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Friday, November 30, 2012

Divine perfection

And the lack of Biblical evidence for it:
Is God perfect? You often hear philosophers describe “theism” as the belief in a perfect being — a being whose attributes are said to include being all-powerful, all-knowing, immutable, perfectly good, perfectly simple, and necessarily existent (among others). And today, something like this view is common among lay people as well.

There are two famous problems with this view of God. The first is that it appears to be impossible to make it coherent. For example, it seems unlikely that God can be both perfectly powerful and perfectly good if the world is filled (as it obviously is) with instances of terrible injustice. Similarly, it’s hard to see how God can wield his infinite power to instigate alteration and change in all things if he is flat-out immutable. And there are more such contradictions where these came from.

The second problem is that while this “theist” view of God is supposed to be a description of the God of the Bible, it’s hard to find any evidence that the prophets and scholars who wrote the Hebrew Bible (or “Old Testament”) thought of God in this way at all. The God of Hebrew Scripture is not depicted as immutable, but repeatedly changes his mind about things (for example, he regrets having made man). He is not all-knowing, since he’s repeatedly surprised by things (like the Israelites abandoning him for a statue of a cow). He is not perfectly powerful either, in that he famously cannot control Israel and get its people to do what he wants. And so on.
As those of you who have read TIA know, I do not subscribe to the concept of God as a "perfect" being, or even think that it is meaningful to describe Him as "good", but rather, a tautology.  And given our intrinsically limited perspective, I think it is stupid to claim we have any means of distinguishing between omniscience and superhuman tantiscience or voliscience. But it is fascinating to see that the Aprevistan view appears to finally have penetrated mainstream thinking.

Labels:

115 Comments:

Anonymous Idle Spectator November 30, 2012 7:48 PM  

Too many big words. Too much smart-talk. I just like how Jeezus saves coupons.

Anonymous jack November 30, 2012 8:05 PM  

Yeah: I will have to warm up the dictionary myself. But, that is one of the fun things about the Vox blog.

OT. I suppose the launch date for the Kindle of the new book is still the first? Looking forward to it. Oh yes, will additional copies of the ebook be available on Amazon or just on the March site?

Thanks...

Anonymous Kyle In Japan November 30, 2012 8:11 PM  

Oh boy. Let the flame war commence.

"For example, it seems unlikely that God can be both perfectly powerful and perfectly good if the world is filled (as it obviously is) with instances of terrible injustice."

No, it isn't. These only contradict if he has a limited timeframe to work within, as people do. God allows evil for a time because he has overriding reasons for allowing it (such as allowing people free choice), but the Bible is quite clear that it won't last forever. Justice will be served. Although I don't necessarily subscribe to the idea that God voluntarily restrains his power for one reason or another, it's helpful in conversations about the problem of evil and that sort of thing.

" The God of Hebrew Scripture is not depicted as immutable, but repeatedly changes his mind about things (for example, he regrets having made man)."

The OT writers frequently employ anthropomorphisms and rhetorical flourishes, among other reasons to contrast the God of Israel with other nation's deities. It also shows that God has a conditional 'if A then B' means of thinking.' As in 'if Moses does nothing, I will destroy the Israelites who have pissed me off. If he begs for me to relent, I will not destroy them.'"

"He is not perfectly powerful either, in that he famously cannot control Israel and get its people to do what he wants."

Just because God does not force people do whatever he wants doesn't mean that he *can't*.

Any Christian philosopher can tell you that God is "limited" by what is logically possible. I know of no Christian who says that God can do the illogical, like create a square circle, an infinitely-long bridge. (Side note: the idea of God creating a rock too big for himself to lift, aside being intrinsically inane in that God is a spirit and doesn't "lift" things like a person anyway, is one of the dumbest things I've ever heard. I'm assuming Vox is being tongue-in-cheek when he gives this answer on the FAQ page.) Of course, where this turns into big arguments is when people start debating whether it's logically impossible to create of world full of beings with free will without sin and evil. That's a discussion for some other time.

Part of the problem here is that "imperfect" is a loaded term: when you hear "imperfect" you think of an explosion-prone Ford Pinto, or something else that is flawed. So when you call God "imperfect," it sounds like you're saying God is fallible and can make mistakes, at which point you're so far beyond Christian orthodoxy that you might as well convert to some other religion.

Anonymous jack November 30, 2012 8:16 PM  

Started to search out those big words on Google and managed to get to

VOXICON

And, there it all was. Definitions of a whole crap load of BIG words. I suspect there is a link from the Vox blog to this Voxicon but am too lazy to search the blog dusty corners to find it. Google it and enjoy...

Anonymous Porky? November 30, 2012 8:18 PM  

"He is not perfectly powerful either, in that he famously cannot control Israel and get its people to do what he wants."

Wow that was dumb. I hear this argument from dumb people all the time. Basically, 'God is not great/powerful/good etc. because He doesn't do things the way I would do it.'

Anonymous DT November 30, 2012 8:20 PM  

The OT writers frequently employ anthropomorphisms and rhetorical flourishes, among other reasons to contrast the God of Israel with other nation's deities.

How did you come to the conclusion that they were doing this as opposed to writing what they believed to be true?

It also shows that God has a conditional 'if A then B' means of thinking.' As in 'if Moses does nothing, I will destroy the Israelites who have pissed me off. If he begs for me to relent, I will not destroy them.'"

That's otherwise known as "changing one's mind."

Anonymous Porky? November 30, 2012 8:22 PM  

There are some decent arguments out there for an imperfect God.

This article is not one of them.

Anonymous DT November 30, 2012 8:26 PM  

Wow that was dumb. I hear this argument from dumb people all the time. Basically, 'God is not great/powerful/good etc. because He doesn't do things the way I would do it.'

Yoram Hazony did not say that God is not all powerful because God will not do what Yoram wants. But rather because the OT shows us that God can't always get what He wants.

