Archive for July, 2010

Islamathon!

Posted in Christology, Islam, Presuppositionalism, Resequitur on July 29, 2010 by Justin

The following is a long ongoing discussion I am having with an Islamic opposer of Christ’s deity on Alpha and Omega Ministries’ Facebook page. Setting oneself up against Christ’s deity ipso facto sets oneself up against God’s whole revelation as revealed by the Prophets, Apostles, and Jesus Christ Himself. (John 5:46; 8:24,42,44; Hebrews 1:1-3) . I will continue to update the conversation as he responds to me.

“Jews also like Muslims don’t believe in the Trinity dose that mean thay are worshiping a different God to Christians or rather they have a different concept about God?”

yes Jesus said many times that the Jews did not know the Father, for if they did they would accept the Son. He probably said this a few dozen times in John.

My reading of that Exodus passage is that the Jews did not worship the calf as YHWH but as another god besides YHWH. However today and in the time of Jesus they worship YHWH. The evidence is Jesus says in John (ch.4:21) “We [Jews] know what… we worship for salvation is for the Jews”. Jews never in the time of Jesus or today believe that God is a Trinity. In this both Muslims and Jews agree but Christians believe that God is not just one person but he is also the Son and the H.Spirit. I agree with you that Jews and Christians have a different God if you mean God is Jesus but I disagree if you refer to God as the Father.

No, Jesus was explaining to her that The Father will be worshiped in Spirit and in Truth. Not in Synagogues or sacrifices as before. Salvation is from *from* the Jewish people, because until Christ, people would have to follow the Temple Ceremonies that pointed to Christ, and that would be the means of grace. The Jews who reject Jesus rejected the Father, as Jesus makes plain in John 14:6.

Justin, Jesus says in John (4:21) the Jews know who God was because they knew what they worshiped and salvation was for the Jews and not the Samritans, i.e. the Gentiles.

A Rabbi comes up to Jesus and says to him, “you are right teacher ther…e is only one God and besides him there is no other”. And Jesus praised this Jewish man for his correct thinking (Mk 12:28-34)

The Jews did know who God was and at no time did Jesus rebuke or corrected their understanding. He rebuke them for many other things but not who they worshiped.

Justine, fine Jesus corrected the Jews for their concept of worship but not whom they worship or their concept of God.

On a side note it says in Ezekiel (43:21:25) that the traditional sacrifices will be brought back by the Messiah along with the temple ceremonies.

Notice how Jesus says “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” as it is only part of Christian belief, but not all the way there.

Also you keep repeating Salvation is for the Jews and not the Gentiles yet Jesus said in the verse you are quoting
“”You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is *from* the Jews.
But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.
God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

1) He says that salvation is *from* the Jews not for as you keep erroneously repeating

2) Jesus said we would worship in spirit in Truth. Truth is the complete revelation of God, which is ultimately the only Begotten Son of God. (See Hebrews Chapters 1 and 2)

3) Jesus says in the last verse that those who worship God must do so in Spirit and in Truth. If not They die in their sins (John 3:16, John 8:24, John 10:7-11)

No one has any doubts that The Lord God is One. One Being consisting of three persons, equal in power and glory. Jesus says in John 8:24 “I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”

and further down in verse 58 he proclaims “I AM” which is the name that YHWH told Moses to tell Israel. The Jews knew what He was saying so that wanted to stone Him. Jesus made it clear that unless you believed that He was God you would die in your sins. This is because God is the One who Justifies man from his unrighteousness. But Justice had to be carried out on our behalf. So the Son was crushed by the Father, and He bore our iniquities, and suffered death.

Just simply believing that God is One is no golden ticket for Jews or Muslims for that matter. James the Brother of Jesus and former non Christian, Jew said in James 2:19 “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!”

Justine, all I am saying is having a different concept about a person or thing dose not mean two different persons or two different things. The Jews in the time of Jesus believe that God was one person and not three person. Jesus did not believe that Christians and Jews had a different God for he said “we [Jews] know what we worship” applying that Christians and Jews worship the same God even if they had a different concept of One or even if one worship him truth and spirit and the other did not. My point is only that having a different CONCEPT of God dose not mean both parties believe in two different gods.

As for believing in Jesus as the son of God.
In the years after Jesus was taken up to God, the early church spread quickly in the Greek-speaking (i.e. non-Jewish) world.

When we examine the term “son of God” in its original ‘context of meaning’ we make an interesting discovery. In Hebrew or Aramaic “son of God” is always used figuratively as a metaphor for a child of God, whereas in Greek addressed to Gentile Christians, brought up in a religious culture filled with gods, sons of gods and demigods, the NT expression tended to be understood literally as ‘Son of God’ (with a capital letter): in other words as someone possessing the same nature as God.
Later generations of Gentile (non-Jewish) Christians would completely alter the meaning of the term son of God.

