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The Lord Less High

The Lord Less High

Postby AllanS » 18 May 2009, 23:46

Suppose there exists a god who is Omnieverything minus 1. Almost absolute, but not quite. Perhaps every trillion years he tells a white lie. Or if it came to a contest of power with the Lord Most High, he would be weaker by one microgram.

Would we be able to tell the difference between the Lord Less High and the Lord Most High? And would it matter?

Putting it another way, if Jesus did sin, just the tiniest tiniest bit, what would have happened? Would the universe have blinked out? Would God have imploded? Or is the question meaningless?
“And turn their grief into song?" he replied. "That would be a gracious act and a good beginning."

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Re: The Lord Less High

Postby Stanley Anderson » 19 May 2009, 14:10

Certainly for mathematical systems, if you can demonstrate the (seemingly) tiniest contradiction anywhere in the system, you can demonstrate that that contradiction "ripples" through the entire system making anything and everything inconsistent and contradictory. For example if you were somehow able to demonstrate that something we might never "actually" run across in a million years, say, that "pi to the hundred millionth power equals pi to the hundred millionth power plus 1", such a demonstration would immediately allow you to prove any other mathematical condition, say, 1+1=5 or 7 = 5,000,007 or anything at all. It would be cataclysmic for that system.

Can one extrapolate from there to a theological idea about God? I certainly would myself, but that's about as far as I could go in terms of a "convincing argument" to give to someone else. Something like this is probably what Lewis had in mind when he had Aslan respond in LWW to the suggestion that he simply take the traitor Edmund back from the White Witch about the consequences of such a seemingly simple action.

And of course one could wander into all sorts of interesting (but probably ultimately unanswerable) speculations about how something like this is apparently exactly what happened to the otherwise impenetrable gates of death when the innocent lamb of God was slain -- the whole world was turned upside down and reborn (and then given a slap on the butt to start it breathing in the new atmosphere it was born into?:-)

--Stanley
…on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a fair green country under a swift sunrise.
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Re: The Lord Less High

Postby Bluegoat » 19 May 2009, 18:14

AllanS wrote:Would we be able to tell the difference between the Lord Less High and the Lord Most High? And would it matter?


I like what Stanley said. On the above comment, I think people have often mistaken the works of Satan for those of God, as well as the imperfect works of good people as the works of God, or even mistaken angels for God. We seem to need God to set us straight.
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Re: The Lord Less High

Postby Tuke » 19 May 2009, 20:39

AllanS wrote:.... Putting it another way, if Jesus did sin, just the tiniest tiniest bit, what would have happened? Would the universe have blinked out? Would God have imploded? Or is the question meaningless?
No, quite meaningful. Jesus suffered temptation for this very purpose. Hebrews 2:17-18
God is holy and cannot abide sin. Through the righteous propitiation of Christ alone we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, cannot be destroyed. If Jesus sinned, He would not be righteous. He would not be a propitiation for God's righteous and just wrath; therefore, Jesus along with us would be shaken, destroyed. Our God is a consuming fire. The Holy Father would remain, the same yesterday, today and forever. Hebrews 12:25-29; 13:8
I presume the Holy Spirit would return to the Father since there would remain no one to share Him with, although I believe the Holy Spirit is also the Spirit of God's Son. I think a lot of this stuff is covered in The Space Trilogy.
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Re: The Lord Less High

Postby AllanS » 19 May 2009, 22:59

Stanley Anderson wrote:Certainly for mathematical systems, if you can demonstrate the (seemingly) tiniest contradiction anywhere in the system, you can demonstrate that that contradiction "ripples" through the entire system making anything and everything inconsistent and contradictory. For example if you were somehow able to demonstrate that something we might never "actually" run across in a million years, say, that "pi to the hundred millionth power equals pi to the hundred millionth power plus 1", such a demonstration would immediately allow you to prove any other mathematical condition, say, 1+1=5 or 7 = 5,000,007 or anything at all. It would be cataclysmic for that system.


I was thinking along the same lines.(The Fall sounds suspiciously like a cataclysmic failure that ran through an entire system, and that needed someone from outside the system to restart it.)

Here's the thing though. A system that was vulnerable to a tiny bug would be inferior to a system which was self-correcting. Similarly, a god that was vulnerable to a tiny sin would be inferior to a god which was self-correcting.
“And turn their grief into song?" he replied. "That would be a gracious act and a good beginning."

Quid and Harmony: a fund-raising project for the Fistula Hospital, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. www.smithysbook.com
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Re: The Lord Less High

Postby cyranorox » 20 May 2009, 17:00

If this were the true explanation:
propitiation of Christ alone ... If Jesus sinned, He would not be righteous. He would not be a propitiation for God's righteous and just wrath; therefore, Jesus along with us would be shaken, destroyed. Our God is a consuming fire. The Holy Father would remain, the same yesterday, today and forever

I would reject such a God [thank God,not so]. The Father is not offering conditional love to the Son; his fire is the light of love, not harm and pain. The Trinity is not fragile in this way; if, unimaginably, Christ entered hamartia, 'missing the mark', separation from God, commonly called sin, the universe indeed might have trembled, but not the Trinity. Though sinless, the moment of 'Eloi, lammas sabacthani' - the quote from the Psalm - just approaches this impossibility. And the sun veiled his rays.

