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Thread: The Big Picture

  1. #61
    Over 1500 post club Arsenios's Avatar
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    Here is the idea... The older style can be found on the left and the right down low by the candle stands...

    Do you live near there?

    Arsenios

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    theophilus (February 27th, 2016)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arsenios View Post
    I did not hear that side of it... Can you fill me in?
    Wikipedia tells it well enough. Apparently Ireland had some problem with the fact that Eastern priests can be married. The details are not clear, but I've heard that he thought it would be too confusing for the Roman Catholic laypersons. It may also be that he questioned the legitimacy of that practice.

    I am trying to get some pics... The old iconography, I understand, was 19th century Russian, which was heavily influenced by the Latins in Russia under Peter the (not so) Great... They thereby became more naturalistic, with the Theotokos having eye shadow etc, though still strictly speaking Byzantine... I have received Communion in a Latin Church chapel in Moscow, ID, where the stations of the cross were there in Byzantine style... We do not, as Orthodox, DO the stations as a prayer rule, as do the Latins... So it struck me as a little odd... But at an rate, the more naturalistic style of sacred depictions of the Latins, which sort of culminated in the Sistine Chapel under the hand of Michangelo, and proceeded to the statuary so common now in that Church, are not all that much in evidence in Orthodox Iconography... We do some iconic carving in wood and in stone, but not normally the naturalistic way that it is done in the western Church...

    So they have returned to a more Traditional style of bright Byzantine iconography in the dome and iconostasis, keeping the structure as it was, imported from Russia as a gift from Tsar Nicholas...
    Yes, I know what you are talking about here. My eye isn't too great, but I've seen enough icons to know these differences.

    Do you know that we regard the turning over of the Russian lands to the atheists as a result of the failure of the Church in Russia to martyr herself at the hands of Peter in his insistence of embracing all things western, including the Latin Church?
    I did not know that. How did he embrace the Latin Church? But in general I think that period is too late. Modernism isn't Latin Scholasticism, and you yourself spoke about Kalistos' reverence for such figures as Aquinas.

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  5. #63
    Over 1500 post club Arsenios's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zippy2006 View Post
    I did not know that.
    We have an etiology that makes Calvinists look like free-willers, while at the same time fully embracing free-will, and what this turns out to be is the divine micro-management of all creation for the sake of God's purposing of it that demands an accounting of how it is that the great Church of Kyrill and Methodios could possible be taken over by the Atheists [USSR] and persecuted into the ground as it was, and it was our correction in Russia for our turning away from the Faith of our Fathers as a Church, even though we did have some marvelous Saints from that era coming out of Russia, and especially the Optina Elders... Yet the Church itself embraced the Scholasticism of the Latins who were brought in by Peter the [not so] Great for the sake of "modernizing" the backwardness of the Russian culture... The "Old Believers" rebelled, and were persecuted and killed and fled... But the Church came under the Latin influence, embracing the Scholasticism of the Latins and the Naturalism of their iconic depictions, drawing the line at statuary...

    Our God is a loving God, and He turned us over to the Atheists for our correction, benefit, and salvation... By humanistic standards, it was harsh - 35 million or more killed...

    How did he embrace the Latin Church?
    That history is long, but in essence, he simply loved all things Western and modern, including French as the Language of the Russian Court, sciences, dentistry - A western dentist showed him how to extract a tooth, and he grabbed a nearby person in his court, crammed him onto a table, opened his mouth and took the tools and started pulling teeth... All this in the exuberance of something new and wondrous... He did the same with the Church, where the Scholasticism of the Latins gave a 'scientific' basis for matters that the Church was too 'backward' in its simplicity, which he saw as superstition, to originate, so he gave the Latins leave to instruct them in matters ecclesiastical - In essence he dictated theology to the Church, and the resistance to it was not enough to stop it...

    But in general I think that period is too late. Modernism isn't Latin Scholasticism, and you yourself spoke about Kalistos' reverence for such figures as Aquinas.
    Bp. Kallistos' love for Aquinas in Latin was a delightful surprise to me... He does not have the same in English - I think he read Aquinas and understood his arguments in their Latin form, and then found that the translations into English missed much of their power... But he is one of the most pedantic of Churchmen one will ever find in Orthodoxy, and to find him emotionally gushing over his reading of Aquinas in Latin left me positively a-flop! I do not think Bp. K. had particular reverence for Thomas, except as a very great thinker...

    My own read of Aquinas is that at the end of his life, he finally had an encounter with God [which Orthodoxy disciples and engenders as an ordinary part of its discipling] and realized immediately that his writings and thoughts were but vain as straw, fit for burning... Repentance is the key epistemological pre-requisite for theological knowledge, and not study of Scripture and Doctrine...

    For Peter the Great, all things western were modern by Russian standards of his time...

    I am sure you have heard of Ivan the [not so] Terrible?



    Things are never as they seem...
    Or so it would appear...

    As it were...

