A loving God and a lack of opportunity.
« on: May 01, 2013, 04:39:48 pm »
It is said that the Christian God is a maximally great being. One of the Christian God's maximally great attributes is said to be "love" (Ephesians 3:16-19, 1 John 4:8, Romans 8:38-39). By virtue of his boundless love (Psalm 36:5, Romans 8:39), the Christian desires that all men should enter into a saving relationship with him (John 3:16, 1 Timothy 2:4, Titus 2:11, John 3:17, 2 peter 3:9). This, among other things, requires that human beings accept the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. In order for human beings to willfully accept or deny this gift, they must first recognize that the Christian God exists (One cannot willfully accept or reject the gift of a God who is not first recognized to exist). If God is all loving, then it is conceivable to presume that God will do everything in his power to provide humanity the greatest opportunity to either accept or reject his gift of salvation, thus affording them the greatest opportunity to avoid eternal separation from God in hell. Given that acceptance of this gift is predicated upon a recognition of the specific God through which the gift is offered, it follows that the Christian God, if he exists, will do everything in his power to ensure that all men come to, at the very least, recognize his existence, such that they will be afforded the opportunity to willfully accept or reject his salvific gift. Yet subsequent to the life of Christ, there have existed countless individuals who were thoroughly unconvinced of the Christian God's existence. Even to this day, there exists a vast multitude of individuals (both theist & non-theist alike) who have failed to recognize the existence of the Christian God. It is this abundance of ignorance regarding the Christian God's existence which lends credence to the conclusion born from the following syllogism:

Premise 1: If the Christian God exists, all men will be given the greatest opportunity to willfully enter into a saving relationship with him.

premise 2: By virtue of their ignorance, not all men have been given the greatest opportunity to willfully enter into a saving relationship with the Christian God.

Conclusion: Therefore, the Christian God does not exist.

Question for debate: Is this argument sound?

1

John Dee

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Re: A loving God and a lack of opportunity.
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2013, 07:14:54 am »

Premise 1: If the Christian God exists, all men will be given the greatest opportunity to willfully enter into a saving relationship with him.

premise 2: By virtue of their ignorance, not all men have been given the greatest opportunity to willfully enter into a saving relationship with the Christian God.

Conclusion: Therefore, the Christian God does not exist.

Question for debate: Is this argument sound?

Premise 1 is correct, and God provides Christ as a sacrifice of atonement as a necessary demonstration of his justice which also empower the Holy Spirit to come and make that offer - both backwards and forwards in time.

Romans ch3
25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

Premise 2
This is incorrect, for all day long God holds his hands out towards us through the Holy Spirit, see below

Rom ch10
16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?”[h] 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. 18 But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did:

“Their voice has gone out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.”
19 Again I ask: Did Israel not understand? First, Moses says,

“I will make you envious by those who are not a nation;
    I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding.”[j]
20 And Isaiah boldly says,

“I was found by those who did not seek me;
    I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.”[k]
21 But concerning Israel he says,

“All day long I have held out my hands
    to a disobedient and obstinate people.”[l]


You incorrectly assume that direct knowledge of Christ is required for salvation when this is not the case, and in any case how do you then think King david and Able are commended for their faith, what was the Word about Christ for them? The gosepl always comes by proxy and it is a matter of receiving the holy spirit via means of a  messenger. The receiving will either make the receiver an ignorant sheep or an understanding disciple, "one of these brothers of mine".

Matt ch10
40 “Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”


and


Matthew 25
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’


The sheep are ignorant of their salvation and yet have accepted Christ non the less because they received one of God many messagers and witnesses which have been spread out like yeast in the batch. These are primarily his bothers and sisters, but as we see from Matt 10 is extended to receiving righteouness generally, and probaly even to recieving one of the seven spirits of God. (work them out - one is the spirit of truth) Also the creation stands as witness as the quote from Psalm 19 declared. If as in Romans ch1 we can be condemned through creation's witness it must also be possible to be saved through it (i.e by accepting it as a messenger from the creator God), otherwise it would be an unjust measure of condemnation.

The Chrisitian God therefore exists as you expect. There is no problem with the delay in the incarnation because the power and offer from it extends in time both ways. Many of those who are unconvinced and if you like sin against Christ and the church, do not actually sin against the holy spirit, and unbeknown to them the spiritual voice which they actually now follow is in fact one of God's spirits - they will get there in the end. There are of course many who assert their own survival and justification over and against any such spirit from God and they are lost, but through their own self will.

John Dee

2
Re: A loving God and a lack of opportunity.
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2013, 12:34:46 pm »

You incorrectly assume that direct knowledge of Christ is required for salvation when this is not the case, and in any case how do you then think King david and Able are commended for their faith, what was the Word about Christ for them? The gosepl always comes by proxy and it is a matter of receiving the holy spirit via means of a  messenger. The receiving will either make the receiver an ignorant sheep or an understanding disciple, "one of these brothers of mine".

