Category Archives: Soteriology

The False Understanding of Romans 9: We’ve had our fun, now let’s look at what Romans 9 REALLY says

Okay, two new posts in a row today.  What can I say…it’s warm, quiet, kids are playing nice, so, time to get to it! 🙂

The Bible IS a tool for man’s use.  God is not a tool for man’s use.  God does not exist in service to man.  God is not obligated to man, but man is wholly subject to His own will.  Man cannot coerce or bait or demand of God anything, including salvation, based on any idea that is separate from God’s volitional prerogative as THE preeminent free-willed Creator.

Sounds pretty much like arbitrary election, doesn’t it.  And that is Romans 9, right?

Not so fast.

You see, this is the point of Romans 9…but it is also a point which Christian teachers epidemically misunderstand and misstate. The whole point of Roman’s 9 is not a diatribe on man’s free volition and willful choice being meaningless to his salvation; it is an argument against the Jewish idea that God is OWES man his salvation, apart from His will, choice, and graces; that is, God is merely man’s tool to be used in service to justification.  Because the Jews did the right things by the Law, and claimed lineage to Abraham, they falsely thought that God was obligated to “elect” them.  Paul’s point is that this is an affront to God’s sovereign Will. We cannot hold God’s feet to the fire, either based on “works of the law” or by the collective we belong to (we are “the elect”, we are “the Jews”, thus, God OWES us salvation).  But this does not mean that man is not ABLE to freely choose Christ; that is a total, and yet ubiquitous, misrepresentation of Paul’s argument. 

In fact, I would argue that when Christians appeal to “predestined election” or “unconditional election”–their typical interpretation of Romans 9–they adopt precisely the same argument as the Jews, which Paul was denying.  We cannot demand that God save us based on some claim we have, some philosophy, work, lineage, OR idea of “unconditional election” because this in fact nullifies God’s will as a sovereign consciousness.  God is NEVER obligated on the basis of some external-to-himself concept or idea to save ANYONE.  His free will demands that He will exercise His sovereign right to extend salvation to those who may either not know about a particular idea, or work, or heritage, or do not accept it/belong to it.  God will save those HE CHOOSES (but this is NOT an argument that He saves them outside their will; for to do this is the same violation of an individual consciousness that Paul, in Romans 9, is arguing the Jews are doing by appealing to Law or Abraham…in order to force God to action against His WILL, claiming an external-from-God “authority”…i.e., the Law/heritage).  And why would He choose them?  Because, as we know because we are Christians, they appeal to CHRIST as their salvation, to God, Himself, not some heritage, tradition, or idea (like, for example, unconditional election).

A closer look at Roman’s 9, using reason as a guide, and Christ, meaning GOD, as His freely chosen will and burden-free avenue to justification, quickly dispels the false notion that believing in Christ, and wanting His free gift is somehow “works” salvation.

Election, Inerrancy, and Losing Salvation: A short post on the false Christian ideas which depend on the premise that man actually isn’t himself at all

Christians just love to invent pneumatic ideas out of thin, contradictory air in order to support their own subjective interpretive premises.  This, of course, is designed to give them the illusion of objectivity.  Which these ideas are not and never can be, because in order for something to be objective it needs to conform to observable quantification; and, absent that, it at the very least needs to be logically and rationally consistent.  But, these days, “sound” doctrine all too often finds the root of itself in vehemently proclaiming that TRUTH is found in ideas that are at categorical odds with man’s universe and, indeed, his ability to even exist at all.  And behind this, I submit is:  fear.  There is great fear in suggesting that even God Himself must conform to man’s understanding of what is possible and what is not.  This somehow gets interpreted as “claiming to understand God”; or ever worse, “claiming to dictate to God the terms of His relationship with Creation”.  This, of course, is rank nonsense and speaks to that most popular of all Christian traditions:  passive thinking.

