Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The God of the Bible lives

I have been asked for evidence for the existence of the God of the Bible, Who alone is God and Creator. My favorite three lines of argumentation are the Cosmological (aka Kalam) argument, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ in real space and time, and the Transcendental argument. Perhaps the former 2 I might deal w/ later, but the latter gets to the heart of the issue when an atheist questions God's very existence.

Strangely relevant to my discussion w/ the Jolly Nihilist is the famous Bahnsen-Stein debate from several years ago. I say "strangely relevant" b/c it seems to me that the JN takes virtually the same position as Stein in the debate, and so Bahnsen's points strike directly at the heart of the JN's position.
Below I have pasted the relevant portion from Greg Bahnsen's opening statement. The unfairly short answer to "How do you know God exists?" is "The impossibility of the contrary." I expect to refer back to this post a few times in the future.
In your mind, just replace every occurrence relevant to "Dr. Stein" (Bahnsen's opponent in the debate) w/ a more general wording, and you'll get the idea.

--Transcript begins--

The assumption that all existence claims are questions about matters of fact, the assumption that all of these are answered in the very same way is not only over simplified and misleading, it is simply mistaken. The existence, factuality or reality of different kinds of things is not established or disconfirmed in the same way in every case.

We might ask , "Is there a box of crackers in the pantry?" And we know how we would go about answering that question. But that is a far, far cry from the way we go about answering questions determining the reality of say, barometric pressure, quasars, gravitational attraction, elasticity, radio activity, natural laws, names, grammar, numbers, the university itself that you're now at, past events, categories, future contingencies, laws of thought, political obligations, individual identity over time, causation, memories, dreams, or even love or beauty. In such cases, one does not do anything like walk to the pantry and look inside for the crackers. There are thousands of existence or factual questions, and they are not at all answered in the same way in each case.

Just think of the differences in argumentation and the types of evidences used by biologists, grammarians, physicists, mathematicians, lawyers, magicians, mechanics, merchants, and artists. It should be obvious from this that the types of evidence one looks for in existence or factual claims will be determined by the field of discussion and especially by the metaphysical nature of the entity mentioned in the claim under question. Dr. Stein's remark that the question of the existence of God is answered in the same way as any other factual question, mistakenly reduces the theistic question to the same level as the box of crackers in the pantry, which we will hereafter call the crackers in the pantry fallacy.

I take it he wishes to judge hypotheses in the common sense - by tests of logical coherence and empirical observation. The problem arises when Dr. Stein elsewhere insists that every claim that someone makes must be treated as a hypothesis which must be tested by such evidence before accepting it. "There is to be nothing," he says, "which smacks of begging the question or circular reasoning." This, I think, is oversimplified thinking and again misleading, what we might call the Pretended Neutrality fallacy. One can see this by considering the following quotation from Dr. Stein: "The use of logic or reason is the only valid way to examine the truth or falsity of any statement which claims to be factual." One must eventually ask Dr. Stein, then, how he proves this statement itself. That is, how does he prove that logic or reason is the only way to prove factual statements? If by logic or reason, then he is engaging in circular reasoning; and he's begging the question which he [supposedly] forbids. If he says that the statement is proven in some other fashion, then he refutes the statement itself, that logic or reason is the only way to prove things.

Now my point is not to fault Dr. Stein's commitment to logic or reason, but to observe that it actually has the nature of a pre commitment or a presupposition. It is not something that he has proven by empirical experience or logic, but it is rather that by which he proceeds to prove everything else. He is not presuppositionally neutral in his approach to factual questions and disputes. He does not avoid begging crucial questions, rather than proving them in what we might call the garden variety, ordinary way. Now this tendency to beg crucial questions is openly exposed by Dr. Stein when the issue becomes the existence of God; because he demands that the theist present him with the evidence for the existence of God. Well, theists like myself would gladly and readily do so. There is the evidence of the created order itself testifying to the wisdom. power, plan, and glory of God. One should not miss the testimony of the solar system, the persuasion of the sea, the amazing intricacies of the human body. There's the evidence of history: God's deliverance of His people, the miracles on Passover night and [at] the Red Sea, the visions in Isaiah, the Shekinah Glory that filled the Temple, the Virgin Birth of Jesus, His mighty miracles, His resurrection from the dead.

