The Moral and Intellectual Drought of “God Controls all Things” (Part One)

To say that God (and you could likewise insert the “Laws of Physics” into this argument–it’s the same determinism) is in control of all things amounts to an impossible contradiction in terms, because the very idea by its own definition specifically declares an absolute distinction between God and the “things” supposedly under his control.  Notice this quote from a magazine I found in the lobby of a “reformed” Protestant Church recently.  The magazine cites the source for this quote as:  Charles Hodge, from volume 1 of his Systematic Theology.

“That God does govern all His creatures and all their actions, is clearly revealed in the scriptures.  And that fact is the foundation of all religion.  It is the ground of the consolation of his people in all ages; and…the intuitive conviction of all men, however inconsistent it may be with their philosophical theories, or with their professions.”

Now, there are numerous things wrong with this abysmal declaration which is an intellectual and rational fraud on its face, not the least of which is the rank presumption and obvious dishonesty employed in passing off a specific and peculiar hermeneutic as proof that determinism is “clearly revealed in scripture”, and that said determinism is the “intuitive conviction of all men”.  Indeed, one could devote an entire essay to the blatant fallacies of passing off utterly subjective interpretive premises as “proof” of what is “self evident”.  (Note:  If it is self-evident only via a particular hermeneutic, then you need to defend the hermeneutic as containing rationally consistent and irreducible metaphysical and epistemological axioms before you claim that it is proof of anything at all.)  However, that’s not the focus of this particular essay.

Notice that in Chuck’s insinuation of the “obvious” reality of God’s absolute control (“That God does govern all His creatures and all their actions”) he nevertheless explicitly and repeatedly refers to absolute distinctions between God and His Creation, i.e.:  God versus Creatures; God verses men; God verses People; God verse men’s philosophy; God verses men’s professions.

Do you see the contradiction?  Do you see the defunct logic?  The rational drought?  The stunted intellect?  This is truly horrific, and people should recoil at the evil implied in such shallow, mystic, and frankly, barbaric and medieval “reasoning”.  And then, once they have recoiled at the ideas Chuck presents, they should feel an even greater revulsion that men like him are hailed as teachers.  God help us.

You cannot make appeals to the absolute sovereign control of God over all things and yet appeal to those “things” as having an absolutely distinct existence of their own, apart from God.  In other words, in order for God to control all things, all things must in fact be declared to be themselves, alone, in order that God may control them.  But by the very determinism implicit in the statement “God controls all things”, such a separate existence is impossible, and thus it is impossible for God to control all things because God cannot control that which does not in fact exist apart from Him.  To say that God controls all things means that he must control the roots of their very existence.  Which means they can have no inherent being of their own, apart from God, which means that in order for God to control them absolutely it must be conceded that these things–that God’s creatures, that all men and their philosophies and professions–are in fact merely a direct extension of God, Himself, which thus means that there is no difference between the two…between God and his Creation.  God’s creation, if he controls it absolutely, cannot be anything distinct from God, but IS God.  And so for God to control all things really means that God simply controls Himself, and there is nothing in existence besides Him.  All things are God.  And it is this rank pantheism which passes for “Biblical Christianity” and “Sound Doctrine”.

Now, I’m not a biblical inerrantist (because the “biblical inerrancy” idea is childlike in its foolishness and naïve its intellectual defense), but I’m pretty sure that pantheism (the notion that all things are God) is NOT Biblical.  Plus, how on earth can the Protestant proponents of deterministic pantheism (tongue twister!) rationally exempt God as the instigator of all sin since they both acknowledge that sin is evil and that God is, in fact, the very existential essence of anything which acts sinfully?

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is merely the nose of the dog.  This is merely a fraction of the utter rational and moral bankruptcy which passes for “spiritual guidance” today in the institutional “orthodox” church (where implicit evil with deadly eternal consequences passes for “sound doctrine”) and merely one small tittle of why anyone who actually loves good and hates evil, and likes people and loves God, should withdraw his hand from Christian Orthodoxy as a he would from the flames of fire.


30 thoughts on “The Moral and Intellectual Drought of “God Controls all Things” (Part One)

  1. I’m not sure how the laws of physics get drawn into this. I know we’ve had this discussion before, but the notion that God controls all things seems quite distinct from the notion that Gravity is a force that exerts a force on all things within its field. Gravity, as an example of a law of physics, after all is a measurable force, demonstrable, repeatable, observable. The nature of God’s relationship with the universe is a matter of faith. (Sorry about my thumb typing)

  2. Hi Bob, thanks for the comment.

    Gravity is not observable, and because of that it is not itself, as though it can exist in a vacuum of itself, measurable. Gravity is a relative difference in movement between two or more objects. You observe objects, not gravity, and you measure the relative movement and call that specific movement “Gravity”. Remove the objects, and you remove gravity. Gravity then can be supposed to be an absolute and direct function of the objects, which means it does not exist as a causal, autonomous force.