    Arsenios

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    Over 1500 post club Arsenios's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zippy2006 View Post
    Wikipedia tells it well enough. Apparently Ireland had some problem with the fact that Eastern priests can be married. The details are not clear, but I've heard that he thought it would be too confusing for the Roman Catholic laypersons. It may also be that he questioned the legitimacy of that practice.
    Wikki calls him the Father of the OCA... lol! Making Barrack the Father of the Conservative Resurgence! I had no idea... But the times then were ones of harshness and hardness of heart on the part of the Latins against their Uniate brothers and the Orthodox, and it centered on their belief that the married priesthood is really just plain wrong, and was permitted under Rome solely for the purpose of undermining Orthodoxy in the Middle East, and really had no place outside of its intended purpose... Ireland seems to have wanted the Uniates deported from the US of A and back to the primordial ooze from whence they had first emerged in Rome's warfare which tried to subject the Orthodox Church to the Pope...

    Father of the OCA...

    Whodathunkit?

    And fwiw, when that occurred, and the uniates joined with the Russians, a large number of very bad actors slipped in with them under the radar of being vetted in Russian parishes, and the OCA is still struggling to emerge from their stranglehold and heal their woundings... But you doubtless know the sordidness of all that already... Lord have Mercy!

    Arsenios

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  9. #65
    LIFETIME MEMBER Desert Reign's Avatar
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    Hi All, it's been a while since I last posted on my own 'Big Picture' thread. Thanks to all who joined in on it. I know it is hard going sometimes with complicated concepts and indeed complicated people.

    Anyway, it seems that my lifetime membership of TOL is about to expire, possibly in days, so I am going to invite you to join in my leaving party virtually, so to speak, although if you happen to be in England, then you are welcome to join the real leaving celebration. The real thing will not be streamed live as far as I know but I am leaving you with a transcript of my leaving speech.

    Hopefully, this won't be my last post on TOL. I will keep going until the actual expiry of my membership but I thought I would make sure I get this one in as a priority.

