Monthly Archives: January 2013

The Doctrine of Election: Impossible, via deductive reasoning

Like the two towers of Mordor and Isengard, the philosophy gives the illusion of impenetrability.  And it is from within these fortresses that the armies march…armies of Greek- influenced, pagan Gnosticism wearing a shield with a Christian symbol on it.  These are the mobs of relentless, rigid determinism…bereft of any culpability for their pre-ordained and divinely foreknown actions, they march from the towers ready to shed the blood of those who both have no say in their total depravity, and yet are somehow completely culpable for it.  They say they want you to join them; no…they demand it.  And the sick irony is that even if you do—even if you accept Christ– there is still the SAME chance you might be cast into eternal damnation as before you ever capitulated.  The only practical reason to join them is so that you can pay the salaries of Sauron and Saruman.  Believe me, the leadership—many of them—understand this.

You see, no one can know if they are truly elect or not until they stand before God and He pronounces His arbitrary and subjective judgment upon them.  If election is true, then it is, indeed, utterly and divinely subjective…God cannot have an objective, rational criteria of who gets saved and who does not if there is nothing that can be regarded in the human being him or herself whatsoever.  All humans are EQUALLY wicked; thus, any selection of some by God over others must be categorically random. 

In other words, and to put it bluntly, if you ask God why He made some men for heaven and some for hell, His only honest answer can be:  “I don’t know”.  Does that surprise you?  Come across as somewhat insulting to His omnipotence…even blasphemous?

Sorry…perhaps, but the fact is that this IS the case if you hold to the doctrine of election.  IF you say it is blasphemous to declare God cannot know why He predestines some over others, THEN I suggest you take the log out of your own eye.

God’s answer being  “I don’t know” has nothing to do with blasphemy, but has everything to do with the fact that He can’t know.  If He knew, then He would have to have a standard by which to select.  If He has a standard, then men must be judged by it.  Which  means that some men must have the ability in themselves alone to either meet the standard or not.  If God cannot help but meet the standard, by definition, and man cannot help but NOT meet the standard, then by definition there is no real standard at all.

Let me explain.

Some will argue that God has a standard for morality, for good versus evil, and that standard is Himself.  In a bit I will explain why the idea of “God as the moral standard” cannot possibly be an argument for election, but first let’s just point out the obvious flaw in idea:  If God is the standard, then what we are really saying is that there is simply God.  God is the standard, the standard is God.  Standard = God.  So “standard” is redundant.  There is only God, period.  So, you have God on the one hand, and man on the other.  Thus, all morality, and thus meaning, is simply this: God versus Not God .

Now,  folks, that’s not really a standard.  That is simply the nature of being.  There can be no such thing as “God Himself is the standard by which NOT God is judged to be “good”.  That makes no sense at all.  Again, God being God and man being NOT God is merely the perfunctory, observable fact of being.  For example,  it is ridiculous to declare that the standard by which we judge red a proper color is by green.  You have green, and you have red.  The declaration of that obvious fact cannot be said to be a “standard of color TRUTH”, that is, “green is the standard by which all other colors are judged to be colors”; the NOT greens are not colors because they are, well…not green.  This is the same as saying man cannot be morally good because He is not God.

No, they aren’t colors…they are totally depraved of color, and can never be color, because the only way another color can truly be a color is if it is green.  Green has to elect red to greenness in order for it to be a “saved color”, because, by definition, red cannot ever make itself green.  So then, if green is the standard of color, and only green is a color, then the only way other colors can be a real color is to become green.  And the only way that can possibly happen is if green decides to impart its greenness to another color.

But how does green decide which color to “save”?  NONE of the other colors are green and so none of them possess ANYTHING by which green can make a choice that is not utterly arbitrary, subjective, irrational, random because greenness alone is the standard, remember?  In addition, if every other color but green is ultimately irrelevant, and only green, itself is relevant, and perfect, and possess the innate ability to be “saved”, then why would green bother creating any other colors?  To even contemplate other colors would be impossible for “perfect” green. Green, being perfect already, should haven no relevant reason to contemplate making another green.

But if green would like to create red, it can only do that IF it is understood that red is never going to be defined by green, and that is the point of creating red.  Red is created to be red.  Period.  Red is a color like green is a color.  Green defines what color is, and then creates red to be another color.  Green is color, and color is good.  Green creates red, and red, because it is a color, is fundamentally good.  The right way and wrong way to apply red’s “color” (i.e. truth) to life is what defines the moral code.  Green always applies itself properly.  Red may not…red may try act blue.  Blue is bad, says green.  In order to stay true to why I created you, you must avoid the temptation to be blue.  Green is never blue, because it is impossible that green, being the standard of TRUTH can ever be or do what it is not.  It is the I AM of colors.  But red may be tempted to be blue, and that is bad.  Thus, the moral standard is “stay away from blue”.  In this case, blue is the objective standard by which both green and red measure morality.

What we are saying if we declare that God IS the moral standard, and it is by the moral standard that anyone is saved, and only God can be Godthen it is impossible that one can choose Christ.  Because a decision to choose Christ is based on the free recognition of Him being GOOD contrasted with the EVIL we see and likewise recognize in the world.  And if we recognize Good and Evil, we concede that there is in fact an objective standard by which God AND man are both defined.  This objective standard may be a function of man’s Creation, and may indeed be declared and created by God, but the point is that if man can choose Christ He must do it by an external moral standard of GOOD and EVIL that He can freely recognize, and that must be relevant and observable within his existential reality.

And the standard of GOOD cannot be simply God, because if that is the sole moral standard, then man cannot choose God because HE can never, ever do anything that can be considered GOOD simply because He is NOT God.  In other words, morality is not about what man is or is not able to do–whether you ascribe to “inability to do good” (Calvinism) or “ability to do good” “Arminianism”–but about who man is.  Since the choice between accepting Christ or not accepting Him is purely a function of man‘s existence, or rather, with respect to WHO man IS, the choice itself, regardless of who ultimately makes it, God or man, is evil.  The choice is a function of MAN’S existence, not God’s, and thus the choice is inherently evil.  Even if God makes it FOR man (elects him), because it is made on behalf of MAN.  And man, not being God, is wholly EVIL, and thus all that is ascribed solely to be a function of him, for him, like salvation, must also be evil.  Salvation is for man, and man is categorically and irrevocably, inherently, originally, pervasively evil.  The logical conclusion of this doctrine is that salvation itself must be a function of evil.  Even if it is from God, it is strictly for the perpetuation of the evil created thing.  The only way for election to not be evil then, is if man is removed of the equation.  Thus, we are back to election being God saving Himself.  This is a metaphysical impossibility.  

Even simpler:  election is a created thing.  Since it is not God, it is evil.  Period.  Because ONLY God is GOOD.

In addition, man would never choose Christ because it would be impossible for him to see why he would need God, because there is nothing objectively recognized by which God is declared GOOD and you are declared EVIL.  By what standard can you judge God GOOD?  You cannot.  God says to you, “You must be good to be saved.”  And you say, “Okay, what is good?”  And He says.  Good IS Me.  Which means:  You must be God to be saved.  And you say, “Okay.  Why?”  And He says, “Because only God can be saved.”

Now…how on earth is that not contradiction?

To say that you need Christ for salvation from sin supposes you can actually do wrong.  But if the standard is merely God/NOT God, then morality is a state of being; there is nothing inherently “wrong” about doing or thinking or acting this way or that way.  A man hugging his wife is just as evil as a man murdering babies with a machine gun.  God being a liar or a hypocrite is just as good as God giving the Israelites manna from heaven.  Even worse than this is this fact:  If man’s moral failing is simply that he isn’t God, then God must be the Creator of evil.

The neo-Reformed declare that God Himself is the moral standard.  But God doesn’t need salvation, so what is the point of man?  Nothing.  He is redundant.  He is pointless.   If in order for red to be a true color it must become green, then there was never any point to red in the first place.  It’s very existence is an act of pure hypocrisy and irrelevance.

True “morality” as in what constitutes a “color” explicitly demands a standard beyond “green”…beyond “God” which can be pointed to as the objective plumb which divides them.  In this case, the standard is objective morality:  good and evil; right and wrong; wisdom and foolishness.  As a Christian, I’m not saying that obeying this objective moral standard is ultimately what saves you (true salvation means that what defines you is YOU, like what defines God ultimately is GOD; man defines himself, and that is GOOD, just like God defines Himself and that is GOOD…this is what Christ does for us; and that’s why the moral law is no longer used to judge man).  However, what I am saying is that an objective standard of morality, separate from the innate being of God or man does in fact exist, and it is by this that a person can freely choose to do RIGHT and to do WRONG, and that a function of that choice is to accept or reject Christ, freely, and that just judgment can be rendered by God thus because there is an objective standard by which man can freely, knowingly CHOOSE Christ because He is GOOD.

It is this standard that Calvinists deny.  And by denying it, they deny morality.  They are, by definition, morally relative.

What I mean by their moral relativism is simply a reworking of what I’ve already explained.  If God has a standard that no man can meet, by design, then the standard is irrelevant.  Which means that God’s design of man is not only arbitrary but it is also pointless.  The only way there can be a reason is if there is something of one man that sets him apart from another.  But according to the doctrine of “original sin” this is impossible.  Since judgment is purely a function of morality, and all humans are equally morally depraved, then nothing can set one man apart from another. But if all men are created equally depraved, then God’s criteria can be effectively nothing.  Because man was not created with ANY standard in mind except:  Man is not God.

But all have to choose Christ, right?  Even the elect people.

NO!  I have said this before and I will say it again.  The Cross does not make the doctrine of election possible; the doctrine of election makes the cross pointless.  Since there is no true and objective standard of morality then there is no real choice because choice presupposes that there is a difference between one “road” or the other (to borrow from Robert Frost).  But with no morality standard to define man’s existence then whether one chooses Christ or does not choose Christ makes no difference whatsoever.  Christ Himself becomes utterly irrelevant in the equation, meaning, whether you have Christ or do not have Christ, “choose” Him or do not “choose” Him, He has functionally nothing to do with your salvation.  The entire New Testament (and Old, for that matter) is completely irrelevant to human beings .  If there is no standard there can be no choice because there is nothing really GOOD or EVIL, which means Christ, again, is useless.  The Fall isn’t evil, because there is no such thing.  There is only NOT God.  The Fall is evil why?  Because they lied.  But why is lying wrong?  Because it is NOT God, or because it violates a standard of trust, and trust is thus based on an objective idea of right and wrong.  Of course, the latter.

If God makes the choice for man because man is NOT God, and if the whole criteria for whether one is morally worthy to be “elect” or “not elect” is whether someone is God or is not God, then there is no real choice for God to make, either.  How can God choose between Himself and not Himself as the functional criteria for the choice of who is elect and who is not?

He has cornered Himself into an unworkable position, which ultimately makes Him a hypocrite as soon as He makes a “choice”.  His choice is either Himself or not Himself, meaning, He must decide to whom of this collection of “not Gods” does He impute Himself, which means possess…because YOU cannot be saved; only God can be saved because God is the plumb line for GOOD, remember?  But then what God is saying is that in order for man to be saved he must be God.  Once you become God to be saved, God is merely saving Himself. You are destroyed, in favor of God, so that God can be saved.

What a minute.  What?

God does not need saving because He is God, by definition.  So who is Christ dying for?  Christ is dying for God, which makes God a hypocrite because the Christ cannot die for the sins of the same person to who is the plumb line for the moral TRUTH in the first place.

So, in summary, the whole point of Calvinist theology is that there IS no criteria for salvation, and that gives ecclesiastical authority the right to do anything to you and demand anything from you without the slightest risk of ever having to answer for their tyranny.  THEY are God, and YOU are not, is the point of this.  Anything they do is GOOD simply because they are the ones doing it.  And the reverse is true for you.