    Further, measurements are themselves merely abstract equations. They are products of man’s ability to conceptualizer his environment in order to cognitively organize it. Measurements too then are relative. Appealing to the ability of forces to be measured is merely appealing to man’s ability to conceptualize what he observes. Man invents the concepts of “forces” and “measurements”. They do not invent him.

  3. And I never understood the idea that “repeatability” is the rubric of Truth (though I concede it has some mathematical efficacy). In order to use repeatability as truth’s yardstick one must conclude that the reference, human consciousness (qua sensory input), is the CONSTANT by which repeatability is measured. And neither the Laws of Physics nor ANY physicists I’m aware of concede human consciousness as a legitimate constant.

  4. “You cannot make appeals to the absolute sovereign control of God over all things and yet appeal to those “things” as having an absolutely distinct existence of their own, apart from God. ”

    A guy sits in the horse-drawn wagon. By pulling the reigns to the left or right, he controls horse’s direction. By pulling back on the reigns or snapping a whip, he controls the speed of the horse. And yet he is not the horse.

    If you wish to believe that God must be the horse in order to control it, then fine. But it seems to me that it is equally rational to believe that God is separate from the horse and controls it.

    By the way, what difference does it make?

  5. Marvin, thanks for your comment.

    A guy sits on a horse drawn wagon and pulls the reigns so that the horse goes right or left. Okay…the horse goes right or left relative to what? The answer? Relative to an environment which the wagon driver does NOT control. The environment provides the uncontrolled constant which is used to give “control” in that situation its meaning.

    Of course, if you read the quote in the article you will see that this uncontrolled environment is precluded according to the “orthodox” position concerning God’s “sovereignty”, which declares that God controls ALL things–and this, by definition, must include the environment in which things move. God is the controller AND the reference for “control”, which is an impossible contradiction in terms.

    Further, if God is the reference AND the absolute governing force of ALL of that which Creation does, then existence of that Creation is impossible. For to exist is to ACT.

    As for you query, “What difference does it make?” well…

    The consequences of believing that one’s existence is an illusion are both enormous and enormously destructive; and, I would submit, obvious.

  6. Two thoughts seem to be at odds. One is the idea that God leaves it up to us. The other is that God is looking over us and protecting us. They seem contradictory, but are invoked in different situations. When we have a problem that is in our hands to solve, then we think of God leaving it up to us. When our airplane takes off from the runway, then we think of God looking out for us.

    So I’m trying to figure what Charles Hodge had in mind in the quote you posted. He mentions “consolation”, which sounds like “God looking out for us”. And the overall thrust of his comment seems to be that “God’s in his Heaven and All’s Right with the World”. It sort of offers spiritual comfort (consolation) and perhaps a feeling of confidence in a tough world.

    I’m not familiar enough with Calvinism to know whether Hodge intended his words to be dissected literally or not. Or perhaps he may make a contradictory statement in a different context.

    As to illusion, I believe an illusion is something you can walk through, something which does not really exist but only appears to exist. Someone once said, “if everything is an illusion, then nothing is an illusion”. And it seems to be in fashion these days to say nearly everything is an illusion.

    Both secular determinism, which is a characteristic of the real world, and secular free-will, which is an objectively observed phenomena occurring in the real world, appear to be true facts. Therefore it is the supposed conflict between them that would be an illusion.

  7. “The consequences of believing that one’s existence is an illusion are both enormous and enormously destructive; and, I would submit, obvious.”

    Hear, hear! This is no understatement.

  8. Marvin,

    You need to define what exactly God “leaves up to us”; and what exactly God is “protecting” us from and why it is necessary to “watch over” us.

    These two ideas are not self-evident. They must presume a particular metaphysic before they can be understood. However, I submit that the metaphysical root of both ideas is rank determinism: reality is purely a function of what God “allows” or “disallows”. Applying some cursory logic reveals that this is merely another way of saying that God directly and categorically CONTROLS all things. There is no functional, consequential difference between things happening because God allows them, and things happening because God disallows them. In both cases, the outcome is utterly dependent upon whatever God wills. This precludes the relevant existence of anything besides God because that which cannot be said to act freely of its own accord cannot be said to EXIST. “To exist is to ACT” is axiomatic.