Again, in order for one to willfully receive God's gift of salvation one must first recognize, or believe, not merely that there is a gift to be received, but also that the God through which the gift is offered exists. This seems to me quite uncontroversial. After all, can it be said that you have, at any time, willfully received or rejected a gift you did not first recognize to exist? Have you ever willfully accepted or rejected a gift's offer without first recognizing, or at least believing, that the one through which the gift is offered exists?  You seem to be under the misapprehension that the freedom to either accept or reject the claims asserted by those who profess to speak on the Christian God's behalf is sufficient in providing men the greatest opportunity to enter into a saving relationship with him. Yet to reject God's purported messenger is not to willfully reject God himself. Again, if by his ignorance, a man fails to recognize that there actually is a "Christian God" for which these self proclaimed messengers speak, then it cannot be said that he has willfully rejected the Christian God. A man cannot willfully reject that which he does not first believe to exist. Though blind acceptance of apostolic claims may prove sufficient in granting salvation to the credulous few, this alone cannot constitute the greatest opportunity for all men to enter into a saving relationship with the Christian God.


The sheep are ignorant of their salvation and yet have accepted Christ non the less because they received one of God many messagers and witnesses which have been spread out like yeast in the batch. These are primarily his bothers and sisters, but as we see from Matt 10 is extended to receiving righteouness generally, and probaly even to recieving one of the seven spirits of God. (work them out - one is the spirit of truth)

As I've stated previously, if it is true that God has sent messengers to declare his gift of salvation, it remains true none the less that their presence does not constitute the greatest opportunity for all men to enter into a saving relationship with God. Again, this is because willful acceptance or rejection of God's salvific gift is predicated upon the recognition of, or belief in, the gift's giver, as well as a recognition, or belief, that there is, in fact, a gift to be received. Thus, it cannot be said that those who, by virtue of their ignorance, are unable to accept the claims of God's alleged messengers have willfully rejected the God they never recognized, or believed, to exist.


Also the creation stands as witness as the quote from Psalm 19 declared. If as in Romans ch1 we can be condemned through creation's witness it must also be possible to be saved through it (i.e by accepting it as a messenger from the creator God), otherwise it would be an unjust measure of condemnation.

There are many who would reject the claim that natural theology is sufficient in establishing the existence of the Christian God. In addition to the non-theist, who has failed to recognized the existence of any God manifest in nature, there are countless individuals, spanning the ages, who have interpreted the wonders of creation as a declaration concerning the existence of Gods completely antithetical to the God espoused by Christians. Just as the heavens have declared the glory of the Christian God, so too have the heavens declared the glory of Zeus, Allah, Baal, Marduk, Vishnu, etc. Would you be so bold as to claim that the pagan will join the Christian in heaven for having worshiped false Gods whose existence was accepted by virtue of a misinterpretation of natural theology? If not, how can you honestly assert that general revelation has proven sufficient in providing men the greatest opportunity of entering into a saving relationship with the Christian God?


The Chrisitian God therefore exists as you expect. There is no problem with the delay in the incarnation because the power and offer from it extends in time both ways. Many of those who are unconvinced and if you like sin against Christ and the church, do not actually sin against the holy spirit, and unbeknown to them the spiritual voice which they actually now follow is in fact one of God's spirits - they will get there in the end. There are of course many who assert their own survival and justification over and against any such spirit from God and they are lost, but through their own self will.

What of those that fail to recognize the existence of any such spirit? Have they willfully rejected the message of a spirit they never recognized to exist?
« Last Edit: May 02, 2013, 12:50:25 pm by Ionian_Tradition »

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John Dee

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Re: A loving God and a lack of opportunity.
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2013, 05:12:32 am »
Ionian

Thank you for your reply (sorry I have trouble with the quoting mechanism so please bear with this)

You said;

After all, can it be said that you have, at any time, willfully received or rejected a gift you did not first recognize to exist? Have you ever willfully accepted or rejected a gift's offer without first recognizing, or at least believing, that the one through which the gift is offered exists?

Consider a babe at its mother’s breast, what does it understand of the gift or the giver other than that it is good. (and there is none good but God). To enter the kingdom of God you must become such as one of these – a taster and follower of the spirit of goodness. You do not need to understand the provenance of eating and breathing to be able to eat and breathe.

You said;
You seem to be under the misapprehension that the freedom to either accept or reject the claims asserted by those who profess to speak on the Christian God's behalf is sufficient in providing men the greatest opportunity to enter into a saving relationship with him.

As previously pointed out it is about receiving the Holy spirit through these messengers, and is not directly to do with their academic claims, it is about warming to the spirit which they present and then following  wherever it leads. It is about receiving a righteous man because of the spirit of truth about him not because you necessarily understand everything he is going on about. The gospel works for all in all times and in all places.

You said:
Yet to reject God's purported messenger is not to willfully reject God himself

Correct, This is the trick of everything, making a creation is the way to create a survivable space for freewill as well, but is also why there is no possible salvation for the spiritual angels, because by definition they reject God direct to his face they sin against the holy spirit directly.

You said:
A man cannot willfully reject that which he does not first believe to exist.

