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God's attributes

Re: God's attributes

Postby postodave » 30 Jan 2009, 17:34

This is very confusing postodave! You address the post to me but none of the quotes are mine. I guess they are bluegoats?

Hi again Mitch - yes - don't know what to make of that - they are definitely bluegoat's quotes and I was addressing my answers to him. I can't change it now. - oh! I can so I did.
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Re: God's attributes

Postby postodave » 30 Jan 2009, 18:14

To dave and bluegoat, again I ask, where does Paul or the Bible say this is a transformation of the physical body? It doesn't. No matter what justifications you come up with this is being added to the text.

If you are using the word physical to mean subject to all the laws of physics then it would be anachronistic for Paul to say that. What we can do is to look at the way the resurrection body is described and see if those features match the idea of it being what we would normally mean by physical. I don't think this means it has to be made of the same stuff it was made of in this life - although some major Christian writers did think that. I would agree with you we are talking about an order or pattern - something like what Aristotle would call an entelechy.
As I understand your argument Mitch it is that
1. A thing is physical if it is subject to the laws of physics
2. Some things that are subject to the laws of physics decay
3. The resurrection body does not decay - therefore
4. The resurrection body is not subject to the laws of physics - therefore
5. The resurrection body is not physical

In 2000 years no doubt people will be saying that Americans believed so and so and thus Mitchell must have meant such and such. Can you see how ridiculous that sounds?

You missed my point here. If I want to know what a person from a past culture means when he uses an idiomatic expression like 'flesh and blood' we have to look at the way either the expression or those words were used in that culture rather than simply assuming her must mean what we would mean if we used those words today. Now of course it is possible that someone is using words in a highly idiosyncratic sense that has no relation to the way the words were used by others in his culture but if you wish to assert that that is what Paul is doing I would need evidence. For example we could look at the other places where he uses those words as I did with the word flesh. It complicates things that his most common use of the word blood concerns the blood of Christ but even here we can see the same association between blood as life or soul; there is no suggestion that the word blood implies that Christ's sacrifice is of purely physical significance.

And yes when you use a word that has a particular meaning in your culture I would expect you to mean that if you used the word. Otherwise a person in 2000 years time is likely to misunderstand you. I knew what you meant by duel-aspect monism because I have read Polkinghorne and know you have. bluegoat didn't and assumed a different cultural reference. Unfortunately the best example of a word having different meanings on either side of the Atlantic is a bit rude - more rude in the uk than over there actually.
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Re: God's attributes

Postby mitchellmckain » 30 Jan 2009, 20:23

BG and dave,

Bluegoat wrote:So, the question is Why do Christians believe in the resurrection of the body? I'll have a go and lean heavily on the biblical foundation. A bit dry perhaps.

THIS Chrisitan does not believe in a PHYSICAL resurrection of a PHYSICAL body. THIS Christian believes in a SPIRITUAL resurrection of a SPIRITUAL body in direct accordance with the very CLEAR explanation of 1 Cor 15 in the BIBLE, which when you actually read the book itself without your tradition colored glasses is anything but dry. You can of course, like many cults like to do, exclude from your definition of Christianity anyone who does not agree with you, but the only person you can really succeed in excluding is yourself.


Bluegoat wrote:The soul, by it's very nature, is immortal, it cannot "die." The Jews, Platonists, early Christians and Biblical texts seem to agree on this. The body, on the other hand - well we see what happens to it, so to most people it has always been obvious that it dies. So this is the context for understanding what the Bible says about death.

I prefer the word "spirit" because I think the meaning of this word as the true and eternal self is much less ambiguous than the word "soul" (in no small part due to this same passage of 1 Cor 15). Technically it is incorrect to call it immortal for it is quite incorrect to say that it cannot die, both of these are in direct contradiction to scripture, which is quite clear that only God is immortal and that the spirit can indeed die (Matt 8:22, Matt 16:26, Rev 2:11, Rev 20:6-14, Rev 21:8). Thus it is more accurate to say that the spirit is eternal and imperishable, for eternal existence and eternal life are two seperate and distinct things. Thus you can say that, technically, I do support the majority doctrine of Christianity known as the "immortality of the soul" even though I would quibble over the actual words, because I very much disagree with those who would say that our eternal EXISTENCE depends on an action of God. OUR essential nature as a spiritual being is an eternal one and thus the consequences of our choices and actions are inescapable.


Bluegoat wrote:Genesis - god created the world, and human beings, and it was good. It is clear in the creation story that we are meant to by physical, material beings. If we lost that, we would no longer be ourselves. A human being has a soul and a body, that's what makes it a human being.

Yes we were created to be physcial and then to die a physical death and to live eternally as spiritual beings in the presence of a God who is a spiritual being. Our physical existence serves a purpose, for in it we are made of quarks, electrons, protons and neutrons in atoms and molecules all following mathematical laws, and the reason for this is clear to me. How about you? What have quarks, electrons, protons and neutrons in atoms and molecules to do with you? Are these and their mathematical laws the substance of your being such that without them you are not you? Such is not the case with me. I see their purpose clearly but I know just as well that they are not the substance of my being and without them I am still me. My existence may rise from these mathematical laws of physics but I transcend them and require them no longer for I am a spiritual being and I require only the source of eternal life which is the spiritual being known as God.

BUT the spiritual body is not less than the physical body in any way but much much more, for the mathematical laws of physics are constraints like the walls of the womb and the bars of a crib. They serve a purpose in our development but they were never meant to limit us forever. Quarks, electrons, protons and neutrons in atoms and molecules really have nothing to do with what we really are. They are more like the letters in a language in which our story is first told, but the story can obtain a life of its own that transcends any medium so that it is not a particular book or film in a single language but can freely cross all such boundaries.


Bluegoat wrote:"Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost, and we are cut off. 12 Therefore prophesy, and say to them: Thus saith the Lord God: Behold I will open your graves, and will bring you out of your sepulchres, O my people: and will bring you into the land of Israel. 13 And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall have opened your sepulchres, and shall have brought you out of your graves, O my people: 14 And shall have put my spirit in you, and you shall live, and I shall make you rest upon your own land: and you shall know that I the Lord have spoken, and done it, saith the Lord God:

The metaphorical/spiritual nature of this passage is starkly obvious for it is clearly speaking of people who are alive and NOT dead, in a symbolic vision. These are people who have lost hope and are cut off from God and this is why they are described as dried up bones. The context of this passage makes this clear. This whole section from Ezekiel 36:8 to 37:28 is talking of a spiritual revival of Israel. First using the metaphor of branches and fields that shall yield up its fruit then like a woman in her impurity which will be cleansed, then saying in Ezekiel 36:26 "A new heart I will give to you; and a new spirit I will put within you; and take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh" (and it would be very peculiar to take that metaphor in a literal and physical sense like you do the later part). Anyway, later in Ezekiel 37:11 it EXPLAINS the metaphor saying, "Son of man these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold they say, 'Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are clean cut off.'" But the meaning of the resurrection of these dry bones is quite clear in Ezekiel 37:23-28 that what this all means is that these people without hope will "not defile themselves any more with their idols and their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions; but I will save them from all the backslidings in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them; and they shall be my people and I will be their God." Those who are saved from backsliding are not physically dead but spiritually dead - dead in their sins and their resurrection from the metaphorical "dead bones" (a people without hope) is a spiritual resurrection.


postodave wrote:
To dave and bluegoat, again I ask, where does Paul or the Bible say this is a transformation of the physical body? It doesn't. No matter what justifications you come up with this is being added to the text.