All I am suggesting is that, since all of man’s relationship with God MUST occur within the context of MAN, because, by definition, man can never understand nor form a frame of reference to God’s context, because His context is HIMSELF, that all of how God interacts with man and all of what is truth and what is relevant between God and man must indeed be thoroughly and objectively attainable to the human mind.  And the way we can then objectively declare truth then is found in consistency of reason.  ANYTHING that is antithetical to man’s existence, or what is contradictory to God’s ability to have created a consciousness that is NOT GOD, demands that it must be thoroughly rationalized according to MAN’S objective reason before being accepted.  This is why I currently deny, vociferously, the popular understanding of election and biblical inerrancy…and, every point of Calvin’s despicable TULIP, among others.  Any doctrine which declares man wholly irrelevant to the relationship in deference to God’s sovereignty denies the essential logical truth that enables man to exist:  IF man is NOT fully the function of His will, then He is at the mercy of something else NOT man.  If this something else is God, God then becomes the Creator of sin; or, evil is a lie because there can be no moral distinctions if everything IS GOD.  If this is some other force, such as “sin nature” or “God’s election”, or “justification”, or “positional righteousness”, then man cannot be judged morally culpable for anything, because there can be no rational boundary between  man that is man and man that is some other FORCE.  Any time man is operating under the control of something outside of himself, he can never be held accountable for his actions, period.  Either man is ALL free will, or he is all OTHER FORCE.  It is a zero sum equation.  Man is either himself or he is not, and there is only one context:  existence.  There isn’t a “justification” context and a “sanctification” context whereby God views man practically and functionally different.  Both are aspects of a free relationship predicated upon the idea that each participant freely consign themselves to it as a singular function of their very ability to THINK.  Man cannot be divided up into areas where he IS, while occupying the same a place he is NOT at the same moment.  Just as God is ONE, so is man merely one; there is man, period.  Man is what he viscerally is.  Anything that denies this claims abstraction as physical reality.  And this idea of a separate man being in the “justification” realm and another being in the “sanctification” realm makes man a mutually exclusive schizophrenic.  And this is where the Calvinists, for all of their false and abysmal ideas, are at least consistent.  They understand that man cannot be outside himself in justification, and inside himself in sanctification.  Even they see this as the rational nonsense that it is. They thus simply yank man out of the equation altogether, and this is why they are so damn abusive.  You can’t abuse people because people aren‘t real.

But I choose to go the opposite way.  The way that is rational, philosophically provable, physically quantifiable/observable…the way that is legitimate to LIFE.  The way that says man must be categorically and completely a function of his OWN sovereign will, all the time.  At any point he is not, man is not himself, and the whole faith crashes to the ground with the smacking of abused and dead carcasses like the birds upon the Israelites in the desert.  No matter how good the intentions.  My idea is not fusing justification and sanctification.  This is observing existential reality.  My idea recognizes both concepts within the framework and context of a single, fully functional human being.  That is, the concepts are separate, but MAN, the arena of application, is not.  And that being the case, BOTH concepts are dependent on man’s free and unfettered WILL.

Man cannot be, by definition, partly in full control of his fragmented but complete will.  This is pure nonsense; but there are those who “church it up” to make it sound convincing and logical.  This is the very old mystic art of propagandizing one’s perspective. I mean, sure, it sounds great to declare: “No one can lose their salvation”, and “Anything that makes man’s salvation dependent on anything involving him is “works” salvation”, but it just isn’t true. I agree that man cannot “accidentally” lose his salvation, or “sin his way” out of his salvation.  Truly, as long as a person WANTS his or her salvation she or he has it because she or he is no longer a function of the Law.  There is no “law” they can break to lose their salvation.  But if  salvation is consciously rejected as a function of the volitional will, then salvation ceases to apply because if it did it could only apply at the EXPENSE of the person involved; or IN SPITE of them, not FOR or BECAUSE of them.  There is no way to save a person who has willfully, purposefully rejected salvation because then it can no longer be for that person.  It has to circumvent the person in order to save them.  And this is metaphysically impossible.  Because you cannot SAVE what is NOT THERE.  

Man is a conscious being, is self aware, and ALL things thus involving HIM must involve his very consciousness.  His very consciousness rests in the metaphysical necessity that is his ability to WILL; to apprehend, to abstract, to desire, to choose.  Not even election can trump that.  The nature of the relationship between man and God is always and forever under the auspices of each one’s personal WILL and CHOICE, from now unto eternity.  ANY theological premise or doctrine which denies this is logically false, and thus MUST concede contradiction as its foundational argumentative premise.

