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August 17, 2010

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For additional interesting note:


"He has blinded their eyes
and hardened their heart,
lest they see with their eyes,
and understand with their heart, and turn,
and I would heal them."
Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him. John 12:40-41

In this verse we see John quotes Isaiah 6:9 and says its Jesus' glory.

When we read Isaiah 6, we see the glory is speaking of God.

Jesus is the one sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up and his robe filled the temple.

No attribute of God can be emphasized enough. The love of God cannot be emphasized enough. Neither can the holiness of God. God's love, justice and holiness can be misunderstood, but cannot be overemphasized once properly understood.

For instance, the problem with the view according to which God's justice requires that he subject someone to harsh treatment even if not for the welfare of that person, and chooses to subject the innocent to harsh treatment so that the guilty can escape harsh treatment is not that this view emphasizes God's justice over God's love. No. This view doesn't emphasize God's justice in the least. Instead, it misconstrues God's justice, perhaps by misconstruing divine punishment. I have in mind the sorts of misunderstandings harbored by those who would despise the words of George MacDonald:

When a man loathes himself, he has begun to be saved. Punishment tends to this result. Not for its own sake, not as a make-up for sin, not for divine revenge--horrible word, not for any satisfaction to justice, can punishment exist. Punishment is for the sake of amendment and atonement. God is bound by his love to punish sin in order to deliver his creature; he is bound by his justice to destroy sin in his creation. Love is justice--is the fulfilling of the law, for God as well as for his children. This is the reason of punishment; this is why justice requires that the wicked shall not go unpunished--that they, through the eye-opening power of pain, may come to see and do justice, may be brought to desire and make all possible amends, and so become just.

Similarly, the problem with those who think that God will simply overlook sin without taking the fiercest measures necessary to eradicate it in his children is not that they emphasize God's love too much, but rather that they fail to emphasize it at all. On the contrary, they pervert it.

So, it is not true that anyone erred by overemphasizing God's love. Instead, the principal error has always been mistaking God's attributes for a cheap imitation.

Would it be a stretch that 3 "Holies" correlates to a Triune Godhead?

"For instance, when Jesus emphasized something He began with "Truly, truly I say to you." Truer words you won't find on the internet. There's a really animated debate that I thought would be of interest on evolution vs. intelligent design going on at http://www.intelligentdesignfacts.com

Malebranche,
Regarding God's Holy nature, I asked you a few blog posts back to comment on the logical statement below and I don't recall that you did.

(a) God is Holy.
(b) God's purposeful plan for humanity is X.
(c) God's purposeful plan for humanity is not a morally evil plan.

SteveK,

Your (b) contains a free variable and therefore does not admit of a truth-value. Fill ‘X’ in with a constant and you will have a sentence on your hands capable of bearing a truth-value. Until you do that, no one can remark intelligibly on the truth value of (b).

SteveK,

In other words, your (b) is no more capable of being true or false as the following:

God's purposeful plan for humanity is ?

Malebranche,

Fill ‘X’ in with a constant and you will have a sentence on your hands capable of bearing a truth-value.

Logic works with variables all the time so you are wrong in saying that X must be known. For example:

All X are Y.
Socrates is an X.
Socrates is Y

What I wrote could be rephrased any number of ways. Perhaps you'd like to comment on this version instead?

(a) All that God creates is morally good.
(b) God created a plan for humanity.
(c) The plan for humanity is morally good.

SteveK,

It should have been plain to you that asking me, "Do you believe that God's plan is X?" without further context is silly.

In order to address the point about your (b) not counting as a sentence, I will quote a passage from page 112 of Boolos', Burgess', and Jeffrey's famous logic textbook "Computability and Logic" (4th Ed.):

"Fourth and finally, again using the notion of free and bound occurrence of variables, we state the official definition of sentence: a formula is a sentence if no occurrence of any variable in it is free."

So, your (b) is not a sentence according to the canons of logic. The fact that logicians use variables is entirely consistent with that point.

But I have no interest in going round and round about this with you. It is clearly the case that asking me, "Do you believe it is true that God's plan is X?" without more context is inadequate. Consider that to be my final response to that portion of your question.

Now for your updated (a) through (c). All of those claims are true.

Malebranche

Now for your updated (a) through (c). All of those claims are true.

Okay, great. I'm not a formal logician so I appreciate the charity.

Now, can you think of a possible logical statment, one where the plan for humanity is known/fixed, that would render this updated (a)-(c) false? If so, please write it out in logical form as best you can.

SteveK,

Oh that's easy. Here's a proposition (expressed in the natural language) that is not consistent with your (a) through (c):

(d) God becomes incarnate and molests children in order to entertain himself.