There's the evidence of Special Revelation, the wonder of the Bible as God's Word, unsurpassed in its coherence over time, in its historical accuracy and its life-renewing power. In short, there is no shortage of empirical indicators or evidences of God's existence - from the thousand stars of the heavens to the 500 witnesses of Christ's resurrection. But, Dr. Stein precludes the very possibility of any of this empirical evidence counting as proof for God's existence. He writes, " Supernatural explanations are not allowed in science. The theist is hard put to document his claims for the existence of the supernatural if he is in effect forbidden from evoking the supernatural as a part of his explanation. Of course, this is entirely fair; as it would be begging the question to use what has to be proved as a part of the explanation." In advance, you see, Dr. Stein is committed to disallowing any theistic interpretation of nature, history or experience. What he seems to overlook is that this is just as much begging the question on his own part as it is on the part of the theist. who appeal to such evidence. He has not at all proven by empirical observation and logic his pre commitment to Naturalism. He has assumed it in advance, accepting and rejecting all further factual claims in terms of that controlling and unproved assumption. Now the theist does the very same thing, don't get me wrong. When certain empirical evidences are put forth as likely disproving the existence of God, the theist regiments his commitments in terms of his presuppositions, as well. Just as the Naturalist would insist that Christ could not have risen from the dead, or that there is a natural explanation yet to be found of how he did rise from the dead, so the supernaturalist will insist that the alleged discrepancies in the Bible have an explanation - some yet to be found, perhaps - and that the evil of this world has a sufficient reason behind it, known at least to God. They both have their governing presuppositions by which the facts of experience are interpreted, even as all philosophical systems, all world views do. At the most fundamental level of everyone's thinking and beliefs there are primary convictions about reality, man, the world, knowledge, truth, behavior, and such things. Convictions about which all other experience is organized, interpreted, and applied. Dr. Stein has such presuppositions, so do I, and so do all of you. And it is these presuppositions which determine what we accept by ordinary reasoning and evidence, for they are assumed in all of our reasoning - even about reasoning itself.

How should the difference of opinion between the atheist and the theist be rationally resolved? That was my opening question. We've seen two of Dr. Stein's errors regarding it: the crackers in the pantry fallacy and the pretended neutrality fallacy. In the process of discussing them we've observed that belief in the existence of God is not tested in any ordinary way like other factual claims. And the reason for that is metaphysically because of the non-natural character of God, and epistemologically, because of the presuppositional character of commitment for or against His existence. Arguments over conflicting presuppositions between world views, therefore, must be resolved somewhat differently, and yet still rationally, from conflicts over factual existence claims within a world view or system of thought. When we go to look at the different world views that atheists and theists have, I suggest we can prove the existence of God from the impossibility of the contrary. The transcendental proof for God's existence is that without Him it is impossible to prove anything. The atheist world view is irrational and cannot consistently provide the preconditions of intelligible experience, science, logic, or morality. The atheist world view cannot allow for laws of logic, the uniformity of nature, the ability for the mind to understand the world, and moral absolutes. In that sense the atheist world view cannot account for our debate tonight.

18 comments:

Kyle said...

The truth is so beautiful and everytime I hear or read that debate, it gives me great pleasure. The truth that God exists is self evident and atheists reveal their Neutrality Fallacy when they beg the question for evidence of God's existence.

Atheists believe many things without evidence. Primarily, they believe that Naturalism is true and that the entire Universe is uniform without evidence that it is so. I mean, it is so vast that much of the light of distant stars has not reached us. We have no data to come to such lofty conclusions as THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE IS UNIFORM IN COMPOSITION AND PHYSICAL LAWS. How do we know that light doesn't move in curly Q's in galaxies beyond the reach of our best telescopes? Not based on evidence, but on assumption. I would grant that presupposition is reasonable but then I would point out firmly that it is a presupposition that was not arrived at by the scientific method. It is an inference from the evidence. The kinds of evidence for God are inferences that can be drawn from the way the world is. It is blatantly inconsistent for atheists to demand scientific evidence without appealing to presuppositions, when they themselves do not do likewise. I can tell you why they behave that way based on my inference of the evidence of TGOTB.
Romans 1:21 "The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness"
It is unrighteous to criticise someone for their POV when you yourself commit the very same 'errors' you claim your opponent makes.
God is watching, and it makes him, really, really, really mad.

You can change your mind, trust in Jesus, and he will forgive you but you have no chance of convincing him you 'just didn't know' when you stand before him and are judged.

davidbmclaughlin.com said...