The propitiation image reintroduces the father/son wars of pagan imagination. The peace and love between the Father and the Son, the misson of the Son to trample death by death, to rescue the Cosmos from death and restore the Divine Image and Likeness in man, are among the new and revolutionary ideas of Christianity.

The gap, the god-minus-one, looks significant from within the temporal sequence. But from eternity, this gap is just as wide as between the Creator and any other created being - infinite, only to be bridged by His love and Energies.
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Re: The Lord Less High

Postby Tuke » 20 May 2009, 21:03

God is love.
cyranorox wrote:.... The Trinity is not fragile in this way; if, unimaginably, Christ entered hamartia, 'missing the mark', separation from God, commonly called sin, the universe indeed might have trembled, but not the Trinity. Though sinless, the moment of 'Eloi, lammas sabacthani' - the quote from the Psalm - just approaches this impossibility. And the sun veiled his rays.
Unimaginably, impossibility? Do you mean to suggest that Christ's temptation was phony? That the Father shielded the Son from failure? If so, what was Christ's agony in the Garden of Gethsemane? Mark 14:36; Hebrews 2:17-18; 4:15-16
The consequences of Christ's failure are impossibly unimaginable, but all creation gasps at what God risked (as well as sacrificed). Because Christ did not fail He is called Faithful and True. Revelation 19:11
Because Christ was victorious over sin we don't have to be ashamed to tell people that Jesus loves them. If His temptation was phony or empty, there might be an element of shame.

The propitiation image reintroduces the father/son wars of pagan imagination.
You lost me here. Are you not familiar with the term propitiation? It simply means the atonement of Christ as reconciler and mediator of God with men. His propitiation was heroic not just symbolic. 1 John 2:2; 4:10
"The 'great golden chain of Concord' has united the whole of Edmund Spenser's world.... Nothing is repressed; nothing is insubordinate. To read him is to grow in mental health." The Allegory Of Love (Faerie Queene)

2 Corinthians IV.17 The Weight of Glory
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Re: The Lord Less High

Postby AllanS » 20 May 2009, 21:52

Tuke wrote:Unimaginably, impossibility? Do you mean to suggest that Christ's temptation was phony?


If you know all things, how can you speak of risk? But if, as you say, Christ's temptations were phony, if there was only ever one possible outcome, then he is no true man.

We have a similar situation in Job. God's throne was on the line. If Job failed, God would have fallen. Astoundingly, God put his faith in a perfectly righteous man. But if the outcome was assured, it makes the whole story meaningless, even nauseating. (Here's a question. How can God play poker without cheating?)

Suppose you make a video of me freely choosing to do something. Every time you watch it, I make the same choice. Every time, it is utterly impossible I make any other choice. Yet paradoxically, that person you see on the TV is free.

Perhaps its the same with God. Because Jesus chose to not sin in time, he is eternally incapable of sin. Just as we participate in the creation of our own eternal being by our free choices in time, so too with God. Just a thought.
“And turn their grief into song?" he replied. "That would be a gracious act and a good beginning."

Quid and Harmony: a fund-raising project for the Fistula Hospital, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. www.smithysbook.com
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Re: The Lord Less High

Postby cyranorox » 21 May 2009, 00:59

Do you mean to suggest that Christ's temptation was phony? That the Father shielded the Son from failure?

No and no. You sound as if you hoped I did, and then ran with a 'yes' of your own imagining.
These questions do not bear on my position at all. The second does not even follow from the first unless you fall into a variant of Arian error as well as penal substitutionary error. I've said enough on this on other threads; reread them or my reading references [McDonald, Ware, Athanasius, CSL] for more.
Are you not familiar with the term propitiation?
Are you not familiar with any Orthodox understanding, which includes Western, even British, understanding, from the first millenium?

Allan, the only answer to your problems is to remember that from eternity, all times are present; in time, eternity as a whole touches every point in the sequence. Thus, God in his transcendence cannot play poker, and this does not diminish or impact his omnipotence. In His immanence, he seems to gamble on us, from Eve to Mary; that is partly a function of our temporal lens, and partly a mystery of his eternal creation - for all times are created 'now', ie, the Creation as a whole has no age.

A further problem from the OC view is that the omni's are imprecise, derivative ideas, not suitable for drawing conclusions about God.
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Re: The Lord Less High

Postby AllanS » 21 May 2009, 06:42

cyranorox wrote:
A further problem from the OC view is that the omni's are imprecise, derivative ideas, not suitable for drawing conclusions about God.


Seeing further from a giant's shoulder easy. Finding the right giant is somewhat harder. Harder still is climbing onto his shoulder...

It seems fair to say that God can answer all possible questions, and that the set of answers must be invariant. But if so, can he answer this question: "How old am I?" It seems impossible, because the answer continually changes. Perhaps God would reply, "You have no age. You have always existed in me, and always will exist." (Which sounds suspiciously like the pre-existence of the soul.)
“And turn their grief into song?" he replied. "That would be a gracious act and a good beginning."