    Hello everyone, thanks for coming. Sorry I couldn’t be here personally to welcome you, but I was unavoidably prevented.
    I hope you enjoyed my choice of a few songs. Spirit in the Sky wasn’t written by a Christian, but God uses lots of things for his purposes regardless of the motive of the individual. And you’ve got, When I survey the wondrous Cross, to come at the end.
    I want to say a few things briefly to you about what is important to me. I have written many things and this is not the place to go into any detail. So if anyone is interested in pursuing my theology further, ask Neil, and he can point you in the right direction.
    The first thing I want to say is only what I have said before here at Kingsland. The Gospel begins and ends with faith. That faith has been made possible because of Christ. He is God’s gift to us. That’s what Paul says. You can have all the right doctrines and do all the right things, but without faith, it is impossible to please God. Faith is not about what you believe. Neither is it about a state of mind that you can get yourself into with a bit of practice like some sales technique or meditation system. Neither is faith anything to do with practising religious rituals, like going to church on Sunday or making the sign of the cross or raising your arms when you worship or kneeling down or getting baptised.
    Faith is nothing other than trust in God. If you trust God, then everything else follows. If you trust him, then you will do what he commands regardless of the cost. If you trust in God then you will act accordingly. It is perhaps unfortunate that this simple concept of trust has been hidden by translating the Greek word for trust with faith. It is really trust. The word ‘faith’ has more the sense of a set of beliefs. That is not the main idea behind the Greek word that Paul uses. That is what Paul says: trust is the beginning and end of the Gospel. This applies whoever you are and wherever you come from. It is a great leveller. The university professor is not more qualified to have faith than the waitress in the local hamburger restaurant. The Jew is not more qualified than the gentile. All must have this faith, this trust, in order to please God.
    If you ask God for something and you trust him that he has granted your request, then it will happen. But not everything can be asked of God in this way. If there were a rule that when we ask God for something, we get it, then we would be trusting in a rule, not in a person. We have no right to make demands. True trust doesn’t do this. And the fact is, that suffering in our lives is necessary, to prove who we are. If we always had only success in our lives, then success would not be success. It is only success when we know that failure was also possible. It is only suffering because we know that the suffering need not have happened. So our sufferings and our joys prove that we are real people. The more we experience of both, the deeper we become as human beings. That is why we should really be thinking of embracing our sufferings rather than seeking to avoid them.
    When I say embrace, I don’t mean that we should look for suffering. That would not make sense at all. This is only normal for human beings. But in accepting our sufferings and going through them with courage and generosity, we can give God the glory. Anyone can be happy in success but it is in these difficult things that we can shake our fists and say, we are more than conquerors. One of my aims in life has been to prove that when God made me, he didn’t make a mistake, that heaven and earth can look at me and say, this was what creation was for. That in this world, the greatest beauty can arise. I say that now with confidence. It was all worthwhile. He did a great job making me. Thank-you!
    So we shouldn’t really all the time be asking God to relieve us of our sufferings and to grant us success in this life. The things we trust God for are of greater value than our own self-centred concerns. Trust in God is not trust for anything. God is who he is, and if we trust him, it is because we trust who he is as the person he is, namely the righteous God, the God who defines love, the God who adopts orphans, the God who protects the oppressed. And of course, the God who sent Jesus, his own son, to die on a cross for us to prove that he also is real, that he also is willing to suffer the consequences of the life he created for us. That is why we can trust him at all.
    I have had a fair share of those sufferings. From the cradle to the grave. And my third bout of cancer has got me in the end. But I have known God’s love in a measure more than equal to those sufferings. Especially in granting me a beautiful wife and four lovely children. It is also important to me that in spite of those sufferings, I have always thought of the world as something very good. I have always appreciated the richness of the world, both in nature and in other people. It is why I have spent a good deal of my time at the keyboard opposing those who suggest otherwise. And they come in all sorts of guises. Some mathematicians or philosophers for example might develop views that all their theories work perfectly and have a simple beauty about them but that the real world, in other words the physical world, never seems to quite live up to such perfection. They can then get the idea that there is something wrong with the world. The real world seems to them more like a salad sandwich. There is always a piece of lettuce that falls out or, if you try to poke it back in, out falls a prawn or an onion. My friends, let me tell you that the reason the world can’t be fitted into a set of beautiful equations is because it is alive. And things that are alive defy the rules that you try to impose on them. And the more you try, the harder the world defies you. That’s what life is. It is something that does its own thing. And you can’t predict it. And it forces you to respect it.
    My concern is of course not with mathematicians and philosophers, who after all, are only doing what they do best and enjoy best. I only gave that as an example. It is those who claim to be Christian, who I have the most concern with. The Bible is clear: it says that God looked on all that he had made, and behold, it was very good. There are a great many Christians who oppose this simple statement. And they want to tell us that the world is bad, and indeed that we ourselves are bad. They have capitulated to their sufferings and sin and see only bad in them; instead of trusting in God through them and arriving at beauty, they trust in themselves and arrive at ugliness. Ugliness and destruction are always cheaper than beauty and creativity. They invent all sorts of complicated arguments and they throw hundreds of verses of scripture at you to prove this, in the hope that you will give up in the face of such complexity and just accept their conclusions. However, when you actually examine each of the scriptures they use, you will find that none of them whatsoever supports their point of view.
    They also excuse themselves by saying that the world is fallen. That there was a fall. They blame it on a historical event. But what they are really trying to do is to get you to believe that what God thought about his own creation was wrong. They want you to think that it is not, very good, at all. They want you to think that the world is useless, imperfect and that we as human beings are also useless, valueless, and inept.
    Why do they want you to believe this? I have asked myself this often. It is perhaps a combination of things. Their lack of faith in God makes them think that God has to be everything in order to be God. They can’t accept that man can be something as well as God being something. They can’t accept that man can create things as well as God creating things. In short, they can’t accept that we can be truly alive as well as God being truly alive. In their thinking there is no room for poor man. We can only be what we are if God determines it first. We can only be saved if God determines it first. And so on. This just arises from a lack of faith on their part in the love of God. For them, nothing we do has any value in itself. There are of course other reasons, but this is not the place to go into any details.
    I want to be clear about this. Unless we believe that what we are doing has value in itself then we will never be happy. We will never be satisfied with our life. Unless we believe that we have intrinsic worth then how can we undertake such basic things as forming friendships, getting a job or raising a family? We find our greatest value in knowing that we are loved by God in Christ. For who we are. Remember that God loved us while we were still sinners. It was he who said, ‘I have come that they might have life and have life to the full’. This should not surprise us, since God is the author of life, and it is in coming to him that we find it. But the idea that everything we do, including all our choices, has already been mapped out for us, is not life. Life cannot be mapped out. That is what life is.
    If you succumb to their teachings, you will only see yourself as a miserable, wretched, pathetic excuse for a being. I’m not exaggerating. This is what they themselves say. And when you pray, it won’t be so as to change God’s mind about something, because you are supposed to be inept and cannot have any influence on God at all. Your so-called prayers will only be for your own benefit. To make you yourselves feel better. And you will live in hope and hope alone that one day you will be saved and go to be with God. You will not have actual assurance from these teachings at any time, because assurance is not available for the inept and fallen. You will forever be wondering whether some intended action is right or wrong because the rules of conduct seem to conflict with each other, and the times when you had a vibrant relationship with God through the spirit, where you knew instinctively what was wrong and what was right without having to look up some external rule-book, are long gone by. And you will feel constantly indebted to the lords and teachers over you and all your prayers, like theirs, will be timid, beginning with ‘If it is your will Lord…’, instead of the bold prayers that the Christians of old prayed, ‘Give your servants power to preach the message of the kingdom…’ Every moment is a new moment. Unlike any that have gone before or been thought of before. Let God go with you in all these moments and may both he and you share them together. Find life, and don’t let go of it.
    Last edited by Desert Reign; March 2nd, 2016 at 03:12 AM. Reason: I'm still alive. What can be improved will be.
    Total Misanthropy.
    Uncertain salvation.
    Luck of the draw.
    Irresistible damnation.
    Persecution of the saints.