Yes but in John 3:16, Jesus refers to Himself as the “Only Begotten Son” . Who was miraculous Conceived by the Holy Spirit. The word monogenés makes a strong distinction between Only Begotten Son of God, and son of God as referring to others. So this objection fails

( RazorsKiss also followed up on my comment right here and I will put what he said in bold italics)

“Justin: in fact, Dr. White makes a strong case that it should be understood as the “unique Son”, in which case the objection falls even more strongly. ~RK”

(From here I continue on in Isaiah)

Here is what Isaiah has to say about Him “For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
…Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

“Isiah 9:6 is not a prophecy examine the tenses closely, “For unto us a child IS born unto us, a son IS given:” It doesn’t say “a child WILL be born” or “a child WILL be given”. In other words it refers to a child in Isiah’s day not to a Messiah who is yet to be born.

Also if you examine the titles of this child none of them were given to Jesus during his lifetime. For eg; ‘Prince of Peace” ‘Everlasting Father’. Jesus said he came not to bring peace upon earth (Mt 10:34) and he said he is not the Father (Mt 23:9)

Furthermore, the government was never upon Jesus’ shoulders nor did Jesus ever reign on David’s throne. If you say that in his second coming he will fulfill all of this. Then he still doesn’t fulfill this passage because we have to wait and see if he comes back. Thus, you cannot quote something that he hasn’t fulfilled and then expect us to believe in it.”

The passage is not saying that Jesus is the eternal Father, but that he has the characteristics of God. In other words, Jesus has all the attributes of God, including eternality. In the ancient Jewish culture, these names had meanings behind them. So, when Isaiah is speaking of the name of the coming Messiah and says his name will be Mighty God, Eternal Father, etc., it is telling us about the characteristics of the Messiah to come in a prophetic manner.

The text speaks of a name, yet has four things revealed in the name. Again, this shows us that it is the characteristics of the then-coming Messiah. The fact that the Messiah would be divine is verified in Heb. 1:3, when it says, “And He [Jesus] is the radiance of His [God] glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power…” This also explains why Jesus said, “…He who has seen Me has seen the Father,” (John 14:9). It was because Jesus so precisely represented God the Father as His prophesied name reveals.

The Muslim would not be able to deal with this text in any meaningful matter, as the Muslim presupposes that God is not a Trinity and The Son did not take on human flesh. Yet many Old Testament text speak of His coming. The Muslim who accepts the Quran has to deal with the NT text that speak of Jesus deity as well as the OT text that speak of the coming Messiah’s deity. But cannot meaningfully explain them due to their errant presuppositions about Christianity as revealed in the Old and New Testaments and ultimately in Christ

The Isiah 9:6 says he will be called by these titles not that he will have the characteristic of these titles. Jesus was clearly not called the eternal father by anyone and he even said in Matthew 23:9 do not call anyone “your father” for you have only one Father and he is in heaven.

Jesus also did not have the characteristics of the Father for in Mark 13:32 he said of that day and hour no one knows, including himself, except the Father alone. Jesus therefore did not have the characteristics of the Father of knowledge of the final hour.

The word translated “God” in Isaiah 9:6 can be used of powerful earthly rulers is Ezekiel 31:11, referring to the Babylonian king. The Trinitarian bias of most translators can be clearly seen by comparing Isaiah 9:6 (el = “God”) with Ezekiel 31:11 (el = “ruler”). If calling the Messiah el made him God, then the Babylonian king would be God also. Isaiah is speaking of God’s Messiah and calling him a mighty ruler, which of course he will be.

Even if you don’t accept this interpretation of Isiah my other point still remains unanswered, which was that this passage is not prophecy about Jesus but refers to a child who was born during the lifetime of Isiah. Check the tenses “a child IS born, a child IS given” (present tense) If it was a prophesy it would have said in the future tense “a child will be born, and will be given”.

