolation, and one of their members had a medical problem, so they asked Festus to get a doctor. Festus took the doctor out there, and the doctor attempted to save the person by performing a tracheotomy. But it failed, and the man died. The hillbillies had never heard of a tracheotomy before. All they saw was a doctor cutting a man's throat, and the man dying, and they understood that cutting somebody's throat was killing them, so they attempted to hang the doctor for murder.

So, if something God does appears prima facie immoral to me, I give God the benefit of the doubt. Based on the moral argument for God, I think God is necessarily good, so I think anything he does, he has a morally sufficient reason for doing it whether I can guess what it is or not.

I think Christians would be far more skeptical of God's supposed moral character if only they appreciated the scope of an omnipotent and omniscient being's options for bringing about his ends

I don't think it's enough to appreciate God's omnipotence and omniscience. Before you can say God ought to or could have done things otherwise, you have to also know what his ends are. For example, if you say God's end in selling Joseph into slavery was to save many from a drought, then God could've just as easily prevented the drought and spared Joseph a lot of suffering. But that ignores whatever other ends God may have had in the process which you can't know about. It's not enough to simply say that God could've pushed a button to bring about the same end instead of using some process to bring it about. God may have had a purpose in the process beyond the mere means to the end we know about.

And besides that, we have to leave room for God's freedom to do things a certain way simply because he wants to. Motives are rarely ever as simple as, "I want to accomplish X, and Y is the most efficient means, therefore, I should accomplish X by Y." People who knit, for example, often spend more money on yarn and needles than they would if they just went out and bought the item they wanted. And it's quicker to go out and buy it than to knit it. But they enjoy knitting. Although the main reason they might knit a hat is because they want the hat, they also enjoy the process of making the hat.

First of all, even though you may want to pay the cost of suffering in order to get the benefits you seek, nevertheless it's not morally good for you to force others to pay that cost.

It might be. Isn't the morally right thing to do usually whatever promotes the greatest good?

Indeed, it's not a morally good for God to force others to do it, either.

If the glorification of God is a greater good than my lack of suffering, and if my suffering promotes the glorification of God, then I think it is morally good for God to make me suffer.

If God wanted to do so, he could have arranged things so that you would be just as joyful without having first suffered.

Sure, but the fact that God could have done things otherwise doesn't tell us whether he should have. And this also assumes the sole goal in what God does is to make me joyful, which I doubt.

Sam,


"the sole goal in what God does is to make me joyful, which I doubt"

God's sole goal is certainly not to make me joyful. Nor Sam’s joy, etc, as you rightly state.


Now, after all that lies in between Start and Finish transpires, how would you answer this question: "How shall one whom God eternally glorifies be once so glorified by God? Joyful or Miserable?"

I think we will be full of Joy.

Jesus does not tell us, "If you want to find your life, forget it, you never will." Rather, He tells us, "If you want to find your life, you must lose it."

In dying, we live.

The Christian satisfies Ben's quest, only, Ben may not be willing to satisfy Love's necessary Self-Sacrifice.

Unfortunately for self-seeking folks who feel that "my own good experience" is all that matters in the whole universe, God is Love, and, as such, Love's Eternally Sacrificed Self is the only Door to Life afforded to Man. Love is both quite free and quite costly. We really do have to make an actual motion out of Self and into Other (Him). Not a fake motion. A real motion. Reality is, as it turns out, Real.

Ben you may want to remember that if it is even possible that God has morally sufficient reasons (which it easily is) then there is no Logical or Philosophical incompatibility between God's Goodness and Evil's temporary presence. And contrary to your complaint, He shows us His Hand: Love means to beget yet more Love, to yield His Own Image. Of course, all of that entails, well, all of Eden's and all of the Triune's necessary (unavoidable) components as previously described here which give us exactly the world we find ourselves in; just as would be expected based on two simple facts about God: He is Triune, and, He is Love. All of that invokes unavoidable topography in Personhood, in Epistemology, in Ontology, in Love, in what Evil is, and in what any Created Self necessarily faces by simply existing, and, again, in what Love actually is.