This is true enough but the creator God has woven his witness into the warp and weft of everything, like yeast in a batch. Do you not believe that cause and effect exist; where does the universe come from then? Atheism is willfully stupid to deny a first cause, they contradict their means of analyzing everything else.  Do you not believe that truth, order, companionship, faithfulness, trust, creativity and wisdom exist? Follow these things and you are following the voice of the spirit of God – these things are His where ever they are found. And if they are followed objectively over and against personal survival and self justification, (that is as a rejection of such selfishness), then it represents a holding out of ones hand for salvation. The question at the heart of the universe is do you want God and truth, order, companionship, faithfulness, trust, creativity and wisdom or do you what personal self justification. An honest reflection on this will suggest that we often in a position of contradiction and do not do what we believe we should. Romans 7. To take this position is to agree with God. Many however self justify until the cows come home. (teenagers coming of age and finding themselves are in a particular danger in this regard)

I am not sure what is included within natural theology, I suspect I wouldn’t agree with it all. The point is that it is clear that from Romans 1 allied to Psalm 19 that the witness of creation is a key example of why men are without excuse. That is it displays a spirit of God’s character holding out his arms all day long to us, it is not about affirming an understanding of God directly, it is about acknowledging the spirit of creativity and cause and effect as good. Listening to this voice will get you there in the end, because there is none good but God.

On other “pagan” Gods you need to realize that the biblical narrative is that all such would be perversions of the truth available to Noah, and the current version of spiritual mankind is said to have spread out from him. And the mass conversion of the Karen people of Burma in the 60’s when Christianity was found to fulfill their preserved “pagan” revelation is at least some evidence in favour of this. There are other tales which indicate that religions which on the surface seem quite “pagan” for want of a better word, also still contain an original revelation of the one true creator God. Other religions are more synthetic.

I would be so bold as to claim that many people will find themselves in heaven unexpectedly. The parable of the sheep, the goats and these brothers of mine is clear about this (yes there are 3 groups in this parrable and not just the traditional 2). Although possible following different academic thought patterns (religions and beliefs) they will none the less be followers of the spirit of God, rejecters of selfishness, and acknowledgers of the fact that they need help to reject it. These are people who when they finally see Christianity as the proper fulfillment of the spirit of goodness will then also align themselves with it academically and so move from being sheep to disciples.

You said:
What of those that fail to recognize the existence of any such spirit? Have they willfully rejected the message of a spirit they never recognized to exist?

I already pointed out my view on the 7 spirits of God, themes which can be derived from the early part of Genesis and so there is in fact little delay in revelation. The problem of man not believing and then not transmitting the view academically make no difference to everybody’s exposure to these spiritual themes, “all day long” as the scripture asserts.  I therefore repeat do you not believe that truth, order, companionship, faithfulness, trust, creativity and wisdom exist? Follow these things and you are following the voice of the spirit of God – these things are His where ever they are found.

I acknowledge that the Christian position I have set out is not a traditional one. I am sure in the past I would be thoroughly burnt at the stake for it, and even now it tends to be self excluding. I would say I have asked the same question as you, come to the conclusion that traditional positions cannot answer them properly as you have done, but then not thrown the baby out with the bath water.  The reformulation which is also biblical goes a long way to providing satisfactory answers in this area.

The problem with the church has been ever since Constantine converted it has been playing power politics over and above apologetics. It is only now after its fall from grace in the west that it is of necessity having to start properly picking this up again. Although I do not agree with WLC’s Molinism or Calvinsim or the unknowing God of Arminianism I must commend WLC for his work. He is a trail blazer.

John Dee

4
Re: A loving God and a lack of opportunity.
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2013, 12:40:22 pm »
Ionian

Thank you for your reply (sorry I have trouble with the quoting mechanism so please bear with this)

Greetings John. Not a problem.

You said;

After all, can it be said that you have, at any time, willfully received or rejected a gift you did not first recognize to exist? Have you ever willfully accepted or rejected a gift's offer without first recognizing, or at least believing, that the one through which the gift is offered exists?

Consider a babe at its mother’s breast, what does it understand of the gift or the giver other than that it is good. (and there is none good but God). To enter the kingdom of God you must become such as one of these – a taster and follower of the spirit of goodness. You do not need to understand the provenance of eating and breathing to be able to eat and breathe.

In order for a babe to partake of its mother's milk it first must recognize that there is a breast to suckle, yes? In the same way, if it is required of all men to enter in to a saving relationship with the Christian God in order to receive eternal life, it is very much necessary that all men first recognize that there is indeed a Christian God to enter into relationship with.

You said;
You seem to be under the misapprehension that the freedom to either accept or reject the claims asserted by those who profess to speak on the Christian God's behalf is sufficient in providing men the greatest opportunity to enter into a saving relationship with him.

As previously pointed out it is about receiving the Holy spirit through these messengers, and is not directly to do with their academic claims, it is about warming to the spirit which they present and then following  wherever it leads. It is about receiving a righteous man because of the spirit of truth about him not because you necessarily understand everything he is going on about. The gospel works for all in all times and in all places.

How is one to receive a spirit which is not recognized to exist? Even if it can be shown, which I doubt it can, that all men know the holy spirit exists, it cannot be shown that all men recognize this spirit as a messenger speaking on behalf of the Christian God. If by the promptings of the spirit, a man is inclined to reject (as many have) the apostolic claims regarding Christ's divinity and instead swear fealty to alternative Gods, will this man still, despite his ignorance, inherit eternal life?

You said:
Yet to reject God's purported messenger is not to willfully reject God himself

Correct, This is the trick of everything, making a creation is the way to create a survivable space for freewill as well, but is also why there is no possible salvation for the spiritual angels, because by definition they reject God direct to his face they sin against the holy spirit directly.