Thus, the only good you can do is deny yourself and submit to them.  This is the heart of the gnostic apostasy, which is why it was so vehemently denounced by many early Christians and Christian scholars (to little avail, apparently).  Your Calvinist Pastors-in-the-stead have been given God’s essence, for some gnostic, unknowable, irrational, arbitrary reason, for the sole functional purpose of ruling you.  As far as you are concerned, they are God incarnate.  The authority they have to “teach and preach” is the same authority to declare TRUTH as God Himself.  They would even describe their sermons as the very Word of God.  I have heard this with my own ears.  I am not surprised, though.  It is consistent with their heresy.  A logical conclusion

And so,  I submit that ultimately “election” is simply propaganda which the Calvinist leadership uses to deceive you into giving them your unwavering devotion and the divine right to all you possess without them actually having to work for it.  They really don’t want to have to use the force they have been divinely permitted.  Building the bonfires and unwinding the rope is so much administrative work, you know…it’s much easier if you just give it over without all the fuss.  And pastors are all about ease.  It’s a nice gig, I’m sure, being God.

So, if they can get you to believe that you are “special”, that is “elect”, or saved, well, then they can pretend that they are somehow “covering you”, or “shepherding” you…or doing something to earn their salary and your life and property…well, that’s called “preaching and teaching”.  But, in reality, it makes no difference to them whether you are saved or not, or what you think of Christ or whether you think of Him at all.  For all people, saved or not, merely exist to satisfy the neo-Calvinist pastor’s divine right to a happy and comfortable life.  To be honest, they really don’t know if you are saved or not, and again, they don’t particularly care.  They care about preaching and teaching.  What happens after that, shrug…not their prob.  Let God sort it out.

Salvation is really irrelevant anyway; Christ is meaningless, which is why they aren’t usually big on evangelism in these neo-Cal churches.  They know this, incidentally. They understand that telling people about Christ is perfunctory at best, and since it is hard to do anything perfunctory with “joy”, per John Piper (if it isn’t joyful, it’s sin), then they don’t really bother with it. The wouldn’t want to sin by having to evangelize without being really spiritually committed to it (as if sin has anything to do with anything).  So…as long as you let them rule you have fulfilled you obligation for living.  Thus, you Calvinist, IF you are saved, well then…you can be sure that it has very little to do with your Pastor in the stead knowing or caring about it.  By definition, a Calvinist pastor can only exist to serve himself.  To serve God means to serve he who truly possesses the divine gnosis, and of course they are the only ones who have that.  For all others, well…it’s really a toss-up.  God will sort them out at the day of judgment.

The sole reason for “shepherding” is utterly nothing.  Shepherding the masses who are elect or un-elect is pointless.  Incidentally, this is realized, I submit, within three minutes of a neo-Calvinist pastor beginning his tenure at a church.  So then, how do they defend drawing a salary?  Of what relevance are they at all?  They can’t really defend or define their jobs and purpose rationally, on any doctrinal level (indeed, the very doctrine they preach screams that they are superfluous).  And so they spend all their time trying to figure out how to look just relevant enough that no one raises an eyebrow.  Keep ‘em at the Cross.  Keep their heads down in shame.  Keep ‘em guessing as to whether they really know Christ.  What are your motives, depraved sinner?  Just think about that, and the log in your own eye.

It’s hard to ask questions when you are “contemplating the gospel” all the fricken time.

You are either elect or not.  And, as I described above, if that is the case, then ultimately Christ has nothing to do with salvation or you or God because He is irrelevant.  A cosmic act of divine nonsense.  Of torment and brutality for ostentatious display only.  If the criteria for salvation is to be God, and the sum of your immorality is that you exist at all, and all men are not God, then God must become an elect man before that man is saved.  If that is true, then Christ is…well, nothing.

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A Double-Minded God: How the neo-Reformation’s silver tongue is neutralizing morality and faith beyond the confines of its own seductive mouth

Prologue (Part I)

I know the feeling.

Like you, I get a sense that it is everywhere.  That the shadow is spreading like the cloud over Mordor.  Someone call Frodo!  Call Gandalf!  Have them go for you to the next Neo-Cal Sunday Morning Pep Rally of False Humility and Moral Relativism.  I submit that having a fictional character journey off to the sharp-toothed hordes, rolling in the seas of metaphysical profanity, is better than subjecting yourself to them…subjecting yourself willfully and voluntarily (for now) to the abuse.  But putting a make-believe proxy’s fate, instead of your own …instead of your own spiritual health, faith, and sanity on the edge of Mount Doom is the better option.  Let them do it.  After all, they are used to casting armies who terrorize and eat men’s souls into heaving pits of lava.  You and me are not.  We need to stay away.

Unfortunately, like I said, it’s getting harder and harder to do that.  For even in the so-called “non-Calvinist” churches– who’ve split from the…er, doctrinally consistent Fraternities of Bald-Headed Despots—we hear the rumblings, if not outright declarations of doctrinal madness these days.  Insatiable.  Inexorable.  Relentless with its soothing words, its gentle coddling tones–“It is your desssstiny.”  “Together we can rule the galaxy as father and son.” “All this can be yours if you fall down and worship me.”–and its seductive false-promises.  Be in the club, they say.  Don’t be like them, out there, where God doesn’t care.  Where the damned prove themselves rejected every time they smile like the cognitively handicapped and find something in the mirror to be proud of.  No.  They are the lost.  Pity them in their libertarian and enlightenment lives.  Their equality of thinking.  Their hope in the good of man.  Their belief that they can understand what words mean.  The idea that they can apprehend the truths of cause and effect.  Their lack of chains.

But we, the hordes say…we are elect; are the ones with TRUTH, and with truth, as always, comes a lot of perks if you play your cards right.  If a college drop-out and ex-drug addict can live in a house like THAT,  well…shoot, it certainly pays to submit yourself the “local church”.  Who says you can’t get rich being some bald guy’s slave?

So…yeah, too bad. It is everywhere.  It’s even in my church.  Not as much.  Not as ostentatious.  Not as obvious, pervasive, in-your-face…perhaps it is purely subconscious at this point.  But its there, and in this post I will prove it.  There is a particular sermon I have in mind…he was a guest speaker.  But it’s not just that speaker.  The leaven of Calvinism and neo-Reformed Gnosticism makes moldy the parts of so many sermons…not only this one.  This one it was just more obvious.  It was purely a matter of natural selection.  This sermon stood out as the strongest example.

They aren’t bad people, but…alas, they never are, are they?  Of course, there are many who have no problem joining for dinner those who burn books.

No, we aren’t bad people.  And that’s the thing.  We don’t have to be.  We just have to submit.  And people who submit aren’t bad.  People who nod approval; keep the log out of their own eye; don’t ask questions; don’t rock the boat; don’t question the inconsistent premises or the inevitable human collateral damage really aren’t bad.  They are useful, but not bad.  And anyway, by the doctrine, “bad” ceases to have any relevant meaning.  Bad is merely existing. And they know that since they are elect, they can never be faulted for standing on the sidelines and nodding, regardless of whether it is bad or good.  Bad or good mean nothing, by definition.  If they did, they understand that they could never have been elect.

But who can blame people for finding the philosophy so sweet, even in our own “non-Calvinist” churches?  I mean, it sounds so good.  Soooo good that even the best of us can’t resist.  Their Calvinist tongues are so slippery and alluring you’d wonder if Jesus Christ, Himself might start to question His own worth.  At the very least, He might concede that He only does good because He is God and cannot help it.  That’s a metaphysical win for the Calvinists, and really, it’s pretty tough to argue.  I could see Jesus saying, “Yeah…you’re probably right about that, Mr. Piper”.   Except that its patently false, and can easily be disproved if you shine the light in the right place.  Yes it is true that He cannot help but do good, but then again, He can do anything He wants.  When He does good in the sense that it is compared to evil (according to the moral law), He does it because He wants to and He chooses to.  In short, the same way we want to and choose to.

So…okay, we want to try, but how do we compete with this “God is Good, man is Not” premise that seems so convincing ?  “Even man’s good is depravity and sin compared to God’s good” (never mind that, morally speaking, when it comes to “doing things” there is absolutely no difference, but…hey, consistency is for the un-elect).  And their philosophy, for being so comprehensive, and so loquaciously defended is also so simple, isn’t it?   It’s so plain and obvious.  You don’t even think to try to get at the heart of the doctrine because it is so apparent that the heart is on its sleeve.  Only a fool wouldn’t accept such simple truths.  Four hundred years of the smartest white men in beards and robes, with bad teeth and bathing once a month and dreaming their geocentric dreams can’t be wrong.

Calvinism is seductive.  It is alluring.  Of coooourse…it’s ALLLLL God.  Who are we?  All we do is siiiiiiinnnnnnnn…arrrrg…I hate ME!   And  the more we realize how awful we are, the more God will bless us, though we won’t deserve it, and will be too depraved to do any good with it, and won’t recognize the blessing anyway, because real blessings are horrible, horrible trials and tragedies …and the blessings if they are pleasant, will just make us prideful (unless you are a pastor…then you are specially given to handle the fun blessings, which is why so many have no problem making such a large salary).  And so we’ll hate them and reject them, thus whether he blesses us or curses us, we grovel in our misery and self-loathing all the more, feeling good about our humility, because in reality the blessings and curses are exactly the same thing, as we shall see in the upcoming post.

You see, according to the Calvinists, until we realize that feeling good is “pride”, we cannot really grow spiritually.  Pain is the plumb line for truth; this is the basic ontological truth of the neo-Reformed.  The more we realize we aren’t relevant, and that our sin is our very existence, the closer to God’s “love” we are.  And the closer we get to God, the less we are supposed to really feel.  And so, though pain is the plumb line for truth, feeling nothing is the gnosis.  It is the enlightenment.  The proof that you have arrived at the zenith of spiritual enlightenment–that you are ready to “stand in the stead” –is that you lack any human feeling at all.  Dying to yourself means ALL of yourself, and that includes your ability to empathize.  You kill your love so that God’s love can replace it.  You grow cold and stoic and hard and you ignore suffering and pain because it does not exist to you any longer.  You are not you.  You are not human, and neither is anyone else.  The only difference is that they don’t yet know it and you do. 

Reach this level of the metaphysical caste system, and you are ready to stand behind the podium of your local neo-Reformed church and become a Good Shepherd. You are finally God, and your inability to love proves it.  You nod in approval as the bruising mounts and the sheep bow and cringe under the anvils of your gaze and the tormented crying intensifies to a holy din around you and the world condemns you in your sociopathy, and you raise your hands to the heavens–oh Calvinist pastor in-the-Stead!–and then you know that you are blissfully being persecuted for your righteousness!

And then you quickly ask forgiveness for being happy about your power.

And then you hear God say, “That’s okay.  For in you, I am well pleased.”

What Does God Really Know? What CAN God Really Know? (Part 2)

If the future is merely movement—an object moving in a space that is not itself—then, again, everything exits NOW, and now has no time limits that are anything other than theoretical…a quantification of movement, using a different set of values/reference from that of “distance”.  Movement is thus of infinite duration, in a sense, with nothing literal/visceral/tangible/physical before or after it.  Our existence IS, like God’s, except that in order for us to be, we must move.

So, in keeping with that understanding, I therefore submit that God cannot know perfectly what man will do, or choose to do, because it is a function of man’s creation; of man’s IS, which has been given to him to do by God, as a function of his ability to exist as an entity separate from God (which is proved by this fact that I know you won’t dispute:  you aren’t God; and if you’re not, you must be able to exist apart from God).  God can only know man’s choices the same time man knows them, and that “time” is  when man makes them.  If God knows man’s future choices before man makes them, and we accept that the choice is real, and there is nothing before God (because “before” and “after” mean nothing to an omnipresent One, by definition)then God must have created those choices, which must therefore mean that “choice” is not choice at all.  Choice is an illusion; a philosophical lie.

Obviously, I would deny this.  But it is not a matter of faith, it is a matter of common sense; of reason, of things we can easily observe by the senses God has given us to apprehend our reality.  Man, by his God-given ability to BE, is the author of his own reality; his own “future” and “past”, by virtue of his own movement through space (and, incidentally, I do not mean outer space; I mean the space within we all move and be in everyday life) under his own power; both physical and volitional.