  9. “Both secular determinism, which is a characteristic of the real world, and secular free-will, which is an objectively observed phenomena occurring in the real world, appear to be true facts. Therefore it is the supposed conflict between them that would be an illusion.”

    What you are saying is that the sum of two mutually exclusive ideas is Truth. Since there is no way to combine such ideas in which they arrive at anything but zero, you have ceded that truth does not in fact exist. That truth and UNtruth are corollaries. If this is your position, then you cannot by your own admission claim to know anything at all. In which case the question begged is: why bother to engage the discourse?

    Also “appearing to be true facts (and your using the phrase “true facts” leads me to think that you believe that there is such a thing as “untrue facts”, which kind of explains your position) is not the same thing as actually BEING true.

  10. What I’m saying is that the two ideas are not mutually exclusive. The claim that they contradict is based upon a false premise: that in order to be free one must be free from all causation. And since nothing can be free from causation, that cannot possibly be the meaning of the word “free”.

    The word “free” in “free will” means the same as the word “free” in “we released the prisoner, and now he is free”.

    When the prisoner is released from prison, do we expect him to be free from causation? No. We only expect him to be free from (a) his cell and (b) subjugation to the will of his jailers, who choose for him when he will eat, when he gets to exercise in the yard, et cetera.

    In order for “free” to have meaning, it need only imply freedom from a single constraint. The word becomes irrational and meaningless if it must imply freedom from every imaginable constraint.

    For example, it is irrational to suggest the will must be free from oneself, from one’s own reasons and feelings, one’s own beliefs and values, and so forth. If the will is free from oneself, then whose will does it become? No, there is no rational basis to insist upon freedom from oneself.

    It is also irrational to suggest the will must be free from causation. The will is meaningless and irrelevant if it cannot effect its intent. Since causation is a requirement of will, it is irrational to suggest the will exists without causation.

    So, the only meaningful definition of “free will” is the ordinary ability to make decisions for yourself, without being compelled by someone else to choose or act against your will. A person who is a sane adult is the final responsible cause of their own actions and the relevant effects of those actions.

  11. Marvin,

    Causation is a concept, not a compelling force. In order for something to be subject to the powers of causation, it must first have the innate ability, in its self, to be caused upon. This means that IT, not causation, is the absolute root of all its actions, including and especially existence. Indeed, this must be the case in order to develop a rational construct for morality.

    If causation is a GOVERNING force, then it governs absolutely. Even unto existence. Which means that causation IS existence.

    Which is false.

  12. As a Humanist, I believe that we created God to provide spiritual support for the concept of “Good”. God is an anthropomorphism, making Good more relatable, for example, as a parent (“Our Father who art in Heaven”).

    I don’t expect religion to present logically consistent God. The human value of religion is that it helps motivate good behavior and a caring attitude in a society.

    The idea of “God watching over us” or “God controls all things” may deal effectively with a fear of flying, for example, countering an irrational fear with an imaginary guardian.

    But you are posing the technical question of whether it is logically possible for God to “control all things” without also “being all things”. I think that it might be true, but that it might also be possible to control all things without actually “being” all things.

    But then you are really talking about “willing all things”. You are saying that if God controls all choices of living beings (“exist” apparently implies “a living being willfully choosing” to you) that it is only God doing all of the choosing for us.

    It sounds like you are possibly describing the idea of “being one with God”. Or, perhaps you’re saying that to be one with God is to “lose the self”. And the next question is whether that is a good or bad thing.

  13. “In order for “free” to have meaning, it need only imply freedom from a single constraint. The word becomes irrational and meaningless if it must imply freedom from every imaginable constraint.”

    “Constrained freedom” is a contradiction in terms, and no amount of intellectual equivocation can deny that. On its face, by its very definition, it cannot possibly be true.

    So, what we must do is re-evaluate the nature of our metaphysics. To say that our actions are a direct function of a “causal universe” must deny that our existence can be free. Thus, man cannot freely choose to act on an environment which is ABSOLUTELY constrained by universal causality.

    Because there can be no definition of “man” in this context.