Not saying I agree or disagree on this point, simply that you did not understand it.

Anonymous AlteredFate November 30, 2012 8:26 PM  

Is God immutable?

“immutable -adj. unchanging through time; unalterable; ageless: immutable laws” –Dictionary.com definition

Unchanging through time? I say yes. His purpose as far as humanity is concerned is the same as the first day of our creation. The plan just got side-tracked a bit. But not without reason.
Is God unalterable? We can’t alter Him with regards to His purpose but we can alter what He will do with regards to our place, if any, within that purpose. So this is arguable.
Is God ageless? Yes. From time indefinite to time indefinite. I propose that time is another invention of God. He is no more subject to it or its effects than He is to gravity.

Most people don’t know the most basic theme of the Bible and so are lost as to the motives of God. Why He permits suffering and evil and chaos is easily answered with even a cursory study of the Bible. Whoever can’t answer this hasn’t bothered looking for an answer beyond navel gazing.


Anonymous God November 30, 2012 8:28 PM  

I made a world of perfect goodness and justice for my favorite, special creatures.

Antarctic krill.

Anonymous JartStar November 30, 2012 8:29 PM  

For Christians looking for a not so meek and mild apologetic I would recommend this book

Anonymous AlteredFate November 30, 2012 8:37 PM  

"...at which point you're so far beyond Christian orthodoxy that you might as well convert to some other religion." - Kyle in Japan

Kyle's post pretty much nails it. One thing I would add, after rereading my own post is that "Christianity" as practiced by the myriads in Christendom's churches has little to nothing to do with what the Bible says.

Revelation 18:1-10

Anonymous DT November 30, 2012 8:40 PM  

Unchanging through time? I say yes. His purpose as far as humanity is concerned is the same as the first day of our creation.

Let us assume His purpose for humanity is immutable. What about Him? I assume He is more than a plan for all of us on this little rock, however important we may be to Him.

Is God ageless? Yes. From time indefinite to time indefinite. I propose that time is another invention of God. He is no more subject to it or its effects than He is to gravity.

I'm of the opinion that even if our timeline is entirely His creation, it must be a reflection of some form of timeline for Him, infinite though it may be. Any change of state (thought, action, etc) implies time.

Anonymous JT November 30, 2012 8:41 PM  

Then what you worship is not ontologically, God. I wonder if you have misunderstood the word perfect. VD. You want to provoke argument? Very well, I'll bite.

The instance of, "it repenteth me" to have made man. Also said of Saul, repenteth me to have set him as king. 1st, God does everything to instruct for the future reality which is not either temporal bliss or grief or any combination...if you come at that from the perspective that this world will endure, then you've missed the larger picture overarching in your approach to interpretation. As long as we are in this world there is affliction, if we are not afflicted we are not children of God. Why? Because God is doubtless not an adherent to utilitarian philosophy as both pleasure and pain are afflictions of the flesh.

Oh, and the word translated as repenteth me means sigh, turn away from, to go back to the beginning, retreat, reverse, withdraw; it doesn't mean the exact same thing as the Greek word interpreted for repent.

Another, "something which did not even enter my mind" meaning even a thought to include it never came up, it was already clearly excluded. It wasn't even considered in the heart to allow Israel to burn their children as an offering to Baal.

"be therefore perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" perfect in the concordance is teleios meaning complete, mature, morally unblemished...it has the root of fulfilling your intended purpose...

I think neither you, not the vast overwhelming majority of theologians have that one correct. Just like the feckless pew warmers think sin is simply doing something bad like smoking, for fuck sake...the word sin means to miss the mark literally, it has to do with the thoughts and intents that led you to err, all of them easily classified as things like coveting, or pride.

Has God fulfilled His purpose? Since it is God who orchestrates purpose, I'd think, logically, it would be impossible not to...wouldn't you?

Anonymous The CronoLink November 30, 2012 8:55 PM  

So, what does the word "perfect" means? Or is that dependent on the context of where it is used?

Anonymous Kickass November 30, 2012 9:04 PM  

I find this to be in contradiction to your post regarding the twisters that people were attributing to "God". If I remember correctly, I think it was the Joplin one.

I thought the argument was the Satan was the prince of this world (along with the Prince and Power of the air) and that he did these things and not God. Unless, of course, God warns you in advance.

Am I understanding incorrectly here?

I think it is quite clear that God can control people if He wants to. He clearly claimed to have hardened Pharoh's heart during the plagues.
Allowing free will and not being able to control people are two different things.

As for the claims of His perfection, He is Holy. That is a perfection that I don't think we can fully understand since we are so full and laden with sins that we need to be redeemed. And even then, Paul says we see as though through a dark glass.

As for all knowing, all I can know for sure is that He claims to know what people imagine in their hears and can quite clearly predict the future.

Anonymous Kickass November 30, 2012 9:05 PM  

Sorry, that should be "imagine in their hearts".

Anonymous The CronoLink November 30, 2012 9:08 PM  

Kickass,
God did not "cast some spell" or "used His hands" to harden his heart; everybody can harden any heart as long as you know what exactly inflames their pride.

And I just looked it up, Holy != Perfection.

Anonymous rycamor November 30, 2012 9:24 PM  

Interesting... I have not made up my mind on this topic, but I was musing on it earlier when reading the Bible to my kids. In the aftermath of Israel's miraculous victory over Jericho, Achan disobeys God and steals some of the spoils which were to be set aside. Suddenly the Israelites begin losing battles. God tells Joshua that someone has taken the spoils, but rather than name who, He requires a procession, bringing forth the head of each tribe, selecting the tribe that is guilty, bringing forth the heads of each clan, selecting the clan that is guilty, bringing forth the heads of each family, selecting the family that is guilty, and then finally selecting the man who is guilty.