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.

A Devil’s Question

Recently, on a blog that I read and comment on regularly, a very astute atheist (I’m not being facetious; this person is actually quite intelligent, and I appreciate all his/her questions and contributions) posted the following during a discussion of the recent moral catastrophe at Sandy Hook Elementary:

“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.”

Allow me to boil that down to its functional premise for you.  This particular atheist is asking the age-old question (for those of you who are not adherents of contradictory Calvinist soteriology) “Since babies and little children are morally innocent, and so go to heaven, why not just kill them while they are young, rather than risk the chance that they might not accept Christ once they are morally culpable?”

(NOTE:  For the record, I indeed believe that babies and children who have not reached the age of self-awareness–with regards to a mature and complete synergy between the Ability to Reason (their soul, as I define it) and a full awareness of the moral Law of human existence—do in fact go to heaven.  I reject categorically the Calvinist TULIP construct and all of its assumptions, facets, and implications.  So, for me and what I believe as a Christian, this is a good and reasonable question.  It is vile and wicked because of the solution for evil and suffering it is, in fact, implying; nevertheless I want to make clear that I’m in no way impugning the person asking the question.  I assume the best of that person…that he or she is not in actuality suggesting that the solution for evil is what the question implies, but is merely asking Christians to defend their ideas.  And this is a good thing.  Anytime we can get Christians thinking more individually, the better.   And I thank this atheist for having the courage to bring it up.)

I have read and listened to the responses to this question, and however good they might be, all of them seem to me to miss the metaphysics and existential assumptions of the insanity of the question.  That is, they rightly point out that this is a terrible thought, and render it dangerous indeed.  However, it rarely goes much deeper into the nature of human and divine existence and just what it means for one Consciousness to create another.

To be honest, I admit that my own first thoughts in response to the question only touched upon the metaphysics.  I initially thought something along the lines of:  If we kill the children, then who grows up to be adults, to then continue killing children?  At some point we’ll have to risk the “chance” that some people will not accept Christ and will thus go to hell, and that this is “good” because it is good that one go to hell so that another will go to heaven; which…makes us hypocrites because we will have conceded that good is also found in the precise OPPOSITE of doing good; that is, letting live is as morally right as letting die.  And if we are morally right in taking the chance for some, what is the rationale for not taking the chance for the others?  By what standard do some get the chance to live and others must die in order that they may not get that same chance?  Why is the same chance not not afforded or afforded to all?  Unless, of course, we are assuming the extinction of the human race as the inevitable and desired outcome, and so we’ll just kill all the children and then let the adults die off, as it were.  And if we thus are okay with making the explicit assumption that the only good of man is to be found in his NOT existing, then we are assuming that God is of course a fool for creating.  And if this is our assumption about His nature, we must ask ourselves:  is this the kind of hypocritical Being we want to worship in the first place, and perhaps we should— instead of killing all the children in order to “save” them—examine the rational and metaphysical possibilities of such a Creator actually being God in the first place.  And if the metaphysics prove that it is not, in fact, possible that such a Being who would be so foolish as to create life that can only be good in ANY sense (morally, rationally, logically, philosophically, etc.) if it does not exist at all could be God…well, then we do not need to murder the children in order to save them from a God who does not and cannot possibly exist.  Do we?

No.  We do not.

And…well, I think the logic of this argument is sound, and sufficient to prove the inability of the question to reconcile reasonably the creation of man by God in a way that the question still bears any logical consideration at all (it doesn’t).  And to be sure, this is not a bad way to argue.  But still…it seems so incomplete.  Why is it incomplete?  Well, it is incomplete because there are more things that can and should be said in response to such a vile question; but the primary problem is that my initial response lacks a discussion of love.  Surely, it is full of pragmatic truth, but that’s not really the crux of it, is it?  It answers the logical nonsense, I mean to say, but not the EVIL.  That is, the real reason the idea of murdering children to grant them heaven is so unspeakably horrific is because it is, in reality, stripped bare and cold to the bone of anything even remotely in the same universe as love.