“In John 14:9 Jesus is quoted as saying: “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” This is often misunderstood to mean that Jesus is God. But Jesus clearly said that no one has seen God at any time (John 5:37). Those who say that Jesus is God, are disagreeing with what Jesus himself said. If Jesus was God why would he say to the people looking at him that they never saw God? And why would the author of the 1st Letter of John in the Bible, writing some seventy years after Jesus was taken up, say that no one had ever seen God (1John 4:12) although he knew that multitudes had already seen Jesus? The meaning of John 14:9 is not that Jesus is God, but that by knowing Jesus, one gets to know God, since Jesus teaches about God. This meaning is confirmed by John 1:18 where the writer says that no one had ever seen God, but Jesus had made God known to the people. In the 17th Chapter of the same Gospel, Jesus declared that eternal life means knowing that the Father whom Jesus worshipped is the only true God and that Jesus is the Messiah who was sent by God.”

a) Nope, they meant He would have the Characteristics. You are sidestepping my argumentation and just repeating yours. Jesus was the image of the invisible God as indicated in Col 1:18 and Hebrews 1 and 2. Please read the NT as a whole

b) Muslims enjoy bringing this text up (Mark 12:32) but they don’t take into account that when Jesus humbled Himself and was born into human flesh, He had to grow in wisdom and stature as indicated by Luke 2:52. This isn’t to say that He wasn’t divine, just that in His humanity, He only knew what He learned from the Father. But He indeed knew before His humility, and and after His glorification to the right hand of God.

(from here I deal with his objections to the prophecy of Isaiah)

1) No one denies this is referring to the coming Messiah.

2) Your objection that it is instead talking about rulers and the Babylonian king falls apart this way, El in Isaiah is always in reference to Yahweh, and it isn’t used in any other way.

3) Lets follow Isaiah’s thinking in the next chapter,

“In that day the remnant of Israel and the survivors of the house of Jacob will no more lean on him who struck them, but will lean on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God.” (Isaiah 10:20-21)

We can see here that he is indubitably making reference to YHWH.

Just as Isaiah says in 7:14 “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”

He was indeed God with us. Isaiah 9:6 is making strict reference to Jesus and not any other.

(I move on to his third objection to Isaiah in his essay of doom)

1) How would that be a prophecy if it had already happened?

2) You are starting to get desperate and make up arguments to shove into the text, this is called eisegesis. You are doing this because you have presuppositions that don’t run smoothly with the text we are discussing, as I pointed out earlier. Let Isaiah define his own terms please. Inconsistency is a sign of a failed argument.

(From here I answer his objections to John)

1) First of all Jesus was very clear that No one has seen The Father except the Son as indicated in( John 1:18, 6:46)
“No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. ” (John 1:18)
“not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father.” (John 6:46)

2) As Jesus indicated earlier in John 6:38 “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.”

Jesus came down from heaven, HE made God known because He is the only One who has seen God.

A) The Muslim disagrees with Jesus, not the Christian. For the Muslim doesn’t read John as a whole yet shoves his interpretation of the Quran back into the Old and NT.

You also said this
“The meaning of John 14:9 is not that Jesus is God, but that by knowing Jesus, one gets to know God, since Jesus teaches about God. This meaning is confirmed by John 1:18 where the writer says that no one had ever seen God, but Jesus had made God known to the people.”

So as you can see, from 1:18 If you would actually READ it.

That “God makes God known”. Jesus was the Son of God, and knows God the Father truly, and is the only One who can make Him known.

John 17:5 says “And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed”.

A human prophet could not say “glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world began”. This would be considered blasphemy. So Jesus wasn’t *just* a prophet. He is God. He distinguished Himself from the Father, because He is the Son. They are two different persons, that share in the same being and glory and power as this text also indicates.

“How do you jump from, he will be called, to, he will have the characteristics?:

Because the apostles made those distinction in texts you obviously keep ignoring. Rather you are hung up on choice words instead of letting Isaiah be Isaiah in  describing the coming Messiah.

“But even if we go by your reading then clearly Jesus dose not have all the characteristics of the everlasting Father. According to Mark 13:32 Jesus did not know the final hour but this is one of the characteristics of God the Father. Your reply to this was to explain why Jesus wasn’t like the Father because he was both man and God at the same time. But the point still remains Jesus did not have the characteristics of the Father and yet this child mention in Isiah was to have the characteristics of God the Father base on your reading of the Isiah passage. “

Why do you keep ignoring what I write? I specifically said:

1) Jesus in His humiliation did not know when the last day would be. It doesn’t therefore follow that He isn’t God as you keep asserting over and over

2) Jesus in His humiliation had to grow in wisdom and stature, But He was still in perfect communion with His Father, so He knew what The Father told Him, and could see into the hearts of man.

3) “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:1-3)

God the Son taking on flesh did not change the fact that He is still the Creator of the Universe, and it did not change the fact that He was *everlasting* such as His Father is. That is why he said to the Jews “I Am He”(John 8:24,58; John 13:19) This indicates His eternality. Just as the Father says “I Am”

“You are my witnesses, declares the LORD,and my servant whom I have chosen,that you may know and believe me
and understand that I Am He.” (Isaiah 43:10)

“I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that *I Am He*. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. ” (John 13:19-20)

Jesus intentionally made this parallel. Either He is God or a Blasphemer. But He isn’t simply *just* a prophet, this is an error.