    Time is an illusion; lunchtime doubly so.
    (The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy)

    RevTestament: It doesn't matter to me too much that the "New Testament wasn't written in Hebrew.
    Dialogos: Calvin, as a sinner, probably got some things wrong.
    Brandplucked: I'm shocked that other people disagree with me.

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  11. #66
    LIFETIME MEMBER Desert Reign's Avatar
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    Hi All, again.
    In this post, I am going to try to answer Clete's question 'Is God Moral?'. I am answering it here (and will link to it in the relevant thread) so that when I have left (see my last post), people will be able to see my latest posts together, rather than having to search for them.
    Plus, the general concepts of morality, why does morality exist at all, and how does it translate into right and wrong actions, is well within the scope of my Big Picture thread anyway.

    In Clete's thread, I said that I had a positive answer to the question that overcame the Euthyphro dilemma. This dilemma is ancient but the modern version of it poses this dilemma: is some action moral solely because God says it is or is it that God always acts morally, i.e. according to an absolute standard of morality that exists independently of God?

    It's no mean question. Obviously when we say an action is moral or immoral, we are without any doubt judging the action. But surely, God is above judgement? Therefore his actions cannot be classified as moral or immoral? So some say.
    On the other hand, if morality originates within God, then such morality becomes arbitrary. Morality is simply whatever God decides. This is also unpalatable to most, certainly Christians, because our faith in God is predicated on him being the great righteous God, not some impersonal force. We can only imagine God acting in full conformity with righteousness and with fully moral actions. If God were to say one day that burning houses was a good thing, would this change our perception of morality? Would we suddenly see that burning houses was a lovely and profoundly right thing to do?
    Well of course not. So this suggests that morality exists independently of God. This problem is not resolved by saying that God has a consistent character and so he could never say that burning houses was a wonderful thing to do. This doesn't really answer the question though. Because it still implies that morality is whatever God is. And that means that God can do anything he likes and it would be right, even if he doesn't in fact do that. The mere potential of it, cancels out the argument.

    So we are left with a dilemma.

    Could it be that the dilemma rests on a false premise? Could it be that morality is an illusion? A mere convenience to aid communication when we talk about the value of actions? Could it be that morality is simply culturally determined and when we sense that something is intrinsically wrong (or right) it is just our cultural values poking through?

    I will try to answer these questions in my next few posts.
    Last edited by Desert Reign; February 17th, 2016 at 08:52 AM.
    Total Misanthropy.
    Uncertain salvation.
    Luck of the draw.
    Irresistible damnation.
    Persecution of the saints.

    Time is an illusion; lunchtime doubly so.
    (The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy)

    RevTestament: It doesn't matter to me too much that the "New Testament wasn't written in Hebrew.
    Dialogos: Calvin, as a sinner, probably got some things wrong.
    Brandplucked: I'm shocked that other people disagree with me.

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  13. #67
    LIFETIME MEMBER Desert Reign's Avatar
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    OK, so I will try to answer two basic questions.
    1. Why is it that some actions can be judged in terms of morality? Why do we think it right to judge actions at all?
    2. When we make such judgements, where do we get the criteria to use for them? Answering this question also answers a related question: why do we perceive certain actions as intrinsically right or wrong? In other words why do some actions speak for themselves as to their rightness or wrongness?

    Answering the first question is simpler, but involves us in examining our most fundamental assumptions about the world. That is what I will concentrate on first. I promised Clete I would spell out my own presuppositions right away. So here they are. Or rather here it is. Just one.

    The world we live in is intrinsically real.

    It's the word 'intrinsically' that needs focusing on. Let me explain. What this means is that the value of things in the world in which we live derives from itself, not from elsewhere. (Assuming for the sake of argument that there is such a thing as an 'elsewhere'.) When a baby is born, that baby has a worth that is intrinsic to itself. The baby does not need its parents or any other person to declare that it is valuable in order for it to be valuable. It is valuable regardless of who says what about it.
    I am not going to attempt to prove this. This is just my presupposition. If you cannot in any way accept it or work with it as a hypothesis, then you might as well not bother to read the rest because it would just be a waste of your time.
    Inanimate objects also have value. (Although some would question whether even a baby was animate. I don't, but I just want to stress that my argument doesn't depend on whether the baby is animate. Intrinsic value doesn't require a thing to be animate in order for my premise to work. My premise is universal.) A chair has an intrinsic value. The reason why it is a chair is because it has a given relationship to the world around it. Namely it has been created for human beings to sit on. That is its value. That value is intrinsic to the chair and even if all humans suddenly disappeared, it would still be a chair. The difference between the chair and the baby is that the baby (assuming you accept it is animate) is self-defining, whereas the chair is only defined in relation to human beings. This doesn't however change the fact that the chair has intrinsic value as a chair. The chair is created, but once created, it is intrinsically real. The baby is born, not created, and doesn't require anything else to give it value, but its own value is still intrinsic.