Sam, I would modify what you said. We are expressly told that part of God’s motive for His Eternally Sacrificed Self becoming Flesh is that He “.... *so* loved us….” I disagree with your stance that God just has no motive to benefit us whatsoever. You did not say that, but that is what you implied. The language of the New Testament is express and clear. Love is part of what motivates Him to do much of what He has done (love for man). I will offer that you may error (a bit) here in using words which seem to, or almost, deny this. Ben’s question is a good one: isn’t God motivated by care for the well being of man? The New Testament answer to that is a resounding, bloody, costly, and staggering “Of course”. Now, we layer “other” motives into/around that, but, we ought not totally discount that “part of His interior motive-sets or goal-sets” (to benefit mankind, to rescue him, etc). Such is clearly there. In fact, the Triune God is the *only* God who so loves Man.

Not only does the net sum of [ “God is Triune” + “God is Love” ] satisfy all our logical arguments and questions which come up in Personhood, in Epistemology, in Ontology, in Love, in what Evil is, and in what any Created Self necessarily faces by simply existing, but it also satisfies, fully, utterly, the statement of “God so loves the world that He……..” As Scripture and as C.S. Lewis often, and easily, show us, “Joy is the serious business of heaven……”

Ben,


Sam is correct to offer that God has agendas outside of Man.


You think this is an argument against Him, but, we know that in Him and in His necessary components Man’s Best is fully provided, and, once that is grasped, it becomes apparent that there remains no further argument for you along this line.


Any concern about God’s motives as the relate to Mankind’s ultimate good need only be confronted with one proof to be put at ease, and then, if it is still insisted to be a question, it will be known to be illogical. As we have seen earlier in this thread and in its referenced threads, what defines all that we consider “good” as housed within Personhood, and Love, and Joy, and Wholeness, and etc. is easily captured when we realize just how Man’s Final End is ultimately realized. If the Necessary components of Personhood, of Love and what that necessarily entails, of Joy, of Wholeness, of Epistemology, of Ontology, of Autonomy and what that necessarily entails, of Justice, of Mercy, and of what any Created Self necessarily faces in its lack of Self-Sufficiency, if all these things are accounted for by the combined inescapable consequences of the two facts that Ultimate Reality is Triune and is also Love, then we find that all that is found in this world, including suffering, is necessarily available to any Created Self and that the statement of “Love is the Ultimate Ethic” is both logically and philosophically satisfied inside of all of these patterns.


As such, your notion that the Christian God, or, the Triune God, or, the God Who Is-Love, can in some fashion yield to mankind anything that is short of Mans-Best is not only illogical but also intellectually dishonest as such a concern is shown to be incongruent with the Christian descriptions of such things. Now, as we have seen earlier in this thread (and in its referenced threads), the Triune God Who is Love satisfies and actually substantiates two arguments. First, Ultimate Reality is Love Himself. Second, the Ultimate Ethic is Love.


It is true that no other account of reality other than the Triune God Who is Love can ground the statement that “The Ultimate Ethic is Love”, and it is also true that the Christian account of that God logically and philosophically grounds that reality and that statement, as described earlier here in this thread and in its referenced threads.


That such is evident when we describe Love and Reality in Triune terms brings us to your next assertion which is that God, this God we speak of who satisfies Love’s ultimate ends both in Himself and in Mankind’s final felicity, cannot then also have other agendas. But of course God is necessarily larger than us and the notion of the Unknown and even the Incomprehensible within Him confronts us regardless of which other agendas are apparent. Sam is right to say God can have other agendas which lie outside of Man’s Final Good *if* God actually satisfies that Final Good, and He easily does, as described earlier in this thread and in its referenced threads.