  14. Marvin,

    What I am arguing essentially is that of we apply the abstract ideas (cause, effect, control, future, past, laws of nature, measurement, etc) we use to organize our environment for the purpose of self-promotion and self-perpetuation as a means of describing what man IS and what environment IS, we put the cart before the horse. We cannot create a rational metaphysic from the “outside in” so to speak. Concepts such as “causality” lose all rational meaning when applied to the nature of man’s absolute EXISTENCE. And this is revealed by your constant appeal to contradiction as somehow, when applied metaphysically, non-contradictory.

    The point of this article is to show the enormous destruction wrought upon humanity by doing this. ALL human misery can be traced to the idea that man is not actually himself, and therefore does not own himself, due to the assumption that human existence is ultimately “paradoxical”.

  15. “Causation is a concept, not a compelling force.”

    Exactly. It is descriptive rather than causative in itself.

    We are the final responsible cause of what results from acting upon our own choices.

  16. ” “Constrained freedom” is a contradiction in terms, and no amount of intellectual equivocation can deny that.”

    Only if you are talking about “absolute freedom”. I can be in prison and still have the flu. When I am free of my flu symptoms I may still be in prison Or, I may be released from prison, but not yet free of my flu symptoms. The flu could constrain me to my prison bed or it could constrain me to my own bed in my own home.

    I am never free from who I currently am. My genetic dispositions, my personal life experiences, my beliefs and values, and so forth are all part of what I call “me”. When I make a choice of my own free will, I do not expect to be someone other than myself. After all, it’s my own will.

    But when someone forces me to do something against my will, my will is no longer said to be free. That is the only rational meaning of “free will”.

    It cannot mean freedom from the constraints of reality. It is irrational to require that my will must enable me to walk through walls before it can be said to be free.

    It cannot mean freedom from causality, such as the discovery of the issue that requires me to make a choice in the first place.

    Once you eliminate the ridiculous requirements, you have simple, ordinary free will, one’s own ability to choose for oneself what he or she will do next.

  17. Martin,
    I’m feel as though we are talking past each other, and I’ve realized why. You are assuming that my argument is that man’s identity is a limitation to his freedom.

    This assumption is the crux of your problem, with respect. It is a logical fallacy to suggest that if man cannot fly like a bird then he is not free. This is a bastardization of the concept. That is, it is a logical fallacy to say that man is only fully free if he is not in fact man.

    That kind of freedom is false. Man without a specific identity is not, by definition, man. Thus, he cannot by definition be free.

    Your essential point is still is that man is a direct function of causation, as though cause and effect can produce a consciousness which is not submitted to it–that is, can INDEPENDENTLY observe it and incorporate it. This is impossible.

  18. I do agree man is responsible for his choices. “Cause and effect” is a fine concept for organizing one’s environment to his own promotion and benefit. But it fails as a component to man’s metaphysical essence. Outside of the conceptual paradigm, causality can only be irrational. In order for causality to mean anything it must serve a reference which is naturally not subject to it. Man cannot function by causality at the level of his ABSOLUTE self and have any actual freedom of choice. You still present an impossible dichotomy. Man IS causation; man OBSERVES causation.

  19. Well, here’s the kicker. Because both purpose and reason serve as determinant causes, one can say that the rational world, or even the metaphysical world, is deterministic. And if God has purpose and acts reasonably to achieve that purpose, then his choices are also “deterministic”.

    The will is said to be free if it acts upon its own purpose, its own reasons, etc. It is only unfree when it is forced to act against its own intent by the will of another.

    In this sense both God and we humans have free will so long as we are choosing on our own behalf and not forced to choose something against our will.

    To be separated from our own purpose and our own will might be what you mean by a man not acting as his “ABSOLUTE self”.

    “Man IS causation; man OBSERVES causation.”

    Yes. I agree.

    However, this does not rule out the fact that, at the same time, what man causes is also inevitable. Inevitability is a reasonable implication of cause and effect. However, universal inevitability, while true, is spectacularly USELESS. And the only reasonable human response is to acknowledge it and then ignore it.

  20. A better way of stating the contradiction, where its meaning is more apparent, is:

    Man is OF causation; man OBSERVES causation.

    This is a false dichotomy.

  21. To determine is not “determinism”. In the first case, to determine merely means to choose what one will or will not do in the cognitive sense, or is another way of expressing the notion of cause and effect (e.g.”The weather will determine the crop yield”). In the second, there is no “to” to precede the noun “determinism”. There is no one and nothing TO do the determining. Determinism is its own absolute force. “Determinism” cannot proceed from a free agent. For he who wields DETERMINISM must likewise be determined.