Great post from a great debate.

Kyle,
"How do we know that light doesn't move in curly Q's in galaxies beyond the reach of our best telescopes? Not based on evidence, but on assumption."

very nice observation!

The Jolly Nihilist said...

A few points on this...

There is the evidence of the created order itself testifying to the wisdom. power, plan, and glory of God. One should not miss the testimony of the solar system, the persuasion of the sea, the amazing intricacies of the human body. There's the evidence of history: God's deliverance of His people, the miracles on Passover night and [at] the Red Sea, the visions in Isaiah, the Shekinah Glory that filled the Temple, the Virgin Birth of Jesus, His mighty miracles, His resurrection from the dead.

Incredibly weak presentation of alleged evidences. He appeals to the argument from design, which has been savaged time and again by atheists. Indeed, the argument from design ought to be retired permanently by theists. Then, he presupposes the Bible's validity by treating anecdotes contained within it as factual. [This, by the way, is begging the question. If the Bible is treated as factual from the start, then TgOTB also is treated as factual from the start.] Human parthenogenesis, parting of the seas, corpse resurrection and other biblical miracles remain very much in the "doubtful" category. Bahnsen might as well be pulling any fairy story from any allegedly holy tome.

First substantiate the Bible, then use it as evidence.


the 500 witnesses of Christ's resurrection

No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle unless the testimony be of such a kind that its falsity would be more miraculous than the miracle it endeavors to establish.

In any event, the historicity of the Bible is highly questionable.


The transcendental proof for God's existence is that without Him it is impossible to prove anything. The atheist world view is irrational and cannot consistently provide the preconditions of intelligible experience, science, logic, or morality. The atheist world view cannot allow for laws of logic, the uniformity of nature, the ability for the mind to understand the world, and moral absolutes. In that sense the atheist world view cannot account for our debate tonight.

Bahnsen does not actually explain how god provides the preconditions of intelligible experience, science, logic, or morality. He just states it. He also does not actually explain how intelligible experience, science, logic, or morality would break down in a godless universe. He just states they would. In any event, that is not the major problem here.

The major problem is that Bahnsen presupposes the nature of god. He believes that god is a good grounds for logic, reason, induction, etc. because of elements of god's nature and character. For example, it might be crucial that god is infinite. It might be crucial that god is the sole deity. It might be crucial that god eternally has been the deity. In any event, it is not rational to presuppose the nature of the very deity being questioned.

Why predicate the argument on presumptions about god? How did Bahnsen--or anybody else, for that matter--gain knowledge about god, his nature and his characteristics? From whence did these alleged attributes come?

TAG is fallacious because it presumes god's nature, without a shred of justification.

John Morales said...

Argumentation by quotation of another.

Try it in your own words and I might read it.

Lucian said...

I'm glad You finally discovered this.

Too bad we all die, though: even the saints are dead, after all, now, are they?

Rhology said...

hi JN,

-Actually, he doesn't appeal to the argument from design at all. Read the context.
That's not to say that I think it's without merit. Just b/c atheists have gone after it doesn't mean it's been defeated.
-And of course he presupposes the Bible's validity; he says so in the debate explicitly. He points out that the atheist begs the question too, so he wants to find a different way to figure this question out. The way he discovers is to take on the view of the opponent for the sake of argument and see if it comports with reality. He did with atheism and it was found wanting. He did with Christianity and it worked. So did I.
-Jesus' resurrection from the dead is not mythological in nature - you're just making that up. Using such hyperbole can really damage your credibility.
-The Bible is not used as evidence - you missed his entire point.
-Your prejudice against the supernatural also damages your credibility. 500 people witnessed the risen Christ. But obviously, they were all lying or hallucinatory. Never mind that the body couldn't be produced, the tomb was found empty by many, Christ appeared to many, His followers went out and died martyr's deaths for something they would have known was untrue if indeed it were untrue. And no one is asking you to take only the Bible's testimony on this, but consider: 1) it's not "the Bible"; there were quite a few different writers; 2) the very course of Roman history (and elsewhere) was radically altered by this incident.
-Bahnsen explains that God provides the preconditions for intelligibility b/c He grounds them in His character. No other grounding has ever proven possible or logical. I've repeatedly asked you, for example, for your explanation, and all you do is repeat yourself over and over - it's evidence. But what's the evidence for that? Well, evidence is.
-Bahnsen does not believe that God is a "good" grounds for these things; his position (and mine) is that He is the only grounds for them.
-We presuppose God b/c we're arguing in a way so as to justify 1st principles. If I don't grant you that evidence is evidentiary (b/c that's part of the question), then what other methodology would you propose?