“Although the prophecy in Isiah 7:14 is taken, in Matthew 1:23 to refer indirectly to Jesus, the prophecy actually refers directly to a child born during the lifetime of the prophet Isaiah. That child was called “Immanuel”, meaning “God is with us,” and he was God’s sign given to King Ahaz that God will help King Ahaz and his people. God’s promise to King Ahaz, in the 7th chapter of Isaiah, is that before the child is old enough to distinguish right from wrong the enemy kings will be defeated by God’s help. That child was indeed born, and God called him Immanuel (Isaiah 8:8). If King Ahaz had to wait seven hundred years for Jesus to be born before God’s help comes, he and his people would be long dead before God’s help comes. What, then, will be the significance of such a promise? The promise had a timely fulfillment. The prophecy referred not to Jesus who was to be born hundreds of years later, but to a child who was born in the time of King Ahaz.”

Jews constantly make this error, in thinking that just because God made a promise in one man’s life, it must therefore follow that the promise must be fulfilled in the man’s lifetime. If you read the context of the whole passage Ahaz *rejected* God’s sign to him. Isaiah strove to remind Ahaz of the foundation of the Covenant. The Messiah would have to be born; and this was expected by all, because the salvation of the whole nation depended on it. But in saying ” will give you a sign” He was not referring specifically to Ahaz, but to the ones who had been adopted by God, The Covenant keepers, The Elect. There is no evidence whatsoever that this promise was even fulfilled to Ahaz in the first place. This is just an assertion made my Jews and borrowed by Muslims to reject Jesus as Immanuel. Even though in the Quranic texts speak of Jesus as Messiah. How inconsistent.

“A further point to notice is that the child spoken of in Isaiah will at first not be able to differentiate between good and evil. Those who say that Jesus was that child should not turn around and say that Jesus is God, because there has never been (and will never be) a time when God does not know the difference between good and evil.”

The text specifically says ‘He shall eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good.’

Let me remind you of Luke 2:52 which I have already discussed a few times now that Jesus grew in Wisdom in Stature.

John Calvin says in his commentary:
.

” He therefore means understanding and judgment, such as is obtained when the period of childhood is past. Thus we see how far the Son of God condescended on our account, so that he not only was willing to be fed on our food, but also, for a time, to be deprived of understanding, and to endure all our weaknesses. (Hebrews 2:14.) This relates to his human nature, for it cannot apply to his Divinity. Of this state of ignorance, in which Christ was for a time, Luke testifies when he says,

And he grew in wisdom, and in stature,
and in favor with God and with man. (Luke 2:52.)

If Luke had merely said that Christ grew, he might have been supposed to mean with men; but he expressly adds, with God. Christ must therefore have been, for a time, like little children, so that, so far as relates to his human nature, he was deficient in understanding.”

“BTW, inconsistency is not always a sign of a failed argument. A person maybe inconsistent in his behavior but his argument may still be true. “

By what standard?

Justine, which apostles made this distinction in the texts, where is the evidence?

“He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purificati…on for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” (Hebrews 1:3)

“He is the image of the invisible God…” (Colossians 1:15)

” I and the Father are one. ” (John 10:30)

“And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. ” (John 17:5)

“By the standard of your God giving intelligence and reason.

I’ve not been able to respond to everything due to time but will do so later on in the day.

Yes but our intelligence and reason was meant to be submissive to God’s revelation. Yet man tries to reason autonomously via worldly reason and start from himself as a standard which is in direct opposition to God.
“no one understands;no one seeks for God.” (Romans 3:11)
“You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (James 4:4)

Humanity cannot make intelligible sense out of anything without the Triune God of the scripture. As shown above, you are trying to reason through the scriptures with Quranic presuppositions, instead of presupposing the Triune God of the Bible.

The bible the Christian’s standard of truth :

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” (2 Timothy 3:16)
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

So reasoning apart from it would be setting ourselves against God.

This is the Christian’s standard of consistency. Meaning, that if you are being inconsistent with God’s revelation, you are wrong.

One cannot start from the Quran and reason back to the Bible, in doing so, you are not starting with the Triune God of Scripture. If you don’t start with the Triune God of Scripture you are:

1) reasoning in vein
2) not going to be able to make intelligible sense out of anything especially the Scriptures

Because it is the Son:

” in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Colossians 2:3)
“but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” (Hebrews 1:2)

When I ask you which apostles made this distinction that “he shall be called” dose not literally mean he shall be called by these titles but only posses the characteristics of these titles, I meant the text of Isaiah 9:6. To put it …in other words, I want an apostles of Jesus quoting this specific verse and then interpreting it in the way you have done. I think this is only reasonable or otherwise we can quote the Bible and make it mean in anyway we want it to mean.