Are you implying that those who, by virtue of their ignorance, reject Jesus Christ and persist in unbelief will still attain salvation? If so, how do you reconcile such a position with the following verses?

Quote
Luke 10 14-16
Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. 15 And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades.

16“Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

I am also curious how you might reconcile both "John 6:50-71" and "John 14:6" with your stance.

You said:
A man cannot willfully reject that which he does not first believe to exist.

This is true enough but the creator God has woven his witness into the warp and weft of everything, like yeast in a batch. Do you not believe that cause and effect exist; where does the universe come from then? Atheism is willfully stupid to deny a first cause, they contradict their means of analyzing everything else.

It would be quite disingenuous of you to claim that Atheism implies the rejection of a first cause. I personally know a number of non-theists which do not deny that the universe had a cause, they merely reject that this cause was the thinking/feeling/maximally great entity espoused by theists. None the less, if by their ignorance, Atheists have failed to recognize that the first cause of the universe is indeed the Christian God, then it cannot be said that non-believers have willfully rejected the God they never recognized to exist. As such, we may conclude that non-theists have not been given the greatest opportunity to enter into a saving relationship with the Christian God.


Do you not believe that truth, order, companionship, faithfulness, trust, creativity and wisdom exist? Follow these things and you are following the voice of the spirit of God – these things are His where ever they are found.

Surely you recognize that not one of these things imply the existence of the Christian God, nor do they  remotely imply that Jesus Christ is "the way, the truth, and the life". Your claim that these things refer to God "where ever they are found" is little more than a bare assertion which is not itself evidenced in the qualities to which you have made reference. How is it then that you believe the existence of such things constitutes the greatest opportunity to enter into a saving relationship with ANY God, let alone the Christian God? 

And if they are followed objectively over and against personal survival and self justification, (that is as a rejection of such selfishness), then it represents a holding out of ones hand for salvation. The question at the heart of the universe is do you want God and truth, order, companionship, faithfulness, trust, creativity and wisdom or do you what personal self justification.

Which God are you referring to John? As it stands, neither a desire for truth, order, companionship, faithfulness, trust, creativity or wisdom necessitates a recognition that any God exists, let alone the God espoused by Christians.

An honest reflection on this will suggest that we often in a position of contradiction and do not do what we believe we should. Romans 7. To take this position is to agree with God. Many however self justify until the cows come home. (teenagers coming of age and finding themselves are in a particular danger in this regard)

The recognition of contradictions between one's actions and one's desires does not imply that a God exists. If a non-Christian, or not non-theist, comes to recognize contradictions within themselves, it cannot be said that they have truly assented to Christianity. Will such an individual, none the less, inherit eternal life?

I am not sure what is included within natural theology, I suspect I wouldn’t agree with it all. The point is that it is clear that from Romans 1 allied to Psalm 19 that the witness of creation is a key example of why men are without excuse. That is it displays a spirit of God’s character holding out his arms all day long to us, it is not about affirming an understanding of God directly, it is about acknowledging the spirit of creativity and cause and effect as good. Listening to this voice will get you there in the end, because there is none good but God.

This is beginning to smack of religious pluralism. I suspect this theological stance is very much at odds with Christian orthodoxy. None the less, are you implying that so long as one assents to some moral spirit of creativity and cause and effect (whatever that may be), one will inherit eternal life? If so, such would seem to suggest that acceptance of Christ as Lord and savior is rather superfluous.

That aside, you've still yet to demonstrate that nature implies the existence of a God apart from merely asserting such is the case. Moreover, the non-theist who, in consideration of the natural world, fails to recognize that such is the handiwork of the God you espouse is certainly ignorant of God's existence. Thus it cannot be said that such an individual has willfully rejected the God whose existence he or she has utterly failed to recognize.

On other “pagan” Gods you need to realize that the biblical narrative is that all such would be perversions of the truth available to Noah, and the current version of spiritual mankind is said to have spread out from him. And the mass conversion of the Karen people of Burma in the 60’s when Christianity was found to fulfill their preserved “pagan” revelation is at least some evidence in favour of this. There are other tales which indicate that religions which on the surface seem quite “pagan” for want of a better word, also still contain an original revelation of the one true creator God. Other religions are more synthetic.

Greek and Roman polytheism gained popularity subsequent to Noah's purported flood, yet their reference to many Gods contradicts the monotheistic depiction of god as posited by the Abrahamic faiths. Do such post Noahic traditions constitute a perverse belief? If so, have you not contradicted yourself? That aside, you claim that the perverse pagan faiths contemporaneous with Noah failed to recognize the "one true God" revealed to Noah. Can it therefore be said that such individuals willfully rejected the God they never recognized to exist? Were they given the greatest opportunity to enter into a saving relationship with the God who allegedly wrought his vengeance upon them in the form of a global deluge? 

I would be so bold as to claim that many people will find themselves in heaven unexpectedly. The parable of the sheep, the goats and these brothers of mine is clear about this (yes there are 3 groups in this parrable and not just the traditional 2). Although possible following different academic thought patterns (religions and beliefs) they will none the less be followers of the spirit of God, rejecters of selfishness, and acknowledgers of the fact that they need help to reject it. These are people who when they finally see Christianity as the proper fulfillment of the spirit of goodness will then also align themselves with it academically and so move from being sheep to disciples.