But if we say that man moves under God’s power, which is precisely what we say if we declare the future known—and thus created by God—then man must be merely an extension of God; which means, according to the very metaphysical basis for the Trinity, man IS God.  And if man is God, then ALL our thoughts are God, and thus anyone can think and do anything, and no one is right and no one is wrong and no one is better than anyone else.  There is no morality, no real standard of TRUTH.  All is equally God, thus all is equally right and all is equally true.  There are no distinctions of any kind between man and Creation and God.  Thus, discussion is moot; debates are moot; ideas are moot; religion is moot; Jesus Christ and His sacrifice is moot; and even existence its very self is moot.  WE are pointless because WE don’t really exist.  However, if instead we recognize that Creation and man’s future is merely their ability to move through space under their own power, and that movement is implied and inexorable for ANY sort of action, be it physical or cognitive, when an object exists in a space separate from itself, and that man cognitively quantifies  this ability to move as “time”, which includes past, present, and future theoretical constructs, and thus time is created by man as a way to rule and subdue his environment and define his existence, then we realize that indeed man is free to choose and to act and to move, and that there is no future determined by God, because there is no actual future for God to “know”.  The future is merely theoretical, and thus God cannot perfectly know it. But again, conversely, if He knows it, then it is not theoretical, and man and creation IS determined.  And thus, we are not real.  Because we exist by contradiction; which equals a cancelling out of existence.

And so my question, which as of yet has not been answered is:  How does man have “his own” choice if God knows the future already?  (For those who continue to insist that God can know the future of man’s choices, and yet man still makes them).  For I have argued that if the future/not yet  “choice” is known by God, then it must be determined.  Because if it isn’t determined, then God can only guess at the choice.  He cannot know it for certain any better than you or I can know it.  And this effectively means that man could choose differently from what God knows.  Of course, the problem with that argument is obvious:  God can possess flawed knowledge.  But I don’t know a single Christian who would concede God is capable of false thinking, or of needing to make a guess.   And with good reason. Possessing flawed knowledge is impossible for God.  This is a metaphysical byproduct of his omnipotence (every attribute of God is a byproduct of His omnipotence, by the way…His ability to be and to create).

So, in light of God’s eternal state of “present”, or AM, what is it that He can truly know?

By “know”, I mean: knowing in man’s sense—my only frame of reference.  Knowing AS movement; knowing as non-literal images and language in my brain, based upon my ability to reason, my ability to abstract and theorize and thus hypothesize, and to function upon the subconscious understanding and assumption of the “future” solidarity of physical and natural laws, based upon what my senses have allowed me to habituate.  For there is no other way of knowing or apprehending than what my own frame of reference provides me.  All my understanding of knowing is a function of my ability to REASON—how I know that I know anything, including that I don’t know or can’t know something, etc..  And my reason is a function of its inexorable connection to my body; the biology of my brain.  And the biology of my brain is inexorably bound to the movement of a created thing in space.  In short, thinking is movement just like a falling apple is movement.

So, again, let me ask:  What can God truly know?  If God does not move, because by definition He is His own space, and needs nothing else in order to be, then His thoughts truly can be nothing like my thoughts.  And if His thoughts are fundamentally different from my thoughts as a byproduct of His alternate state of being at the both the physical and metaphysical levels, then his knowledge—what He knows and how He knows it—is going to be equally fundamentally different.  Again, if His thoughts are nothing like my thoughts, then what He knows and how He knows it can be nothing like what I know and how I know it.  If we are utterly existentially different, and I don’t mean necessarily morally different in this case (though we are), then God cannot know anything in the way that I know things.

If we are ever going to come to a non-hypocritical, non-redundant and consistent defense of God and our faith in Him and a proper, rational defense of His morality and authority, then we as Christians must cease to confine God to the existential nature of our human existence.  We must stop demanding that God function and exist as if our theoretical constructs-which are purely the human way of cognitively organizing our environment—are REAL places which God must submit Himself to.  We say “future” because that is how we organize the timing of our movement, a purely cognitive function, and then demand and expect that God must exist there, and must acknowledge it as being real.  We demand that God give us comfort by declaring REAL and ACTUAL all our hopes, dreams, cognitive concepts, and random thoughts.  We absolve ourselves of any moral or practical responsibility by declaring that our “future” is determined by God.  We cannot sin: it’s God’s fault, because HE makes OUR abstracts, real.  And so, we can always do whatever we want and yet never be held accountable.  Because it’s never actually us doing it.   It is us in our mind, but in reality, it’s all God.  Because we declare that whatever is only to us in our mind is REAL to God.  Oh, certainly we pat ourselves on the back for our humility because when we do something good or good fortune befalls us we “give all the glory” to God; as if God demands that He be given the credit for man’s own purely self-volitional actions or choices; or we assume that what is good to us is good to God (we praise God when our football team wins the Championship, giving Him all the “glory”, as if He gives a care who won a sports competition, which is probably the most irrelevant organized ceremony of mankind).   But we conveniently choose to ignore the logical extension of this belief:  If God gets all the credit for the good, because it’s not us (because taking credit for good choices and success in our lives is just so worldly; so arrogant; how dare we be so selfish), then He must also get the blame for all the evil we do and which befalls us.  And this leads Christianity into a sea of moral relativity in which we operate as though nothing really matters (and yet we are just SO shocked by the abuse in SGM…why, how in the world could this happen, we declare in our rank doctrinal denial of cause and effect); all of it is God, and so, just as easily as we give God the “glory”, we  absolve ourselves of our failings and wickedness.  If God is in control, then our sin is His sin.  And I submit that this, not the false humility of giving God all the glory, is what we really find attractive about determinism.

And we wonder why Christians are seen as backwards, bitter, and plain out of touch with reality.  The world rightly declares Christians cannot be trusted, because they are insane.

“Future”, “think”,  “decide”, “move”…the ideas and concepts behind these terms are limited to man and only to man.  The way that God thinks, decides, predicts, experiences “time”, and moves, etc., are not and cannot resemble anything like we experience them as created beings.  Simply because God can interact freely with man in man’s own existence and space does not confine God to the existential necessities of Creation, nor to man’s cognitive abstractions.  To say that if God interacts with man, then He must exist as man exists (I constantly hear Christians defend the idea that for God to ordain an event, He must control all the events that lead to it, as though the God who creates out of nothing must somehow submit Himself a timeline of man’s).  And that He must exist at the mercy of the same “rules” of being.  This is of course rational nonsense.  A God who creates everything and anything that is not Himself cannot need nor can He even use the “laws” of man’s existence because to do so constitutes an omnipotent, not to mention, logical redundancy.  And the omnipotent, by definition cannot be redundant, because redundancy is the twin brother of irrelevancy/meaningless-ness.  God can NEVER invoke irrelevancy into His being or purpose, His will or work.  It is categorically impossible for God to do anything that means nothing.    He can work in spite of the laws that govern the existence of man and Creation.  He can interrupt them.  He can circumvent them. He can create new ones on a whim.  He can even live according to them in a body of flesh, but He cannot possess them, or twist them…that is, distort the natural into something unnatural.  In short, the Creator cannot possess the created.   His omnipotence makes it redundant, thus, it is impossible, because it is meaningless.

So, again, what can God know?

The answer is:  nothing.  Or rather, He knows Himself.  And thus, by knowing Himself, He does not need to know anything, and that is why He knows nothing.  Knowing Himself, in a way, means He already knows everything…but that does not quite define the point exactly.  As the Creator, He does not NEED to know anything; because there is nothing that IS which God did not create.

But even that does not quite get to the heart of the matter.  Some would say that because He created everything, He knows it perfectly.  And I understand this logic, however, it still seems to miss the idea.  Yes, He is the Creator; but that doesn’t mean that He must know it, in that He must possess some kind of abstract, linguistically categorized theoretical images in a mind that is governed almost entirely by abstractions relegated so deeply into habit and conscience that they seem to be visceral.  More the heart of the matter—and hard to grasp, I know—is this: as the perfect One…perfect in being, knowing anything is irrelevant. It would not matter what He knew or did not know because everything He does, regardless of anything Creation IS or holds, is GOOD.  GOOD is God.  Good comes automatically.  He does not need forethought in order to react or declare perfectly, and perfectly good.  Knowledge, in the human sense, always regards to the integration, qualification, quantification of something that God has created to do and be and move in the way that it does.  Man acquires knowledge by learning or exposure, routine or practice or instinct, all of which are meaningless to a God who can and does create everything in all the Universe.  So, there is nothing for God to know because there is nothing for God to learn, to apprehend, to muse upon, to theoretically rationalize, organize, or mull over.  God IS, and an IS does not move in the sense that man and creation move.  Our knowledge comes by movement within our created space.  Since there is no space to God outside Himself, there is no way He can “learn”, thus no way He can “know”.  God can BE, and God can create.  These are the natural and perfect attributes of His omnipotence.

He only has to be God.  He only has to be; to declare.  He may even be said to react, but even that is not based on something He did not know, but merely on His seeing.  Now, I understand that this is difficult to grasp…particularly if we ascribe to free will; if God doesn’t know until man chooses, then man is choosing before God can know what he chose.  But see, again, we fall into the trap of thinking that God and man operate on a timeline; that movement implies TIME;  it does not…movement is eternal being just like God’s static being is eternal, thus what God sees in His eternal present is man eternally doing, but doing is via movement, but that does NOT presuppose, again, that time is in fact more than a purely theoretical construct.  In other words, “time” is never how God sees.

Knowledge implies a an understanding which is separate from your being as a person…that is, understanding is something that is acquired, not innate (John Locke, “On Human Understanding”).  There is something ELSE, outside of you that you ascertain and apprehend.  The knowledge itself is separate from your emotional reaction to it, your application of it; it changes, grows, evolves, or is downright disproved.  As such, it can be seen that the knowledge itself is not YOU.  This  is never true for God.  Whatever God knows, IS God…because there can be nothing outside of God that can become God. All God knows is all of Himself.  Thus, again, how God interacts is, I submit, utterly reactive and declaratory.  God cannot learn anything.  Because there is no RELEVANCE to God learning anything.  He is omniscient.  He is perfect.  Nothing can be added  to God; thus, He cannot know anything else besides His own being.  It is enough.

Man moves; man prays and talks to God, brings God into his life and purposes and expressions and circumstances; man trusts God with his innermost issues and thoughts and fears, etc., etc., and God then is trusted to always react JUSTLY and perfectly and omnipotently because there is nothing that God can mistake; nothing that He must ponder or rationalize or learn or grasp; His interaction with you does not need to evolve, or change, or be removed.  It’s not that God already knows…I’ve already declared God cannot know any movement of His Creation before it moves, because its movement has been given to IT to perform.  We trust, love, believe and worship God because He, among other things, is perfect reaction and declaration to our lives; our prayers to Him are always rightly understood and applied by Him because He is perfect love, and perfect power (that is, the power of creation). 

God is a force that declares and reacts.  What is there outside of Him for Him to learn and thus know?  Nothing.  He is the source of knowledge; He is knowledge itself.  He cannot know, He can only be.  And He IS everything there is to know…and knowledge, then, is for man, not for God.  That is, God’s “knowing” is merely a function of His being.

What Does God Really Know? What CAN God Really Know?

This post is the first of two parts, dealing with the metaphysical boundaries of God’s knowledge as compared to man’s.  This kind of discussion cannot be limited to merely an analysis of the “cognition” of God, as it were; but also most take a deep look at both tangible and abstract realities of Him.  Time and space, for instance. 

Man’s existential reality and necessary attributes makes man’s knowledge and attaining of it fundamentally different than that of God’s.  Explaining these differences is the point of the proceeding two posts.  As usual, my posits will be challenging…that is, they will challenge our assumptions of and make distinctions between theoretical reality (abstract) and the visceral reality (tangible).  It is in finding the clear distinction between these two things, and understanding our assumptions and biases and where we almost constantly, instinctively and automatically blur of the lines between the two that we will be able to come to a truer knowledge of God, and how His omnipotence explicitly means that He cannot function like us, or think like us, or exist like us.  Once this is done, we can permanently and forever dismantle the false and tyrannical philosophical underpinnings of the neo-Reformed movement and its narcissistic father, the theology of John Calvin.  