That's plainly inconsistent with (a) through (c) and one doesn't need to search the Scriptures in order to be able to see that.

Malebranche
Logically speaking, what makes it inconsistent? If all X are Y and if your (d) is a specific example of X then how is it not Y?

SteveK,

Here's the inconsistency:

(1) Suppose (for reductio ad absurdum) that God's plan includes divine molestation for entertainment (or DME for short).
(2) Necessarily, all of God's plans are good (from your (a) through (c) above).
(3) Necessarily, if God's plan includes DME, then it is false that all of God's plans are good (necessary moral truth evident from the unaided God-given natural light of reason).
(4) Therefore, it is false that all of God's plans are good (from supposition and (3); contradicts (2)).
(5) Therefore, necessarily, it is false that God's plan includes DME (from (1) through (4).

Notice I deduced a contradiction from the assumption and propositions entailed by your (a) through (c). Therefore, divine molestation for entertainment as a divine plan is not consistent with your (a) through (c).

What fact of reality makes (3) necessarily false?

SteveK,

Premise (3) of my reductio is not necessarily false. It's not even contingently false. It's necessarily true. So, no fact about reality makes (3) necessarily false. Premise (3) is a necessary truth evident by the light of reason.

Malebranche,

Premise (3) is a necessary truth evident by the light of reason.

Mental concepts are true if they correspond with the facts of reality. We know reality by the "light of reason", however it is incorrect to think that (3) is reality BECAUSE of reason. Reason can help me know that the object in front of me is an apple, but reason doesn't make it an apple.

The only necessary fact of reality is God so my money is on God being the ONLY thing that makes necessary moral reality, necessary. You seem to be saying that something else is responsible for making necessary moral reality when it comes to the DME example.

Stevek,

I never even hinted at what explains the truth of premise (3), largely because it is not relevant to my argument. Moreover, I never even hinted that the light of reason explains why premise (3) is true. Regardless of the answer to these questions, however, premise (3) is true and knowable by the light of reason.

Malebranche
It is THE reason we've been having this long discussion. You claim certain necessary moral realities exist - the moral reality of God's plan for humanity, for example - and I wanted to know what makes/explains that reality being what it is. Where do you ground moral reality? I've given you my answer, now it's your turn.

What grounds the moral reality of premise (3) such that it cannot be otherwise?

SteveK,

The reason we had a long discussion is because I said it would obviously not be good news to the world if God freely abandoned it to the worst possible future when it was within his power to redeem it. A consequence of this is that Koukl's gospel is about the worst news one could imagine to the world, news that kills the joy of those who choose to not myopically focus only on the minority God redeems. I'm done discussing this. Consider these my final remarks.

The question about what grounds morality is irrelevant to my claim. I asserted that a proposition is true, namely, the proposition that God freely abandoning the world to eternal languishing when he could have saved it is not good news to the world. That is an obviously true proposition, despite the shuffling of feet I've seen on this blog about it (motivated no doubt by nervous anxiety about letting go of long-held theological dogmas cloaked in fidelity to Scripture). Moreover, it is obviously true regardless of the meta-ethical question of what explains the truth of that proposition. It is perfectly possible to know that a proposition is true without knowing what explains the truth of the proposition.

Similarly, premise (3) of my reductio is obviously true and is knowable independently of Scripture. The question about what explains the truth of premise (3) can in no way take away from the fact that premise (3) is true and knowable independently from special revelation.

Malebranche

The question about what grounds morality is irrelevant to my claim.

Of course it's relevant.

I asserted that a proposition is true, namely, the proposition that God freely abandoning the world to eternal languishing when he could have saved it is not good news to the world. That is an obviously true proposition

No, it's an obvious assertion - you said it yourself. What makes it an assertion that corresponds to a necessary moral reality?

Answer: the necessary moral reality makes it so.

For some reason you don't want to be bothered to think about what that necessary reality actually is that is forever "pushing" itself on your mind, causing you to perceive it. Naturalists say it's the hard-wiring of evolution, or it's social conditioning - but neither of these are necessary. What does scripture say it is?

The question about what explains the truth of premise (3) can in no way take away from the fact that premise (3) is true and knowable independently from special revelation.

How did you come to know the necessary moral particulars about an unidentified being on your very own?

SteveK,

How did you come to know the necessary moral particulars about an unidentified being on your very own?

The unaided natural light of reason. See Plato, Justin Martyr, Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Leibniz, as well as the entire natural theology/natural law tradition of the Christian faith for details.

"In this passage in which Isaiah has a vision of the angels worshiping God in Heaven, it is the only time one of God's attributes is repeated - not just twice, but three times. "

Actually, this is not precisely accurate. Revelation 4:8 also repeats the same attribute thrice. Just as a point of interest.

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