Then you admit that a belief in Jesus Christ as lord and savior, as well as the acceptance of his sacrificial gift upon the cross, is not, in fact, requisite for salvation? If so, then you would seem to affirm that the Christian God described in the OP does not exist.

You said:
What of those that fail to recognize the existence of any such spirit? Have they willfully rejected the message of a spirit they never recognized to exist?

I already pointed out my view on the 7 spirits of God, themes which can be derived from the early part of Genesis and so there is in fact little delay in revelation. The problem of man not believing and then not transmitting the view academically make no difference to everybody’s exposure to these spiritual themes, “all day long” as the scripture asserts.  I therefore repeat do you not believe that truth, order, companionship, faithfulness, trust, creativity and wisdom exist? Follow these things and you are following the voice of the spirit of God – these things are His where ever they are found.

On this view, even the Atheist may be saved so long as he or she believes that truth, order, companionship, faithfulness, trust, creativity and wisdom exists. Nowhere is a recognition of Christ's divinity, as well as his sacrificial atonement for sin, necessary for salvation to be obtained. If what you assert is in fact true, the Christian God (as described in the OP) does not exist.


I acknowledge that the Christian position I have set out is not a traditional one. I am sure in the past I would be thoroughly burnt at the stake for it, and even now it tends to be self excluding. I would say I have asked the same question as you, come to the conclusion that traditional positions cannot answer them properly as you have done, but then not thrown the baby out with the bath water.  The reformulation which is also biblical goes a long way to providing satisfactory answers in this area.

The problem with the church has been ever since Constantine converted it has been playing power politics over and above apologetics. It is only now after its fall from grace in the west that it is of necessity having to start properly picking this up again. Although I do not agree with WLC’s Molinism or Calvinsim or the unknowing God of Arminianism I must commend WLC for his work. He is a trail blazer.

John Dee

Well John, it would seem then that my argument is not equipped to serve as a relevant critique of the theism you posit, given that it seems that the only requirements for salvation, on your view, are a belief in truth, order, companionship, faithfulness, trust, creativity and wisdom. I would agree that most, if not all thinking men have been given the opportunity to recognize such things exist.  I would argue however, that the God you posit is not the God of orthodox Christian theology. Given that such is the case, it seems we can both mutually agree that the argument I have put forward successfully demonstrates that the God of orthodox Christian theology does not exist.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2013, 04:06:26 pm by Ionian_Tradition »

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John Dee

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Re: A loving God and a lack of opportunity.
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2013, 05:23:58 pm »
Ionian

various responses in two parts I have hit a 20000 character barrier - still can't do the proper quoting - I only seem to be able to grab the whole entry - so I have used the other quoting mechanism.

Quote
In order for a babe to partake of its mother's milk it first must recognize that there is a breast to suckle, yes? In the same way, if it is required of all men to enter in to a saving relationship with the Christian God in order to receive eternal life, it is very much necessary that all men first recognize that there is indeed a Christian God to enter into relationship with.

You are missing the point a babe does not really know what a breast or indeed milk is! All in really knows is that its good.

Quote
How is one to receive a spirit which is not recognized to exist? Even if it can be shown, which I doubt it can, that all men know the holy spirit exists, it cannot be shown that all men recognize this spirit as a messenger speaking on behalf of the Christian God. If by the promptings of the spirit, a man is inclined to reject (as many have) the apostolic claims regarding Christ's divinity and instead swear fealty to alternative Gods, will this man still, despite his ignorance, inherit eternal life?

You are ignoring my point that it is not about academic appreciation or even understanding of an idea, it is about receiving someone through their messengers. You ultimately receive someone by recognising or affirming something which they are about. This can be achieved through welcoming the spirit of that person earlier than if it must also await understanding. For the Christian gospel to work it must apply to babes, the simple minded and the uneducated. These types are reached through the spirit first. We must become like little children to enter the kingdom of God.

Quote
Are you implying that those who, by virtue of their ignorance, reject Jesus Christ and persist in unbelief will still attain salvation? If so, how do you reconcile such a position with the following verses?
Quote
Luke 10 14-16
Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. 15 And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades.

16“Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

I am also curious how you might reconcile both "John 6:50-71" and "John 14:6" with your stance.

Yes I am implying the possibility that some superficial rejecters will be saved, but this is also qualified. The only sin which will not be forgiven is the sin against the holy spirit. The way some people have had the Christian message presented to them is so dire like a white washed tomb, that their rejection of Christ and his or her followers is therefore in no ways a rejection of the holy spirit.  But the quote from Luke 10 would suggest that the rejection at Bethsaida was also a rejection of the holy spirit because he was also fairly presented.

I would assert John ch14 v6 as absolutely fundamental, but it is the empowerment behind it and not the knowledge of it which is most fundamental. How did King David, and Abel get saved, if John ch14 v6 also required direct knowledge? And yet these Hebrews ch11 characters are all generally by tradition considered to be saved.

At Luke 10 verse 16 you must follow the principle of one scripture interpreting another. We take the most fundamental truth as the point about rejection of the holy spirit being the only unforgivable sin. V16 therefore must be read as the holy spirit being coherently present such that the rejection described is also a rejection of the holy spirit.