Matthew designates this verse to Jesus in Matt 1:23. That is all that needed to be done. The scripture I provided explains the “prophetic language” of Isaiah”

You constantly accuse me of not allowing Isaiah to be Isaiah and that I am simply reading my theology back into the text. However, I am the one who is taking the verse in question literally whereas you are the one who is not taking the passage literally by saying that “he shall be called” dose not literally mean he shall be called by these titles. “

So when you take the verse “Literally” instead of as the author Isaiah intended, when it says “and the government shall be upon his shoulder,” should we take this literally as well to mean that all of the governments past, present, and future, are being literally carried on His shoulders, such as if a parent literally carries his child on his shoulders? This is what I mean when you aren’t reading Isaiah properly. I repeat for the last time, Isaiah was writing in “Prophetic Language”. If you wish to keep reading the text in erroneously then by all means, go ahead. But don’t say it hasn’t been explained to you.

Objections in Context

Posted in Objections to Presuppositonalism, Resequitur on July 22, 2010 by Justin

Since posting my response to my good friend who is agnostic, not atheist (my mistake), he let me know that he wanted to provide more context to the problems he had with presuppositionalism, Which is more than welcome here at Grassfire Apologetics =)

Objections

1. I think our different perspectives can be described as follows: I search for the “big picture” by looking at the little pieces and attempting to put them together (reductionism). You assume a specific “big picture” and see that the little pieces fit, and conclude that this picture is the correct one (holism?). However, your method of looking at the world has several problems:

A: Your system fails to distinguish itself from the other hypothetical “big pictures” in which the little pieces fit just as well. This problem is caused by your negative argument. Your negative argument is the argument that by disproving all other current hypotheses, you are proving your own. Even in principle this is false; disproving all other systems, says nothing whatsoever about the truth of your own.

There are at base two worldviews : Christian Theism, and the negation of Christian Theism.

Proving the negation of Christianity  to be false proves Christianity to be true.

You said :

“disproving all other systems, says nothing whatsoever about the truth of your own.”

1) If I am correct you seem to be saying it  is possible for there to be no true system.

2) If I am indeed correct that this what you seem to be hinting at, what if I did disprove all other systems and your system were false?

3) it would mean there was no true system

4) so if it were the case I am doing what you said I was doing (which I’m not), your conclusion is still false per your accusation

B: Your system invites bias when evaluating the little pieces. This is because your system assumes the big picture, whereas a reductionistic system seeks the big picture.

Your view assume a big picture as well. Otherwise you would  not be able to seek a big picture.

2. You defend the use of presuppositions by claiming that all epistemological systems have overarching presuppositions. Axiomatic systems either remove the presuppositions or explicitly define them as axioms or as logically derived from axioms. Thus, you cannot excuse your presuppositions on the basis that all systems have presuppositions.

Axioms rely upon a variety of epistemological and metaphysical presuppositions in order to be intelligible in the first place.

3. You have identified your presupposition about the nature of reality as this; the Christian worldview is objectively real. Thus, when attempting to prove the existence of God, your argument assumes the conclusion in a premise. You cannot, use the existence of God to prove that God exists. Because of the way your argument uses presuppositions, your argument is begging the question.

a) We presuppose the Triune God of Scripture. We are not proving He exists. This is self-evident, and even the unbeliever knows it. What we are doing is demonstrating that what is the case, is necessarily the case.

b) It is a proof  but it’s an indirect proof  and proof is being used as “show to be the case”, not “deductively build a case”.

We are arguing from the presupposition of the existence of the Triune God of Scriptures,we must do this  because that is the only epistemological basis from which to argue anything at all.

It is impossible for it to be other than the case that the Triune God of Scripture exists – and any argument advanced against it is invalid – because the argument is based upon:

1) Faulty presuppositions and

2) Inconsistency.

Since this is the case for the contrary – any contrary – it is necessarily true that the Triune God of Scripture exists.

So actually I argue to and from The Triune God of Scripture, and The Impossibility of the Contrary.

The impossibility of the contrary is both a positive and negative argument – and God’s existence, being necessary, is required for the argument to be made at all, as well as being the conclusion, indirectly.

4. As shown above, your arguments are ultimately circular. This is not necessarily a bad thing, except that your system uses the accusation of eventual circularity in an attempt to discredit other systems and show your own to be more “intelligible”. This circularity in your own system demonstrates that your system is not more intelligible than others.

1) Circularity isn’t bad. I agree.

2) Vicious circularity is bad.