    What you are asking me to accept is that DETERMINISM and the ability for one to “determine” his own actions are compatible ideas. They are not. And to ignore this is merely to, as someone I know often says, punt the contradiction into the cosmic abyss of “mystery”. But this is not a world view nor a philosophy. On the contrary, it is to completely reject them and to surrender human cognition to the absolute of perfect epistemological inability.

  22. Man is an actual causal agent within the whole of the deterministic universe. Unlike the inanimate parts, we (and all other living things) come with a purpose that animates us to meet our real needs (hunger, thirst, etc). The tree extends roots into the ground, displacing inanimate soil to find water. The amoeba extends a pseudo-pod to find food. The newborn cries out for a mother’s milk and warmth.

    This “biological will” is common to all life. And those living organisms with sufficiently evolved neurological organs (like us) can also form conscious intent. We have minds capable of learning, experimenting, imagining new alternatives, planning, and choosing what to do next. The choice is our “will” at that moment. And if it is our own and not a choice forced upon us by someone else, then we say our will is free. Thus “free will”.

    The reliability of cause and effect, called determinism, is a universal property or characteristic of the world we live in. There is nothing outside of the deterministic universe.

    Without reliable cause and effect, the idea of a “will” is meaningless. If the will cannot cause its intent, then what is the meaning of a “will”? Therefore, a deterministic world is required if there is to be a meaningful “will”.

    With reliable cause and effect comes universal inevitability. However, as causal agents we get to choose what we do. And our actions determine what happens next.

    We are not the “victims” of causality. Causality runs through our blood and gives our minds the capacity to choose what becomes inevitable and our muscles the strength to effect changes. We can land a man on the moon. And, apparently we can also raise the temperature of a planet.

    As I thought you had said earlier, we are not separate from causality. It is as much us as it is anything else in the universe.

    As to universal inevitability, well, yes it is true. But there is not a single useful implication we can draw from it. It has no effect whatever upon the concept of free will. Because the concept of will requires reliable causation if it is to have any meaning at all.

    The idea of “free will” being somehow separate from causation is a bit perverse. It results in a silly paradox that traps many otherwise intelligent minds.

  23. Marvin,

    I appreciate your time and your comments. I have found this exchange to be enjoyable and educational. However, I think that since we have arrived at the point where we are merely restating and/or re-wording what we’ve already said, it’s a good time to move on. Also, it is a bit time consuming for me to have to remind you of points I have already made several times in the course of the debate.

    For example:

    I have never conceded that cause and effect is actualizing; that is, it somehow represents a legitimate FORCE in the universe by which things are compelled to act. Cause and effect is merely a concept man uses to describe the relative interaction of objects he observes. It exists in man’s mind, and has no causal nor existential properties of its own. Therefore there is no paradox such as you mention in your last paragraph. The only paradox present in this conversation is the one you continue to offer: the idea that man is utterly OF causality and yet can OBSERVE and employ it to his own ends.

    I don’t have the time or energy at this moment to dive into the particulars of concept formation as I see it. Suffice to say that I submit that your argument is one of deft equivocation. But the root it is still that the determinism of the universe can give rise to that which is not determined: man’s choice. However, this argument can be shown false simply by restating it verbatim.

    You cannot have your metaphysical cake and eat it too. You cannot proclaim man a direct function of determinism and then make appeals to his free choice and moral culpability. Period. Full stop. There is no argument here. There is no discussion. There is no gray area. If the universe is determined then there is no universe. Period. For determinism becomes that which absolutely governs all, even unto root existence, which means that nothing but determinism can exist, and this is obviously false. Again, period. Full stop.

    Your bane is this: that since humans are conscious, and they observe a free will in action, and you fully believe in moral culpability, then somehow metaphysical freedom and metaphysical determinism must BOTH be at work. But you cannot make them two sides of the same coin because coupling mutually exclusive ideas does not allow for the existence of the COIN.

    As soon as you being to answer the question: WHAT exactly is determined, you have lost the debate because you have contradicted yourself. There is no such thing as “what” if we concede the metaphysic of determinism. As you say here:

    “The reliability of cause and effect, called determinism, is a universal property or characteristic of the world we live in. There is nothing outside of the deterministic universe.”