I am not sure what point you wish to make with John 6:50-71 – the theme which I read is feeding on Christ’s spirit (which is what I’m trying to talk to you about – the spiritual angle is more important than the academic one)

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It would be quite disingenuous of you to claim that Atheism implies the rejection of a first cause. I personally know a number of non-theists which do not deny that the universe had a cause, they merely reject that this cause was the thinking/feeling/maximally great entity espoused by theists. None the less, if by their ignorance, Atheists have failed to recognize that the first cause of the universe is indeed the Christian God, then it cannot be said that non-believers have willfully rejected the God they never recognized to exist. As such, we may conclude that non-theists have not been given the greatest opportunity to enter into a saving relationship with the Christian God.

My point about atheism was based on my own experience of it, that all the arguments are generally naturalistic. But by definition atheism denies the supernatural, otherwise it could not assert for sure that there was no god. I imagine therefore that the first cause your friends are speaking of is just another natural cause. The point of the first cause is that it must be supernatural, the first and second laws of thermodynamics are quite clear nothing comes from nothing (naturally speaking that is).

I must bring you back to my point about the spirit of things embedded into the warp and weft of everything so everybody gets enough opportunity.

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Surely you recognize that not one of these things imply the existence of the Christian God, nor do they  remotely imply that Jesus Christ is "the way, the truth, and the life". Your claim that these things refer to God "where ever they are found" is little more than a bare assertion which is not itself evidenced in the qualities to which you have made reference. How is it then that you believe the existence of such things constitutes the greatest opportunity to enter into a saving relationship with ANY God, let alone the Christian God? 

Forgive me but your argument started with the presumption of the Christian God, and then wanted to assert that he did not exist because of a lack of communication. Within that context I have pointed out that you are barking up the wrong communication tree. For any communication to be effective across the board (something which I think you are looking for) it must apply to babes, the simple minded, ignorant those who have lost their marbles and all those OT characters in Hebrews ch11. This is why in the end it comes down to the spirit and not understanding, and why I am contradicting your point about lack of communication. If we are assuming a creator God (which you initially did) then it is safe to assume that a lot, if not all things within that creation are also his in some way; my assertions where not therefore bare, they were based on the assumption you started with. Of course we could discuss why a Trinitarian ‘God head’ is the best first cause explanation of much of what we find ourselves with, especially freewill, but that would be to jump to something else. Also remember in the end there is no proof, it is therefore about testing which world view can make most sense of everything.

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Which God are you referring to John? As it stands, neither a desire for truth, order, companionship, faithfulness, trust, creativity or wisdom necessitates a recognition that any God exists, let alone the God espoused by Christians.

Within the context which you set I have broken out the forms of the spirit by which the Christian God has declared himself through the earliest part of scripture. I agree that you cannot argue from these forms to a presumption of the Christian God, you use other arguments for that. But once you have that presumption which I remind you that you set, you then get the next layer of information and arguments which come on top of that which help make even more sense of things.

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The recognition of contradictions between one's actions and one's desires does not imply that a God exists. If a non-Christian, or not non-theist, comes to recognize contradictions within themselves, it cannot be said that they have truly assented to Christianity. Will such an individual, none the less, inherit eternal life?

My previous comment also refers here, we are already presuming the Christian God. Read Roman ch2 v6-11. Persistence in doing good , and I would expand this to following the 7 spirits of God, truth faithfulness trustworthiness and companionship etc are all good, will get you there in the end. But this is no cop out, for when the true spirit of the Christian gospel is properly presented this persistence should then also lead to academic assent and becoming a disciple.

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This is beginning to smack of religious pluralism. I suspect this theological stance is very much at odds with Christian orthodoxy. None the less, are you implying that so long as one assents to some moral spirit of creativity and cause and effect (whatever that may be), one will inherit eternal life? If so, such would seem to suggest that acceptance of Christ as Lord and savior is rather superfluous.

This is not any old belief will do. My position is in fact very biblical, I would however suggest that I have a made slight rearrangements on which truths are most fundamental for trying to line everything else up with, and so have tried to cover all those people who have never heard issues properly which you are concerned about. Not religious pluralism, but pluralistic in the best sense because it allows a fair opportunity for all.

Acceptance of Christ as Lord and saviour is also imperative. It is just that the construct around it is not as restrictive as you are suggesting. Following the 7 spirits with persistence and honour, seeking immortality will lead you to this acknowledgment even if it is only actually on the judgment day itself as a sheep and not as one of these brothers of mine who get to that acknowledgment earlier.

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That aside, you've still yet to demonstrate that nature implies the existence of a God apart from merely asserting such is the case. Moreover, the non-theist who, in consideration of the natural world, fails to recognize that such is the handiwork of the God you espouse is certainly ignorant of God's existence. Thus it cannot be said that such an individual has willfully rejected the God whose existence he or she has utterly failed to recognize.

Once again I do not need to, you set the context and I quote “If the Christian god exist”. If this creator God did exist it would be quite reasonable to expect that the creation demonstrated his spirit of creativity in some way.

end of part one

6

John Dee

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Re: A loving God and a lack of opportunity.
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2013, 05:24:46 pm »
Part 2

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Greek and Roman polytheism gained popularity subsequent to Noah's purported flood, yet their reference to many Gods contradicts the monotheistic depiction of god as posited by the Abrahamic faiths.