So, in the forthcoming posts I will present three bullet points in response to what I have come to call the Devil’s Question, because I can think of no other place that such an implication (murder of innocents as the solution to man’s moral failings) could be conceived of first except inside the mind of the grand Demon himself.  I could be wrong about this…for man has a way of rivaling even the Devil in wickedness of thought and action; but, in order to get the full effect of the abominable nature of the implicit idea at the core of this question we must first understand that it is an idea that is categorically contradictory to the mind of God and Love.  And, even without any argument of any kind, it can be understood to be just that, and rejected at the face value of it…rejected upon its utter self-evidence.

Bullet one will look at the false presuppositions implicit in the question regarding the nature of “chance”.  Two will look at the divine purpose of human existence; that is, the WHY of God creating man.  And the last will focus heavily on why the idea of murdering innocent children for “heaven” is so unloving by looking at what exactly murder robs one of eternally; what is assumed by man (and even many Christians) to be regained by the murdered person, which will not and cannot in fact be regained, which is why murder is so reviled by God, I would argue, and given its own specific divine injunction.

On the Metaphysical Problem of Annihilation-ism

A thing (meaning, an object or even, in some instances, an abstract concept which is agreed upon universally and apprehended by the senses, like “hard”, “smooth”, and so on) can only effect an occurrence (change, event, etc.) according to its natural abilities.  It is not able to act against what it is able to do, by definition:  it does what it does and can do no more.  Beyond that, any effecting of anything else is not possible.  The end of anything is its ability to do whatever it can do.  Beyond its ability lay nothing else.  Anything beyond ability is an external force, and if a thing is moved by an external force beyond its ability, then the thing is THAT external force, and is not itself at all.  This of course is contradictory.  It is impossible to speak of two separate things:  if the first thing IS the second thing, then there is only the ONE thing, which is the first thing, and so on and so on.  Thus, if the end of a thing is not its OWN ability to do what it can do, then it is not itself, and thus, it is impossible to speak of it actually existing at all.  To do so constitutes an impossible contradiction (which, incidentally, is why God controlling all things and, specifically, predestining man, is metaphysically irrational and impossible, and cannot be true: if man is not himself, then he is the power which compels him; he is an extension of God, and does not exist).  For a thing to exist in the metaphysical sense, it must be the function of its own ability.  If it is the function of another’s ability, then it does not exist as itself.

For example, black can only become white if the change in color is a function of the object which IS colored…that is, the color is not the root object in question, but the thing which is of the color black, and when we speak of black becoming white what we mean is that the object that is colored black becomes colored white. The constant is the colored object.  We speak of that object changing color; we do not mean that black itself, changes to white, because this, of course, is impossible.  (E.g. a black felt hat left in a car all summer long becomes white in color because the dye in the fabric undergoes fading.  The constant then, is the hat, not the color…the hat itself does not change, but the color does, as a function of the constant thing: the hat).  You see, black itself cannot decide to become white because the end of the color black, as a object concept, is its ability; and its ability is simple:  to be black.  It cannot BE white because then, it would no longer BE black, thus could no longer BE at all.  So its not possible, we are saying, for it to still be ITSELF, and yet, be white.  Black is as far as its ability will take it.  To say that it can be white means we say that black can be both black and white simultaneously, which of course, is impossible.

If the color black could decide to be white, and thus be white, then what we admit is that we are not talking about the real conceptualization of the color black at all.  Black would not be black, but it would really be a certain innate something else and THAT is the constant thing which can be both in a state of being black, or in a state of being white.  Thus black would REALLY exist as something that possessed a nature that was utterly separate from black, the color.  For the object in question to be BLACK (that is the end truth of itself is the ability to be BLACK), it can exist as nothing beyond the state of the color black.  It is impossible for it to be white because, again, that would constitute a contradiction to itself, and thus, it could not exist at all.