Of course, I am under no illusions that this will happen anytime particularly soon. To assume so is to be obtuse.   But the fact is that someone must start somewhere.  We must begin to rethink and reinterpret some of the most basic understandings of our reality if we can ever, ever hope to undo a thousand years of non-Christian (actually…a better description would be non-Jewish) philosophical integration within our understanding of God, ourselves, and the Universe.  This of course will take a long, long time…not so much to explain, or even prove (if you’ll excuse the arrogant nature of THAT statement), but I hope that you and I, and those that we acknowledge and respect–our co-rebels of the Faith–can be that someone.

Part I

What Does God Really Know?  What CAN God Really Know?

Christians I think can agree that it is axiomatic that God is the Creator of everything that is not God.  By “create”, I mean–as a resolute and indefatigable freewill-istall things in Creation which act according to themselves…all of man and everything ; that is, God is not the decision-maker of man, or the controller of the laws of nature.  Instead, He is the Creator of man and the Author of man’s ability to Reason, and is the Creator of the natural world and universe which acts according to the law of itself, which is nature’s ability to be, also Authored by GodGod creates things to do this or that, and they do it (e.g. God commanded them how they should build the Tabernacle, and they did it (Exodus).  That is, God is not Creation FOR Creation…this would constitute a metaphysical impossibility. God cannot possess a created thing in order to do something He can better do alone; which is everything–by the very  definition of “omnipotence”.  And since the perfect purpose and objective of God is to exist–to BE Himself–He would not create Creation in order to possess it.  Obviously, He can better be Himself by Himself rather than by or through Creation.

So, let’s say that again:  Everything that is not God, God created.

I think we should all take a moment to let the profundity of that statement sink in a bit.

Okay.  That’s probably good.  But…then again, maybe not.  For far too many of us do not grasp the gravity of this truth, even though we have been Christians a very long time.  The philosophical implications of such a statement do not seem to guide us to the interpretive places that we need to go in order to practice our faith within the bounds of necessary, existential reason.  This weakens, if not outright destroys, the Christian’s witness to the secular world, who understand enough what even young children do not deny:  that it is wise to accept what our senses tell us; for they are tools we use to apprehend our world).

There is nothing which exists that God did not first make.  In one sense He is the first cause.  Although, as an aside, I should say that I would dispute that assertion on one level: For I submit that God is the Creator of the ability of nature and man to be their OWN causes; to move according to themselves.  God has given them the ability to do what they do according to themselves apart from God.  For if you declare that God is the first (literal) cause, then He is akin to the first link in a chain, and it then is upon this link that the direction of the rest of the chain relies (which, incidentally, is a Jonathon Edwards argument for his Calvinism), and I would utterly dispute this, because this is nothing more than determinism, which must ALWAYS be false if we proclaim that God exists.  I would defend my idea that God is not in fact the first “cause” by explaining  that God needs only to create objects and space, and that once this is done, the ability to exist apart from God, of their own ability, is thus automatically implied.  In other words, ability to be and do and act apart from God doesn’t have to be created, per se, but it is implicit when God creates anything NOT Himself.  Since God cannot duplicate Himself, anything that exists that is NOT Him, must be able to exist on its own, by definition The fact that you are not God, for example, is the very proof that God is not in “direct control” of you, but that you must be able to exist on your own, apart from God.  And further, if God creates a you that thinks, then thinking, since it is NOT God, must be itself; and thinking that is itself is, by definition, YOU thinking.  YOU being conscious.  YOU being YOU.  Your thoughts must be YOUR thoughts, not God’s thoughts, because the thoughts and the thinking are not God.

At any rate, there is no thing and no law and no ability which He did not first “cause” (sticking with that term for the sake of clarity) and purposefully design to BE what it IS.  He has the ability to create by Himself, and out of NOTHING  (or, perhaps into nothing), because, by definition, it if is not part of God, it is literally Created from absolutely nothing at all.

This is a profound idea to behold.  And difficult to apprehend, because we really have no frame of reference by which to fathom “nothing”.  “Nothing” might be the most difficult of ALL concepts to grasp, because, by definition, there is nothing in the universe which we can compare nothing to.  Because the Universe, is, of course, a giant collection of somethings.  And if we are to speak of what might be outside of the Universe, well…there may be nothing outside the universe, but if we could see it, or imagine it, it would no longer be nothing; it would be something.  Even the very idea and concept of nothing is really and technically something.

See…kind of hard to grasp, huh?

Anyway…the truth of God’s creative power is profound to the point of affecting how we understand everything of ourselves; and affecting how we contrast what we are with what God is; which is, logically, cannot be according to the truths and laws of our existence.  The fact that He is NOT US on a fundamental, root and basic existential level, is almost as profound a truth as He is the Creator of everything.

As the Creator  of everything, and also as One who is everywhere at once–and everywhen at once–God Almighty is the preeminent IS.  His name is I AM.  There is no before or after with God, no future or past.  There is no right or wrong with God (for His morality is merely a function of Himself; whatever He does is GOOD, by virtue of HIM doing it…it is as simple as that; in a sense, God is a-moral), there is no up or down, or left or right, or backward or forward, for He is His own SPACE, with no boundaries, because He is not within anything.  His space is Him, with no direction, because He IS (I AM); He moves in Himself, which is to say that He does not move at all in the sense that man moves and exists within a space that is not himself.  There is nothing–literally and utterly nothing–that can exist beyond or outside of His omnipotence and omniscience; outside His very being.

For example, I maintain that He cannot know the “future”, because future is purely a theoretical/abstract construct of man needing to move in a space not himself.  As such, God cannot know man’s choices until man makes them, because all things happen “now”.  And since God is His own space, there is no “movement” to His existence whereby He must thus apply the abstract concept of “time”.  Man makes his choices and performs his actions “now”, and “now” is when God knows it.  Thus, any declaration of God as to what He “will (future) do”, is merely a nod to His ability to create, not the  implication that he needs to control/determine (and thus “know perfectly”) every “future” event leading up to His declared action.  In other words, God’s doing is always a function of his omnipotent power, and not the idea that He must somehow control or work within or submit Himself to the existential laws and truths which govern man’s reality.  Or, better said, He cannot control our reality to create an event in the “future”, He simply needs to create.  To BE omnipotent.  To declare something out of nothing. To say that God must control “the future” in order to bring about an act of His limits God to the confines of OUR existence.

This is indicative of a fundamental lack of proper acknowledgment of God’s power.  And yet, it forms the basis for many people’s understanding of God; and is the ROOT premise of all determinist theologies, especially Calvinism and neo-Reformism.

Again, at the risk of being repetitive, I maintain that God cannot know the future, because there is no “future” for God to know because there is no circumstance in the “future” that can exist without Him being their already.  There can be nothing beyond God, and thus, there can be no future to Him.  If there is a “future” (e.g. man’s future “choices” or “actions”) and He creates everything that is not Him, then, by definition, this “future” must have been created and determined by Him.

If the future is not real to us, then it also cannot be real to God.  Something is either theoretical or it is physical.  If the future is purely theoretical, that is, a product of man’s mind, then the future doesn’t really exist, because man is thinking NOW.  And wherever YOU are, THAT is where God is.  Wherever Creation is, that is where God is; not behind, nor ahead in “time”, because time is nothing to God. Meaning it is a concept of man’s ability to create abstract cognitive constructs as a means of quantifying attributes of his existence, and as such, it is utterly irrelevant to God; inapplicable by him…unusable.  An abstract concept, by definition, is not real…well, it is not real in the visceral sense, purely in the theoretical sense…and God, being God, being all time and in all places can never operate by the un-reality of the non-visceral.  He needs NO abstract truths to quantify His existence; to rule and subdue, because HE is God.  He is the very apogee of reality.  HE is His OWN measure of Himself. He cannot think or act theoretically.  Everything God thinks and does is utterly REAL in the visceral, tangible, actual sense.  It IS God.  All that exists is the following:  God, and whatever is NOT God.  Theories are a function of man; they are not God.  Thus, there is nothing theoretical which can be ascribed to God.  And this includes time, which includes the future.  So, yes, I submit that God cannot know the future.

In other words, man cannot create a tangible REALITY by the power of his mind, a real place—that is, the “future”—which then God, by his omnipotence, is obligated to know.  This is a supreme arrogance of man, actually; man becomes the Creator, and God is thus obligated to man’s creation.  Now, He can certainly know of the abstract concept, as a function of man, but He cannot know a real future, or a real past, because, again they are not, in a visceral sense, real.  There is no REAL future to know; there is only man’s conceptualization of “time” to know.  But this conceptualization is not a tangible reality where God can BE.  Man realizes the future when it becomes present, and never before.  It is the same for God.  It is impossible for a perfect, omnipotent Being to know something that isn’t there.  If it doesn’t exist, it is metaphysically redundant that God can know it, having not created it, nor BEING it.  So, wherever and whenever the created thing goes, that is where God is, and no further…insofar as Creation is concerned (God of course can be in Himself, where there is NOT Creation, by definition).  There is no created thing…no event or circumstance, choice or situation, volition or desire, act or movement that can go before God.  As such, God has no future.  And as such, WE have no future. We have movement, implicit in our existence in space, and the future is an abstract quantification of this movement.  It is not a real place; and thus, God cannot be there to KNOW it.    

Nothing is real until it comes to pass; until it is REAL; until it exists in the visceral.  No act is an act before the MOVEMENT occurs.  And further, to say the “future” is real for God to perfectly know is to say that something that does not exist NOW to man or God, actually exists later.  How can this be?  It is impossible…an utter contradiction in terms.  How can the “later” be real NOW?  It is, again, impossible. It is complete nonsense.  It is man attempting to create something out of nothing, and then arrogantly demand God acknowledge man’s theoretical, mental construct as an ACTUAL place and thing.  Again, impossible.  

How can man declare something to exist out of nothing like God does?  Does man possess the same creative power as God.  No…the fact is that the only thing man can create is movement, and the only thing that nature can do is move. And again, no act is an act before the movement occurs.  Movement from one location to another is the function of our existence; past and future is a measurement of motion, nothing more.  The “future” can be a prediction of “might”, or “could be”, or even “will be based on what we have observed in the “past”” (a natural law), but that doesn’t make it literally so before it is literally so.  An act that comes as a result of a cause is simply the outcome of a movement in the “now”, and the result is in the “now”.  Everything in Creation does what it does now.  Not then, not later…all reality is the function of now.  Existence IS.  Again, all time is, is movement.

The object in Creation does not exist through its “own future acts”.  That thinking is completely antithetical to the idea of any freewill or real choice…meaning, to believe this way is to be a determinist, whether you think you are or not.  Think of it this way:  If the future is acts of objects which are real before they exist, then the object merely moves through time, moving through it like cars on a roller coaster, having NO say in how or what they do in any sense, doing what it MUST have been determined by God to do.  There is no other way to explain it.  To concede a real, non-abstract, non-theoretical future, you concede determinism, which means you are not you, but merely an extension of God.

And what is an extension of God?

An extension of God is God.  And what we say when we declare that God knows the future is that WE are God.

Is this really what we would consider “sound doctrine”? Is this anywhere hinted at in our faith? In our scriptures?

I doubt it.

End part I

Calvinist Churches are LESS Authoritarian: A laughably false and hideously obtuse observation by a poster on Survivors

Kris, over at SGM Survivors decided to use her blog powers of Oz and come out from behind the curtain to lay down the final, all-knowing Word on the “real” problems behind SGM’s constant hemorrhaging; allegations of heinous abuse, each one more disturbing and shocking than the last.

Kris’s final word:  It has nothing to do with the doctrine.

Well, then…as John Immel astutely points out:  Alakazam! Poof!  I guess it’s magically not the doctrine.

Now, as a fifteen year member of the SGM juggernaut, an expert in neo-Calvinist doctrine by immersion (as far as I know, Kris has never been a member of SGM), and as one who has actually read Calvin’s Institutes, let me just say: categorically, she could not be more wrong.

