The highest purpose of the Bible is to reveal God’s character. Examples:
"Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.“
"The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and sin…” “and that will by no means clear the guilty.”
The Bible is the definitive source for everything Jewish and Christian. There have been a lot of good things written by men, and as long as they are consistent with the Bible, they are valid. But when they are contrary to the Bible, they are worthless - or less than worthless, perhaps dangerous.
But it isn’t the complete source. We know this (in part), because the Jews had a commentary; the Talmud.
The Bible incorporates incomplete information from other sources, and leaves certain things ambiguous, hence tradition had to arise to address these things, and both the Jews, and early Christians, developed tradition.
And “Being itself” isn’t contrary to the Bible, rather, it better explains what God’s relation to his creation is.
He’s not a being hanging around in the universe, he is the universe. He’s not a singular existence, he is existence, from which all else in the universe derives their existence from.
If he could make his case via Scripture he would not be posting endless links to misdirect and pollute the discussion.
The fact that AS cannot discuss the Bible from his own familiarity is the evidence of two things, that he knows little of Scripture 1st hand and that no Christian can or should expect to hear sound doctrine from a minister of hearsay.
I gave you just one link on scripture. How is that overwhelming or misdirecting?
Until you show RET, that you understand what the argument is, showing you the rest of the argument from scripture is pointless.
That’s what the link is for, it connects the argument, to “I AM”; why that is evidence of God as Being-itself. It would accurately show you what this argument is.
There is more in the Bible on this. But why would I bother, if you can’t even acknowledge what this debate is about? Or at the very least acknowledge that this isn’t Deism, or any of your other characterizations?
I didn’t “come to you”, I pointed out some simple Bible truths that anyone who ever read the Bible would know.
As always you decide to argue with someone else’s ideas that you claim to embrace but can never seem to understand well enough to argue with your own words.
You may think claiming others as your kindred mind gives your arguments weight but I have no idea where you got that idea.
My goal was to show that once again you cannot defend your dogmatic opinions, that you are just acting as a proxy for others who you do not understand very well. So it’s always links, links, links; this person says what I believe so go read them and then come back here and respond to me as if I said it!
Feel free to embrace any deity that you think is embraced by the most prestigious degree holders, I expect your reward will be the same as everyone who takes comfort in such things.
I spelled it out in my own words several times above; you’re late to the scene, and have argued fiercely from misconceptions from the start, insisting that they were what was going on.
My entire statement to you has been “No, that’s not the argument, if you just read this, you’ll catch up & understand.”
That shouldn’t have been so much of an imposition. If you’re claiming that you’re trying to weigh in on the subject substantively, why not just indulge me, and read the source?
Why not do that?
Not weight, not authority, proof.
Proof that my argument isn’t Deism, Proof, that I’m not making it up, Proof that this argument is held by the oldest branches of Christianity, and thus, isn’t some “new thought”, or just the careless phrasings of the current Pope or any before him.
I’m not citing any of that so you’ll agree with the position. I’m citing it, so your misunderstandings would hopefully clear up, and you’ll approach the debate for what it is. Regardless if you decide to agree with my side of it or not.
You’re not familiar with Thomism, I was raised in it. I don’t know what you don’t know here, and it already seems that I’ve used expressions that people here, including yourself, aren’t familiar with, so what am I to do?
Not prestigious degree holder; those guided by humility.
Thomas Aquinas properly knew where he stood. He himself stated:
"…everything I have written seems to me like straw.”
I don’t always agree with what he wrote, but I know he was properly guided, because he was willing to acknowledge what his limits were. He never used his own work to uplift himself. Thus, I choose to hear him out.
1 I have more faith in the Council of Nicea than a sophist on the internet quoting other sophists pretending to speak for those who have obtained some respect (deserved or not) for what they’ve said.
I also have faith in the God who allowed the Council of Nicea’s determination of what was holy scripture to become the most common form of the Bible in history. The Catholics may have more practicianers, but it’s only been in recent decades that they were encouraged to read the Bible.
2 “God is not a ‘Being,’” however, is very much contrary to the Bible, as is easily demonstrated by anyone who actually reads it (as opposed to letting esteemed (self?) commentators do one’s thinking for one’s self). 3 “He is the universe?” Then what was He before he created the universe?
You’d argue with God himself about God if He didn’t cite your sources and interpret them your way…
Not holding my breath that you’ll acknowledge the obvious.
It’s not just Catholics; the Orthodox Church has the same position.
You can see this with their theologian David Bentley Hart, whose wrestles with the New Atheists on the existence of God through this argument, maintaining that “Being itself” has been the position of the Orthodox Church since its inception.
In turn, Catholics and Orthodox have this position, because the original Church took this position. You can see this in St. Anselm, in Gregory of Nazianzus, in Origen of Alexandria, Maimonides, etc.
The men at Council of Nicea, saw God as being-itself, and saw no contradiction in viewing him that way. At the Fourth Council of the Lateran, it was confirmed as Doctrine.
Viewing God as Being-itself (also called “divine simplicity”) is a component of a broader view called Classical Theism, and it pervades equally in Judaism, in Islam, and Western Philosophical theism from antiquity.