    Does all this seem obvious to you? I hope so.
    However, it is not really obvious at all to a Calvinist. Or indeed to many other Christians. But let's talk about Calvinists as they are my best friends and I know them well.
    The Calvinist finds great difficulty accepting that anything other than God can have intrinsic worth.
    Do you see where I am going here? Let me be a little clearer: the reason why actions are right or wrong is because things have intrinsic worth.
    If that baby only has worth because some external party declares it so, then if you were to kill that baby, you would not be committing a crime against the baby. You would be committing a crime against the person who declared it to have worth.
    Suppose some bully walks into a classroom and says to the class, pointing to a certain chair, 'this is my chair'. He is declaring a value to that chair. The question would arise: does he have a right to do that? Of course we would all say no, he does not have that right.
    But supposing a really great guy came in. Say the teaching assistant. Everyone likes him. If he were to say 'This chair is mine. No one is allowed to sit on it except me.' Does that make it wrong for you to sit on it?
    You see, true value is always intrinsic. No one has any right to declare value over anything.
    Give me some feedback. My lifetime membership of TOL is about to expire and after that I won't have any further opportunity to interact with you.
    Last edited by Desert Reign; February 16th, 2016 at 05:42 PM.
    Total Misanthropy.
    Uncertain salvation.
    Luck of the draw.
    Irresistible damnation.
    Persecution of the saints.

    Time is an illusion; lunchtime doubly so.
    (The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy)

    RevTestament: It doesn't matter to me too much that the "New Testament wasn't written in Hebrew.
    Dialogos: Calvin, as a sinner, probably got some things wrong.
    Brandplucked: I'm shocked that other people disagree with me.

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  15. #68
    TOL Legend Clete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    You see, true value is always intrinsic. No one has any right to declare value over anything.
    This is the only thing you've said so far that I instinctively take issue with. I say "instinctively" because I'm still digesting all of this and so don't want to be prematurely dogmatic.

    Wouldn't a person who owns the chair, say the chair's creator for instance, have the right to say, "Don't sit in my chair."?

    Assuming a "yes" answer to that question...

    Does God not own us?
    Therefore, using your thought process, wouldn't God have the right to say, "XYZ" is right and "ABC" is wrong?
    "The [open view] is an attempt to provide a more Biblically faithful, rationally coherent, and practically satisfying account of God and the divine-human relationship..." - Dr. John Sanders

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    DR, I thought lifetime membership is good for 25 years. I know I saw that somewhere.
    1 Corinthians 15:1-2 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 KJV -


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    Colossians 1:19-20 KJV - Colossians 1:21-22 KJV - Colossians 1:23 KJV -

    Colossians 1:25-26 KJV 27, 28, 29 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Ephesians 1:12-13, 14 -



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    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    Hi All, again.
    In this post, I am going to try to answer Clete's question 'Is God Moral?'.
    There are only two positions related to the topic: voluntarism or necessitarianism.

    For some pre-reading, see Twisse's Riches of God’s Love here or here.

    Twisse voluntarist view distinguishes between God's essential nature and His will in respect of His wisdom and justice. God, unlike His creatures, does not have an obligation to His moral attributes. There was no obligation upon God to create the universe. That said, the manner in which God creates must be just in that it is an exercise of God’s lawful power as Creator (See Twisse, Riches II.153). God is the Lord of life, granting it or not, prolonging it or ending it. As Twisse states it:

    In making the world, I doe not doubt, but God did that which was just; but was there any justice in God obliging him to be making of the world?….It is most true that supposing the end which God intends, the wisdome of God directs in the right use of congruent means; and no other justice then this his wisdome doth Aquinas acknowledge in the divine nature. (Riches, p. 152)

    At the logical moment of God's decree, since—unlike his creatures—God has no obligations. God has complete discretion over how He will choose exercise His goodness. Given that God wills the forgiveness of sin, it is so likewise God has discretion over the mode by which that forgiveness is procured.

    Peter Geach in (Providence and Evil, C. U. P., 1977, 36) states what amounts to be Twisse's view:

    God has nothing to gain from creating things, or from our praise or him; God’s will is the reason why things other than God are, and itself has no reason. I am not denying that God’s will is for the good, or affirming that God has set up some arbitrary standard of goodness; but the Divine Nature stands in no need of any good to be got from creation. (p. 36)

    Per Twisse, whatever Scripture says that God wills must be just. So all that God does and permits is just with the justice of ‘codecency’ (Riches, II p. 152): it is in accordance with His own goodness.