I love Kris, and what she has and continues to expose in SGM’s meat-grinder “family” of churches has helped uncounted numbers of people avoid the trauma and despair of such hell on earth.

However, she and I both know that none of that gives her the right to declare that the interpretive premises of Calvinism, a doctrine which SGM wholeheartedly ascribes to and employs ruthlessly, has nothing to do with the the abuses suffered not only by innocent children, but by every past and present member of SGM (and every neo Calvinist church in the world).  To be a member of a Calvinist church IS to be abused; for abuse and pain is HOW you, as a Calvinist church member, KNOW you have TRUTH.

At any rate, Kris’s “hammer of blog omnipotence” came down upon me and I was unable to respond further to an egregious allegation by a poster who refers to him/herself as “Presbyterian”; his (angry) allegation, clearly written through clenched teeth, which went as follows (in part):

“Generally, Calvinist churches are less authoritarian, they put less authority in the leaders and more in documents, they are constitutional if you will.”

The ignorance which gushes from this statement is enough to send one reeling.  I struggled to find words.  I posted a response, but I knew I could do better.  But still…struggling to find words to respond to such rank blindness…such fantasy, I decided to go to the “Apostle” John Calvin, himself.  After all, I’m arguing that Calvinism breeds abuse by default, and that abuse is driven by Calvin’s doctrine.  Well…thankfully, old Johnny has provided me a resource in his Institutes which makes trips to the library and adventures in Google blissfully unnecessary.  So, without further ado, forget what I might say, let’s hear from our great and benevolent, Pope Calvin:

“For the doctrine then obtains its full authority and produces its due effect when the minister not only declares to all the people together what is their duty to Christ, but has the right and means of enforcing it upon them whom he observes to be inattentive or not obedient to the doctrine.”

-John Calvin, Chapter 12, Institute of the Christian Religion

Now, someone explain to me how you get from that to Presbyterian’s (I wonder if Presbyterian is a Calvinist pastor…it would explain a LOT; I’m sure, to the purveyors of Calvin’s particular brand of tyranny, a pastor is merely an instrument of God’s mercy and love, even while lighting the match to set ablaze the heretics) assertion that Calvinism breeds tolerance and suffrage to the bliss and eternal peace of believers the world over.

Whatever.

Let me interpret Calvin’s words for you, in case the medieval, dilettante English, noted for its carefully euphemistic and nuanced styled, has lost some of its profundity.

What Calvin is saying is EXACTLY what CJ Mahaney says; what Ligon Duncan, Al Mohler, Mark Dever, Mark Driscoll, John Piper, John MacAurther, and the countless other Calvinist despots postulate:  That YOU cannot think for yourself.  That THEY are the ones who will decide what is and what is not “sound doctrine”, what the “infallible” “Word” of God REALLY says and means; and if THEY, based on whatever capricious interpretations or whims they want to use in any given moment decide that you are not following it properly, that you are “inattentive” and “not obedient”, that
THEY have the DIVINE RIGHT to punish you, and as their right as the sole interpreters of “doctrine” imply, will punish you in whatever way they see fit, because holding to “sola scriptura” is nothing more than proclaiming their gnostic right to determine just what the Bible and God are saying at any given moment.

How again can this breed ANYTHING but authoritarianism?

But again, none of this matters.  It’s never the doctrine, because if its the doctrine, then everyone, all us self righteous posters (including myself), and impeccable Brent Detwiler, all those “good” churches that left SGM out of “seeing the light” (and not out of rank doctrinal hypocrisy, which is precisely what they use as a defense: in other words they use the very theology they believe to denounce the very theology they believe), and even Kris, herself, become complicit in the abuse.  And that is something they will NEVER concede; they cannot even begin to stomach it.  People love to point fingers.  We are a finger-pointing society.  It’s them!  It’s CJ!  Let’s get the judge to throw the book at him…let’s get the judge to FORCE him to get the doctrine right.  Burn him!…burn him at the stake for actually believing and acting upon and applying the doctrine that we ALL believe and accept, and nodded and clapped our approval of from the purple chairs in our dearest SGM church.  How DARE CJ actually believe that when Calvin declares ALL men’s nature, all their actions, thoughts and desires are PERPETUALLY depraved, that Calvin declares that “God must give (CJ) the grace to perceive”; and if God decides He doesn’t want to, well…the elect are elect and the damned are the damned, right?  Nothing we can do about it.  What’s a little abuse of insignificant and likely damned, children , anyway?  They are totally depraved.  They reap what they sow; they were born reaping because of “original sin”.  Their abuse is justified by their original sin.  They have more in common with Adolph Hitler than with Jesus, after all.  They were born wicked.  They are children of the devil.  Why blame the poor pastors, who are merely trying, against all depraved odds, to manage their blind souls and that of everyone else as well?  Why should they go to jail to protect those whose abuse is, after all, determined by God in the end?

God didn’t give CJ grace to perceive.  Or SGM or any of the other defendants in the suit.

And we agree with them when we declare the doctrine still “sound”.

Folks, this IS Calvinism.

Kris and everyone else, the doctrine has EVERYTHING to do with it.  The more you deny it, the more you affirm the very men we pretend to accuse.

An Uncomfortable Truth: The only way around determinism is…

How do we say that God is ever present?  Can we even define present in terms of duration?  How is God I AM if we cannot put a number of time–a duration–on “now”.  How does God exist “eternally” if we cannot quantify what that means?  How should we thus interpret “time” if we cannot even quantify the centerpiece of it?  How do we describe the nature of our existence, exactly, if we cannot quantify a “present moment”, a “now”, and if the past and the future are theoretical?  By that I mean, how do you touch or see the past?  How do you touch or see the future?  If there is no duration of present, and past and future cannot be touched, seen, or felt, then how can we define our reality? What is the quantifiable nature of it?  As far as I can tell, there is only space, mass, and movement.  Any notion of “time” is merely a way of measuring the movement of objects in space.  To then ascribe “past” and “future” as a real entity means that we effectively declare something that is unobservable, intangible as ACTUAL.  Hmm….I’m wondering how exactly we get away with this; and, again, if the future is real, then it must be fixed (determined).  There is no way around this.

The only way around a determined future, and thus an ultimate concession of Calvinism/Reformed theology is to deny that the future is actual—to declare it a theoretical construct of time, which is simply a mathematical measurement of motion in space.  This is the only way a human being can have free will/free volition, and real choice.  It is the only way natural law can be actually natural LAW; meaning, that a cause can really create an effect.  It is the only way anything can have been created by God without being just an extension of Him.  There is only NOW and MOVEMENT; and this movement in space is driven by cause and effect LAW, and man’s conscious, volitional manipulation of these laws, which results in further movement-as-effect of choice. 

The good news is that this is the truth.  We do not NEED a future, or a past.  All we need is self-awareness and space to move in.

I declare, therefore, that not only is determinism/predestination false, it is impossible in our current reality.  Our interpretation of God’s foreknowledge and “election” must be rendered compatible with the reality of our existence.  If there is a “REAL” future, then there is not really US.  And if there is not really US, then God is also a lie.  And if He isn’t, we cannot truly know Him anyway.  Thus, He is a functional lie to us…or at the very least, irrelevant.  

If we exist, we must exist in the present, but how do you put a number on that which doesn’t signify a moving of time from a point to a point?

You see a light from a star.  Astrophysicists say you are looking at the past.  But that isn’t true.  We are seeing evidence of a past.  We are seeing light that is now.  Not then…because we cannot touch the past.  We can see and feel things only now; and these things do not point to a past moment in “time”–as if that were even possible for objects which exist in a space not their own–they are only indicative of a movement which has occurred.  “When” it occurred is not a declaration of anything real; but merely a measurement of the event itself on a fictional timeline.  The only thing real is the movement, the only real “when” it occurred is NOW, because all existence; all movement can only take place in the “present”.  It cannot take place i the “past”, because…where is the past?  Show me the location?  When isn’t real…”when” is always abstract.  Thus, it is a construct of MAN’S consciousness.   We are seeing the light now, just like we see everything now.

We think we know much.  I think we know very little. And yet, we rush to our assumptions of the nature of God.  We proclaim we know so much about Him; and where we do not understand, we proclaim in our arrogance “paradox”.  As if that is a real answer. Instead of being honest, we arrogantly assume that “is” and “is not” is a TRUTH on which to rest our faith.

Calvinists and non Calvinists alike, when they concede a future for God to know (and His knowledge is perfect, by definition, which means this “future” is fixed, and cannot be changed) concede the same thing.  Man is not himself.  Man is a predetermined collection of acts that God has ALREADY done for him.

If we proclaim God knows the things we will do, then, to God, we’ve already done them.  But, yet, not us…because how can we do something before we do it?  How can God know it before we do it?  Unless He determined we do it BEFORE we do it?

No…there MUST have been a time where we DID what we did and CHOSE what we chose, BEFORE God knew it.  That is the only way free choice can ever be real.  And the answer is this:

Deny time.  That is, deny time as an actual phenomenon.  Declare it for what it is:  an abstract construct; a quantification man devised in order to measure/categorize movement.  Movement is real; space is real; objects are real.  All existence is done now, and that is when God can know what man and Creation does.  He can know only NOW.  As an omnipotent being, it is impossible for God to know things that do not exist.  It is redundant, for one.  And, in addition, not even God can proclaim logical contradictions as true.  God cannot declare something that does not exist, and never has nor will exist, as existing.

I understand that this idea is not likely to be accepted in my lifetime.  So be it.  But the facts of my argument are undeniable.  It is undeniable that free will can be true if the future is real and known by God.

It is also undeniable that past and future cannot be seen, felt, or observed, but that all reality is seen in the present only…and even present is something that cannot truly be quantified.  Thus, all that we can say is REAL is: space, objects, movement (via energy).

No. God cannot know the future. God can only know the present. He can only know the NOW.

How does God know a future that He did not determine? It is impossible. It just is. Which is why I cannot accept that God knows the future. No event exists until it comes to pass…how is this not axiomatic to everyone? There is no future to know because the future isn’t yet real.  How can God know something that does not exist?  And if it does, but it has not yet come to pass by any volition of man, the God must have created it, because only two things exist:  God, and whatever He creates.  So, again, if there is something God proclaims is REAL, like a perfectly KNOWN future, then He must have been the one to ordain it, because, since it doesn’t exist to man, man COULD NOT have created it.  Man cannot make choices himself that he hasn’t yet made.  So if God declares a future “choice” made, then HE must have made it, because man could not have, because the future, by definition, is not yet.

I’m still unclear why this poses such a challenge to the thinking of Christians.  If we declare a future already known by God then He must have determined it.  Thus, there is NO free choice because you cannot have a choice that is pre-determined by God.  Choice is a total illusion. Choice is not a paradox; it is not a mystery; it is lie.

I am not trying to be difficult, I am just stating a fact. God cannot know the future if He didn’t determine it.  And if He didn’t determine it then it isn’t fixed, which means He can’t know it perfectly. Which means He isn’t God. If God, who creates time, declares something to exist BEFORE it is brought about then He must be the One who created it. And if He determines our choices then they are not really our choices.

I maintain that the only way God can know what happens is WHEN it happens…He only knows our choices W”HEN we make them.  Anything less is in fact determinism. If not, I would love to know how that squares with metaphysical reason.  What we need to do then is reconcile this fact with how it might look to US when an eternal, omnipresent God interacts and speaks to humans. Will it look like He knows the future? Does He declare future events? Well sure, but that doesn’t mean they are the future to HIM. We have no problem conceding that God can be everywhere at once. Why then can we not concede that He, since reality and the universe is both space AND time, is also everyWHEN at once. And if He is, then there is no future to Him. He cannot know the future because God, by definition, has no future.

Can someone please explain to me what relevance there is in God knowing the future.  Why does God have to know the future?  That is, why is it important to Him? What difference does it make whether He knows it or not?  If He doesn’t know it, will His plans somehow be thwarted? What purpose of God; what power of God; what NEED of God is there in knowing the future?  How does knowing the future do anything but diminish His omnipotence?

