The logical conclusion of the reformed doctrine of Total Depravity is that man is sin (the rational arguments for this I have discussed in previous posts). There is no rational distinction to be made between man and the concept of depravity itself. The serious problem with this idea is revealed when we understand that man-as-sin equals an infinite essence of man which is the concept; and the concept which, since it cannot be observed to have any distinctiveness, any boundaries in the material world juxtaposed to what it is not, can only mean that the idea of “what it is not” is inapplicable, since there is no observation of and thus no rational way to define objectively what it is not…it is what it is what it is, and so on. Sin is sin is the beginning and end of its definition, both conceptually and practically.
The only way sin can be described as having any distinctiveness is to observe its limitations in material reality. This means that sin must be “revealed” as a function of some observably distinct object or agent. This of course means that the observation of that object or agent which is materially so is the prerequisite of sin being efficacious. Which means that sin is a direct function of the object or agent, and not the other way around. Which means that the SELF of the object or agent is what is actual; therefore sin must be conceptual (not actual, but only “real” insofar as it serves as an efficacious abstract component of the systematic conceptual reality of the universe, which is a product of man’s mind). Which means that sin does not actually exist as a distinct entity, but rather is a function of how the object or agent is observed relative to another object or agent.
But if the metaphysical roles are reversed…if man is the direct function (the product) and sin is the absolute, prerequisite entity which forms the efficacious basis for reality, then man is, again, the absolute concept of sin at his root existential level…the level of his very being, according to Argo’s Universal Truth Number One: Whatever is a direct function of an absolute is the absolute. And which, being absolute, cannot be breached by any “other”, or, as is more properly labeled, OTHER; with OTHER being the absolute SELF of that which is NOT the SELF of the agent (man) in question.
Any true relationship between agents, or an agent and an object, be it man to man or man to thing or man to God, requires the conscious observation of the SELF to OTHER, and there can be no OTHER without the existence of an actual, knowable, distinctive SELF by which what is NOT SELF (that is, OTHER agents or objects) can be observed. Therefore if man is truly the incarnate of the concept of sin, then man cannot actually be conscious. Any awareness of SELF is an illusion, since a distinct SELF of man is wholly incompatible with the infinite absolute of the concept of sin. Man is merely an extension of the absolute, which makes him functionally the absolute itself. “Man IS sin” means that man is not man by definition, man is something ELSE. Which means, again, that man’s awareness of SELF is purely a lie. His consciousness is an illusion. A farce. A facade.
Of course this cannot possibly be true, because if man is not conscious he cannot know SELF, which means that he cannot know any OTHER, be it an agent or an object. Without the existence of the SELF it is quite impossible for man to recognize that he is not himself (that is, is depravity qua “totally depraved”) since “himself” never really existed in the first place. Thus “man is sin” becomes a contradiction in terms. Man cannot be sin because man cannot be what he is not (the point I made above in bold). Which means that any talk of man’s sin and man being an offense to God and man needing Jesus and man receiving grace and man being totally depraved becomes nothing more than nonsense and mystic propaganda. Man can no more know God than he can know himself. His very existence is nothing, which means that God didn’t create him at all which means that sin and Christ and God are all irrelevant. Just more illusions as a function of the grandest one, the un-actual SELF of man.
In order for man to know that he is sin and needs “regeneration” man must be self-aware, which demands the actual existence of a distinct SELF so that he can know what he is as opposed to what he is not, which includes God. This way man can know that he needs God because “he” (that is man) actually exists, which is a requirement for DOING anything…in this case “needing God”. But of course if man is aware of SELF then this awareness must be real…that is, rooted in the actuality of the existence of man as a distinct agent, which means that man cannot actually be sin. And if man is not sin then man is not totally depraved because depravity only exists as a concept which only has efficacious meaning in a specific context of man relating to objects or agents in his environment. Man cannot be totally depraved ALL the time, because the only thing man is ALL the time is man. “Man is man” is the only logical metaphysical statement. “Man is totally depraved”; “man is “inclined” towards sin”; man is “fallen”; man is “regenerated”; man is “saved”…all of those ideas have no rational basis if we concede that “sin”, “salvation”, “depravity”, etc. are anything more than conceptual abstractions man uses to define himself as a function of his relative interaction with other objects and agents in a specific context . All truth begins with the rational premise that man is himself. Any descriptions of man beyond that are nothing more than conceptual ways of describing his relative relationship to his environment, which includes other self-aware agents and other objects.
Thus any change of man, call it “salvation” or “regeneration” or “justification” or “being in right standing” cannot affect man at the level of his metaphysical root SELF, which is the absolute prerequisite to anything being efficacious or true (the only rational standard of morality and truth). “Man is man’ is an absolute and categorical constant. It cannot be altered, ever, by any idea, nor can it be changed from the infinite root of SELF, even by God. For if God changes man from what he is to what he is not, God has created a contradiction that His own TRUTH cannot withstand. Man cannot be what he is not, by definition. And if God created man, then God created man as he is, not how he is NOT, never to be “regenerated” into what he is, existentially, NOT. For if God creates man as he is NOT, then God could not really have created man; He must have created something else. The “man” God created is void…is nothing. Which makes God a liar, and makes God wholly irrelevant and a hypocrite. God cannot call Himself the Creator if what He creates is nothing. For nothing cannot exist, by definition.
So “change” in this sense (regeneration, salvation, justification, right standing, etc., etc.) is the observable altering of the infinite SELF of man as he relatively relates to other objects and/or agents. It is NOT a fundamental transition of the SELF of man into something else, which as I said is an impossible contradiction. Change, then, cannot happen metaphysically, it can only happen conceptually, meaning that change is a function of man’s inherent cognitive ability to conceptually define and organize his environment, and thus is ultimately a function of the assumptions which drive his actions in service to defining how he relates to his environment and other men and God, which forms the systematic rational/efficacious understanding and truth of his reality. In other words, man’s changing from a “sinner” to a “saint” is a function not of metaphysics but of philosophical assumptions. Or, more concisely stated: salvation is a function of belief.
Hmm…who else has said that exact same thing? Anyone? Christians? Now’s your chance to say something rationally consistent for a change.
And unless you concede that, then Jesus cannot make any real sense. His message of belief was rooted in the idea that HE was God who was human. The logic which can be obviously deduced from this is that being GOOD has nothing to do with humans morphing from one metaphysical reality to another–which makes God a liar and a hypocrite–but rather recognizing that humanity itself at its existential root is GOOD already. That man is the plumb line for truth and good is evident when we observe that God came as a human being, and thus the only “law” which is efficacious for salvation is the law of love: the recognition that man as God’s premier creation is the beginning and end of all philosophical TRUTH, which then goes on to define the reality of man’s life, which is efficaciously observed and thus known to be true via the actions of man with respect to his environment and fellow man and God and which can thus be seen to perpetuate and affirm the very SELF from which all existence, its definitions, qualifications and quantifications, are derived.
2 thoughts on “Salvation is Conceptual, not Metaphysical”
Reading this made me think of what I used to wonder when I was studying Calvinism. How can a Calvinist possibly know they are really saved? They would not have the cognitive ability to do so based upon their doctrinal foundation.
You are exactly right. And that is precisely why Calvinism cannot possibly be true.
It isn’t a matter of having a better point than the Calvinists, it is a matter of having the ONLY point. Which is why this blog focuses almost totally on metaphysics. I will not go tit for tat on doctrine or biblical interpretation.
Once metaphysical consistency is attained, no other explanation can be true. That sums up my entire purpose.