    AMR
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    theophilus (February 27th, 2016)

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    I will continue answering point 1 of my previous post:
    1. Why is it that some actions can be judged in terms of morality? Why do we think it right to judge actions at all?
    To begin with I will answer Clete's question:
    Quote Originally Posted by Clete View Post
    Wouldn't a person who owns the chair, say the chair's creator for instance, have the right to say, "Don't sit in my chair."?

    Assuming a "yes" answer to that question...

    Does God not own us?
    Therefore, using your thought process, wouldn't God have the right to say, "XYZ" is right and "ABC" is wrong?
    What you are describing is more of a social convention than a universal right. There is no logical (universal) right accorded to the creator of an object to own it. That right exists only in societies. When you make the chair, you need to assert and publish your right over it in order to acquire the exclusive right to sit on it. You don't get the right merely by creating it. If this were so, then any joiner or woodworker who makes chairs would have exclusive rights over all of them.
    Once the chair has been made, it is intrinsically a chair, nothing can take that away. It has value as a chair and its value is not created by anyone declaring: 'this is my chair' or 'this is a chair'. Sure social conventions allow ownership, it would be silly of me to deny that; and ownership is a great way to organise society because it makes our use of objects more efficient. It means that we can rely on that chair being available for me to sit on when I need. Ownership promotes stability and stability promotes growth. But none of this implies that this chair is not a chair until I say so. It is not the declaring that makes it what it is. It is intrinsically what it is or it is nothing at all. If I own a chair, I own something that is intrinsically a chair. Otherwise there would be no point in my owning it.

    So when God creates the world, sure, he may assert ownership over it. But this doesn't change the fact that what it is is intrinsic to itself. In an earlier post I reminded you that when God made the world he looked at it and behold it was very good. He didn't look at it and declare that it was very good. It didn't become good by him saying so. It was good.

    I hope this clears up your question and thank you for allowing me to clarify it.

    AMR: I am awfully sorry but I don't understand your post. You begin with an unargued assertion
    There are only two positions related to the topic: voluntarism or necessitarianism.
    Are you suggesting that no one is allowed to bring up any other position? Or perhaps that you do not believe there is any other logical alternative? Or perhaps further, that historically only these positions have ever been adopted? Not sure where you are going here. The views you cite seem to be restating the Euthyphro position. Your following quote seems also unargued. It seems to merely state a contradiction and give no explanation for that contradiction.

    God has nothing to gain from creating things, or from our praise or him; God’s will is the reason why things other than God are, and itself has no reason. I am not denying that God’s will is for the good, or affirming that God has set up some arbitrary standard of goodness; but the Divine Nature stands in no need of any good to be got from creation. (p. 36)
    Surely anyone reading the scripture will not fail to notice the satisfaction God has when he looked on all that he made and behold it was very good? Isn't this just obvious? When your man says 'God has nothing to gain from creating things, or from our praise or [sic] him', isn't he rather asserting the Platonic position than the Biblical one? God clearly had a lot to gain from creating the world because creating it the way he did was satisfying and it was satisfying because he had created something of worth.
    Last edited by Desert Reign; February 17th, 2016 at 10:42 AM.
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    theophilus (February 27th, 2016)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    I will continue answering point 1 of my previous post:
    To begin with I will answer Clete's question:


    What you are describing is more of a social convention than a universal right. There is no logical (universal) right accorded to the creator of an object to own it. That right exists only in societies. When you make the chair, you need to assert and publish your right over it in order to acquire the exclusive right to sit on it. You don't get the right merely by creating it. If this were so, then any joiner or woodworker who makes chairs would have exclusive rights over all of them.
    The maker does have exclusive rights over all of them! That is, until he sells the ownership of the chair to someone else and then they have exclusive rights to the chair. Of course that doesn't mean that they can't allow whomever they like to use the chair but simply that they have the right to the exclusive use. In fact what they actually have the right to is the use or disposal of the chair in any way they see fit that does not harm another person. That's what it means to own it.

    Once the chair has been made, it is intrinsically a chair, nothing can take that away. It has value as a chair and its value is not created by anyone declaring: 'this is my chair' or 'this is a chair'.
    You are on very shaky philosophical ground here. That is assuming I haven't missed the point, which is very possible.

    You're going to run head long into the One and the Many Problem if you're not careful. That is if you haven't already done so...

    The Problem of the One and the Many

    Sure social conventions allow ownership, it would be silly of me to deny that; and ownership is a great way to organise society because it makes our use of objects more efficient. It means that we can rely on that chair being available for me to sit on when I need. Ownership promotes stability and stability promotes growth. But none of this implies that this chair is not a chair until I say so. It is not the declaring that makes it what it is. It is intrinsically what it is or it is nothing at all. If I own a chair, I own something that is intrinsically a chair. Otherwise there would be no point in my owning it.
    Ownership is a fundamental moral right, not a mere social convention. It is an ancillary of the right to life. Ayn Rand offers a very concise presentation of the basic argument...