Quid and Harmony: a fund-raising project for the Fistula Hospital, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. www.smithysbook.com
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Re: The Lord Less High

Postby Bluegoat » 21 May 2009, 10:39

AllanS wrote:
cyranorox wrote:
A further problem from the OC view is that the omni's are imprecise, derivative ideas, not suitable for drawing conclusions about God.


Seeing further from a giant's shoulder easy. Finding the right giant is somewhat harder. Harder still is climbing onto his shoulder...

It seems fair to say that God can answer all possible questions, and that the set of answers must be invariant. But if so, can he answer this question: "How old am I?" It seems impossible, because the answer continually changes. Perhaps God would reply, "You have no age. You have always existed in me, and always will exist." (Which sounds suspiciously like the pre-existence of the soul.)


I don't see how this is a difficulty - all modes of existence are taken up into God's mode of existence, which is why he can be said to have knowledge of his creation, first-hand, at all. Otherwise he would indeed be locked into a kind of Platonic/Aristotelian inability to know anything outside of himself, and could only know creation as it exists in him, or we would have to resort to pantheism. But the story of Christ tells us in a most radical way that such is not the case.

But I believe that it is quite clear that God does indeed know us from the very foundations of being - some of the psalms attest to this, if I recall correctly.
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Re: The Lord Less High

Postby cyranorox » 22 May 2009, 15:55

allan,
It seems fair to say that God can answer all possible questions, and that the set of answers must be invariant. But if so, can he answer this question: "How old am I?" It seems impossible, because the answer continually changes. Perhaps God would reply, "You have no age. You have always existed in me, and always will exist


brings in several new assumptions. Why should the answers be invariant? if they are, they must be specified by temoporal location too, so the objection vanishes - ie, how old are you X years from Y event?

But you still smuggle in the idea of God existing within the temporal sequence, as if he were a man bowling a ball, the ball being all events, which then move away from him. That is not always wrong, because for some problems it may offer a path to clarity, but it is a metaphor that obscures and deranges thought about the relationship of God and knowledge of temporal events.

Also, there can be no preexistence from Eternity: only existence. Mankind is peculiar; each has a beginning, in time, but lives to eternity, by the postive action of Christ.

RE: giants. Heaven stooped as low as our need required. The right giant must be more than we hoped for, appalling in his kindness, demanding in his love; in no way worse than our best ideals of a man. if ever we can say, 'i would be ashamed to act like that', or 'a man ought to be nobler that that', we have the wrong giant, or the wrong story about the giant.
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Re: The Lord Less High

Postby sehoy » 23 May 2009, 23:05

I know you want to hash it out. so have at it, but...

You have to read, if you haven't already, "Jesus of Nazareth" by Joseph Ratzinger. On page 33 he starts talking about the first temptation of Jesus, and in two pages front and back he knocks it out of the ballpark.
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Re: The Lord Less High

Postby AllanS » 23 May 2009, 23:54

Hi Chris,

Thanks for that recommendation.

As for hashing the question out, I don't think so. Whenever I try to get a handle on God, I end up drowning. I get confused and increasingly depressed. I can't lift that mountain. I love Ps 131. The writer says he's given up trying to understand. Instead, he rests his soul in God's loving arms. Let God be God, and Man be Man.

Here are some things I do understand (enough, at least, to enjoy them). That's Levi, grandchild #3. And my magnificent Kubota.

Image
“And turn their grief into song?" he replied. "That would be a gracious act and a good beginning."

Quid and Harmony: a fund-raising project for the Fistula Hospital, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. www.smithysbook.com
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Re: The Lord Less High

Postby sehoy » 24 May 2009, 23:03

Sweet!

It doesn't get any better than that, I reckon: a grand baby, a Kubota, and a piece of ground on which to use the K.

(continued from yesterday-I got knocked off the internet by bad weather)

I was mistaken about the page number in that book. Page 33 was relevant for me. The whole of chapter two deals with the temptations of Jesus and their significance: for Jesus and for us.

Jesus can't sin "even just a little bit." If he did, then he'd negate everything he comes to do. The consequences would ripple backwards into time and forwards into the future. I expect everything would cease to exist.

Personally, I've never been impressed with role models like sports figures or famous people, who have crashed and burned and then came to my school to tell me not to do what they had just done. Or sit on Oprah.

I'd rather follow a role model who has been tempted, but has walked the very hardest road and resisted the temptations. He tells me it is possible to live such a life and it is worthwhile to do so.

What must the Savior of the world do or not do? That is the question the temptations of Jesus are about.

......

What did Jesus actually bring, if not world peace, universal prosperity, and a better world? What has he brought?

The answer is very simple: God. He has brought us God.

....

He has brought us God, and now we know his face, now we can call upon him. We know the path that we human beings have to take in this world. Jesus has brought God and with God the truth about our origin and destiny: faith, hope, and love.

-Jesus of Nazareth, Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI


And yes. I realize I have missed your point. It's like some mental glitch in my brain. And most frustrating.

A photo of my Kubota to make up for it.

Image
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