Come on people!  Think about it!  Do you worship an omnipotent God or a God who is influenced by the same reality as we are?  What is a future to God who is in ALL time?  How can God possibly know a future that HE is IN already?  And if He is in it already, how is it the future?  How is the past the past? How can God predetermine anything if everything is NOW to Him?  God creates!  God doesn’t “know” or have a “future” or “past” in a way that you and I would think of it.  What is there for God to know?  What is there in a “future” that doesn’t include Him?  And if God knows all things, it is because He created them, and He exists NOW to everything, so knowledge and time are moot and irrelevant and redundant to God.  God CREATES!  A being that creates everything NOT HIM has no need to know anything.  He only has to BE.

A Devil’s Question: On the nature of consciousness and reason in the imperishable afterlife

“If you agree than an innocent child goes immediately to heaven for all eternity when they die, and you also agree with the commonly held position that only a minority of adults become Christians and make it to heaven, then, especially in an unbalanced mind, that could justify killing children. An ill individual could easily believe that they are actually doing a good thing, ensuring that those children receive a life of bliss at Jesus side that they might not otherwise have.

I am not trying to be cruel or insensitive, but if you are going to look for answers or possible reasons then no idea should be automatically excluded because it is unpleasant.”

Of all my ideas regarding metaphysics and faith, the one I address in this post is one I have never heard or seen addressed before.  I can’t even recall when it has come up in even a passing conversation.  I don’t exactly understand the reason for this, except to say that it could be one of those things that people simply think of as “ipso facto” to their own obvious existence.  In other words, the way our reality is now is the way it will be in the afterlife.  In this regard, it’s kind of like the subject of “time”.  It never ceases to amaze me just how presumed it is that the passage of time is not only something that will follow us to heaven (or the afterlife/eternal life, whichever way you choose to look at it) as it does on earth, but that it is a force so pervasively permeating and binding to existence and reality that not only are we subject to it but God, Himself is also subject to it.  That is, it is a force outside of Him, and thus, outside of His categorical control.  He can “know” the future, in such a way as we mean he can “perfectly predict” the future, and He can perfectly assess the past; but in no measure is He outside of it.  Time, in essence, defines God as much as it defines man.  The only difference is that God has a greater degree of “predictive” power, so that He can, I suppose, maneuver the reality of the present so that it does or does not approach the perfectly predicted/completely known events of the future (though this is contradictory, of course…but, as I’ve said dozens of times, contradiction simply does not faze Christians, unfortunately…again, even the staunchest anti-Calvinists I know concede “predestination/free will paradox”).  Some Christians will concede that God can control events and as such, He can control time; but again, this still always puts God inside of time, moving and going with it; they never concede that time simply does not EXIST as part of God’s functional reality. The more I ponder this, the more incredulous I become.  Christians are quick to pay lip service to God’s omnipotence, but when the “rubber meets the road”, He is ultimately at the mercy of the same inexorable forces and existential reality as man is.  In effect, they can only envision a “God”  that exists the same way they do.  The way they exist is how He exists.  The way they think is how He thinks.  The way He reasons is how they reason.  The way He can know what He knows is the same way they know what they know.  And so on and so forth.  The only difference that God can do it…well, more so, I guess you could say. He is like us, but even more.  And the “more” is usually subjectively defined by human understanding of what it would mean if they were omnipotent, without much deviation from one person to another I notice.  And it also seems to me that the omnipotence of God tends to follow along the lines of the fantastical superhero paranormal “powers” and extra-physical “abilities” that many young children think about when they play “make believe”, and adults think about when they write comic books and movie scripts.

Fore example, one might say, if I were omnipotent, I would know the future.  I would be able to control the minds of people to get them to do what I want.  I could fly.  I could teleport myself all over the universe.  I could see people’s thoughts; read their minds.  I could push people around with wind and fire and unseen forces like giant invisible limbs, or even visible limbs if you are Green Lantern .  But in all of these cases, never is the “power” defined by a existential reality that is so fundamentally different that it makes “knowing” and “predicting” and “controlling” and the  “future, past, present, movement”, etc., etc., completely irrelevant, which is how I would define the TRULY omnipotent.  The truly Omnipotent, to me, wouldn’t have a thing about MY existential reality that He/She needed or recognized or even employed as a necessary tool to effect an outcome. Well..at least that’s where I would start.  At any rate, this is why, I submit, Christians are so comfortable with logical and metaphysical and moral contradiction as the supreme foundations of their faith.  Since the understanding of God never breaches the HOW of God’s metaphysical existence compared to ours, but it is presumed to be identical to our own–with the addition of “super powers”–then moral and metaphysically impossible contradiction are simply implied in the theology.  And a nod and a shrug is how they explain the contradictions to the world.

It is my posit that we can thank secular, pagan Greek mythology (the original “super heroes”) and philosophy for this.  For ever since the Roman Empire, Christianity has become a strange recipe of Jewish and secular philosophical stew, with gnostic despotism having the final say on matters of “sound doctrine” and faith.

That’s actually pretty gross, when you think about it.

Very little, if anything, has changed to this day.  When we call ourselves Christians, we are generally not identifying with the NECESSARY Jewish philosophical and rational roots of Christ, but with a strange, grotesque version of European dark-aged superstition, with roots in pagan metaphysics.  In other words, Christianity is not an extension of sound Jewish philosophical contexts, as it should be understood, but a tradition of a thin strand of world history; of very strange and narrow-minded Germans and Italians.  And we continue to call these men geniuses, when in reality, within a couple hours of Google, the average American can know more, deduce more, and reason more than most of these “Great Fathers of the Faith” put together.  And with a couple of bucks in late charges at the public library, they can start to write their own superior philosophy of sound doctrine.

Shoot…we have the Bible in our own language.  That puts us ahead of these “Great Fathers” by eons already.  If we’d only read it, starting NOT in the Gospel of John, but in Genesis, which is where GOD starts , we would all have a better understanding of God’s power and perfection.

Anyway…

What I was trying to say way back up there somewhere in the ether of this post is that this next subject is kind of like that of “time”.  It is something that people simply presume.  We “grow up” in this life and in this body, so we assume that children must also “grow up” in heaven.  Again, we assume that the nature of our existential reality is unchanged in eternity as it is on earth in our mortal bodies; and again, this stems from the fact that we think, really, that because we are the IMAGE of God, He and we function pretty much the same, at the mercy of the same forces of time and knowledge and whatever else defines “reality” for us, on “earth as it is in heaven”.

I do not mean to insult or offend; I am merely trying to point out how Christianity has been able to function as a form of subculture tyranny and cultist control of human beings in the face of such obviously antithetical TRUTHS found in the natures of God and Christ and the Spirit as are found in scripture…and function so despotically for so many hundreds of years, with nary a Christian batting an eye.

The next and final chapter in my “Devil’s Question” trifecta has to do with the nature of our consciousness /awareness/cognitive evolution in heaven.  Do we continue to grow and learn and acquire cognitive enlightenment as a function of our minds, as a function of our ability to REASON (to know whatever it is we say we know; even to declare that we know that we DON’T know something), or do we not? In other words, to get to the heart of the matter in question:  do children “grow up” in heaven.  If they are murdered, are they deprived only of their physical bodies, but their consciousness continues to develop as “normal”?  Do they develop and become wise old men and women in heaven, or are they limited to whatever cognitive awareness they possess when they enter heaven?

Now, before you rush to respond in your mind, you need to realize that this is a much harder question to answer than it ostensibly seems like.  No offense, but the obvious response, popping into your mind (which is very likely something along the lines of “Well…of course our consciousness evolves”) is likely very premature. The bible is silent on such a subject.  And because of this, we make assumptions about the nature of our awareness in heaven; and as such, I think we perhaps miss what it is we deprive people of if we murder them.  What if…just what if children do NOT “grow up” in heaven?  What if the cognitive state a human being enters heaven is the same state they spend eternity in.  What if cognitive development is in fact, as the scientists and doctors declare, a direct function of the maturity of the development of the biological brain in THIS body? (I am excepting those who have attained full access to their reason, but developed a limitation later in life; due to dementia, Alzheimer’s, or an accident, for example, under the presumption that when the biological is restored to health, they are able to resume their already-developed grasp of their reason.  I argue that this would NOT be the case with those who’ve NEVER had access fully to their reason for whatever cause; and that simply restoring the biological structure to health does not necessarily assume the ability to apprehend reason fully which was never there in the first place.) If this is true, then murder becomes MUCH more egregious, doesn’t it?  Now you are not only depriving one of a body, but of a mind in a sense.  And why not?  It is obvious that ALL we are and become in this life is directly related to the state of our biological bodies.  The body is as important as the mind, even in scripture, and it is undeniable that limitations of the biological will affect cognition. The mind is inexorably linked to the body; and if we agree that the body does not continue to develop after death in heaven, why should we then assume that the mind does beyond the level attained in the mortal life?  Surely the bible does not declare that we will all have perfect minds, with perfect omnipotent knowledge, and divine awareness in eternity, does it?  We will have imperishable bodies…yes; but from this do we presuppose that the cognition of each “brain” in heaven will be fundamentally transformed into higher functioning awareness of our own selves?  Since self-awareness, and REASON, is not directly related to sin—that is, how self-aware/smart/cognitively developed is not a sin issue, then why can it not be possible that consciousness does not necessarily change even though the brain (body) might be eternal.

It is my opinion that this is the case.  And because of this, we can see the gravity of how we treat ourselves and others, but also arrive at a better understanding of just how destructive and far-reaching the Fall of Man was.  The garden Sin was no trifling fender-bender of narrow and shallow consequences.  No, I believe it has profound effects on the state of man not ONLY in this life but in the next.  Salvation and moral innocence, through Christ, ARE possible now.  But the mortal and perishable body in this life drives the mind in this life.  And the mind, the ability to reason, the soul of man, is developed through the body.  And as such, it is in heaven what it is now, minus sin.  But minus sin does not equal “higher functioning” per se, or a “growing up” of the body and mind.

In light of that idea, can we not see just why God might think that murder is such an evil as to include it in the Ten Commandments?

The state of awareness in which one enters “eternity” is the state of awareness minus the physical imperfections of the temporal body.  The ability to reason (the soul of man) and consciousness is developed in the temporal body.  A fact that is verified by empirical science and medicine the world over.  I maintain that the ability to reason, the development of the consciousness, self-awareness…knowledge and the ability to apprehend abstract truth and physical laws and to live by them, and to rule and subdue one’s self and his/her environment by the apprehension and employing and manipulation of them, is a function of the first body and the first world.  I maintain then that wisdom and understanding are gained in the world we are born into; and that this is the intended function of the first life.  Eternity…the new earth and heaven and even body is a place of perpetual IS, absent the normal passage of time as we understand it (though I maintain that “time” will still have place; as created beings, we need space in which to move, and space and movement imply time; however, I’m not acceding “evolution” of the body, or the material environment, as it were).  That is, the evolution of the soul (the reference ability of reason) cannot be and is not developed in the eternal, heavenly state, where one functions according, not to a hostile world and environment, where all things exist and are defined by the moral law of good and evil, and human knowledge of it, but by what I would describe as “whims”.  Pleasure, peace, comfort…absent a hostile existence of any sort; where needs are met or done away with by God (in the case of moral and mortal “needs” as a function of the degenerating physical body and world).  So, in light of this understanding of eternal existence, we need to ask: what is the purpose of reason in the eternal state?