I had always assumed this was merely a theatrical device to make a show before all Israel of what happens to those who disobey, but it seems curiously involved. Couldn't God have just named the guy, and required "all Israel" (meaning the heads of clans) to attend the punishment?

Now I wonder if perhaps this was actually a methodical way to look for clues as well as seek out betrayal. Maybe God was wondering how far up the chain the betrayal went.

Again, just a dispassionate musing, at present. It matters little to me whether God fits the fundamentalist definition of perfection or the Aprevistan view. His power and wisdom is still obviously so greatly above ours that mere comparison is pointless. And we still need be in little doubt as to the value of following His commands.

Anonymous AlteredFate November 30, 2012 9:34 PM  

"Let us assume His purpose for humanity is immutable. What about Him? I assume He is more than a plan for all of us on this little rock, however important we may be to Him." -DT

His plan for mankind, as laid out in the Bible, was for us to become many, fill the earth, study his creation (implied from the job he originally gave to Adam)and live happily in a peaceful world free from sin (and hence death, since it is the wages that sin pays), and to turn said earth into a paradise(open to our interpretation as to what constitutes a paradise).

But SHTF. Satan challenged God, and to prove Satan for the liar that he is, God allowed his challenge. Is God, as creator, entitled to be our God and rule us as He sees fit or are we, as creation, able to do this ourselves just as well as He could.

6,000 years have passed, Satan has obviously been proven wrong beyond a doubt as mankind has tried in vain to form any government that can get rid of sin or create prosperity into infinity. If Obama(or Bush for that matter) is the pinnacle of human self rule, how the laughter must fill heaven. So, in short, man cannot rule himself.

Now we wait for Armageddon, for God to set mankind back on the path of his original plan. (There's more, but I'm summing it up)

Now to get back to DT, I have found almost nothing in the Bible to indicate what the future beyond that will look like aside from some very ancient people living well.

Now some thought provoking speculation. Ever wonder what would have happened if Adam and Eve hadn't sinned and that tree was still standing in the middle of the Garden of Eden? At some point would mankind have learned so much of God and His ways that He might decide to permit mankind to eat from it?

We have no way of knowing, yet, what God has in store for us, but I'm guessing there is a reason we can see the stars.

Anonymous Anonymous November 30, 2012 9:46 PM  

Whomever wrote that jibberish you quoted is an idiot. God gave us free will. He's had to correct us a few times along the way. The fact that some people chose darkness over light, death over life, is meaningless when compared to the more beautiful spectacle of faith in the face of all the bullshit the world has to throw at a man.

Anonymous TLM November 30, 2012 9:53 PM  

A decent but lengthy response Kyle. How about My ways are not your ways. Simple and effective.

Anonymous Kyle In Japan November 30, 2012 10:04 PM  

"How did you come to the conclusion that they were doing this as opposed to writing what they believed to be true?"

Who says they're mutually exclusive? The ancient way of writing history, not surprisingly, is different from our hyper-forensic manner and throws in plenty of literary elements. The opening chapters of Genesis is the real hotbed for this discussion, but it shows up elsewhere as well - when God "stretches out his hand," "turns his face away," and that sort of thing.

This article (and the one linked in the bottom on the series concerning open theism) have some good info. http://www.tektonics.org/gk/godallover.html

"That's otherwise known as "changing one's mind.""

Not exactly. When the idea of God changing his mind shows up in these discussions, it's usually implied that God is thinking something like, 'Oh, since Moses is begging for mercy for Israel, maybe I won't destroy them after all. I guess this guy is pretty persuasive, reminding me of promises I made to deliver them and make them into a great people! I almost broke my covenant right there."

I think that, from the perspective of the writer, God appears to change his mind, but doing such was likely his plan all along; testing Moses, for example, in a similar way as he tested Abraham during Isaac's sacrifice: God planned to do it all along. Of course there's no way to be sure, but I think that God relenting from doing something that would break his covenant or other promises is strongly indicative that God is trying to teach a rhetorical lesson here.

Anyway, I'd be pleased if Throne Of Bones went up in the next few hours or so. I'm ready to read this thing as soon as it's on Amazon.

Blogger Robert S. Oculus III November 30, 2012 10:12 PM  

Love ya, Vox, but you are wrong on this one. I'll take two thousand years of orthodox Catholic theology over your opinion. If God isn't perfect, he's god, not God. And If we're going to worship god, then I pick Thor.

Blogger That Crazy Christian November 30, 2012 10:18 PM  

Vox,

Unfortunately, this puts you at odds with the revelation of God in Scripture.

Additionally, many of the supposed proofs appealed to in the article are not proof at all. Simply put, they are fallaciously framed in order to advance a worldview.

I would encourage you to have an exegetic approach to the Bible and not an eisegetical approach. His word reveals Him to be Omnipresent, Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Sovereign. If you change any of those facets, you have a different God than Scripture. This is idolatry.

I know, I'm about to get blasted because traditional Biblical theology is not welcomed here by the ilk (and perhaps even you) preferring a man-constructed theology over that which is revealed in the text. I suppose I feel compelled to plead with you to...

...well...

stop thinking like that; and align yourself with Scripture instead of making the Scripture align with you.

Anonymous The Stranger November 30, 2012 10:24 PM  

*shrug*

1) Voliscience and omniscience are functionality identical.

2) The peoblem of evil is predicated on the maxim "Justice delayed is justice denied." I've never encountered a coherent argument that this is so, especially when the judge in question is capable of restoring what the locusts have stolen -- e.g. a murderer living out his life in peace and *then* enjoying the tender mercies of Hell for eternity is not even slightly offensive when the Judge is willing and able to restore life to his victims and grant (should they merit it) an eternity of life together and the knowledge that they were avenged. Inigo Montoya can have his father back.