My point was that buried within these faiths is a remnant of this original monotheistic tradition handed down from Noah. The Romans practiced ancestor worship among other things, there may then be some significance in the resemblance of the names Japheth and Jupiter.

The Taoist Lao-tzu wrote the following in the 6th century BC (with no reference to the written record  of genesis, which was written much later than the times it describes)

“Before time, and throughout time, there has been a self existing being, eternal, infinite, complete, omnipresent ….. Outside this being, before the beginning, there was nothing”.

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Do such post Noahic traditions constitute a perverse belief? If so, have you not contradicted yourself?

Not sure where you think the contradiction is. When I said perverted I mainly meant in the power politics kind of way; that is the essential truths were often set aside for other ones through which one might more easily manipulate people. Its seems religion and fundamental beliefs have always be a significant way in manipulating men, and we find government propaganda just as rife in atheistic and secular culture as well; Weapons of mass destruction and 4 minutes to hit Britain and all.

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That aside, you claim that the perverse pagan faiths contemporaneous with Noah failed to recognize the "one true God" revealed to Noah.

No, I was referring to the fact that there is significant evidence that buried within a number of pagan religions are references to a one true God indicating a possible link with a tradition handed down from Noah. (see Eternity in their hearts)

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Can it therefore be said that such individuals willfully rejected the God they never recognized to exist? Were they given the greatest opportunity to enter into a saving relationship with the God who allegedly wrought his vengeance upon them in the form of a global deluge? 

I am not sure if a flood discussion would be a useful diversion for the discussion at this point. The bible stories speak of people living much longer, presumably also as one angle on giving the greatest opportunity for a saving relationship. But the verdict before the flood was than men in the end just did evil all the time. If this evil also represented a genuine rejection of the holy spirit, then there is no reason for God not to bring forward everybody’s choice of “not God”, rather than let it drag on any more. 

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Then you admit that a belief in Jesus Christ as lord and savior, as well as the acceptance of his sacrificial gift upon the cross, is not, in fact, requisite for salvation? If so, then you would seem to affirm that the Christian God described in the OP does not exist.

Is OP opening presumption?

Now you are starting to be disingenuous, you might as well state categorically that Newton was wrong even though he is good enough to get you to the moon, or that Great Britain does not exist because my map of it has Scotland ripped off the top. You could win the argument from a semantics point of view; but we will then have left the pursuit of truth, especially in relation to what may or may not be true about Christianity, for the self justification of winning an argument.

The fact that your opening gambit does not explain how the OT Hebrews ch 11 characters are saved is a clear indication that it is not a complete summary representation of Christian truth. You are basically presenting the straw man of Calvinistic/reformed type theology, with its very narrow net, but that is not to say that that is all wrong, its just that it does not in the end work as an effective world view.

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On this view, even the Atheist may be saved so long as he or she believes that truth, order, companionship, faithfulness, trust, creativity and wisdom exists. Nowhere is a recognition of Christ's divinity, as well as his sacrificial atonement for sin, necessary for salvation to be obtained. If what you assert is in fact true, the Christian God (as described in the OP) does not exist.

Yes even the atheist, but again with careful qualification; why do they declare themselves to be an atheist, is it, based on their current lights, a continuation of a life long pursuit of truth, order etc. In contrast there will be many who acknowledged Christ academically who on the last day even though they declare “Lord Lord”, will find themselves lost because he never knew them. It is the distinction of the spirit which means that some will find themselves in heaven unexpectedly because they affirmed, followed and received good spirits, which unknown to them were also God’s spirits.

Yes your straw man does not really exist, because you only gave it straw when you described it. But the Christian Trinitarian God properly explained does make the most sense of everything. In my view the Christian God exists, even though he has been poorly witnessed to over the years.

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Well John, it would seem then that my argument is not equipped to serve as a relevant critique of the theism you posit, given that it seems that the only requirements for salvation, on your view, are a belief in truth, order, companionship, faithfulness, trust, creativity and wisdom.

This is not the entirety of my view but our discussion has not necessarily warranted a full exposition. These are not the only requirements for salvation; these represent the spirit of putting your hand up to be saved, there is no works here God still does all the saving worth boasting about. The empowerment of salvation is still only In Christ and as a result of his incarnation and death, it was the only way of God getting to the place where we hand taken ourselves,( in order to enable the holy spirit to seek and save) a place of complete god forsakenness and therefore hence the cry from the cross. As I have said above full recognition of God may not come until judgement day but that does not deny anybody the possibility to pursue his good spirits with persistence throughout their lives. When that acknowledgement does come it will be as if our hearts are strangely warmed, for we will then know that God’s spirit is witnessing with our own, in that pursuit which we had none the less committed ourselves to, the pearl of great price.

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I would agree that most, if not all thinking men have been given the opportunity to recognize such things exist.

Good, but you don’t actually need that much of the self aware thinking bit either, you can just taste to see that something is good, that’s the way babes etc get it as well.