5. You admit to a failure in demonstrating the (supposed) rationality of your system except to people that believe in God. You might say, “You don’t see him until you believe he is there.” You cannot convince rational people unless they want to believe it, before the convincing even begins. This implies that the people that are convinced are affected by a strong belief bias rather than by logical truth.

1) I don’t believe that you can see Him in the first place being that He is Spirit and Jesus has ascended. The Holy Spirit cannot be seen either.

2) I don’t intend to convince people per se, I do intend to demonstrate the foolishness of thinking autonomously

3) Rationality presupposes the Triune God of Scripture. Unless you decide to propose another standard that isn’t yourself.


6. You assert that we cannot be our own standard. You assert that God’s perception is your standard. I assert that you can only assess the world from your own standard. You can’t argue from God’s standard because you are presupposing God. Let me put this into question form: Who is it that is presupposing God? It is you, not God. Thus, you are the observer (final standard); not God.

1) we receive revelation

2)we reconstruct it and think in accordance with it

3) we are renewed by the transforming of our mind (Romans 12:2)

7. Your claim of seeing reality through the eyes of God does not make sense. By claiming this you are not distinguishing between yourself and God, as observers, unless you are implying that multiple identities can share perception. I assert that perception is singular.

This goes along with the above objection. The Christian think analogous to God’s thinking via the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit. So we start with His commands and reasoning in the Scriptures by faith and conform our thinking accordingly.

8. You claim to use an ultimate standard that is not yourself. You assert that through prayer and divine revelation, you perceive reality through an ultimate standard; God. There is evidence that such things can be perceived without being real (i.e. hallucinations, delusions). You have not shown evidence that your perception through God is more than a deluded perception of reality through yourself. In other words, until you can prove the existence of God and the objective truth of Christianity rather than using them as presuppositions, many rational people will use the accusation of delusion against you and with good cause.

Remember the objective standard is God, and His revelation (special and natural). The subjective standard is The Holy Spirit. You keep asking for evidence for these things, when I’ve already said many times that the evidence is there you just reinterpret it to fit your worldview. So the best I can give you is the impossibility of the contrary. So the Christian understands the world via Special revelation as per above. God has revealed that He has made man in such a way that we can understand the world, through tools such as reasoning to draw true conclusions about reality as He has created it, and that He created everything for One set purpose and that is to Glorify Him. Since this is the case, all facts are created and preinterpreted by Him, and relate to each other. If the contrary were true, you could have none of the above. Predication would be impossible because one fact would not relate to another fact. It could be likened to trying to string beads together that have no holes on either end.  This is what we mean when you borrow from our worldview instead of remaining consistent with yours.

9. You use the Bible as a source of information. This requires you to show that the Bible is a reliable source of information. You have not done that.

I do so by the impossibility of the contrary.

10. You say that logic is transcendent and therefore it requires a transcendent cause.

A: You have not proven this

B: There is a better (i.e. natural) hypothesis:

Some aspects of quantum mechanics seem illogical. It has been proposed that they are inherently illogical. This shows that logic may be evident only in the macro-world and implies that logic is a product of the universe.

So this is a  claim that the micro world is illogical in how it operates. So even the Law of non-contradiction would not apply  in the case of really small things. If it is how he says it is, then we can forget trying to draw any logical conclusion about really small things (as he just did above contradicting himself. But this isn’t his biggest problem.  If the logical law of non-contradiction does not apply, then it could be the case that the law of non-contradiction does apply (as that would be a contradiction).

Given your failure to provide proof of the transcendence of logic, and given that the universe itself implies that logic is a natural result, parsimony dictates that we accept logic as natural and non-transcendent.

  • This is a non-sequitur, even if it were the case that I didn’t provide proof for the transcendence of logic, it would not necessarily follow that it happens as a natural result.
  • Also In my worldview God is necessary, therefore it would be violation of parsimony to accept logic as natural and non-transcendent

Why I Believe – The Testimony

Posted in History, scripture, Skepticism on July 21, 2010 by fisher219

What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life– and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us.

(1 John 1:1-2)

I was recently posed with the question of how I know that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. Now, for a pretty short question, I must admit that there are so many things that need to be said regarding this topic. More than I could fit within a two hour timeframe (which is the amount of time I took to write this little article), so I shall try as best as I can to answer this question that was given me. Lord willing, I shall try to “give an answer for the hope that I have” (cf. 1 Peter 3:15, NIV). I know that my mind is limited, so may this be a good starting point for further study on this topic.