    The right to life is the source of all rights—and the right to property is their only implementation. Without property rights, no other rights are possible. Since man has to sustain his life by his own effort, the man who has no right to the product of his effort has no means to sustain his life. The man who produces while others dispose of his product, is a slave. - Rand

    Further, it isn't the chair's existence that give it value. Value is derived from an object's supply and demand. If it was it's mere existence as a chair that gave it value then all chairs would be of equal value, which is clearly is not the case. Some chairs are worthless, some are $.50 at the garage sale, still others are $2000 at the antique store and what might be a $200 chair today might be a $2.00 chair next month. It just depends on the chair and who wants it for what reason.

    So when God creates the world, sure, he may assert ownership over it. But this doesn't change the fact that what it is is intrinsic to itself. In an earlier post I reminded you that when God made the world he looked at it and behold it was very good. He didn't look at it and declare that it was very good. It didn't become good by him saying so. It was good.
    I agree with you that the goodness of the new creation was not so by fiat. It was actually good. I'm just not at all sure that you've established the notion that it was good merely because it existed.

    I'd say that it was good because of the quality of workmanship. Quality! Now there's a whole can of philosophical worms for you to open! I'm reminded of a book I read in high school call "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance". Crazy brilliant book that has nothing at all to do with Zen or maintaining motorcycles. The book is all about what quality is. Why is one desk of low quality and another of high quality? Just what are you saying when you talk about an object's quality?

    I hope this clears up your question and thank you for allowing me to clarify it.
    I still vaguely feel as though I've missed the point. I'm not at all certain that my objections are germane to your argument. I cannot see how what you've said so far leads to an objective morality. Perhaps it will become clear as you proceed.

    Resting in Him,
    Clete
    Last edited by Clete; February 18th, 2016 at 07:12 AM.
    "The [open view] is an attempt to provide a more Biblically faithful, rationally coherent, and practically satisfying account of God and the divine-human relationship..." - Dr. John Sanders

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    Clete: I think it was possibly a bit gauche of me to use ownership as an example. Just forget that, ok? The important thing is things have value in themselves. It is true that other values may arise but the principal worth of a thing is in itself. Your question about one and many is perhaps a more important and interesting question so I will address it when I look at part 2 of my treatment of morality. I'd also like to say to you that a lot of the doubts you raised have to do with how value is determined. I will discuss this when I answer question 2. Sure, certain thngs are only worth what people will pay for them. But that is not an issue of where that worth originates. If a thing does not sell at a public auction it is deemed worthless. Why? Because in itself it has no intrinsic value. (At least, not that can be translated in to money. A piece of furniture may be worthless to humans but quite valuable to a beetle. But the value to the beetle is still intrinsic to the piece of furniture.) I am not arguing that everything has value. I am arguing that value is intrinsic. I hope you can see the difference. This part one is not about how we ascertain the value of a thing or an action. It is about why things have value at all or why actions are capable of moral judgement at all.
    For now, I need to move forward on part 1 and bring it to a conclusion. To remind you:

    1. Why is it that some actions can be judged in terms of morality? Why do we think it right to judge actions at all?
    Now the answer I have given so far is that things have value in themselves. Obviously our actions will have an effect on things that are valuable in themselves. However, I appreciate that this is only a partial answer because the question is about actions, not about things. So I am now going to state a similar premise to the first premise but which relates to processes instead of objects (things).

    The universe is open. And this means that every moment (successive state) in the history of the universe is a unique moment that arises solely (as a development) from the preceding moment.

    This is tantamount to saying that each moment of the universe's history has its own intrinsic value. Another way of saying it is that nothing can predict or predetermine any state of the universe as a whole. If that were possible then it would mean that that particular state of the universe did not have its own value but was simply the outworking of some other principle. This is the part that you are going to have to get your heads around.

    Of course Calvinists, Catholics, Arminians, Orthodox, all will disagree with this. I am not arguing the point. I am only stating it as a premise. It is really the same premise as the first premise but in another guise.

    In the same way that the value of things cannot merely be declared but exists as intrinsic to the thing, so the value of any historical moment cannot be declared from outside it (for example by predicting it or inventing or discovering an algorithm by which the future state of the universe can be calculated or simply by determining by force of control what each successive state will be).

    The consequence of this premise is that actions are irrevocable. The universe cannot be unwound to a previous point and then set to go off again. And not only that actions are irrevocable but actions contribute to the history of the universe. It is because the universe is real, (a succession of unique moments as stipulated above) that makes actions capable of value judgement. It is because the universe is real, that each moment is important for itself and it is this fact that makes actions moral.