This same concept can also be applied to man’s “ability”.  Man’s ability is the metaphysical term I use for “spirit” or “soul”.  It is the very beginning of man.  It is what makes his existence possible, metaphysically.  Man’s ability is thus defined as:  whatever man is able to do is a function of his innate ability.  There is nothing beyond man but his ability to do whatever he does.  If there is something that exists beyond man’s ability, then man is not man, he is merely a function of the external force which usurps his ability.  Thus, ability becomes an illusion, and so does man.  Without true, unmolested ability, with absolutely nothing beyond THAT, man is a lie and does not exist.  I understand there is much more to be said here, and that by speaking of “ability” like this, in this metaphysical sense, I may be getting ahead of where I should be on the blog, but it is what it is.  I do not think it is a difficult concept to grasp, though I do realize that it can be argued, and I will post more on the subject of “ability” later.  Needless to say, I firmly believe the Calvinist doctrine of “inability” to be metaphysically contradictory and thus, must be false.  That is my premise.

At any rate, the core of man’s existence–his essence–is the innate ability to do any and everything he does.  Now, if we believe that there is such a thing as annihilation-ism (the concept whereby man and his soul/spirit/ability are destroyed from existence…meaning, they are functionally un-created), what we are saying is that man’s ability is able to become UNable.  Ability can BECOME inability.  Naturally, I argue that this is impossible for the same reason that black cannot also be white.  If man’s root is his ability, then man stops with that ABILITY.  Thus, it is impossible for man to move to a state of inability, which is what annihilation-ism is saying.  Man’s ability cannot decide to become unable because the operative nature at the most fundamental level of ability is to be ABLE.  For ability to become inability the fundamental nature of man must be something beyond ability by which it can be unable.  There MUST be a constant thing, which is changed.  If that constant thing is, in fact, ability, then by definition, there can be NO such thing as inability, which means that man cannot cease to exist in the “able” sense, but his ability (which I say is the spirit, or soul) MUST be in fact, eternal.  It cannot be annihilated.  IF ability is in fact the end, or soul, of man, then there is nothing beyond that, and ability cannot become unable because if we say that it can, what we are saying is that ability can be both able and unable at the SAME time.  Which is, of course, literally and metaphysically impossible.

Everything man does, I argue, he does via his ability.  There is nothing beyond that.  Ability must be eternal because by definition, it cannot be unable.  Man’s soul was created to perpetually exist. Annihilation-ism implies that somehow, by his ability, man can decide to un-create himself, which is, in fact, a huge logical fallacy.  Ability/created cannot also = inability/uncreated at the same time.

Now, I understand the natural objection to my argument.  The natural objection says that it is not man doing the un-creating, it is God.  God is annihilating man, not himself.  Here is my counter argument:

The purpose of man is to exist according to his ability.  The purpose of man cannot be changed by man because man’s purpose is found in God (as opposed to the rest of creation’s purpose, which is found in itself, to provide an environment for man’s ability to be effectuated and realized), which is, again,to be himself, by pursuing God–which constitutes utter freedom of self.  God is utter freedom by definition; the more like God, the more man is free to be himself.  God, then, does NOT create man that he may be uncreated according to an act of his ability (that is, man’s ability).  Thus, the same metaphysical principle discussed in detail above still applies.  God does not respond to a choice man makes as a function of his ability by rendering man unable, for what that would naturally imply is that man is, in fact, using his ability to compel an outcome whereby that ability becomes inability.  A = B = C.  Man’s ability = reject God = man is annihilated is the same as saying man’s ability = man’s inability.  God can no more act in a metaphysically impossible way than the rest of all of the heavens and creation, for doing so constitutes that He is in fact a creator of the redundant and irrelevant, and is thus a hypocrite, and CANNOT be, in fact, God.  To say that man can provoke annihilation of his ability by his own ability is a logical and metaphysical fallacy.  It is clear then, that God will not oblige annihilation-ism in order that He may not be seen as the the creator of the metaphysically nonsensical.  If God is truly the author of man’s ability, then ability is the end and beginning of man, and as such, inability cannot be ever effected.  In short, God created man’s soul to be eternal, regardless of whatever choices man makes as a product of his ability.