If you are using the word physical to mean subject to all the laws of physics then it would be anachronistic for Paul to say that. What we can do is to look at the way the resurrection body is described and see if those features match the idea of it being what we would normally mean by physical. I don't think this means it has to be made of the same stuff it was made of in this life - although some major Christian writers did think that. I would agree with you we are talking about an order or pattern - something like what Aristotle would call an entelechy.
As I understand your argument Mitch it is that
1. A thing is physical if it is subject to the laws of physics
2. Some things that are subject to the laws of physics decay
3. The resurrection body does not decay - therefore
4. The resurrection body is not subject to the laws of physics - therefore
5. The resurrection body is not physical

Incorrect. Let me fix that
1. A thing is physical if it is subject to the laws of physics
2. All things that are subject to the laws of physics are subject to destruction and decay. Besides the second law of thermodynamics, there is the simple fact that an impact with enough energy will destroy anything except a black hole and a black hole is subject to decay.
3. The resurrection body does not decay and is not subject to the laws of physics. This is explained in 1 Cor 15 and demonstrated by the things which Jesus did after the resurrection.
4. That the resurrection body is not physical is both a conclusion from the points above and is directly stated by Paul in 1 Cor 15.

You missed my point here. If I want to know what a person from a past culture means when he uses an idiomatic expression like 'flesh and blood' we have to look at the way either the expression or those words were used in that culture rather than simply assuming her must mean what we would mean if we used those words today.

Yes and I know very well how easy it is when you dig into the ambiguous nature of words that you can find a way of twisting a statement to mean the opposite of what it says, as you have done with the words of Paul. You make it quite difficult to imagine what Paul could have said that you cannot by this methodology twist into saying the opposite. Paul is quite clear, "It is sown a physical body it is raised a spiritual body" AND "what you sow is not the body which is to be" AND "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God". Taken together the meaning of all this is quite clear.

Furthermore you guys continue to ignore simply logic and science. If the actual matter of the physical body is needed then which matter would that be and to whom does the matter that has belonged to thousands of such bodies in history does that matter actually "belong to". It is utterly absurd. Our bodies are not the matter that they are made of but the pattern which is constanty being rebuilt and repaired thus the bare kernel that Paul is talking about contributing to the resurrected spiritual body IS NOT any kind of matter but this pattern. This is also made clear in the resurrection of Jesus because the apostled did indeed eventually recognize him and thus the pattern of his physical body did indeed contribute to what they saw in his "spiritual body".

BG and dave,

You can certainly go ahead and insist on blindly following this illogically literal and physical interpretation of metaphors and defy science as irrelevant as much as you choose to do so. You can agree with the Holy Tribunal in Galileo's condemnation which states: "The proposition that the sun is the center of the world and does not move from its place is absurd and false philosophically and formally heretical, because it is expressly contrary to the Holy Scripture" and thus believe that is the sun that moves around the earth. I shall not make you regard science as worthy of your consideration or insist that you must change what you insist that the Bible must mean regardless of what it says. BUT I will certainly have nothing but contempt for any insistence that I must ignore the obvious meaning of Scripture so that I might agree with you and thus be accepted by you as a "proper" Christian.
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Re: God's attributes

Postby mitchellmckain » 31 Jan 2009, 09:28

For completion here is my comments on the rest of BG's post on resurrection,

Bluegoat wrote:Are you looking for one place that spells it out? I think that passage does quite well, especially if you consider the Greek words used. But there is a great weight of suggestive texts, as well as what makes sense when you take them all together.

Well yes I am a great advocate of looking at the whole Bible together as well, but my conclusion from doing so is quite the opposite of yours on this issue.


Bluegoat wrote:I think the point mentioned about Jesus bodily resurrection and ascension is probably the most important one, along with the Word being made flesh. Not to mention that this is an extremely early doctrine, within the lifetime of those who knew Jesus.

Yes the Word became flesh. The person Jesus of God was born to a woman as a helpless human infant. And then 33 years later He was crucified and three days latter he was resurrected and spoke to His apostles. And with what kind of body was He resurrected? Paul explains in 1 Cor 15 that it was a SPIRITUAL body.

It was also early doctrine that sun move around the earth and the stars were affixed to a sphere that rotated about the earth as well. From Aristotle people thought that things fell in a manner that was proportional to their weight. But most of the modern science of physics has arisen since that time and shown quite clearly that these early doctrines were dead wrong.


Bluegoat wrote:or this from Job "and after my skin hath been thus destroyed, yet from my flesh shall I see God:"


Job 2:7 "So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord, and afflicted Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took a potsherd with which to scrape himself.." In a discourse with three countrymen in response to Bildad the Shuhite, who speaking of the punishment that God visits upon the "wicked" (Job 18:5), he says, "By disease his skin is consumed..."(Job 18:12-3) Therefore it is no wonder that when Job replies to this, Job speaks of what he shall do when his skin is destroyed and that is that he shall from his flesh see God, whom I shall see on my side" quite clearly declaring his innocence of the accusations of wrongdoing that Bildad has made.


Bluegoat wrote:The Word was made flesh - The word took on flesh, that is, physicality, a body, in order to redeem us and indeed creation. Christ reconciled flesh and spirit in himself.

Incorrect. When the Bible says that flesh and spirit are at odds it does not mean this Gnostic perversion that the physical should be equated with evil. It is of course talking of the desires of the flesh and the desires of the spirit for one responds to biological instinct and the needs of physical life, while other responds desires for a relationship with God and eternal life. The only evil is when the latter is sacrificed for the sake of the former when clearly it is the eternal life of the spirit that must be given the greater priority.

I repudiate this doctrine that Christ reconciled flesh and spirit in himself. What Christ reconciled in Himself was man and God. This is super abundantly clear in the actual benefits that Christ brings to the Christian, for this is NOT any reconcilation between the desires of flesh and the desires spirit (as some of the Gnostic may have thought) for this conflict we continue to experience just as Paul frankly says that he struggles with himself. NO! The reconcilliation we have in Christ is found in a relationship with God. We are reconciled with God through the one mediator which is Christ.


Bluegoat wrote:The story of the resurrection: Christ rose from the dead, bodily. If it was some brand new thing the disciples saw, then the dead "natural" body ought to have still been in the tomb. It seems clearly presented that his body was physical, but strange. And then Christ ascended bodily into heaven.

Yes I thought as much. But I don't think that this means any such thing. Yes the body was gone. But no there is nothing that this body came back to life and that what we have in Jesus is just a man who has recovered from his wounds. Instead I see the missing body as nothing more than a sign to the apostles that they should look for Him and in looking they found Jesus after some initial difficulties not in a PHYSICAL body but in a SPIRITUAL body. And they found that this was no intangible blurry ghost of light and shadows but a very real, alive and tangible body that could speak to them clearly, BUT who was NOT subject to the usual laws of physics (John 20:19).


Bluegoat wrote:Paul, in the passage we are talking about, is trying to tell us what we are supposed to understand about Christ being ressurecting and assumed with his body. He says the body will be changed,. He uses the imagery of the seed, the language of growth, which is not the same as, say the idea of something completely new. He says that our natural bodies have an underlying spiritual reality. The physical, in is essence is the spiritual. If you look at the Greek vocabulary here this is clear.