    Note 1: Please don't accuse me of being a process theologian. Read post 1 of this thread first. I won't answer anyone who makes this straw-man accusation. I already explained this many times elsewhere.
    Note 2: Please distingush between the created world and the universe. The universe means everything that is real. It is because the world is real that morality arises. God is as much a part of reality as we are. If you disagree with this then you are stating that God is not real. Don't argue about this unless you are prepared to back up that point. God is real. We are real. All of reality = the universe. If you are thinking only of the universe as studied by astrophysicists then you are not thinking big enough. Lose your presuppositions now and come on a journey with me. Don't let astrophysicists squeeze you into their mould but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.
    Last edited by Desert Reign; February 18th, 2016 at 01:48 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    Clete: I think it was possibly a bit gauche of me to use ownership as an example. Just forget that, ok? The important thing is things have value in themselves. It is true that other values may arise but the principal worth of a thing is in itself. Your question about one and many is perhaps a more important and interesting question so I will address it when I look at part 2 of my treatment of morality. I'd also like to say to you that a lot of the doubts you raised have to do with how value is determined. I will discuss this when I answer question 2. Sure, certain thngs are only worth what people will pay for them. But that is not an issue of where that worth originates. If a thing does not sell at a public auction it is deemed worthless. Why? Because in itself it has no intrinsic value. (At least, not that can be translated in to money. A piece of furniture may be worthless to humans but quite valuable to a beetle. But the value to the beetle is still intrinsic to the piece of furniture.) I am not arguing that everything has value. I am arguing that value is intrinsic. I hope you can see the difference. This part one is not about how we ascertain the value of a thing or an action. It is about why things have value at all or why actions are capable of moral judgement at all.
    For now, I need to move forward on part 1 and bring it to a conclusion. To remind you:

    Now the answer I have given so far is that things have value in themselves. Obviously our actions will have an effect on things that are valuable in themselves. However, I appreciate that this is only a partial answer because the question is about actions, not about things. So I am now going to state a similar premise to the first premise but which relates to processes instead of objects (things).

    The universe is open. And this means that every moment (successive state) in the history of the universe is a unique moment that arises solely (as a development) from the preceding moment.

    This is tantamount to saying that each moment of the universe's history has its own intrinsic value. Another way of saying it is that nothing can predict or predetermine any state of the universe as a whole. If that were possible then it would mean that that particular state of the universe did not have its own value but was simply the outworking of some other principle. This is the part that you are going to have to get your heads around.

    Of course Calvinists, Catholics, Arminians, Orthodox, all will disagree with this. I am not arguing the point. I am only stating it as a premise. It is really the same premise as the first premise but in another guise.

    In the same way that the value of things cannot merely be declared but exists as intrinsic to the thing, so the value of any historical moment cannot be declared from outside it (for example by predicting it or inventing or discovering an algorithm by which the future state of the universe can be calculated or simply by determining by force of control what each successive state will be).

    The consequence of this premise is that actions are irrevocable. The universe cannot be unwound to a previous point and then set to go off again. And not only that actions are irrevocable but actions contribute to the history of the universe. It is because the universe is real, (a succession of unique moments as stipulated above) that makes actions capable of value judgement. It is because the universe is real, that each moment is important for itself and it is this fact that makes actions moral.

    Note 1: Please don't accuse me of being a process theologian. Read post 1 of this thread first. I won't answer anyone who makes this straw-man accusation. I already explained this many times elsewhere.
    Note 2: Please distingush between the created world and the universe. The universe means everything that is real. It is because the world is real that morality arises. God is as much a part of reality as we are. If you disagree with this then you are stating that God is not real. Don't argue about this unless you are prepared to back up that point. God is real. We are real. All of reality = the universe. If you are thinking only of the universe as studied by astrophysicists then you are not thinking big enough. Lose your presuppositions now and come on a journey with me. Don't let astrophysicists squeeze you into their mould but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.
    Everything that exists is real, DR! Even ideas are real in that they are real ideas. Your premise, if I am following you correctly, is that value is intrinsic to anything that is real because it is real and that moral judgments are made possible by this value.

    How is this different than saying that something is moral because it exists?
    "The [open view] is an attempt to provide a more Biblically faithful, rationally coherent, and practically satisfying account of God and the divine-human relationship..." - Dr. John Sanders

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clete View Post
    Everything that exists is real, DR! Even ideas are real in that they are real ideas. Your premise, if I am following you correctly, is that value is intrinsic to anything that is real because it is real and that moral judgments are made possible by this value.

    How is this different than saying that something is moral because it exists?
    Clete, ideas are not real. They are (or might be) representations of possibilities for reality. Dreams exist as dreams, sure. But the objects of dreams are not real. Imaginations exist as firings of synapses and electrical states in the brain; but these are only symbols that have no meaning except by agreement. They have a meaning only within the nervous system itself. I think you are falling into your own trap of one and many. Exactly the same principle applies to writing and images. The ink is there on the paper. That is real. But the meaning of the writing is a concept which only arises because of a social convention.
    Total Misanthropy.
    Uncertain salvation.
    Luck of the draw.
    Irresistible damnation.
    Persecution of the saints.

    Time is an illusion; lunchtime doubly so.
    (The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy)

    RevTestament: It doesn't matter to me too much that the "New Testament wasn't written in Hebrew.
    Dialogos: Calvin, as a sinner, probably got some things wrong.
    Brandplucked: I'm shocked that other people disagree with me.

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