John,

Fine, nice talking to you.

Lucian,

Your comment is totally irrelevant.
And yes, the saints are dead. If they were justified in God's sight, they live with Him forever. It's on you to explain how they can hear our prayers, why the SCr never commands or even suggests that we communicate with them and indeed forbids it, and how that doesn't make a saint a 2nd mediator between God and man, usurping Christ's place. Maybe I'll post sthg on that at Beggars All when I get a chance.

Peace,
Rhology

Lucian said...

500 people witnessed the risen Christ. But obviously, they were all lying or hallucinatory.

The problem, my friend, is that we can't even know for sure IF these people even existed IN THE FIRST PLACE! -- I believe they did; so do You ... but ask Yourself: HOW will You make our atheu fiends KNOW this for a FACT ?

Rhology said...

That's why I didn't appeal to this evidence for the post. It's tangential, as explained by Bahnsen himself in the statement.

Lucian said...

OK, I'll help You out here a bit:

1) how many Gods are there?
2) how many Sons of God are there?
3) how many Lords are there?
4) how many Saints are there?
5) how many Redeemers are there?
6) how many Mediators are there?
7) ... etc.

I'll wait for Your answers. :-)

Rhology said...

Lucian,

1.
1.
1.
Lots - all the redeemed of God are saints.
1.
1.

Hopefully that helps.

Lucian said...

1) Truly there is but One God, and One God only (the Shemah, for instance ... right?). But this One, True God says to us: "Ye all are Gods; all of you sons of the Most High". And to Moses: "I've made you God over Pharaoh". So, in the virtue of this One, true God, we all are Gods.

2) Truly there is but One Son of God, the Only-Begotten of the Father before all ages. But this One Son of the One God reminds us of what He Himself has previously said to us in the O.T.: "Don't you know that it was said to those of old: >I have said: Ye all are Gods, and all of you are sons of the Most High<". So, in the virtue of this One, true Son of God, we all are sons of God.

3) Truly there is but One Lord (Isaiah 42:8; Ephesians 4:5). Yet there are a lot of instances where the word "lords" legitimately appears, or where humans are legitimately called by this name (especially kings, or *husbands*). So, in the virtue of this One, true Lord, we all are Lords. -- because "we shall REIGN with Him" (2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 20:6). See also: Romans 13:1; Ephesians 1:21, 3:15; Colossians 2:10.

4) Just One is truly Holy: the Holy One of Israel, who finds fault even with his [white-clad, glorious, light-shining] angels (Job 4:18). "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts. Hallelujah!" (Isaiah 6:3), in front of Whom even His saintly Prophet exclaimed: "Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips". All our righteousness is in front of Him as a towel that a woman has thrown away.
Yet the word "saints" appears all over the N.T.: "Be holy, even as your Heavenly Father is Holy". So, in the virtue of this One, Who is truly Holy, we all are called upon to engage in holiness, and made saints.

5) Truly there is but One Redeemer: Jesus, "for He will save His people". He's also "the lamb of God that washeth away the sin of the world". Yet James, the Brother of God, says in his holy epistle: James 5:20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall SAVE a soul from death, and shall HIDE a multitude of sins. So, in the virtue of this One, true Redeemer, we all are made saviours (and St. Paul even asks us to "REDEEM the time, for the days are evil"). (And also Fisher of men, BUT we do not kill men by fishing them, but we're rescueing them from the abyss into which the devil has drowned them -- because it is natural for a fish to dwell in the water ... but for a MAN, it is NOT).