The viewpoint that you want to stake here also has a name, Neo-theism, or Theistic Personalism, which rejects viewing God through divine simplicity, beginning instead with him as a incorporeal person who they then make attributes to, omnipotence, omniscience, goodness, righteousness, benevolence, etc.
You can make a search by these terms, and see for yourself that everything I’ve stated here is true.
The fact that some people come along every so often with “new ideas” about what Christianity is “all about” is one reason we should go back to the Bible as our primary source. It’s the only reliable source we have. If we add to it, we disobey God. If we subtract from it, we disobey God. I am agreement about the council of Nicea - they kept the portions of the scripture that had been used from the beginning of the Church (up to the time the last one of the Church who lived concurrently with Christ died), eliminating any who tried to bring in new doctrines. Not only that, they appealed to and depended on the Holy Spirit to guide them in this procedure. You remember the Holy Spirit? Jesus said of Him, “When He, the Spirit of Truth is come, He will guide you into all truth.”
What I’ve put forth here isn’t new, this is the original position on God. That’s why Catholics, Orthodox, and Jews all believe it today. It’s why I can point to several early Christians from the 1st and 2nd century voicing it.
Classical Theism, that’s the broader viewpoint God as Being-itself is a component of. You can research the evidence for that under this name.
Your viewpoint, Theistic Personalism, didn’t arise until the 16th century as far as I can gather. It’s this which is the “new idea” here, if anything.
If I might be allowed to speculate, I think it’s because certain protestant branches (as there are Protestants who do follow Classical Theism), left too much of tradition by the wayside. They didn’t see the utility of certain parts of tradition, so they didn’t even know what it was they were forgetting, and became entrenched in more “contemporary” approaches to God.
Speculating is all anyone can do about the nature or form of God. However learned Thomas Aquinas was, or what value his words might have for Christendom, he knew no more about it than anyone else. God’s existential nature is unknowable to the human mind. You want to define the nature of God? Measure the universe, count all the stars, tell us what dark matter is composed of, show us what came before the big bang or comes after the big crunch (or heat death, as the case may be. I personally believe big crunch, but ianap [physicist]). How many of the people you are quoting or linking could do those things?
I’m not quoting him as an authority, but as social proof that the position existed (and that Catholics hold it), because FC was accusing me of making it up.
Aquinas is taking the same position you are. “Divine Simplicity”, is denying attributing qualities to God, both because our words are inadequate, and because doing so tends to deny the totality of his existence.
“God has no genus” as Aquinas would say, and the most generic genus is being.
You’re using Aquinas like a club to deny that the opposing view is a valid part of Christian theology, which in turn denies that the people who hold it are valid Christians. I’d react angrily to that, too. If valid Christians sincerely hold a view, it IS a part of the theology. It isn’t only ecumenical councils, and synods and papal bulls and famous books, it’s also the way ‘just folks’ practice and experience Christianity. You don’t appear cool, smart or well informed: ya just look like an @$$hole… an arrogant one, trying to tell other people how they should be experiencing their religion, that they’re “doing it all wrong”. Good luck with that.
If I were religious, I would almost certainly hold the “being itself” viewpoint, but i think I’d fail to see the value in lawyering what God is over being awed and thankful that God is.
Aquinas, you say, says we cannot define what God is, but he also says, paraphrasing, “God is without genus”… Heh, the irony is palpable.
In what I think amounts to a semantic debate with no point. AS has indicated that while he thinks God is not a being, God has a will and intelligence, which in my mind is the definition of a being. Distinctions without a difference here this discussion.
Further, I’m not saying taking the reverse position is “invalid” (and I even provided sources for people to argue it) the only thing I’ve said of it is that it isn’t historical. Aquinas took the position he did, because earlier Christians believed it, because Early Christians inherited their thinking from the Jews, and the exploration of it by the old Greek Philosophers.
You can’t change history, but if you want to insist they got it wrong, fine. Again, I thought Aquinas was wrong on something, I’m not saying you can’t disagree with historical positions.
I’m simply saying, this was the position within early Christianity (hence why “unreformed” branches still hold it), thus it’s valid for me to say that it’s apart of Christian theology to view God this way. Just the same as the validity of Confession (as I told Dave in that same post) or whether the host is literally the body of Christ.
No, I’m not doing any of this. That’s for the record. If I thought people couldn’t hold the reverse position, I wouldn’t have bothered offering sources of people making it.
I couldn’t care less about “cool”, and “smart” is your own BS assumption of how I think of myself. Nuts to your assumptions qix. You got that part very wrong.
Again, I have an I.Q. of 112. Plenty of people here could beat that.
If I don’t appear “well-informed” when I try to explain what Being-itself means, It’s because I first learned this 15 years ago, and I wasn’t coming here to debate people on it in the first place.
I came here to state to CSbrown that viewing God at least partly Phenomenologically was consistent within Christian theology (hence why stating “God is love” is not a cop out.), and that viewing life through a phenomenological lens as a way to distill truth, wasn’t necessarily a disagreement with Christianity itself.