Now, I want to say that there are two aspects to my answer to this question. There is the objective aspect, and then there is the subjective aspect. I shall deal with the objective aspect first:

Look again at the passage which I quoted at the beginning of this passage. The apostle John talks about that which he has heard and seen. Many of the world’s religions (especially Eastern religions) focus on the esoteric and otherworldly, with no objective grounds by which we can determine whether they are true or false. Christianity is very different from that. As a Christian, I believe that Jesus Christ, the eternal Word by which all things were created, came down to earth, lived as a flesh-and-blood human being amongst us, died, rose again three days later and ascended into Heaven. The Bible that we have today was written down primarily to provide us with a witness to what happened during those thirty-odd years that our Lord walked upon this earth (true, it speaks of many other things as well, but ultimately Christ is the centre of divine revelation). I believe that the Bible is God’s Word because God has used the written Word to bear witness to the living Word. As the author of Hebrews put it, “in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world” (Hebrews 1:2).

Whether the Bible is to be recognized as the Word of God depends on whether it truly gives us a reliable and sufficient witness to Jesus’ life and work. After all, if this is God’s Word, then we should expect it to provide us with a truthful account of the primary object of revelation. Did Jesus really die on the cross and return to life three days later? If not, then the Bible is little more than an interesting museum artifact that we can spit upon and poke fun at. But if He indeed rose from the grave, then He is vindicated in all that He has claimed for Himself as the “Son of Man” who is “seated at the right hand of Power” (Mark 14:62). Paul said as much when he wrote,

Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.

(1 Corinthians 15:12-19)

Continue reading

Logic and Christianity

Posted in Great Quotes, Skepticism on July 18, 2010 by fisher219

By John Gresham Machen

The human mind has a wonderful faculty for the condensation of perfectly valid arguments, and what seems like an instinctive belief may turn out to be the result of many logical steps. Or, rather it may be that the belief in a personal God is the result of a primitive revelation, and that the theistic proofs are only the logical confirmation of what was originally arrived at by a different means. At any rate, the logical confirmation of the belief in God is a vital concern to the Christian; at this point as at many others religion and philosophy are connected in the most intimate possible way. True religion can make no peace with a false philosophy, any more than with a science that is falsely-so-called; a thing cannot possibly be true in religion and false in philosophy or in science. All methods of arriving at truth, if they be valid methods, will arrive at a harmonious result.

Source

  • Machen, John Gresham. Christianity and Liberalism. ReformedAudio.org, 1923. p. 51.

First and Second Objections: “Your axioms are not Testable” and “You claim to be God”

Posted in Objections to Presuppositonalism, Resequitur on July 17, 2010 by Justin

This past week I was having a discussion with an atheist, who accused my position (Presuppositonalism) of saying the following:

Your axioms are not testable
You claim to be God
You cannot prove God
You claim to know everything
Your system is logically invalid
Your system is non-parsimonious
You imply that logic can be dismissed
Your system is subjective
Your system does not supply acceptable evidence
Your system requires belief in order to be believable
Your system is not consistent with perceivable reality

The second obection is very shocking, being that:

1) I’m a Christian, and claiming to be God would be considered blasphemous

2) I didn’t at all claim to be God.

My argument has always been That the Triune God exists and has revealed Himself not only in Natural revelation(the universe, man, our conscience) but through Special Revelation (The Scriptures, and Jesus Christ). I can know Him objectively through the Scriptures, and Christ, and subjectively through the witness  of The Holy Spirit upon regeneration. So in starting from this solid epistemic basis, I can know reality truly as opposed to starting from myself subjectively, and not getting to the outside, objective reality.  This also gives me the  basis to do an inward critique of his position. This may be where his confusion of my position is.

First objection: Your axioms are not testable.

In traditional Logic an axiom or postulate is a proposition that is not proved or demonstrated but considered to be either self evident, or subject to necessary decision making. Therefore, its truth is taken for granted, and serves as a starting point for deducing and inferring other (theory dependent) truths. {1}

This being the case, neither  the objector’s axioms are testable. So this objection cuts his way. As I myself do not argue axiomatically. In fact, he just gave me the very basis on which to reject his position.

In the next few posts I will be dealing with each of his objections.

– Resequitur

“Faith” Versus Faith

Posted in Great Quotes, Skepticism with tags , on July 17, 2010 by fisher219

By Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer

One must analyze the word faith and see that it can mean two completely opposite things.

Suppose we are climbing in the Alps and are very high on the bare rock and suddenly the fog shuts down. The guide turns to us and says that the ice is forming and that there is no hope; before morning we will all freeze to death here on the shoulder of the mountain. Simply to keep warm, the guide keeps us moving in the dense fog further out on the shoulder until none of us have any idea where we are. After an hour or so, someone says to the guide: “Suppose I dropped and hit a ledge ten feet down in the fog. What would happen then?” The guide would say that you might make it till the morning and thus live. So, with absolutely no knowledge or any reason to support his action, one of the group hangs and drops into the fog. This would be one kind of faith, a leap of faith.