6) Truly there is but One Mediator between God and man: Jesus Christ, Who is BOTH God AND man. And yet we see Elijah "how he maketh *intercession* to God against Israel, saying ... " (Romans 11:2); and St. Paul himself exorting us "that, first of all, supplications, prayers, *intercessions*, and giving of thanks, be made for all men" (1 Timothy 2:1); or the same Apostle asking Corinthians, Colossians, Thessalonians and Hebrews to pray for one another, and for him also: (2 Corinthians 1:11, 9:14; Colossians 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:25; 2 Thessalonians 3:1; Hebrews 13:18). MORE THAN THAT, the very phrase "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" is situated JUST 5 verses away from the supplication he made in 1 Timothy 2:1, and which I've cited just above. The same goes for Hebrews 13:18 [referenced above, at 'intercessions'] following Hebrews 12:24, whixch talks about "Jesus the mediator of the New Covenant".
We can continue with "the prayers of saints", mentioned in Revelation 5:8, and 8:3-4. And the words of those intercessions are written down by the holy God-seer in Revelation 6:9-11: And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. (See? The saints are not "dead" afterall: Matthew 9:24, Mark 5:39, and Luke 8:52 {BTW, are You here among those who "laughed Him to scorn"?})
So, in the virtue of this One Mediator, we all are made intrecessors and mediators for our brothers and sisters.

The Jolly Nihilist said...

Greetings, Rhology!

Actually, he doesn't appeal to the argument from design at all. Read the context.
That's not to say that I think it's without merit. Just b/c atheists have gone after it doesn't mean it's been defeated.


He appeals directly to the argument from design, by my reading. Consider this quote:

“There is the evidence of the created order itself testifying to the wisdom, power, plan, and glory of God. One should not miss the testimony of the solar system, the persuasion of the sea, the amazing intricacies of the human body.”

That is textbook argument from design. It’s unmistakable as such. I don’t think there’s any need to rehash the argument from design here. It’s been utterly savaged by decades of atheistic assaults. It’s in tatters.


And of course he presupposes the Bible's validity; he says so in the debate explicitly. He points out that the atheist begs the question too, so he wants to find a different way to figure this question out. The way he discovers is to take on the view of the opponent for the sake of argument and see if it comports with reality. He did with atheism and it was found wanting. He did with Christianity and it worked. So did I.

In my judgment, he handicapped atheism from the start. After all, this is the same person who forwarded the question-begging Transcendental Argument. You know, the argument that says rationality depends upon the Christian god’s existence. I think his rejection of the atheistic stance probably has a lot to do with his acceptance of TAG and, thus, his inability to find reason without Yahweh. However, since TAG is so much question begging, that justification for rejecting atheism is wrong.

Also, as I already have said, Yahweh himself cannot be an axiom, because Yahweh is reducible to immaterial consciousness. Axioms are supposed to be irreducible.

Also, there is no uniqueness proof here. Any sufficiently similar god to Yahweh would fulfill Bahnsen’s needs vis-à-vis rationality and reasoning.


Jesus' resurrection from the dead is not mythological in nature - you're just making that up. Using such hyperbole can really damage your credibility.

Jesus’ alleged resurrection from the dead would be miraculous. Hume’s Maxim applies to any phenomenon that (a) would be miraculous, and (b) is justified by appealing to eyewitness testimony. No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle unless the testimony be of such a nature that its falsity would be more miraculous than the fact it endeavors to establish. That is Hume’s Maxim.


The Bible is not used as evidence - you missed his entire point.

He explicitly uses the Bible as evidence. Again, I shall quote him:

“There's the evidence of history: God's deliverance of His people, the miracles on Passover night and [at] the Red Sea, the visions in Isaiah, the Shekinah Glory that filled the Temple, the Virgin Birth of Jesus, His mighty miracles, His resurrection from the dead.”

The parting of the Red Sea, the virgin birth of Jesus and Jesus’ own miracles are not historical facts; rather, they are biblical anecdotes. To present them as historical facts is to assign the Bible the status of history textbook. He is using the Bible as evidence here, flagrantly and shamelessly.


Your prejudice against the supernatural also damages your credibility. 500 people witnessed the risen Christ. But obviously, they were all lying or hallucinatory. Never mind that the body couldn't be produced, the tomb was found empty by many, Christ appeared to many, His followers went out and died martyr's deaths for something they would have known was untrue if indeed it were untrue. And no one is asking you to take only the Bible's testimony on this, but consider: 1) it's not "the Bible"; there were quite a few different writers; 2) the very course of Roman history (and elsewhere) was radically altered by this incident.

I again appeal to Hume’s Maxim. The resurrection story fails on that handy standard. Jesus rising from the dead would be much more miraculous than 500 people lying (presuming, of course, the whole part about witnesses wasn’t just fabricated). When it comes to secular historians who lived simultaneously with Jesus, not a single one saw fit to mention him—none. No miracles, no followers, no resurrection, no bodily ascension. No mention at all by secular historians living simultaneously. Mentions of Jesus in the secular historical tradition only came after he had been dead awhile and Christian mythology given a chance to seep its way into people’s minds.