The conclusion of all of this is, again, that man exists to be eternal not to be uncreated.  I would caution all of us who name the name of Christ to be careful that, in the interest of showing compassion and love to others, which I feel is the motivation behind the concept of annihilation-ism (at least in some), that we do not somehow minimize the urgent need of Christ for the world.  To preach annihilation-ism what we are saying is that there is no judgment; for regardless of when that annihilation comes, the result is nothing, and by definition, the punishment then for sin is nothing at all.  If God does not reject (punish, enact a consequence, etc., etc.) forever, then the fact is that ultimately there is no consequence for sin, which is contradictory to the faith.  If man can be uncreated, then all that man does, including sin, is forgiven without Christ, which, again, is impossible, by the very definition of what it means for a Christ to exist.   I don’t mind re-evaluating the concept of hell, but we must be careful about proclaiming that it does not exist at all, or that the judgment of God is a false concept, which is exactly what we do when we proclaim annihilation-ism.  By definition, if man becomes nothing, then there is NO judgment.  The judgment of man cannot be nothing, because that constitutes irrational contradiction.  Non-existence is not a consequence of anything; again, it is simply nothing.

Correction: a “consequence” of nothing-ness is NOT forgiveness. For if man does not exist, then by definition, there is nothing there to forgive. And, also, nothing to condemn. The point being that man’s soul’s purpose is God, and will always be God (for there was PURPOSE in man’s creation), and therefore, the soul does not pass away unless God passes away. If God uncreates a person, then He is a hypocrite. He created man’s ability to be able, not to be un-able.

Addendum: (response to question from another poster on another blog; and clarification)

My posit is that if a soul exists, then it is that by which men are able, meaning the soul is ABILITY.

I do not have a problem looking at ability as actually existing (I guess in the “platonic sense”, as Nick pointed out)…I do not view it as merely an abstract by product of the biological. This is a very difficult issue for either side to argue. What I’m saying is that merely pointing out that ability needs a body (the biological, in this case…meaning, this life), one cannot automatically declare that the idea that ability isn’t real, nor is it metaphysically feasible. If you line up a bunch of guys in a row, you can’t tell which is the race car driver. You need to put them in a car to see that. Merely taking away the the car isn’t proof that the ability to drive doesn’t exist, and is merely a “hole”, that is, a product of the tangible. It just shows that without the car, it cannot be manifested. That isn’t a perfect analogy I realize, but I do think that it is just as large a stretch to declare that just because you can’t see ability without the body, then it MUST be merely a function of the body…that is, the assumption is that the body comes first in the process.

So, I argue that the ability of the person to race cars is REAL. And what I’m saying is that the end of man is the capital A “ability”, which is equally as real, but is broader because it encompasses ALL that man can do, which is what defines Man as Man. It is the end of man, and the beginning, and I would call that ability “soul”. And what I argue is that if that is truly the root of man, meaning, his functional core, then it is the constant. Take away everything else, and you are left with man’s ABILITY. And if that is all there is…if that is the IS of, man, then there can be no such thing as INABILITY. So, ability is simply the word…like, for example, God you would call TRUTH, but the fact is that TRUTH implies FALSE. But when we say God’s TRUTH, what we mean is just God. God’s truth, without “false” is really just God Himself. And when I say man’s ability, I mean simply “man”. So if man = ability (which is my assumption here),then man MUST be eternal because, again, ability cannot be UNable. Because if we say that it is, then we say that man can be both ABLE and UNABLE at the same time, which is impossible. Just like black cannot BE white because ITSELF is BLACK. Black is the end of black…so to say black can become white, we say that black can BE white at the same time. Impossible. If something is going to change color, then the constant, the ITSELF, has to be separate from the color. A hat can be both green or blue, but its still a hat. The hat cannot be a frog at the same time it’s a hat.

The root thing is the thing in question; is the constant (if the “hole” were the constant, then yes, the “hole” would be a real thing, because there would be nothing else beyond “hole”)…so, yes, a body can be alive and then dead but the soul cannot because the soul cannot be able and unable at the same time.

Finally, to use the Bible for a change, Jesus said that we should fear the One who can destroy both body and soul, not just those who can kill the body. To me, the Christian premise is that body and soul are separate. And if that is so, I argue that the soul is immortal.