On the contrary it is VERY much the idea of something completely different. "What is sown is not the body which is to be, but a bare kernel." When a seed is sown something within the seed grows but the husk is discarded. So yes indeed something of our body is preserved, for we do see that Jesus is recognizable sometimes as the same person.

"It is sown a physical body and raised a spiritual body." Paul goes on with one statement after the other emphasizing how the spiritual body is completely different and not the same at all, ending up with "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable."

We now know exactly what is preserved from the seed is the pattern of the DNA in the seed which supplies the information by which the plant grows, for the substance actually comes from air soil and water as the energy comes from the sun. Likewise it is pattern and not the physical matter that contributes to our spiritual body, not only our appearance but far more importantly the choices we have made in our physical life which determines the nature of the spirit which grows from it.


Bluegoat wrote:Here is a reference in Acts of Paul speaking to a crowd "Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked; but others said, We will hear thee concerning this yet again. 33 Thus Paul went out from among them. 34 But certain men clave unto him, and believed: among whom also was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them."

What was spoken of was the resurrection of Jesus. The issue under discussion is not the resurrection of Jesus or indeed of any of us. The issue is concerning the nature of the resurrection, whether it is spiritual as Paul says or physical as some modern Christians now say.


Bluegoat wrote:From Romans: And if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you; he that raised up Jesus Christ from the dead shall quicken also your mortal bodies, because of his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Sounds like baptism of the Holy Spirit. And indeed it is the case that salvation is not just a matter of the future but of being changed in the here in now while we yet experience life in a physical body, for even now we have the Spirit of God within us.

Lets put that passage back into context and read what comes before this: Romans 8:9-10, "But you are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God really dwells in you. And one who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him. But if Christ is in you, although your bodies are dead because of sin, your spirits are alive because of righteousness." But again the question is not whether we will have a bodily resurrection but what kind of body will we have as a result and Paul makes it clear in 1 Cor 15 that the answer to this question is a spiritual body and not a physical body.


Bluegoat wrote:or this from John:
Now this is the will of the Father who sent me: that of all that he hath given me, I should lose nothing; but should raise it up again in the last day. 40 And this is the will of my Father that sent me: that every one who seeth the Son and believeth in him may have life everlasting. And I will raise him up in the last day.

Indeed we shall lose nothing because the physical is nothing but air, water and dust. We shall have no need of these things and we shall indeed have so much more in a spiritual body in the presence of a God who is Spirit.


Bluegoat wrote:But I think in the end it is the facts of the resurrection that are vital. Of course some people have always claimed that it was faked, but that would mean that all Biblical evidence was suspect and useless.

So for you the resurrection is all just about some conjurers trick of bringing a dead body back to life: either it was real magic or it was a fake. Well I don't buy into such a magical Christianity with its magical interpretations. I believe in a practical Christianity where God does what he does not by waiving some magical wand but by His understanding of what it takes for us to change. Jesus' resurrection was a demonstration that the Spiritual is the greater reality and that God who is Spirit is the greatest reality of all, and by comparison to these the physical is nothing, it has a purpose but not as an end but as a means.

I have little interest in Augustine for there is much which this half Manichean half Christian said that is abomnable, such as saying that salvation is simply about God selecting some human beings to replace some angels which had fallen.
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Re: God's attributes

Postby Kolbitar » 31 Jan 2009, 16:22

Bluegoat wrote:Genesis - god created the world, and human beings, and it was good. It is clear in the creation story that we are meant to by physical, material beings. If we lost that, we would no longer be ourselves. A human being has a soul and a body, that's what makes it a human being.


Indeed Bluegoat. Some confusion, I think, enters with the words soul and physical.

A soul is an animating principle, so that even a tree and a hermit crab have a soul; in the former case it is a vegetable soul, and in the latter a sensitive soul. Ours is a rational soul, so that our "animating principle" involves a wholly immaterial element, reason, in addition to sensitive and vegetative operations. It is this rational element that survives physical death.

Physical, as in physical substance, is characterized by extension in three dimensions (BTW, to define "physical" as that which obeys "physical laws" is simply a case of petitio principii). Many envision the smallest parts of matter as the only physical substances, and everything else composed of these subtances, so that man, for instance, is not one substance but whatever number of the smallest parts of matter of which he's composed. But he's clearly not -- we're clearly not: we are one substance, only potentially a given amount of particles and sub-atomic particles.

Anyway, I agree with you. Jesus came not to destroy... what was good.
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Re: God's attributes

Postby postodave » 31 Jan 2009, 19:21

Yes and I know very well how easy it is when you dig into the ambiguous nature of words that you can find a way of twisting a statement to mean the opposite of what it says, as you have done with the words of Paul. You make it quite difficult to imagine what Paul could have said that you cannot by this methodology twist into saying the opposite. Paul is quite clear, "It is sown a physical body it is raised a spiritual body" AND "what you sow is not the body which is to be" AND "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God". Taken together the meaning of all this is quite clear.

I don't doubt that you are trying to sincerely interpret scripture correctly. My problem is that it looks to me like you think the obvious interpretation is whatever you thought of the first time you read the passage. Now to me the question will always be what did Paul intend by those words and the only way I can find that out how Paul has used those words in other places and how people with his cultural heritage would have used them.
The word psychikos which Paul uses here is occasionally translated 'physical' but this is misleading and more recent translators have often reverted to the KJV's 'natural'. The word is the adjectival form of the noun psyche which is normally translated 'soul' or 'life'. There is no English equivalent of this; we do not have a word soulish to correspond to the word spiritual. But as I have noted already Paul uses the word soul as equivalent to the Hebrew nephesh and in Hebrew thinking this soul very much related to the body. Hence Paul is saying we have a body which suits our soul in this life and at the resurrection we will have a body that suits our spiritual nature. But that soulish nature is not lost but rather translated or redeemed for although here Paul speaks of the resurrection body as being spiritual rather than soulish elsewhere the NT talks of the soul being saved.
they found Jesus after some initial difficulties not in a PHYSICAL body but in a SPIRITUAL body. And they found that this was no intangible blurry ghost of light and shadows but a very real, alive and tangible body that could speak to them clearly, BUT who was NOT subject to the usual laws of physics (John 20:19).