When it comes to martyrs, we have no good secular historical accounts from 33CE. You accept the Bible’s narrative, and I am skeptical. When it comes to later times, once again, the Christian mythology had been given time to seep into the culture. Perhaps some people became martyrs because they truly believed—to their bones—in an elaborate fiction. The hijackers on 9/11 were martyrs in the Islamic tradition, and both you and I believe Islam is bunk. I put your martyrs in the same category: sadly mistaken.


Bahnsen explains that God provides the preconditions for intelligibility b/c He grounds them in His character. No other grounding has ever proven possible or logical. I've repeatedly asked you, for example, for your explanation, and all you do is repeat yourself over and over - it's evidence. But what's the evidence for that? Well, evidence is.

Bahnsen’s formulation of TAG begs the question. I explain why in the most recent post on my own blog. Read it, if you have not.

Second, Bahnsen presents no uniqueness proof. Any sufficiently similar deity would also work, assuming, for the moment, that TAG were sound. If the crucial elements of god’s nature are “infinite,” “eternal as god” and “solely god,” then I can endow Hargazorn with that nature and say Hargazorn is the “grounds.” If you believe only Yahweh can be the “grounds,” you must show why each and every trait Yahweh possesses is materially crucial to TAG. Otherwise, I can invent another god who bears sufficient similarity to yours.


Bahnsen does not believe that God is a "good" grounds for these things; his position (and mine) is that He is the only grounds for them.

You must confront my “sufficiently similar deity” objection. The only way to defeat that objection would be to show that every single element of Yahweh’s nature is essential to TAG. If that is your tack, you must demonstrate that convincingly. Otherwise, I simply can invent a sufficiently similar deity, possessing all the essential traits that make TAG work for Yahweh, and then adding variables to make my god different (but still sufficiently similar).


We presuppose God b/c we're arguing in a way so as to justify 1st principles. If I don't grant you that evidence is evidentiary (b/c that's part of the question), then what other methodology would you propose?

Yahweh cannot be an axiom because the deity is reducible to “immaterial consciousness.” Axioms are supposed to be irreducible; thus, Yahweh fails to be axiomatic.

“The road to truth is paved with evidence” is a functional axiom. It is my self-subsisting first principle.

Lucian said...

Jolly Nihilist,

Have You ever read E.M. Cioran? (I guess the answer is no, otherwise You wouldn't be so happy-clappy all the time).

Rhology said...

Lucian,

1) You're misusing that text. Read further in the Psalm - "...yet you will all die like men." They're wicked judges, vested with power like God's to judge on earth for a time, but they are wicked and so incur condemnation.
And stop acting like a Mormon.

5) That saving in James wouldn't be possible w/o the Redeeming death of the Redeemer. He is One.

6) You're taking this thread way off topic.
Way to go - you found some texts where people intercede for others. Yet there is a special way in which Jesus - and no one else - can MEDIATE for the sinful man. What is that way? If there is more than one mediator between God and man, doesn't that conflict with 1 Tim 2:5 which tells us that there is ONE Mediator?

Peace,
Rhology

Lucian said...

You're misusing that text

Am I?

That saving in James wouldn't be possible w/o the Redeeming death of the Redeemer. He is One

Yes. And we share with Him this in a certain way. (There's also One Judge, and St. Paul says: "Don't you know that WE will judge the Angels?").

There's also One Christ of God, but we are all oiled with the Holy Spirit of God and become CHRISTians, forming together the BODY of CHRIST.

There's One Great Priest also (Hebrews), but He "hast made us unto our God *kings and priests*: and we shall *reign* on the earth" (Revelation 5:10) and "hath made us *kings and priests* unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen" (Revelation 1:6).

Yet there is a special way in which Jesus - and no one else - can MEDIATE for the sinful man.

Yes, I know. -- that's what the Arians didn't understand when they saw Jesus pray. (The Fathers themselves say that Jesus doesn't intercede for us the way we do for another, but that it's something else, FAR greater, and of a different nature alltogether).

If there is more than one mediator between God and man, doesn't that conflict with 1 Tim 2:5 which tells us that there is ONE Mediator?