The Bible promises everyone will be satisfied that the end result is just. The skeptic may claim this is a cop-out. On an emotional, selfish level, he may even be right. Nevertheless, if he brings up the PoE, he is arguing against some religion other than Christianity.

Also, goodness for God is being God. Goodness for his creations is obeying God. There's no rule saying the rule sets for each need be the same, or even consistent. A good God may be no more like a good man than a good man like a good spider.

Re: if/then = changing one's mind. No it's not. Suppose I decide that if I get done with work by 5, I will make myself a taco, but if I am done later, I will order a pizza. Nomatter which situation plays out, the decision my mind is unchanged, even my actions with regard to the circumstances are different than they would otherwise be. That I order the pizza does not change the fact that I would have made a taco under other conditions.

The rules of how water operates as a whole do not change with the temperature; only which rule is applied.

I don't see this as proof that God cannot change his mind, mind you. Only that an if/then scenario with different consequences for different actions doesn't count as a mind-changing.

Anonymous antonym November 30, 2012 10:26 PM  

It's been argued that an omnipotent god is not necessarily an omniscient god. God might not know everything, but everything he does know he knows with absolute certainty. Either way, the Christian Bible must still effectively be considered a perfect document, right? Even if it's not interpreted correctly by a mortal reader...

Blogger W.LindsayWheeler November 30, 2012 10:37 PM  

With your rejection of the Trinity and this, just shows that you are a heretic.

Anonymous the one armed man on the grassy knoll November 30, 2012 10:39 PM  

Is 'perfect' and 'all powerful' the same meaning or different?

Anonymous the one armed man on the grassy knoll November 30, 2012 10:41 PM  

Is 'perfect' and 'all powerful' the same in meaning?

Anonymous JT November 30, 2012 10:48 PM  

the one armed man on the grassy knoll

Is 'perfect' and 'all powerful' the same in meaning?
-----------------------------------------
no.

if you want an answer with more depth you'd have to provide an example oh how this question came to your mind.

Anonymous JT November 30, 2012 10:51 PM  

W.LindsayWheeler

With your rejection of the Trinity and this, just shows that you are a heretic.
-------------------------------------------------

Thank God (literally) our salvation doesn't depend on us having the correct ideas about Him (otherwise, how could a mental defunct be saved?), only our acceptance of Him.

Anonymous The CronoLink November 30, 2012 10:53 PM  

Hahahah, Wheleer, could you be any more ignorant?

Anonymous JT November 30, 2012 10:53 PM  

Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Anonymous Other Josh November 30, 2012 11:01 PM  

Vox, you have jumped the shark once again. You puzzle me. You write good posts that are truthful and right, and then you post an absolute blasphemous piece of garbage such as this.

Screw philosophy, debate, and man’s wisdom. What does scripture say?

"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good - except God alone.” – Luke 18:19

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever. – Psalm 136:1

Why do you boast in evil, O’ mighty man? The goodness of God endureth continually. – Psalm 52:1

As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him. – Psalm 18:30

Vox, do you believe the books of the Bible, as they are written in the original greek and hebrew manuscripts, are inspired by God? If you answer "no", that may explain why you dismiss what scripture clearly says about God. His word reveals Him... not your game programming logic or the wisdom of man.

Anonymous Freddy November 30, 2012 11:05 PM  

VD is modern day Gnostic. Special knowledge required. Same 'ol shit, new heretic. How could he possibly prove these allegations without scrpture twisting...he appears to be in camp with JW's and Mormons for they do the same. And you stupid dolts that send money to this douche to fund his church.

Anonymous Freddy November 30, 2012 11:11 PM  

VD is modern day Gnostic. Special knowledge required. Same 'ol shit, new heretic. How could he possibly prove these allegations without scrpture twisting...he appears to be in camp with JW's and Mormons for they do the same. And you stupid dolts that send money to this douche to fund his church.

Anonymous Mildman November 30, 2012 11:15 PM  

God is traditionally understood as a maximally great (i.e., perfect) being; that is to say, a being greater than which no being can be. It is impossible to know more than God, do more than God can, be more good than God, etc. This in itself doesn't say what exactly God can and cannot do, can and cannot know, and so on. For example, there is a question of whether God can cause a person to freely will something. There is also a question of whether God can know for certain what a person will freely will to do. Whether God, as a "perfect" being, can do or know such things depends on whether such things are logically doable or knowable. There is also a question of whether some traits (complete simplicity or immutability, for example) are actually traits of a perfect being. Whatever the answers to these questions are, they do not call into question God's perfection or maximal greatness, but only help us understand what it means to be perfect/maximally great. As a side note, God's existence is also explained by his maximally greatness, as necessary existence (i.e, the impossibility of nonexistence) would be a characteristic of a maximally great being. The ontological argument for God's existence is based on this idea. In short, God's will not always being done, or God not knowing something does not necessarily contradict his perfection.

Anonymous one armed man in the grassy knoll November 30, 2012 11:22 PM  

Other Josh

Exactly! Psalm 18:30

also

2 Samuel 22:31 As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.

Anonymous szook November 30, 2012 11:27 PM  

Vox,

I agree so far as to say that when Christians adopted Pagan Greek philosophical vocabulary to describe the Lord we took a wrong turn in to a wet paper bag that so many fail to fight their way out of. But your hesitancy to describe God as "good" is something in the same vein. He described Himself as righteous and rightly expects our acknowledgement of this fact.

Anonymous JT November 30, 2012 11:28 PM  

Mildman has it, that is the ontological argument, a being of "perfection" of maturity, moral, a completed being or a being more complete than any other kind of being which exists. We can enjoy the work of striving for that in this life, but it will not be totally fulfilled until God reveals more of Himself to His creation. Until then we will never know the full capacity of God's greatness or perfection. If indeed such a thing is possible, or ever will be.