You seem to be conceding here that it is not simply a matter of something being subject to or not subject to the laws of physics. If Jesus resurrection body was not subject to the laws of physics in any way at all it is difficult to see how he could speak which would involve producing physical sound waves and I see no reason for supposing that he communicated with the disciples by some species of telepathy. Perhaps we can resolve this by saying that rather than him being subject to the laws of physics they were subject to him - and perhaps we can extrapolate from that a similar relationship between any spiritual body and the laws of physics. As I keep saying I don't have any problem at all with your idea of it being our pattern rather than the stuff we are made of that is preserved. What seems clear to me is that at the resurrection we will be embodied and there will be some kind of environment. Can I be cheeky and offer some reading suggestions if you have not read these you might find them interesting:
http://www.drhoff.com/Writings/writings.htm - Tory Hoff's paper on the relationship between the OT word Nephesh and the NT use of soul
http://www.geocities.com/pastorkeith/cullmann.html Cullmann's Immortality of the Soul or Resurrection of the Dead
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Re: God's attributes

Postby mitchellmckain » 01 Feb 2009, 01:31

Kolbitar wrote: to define "physical" as that which obeys "physical laws" is simply a case of petitio principii

Incorrect. A case of petitio principii (begging the question) is a descriptor that applies to an argument. Defining ones terms is simply an aid to communication. Now if I argued that because Paul said the resurrected body is a spiritual body and not a physical body, then because physical means to me something which does not obey physical law then we can conlude that Paul is saying that the resurrected body does not obey physical law. That would be begging the question. But I made no such argument. I do not say that Paul says any more than he actually says. That the resurrected body is not one obedient to physical law is a proposition that I support in quite another way. First was the case of Jesus walking through a physical object and the second was the simple fact that according to the laws of physics EVERYTHING that is governed by these laws is subject to destruction or decay, and therefore Pauls repeated contrast of the spirtual unlike the physical being something which is imperishable and not subject to these processes is in COMPLETE agreement with (consistent with) the definition I have made of the word "physical".


postodave wrote:I don't doubt that you are trying to sincerely interpret scripture correctly. My problem is that it looks to me like you think the obvious interpretation is whatever you thought of the first time you read the passage. Now to me the question will always be what did Paul intend by those words and the only way I can find that out how Paul has used those words in other places and how people with his cultural heritage would have used them.

Remove your insulting imlication that my understanding of scripture is not well considered or thought through and you may have something there. Since at the time of Paul, physics was certainly not what it is today, what Paul says cannot be anywhere near what it means to me when I read them. But I do not agree that the meaning of scripture is limited that which was intended by the human author. I do not believe that the Bible is simply an ancient historical document whose actual meaning is lost to the mists of time but for the indulgence of a few educated scholars who care to give us their opinions (however educated they think those opinions may be). I do not believe that the truth of the Bible is limited to whatever inspiration the author may have had at the time he wrote it. I believe that the Bible is the word of God, written by using such as Paul as His writing implements and thus the unlimited knowledge of God is behind its words. Thus I believe that far from being a relic of dead people and vaguely remembered cultures, the Bible is a living communication from a living God to all people, past, present and future.


postodave wrote:You seem to be conceding here that it is not simply a matter of something being subject to or not subject to the laws of physics. If Jesus resurrection body was not subject to the laws of physics in any way at all it is difficult to see how he could speak which would involve producing physical sound waves

Incorrect. I certainly would not claim that a spiritual body could not conceivably produce sound waves. I would only insist that they will not do so in a consistent objectifiably observable manner which is all that the methods of science can study and thus it is only that which physical laws are about in the first place. On the other hand I also see no reason to presume that Jesus did use any sound waves in His communication to the apostles. Instead it would be my suspicion that there was a subjective aspect to their experience. The consequence is that IF there was a device to see into the past and that device could see no such appearance of Jesus, I would not conclude that He did not in fact appear, for me to make such a conclusion would take something more like a discussion among the apostles about how they would lie to people and make up such a story.


postodave wrote:I see no reason for supposing that he communicated with the disciples by some species of telepathy

Well besides the fact that what you mean by telepathy could mean a large variety of things, I would also say that I see no reason why that can be ruled out any more or less than sound waves could be ruled out. BUT if you would identify telepathy with some sort of spiritual communication then I would say that by that indentification that must necessarily be exactly what occured for I would say that by whatever means a communiction from a spiritual body to physical observers must necessarily be called a spiritual communication.


postodave wrote:Perhaps we can resolve this by saying that rather than him being subject to the laws of physics they were subject to him

Ah yes indeed! I do indeed think that we can say that, to be sure.


postodave wrote:and perhaps we can extrapolate from that a similar relationship between any spiritual body and the laws of physics.

I am not entirely sure at all what you mean by that. But, if you mean that the physical is subject to being influenced by the spiritual quite apart from the operation of physical law then I quite agree. However I feel quite sure that there are some limitations to this in general for otherwise the status of our knowledge of the spiritual would not be what it is.



On the rest of your comments I have no comment, for they sound reasonable enough and I don't see anything to contradict those claims at this time.
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Re: God's attributes

Postby Kolbitar » 01 Feb 2009, 22:04

mitchellmckain wrote:
Kolbitar wrote: to define "physical" as that which obeys "physical laws" is simply a case of petitio principii

Incorrect. A case of petitio principii (begging the question) is a descriptor that applies to an argument. Defining ones terms is simply an aid to communication.


Isn't defining a term by the use of the same term begging the question what does the term mean in the first place?

I've got to say, Mitch, that it would be interesting to see how you would answer the fact of Christ's physical body defying the laws of physics by walking on water in light of your definition of physical (or, according to you, was Christ's body not physical?); and it would be interesting to see how you would define physical in the first place, which you must do in order to then define a physical law; but aside from those digressions, I'm most interested in this perplexing fact: the only relevance I can see in your rebuff of bluegoats statement, that "our bodies... will be physical but transformed", is if she were taken to mean that such bodies would be "subject to destruction and decay." But that's simply reading too much into her words, isn't it? It seems to me to be in no way a necessary conclusion; not even, really, a likely one. Does physical necessarily mean, to you, "subject to destruction and decay"?

Concerning the question, "If the actual matter of the physical body is needed then which matter would that be and to whom does the matter that has belonged to thousands of such bodies in history does that matter actually "belong to"? This, really, is not a question that science can look at apart from philosophy -- to be sure, you're making philosophical assumptions here. The answer to your question is simply that the actual matter of a human being is human matter, just like the actual matter of a horse is horse matter, just like the actual matter of a water molecule is water matter, just like the actual matter of an atom is atomic matter, just like... you get the picture. Once a substance is gone so is its matter, which is then replaced by another form of substance matter. There is no sharing of actual matter by substances as if there were an actual common substance. This, indeed, is the mystery of prime matter, which really boils down to pure potential, and ultimately makes no sense apart from a being which is pure actuality with no potential, i.e., God.
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Re: God's attributes

Postby mitchellmckain » 02 Feb 2009, 05:33

Kolbitar wrote:
mitchellmckain wrote:
Kolbitar wrote: to define "physical" as that which obeys "physical laws" is simply a case of petitio principii

Incorrect. A case of petitio principii (begging the question) is a descriptor that applies to an argument. Defining ones terms is simply an aid to communication.

Isn't defining a term by the use of the same term begging the question what does the term mean in the first place?

No. The dictionary does it all the time. But perhaps the question I am begging is the question of whether you understand what physical laws are. Excuse me for making that assumption.

I can define "physical laws" quite apart from any use of the word "physical" with no difficulty whatsover. By these I mean the mathematical equations that govern the events and behavior of all things which are a part of the visible universe, which is not to say that these parts are all visible but that they can be studied by the methods of modern science, namely objective observation and measurement.


Kolbitar wrote:I've got to say, Mitch, that it would be interesting to see how you would answer the fact of Christ's physical body defying the laws of physics by walking on water in light of your definition of physical (or, according to you, was Christ's body not physical?);

Before the resurrection, Christs body was physical.

The details and mechanics by which Christ and Peter walked on water are not available to me. But the great variety of things which are quite possible completely within the limits of physical law is really and truly amazing.


Kolbitar wrote: but aside from those digressions, I'm most interested in this perplexing fact: the only relevance I can see in your rebuff of bluegoats statement, that "our bodies... will be physical but transformed", is if she were taken to mean that such bodies would be "subject to destruction and decay."