If we continue to try to smuggle in through the back door the “concern” that Love’s Joy is not both easily revealed and ultimately fulfilled then we can only say that the patterns described here are both internally consistent and externally congruent with the real world, and so we can just dismiss that concern of yours as it simply chooses to ignore logic. We see in these descriptions the necessity of such a world as ours through the necessity of Choice and Autonomy, and we see the necessity of God’s Triune Will which grounds Choice, and we see the necessity of Love’s I and You and We, and we see the necessity of Epistemology’s Relational Bedrock, and the necessity of Ontology’s Triune topography as found inside of Love, and the necessity of Evil’s definition as described not as the impossible and illogical “God-And” but as the necessary “God-Less-Something”, and the necessities invoked by Power’s Will to fashion Man in His Own Image, and we also see in all of these things our final felicity which is our ultimate Joy as defined by Love’s embrace as He first glorifies us and then we Him, and that forever, for inside of Love the Self just does glorify Other. All of this has been described earlier.

Knowing all of this, or, seeing all of this, we can agree that the Christian God, being a logically coherent and philosophically sound insurance of Man’s Best, and in fact being the only insurance of Man’s Best, can and does have other incomprehensible ways, means, agendas, ends, thoughts, patterns, and we can place here just about any word we wish for there just is no category or compartment where God does not far exceed our capacity. Logic and Love bring us to the End of Ad Infinitum, though we cannot know infinitely. The ‘thinking’ that the statement “God has ends we cannot see” is somehow an argument *against* theism of *any* kind (and especially Christianity) is the thinking of an unsophisticated sort of intellect.

Seeing that the Ultimate Ethic is Love, and, seeing that God is Love, and, seeing that this Triune God brings to Man his Final Felicity in Himself, it is worth repeating that the “thinking” that the statement “God has ends we cannot see” is somehow an argument *against* theism of *any* kind (an especially Christianity) is the thinking of an unsophisticated sort of intellect.

When Love manifests, we find Him there on a Hill with His arms spread wide, doing for His Beloved that which He does forever within Himself: He pours out Himself for His Beloved, and this not in mere gesture.


Ben,

As described earlier in detail, Epistemology's Relational Know and Relational Keeps-On-Knowing within Uncreated Ontology show us why Exact, Literal, Actual worlds are necessary if Created Beings are to have the Best sort of Knowing.

Love is the Ultimate Ethic,

We ground this in the fact that Ultimate Reality (God) is Love. There may seem to be a disconnect here with Sam’s notion that the Ultimate Ethic is God’s Glorification. However, there is this: the two are one in the same. Or, once you have one, you necessarily have the other, and in either direction as such is simply a palindrome. In Love we find that Self just does glorify Other (as addressed earlier here). The Father honors the Son, and the Son the Father, and the Spirit the Son, and the Son the Spirit, and on and on, as Each Distinct Self in Love’s Trinity of I and You and Singular-We testifies, honors, and glorifies not Self, but Other. That ‘just is’ what Love does. When we say that God loves Man, we mean that phrase specifically, however, we also realize that in that loving of man God also, ultimately, pours Himself out for Man (because of that love) and by that pouring out He pulls Man up into Himself, or, He fills Man up with Himself, and thereby glorifies Man forever: God ultimately makes of Man the New Creation, a Son of God, once Man is thus glorified. God glorifies Man. Self glorifies Other. And Man, in that glorification, in loving return and quite full of Joy, beholds God and in beholding Him is made like Him, and Knows Him even as he himself is Known by Him, and therein Man will forever Glorify God, and God will be thus forever Glorified by Man. Self glorifies Other. That’s just what Love “does”. When God tells us He means for us to glorify Him, it is necessarily Man’s Best which such entails ipso facto.

When we say Love is the Ultimate Ethic, we mean all that Love means, which is quite a lot. If Ben wants a Love which does not find Self pouring out Self unto/into and for Other, but only finds Self living for Self, then Ben will never be Joyful in heaven’s offer of Ben’s glorification, for in God Self necessarily glorifies Other. “Thine and not Mine!” fills the air. Eden and Gethsemane are one in the same: the First Adam dives into Self and the Last Adam dives into Other. There is a place where sheer delight in Self, sheer delight in I, I, and only I is the aroma which fills the air, but that place is not heaven; such a place will either be called “The Earth as we now have it” or it will be called “Hell’s Isolated-I”. The path to Joy necessarily brings the Self to Gethsemane. When we say God is Love we find that this invokes that the Ultimate Ethic is Love, and when we say this we invoke that Self/Other pattern which the Triune “just is”. In no other pattern other than this odd Triune God do we find a ground sturdy enough to support the massive weight of such a statement asserted against the whole entire universe as the statement that in all of reality, in all possible worlds, in all multi-verses there is but One Perpetual Incline toward but One Eternal Language and the Immutable Semantics therein comprise this: Love.