Anonymous Frederick303 November 30, 2012 11:37 PM  

Somehow I think Vox thought this post out before he published it. it will be interesting to see how he responds to the many clear and reasoned objections to his statements.

I woudl point out to those who are convinced Vox is a heretical chap and all round condemned by his choice of words, that JC himself says "judge not (a persons state of grace) lest ye be judged" at least that is how I learned it.

Now to get out the popcorn

Blogger IM2L844 November 30, 2012 11:39 PM  

And given our intrinsically limited perspective, I think it is stupid to claim we have any means of distinguishing...

I think this hits the nail squarely on the head. I would just add that I think we also probably lack the intellectual capacity to fully comprehend Gods true nature. That may be due to our current limited perspective, but it could also be that we would never be able to fully understand it even if given an eternal transcendental perspective.

On the other hand, I think it is made perfectly clear in the bible that what God wants is for mankind to freely choose whether we want to aim for the mark and be contrite when we miss or not. In that sense, God is getting exactly what He wants. We all have that choice. Is it even logical to speak of an atemporal being as necessarily having some type of linear expectations in a way that we could possibly understand? I don't think so. It would be like discussing String Theory with a monkey.

Blogger Markku November 30, 2012 11:41 PM  

You people do understand that the quoted text is only meant to demonstrate that "Aprevistan view appears to finally have penetrated mainstream thinking" and not that Vox agrees with each and every statement in it, right?

Anonymous JT November 30, 2012 11:42 PM  

It's likely that no being will ever have the same kind of being that God enjoys. Whether you accept Him as one person, or three. I'm convinced, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that one need only believe two things about Christ in order to attain eternal life. That he is fully man, composed of flesh. Divine, well he claimed to be the Son of God, so certainly inherited divinity, which is not stressed on by the apostles for an exhaustive depth of knowledge to fully believe. Nope, just that he is flesh and bone.

Blogger Desert Cat November 30, 2012 11:57 PM  

jack November 30, 2012 8:16 PM
Started to search out those big words on Google and managed to get to
VOXICON
And, there it all was. Definitions of a whole crap load of BIG words. I suspect there is a link from the Vox blog to this Voxicon but am too lazy to search the blog dusty corners to find it. Google it and enjoy...


Jack, that "dusty corner" would happen to be in the upper left sidebar of the blog, category label "Voxology". Just about as front and center as a person could make anything on a webpage.

Anonymous kh123 November 30, 2012 11:58 PM  

Windows Aprevista V. 2.71828, now with Regret Bin for all your deleted file needs.

Anonymous Hoots November 30, 2012 11:59 PM  

What happened to the game designer analogy Vox? What difference would it make if the designer of this game wasn't "perfect" in some narrowly-defined sense? From our perspective, inside the game, he is God and can do whatever he likes. If, as you say, we have no means of distinguishing "perfection", then there's no point in making the distinction at all, since it can't even be defined.

Blogger Desert Cat December 01, 2012 12:02 AM  

jack November 30, 2012 8:16 PM
Started to search out those big words on Google and managed to get to
VOXICON
And, there it all was. Definitions of a whole crap load of BIG words. I suspect there is a link from the Vox blog to this Voxicon but am too lazy to search the blog dusty corners to find it. Google it and enjoy...


Jack, that "dusty corner" would happen to be in the upper left sidebar of the blog, category label "Voxology". Just about as front and center as a person could make anything on a webpage.

Anonymous rycamor December 01, 2012 12:09 AM  

Other Josh November 30, 2012 11:01 PM

Vox, you have jumped the shark once again. You puzzle me. You write good posts that are truthful and right, and then you post an absolute blasphemous piece of garbage such as this.

Screw philosophy, debate, and man’s wisdom. What does scripture say?

"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good - except God alone.” – Luke 18:19

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever. – Psalm 136:1

Why do you boast in evil, O’ mighty man? The goodness of God endureth continually. – Psalm 52:1


You obviously don't understand what "tautology" means, in Vox's post above.

Blogger IM2L844 December 01, 2012 1:07 AM  

You people do understand that the quoted text is only meant to demonstrate that "Aprevistan view appears to finally have penetrated mainstream thinking" and not that Vox agrees with each and every statement in it, right?

I'm guessing Vox is highly amused when people respond with tirades about what they think he said rather than what he actually said.

Anonymous Elmer Fudge (friend of Sexual Chocolate) December 01, 2012 1:47 AM  

I will third Kyle here as well. I have no dissertation to offer here. It would take a blog post of its own. I'm really not inclined to do so at this time.

One thing does come to mind. I similar debate was conducted in 1525. I believe one of the participants was a man by the name of -- Erasmus. The way it ended up, was in such a way, that said participant learned the definition of cruelty artist.

I believe that men of the last two centuries or so, even the best of them to memory, will never measure up to those of the previous centuries. As technology has crept along, man has become increasingly distracted, and is simply not capable of thought, as those before him, that had the benefit of far clearer minds. The best that present man can hope to do, is to translate and interpret those bringing knowledge and the acumen that preceded them...

Anonymous nowyouknow December 01, 2012 2:10 AM  

First of all it's idiotic to try to deduce the properties of God. If logic can be used to determine them, then he is bound by it's rules. That would mean he is not supreme. Of course I am using logic to ascertain that.

Second of all, there is no God, because there was never a beginning.

Anonymous Sexual Chocolate (friend of Elmer) December 01, 2012 2:10 AM  

To add another thought here. Go watch Jesse Ventura's latest episode on The Ozarks. Pay special attention to the local historian. Some the of the most important recorded words of Jesus for mortals at this time is, "as in the days of Noah." Ontological discussions will soon become frivolous...

Blogger Robert S. Oculus III December 01, 2012 2:16 AM  

@nowyouknow December 01, 2012 2:10 AM: Second of all, there is no God, because there was never a beginning.