My objection is simply that Paul says the resurrected body is a spiritual body and not a physical body.


Kolbitar wrote:Does physical necessarily mean, to you, "subject to destruction and decay"?

No. BUT a physical thing is necessarily subject to destruction and decay. What a term means and what necessarily follows are not the same thing.


Kolbitar wrote:Concerning the question, "If the actual matter of the physical body is needed then which matter would that be and to whom does the matter that has belonged to thousands of such bodies in history does that matter actually "belong to"? This, really, is not a question that science can look at apart from philosophy -- to be sure, you're making philosophical assumptions here. The answer to your question is simply that the actual matter of a human being is human matter, just like the actual matter of a horse is horse matter, just like the actual matter of a water molecule is water matter, just like the actual matter of an atom is atomic matter, just like... you get the picture.


"Horse matter" has nothing to do with horses, but is a gelogical term for a mineral conglomerate found in ore, though the term "human matter" is sometimes used, but in a very general way refering to the origin of the material without saying what it is specifically. There have after all been considerable advances in our understanding of the material composition of things since the 2350 year old writings of Aristotle. The physical human body is made out of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, phosphorus, magnesium, ecetera... These are the atomic elements of matter. These elements are absorbed into the body from the environment and become part of the structure of the body for a while but is inevitably removed from the body in one of its various waste products to become again part of the cycle of processes in the ecology of the earth. What is constant and uniquely human is some of the patterns we can find in the dynamic structure which is constantly being renewed in the process of life. If it is this pattern or dynamic structure that you mean by these peculiar terms "human matter" and "horse matter" then I will refer you back to the discussion which has already taken place in which it was affirmed by both myself and dave that this pattern or dynamic structure most assuredly contributes to the spiritual body.

However there is the question of to what degree? And when you consider the clear statement by Paul in 1 Cor 15 that this spiritual body is not subject to destruction or decay then the answer is clearly not very much at all. If we refer to the example of Jesus we would conclude that it is enough be recognizable some of the time at least, but I very seriously doubt that the spiritual body has anything like a cell structure or bodily chemistry and very strongly expect that all these sciences of biology, chemistry and physics have absolutely NO applicability to this spiritual body that Paul is talking about. It is this inapplicability of the physical science that strongly suggest to me that we should in fact take the writings of Paul at their word when they say that the resurrected body is a spiritual body and not a physical body at all.


Kolbitar wrote:Once a substance is gone so is its matter, which is then replaced by another form of substance matter. There is no sharing of actual matter by substances as if there were an actual common substance. This, indeed, is the mystery of prime matter, which really boils down to pure potential

While this rhetoric may serve the purpose of twisting the words of Paul and others to mean whatever one wants, it most certainly has absolutely NO utility in understanding the processes that occur in the human body or in the environment of the earth. You are of course welcome to tell yourself whatever sort of rhetoric you like for whatever purpose, but it holds no interest for me I am afraid. Aristotelian science may suffice for the middle ages that some people may wish to live in but it does not suffice for me, and thus the value I see in Aristotelian philosophy must be found in the way it can be adapted to fit the discoveries of modern science.

It is the discovery of modern science that the elemental composition of matter remains constant in all chemical and biological processes and so they remain precisely the same no matter what organism whether human or horse they happen to be found in at any particular moment, and these basic elements are indeed shared both in identity of kind and in actual exchange between different biological organisms all the time.

However, it sounds like this term "prime matter" which you use, MIGHT (if you mean it in the sense of that ultimate substance or material of all things abstracted from any particular) be very similar to my own use of the term "energy" in a metaphysical context. Its superiority is found in the way that it bridges the gap between thing and action, for what we learn in physics is that both matter and motion are in fact two different forms of energy which are convertable from one to the other. But I would describe the "prime energy" that can be found in both physical and spiritual forms of energy very much as you have done as the pure potentiality of being - or as that by which a thing simply is, in contradistinction to its form by which that potentiality is actualized - or as that by which a thing is what it is.

Kolbitar wrote: This, indeed, is the mystery of prime matter, which really boils down to pure potential, and ultimately makes no sense apart from a being which is pure actuality with no potential, i.e., God.

I am sorry but what you say here is insufficient to really get a handle on what you are trying to say. It sounds like it could be (again assuming you mean it in the sense of that ultimate substance or material of all things abstracted from any particular) a Spinozan monistic pantheism, in which case I would certainly disagree. Or by "prime matter" you could simply mean the original substance or material before creation from which all thing originally have their being, which I have previously refered to as the action of God (seeing how the term "energy", or "prime energy" if you want, makes this bridge between matter and action). The difference between these is a question of whether this energy (or matter as you might call it) remains an action of God and under the control of his will and thus a part of Him or whether you believe like me that God has used the automation of mathematical equations (physical law) by which this action of God has become, in a true act of creation, an existing thing apart from God and no longer controlled directly by His will, although remaining within the reach of His influence by indirect means though identifiable gaps in the determination (or closure) of physical law.
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Re: God's attributes

Postby postodave » 03 Feb 2009, 09:07

Mitch:
Remove your insulting imlication that my understanding of scripture is not well considered or thought through and you may have something there.

Consider it removed and please accept my apology. You have thought through these things I can tell that.
Since at the time of Paul, physics was certainly not what it is today, what Paul says cannot be anywhere near what it means to me when I read them. But I do not agree that the meaning of scripture is limited that which was intended by the human author. I do not believe that the Bible is simply an ancient historical document whose actual meaning is lost to the mists of time but for the indulgence of a few educated scholars who care to give us their opinions (however educated they think those opinions may be). I do not believe that the truth of the Bible is limited to whatever inspiration the author may have had at the time he wrote it. I believe that the Bible is the word of God, written by using such as Paul as His writing implements and thus the unlimited knowledge of God is behind its words. Thus I believe that far from being a relic of dead people and vaguely remembered cultures, the Bible is a living communication from a living God to all people, past, present and future.

Well I agree but it raises some interesting questions. The first is how we rescue interpretation from sheer subjectivity; I know this is less of a problem for you and I can see that sometimes we can learn from someone because our misunderstanding of what they say inspires a new thought in us, but this can't be the norm of human communication otherwise it would not be communication at all. The second is whether scholarship can give us any insight into scripture - my own impression is that the last 150 years of careful scholarship in spite of the occasional oddity has been more fruitful than the last 150 years of fundamentalist guess work but I know opinions will differ on that. The third is whether these deeper meanings can have an entirely arbitrary relation to the author's intention, so for example if Paul had said either that the resurrection was or was not physical in so many words we would still need to know what he meant by physical just as when the bible talks about a sycamore tree or leprosy we should not immediately conclude it must be the thing we call by that name. My conclusion would be that the fuller meanings need to be rooted somehow in the author's original meaning.
However, when I come to your interpretation of the resurrection accounts and specially your God disposed of the body theory my immediate reaction to your interpretation is to think 'surely not!' so I have to be careful that this is not just the effect of a habitual way of reading. However it has to be said that almost no one else has read the accounts the way you do (the Jehovah's Witnesses would do have an account a bit like yours though the conclusions they draw about our resurrection could not be more different) Indeed even when you get a liberal scholar like David Jenkins who interprets the resurrection as non-physical he begins by taking it as read that the texts describe a physical resurrection and then explains how this idea grew up from an original purely spiritual experience. I heard his speak once and what I ended up wanting to say when I had time to think about was something like 'Just as what was not assumed is not healed what was not raised was never redeemed.' I still think that.
Incorrect. I certainly would not claim that a spiritual body could not conceivably produce sound waves. I would only insist that they will not do so in a consistent objectifiably observable manner which is all that the methods of science can study and thus it is only that which physical laws are about in the first place. On the other hand I also see no reason to presume that Jesus did use any sound waves in His communication to the apostles. Instead it would be my suspicion that there was a subjective aspect to their experience. The consequence is that IF there was a device to see into the past and that device could see no such appearance of Jesus, I would not conclude that He did not in fact appear, for me to make such a conclusion would take something more like a discussion among the apostles about how they would lie to people and make up such a story.