Suppose, however, after we have worked out on the shoulder in the midst of the fog and the growing ice on the rock, we had stopped and we heard a voice which said: “You cannot see me, but I know exactly where you are from your voices. I am on another ridge. I have lived in these mountains, man and boy, for over sixty years and I know every foot of them. I assure you that ten feet below you there is a ledge. If you hang and drop, you can make it through the night and I will get you in the morning.”

I would not hang and drop at once, but would ask questions to try to ascertain if the man knew what he was talking about and if he was not my enemy. In the Alps, for example, I would ask him his name. If the name he gave me was the name of a family from that part of the mountains, it would count a great deal to me. In the Swiss Alps there are certain family names that indicate mountain families of that area. For example, in the area of the Alps where I live, Avanthey would be such a name. In my desperate situation, even though time would be running out, I would ask him what to me would be the sufficient questions, and when I became convinced by his answers, then I would hang and drop.

This is faith, but obviously it has no relationship to the first instance. As a matter of fact, if one of these is called faith, the other should not be designated by the same word symbol. The historic Christian faith is not a leap of faith in the post-Kierkegaardian sense because “he is not silent,” and I am invited to ask the sufficeient questions in regard to details but also in regard to the existence of the universe and its complexity and in regard to the existence of man. I am invited to ask the sufficient questions and then believe him and bow before him metaphysically in knowing that I exist because he made man, and bow before him morally as needing his provision for me in the substitutionary, propitiatory death of Christ.

Source

  • Schaeffer, Francis August. He Is There and He Is Not Silent. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1972. p. 99-100.

Briefly Explaining the Trinity

Posted in Christology, Objections on July 16, 2010 by fisher219

During the early phase of writing and preparing my article on the deity of Christ, I had a dialogue with a Muslim regarding some of the passages I discussed in chapter one. When we came to John 1:1, he asked me a question that went somewhere along these lines: “If the word is with God and the word is God, then doesn’t that mean God is with God?” Unfortunately, this kind of misunderstanding leads to all sorts of strawman arguments against Trinitarian beliefs. They will quote, for example, the Shema in Deuteronomy 6:4 which goes, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”

Many Christians will respond by saying that God is one, but He is three-in-one. Unfortunately, this just leads to even more confusion on the part of those who do not understand Trinitarian theology (and unfortunately, the Christian making this response probably does not understand it himself/herself either), especially since it is usually not explained in what sense God is three-in-one. Thus, it is necessary to give a brief explanation of what we actually believe regarding the Trinity.

Perhaps the most concise and accurate definition of the Trinity that I can think of is the one provided by Dr. James White in The Forgotten Trinity. It goes something like this: Within the one Being that is God, there exists eternally three coequal and coeternal persons, namely, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

There, we see what it means when Christians say that God is three-in-one. Actually, there are two Greek words that all Christians (and non-Christians who wish to understand what biblical Christianity teaches) need to know. The first word is ousia, and this is the word which we translate as being, essence or substance. This is the word that is used in the Nicene Creed when we say that Jesus Christ is “of one being [homoousion] with the Father.” The second Greek word is the word hypostasis, which is generally translated as person. Thus, when we say that the Word was with God and is God, what we mean to say is that within the one ousia of God, there are three hypostases that have eternally been together. So when we say that the Word was with God and was God. There are various places in the Old Testament wherein God is presented as being multi-personal, such as Genesis 19:24 and Zechariah 2:8-11. In these passages, Yahweh interacts with Yahweh (a strange thing to behold if He was Unitarian in nature). In addition, this doctrine is encapsulated in the Trinitarian formula that appears in these passages:

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit

(Matthew 28:19)

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

(2 Corinthians 13:14)

…according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood…

(1 Peter 1:2)

Please note that merely quoting these verses in and of itself does not prove the Trinity. Now, I believe that these passages do support Trinitarian theology, but that careful exegesis of these verses must be done first, which I do not have the space to do here. Also, much of what has already been written in this booklet should help to provide a solid foundation for an orthodox Trinitarian view of the nature of God. In summary remember that there are three foundations of Trinitarian theology that must always be kept in mind, and that denial of any one of these three foundations results in a heretical viewpoint that is no longer biblical Christianity. These three foundations are:

1. Monotheism, that there is only one God (denial of this foundation leads to Polytheism).

2. There are three Divine persons (denial of this foundation leads to Modalism or Sabellianism).

3. The three Divine persons are coequal and coeternal (denial of this foundation leads to Subordinationism or Arianism).