Uh, gee. Gosh, how can I put this? There was this guy named Aristotle, see, and...

Anonymous Other Josh December 01, 2012 2:25 AM  

rycamor, I don't like the statement "concept of God as... a tautology". God is truth - but once again, it brings in the factor of man's logic. Man's logic & God don't mix very well. We end up bringing God down to our level. Vox is very logical, and this is a weakness for him as he evaluates the concept of God. He has come to conclusions (a handful of posts over the past couple years) about God's character that contradict what the Bible explicitly says about God. You either believe what it says or you don't. Once you start to pick and choose what agrees with your logic, you might as well go start your own religion... which in a sense is what Vox has done, forming his own version of Christianity.

Anonymous nowyouknow December 01, 2012 2:27 AM  

Robert S. Oculus III: blah blah blah aristotle something prime mover something something

There was never a beginning, get it?

Anonymous Other Josh December 01, 2012 2:30 AM  

rycamor, futhermore, the verses I posted were to directly challenge his comment "I do not subscribe to the concept of God as a "perfect" being, or even think that it is meaningful to describe Him as 'good'..."

Anonymous nowyouknow December 01, 2012 2:35 AM  

I do not subscribe to the concept of God as a "perfect" being...

It's comical to think of the arrogance it takes to think that you have the privilege of "subscribing" to any concepts about God. You are a man, God is your God. Just keep your head down and do what he tells you.

Anonymous FrankNorman December 01, 2012 3:00 AM  

The problem with debating concepts like "perfection" is that one can never be sure we are all talking about the same thing. Because "perfect" is actually not an adjective, but a modifier. Perfectly what?

Anonymous Scintan December 01, 2012 3:10 AM  

In the past few threads, Vox has managed to reconnect with almost all of his most popular themes. About all that's been missing is a gun thread.

Given the range of responses the threads have gotten, this must be Vox's Christmas present to himself.

Blogger Brad Andrews December 01, 2012 3:32 AM  

Jesus was slain before the foundation of the world, so the plan was to redeem man the whole time. While tragic, this was not a mistake.

Those who hold the view of an imperfect God are using man's judgment to view Him. We can never comprehend God any more than we can truly comprehend timelessness living in a time-bound existence.

Though a key question is what is meant by "good". That has been left out and likely holds more meaning and is the uncertain term like "perfect."

Anonymous Clay December 01, 2012 3:35 AM  

You guys seem to know more about God, and His intentions for the ant farm He created on Earth. I commend you.

Anonymous Freddy December 01, 2012 4:03 AM  

Define the terms.

Vox is bored.
Don't you get it?
Every 6 months or so we go deeper into his theological web. Haven't read any of his fiction but if I was a betting man VD has imprited this shit all over the place. Beware, the subtlties, autonomy...in all it's forms...duh... how do you think he would fare against D Wilson? He wouldn't dare $$'.

Blogger kilo papa December 01, 2012 4:04 AM  

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/global/2012/11/north-korea-says-they-unearthed-unicorn-lair/59483/

Gentlemen, we now have official evidence of unicorns.
It is surely only a matter of time before we have evidence that the invisible man in the sky decided to turn himself into a man in the ancient Middle East desert two thousand years ago for the ultimate purpose of turning himself into a man so that a superstitious bunch of peasants could hang him to a tree and savagely torture him to death in the most disgusting manner possible as a blood atonement for the apparent sins of his own creation.

Let's all take a moment and pray that this preposterous, idiotic, asinine, Neanderthal bunch of superstitious bullshit is actually true.

Praise Jebus. Praise his holy fucking name. Amen.

Anonymous Freddy December 01, 2012 4:13 AM  

Define the terms.

Vox is bored.
Don't you get it?
Every 6 months or so we go deeper into his theological web. Haven't read any of his fiction but if I was a betting man VD has imprited this shit all over the place. Beware, the subtlties, autonomy...in all it's forms...duh... how do you think he would fare against D Wilson? He wouldn't dare $$'.

Blogger Jamie-R December 01, 2012 4:30 AM  

One of the idiotic arguments I sometimes hear is, oh, America! Americans! So those Christians are going to Heaven, what about the rest of the world! Aren't they of equal value! And I'm like, well, Americans are a product of those seeking salvation to follow Christ in their own way, and they have also been a remarkable lighthouse for those wanting to find such freedom to follow too. So, yeah, you'll see many more Americans in heaven than you think.

Anonymous Clay December 01, 2012 4:56 AM  

Well, Jamie-R,

Regardless of religion, I will be expecting a shoe-shine, and butt-sex with your girlfriend.

You prolly won't see me up there, tho:)

Anonymous zen0 December 01, 2012 4:58 AM  

Quick, someone use "tantiscience" in a sentence.

Example: If one posits God possessing qualities of tantiscience and tantipotence equating to omniscience and omnipotence minus the amount of knowledge and power required to avoid conflicting with the logical incompatibility, one is still left with a God whose theoretical capabilities are sufficient to fulfill the various claims about His knowledge and power made in His Word. Morever, this logically acceptable tantiscient God would be completely indistinguishable from the omniscient one when viewed from the human perspective.

Blogger Doorstop December 01, 2012 5:04 AM  

OT - apparently Allah isn't "good" either, otherwise his followers would fall into line on the biggest issue facing the world today - "climate change"
http://news.yahoo.com/wish-islam-inform-climate-talks-065421842.html

Secular and pagan environmentalists are the new pantheists...

Blogger Jamie-R December 01, 2012 5:06 AM  

Clay, that said, Mississippi didn't deal too well with itself over the years. Gotta represent the South right.

Anonymous L.W. Dickel December 01, 2012 5:07 AM  

And then Jesus said, "Holy goddamn fuck!!! What happened to my Saints!!!??"--Jesus H. Christ, in the sky, and fucking depressed

Anonymous OCS December 01, 2012 5:33 AM  

Huh, it's like Vox injected the Ilk with some sort of vaccine and is watching us from afar with SpaceBunny.