If one holds that Love is the Ultimate Ethic, there is only Christ, that Eternally Sacrificed Self in Whom and through Whom and by Whom all the necessary prerequisites of such a statement which must precede Man and all the necessary prerequisites of such a statement which must eternally accompany Man are fully satisfied and eternally sustained.


Sam,

In order to keep the conversation from splintering too much, let me try to respond in a general way to some of what you said, instead of fisking your post.

First, I think you may have misunderstood what I said about punishment being essential to protecting members of a society. So allow me to clarify.

Let's suppose for a second that we have unlimited intellectual resources. Well if that were true, then it might be a good idea to avoid universal rules of justice. Instead, we could evaluate each case on an individual basis, and use our unlimited intellectual resources to decide whether or not punishment in that specific case is going to help maximize the well-being of conscious creatures.

Unfortunately, we don't have unlimited intellectual resources, and so a case-by-case evaluation is not remotely feasible. Instead, we have to depend on general rules, and decide which such rules are most likely to help maximize the well-being of conscious creatures. Punishing lawbreakers is one of the strategies we use in this project. And while it is true that there might be individual cases where not punishing the lawbreaker would result in greater well-being for everyone involved, nevertheless we just don't have the intellectual resources to identify such cases. Or, if we do have the intellectual resources, they are better spent on other problems.

So this all underscores the fact that, whether we are aware of it or not, our justice system is, ultimately, just another tool we use to maximize the well-being of conscious creatures. If it weren't useful in this way, then we would have no reason to value it.

Let me give a brief aside: Some may value their favorite system of justice noninstrumentally, i.e. for its own sake. And that's fine as far as it goes---it's not as if we need a reason to value something noninstrumentally. However, to put our love for a particular justice system ahead of the well-being of conscious creatures is to act selfishly. A little selfishness is acceptable, of course. But not too much.

Anyway, back to the original topic. Remember that I said our systems of justice are tools for maximizing well-being whether we are aware of it or not. So, let me emphasize that we are often quite unaware. But that's okay! Consider retribution, for instance. Retribution is part of justice, and it promotes the protection of conscious creatures insofar as people in society understand that retribution is a possible consequence of acting immorally or unlawfully. In other words, retribution acts as a deterrent for would-be lawbreakers. And yet, the impulse for retribution often fails to coincide with the impulse to deter. So for instance, if someone vandalizes my car, I'm not going to think to myself, "gee, I hope that person is punished visibly enough so that others are deterred by seeing the consequences of committing vandalism." No way! Instead, I'm going to feel in my gut a desire for retribution. I'm going to think things like, "I hope that jerk gets what's coming to him!" In the heat of the moment, deterrence may not concern me at all.

So even though I wasn't motivated by deterrence, nor any other desire to maximize the well-being of conscious creatures, nevertheless we may want to celebrate my retributive impulse to the extent that, motivations aside, it still leads to increased well-being when visible retribution acts as a deterrent.

With all this in mind, recall your comment from before:

"I think the primary purpose of punishment is for the sake of justice---giving people what they deserve."

I'm not sure it's the primary purpose, but I do agree that just deserts are certainly part of the motivation for punishment. What I'm trying to say here is that meting out just deserts is in turn instrumentally valuable in maximizing the well-being of conscious creatures. If it wasn't valuable in this way, we'd have no reason to connect justice to morality.

I also want to say a few words about God's supposed morally sufficient reasons for human suffering. You write:

"1. Whatever God does, he has a morally sufficient reason for doing it.
2. God does X.
3. Therefore, God has a morally sufficient reason for doing X."