    You clearly declare that your metaphysic is one of rank determinism. But then you contradict that very metaphysic by appealing to “universe”, “we”, “world”, and so on. In a deterministic existence, none of those things are possible. Period. Period. Period. Determinism is the governing force UNTO ROOT EXISTENCE. Thus, nothing else besides determinism can exist. As soon as you say WHAT is determined, you concede an utterly separate existence of that thing apart from determinism, which destroys the very idea of determinism altogether, because you concede that the root of that thing, at the very existential level is categorically NOT determined. Since the operative constant in any action or “cause” or “effect” is the OBJECT–and that object, by your OWN admission possesses an entirely separate existence from the deterministic force–then the deterministic force becomes entirely irrelevant.

    In short, take away the object, and you take away determinism.

    Which means that ANY deterministic force is FIRST and foremost a direct function of an object, or a person, which is NOT determined. Which makes determinism itself FALSE, because it is a contraction to make determinism utterly dependent upon that which is NOT determined.

    Look, I cannot force you to see the explicit contradiction in your perspective. If you will not concede that determinism and freedom are not only mutually exclusive ideas but utterly distinct philosophic and existential concepts, then there is nothing more to be said here.

    For my part, let me make clear:

    1.) I will NOT concede the idea of a causal universe because it is demonstrably and clearly at odds with the ability of man to generate a rational identity for himSELF, because in an absolutely causal universe nothing but “causation” can exist.

    2.) I do NOT concede Aristotelian conceptual arguments. I do NOT concede that TRUTH is of the senses. I ONLY concede the full on actuality and metaphysical oneness of the individual SELF. Period. Full stop.

    3.) I insist that ANY attempt to incorporate “cause and effect” into the metaphysical and/or epistemological definitions of man amounts to an impossible contradiction and thus should be rejected out of hand. Go back and read my articles on “cause and effect”…the details and nuances of my perspective on THAT particular subject can be found therein.

    I request that you carefully judge these three declarations for yourself, using your obviously powerful intellect, and see if there is any reason to continue this particular discussion.

  24. I can hold up the lamp as best I can, but I can’t force you to open your eyes. If this is our sign-off, then I’ll make mine brief as well.

    Deterministic inevitability is a constant which is always present on both sides of every equation. It is an inescapable truth which is only diminished by the fact that it is wholly irrelevant. There is not a single meaningful, significant, or useful implication that can be correctly drawn from it without mental error.

    One of those mental errors is that we are somehow less free than we were before we heard of it. We still think and choose for ourselves. And we still call this “free will”. All of our concepts arise from our minds making sense of our experience. And we often describe the same experience using different concepts to fit one purpose versus another purpose.

    Truth A: A theoretical omniscient observer, carefully watching the internal decision making process, may trace every reason and feeling brought to mind as being the result of prior events in the person’s life, or what they were taught as children, or what they’ve read or learned and adopted as their own. The omniscient observer can draw a diagram showing the weight of each factor contributing to the consideration of each option, and show links making the final choice inevitable.

    Truth B: The decider, if we presume a serious decision requiring significant deliberation, will experience uncertainty at the beginning. He can say honestly, “I might choose A or I might choose B. I just don’t know which one it will be yet”. As he deliberates his choice, he brings to mind the same parts of himself that the omniscient observer did. He imagines the outcome of each choice and how he feels about those outcomes. As he nears the end of his deliberations, one choice becomes inevitable.

    Truth A shows that the decision was deterministic, because all of the considerations in making the decision arose from prior events.

    Truth B shows that the decider did, truly and actually, make this choice for himself, of his own free will.

    One event. Two perspectives. TWO UNDENIABLE truths. No illusions. Therefore, the only illusion is the one introduced by the paradoxical statement that suggests only one can be true, and traps you into thinking you must choose one and deny the other. That is the nature of paradox puzzles, to trap you in a false presumption, like a chinese finger trap, where the harder you pull the more trapped you become, until you stop pulling and slowly remove your fingers.

  25. Marvin,

    Though I by no means concede, and with respect that last comment may have been the most concise summary of mystical metaphysics and epistemology I have ever read, I nevertheless (seriously…no sarcasm here) thank you for your contributions today. It has been a pleasure dialoging with you. I hope you continue reading here, and you are of course welcome to comment any time.

  26. I will say that the difference between your “Truth” A and “Truth” B is merely one of perspective, not one of fact.

  27. Thanks, and nice conversing with you as well. There were some surprising “meetings of the mind” in the discussion. I’m a Humanist, so I don’t have the theological issues covered at all. My concern has mostly been the explanation of free will within a deterministic physical universe. But I’ve dipped my toe into some of these Calvinism discussions just to see if a similar resolution applies to the metaphysical discussion. I don’t consider my explanation to be metaphysical, but rather an application of pragmatism.

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