Ah but suppose we had such a device and we see Jesus talking to the disciples and we see that he does not eat any food but they are convinced he does. Certainly there is a subjective dimension to this because some saw and did not believe but there is a lot that seems to be objective and the story seems to be written to emphasise this.

Kolbytar - I have no idea what you mean by human matter and horse matter. Surely the actual stuff things are made of is ultimately the same. A horse quark or electron is not different to a human quark or electron. As Mitch says it is the pattern or arrangement of this matter that makes one horse and one human. I'm not sure I could define what is meant by physical though it seems to be that aspect of creation that is understood in terms of the interactions of energy, the four basic forces and so on. I can see why in the present cosmic set up this necessarily means being subject to decay but I can't see why Mitch is convinced the physical set up would have to be either the exactly the same or non-existent in the next age. However when I talk of the resurrection as physical I find I am talking about something much more to do with the way I experience the world as a physical being and I am convinced by scripture that our resurrection will entail an enhancement of those experiences rather than a negation. I am sure that when Paul talks of a spiritual body he means a body suited to express spirit rather than a body made of spirit and that leaves the question of whether it is made of the same subatomic stuff as this world open. But I can agree with you that Mitch seems quite arbitrary in saying that the miracles of Christ prior to the resurrection must have been in accordance with the laws of physics while the ones after were not. And whatever Christ's resurrection body was ultimately made of it seems to have been quite able to interact with the physical stuff of our world - eating, talking, touching. I just don't have an explanation of that at a subatomic level but the idea of the stuff of this world being transformed rather than replaced seems to fit the whole tenure of scripture.
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Re: God's attributes

Postby mitchellmckain » 03 Feb 2009, 23:23

postodave wrote:Well I agree but it raises some interesting questions. The first is how we rescue interpretation from sheer subjectivity; I know this is less of a problem for you and I can see that sometimes we can learn from someone because our misunderstanding of what they say inspires a new thought in us,

Hmmm... what is the difference between "subjectivity" and "sheer subjectivity"? As a scientist it is impossible for me to see the religious truths residing anywhere but smack in the middle of subjectivity and my defense of Christian lies completely with a defense of that subjectivity by pointing out the fundamental logical flaw in in a purely objective apprehension of reality.


postodave wrote:but this can't be the norm of human communication otherwise it would not be communication at all.

But human communication does not rest upon objectivity but upon consensus. Perhaps you equate consensus with objectivity, but while consensus has some of the the qualities of objectivity and can be said to be more objective, it is not true objectivity. Or perhaps like many Christian's you think God's view constitutes objectivity. I think that view is fundamentally flawed. The reason is that God's view is not a human view but a view so alien and multi-dimensional that if you encountered it you might think it was more like this "sheer subjectivity" you talk about.


postodave wrote:The second is whether scholarship can give us any insight into scripture - my own impression is that the last 150 years of careful scholarship in spite of the occasional oddity has been more fruitful than the last 150 years of fundamentalist guess work but I know opinions will differ on that.

A quantitative evaluation is without meaning here. There are unbounded areas in which progress can occur and one tiny bit of progress in a key area can be worth more than all the rest put together - the doorway through which a complete transformation comes.


postodave wrote:The third is whether these deeper meanings can have an entirely arbitrary relation to the author's intention, so for example if Paul had said either that the resurrection was or was not physical in so many words we would still need to know what he meant by physical just as when the bible talks about a sycamore tree or leprosy we should not immediately conclude it must be the thing we call by that name. My conclusion would be that the fuller meanings need to be rooted somehow in the author's original meaning.

Perhaps but there is more than one way of reading something into an author that was never there. You look on these writings with a modern mind whose world is full of specializations that didn't exist then and whose mind is full of discernments and distinctions that cannot be found in the time of Paul. The result is that when you dig down for what Paul "originally meant" it really isn't and never could be what he really meant because your mind is different. In fact, I find it quite likely that the more you dig with your modern discernments the more you actually lose track of Paul's original meaning because his meaning never made the distinctions that you make and use in your digging.


postodave wrote:Indeed even when you get a liberal scholar like David Jenkins who interprets the resurrection as non-physical he begins by taking it as read that the texts describe a physical resurrection and then explains how this idea grew up from an original purely spiritual experience. I heard his speak once and what I ended up wanting to say when I had time to think about was something like 'Just as what was not assumed is not healed what was not raised was never redeemed.' I still think that.

Sounds fine with me. For there is absolutely nothing physical that is in need of any redemption. The physical contains absolutely no evil whatsoever of any kind. Thus the ONLY thing in need of redemption is the human spirit. Yes I know...creation awaits in eager longing for the redemption of our bodies - but that is the redemption of a spiritual body.


postodave wrote:Ah but suppose we had such a device and we see Jesus talking to the disciples and we see that he does not eat any food but they are convinced he does. Certainly there is a subjective dimension to this because some saw and did not believe but there is a lot that seems to be objective and the story seems to be written to emphasise this.

Yes but "seems to be objective" and absolutely objective is very much like the difference between spiritual and physical.


postodave wrote:but I can't see why Mitch is convinced the physical set up would have to be either the exactly the same or non-existent in the next age.

Careful now, I am convinced of no such thing. I have absolutely NO strong opinions with regard to eschatological questions. Eschatology has very little to do with the meaning I find in Christianity and I very much hesitate to say what God will or will not do. But I do see pretty good reasons in Scripture to suggest that God has no reason whatsoever to tamper with the physical universe and this suggests to me that any prophesied changes to it would be spritual changes. That is changes in the spiritual nature of mankind.


postodave wrote:However when I talk of the resurrection as physical I find I am talking about something much more to do with the way I experience the world as a physical being and I am convinced by scripture that our resurrection will entail an enhancement of those experiences rather than a negation.

I am also convinced that our resurrect will entail an enhancement rather than any kind of negation. But I don't think that "enhancement" even comes close to covering it. LOL It is more like we are shut in a tiny dark box and then the walls of the box come down to reveal something far more vast and bright. But when we look at the box of our physical existence, we will see that it is the physical which is fake and unreal, kind of like looking at flat computer screen and realizing that our physical life was just part of a computer simulation.


postodave wrote:I am sure that when Paul talks of a spiritual body he means a body suited to express spirit rather than a body made of spirit and that leaves the question of whether it is made of the same subatomic stuff as this world open.