Reason is there to affirm the free will and volition of the mind; to affirm the status of individual “difference” of the individual from the rest of surrounding creation; “this” and “that”, as it were; and that preference, and choice, and “natural” law is seen not as good and evil, but…well, I would say, rather than degrees of “good” or degrees of “bad”, there are degrees of perhaps “more” or “less”, better or worse, as a function of OUR created reality, verses that of God (there can be no degrees with God, for God is perfect, and as such, there cannot be degrees of perfection, or preferences of perfection, obviously).  So, what I am trying to say is that absent the need to survive in a hostile environment, there is no logical reason why it should be expected that our consciousness grows.  For a developing consciousness is a byproduct of the need to thrive in an antithetical place to man (the fallen world), a growing awareness of good and evil, so that we may consciously choose to pursue either/or, in a manner which speaks to right or wrong moral existence.  But absent the need to thrive, and the need to learn to avoid evil to one’s spiritual (and physical, I could add) advantage, then it does not follow that a developing self-awareness is a prerequisite for eternal existence.  And as such I maintain that if it is redundant for reason/awareness to develop in heaven, like it is redundant that the body should “grow” or mature in heaven, because all its needs are provided for, via its eternal make-up, that the state of man does not MATTER beyond how he enters heaven as a morally innocent creation.  That perfection of the body and mind in heaven does not necessarily need to equal utter maturity as we would define it in THIS life.  Moreover, if a child is murdered before the age of self-awareness, that is, he or she is in a state of moral innocence already, then what is the reason that this should or even can change in heaven?  I suppose this begs the question, then:  is awareness of God a prerequisite of moral purity before Him?

Interesting question, don’t you think?

But we won’t tackle that one just now.  However, any comments or ideas in regards to it, I would more than welcome.

At any rate, what I am suggesting is that the state of awareness with which one enters heaven, or “eternity”, is the state of awareness with which they are perpetually bound to.  (And, yes…I do understand the implications of this statement; I have regarded the consciousnesses of those who perhaps are cognitively challenged (e.g. mentally retarded; autistic), and my answer is:  How much do we really know about their state of consciousness?  What is the level  of contribution the biological handicap plays in a person’s ability to access reason?  The answers are likely nebulous.  In other words, we don’t really know. Since the answers invariably involve a certain amount of spiritual/metaphysical facets, it is likely that we will never know.  All we know is what we can see…and what we can see is the biological.  And what we can reason from what we can see and know about metaphysical reason is that absent sin and hostility in heaven, what does the state of consciousness really have to do with eternity once one is actually in heaven?  What is the logical necessity of a “growing” consciousness absent sin and need?  I’m not saying that I’m categorically right…I’m merely suggesting that, at least ostensibly, the idea of an evolving or growing state of self-awareness/ability to reason is redundant and unnecessary in eternity.  Of course, I could be wrong.  If I am, I would love to hear why.  I don’t say this facetiously either; I mean it.  Help me grow in truth. I welcome it.)  That is, I am not convinced that the body and mind is developmentally different, or that it develops beyond what it is in THIS life, for THIS life is the first, and the first intended life and body of man (see Genesis, Chapter One).  We should not underestimate the supreme importance of our lives in the bodies and in the environments we are in NOW.

Heaven is not more growth and development; for that is the intended purpose of the first life and body.  Heaven is merely a new body that does not decay and a new mind that functions as morally innocent because the law of good and evil is moot in heaven.  Plus, with no physical needs, and no mortal decay, sin is even further mitigated and so the mind is free to be…well, static, I might say.  Because decay implies a place where the body and mind decay from in their temporal, mortal evolution.  If there is no decay, then there is no growth; and if there is no growth in the body, then there is no growth in the brain, by which reason is accessed.  And since awareness is inevitably linked to the body, then how can we argue for an increase in self-awareness/consciousness?  Heaven is not a functional separation of spirit and body, as I think many Christians assume; no it is the consummate integration of one with the other.  An eternal body which houses the eternal spirit.  Body and spirit are not pulled apart in heaven…they become even more ONE with each other in heaven, I believe, than in earth.  Human beings NEED a body in order to exist.  They cannot be simply “spirit”, like God because they need an instrument by which their actions from their volition and reason can be realized.  Without tangible bodies and objects by which to manipulate reality, man cannot exist (why I don’t believe in ghosts, by the way).  And this is quite biblical, I should add.  The body is never denigrated, or given a secondary importance to the mind in light of man’s creation…that is, body and mind are hand in hand; part of the reality of man in total.  On the contrary, notice in Genesis that the body is the FIRST prerequisite to existence; and this in the Garden! Where man was supposed to live forever…in his body.  So, again, body and mind are one in this life, and thus how much moreso will they be as eternal and imperishable entities in the next.

In heaven, then, what I am saying is that in terms of physical and cognitive development you ARE what you ARE; and you ARE forever.  Absent the moral law of sin and physical decay, there is no reason that you can’t exist in whatever state you enter in…forever.  And yes, it is depressing on the one hand to think this, but it is also positive because it helps us realize just why it is SO important that we do all we can to foster love and kindness and peace for our fellow human beings in this life, because though it is redundant to BE cognitively more self-aware, morally speaking, in heaven, it is BETTER to know God than to not know God; because God is the objective we pursue in our existence, because HE is the primary example of freedom of existence.  And it is thus hard to truly be free to BE if we do not know God.  We can live for eternity in a state of lesser awareness, because lesser awareness is not sin; but it is, again, better, and preferable to be more aware of self, in that by this, you can be more aware of God.  Which, again, is simply metaphysically rational because it is why you exist in the first place.  There can be exceptions to living the why of knowing God, in the interest of the supreme morality of love and mercy, but the why of existence cannot be done away with; and man cannot ultimately exist (as a total entity…that is “humanity”) as a created consciousness unless he knows his God.  You can exist more fully when you realize who the Creator of your life is, and you can grasp His TRUTH.  You exist more fully because you can consciously seek Him.  And why should we continue to pursue Him in heaven?  Because by Him we grow in understanding of what it means to be US.  This evolution of knowledge is going to happen in heaven, but not beyond the apprehending of the ability to reason in this body, which is a function of development in this life.

So, this being the case, when we consider murder, and in particular the murder of children, in accordance with the question posed by the atheist I have cited above, we realize that when one murders them prior to the age of “awareness” (i.e. full access to their reason), then the murderer has  deprived them of their fully developed consciousness for all eternity.  They have been deprived of their ability to acquire the understanding necessary in order to understand just how they are and who God is, this being the purpose of existence, and the point of our creation.  They are thus deprived of their ability to fully exist according to their purpose, and while safe with God, they are in a perpetual state of lacking the fullness of their due right and purpose of owning their own existence.  They have been forever robbed of themselves.  Thus murder is not merely larceny of the body, but it is in fact larceny of the mind and soul, as well.  The theft of a fullness of consciousness and therefore existence which will NEVER be aquired.

Are you starting to see why murder is forbidden by God, and punished severely numerous times in the scriptures?  It is a BIG deal.  A big one; and I fear that as evidenced by the question posed by the atheist, the gravity of taking a life has been lost on so many.  To even consider such a question as even remotely reasonable—and for Christians not to have a sensible, moral, and easily understood response to such an abominable idea—strikes me as evidence that we as humans have strayed far beyond the rational metaphysics which should define us, and which, frankly, we all should be utterly aware of from every moment to every moment.

And so we must then debate the morality of the point, for truly this is the crossroads of the debate:  Is it better to rob a human being of their very souls in order that they may live forever in a state of inferior and less functional awareness, where themselves and their Creator are not fully grasped according to their reason, according to the root purpose of their existence?  Or is it better to allow them to grow and develop into the full understanding of themselves and of God…or at least develop into a consciousness which has full access to its own ability to reason; to possess that which is inherent to all human beings who own a fully functional biological structure by virtue of having “grown up” in the body as they, by God and by obvious laws of nature, were intended?  That they might have full possession of their minds and souls and bodies in this life and the next, and so that the choice of Christ, necessary to understand LOVE, can, as it must, be fully their own?

“Thou shall not murder.”

This commandment was written on the stone tablets.  It is as close to inerrant as the Scriptures can get.  It is as close to infallible as any created thing can be.

The Devil is a right proper liar.  And all his words are intended to deprive man of his life and his mind; and God of his place.

The question of murder is therefore a question of the devil.

A Devil’s Question: On the purpose of human existence

This next post is a continuation on my three-part series entitled “A Devil’s Question” concerning this question, posed by an atheist some time ago on the blog site WartburgWatch.com.

“If you agree than an innocent child goes immediately to heaven for all eternity when they die, and you also agree with the commonly held position that only a minority of adults become Christians and make it to heaven, then, especially in an unbalanced mind, that could justify killing children. An ill individual could easily believe that they are actually doing a good thing, ensuring that those children receive a life of bliss at Jesus side that they might not otherwise have.

I am not trying to be cruel or insensitive, but if you are going to look for answers or possible reasons then no idea should be automatically excluded because it is unpleasant.”

Murdering children in order to compel them to heaven makes their existence functionally irrelevant. Individual self-awareness and ownership thus of one’s reason, and therefore ownership of one’s own self is and can only be the ultimate meaning of human existence.  That is, if we are able to exist at all, by the intention and resolutely conscious action of a Divine Creator (NOTE: thanks to John Immel for his persistence in proclaiming this TRUTH in the face of even Christian opposition…it is by this persistence that I realized that not only is he right, but it is the ONLY way man can possibly exist as a self-aware entity) then it must be for the purpose of each individual consciousness to be the sole owner of his or her self; for any other reason for creation of the human being is impossible because it constitutes a redundant act of the Omnipotent Perfection; which of course is impossible because it would mean that the Divine Omnipotent Perfection is not perfect after all.  For it is obviously impossible that man can BE God for God (the single greatest reason why I utterly and categorically reject any form of determinism from any field of study or any religion or philosophy; it is a lie because it means that creation itself is redundant; thus, impossible).  And, in addition, if the purpose of our creation is to be merely an extension of a collective functioning as LIKE a single entity, with a single consciousness and a single purpose, then it is redundant that God should have made us individually self-aware; for there is only a need for a single created consciousness to exist and to fulfill the purpose of his/her creation (for what meaningful, philosophical, or moral thing can the collective do that the individual single entity cannot do, and really, do better and more efficiently when it comes to intent and meaning?)  All numbers do is determine how much.  And “how much” is irrelevant as far as philosophy is concerned.  “Is” and “is not” relating to “why” and “why not” is the length and breadth of philosophy, and one does not need math for this (a terrible disappointment to the Pythagoreans among us, I know).  God needs only one number of created consciousnesses in order to establish the moral and existential dichotomy, and to exhibit the supremacy of His meaning, power and LOVE, and this number is:  one.  And it’s pretty hard to make it a numbers game if the only number you have to work with is ONE.  (Which again, is why all meaning is going to always be metaphysically based, not physically.  So much for the philosophy of science…sorry, Mr. Hawkings.  Metaphysics is alive and well, Doctor, I’m afraid.)  Thus, in light of the vast number of human consciousnesses in existence, we can conclude this:  The numbers are simply a function of how much, and so instead of loving just one person, which would still be perfect love, God decided that He wanted the “how much” to be MORE than ONE, while still keeping the essence of ONE, that is making consciousnesses individual.  God has chosen to love more than ONE single individual consciousness.  Because…why not?  One love is perfect.  One love extended to many is no less perfect, but it has the advantage of being spread over many more “ones’s”; and in this case, more IS better, because the more people there are, the more dispersed is that perfect love; it spreads, grows, and allows man to be the conduit of it to his fellow man; which, if this is a wonderful thing that God can do, why NOT allow man to do the same thing seeings as how it isn’t at all redundant to share God’s love; for true freedom is being as much like God as man can be without seeking to make God a redundant hypocrite by attempting to usurp His power (like Satan does; he wants to be God instead of God, which is irrelevant and metaphysically nonsensical; but then…he’s a liar, so…).

Killing, then–among the many other reasons it is so abominable–limits the reach of perfect love, which, in light of there being more than ONE person, limits man’s purpose…not necessarily for God, but for himself, which is again to be as much like God as possible because this is the very definition of individual freedom, which again is the sole reason man can BE.

To BE, and to BE like God.  And God is eternally LIVING as Himself.