Anonymous OlioOx December 01, 2012 5:41 AM  

Have any of you seen 'Girl Writes What'? She's an anti-feminist video blogger, very intelligent. Here's an interesting talk of hers on the misuse of atheism, I hope you can find the time, Vox, to watch this one and give us your opinion:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUPxRYWpglQ

Anonymous zen0 December 01, 2012 5:49 AM  

So, yeah, you'll see many more Americans in heaven than you think. Jaimie R

Just maybe not the ones you expect.

Anonymous Clay December 01, 2012 6:02 AM  

My apologies, Jamie. I've just seen so much crap about "religion" Everybody has a differet door to hammer on.

I hope you & yours are doing well.

Anonymous Clayton December 01, 2012 6:10 AM  

Pleese xcuse my Rednk speling.

Anonymous The Stranger December 01, 2012 6:46 AM  

Re: the Bible as perfect. I would contend a more accurate understanding is that the original manuscripts when read as intended by their original authors are accurate in their teachings, that our current versions are roughly 98% accurate, which is good enough to go on.

Re: interpretation. I would say that an accurate interpretation would be the theological equivalent of General Relativity, a studied interpretation such as probably the better ones available the equivalent of Newtonian physics, and the average person's readings the equivalent of the observation that stuff falls when you drop it. Any of the three is good enough to go on in most circumstances.

Anonymous Just Mark December 01, 2012 7:36 AM  

What does God say of himself in the Bible.

Jn 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God

Ps 19:7-12 7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.

9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.

10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.

12 Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.

Verse 7 God, the Word, declares himself to be perfect. Verse 12 is a rhetorical question with God as the answer.

How can you have an error without an objective intrument to measure by?

Anonymous Outlaw X December 01, 2012 8:10 AM  

"As those of you who have read TIA know, I do not subscribe to the concept of God as a "perfect" being, or even think that it is meaningful to describe Him as "good", but rather, a tautology. And given our intrinsically limited perspective, I think it is stupid to claim we have any means of distinguishing between omniscience and superhuman tantiscience or voliscience. But it is fascinating to see that the Aprevistan view appears to finally have penetrated mainstream thinking."

Well... suddenly it seems that Firefox does not recognize three of your words. Firefox is dumb, and so am I except I am dumb in a different way. The train is coming either get on it or stay away so you don't get run over.

Hello Clay :-)

Anonymous Outlaw X December 01, 2012 8:33 AM  

"What does God say of himself in the Bible."

All you say is true in his world but not this one. Jesus told us Satan ruled this one, when he did not kneel before him for the kingdoms. Jesus will be back and next time he won't be a lamb for the slaughter.

And if he isn't the perfect God then there is no God. Just wait, our time is short if he comes tomorrow or in a thousand years. The fleeting from an imperfect God amuses me. The mistake men make is measuring God in this realm and think they know. And none of them have ever seen the cross. That imperfect man who hung there for the sin of not kneeling to the Devil. Ask yourself how many times you have knelt? Hmmmm? I have! No perfection here with Outlaw X.

Anonymous Clay December 01, 2012 8:44 AM  

What's up, Homie X?

Anonymous Outlaw X December 01, 2012 8:47 AM  

You know, just watching Vox stirring the pot.

Anonymous Holla December 01, 2012 8:50 AM  

Boy do Protestants have to twist themselves into pretzels to defend their goofball belief in Free Will. Which, of course, is itself simply an excuse to stay Protestant.

Anonymous Clay December 01, 2012 8:51 AM  

LOL. Yes, he is good at that. Mebbe they ought to make a show called "Top Instigator".

Anonymous Clay December 01, 2012 8:54 AM  

Uh, oh...I think Holla just threw a RCC grenade into our midst. Here come the hammers.

Anonymous Outlaw X December 01, 2012 9:04 AM  

You would be incorrect Clay, that is not RCC That is Calvin coming back from the dead.

Blogger Jamie-R December 01, 2012 9:08 AM  

So, yeah, you'll see many more Americans in heaven than you think. Jaimie R

Just maybe not the ones you expect.


Oh no the ones I expect. Stereotypes will come back to the median, this is not some 'racial enlightenment' journey for me. I know who accepts the what, by the by. And yeah. I, of course, see the ones who see Jesus. Sadly, this is still a British Isles journey for many, after all this time! Some see God better than others. Clearly. But don't hold it against others, who are bred into a society to see it better than a society that is not. Because in that is good. It is now a minority.

Blogger Rantor December 01, 2012 9:18 AM  

While more or less agreeing with Reformed ideas of God, I am intrigued by VDs argument that our definitions of God are tautological. When asked his name, God himself told Moses, "I am." In a way, God was refusing to define himself further. God is such that all human attempts at defining him must fail... But we try.

Anonymous Outlaw X December 01, 2012 9:18 AM  

Sadly, this is still a British Isles journey for many, after all this time!

Hummm? I am confused right now I thought it belonged to the Chinese. Enlighten me. You gave away your guns and all, just bend over and let slanty eyes do the rest. Why not, cowards?

anyone who gives up the gun doesn't know they are about to be a slave.

Think Nate will ever give up his? If you do you are mistaken.

Anonymous Anonymous December 01, 2012 9:23 AM  

Vox,

Here you are wrong. There is evidence for God's perfection.


Mat 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.


Jesus said that. . .and He does not lie.

And for good measure I looked up perfect in the Greek. "perfect" as used in the text, is perfect as we use it.

frenchy

Blogger Jamie-R December 01, 2012 9:29 AM  

I love you Zeno.

Blogger JD Curtis December 01, 2012 9:38 AM  

A pastor I know recently posted this link online. It contains brief and precise answers to many questions raised by skeptics by today's heavy hitters in the field of apologetics.