I am sure that when 1 Cor talks of a spiritual body it means a body that is spiritual. It says nothing about what such a body does or is suited for but is all about its fundamental nature as imperishable rather than perishable, powerful rather than weak, spiritual rather than physical, of heaven rather than of dust, and of the kingdom of God rather than of flesh and blood.

Well it seems to me that "dust" is the closest word we find in the Bible to the word "matter" and I don't know about you but I don't believe that heaven refers to a place up in the sky or any place of matter and physcial forces but a place of spirit in the presence of a God who is spirit.


postodave wrote:But I can agree with you that Mitch seems quite arbitrary in saying that the miracles of Christ prior to the resurrection must have been in accordance with the laws of physics while the ones after were not.

Not arbitrary. Logical. I have been watching that video on the "lost gospels" and so I am reminded of the gospels rejected from the canon that claim that Jesus did not really die at all. Well we can certainly agree that Jesus lives. But do we not agree that he died on the cross and thus when He spoke to the disciples this was after His resurrection which 1 Cor 15 explains is a resurrection to a spiritual body?


postodave wrote:And whatever Christ's resurrection body was ultimately made of it seems to have been quite able to interact with the physical stuff of our world - eating, talking, touching. I just don't have an explanation of that at a subatomic level

Yes that is the point of the resurrection -- that the spiritual is not less but more, not capable of less but capable of more. I mean get real: God is spirit! So OF COURSE a spiritual being can interact with the physical stuff of our world - that is kind of the whole point - God is REAL and PRESENT and ALIVE as part of our lives if we want Him to be. It is the physical which is less and the spiritual that is more.


postodave wrote:but the idea of the stuff of this world being transformed rather than replaced seems to fit the whole tenure of scripture.

I certain don't think the resurrection is a replacement of any kind but entirely a transformation of what is already there. What we may disagree about particularly Kolbitar and myself is in regards to what is being transformed. I certainly do NOT think that it is carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, etc.. that is being transformed. Thus it is not that aspect of our being which is only what it is by the mathematical relationships to the physical universe (i.e. not the physical aspect of our being) but that aspect of our being which is what it is by its own nature (i.e. the spiritual aspect of our being).
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Re: God's attributes

Postby Bluegoat » 05 Feb 2009, 16:22

mitchellmckain wrote:BG and dave,

Bluegoat wrote:So, the question is Why do Christians believe in the resurrection of the body? I'll have a go and lean heavily on the biblical foundation. A bit dry perhaps.

THIS Chrisitan does not believe in a PHYSICAL resurrection of a PHYSICAL body. THIS Christian believes in a SPIRITUAL resurrection of a SPIRITUAL body in direct accordance with the very CLEAR explanation of 1 Cor 15 in the BIBLE, which when you actually read the book itself without your tradition colored glasses is anything but dry. You can of course, like many cults like to do, exclude from your definition of Christianity anyone who does not agree with you, but the only person you can really succeed in excluding is yourself.



I've been away, but I just wanted to address this; I did not at all mean to imply that you aren't a Christian, and I apologize if that's what you thought. I had wanted to define or elaborate your specific question a bit, and I had originally written the Church instead of Christians. But then I thought that might lead us into what is the church and tradition and so on, so I changed it. I have no doubt that you are a Christian.


I would say you are in a minority position, a fairly small minority, as far as Christians in the past and present go, and to my mind, that is something that an individual should always consider and know clearly the reasons for. But it is certainly your prerogative to believe what seems true from your perspective. I suppose the Church in the future might all think as you do and those of us that think otherwise will be seen as crazy dinosaurs.

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Re: God's attributes

Postby mitchellmckain » 05 Feb 2009, 17:41

Bluegoat wrote:
mitchellmckain wrote:
Bluegoat wrote:So, the question is Why do Christians believe in the resurrection of the body? I'll have a go and lean heavily on the biblical foundation. A bit dry perhaps.

THIS Chrisitan does not believe in a PHYSICAL resurrection of a PHYSICAL body. THIS Christian believes in a SPIRITUAL resurrection of a SPIRITUAL body in direct accordance with the very CLEAR explanation of 1 Cor 15 in the BIBLE, which when you actually read the book itself without your tradition colored glasses is anything but dry. You can of course, like many cults like to do, exclude from your definition of Christianity anyone who does not agree with you, but the only person you can really succeed in excluding is yourself.

I've been away, but I just wanted to address this; I did not at all mean to imply that you aren't a Christian, and I apologize if that's what you thought. I had wanted to define or elaborate your specific question a bit, and I had originally written the Church instead of Christians. But then I thought that might lead us into what is the church and tradition and so on, so I changed it. I have no doubt that you are a Christian.

And I seemed to be over-reacting, for in the space between reacting to what you said and deciding how to respond, I apparently decided that I too am one of these Christians who believe in the resurrection of the body and that it is only what is meant by this that might be slightly different.


Bluegoat wrote:I would say you are in a minority position, a fairly small minority, as far as Christians in the past and present go, and to my mind, that is something that an individual should always consider and know clearly the reasons for. But it is certainly your prerogative to believe what seems true from your perspective.

I am not so sure about your claims about minority and majority postitions. Many Christians have a skewed view of such things assuming that the particular Christian community they are a part of represents the majority. For example, I have encountered many Christians who think the majority is opposed to evolution and I am not sure that is the case. I have encountered others who thought that the doctrine of the immortality of the soul wasn't the least bit Christian but I am pretty sure that this is actually the majority position.


Bluegoat wrote:I suppose the Church in the future might all think as you do and those of us that think otherwise will be seen as crazy dinosaurs.

I am sure I don't know. But I cerainly would not hope for any movement towards close minded judmentalism but would instead hope for a greater embrace of diversity of thought rather than less. However, it is certainly my hope that Christianity can move from blindly literal physical interpretations and a magical understanding of Christianity that is hostile to science to a more practical understanding of Chrisitanity that embraces science as part of the quest for truth.

I think that in being tied to many theological positions out of sheer tradition, Christianity is full of contradictions, and yet I understand that is not only natural to be cautious and conservative but essential. It is the reactionary elements that I am not so excited about - those who would go overboard in their rejection of science and logic to make Christianity into something which is not only irrational but something that is actually unhealthy from a psychological perspective. See the links below for some explanation of this.

Magic and Christianity

The dark side of magic
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Re: God's attributes

Postby Bluegoat » 05 Feb 2009, 19:15

It looks like this has been a very interesting discussion. I've had a few thoughts reading these posts, not terribly organized but here they are:

One is that I for one, most surely do NOT think that our risen bodies will have the same atoms etc that we have now. I don't even have the same ones I did 3 years ago, so I do not think that is required. Moreover, that's not a new position, some of the church fathers said much the same thing, and even implied that anyone who thought so was a real moron.

I may even be willing to go with this mathematical pattern idea. I've always thought of God as being kind of an equation, though personal (whatever that means.) And the logos that runs through all things are the equations that make each thing what it is. And I'd even be willing to say that it is a kind of energy or potentiality that the logos animates or makes real. I don't think that God s made out of that energy though, I don't think. Something about his nature, about what his equation says I suppose you could say, compels or creates that energy. I think the idea of equating that with prime substance could have potential. So could the risen body be some sort of energy and pattern that is incorruptible? I think that sounds plausible and to my mind that would be a physical resurrection.

And speaking of Aristotle, I believe that horse matter is just what it sounds like - matter from a horse. If the horse is eaten by a lion, what was horse matter would now be lion matter, or dung beetle matter. But I could be wrong about this.