That's fine, I suppose, but I just want to be clear that this is really the only way to go in the case of suffering. But I think most Christians want to know more than just (3). Instead, they want to know as much as they can what God's reasons actually are. Now, I've argued that we do not currently know his reasons, and in fact, we aren't even able to list any possible reasons he might have. That doesn't mean (3) is false. But it may lead us to a sense of dissatisfaction in simply assuming the truth of (1).

So I hope that helps clarify my position.

Thanks for the discussion so far!

Ben,


"Why God why!" has led me further into Him and into His company than, probably, anything whatsoever has. Except perhaps that Hound......

Ben,


Your entire question is not why God “uses” Suffering, but, I think, why God forces Suffering.


Now, this entire series of questions is built on your assumption that God pushed Man off the cliff in Eden, and it assumes that there is more than one possible Image for God to fashion in Man when Power wills His Image. Clearly, each of those are contrary to scripture. God did not push Man off a cliff in Eden, and, the only Necessary Image is God’s Image, and thus W1 is not only Necessary but Good and no “other image” is even possible for us to consider once Power wills “that” Image. All of this was already described *somewhat* earlier here and in referenced threads.


There are those who hold some beliefs about Eden which God’s own words to Man expressly contradict. We find in God the Triune sort of Person and in such a Person we find necessarily a Triune Will. Now, that has all been described here already, and also tied into how that grounds the presence of Choice within God. Perfection, and Will, as it turns out, are just as Triune in fabric as is Person. Three Perfect Wills. Three Perfects, which are Distinct. From that point forward, there is the easy path (already described earlier) to the necessity of Choice in Eden. Power wills such, and, we know that Power certainly can create a creature capable of making choices. There is no difficulty (theologically) regarding Eden’s two doors as the result of either path leads Man necessarily to the Knowledge of Evil (which is Good) and of that Eternally Sacrificed Self. That was described earlier here and in its referenced threads. One Door just is Isolation and thus Suffering, while the other Door is Life. It is Man’s Will, and Man’s Person, which must stand in Eden and in Gethsemane and, like Lucifer, like the First Adam, like the Last Adam, move towards God or out of God (there is more to it of course, as already described earlier and in referenced threads). God does not need Suffering (we cannot call it necessary, as we must call the components of His Own Image) to reach His end, though Suffering is necessarily available in Eden as any Created Self just cannot be Self-Sufficient (and what that necessary insufficiency leads to has already been described).

There are some who hold that God’s expressly stated words to Man in Eden are to be overlooked: man did not have the capacity to eat of that tree we call life. Most Christians will see the obvious there and grant that God meant what He said. That is theologically irksome to all of us, and this is only to show Ben and those who have this (very good) question that there is in fact logical coherence elsewhere. Ben, your entire question here is thus baseless because though God “uses” Suffering, it is Man who Falls and not God Who pushes him, and, only W1 is possible. Now, the Triune’s necessary choice within Himself (Will’s Triune topography) shows the necessity of this nuance of choice between multiple perfect distincts. In threads already referenced earlier here this is better described (Eden’s Palindrome) and I’m not going to do justice to it here.

There is much that is not necessary which has come about through Man’s move into Self and thus out of union with Life. God has not left it up to Man to decide if Man will Know God: Man will. God has all of it, every bit of it, regardless of what Man does, well in Hand. Eden’s Palindrome was described elsewhere. If I chose to give my child three toys to play with, and the capacity of choice, he simply has no choice other than those I afford to Him. It becomes impossible for the child to go outside the limits I set; the child just cannot do so. And, he can choose any toy I’ve created, and, he can use his capacity to choose to so choose, which I’ve also gifted him with. There just is nothing at all, ever, which the child has or can have or does or can do which I myself have not created and granted. The Compatible-ist nuance leaks through I suppose that is not the point here either.