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I would argue however, that the God you posit is not the God of orthodox Christian theology

My view is none the less biblical, as I said above I think that you have restricted your perception of Christian orthodoxy to the Calvinistic/reformed one. This view would explain the Hebrew ch11 characters through its view of direct election to the gospel as being of the same order as God choice of the jews. This might be workable if it were not for reprobation.

But what of other orthodoxies how would the freewill choice of Molinsim and Arminianism explain these ch11 characters when they do not have complete knowledge of Christ, to work their freewill on? The only answer which makes sense to me is the one I have been giving you. These people exercise their freewill in relation to these spirits, and this angle is also a theme in the bible as I have been pointing out.

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Given that such is the case, it seems we can both mutually agree that the argument I have put forward successfully demonstrates that the God of orthodox Christian theology does not exist.

At this point you have a decision to make, are you being persistent in seeking the truth of something, or are you self justifying and sort of just setting up an argument which you can’t lose because of your straw man presumption.

As I said I did not think that your opening statements described the God which I see presented in the bible. But given the power politics clearly also in play over the history of the church, is it not dangerous to assume that any orthodoxy is the final one. Also I rather suspect that some of the admitted obscurity about it all, both in scriptural doctrine and in life, is quite deliberate. It is only that which can keep us seeking which enables a relationship. The thing about a relationship is that you cannot know everything, otherwise there is nothing to relate, growth is therefore imperative so there is always some mystery (hence the spirit of creativity). It is like a dance you come together, move apart and come back together again. It is only when you come back together after moving apart which proves you are dancing together. It is persistence in dancing to the tunes of the 7 spirits which mark sheep out, disciples are those who continue that dance but are also in a position to practice it with understanding. It is always better to be a disciple hence the great commission.

John Dee

7

jayceeii

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Re: A loving God and a lack of opportunity.
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2020, 02:57:16 pm »
It is said that the Christian God is a maximally great being. One of the Christian God's maximally great attributes is said to be "love" (Ephesians 3:16-19, 1 John 4:8, Romans 8:38-39). By virtue of his boundless love (Psalm 36:5, Romans 8:39), the Christian desires that all men should enter into a saving relationship with him (John 3:16, 1 Timothy 2:4, Titus 2:11, John 3:17, 2 peter 3:9). This, among other things, requires that human beings accept the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. In order for human beings to willfully accept or deny this gift, they must first recognize that the Christian God exists (One cannot willfully accept or reject the gift of a God who is not first recognized to exist). If God is all loving, then it is conceivable to presume that God will do everything in his power to provide humanity the greatest opportunity to either accept or reject his gift of salvation, thus affording them the greatest opportunity to avoid eternal separation from God in hell. Given that acceptance of this gift is predicated upon a recognition of the specific God through which the gift is offered, it follows that the Christian God, if he exists, will do everything in his power to ensure that all men come to, at the very least, recognize his existence, such that they will be afforded the opportunity to willfully accept or reject his salvific gift. Yet subsequent to the life of Christ, there have existed countless individuals who were thoroughly unconvinced of the Christian God's existence. Even to this day, there exists a vast multitude of individuals (both theist & non-theist alike) who have failed to recognize the existence of the Christian God. It is this abundance of ignorance regarding the Christian God's existence which lends credence to the conclusion born from the following syllogism:

Premise 1: If the Christian God exists, all men will be given the greatest opportunity to willfully enter into a saving relationship with him.

premise 2: By virtue of their ignorance, not all men have been given the greatest opportunity to willfully enter into a saving relationship with the Christian God.

Conclusion: Therefore, the Christian God does not exist.

Question for debate: Is this argument sound?
The argument is sound. God exists, but not the Christian God, who would be a type of slave to human desire and ignorance. To strengthen this argument one should note that the Christian God appears weak for allowing the other religions to be established and flourish. Moreover, neither Jesus nor any prophet dealt with these other religions specifically. So even where the Christian God revealed, He appeared to be incognizant.

All we have from Jesus is, “Those other religions are bad,” not, “Buddhism is bad from this, Hinduism from that,” although many have theorized Jesus traveled to India in His twenties. Furthermore since He was God it would’ve been possible to give a generalized description of what is wrong with those types of religions, in case news of Hinduism and Buddhism had not reached His region and He didn’t travel. Christianity appears in a storm, where God doesn’t seem to have exercised control or had knowledge of the planet.

In any case it is clear Jesus did not give an intellectual refutation of other religions, which Christians should understand to show a lack of faith on the part of Jesus that they could listen and care, if He was indeed God. The idea that God is loving presupposes that man would be lovable, but if man is not lovable then love is irrelevant, as for instance though we love cobras we don’t put them in our sleeping bags or try to form a relationship with them. If man is indeed “fallen,” then he may be fallen beyond a point God’s love can reach, for instance as we see men turning to lives of crime, despite their mothers’ love.

As stated above, the Christian formula is that men can be saved despite being fallen, by accepting the “free gift” exemplified by Christ’s death on the Cross. However, what can God do with a nest of vipers? Christians posit they will go to Heaven, without noticing every problem they generate here they will carry with them there. They posit that anger and greed will fall away since in Heaven you get anything you want just for asking, but it would have been possible to set up our economic system this way, if they really wanted that. No, greed means getting more than the other guy, and that’s a nightmare in Heaven.