I think it's fine to talk of plants having a vegetative soul or life force and so on for other living beings. I tend to think that if our bodies were lost we would just be a rational soul, and that would mean we weren't really saved at all - anything tied to the body, like memory, would be gone. We wouldn't be ourselves at all.

Entropy - this will likely totally discredit me and show me to be a crazy person, but I really don't like entropy, something about the idea doesn't sit well with me. My husband thinks I am totally nuts, and I realize that it would be a major problem in the world, well for everyone, if it was thrown out, but I have an irrational feeling about it. Perhaps entropy is a result of the fall? I'll tell myself that anyway.

All this has made me think of John Scotus Eriugena. He suggested that after the resurrection Jesus had no gender. (I don't know how he squared this with Genesis.) He said in heaven we would have no gender either, and I can see a number of scriptural reasons for this idea. And we don't think, for example, that it's important that Jesus had brown hair (or whatever) so it could be the same with gender. I also think it would be a popular idea in many circles today, though that might be reason to be suspicious.

The church rejected this though, and it seems true for most people that their gender really constitutes part of who they are, at least in their own minds. No one, for example, thinks a sex change is the same as a dye job. And of course Genesis does suggest that we are meant to be men and women. But I think it is an interesting idea in any case.
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Re: God's attributes

Postby mitchellmckain » 05 Feb 2009, 23:08

Bluegoat wrote:I may even be willing to go with this mathematical pattern idea.

Pattern YES! mathematical NO! The mathematical and quantitative nature of the physical is precisely what makes the physical what it is - not only subject to destruction and decay but also subject to scientific examination and technological manipulation. Existing in these mathematical and quantitative forms is precisely what makes the physical ONLY what it is because of relationships to the whole structure of the universe. The physical reality is like a symbolic reality; like the way you represent a person in a sentence with a name. The name is not really the person -- it just represents them. Our reality is so much more than a physical representation. Each person is a universe - more literally that you might imagine.

You have to understand that I seek no compromise between religion and science, no compromise between God and reason, for the true reconcilliation between these is NOT to be found anywhere in some gray region between them. It is to be found in a passionate and authentic embrace of BOTH at the same time. This is why understanding CLEARLY the distinction between them is so essential.

Bluegoat wrote:I've always thought of God as being kind of an equation, though personal (whatever that means.) And the logos that runs through all things are the equations that make each thing what it is.

Yikes! Mathematics and equations are all about automation -- like a computer program - they allow things to run automatically according to the rules. This is why the materialist view of reality is so mechanistic and lifeless. I must see God as the complete opposite. God is the quintescential spirit beyond any kind of definite description and thus it is impossible that there could be anything mechanical, mathematical or quantitative to Him at all. The mathematical nature of the physical universe ties directly the purpose for which God created it, for it is through automation that God can give something an existence apart from Himself to act apart from the direct control of His will. This is the fertile ground for the phenomena of life and free will.

I for one completely repudiate the traditional idea that God created just so He could show everone how great He is. What a banal vision of God that is. I believe in a very different sort of God - one who is humble and lowly in heart with compassion for the lost and forgotten. I believe in the God who counted all His infinite nature, power and knowledge as nothing to become a helpless human infant to walk for a time in finte-ness and limitation of our humanity even unto death, in order to tear down the barries between the human and the divine through self-less sacrifice. That is the character of God, to live entirely for others and pay any personal price for their well-being. He does not hesitate to look the fool or appear ridiculous IF that is what is required. He does not hesitate to sacrifice what He loves in order to save those who are lost, whether it was all creation in the flood or His only begotten son on the cross. And so also if we are willing, He will trust in our strength to endure great suffering on His behalf to make an effort to reach into all the dark corners of the world.


Bluegoat wrote:And I'd even be willing to say that it is a kind of energy or potentiality that the logos animates or makes real. I don't think that God s made out of that energy though, I don't think. Something about his nature, about what his equation says I suppose you could say, compels or creates that energy. I think the idea of equating that with prime substance could have potential. So could the risen body be some sort of energy and pattern that is incorruptible? I think that sounds plausible and to my mind that would be a physical resurrection.

Well if you think energy has some kind of mathematical nature then I certainly don't think your idea of energy has anything to do with what God is either. My metaphysical concept of energy or "primal energy" does not have such a nature, but only physical forms of energy have a quantitative nature. And when I speak of God's infinite nature this is not a quantitative attribute for what I mean by that is that God is beyond every limitation of any kind.


Bluegoat wrote:I think it's fine to talk of plants having a vegetative soul or life force and so on for other living beings. I tend to think that if our bodies were lost we would just be a rational soul, and that would mean we weren't really saved at all - anything tied to the body, like memory, would be gone. We wouldn't be ourselves at all.

Yes well I don't see us as anything so simple as a union between these two things: body and soul. In my metaphysics there are three independent dualities: mind and body, spirit and physical, energy and form, which makes for eight different categories. Energy and form aside this means we have a physical body, a physical mind, a spiritual body and a spiritual mind. Our real physical self is not the body but the mind, but our true and eternal self is neither physical body nor physical mind but the spirit. But while we can say that we have both a spiritual body an spiritual mind, these cannot be seperated even theoretically.

As for memory and other functions of the physical mind and body, they may not survive death as they are, but since the spirit is the product of our choices and our choices cannot be seperated from their context, I don't see how they can be lost to us.


Bluegoat wrote:Entropy - this will likely totally discredit me and show me to be a crazy person, but I really don't like entropy, something about the idea doesn't sit well with me. My husband thinks I am totally nuts, and I realize that it would be a major problem in the world, well for everyone, if it was thrown out, but I have an irrational feeling about it. Perhaps entropy is a result of the fall? I'll tell myself that anyway.

I think you would love it, if you truly understood it. Such is the case for all the things that God has made. Few people really do understand entropy because it is a fairly difficult concept in physics. The popular connection that is made between entropy and disorder is a pretty bogus one frought with misconceptions. Unless you understand the connection with probability and counting then you haven't even come close to understanding what it is all about.

But consider this for example. Most atheists find the discovery of the big bang to be rather embarassing. The naturalist world view always presumed that the universe always existed for the alternative would be ask the questions that the theist ask themselves. Well the second law of thermodynamics only makes it much mor difficult for that basically says that the universe is not just a big clockwork but that it is a wind up clock and that leads right back to those same sort of questions that the atheist and naturalist would very much rather avoid. LOL


Bluegoat wrote:All this has made me think of John Scotus Eriugena. He suggested that after the resurrection Jesus had no gender. (I don't know how he squared this with Genesis.) He said in heaven we would have no gender either, and I can see a number of scriptural reasons for this idea. And we don't think, for example, that it's important that Jesus had brown hair (or whatever) so it could be the same with gender. I also think it would be a popular idea in many circles today, though that might be reason to be suspicious.

The church rejected this though, and it seems true for most people that their gender really constitutes part of who they are, at least in their own minds. No one, for example, thinks a sex change is the same as a dye job. And of course Genesis does suggest that we are meant to be men and women. But I think it is an interesting idea in any case.


Well I don't think our spiritual body is biological any more than it is physical and so a spiritual body would only be male or female as a matter of identity and not biology. Yeah that's right, no more PMS! LOL LOL LOL
mitchellmckain
 
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