THAT’S perfect freedom, and so killing, being antithetical to God’s purpose, as the Creator, MUST be antithetical to man’s rational purpose.  By God allowing man to reproduce, God’s love can be extended to more individuals.  Which…more love is always a good thing.  Not necessarily a more perfect version of love, but an extension of perfect love, which is GOOD, because any extension of good is GOOD.  Extension by imitation is no redundancy.  Duplication is redundancy.  And within this, the functional existential truth remains unchanged in light of God’s love and mercy:  man is created to be HIMSELF, alone, and owned and possessed by no one else.  Thus, the reason any ONE exists is:  to exist to themselves.  The foundation of the purpose of creation is the INDIVIDUAL, and the individual’s divinely mandated right to claim and possess him or herself.  To be the sole doer and to bear sole responsibility for his or her volition.  Anything that detracts from this (determinism, the enforcement of biblical “roles”, the coercion into collective group think, forced altruism/morality via force or violence, etc.) detracts from the divine purpose of man.  And it is impossible to be the sole doer and to bear sole responsibility for volition if one has been murdered.  To put it bluntly, if not a bit vulgarly:  a person cannot fulfill his or her divine purpose for living if he or she is dead. 

The reason that God demands that no man murder another is precisely because of this: by violating the right of individuals to own themselves, we make existence moot. Through murder you claim the right to possess another human being; to commit larceny of the body.  It is immoral at its root, because the entire point of God Creating is for Creation to EXIST and to BE itself, and this is particularly true with regards to human beings; and it can thus never be a “loving” thing–or anything in accordance with God’s rational purpose–to murder anyone.

Now, moving on to another facet of my argument, which is that the of killing-children-as-mercy posit dooms all humanity to hell in the end.

The idea behind the greatest commandments (love God, love human beings) is to affirm the relevancy of existence. If we are to assume that murdering children leads to salvation for them, and is a “loving” thing to do, the inevitable outcome is instead, as I just said, a destruction of all humanity.  NO ONE is saved at the end of human existence, is the logical conclusion of the proposition. At the end of the string of murders is no one left but the adults, and they have forsaken Christ and their moral innocence by renouncing God’s purpose for Creation: to exist.

I’ll elaborate.

Since it is morally and metaphysically impossible to murder out of love–as I have explained above–it is also inevitable that this scheme designed to “make sure all the little ones go to heaven” is doomed before it even starts. There is only one way to get to heaven, and that is be morally innocent(A fact which is lost on I think even the majority of Christians in the U.S. who have traded in Jewish foundational philosophy as the grounds for the Christian faith for pagan Greek metaphysics.  Oh…don’t believe me?  Ever heard of “penal substitution”?  This is the idea that Jesus was punished for our sin.  That he wasn’t a “sacrifice” for sin at all, but was punished (wrongly, by definition then, making God UNJUST) for the bad stuff WE did.  Which has nothing to do with the Jewish ritual of the sin or Passover sacrifice, because you cannot render man morally innocent, which is how man must be to God for salvation, by punishing for sins…again, by definition.  So again, nothing to do with the Torah.  NOTHING.  Because it is a FALSE western, pagan, neo-Greek (read “medieval European”) metaphysical idea).

Anyway.  Through murder, we renounce the moral innocence we obtained through Christ.  And really, to appeal to rank common sense:  who is willing to condemn themselves to hell in order to send a child, who may or may not accept Christ (even if we DO believe in the reality of “chance”), to heaven? If he or she (the child) were to choose Christ, then the murderer would have renounced Christ for nothing by declaring God a liar and proclaiming that murder is, in fact the primary GOOD man can do in the world, and that to DIE is the singular purpose for LIVING. No…no rational Christian, or even person, I submit, could agree to the “logic” of this idea.

Then again, I know a LOT of Calvinists, so…who said rationality has anything to do with anything?  Heck, even NON-Calvinists agree that there really IS a “paradox” between free will and predestination, making the root foundation of Christian metaphysics impossibly contradictory and destroying all anti-Calvinist arguments, no matter how otherwise rational, in the process, and thus conceding the determinist’s entire argument…aaaaand by conceding Reformed determinism they also make anyone’s argument about pretty much anything moot and pointless, leaving us nothing left to do except admit that we don’t really exist.  We are either God, or nature, or…nothing.  But certainly not ourselves.

But…whatev.  No one said this blog stuff was going to be easy.

Or even read.  LOL

Anyway.

My point is this:  Don’t we think that it is better that those who will choose Him are saved, rather than EVERYONE go to hell by declaring that God is a liar and demanding it be morally accepted that dying is the point to living? Better than man condemning the entirety of his race to hell by rendering his very existence pointless with his evil ideas? This is really the logical conclusion of this kill-the-kids-for-their-own-spiritual-good proposition. As is the case with the Calvinists–which I still maintain have much more in common with atheists than either one of them realize–metaphysical inconsistency forms the basis of this argument.

Response to Lydiasellerofpurple: Destroying the Free-Will/Predestination “paradox” is the ONLY way to ultimately dismantle Reformed determinism (and more on the Divine existential nature)

Once again, thanks to Lydia for her excellent insights, questions and comments, which supply me with an indefatigable supply of metaphysical material for this blog!

This is a reply to her comment on the previous post.  Thanks, Lydia!

Hi Lydia,
I want to clarify something.  I am not denying the functional reality of a past and future, both of which can be proven by events in the “present” (whatever that is…present seems to me to be of infinite existence with zero “duration” (that is, proper time), however, we know a present must exist because because “to be” is a static term; in other words “to be” implies eternal “now”, I think.  Anyway; the present is where the visceral creates reality…where things happen, I suppose).  So, I am not saying that the future and past aren’t real to man.  Man’s existence implies a past and future, even though, strictly speaking, “past” and “future” are abstract truths.  They cannot be experienced directly.  All of man’s functional reality occurs in the “now”, I submit (I have a lot on this subject; will post later).  Past and future are always outside of man; they are a function of HOW he is able to exist.

In relation to God, however, since He is His own space and is the entire sum of His existential reality, there can be no past or future to God because NOTHING is outside of God.  God is never separated by an abstract concept from His own reality.  God is God, the I AM; the fullness of His existence is perpetually and eternally visceral.  He IS, and thus He is always NOW.  So when we speak of God “knowing” the future, then, in light of the fact that God has NO future, what can be said about this?  He cannot know man’s future because man’s future is man’s future, not God’s future, because God does not require a future to exist, like man does.  So whatever reality man’s volition and choice creates as a “future” event is wholly man’s doing.  God intervening in man’s life is a function of His power of creation, not “controlling” events that lead to a point in an abstract theoretical future.
What events along the line of “time” did God have to control to create Creation in the first place?  The answer is: none.  He just made it.  There was no “when”, before Creation, because there is no “before” with God.  There is just NOW.  So why do we assume that God’s power–now that Creation exists–has to be as a function of knowing the future, or controlling or determining events that lead to another inexorable event that God is creating as a function of controlling other events (does that even make sense?)?  Why would the God who made the Earth out of ZERO now need to control events to lead to a future that he already knows? (Which means…er, it’s already real, no?  Since God KNOWS it, it must BE true, and so, how is God’s controlling events, which He knows, lead to another event which already exists, and that he ALREADY knows is real…how is that NOT the definition of redundancy?)

God can create anything anywhere, and He always creates NOW, because it is HE creating.  He does not create or control along a line of time (past/future) because THAT is not a function of His existential reality.  Control and knowledge of future and past are strictly functions of man.  God’s power and existential reality precludes the relevance of either “control” or “future knowledge”.

If God speaks to man as “knowing the future”, I submit it is to make Himself accessible and comprehensible to man; or, man is misunderstanding or misinterpreting what God is saying.

I do not mean this to be arrogant, and I’m not directing this at you, Lydia, but I defy anyone to explain to me how God can know a future of man that He did not already per-determine?  And if He did determine it, then how can we believe that man has any will of his own? 

This is why I vehemently disagree with people, even friends and like-minded anti-Calvinist Christians, who argue that the “paradox” of predestination/free-will is unsolvable, unknowable, and ultimately, what we simply have to live with. I especially see red when it is declared that it is an unimportant, tertiary, secondary, disputable matter in the grand debate with neo-Calvinist/Reformed despots. 

This could not be further from the truth!  If we concede that God KNOWS man’s future and that predestination is a reality of Christian doctrine and philosophy in any sense where God preordains in any way, then free will is a lie and the Calvinists are right.  Unless we can effectively argue for God’s metaphysical existential DIFFERENCE in such a way that “fore-knowledge” is LOGICALLY and understandably reconciled with the free volition of man–which MUST be true for man to even EXIST if we believe in God–then for all of our talk of sanctification, justification, the Cross, antinomianism, and whatever else we make the primary issue, we will ALWAYS lose to Reformed foundational suppositions.  Again,  IF God foreknows in a way where God declares the future real BEFORE it exists to MAN, then man is determined…he is not Himself, and can do nothing that is not ultimately directly controlled by God, including “obey” in sanctification and “choose” in salvation.  So, IF we concede that free-will/predestination is a paradox…that is, BOTH are true, then one half of the equation isn’t real.  God is either dead or man is dead.  You cannot have both predestination and free-will be true and have both man and God be real.  It is logically, metaphysically, and rationally impossible.  If we accept the “paradox” of free-will/predestination then Christianity is a religion founded upon a complete contradiction of all of reality, and it SHOULD be rejected because it CANNOT be true. It is the last refuge of the desperate or the spiritually/theologically insane…or both.

But…there is an answer.  The answer is in understanding that God is what He declares: I AM.

Not I WAS, or I WILL be…no, God says He is the “I AM”.  Or He says “was, is, and is to come”, which  means what?  Means NOW.  Means God IS an IS forever.  EVERYTHING is now to God, there is no future to know because the existential reality of God is always and only and ever NOW.  So the way God “foreknows” events is because they are NOW to Him.  In other words, the NOW of when they happen is when God knows them. So, God can only know future events and choices when they happen, or you make them because YOU make them; and you make them when to God?  NOW!  God doesn’t see your choices in the “future”; He sees them the only way He CAN see them, which is NOW.  Your choices are free until you make them, and once made, they are part of the NOW of your own total existence, from start to finish, because the choice and your making it is NOW.  

And here it is:  Since we CAN show metaphysically, rationally, logically, theologically, and philosophically that free-will/predestination is NOT paradoxical NOR contradictory but is merely a function of the existential reality of God versus man–and we CAN–then Reformed theology is DEAD.  It is dead now, and forever.  If it can be proven that man’s will MUST be free as a function of metaphysical logic, and that this not only corresponds with God’s eternal nature (His I AM existence) but is a RESULT of it, then Calvinism has no foundation whatsoever.  Any of its cornerstones, foundations, or pillars rest on a grave.

We can prove that determinism is a lie; and we can show that there is no way God can know the “future” until it IS, without He determining it.  Thus, we can show that Reformed theology is a lie.  Which it is.
The fact MUST BE that the future CANNOT exist until it is the present; and it cannot exist until Creation ACTS to manifest it because everything creation does is its own and is NOW to God, and this especially applies to man’s CHOICE.  The only way God can know man’s choices is after man makes them. Anything else is determinism.

To repeat and reiterate:  What is AFTER to God?  There is no “when” with God, so there is no after, or before.  There is only now.  If God declares that He knows what you “will” choose in the future it is because He sees it NOW; and if He sees it now, then YOU are MAKING it, even though, to you, you may have not made it yet.  But that does not mean that the choice is any less yours.

Now, please…I am not conceding the premise.  I am not simply creating another way of saying that God knows your choices before you make them.  I’m saying that YOU must FREELY make the choice “before” God can know it.  So, when you make a choice, THAT is WHEN God knows it, even though He may have declared it to you “before” (“Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”)…but remember, there is no “before” with God, or “after” so when He reveals His knowledge to you about a choice of yours is irrelevant to God’s metaphysical “time”–for by definition, God can know NOW “whenever” He wants as far as you are concerned–and it does not mean He knows it BEFORE you make it; no, it is just that the WHEN is a function of your life, not His.  Again, when you make a choice, THAT is the only way God can know it without it being determinism.  But how His knowledge looks to you when He interacts with you may seem as though God “knows” the “future”.  But knowledge of the future is utterly impossible, and incompatible with God’s existential nature.

It is confusing, I know, but again…I defy anyone to do better.  Someone…anyone, please tell me how God can know man’s future before it exists unless He determined it.  And if He did, and we concede this, then man is determined and Calvinism is right.