Anonymous Clay December 01, 2012 9:41 AM  

In what is left of Americanese, we say, "you boys should get a room".

Blogger A December 01, 2012 9:44 AM  

I request adding Tantiscience to the Voxicon.

Anonymous Steveo December 01, 2012 9:48 AM  

Dang it, got here late... missed another game of let's make God smaller.
One of the first human games.

Anonymous Outlaw X December 01, 2012 9:58 AM  

Zen0 and Jamie should get a room. Right now there is a discount from the queen for sheep. It is a Christmas consumerism special.

Anonymous Aussie Sheep Breeder December 01, 2012 10:06 AM  

Now, Outlaw, I'm sure Jamie's travel agency has already accounted for that. Only the best for my boy

Anonymous Vidad December 01, 2012 10:07 AM  

@rycamor

"I wonder if perhaps this was actually a methodical way to look for clues as well as seek out betrayal. Maybe God was wondering how far up the chain the betrayal went."

By casting lots? That's about the stupidest method I can imagine.

Blogger Jamie-R December 01, 2012 10:11 AM  

"Zen0 and Jamie should get a room. Right now there is a discount from the queen for sheep. It is a Christmas consumerism special."

How about you fuck up, cunt.

Blogger Jamie-R December 01, 2012 10:13 AM  

TISM has this great song, it's our culture to the core, "I may be a cunt but at least I'm not a fucking cunt." How we judge ourselves.

Anonymous Clay December 01, 2012 10:16 AM  

TISM should sing a song about having no damn sense of humour. (that "u" was for you)

Anonymous Outlaw X December 01, 2012 10:19 AM  

Jamie, no ill will just illustrating that I am the one with the gun. No hate, just found it funny. And in America it is "Shut the Fuck up" Aussies may be different, but you will all eventually hate us for our guns. I just don't like people using God's judgement the way he did. He don't know and neither do I.

Anonymous Anonymous December 01, 2012 1:24 PM  

There are many places in the Bible where God is called good, e.g. Luke 18:19. I don't see how it could be meaningless given that fact.

Anonymous Kickass December 01, 2012 1:31 PM  

@The CronoLink

Read what I said again. We are in agreement. I am just staying that what we Humans consider perfect may not be what God does. Just like what God considers "good" is not always what we consider good. I take His judgement over mine anytime and that is the main thing that Atheists cannot wrap their jugs around.

Since it appears we believe in the same One True and Holy Lord, I tried to phrase this nicely. Did it work Brother ?

Anonymous rycamor December 01, 2012 2:11 PM  

Vidad December 01, 2012 10:07 AM

@rycamor

"I wonder if perhaps this was actually a methodical way to look for clues as well as seek out betrayal. Maybe God was wondering how far up the chain the betrayal went."

By casting lots? That's about the stupidest method I can imagine.


There were no lots cast. It was just a procession, with God doing the choosing at each level. Let's face it, the whole thing is pretty bizarre no matter which way you look at it. It must have taken days or even weeks to get that whole procession organized, all for one guy who committed what was a pretty standard crime in the old Testament, and which was usually dealt with quickly and simply.

Blogger RobertT December 01, 2012 2:15 PM  

It continually irks me to read over and over again, as I just did in the article quoted, that God "obviously" allows evil. Think about this, if God made everyone basically mindless robots without free will that did as they were programmed, what good would that do God? The creation would be meaningless. Humanity would be meaningless, no more unusual or significant than an asteroid. Isn't it more meaningful, for both God and mankind, to watch as a part of a completely evil, wanton creation possessed of free will is converted? Perhaps God doesn't simply allow evil, but in order to achieve what he wants to achieve, it has to happen? After all, God doesn't cause it, Our bad choices cause it.

Anonymous rycamor December 01, 2012 2:32 PM  

To all those getting their panties in a twist over the word "good", try reading Vox's sentence again:

"... or even think that it is meaningful to describe Him as "good", but rather, a tautology."

Notice Vox is not saying that God isn't good. He's saying it is not particularly meaningful to say that because it is a tautology, akin to saying "water is wet."

You could turn it around and say that the word "good" is meaningless without God.

As for the word "perfect", it is a curious concept, when you think about it. We think of such things as a perfect circle, or a perfect square, even though we have never seen one. Yet we have seen circles that are perfect in any practical sense given our limited perceptions.

Anonymous Freddy December 02, 2012 2:40 AM  

Anybody who worships their intellect will out of necessity always make God smaller...it's an innate autonomous kind of thing. VD excells at this sort of self worship. Of course he smuggles God in here and there when it is convenient to make sense for the benefit of the argument or to sell books but in the end it comes down to simple idolotry...unwilling to surrender the intellect to the God who has chosen the means by which He is to be known and interpreted by.

Anonymous Daniel December 02, 2012 4:44 AM  

Freddy, how could you possibly claim to know who might be worshiped by Vox in such a way? Are you psychic or simply omniscient?

Anonymous Toby Temple December 03, 2012 12:30 AM  

what is divine perfection?

then compare it to what we humans mean by the word "perfect".

Blogger Chris December 03, 2012 8:19 AM  

Perhaps if everyone used a good theological dictionary or encyclopedia such as the ISBE to agree on terms we'd see more understanding and less talking past one another: internationalstandardbible.com

Blogger CR106 December 04, 2012 4:00 PM  

I guess I'm going to get flamed for this, but what is Aprevistan? I searched on Bing and Google and could only find references back to this web site. It's not in the dictionaries. It doesn't seem to be anywhere. Is this a word Vox made up? Please explain. Provide 3rd party references.

Anonymous Toby Temple December 05, 2012 2:42 AM  

CR106,

Look here

Anonymous Toby Temple December 05, 2012 2:43 AM  

I mean HERE

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