I know you hold that there are multiple worlds available to God, but as described earlier, when Power Wills His Image, His Own components become “necessarily present” in Man, and, thus Power wills Man’s Capacity of Choice, among many other capacities. There is only W1, only one possible world when Love Wills to Beget yet more Love, and the logical coherency of that conclusion was already covered. Why then create at all? We may think that Water may first “get wet” but it just is not so; Water “just is” wet and in Love’s Triune we find the I and the You forever begetting the Singular-We. This is just what Love does. Love begets Love and in that interior we find that Motion Among and Between Distinct Selves and such is both Good and Necessary and how that ties into Eden was briefly touched on earlier. We can easily draw logic’s line to this necessary conclusion: It never could have been otherwise.


Now we come to this: once that motion is taken by Man, the rest is fair game for God to lay His Hands own and use in any fashion He wills. We find here that Suffering (this world’s present condition) was not necessary in the sense that God’s Image is necessary there in Eden (better described in referenced threads earlier) and we find here a sort of culpability in Mankind, and, we also come again to this: we leaped off the cliff, God did not push us off, so to speak, and only W1 is possible, and W1 is both Good and Necessary. There is now in this fallen world all sorts of Evil and all of it, every bit of it, is perfectly subject to God’s Will to use in any fashion He sees fit and when we realize that His love for Man necessarily leads to Man’s Best (described earlier) and to Man’s eternal glorification by God (described earlier) and to God’s eternal Glorification by Man (described earlier) it becomes readily apparent that evil of all sorts is being justly used by God for the Palindrome that is Love’s Glory wherein Self just does Glorify Other (described earlier). This obviously includes our suffering.


The answer to these questions and to Eden’s Two Trees are all found inside of the Fabric of what “triune” necessarily invokes if Power Wills that fabric’s existence in Man (Image) and inside the Fabric of what “love” necessarily invokes if Power Wills that fabric’s existence in Man (Image), as already described. Power wills His Own Image and Power easily *can* reproduce such in Eden, and in fact He did just that, only, as discussed earlier here and in referenced threads, while the movement into Self is a Good motion for the Uncreated, it must yield isolation (suffering) for any Created Being necessarily if the creature should do so absolutely, for no created entity can be self-sufficient (all things consist by Him).


As described earlier in detail, Epistemology's Relational Know and Relational Keeps-On-Knowing within Uncreated Ontology show us why an Exact, Literal, Actual world is necessary if Created Beings are to have the Best sort of Knowing. And we have already seen that Eden’s Necessary Components are all grounded, quite easily, in the necessary truth that, first, Power cannot create any Created Being that is Self-Sufficient, and, secondly, in the necessary effects that arise from that Triune Topography of Person, of Will, of Epistemology, of Ontology, of Love, and of Perfection itself. All these things give us exactly what we see in Eden and in its Two Trees. We can ask, “Why does God use suffering?” for He does, as He will use all things for His Glory, which necessarily entails Man’s glorification too, and thus Man’s final felicity and utter Joy, as described earlier. What we cannot ask, however, is “Why did God push Man off the cliff back there in Eden?” If Power willed choice to exist in Eden, it existed in Eden. The Palindrome which that necessity mandates was easily accounted for earlier, for although God gives Man choice in some things, He does not grant him choice in all things: Man will know Evil, and Good, and Life, and that Final Amalgamation between Absolute-Need and All-Sufficiency within God’s Eternally Sacrificed Self regardless of which Tree he eats of, as to know the whole is to know the parts necessarily (as already touched on in referenced threads) and in His Image there inside the Triune the Self and the Other just do cross, and thus Man and God just will cross. W1 could not be otherwise.

In no other pattern other than this odd Triune God do we find a ground sturdy enough to support the massive weight of such a statement asserted against the whole entire universe as the statement that in all of reality, in all possible worlds, in all multi-verses there is but One Perpetual Incline toward but One Eternal Language and the Immutable Semantics therein comprise this: Love.


If one holds that Love is the Ultimate Ethic, then there is only Christ, that Eternally Sacrificed Self in Whom and through Whom and by Whom all the necessary prerequisites of such a statement which must precede Man and all the necessary prerequisites of such a statement which must eternally accompany Man are fully satisfied and eternally sustained.

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