It seems not. (And why are You making such a great fuss about the simple words of the Bible? If the Bible itself sees no problem with this, why do You ?).

------

What I basically wanted to say is that You Yourself play innocent of not knowing the difference between icons and idols, intercession and mediation, etc. -- and when I point these differences out to You, You go on to say: "Well, I already knew that; so what? Big deal!". (???).

Rhology said...

We share in the BENEFIT of the redemption. But make no mistake - God will not share His glory with another.

B/c we are the Body of Christ does not mean there is more than one Christ.

Yes, all believers are priests unto God. You're not a priest - you have to be redeemed 1st.
These psgs you quoted militate against the EOC position.

You say you know that Jesus mediates in a very unique way and is the only Mediator between God and man, and yet you want to put other mediators between man and Christ. Foolish.

I don't play innocent knowing the differences in those things you said. I know the CLAIMED differences. In a few ways an idol is not like an icon. In most of the most important ways it IS. Just b/c you SAY it's not doesn't change anythg.
Intercession vs mediation - obviously there's a difference b/c the words are used differently in the Scr.

Rhology said...

Lucian,

BTW, I'm thru following your rabbit trails on this thread. You want to post sthg about whatever on your blog and invite me to comment, fine. Either comment on topic here or find somewhere else; I'm done responding like that.

Rhology said...

hi JN,

The argument from design is tangential.
Bahnsen says:
"...he demands that the theist present him with the evidence for the existence of God. Well, theists like myself would gladly and readily do so..." presents the argument... "But, Dr. Stein precludes the very possibility of any of this empirical evidence counting as proof for God's existence..." continues on with his presentation.

The opposition to the arg from design is foolish, basically consisting of "I don't think this thing is very pretty or well-designed according to my likes, so it couldn't be designed!" Lame. But I suggest you focus on his central argument and mine.

I would argue that atheism handicaps itself, being unable to ground intelligibility. I presuppose the Xtian worldview b/c I actually want to MAKE AN ARGUMENT. You secretly do so as well to make an argument.
You remind that I beg the question. Yes, but so do you, as demonstrated many times already. And my question begging makes sense. Yours is self-defeating.

Your point about the axiom makes no sense to me. How would you argue that YHWH is "reducible to immaterial consciousness", since I'd never agree to that, and I'm the representative of the biblical view here? What about His power, glory, holiness, purity, grace, justice, mercy, generosity, intelligence, will, and other attributes? Are they magicked away by the power of your bare assertion?

Any sufficiently similar god to Yahweh would fulfill Bahnsen’s needs vis-à-vis rationality and reasoning.

Exactly. Which leaves atheism high and dry.
And you'd have to imagine an entity that is able to do that, ad hoc, as opposed to the Xtian method.
What you'd discover is that said being would either end up in internal inconsistency and contradiction or would be the God of the Bible.
In fact, I was recently in a discussion in a combox on that very topic. You might find it interesting. Touchstone serves as the foil there.

No one claims Jesus' resurrection is NOT miraculous, yes. But IF God exists, and IF He's the God of the Bible, Jesus' res is perfectly logical.
IF He doesn't, then yeah, it's impossible. But of course, then our worldview is self-defeating.

Bahnsen also uses the Bible as evidence, yes, but in a tangential fashion like the arg from design.

Jesus' existence is mentioned by quite a few contemp historians - get your facts right. A few of them even state that the Xtians believe Christus rose from the dead.
What is more improbable - that God raised the miracle-working, powerful, prophetic Jesus from the dead, or that 500 people witnessed Him after He died, and dozens were in a position to know for sure that He DIDN'T rise but went to torturous, horrible deaths and lives full of persecution for the sake of that message anyway? 'Course, if we presuppose atheism, it's the former. But I'd submit that's not too wise.
You don't know what you're talking about as far as mythology goes. Legendary dvlpmnt of stories takes more than the 20 yrs before the 1st Gospel is written and less than a year before the church coalesced. A LOT more.

Your point about the 9/11 martyrs would work except that many of Jesus' witnesses were in a position to KNOW FOR SURE that Jesus DIDN'T rise. If it's a con or a lie, they won't submit to torture to death rather than recant.

I thank you for your thoughts and for revealing your question-begging first principle once again at the end of your note.

Let me ask you this: Do you concede that your 1st principle begs the question as I have demonstrated?

Peace,
Rhology