Thursday, September 24, 2009

A betrayal of common sense


“Definition: The author of sin is the potter of dishonorable vessels.”

i) That’s hardly a definition, since all you’ve done is to “define” one metaphor by reference to another metaphor.

ii) To identify God with the potter of dishonorable vessels is by no means a uniquely Reformed interpretation. Can you cite me any major modern commentary on Romans that identifies the devil as the potter of dishonorable vessels?

iii) Your two-potters dichotomy, in which one agent (God) is the potter of honorable vessels while another agent (Satan) is the potter of dishonorable vessels, is a perfectly illustration of Manichean/Zoroastrian style dualism. Thanks for corroborating my original allegation.

To identify Satan as the potter of dishonorable vessels ascribes godlike power and autonomy to Satan.

“The problem is, this philosophical concept isn't found in the bible.”

Of course, I’m not the one who uses that terminology in the first place. It’s Arminians who cast the issue in such terms.

I’m fine with “predestination.”

“By the way, where do you think we'll end up if we go down the road and take calvinism to its logical conclusion?”

We’ll find ourselves back in the word of God. I rather like that destination myself.

“And what does the bible say?”

Of course, you’re very selective in your Johannine quotations. I can’t help noticing some of the verses you manage to overlook, such as:

“Jesus answered, ‘It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him’” (Jn 9:3).

“But when Jesus heard it he said, ‘This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it’” (11:4).

“Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: ‘Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?’ Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said, ‘He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them’” (12:37-40).

“While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled” (Jn 17:12).

“Steve, you should abolish calvinism!”

I could only abolish Calvinism by violating the freewill of Calvinists. Is that what you want me to do? Seems a bit counterproductive to your thesis.

“Yes, calvinism is a form of pantheism.”

An assertion in lieu of an argument. What else is new?

“God's will isn't contradictory -- calvinism is!”

An assertion in lieu of an argument. What else is new?

“I'm not an arminian, however I also reject the doctrines of grace, because they are both unscriptural and betray common sense.”

Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that they do betray common sense. What did Paul say about the gospel?

1 Corinthians 1:18-29

18For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written,

"I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart."

20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

26For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.


  1. The question is, now, will helmet admit that his position has been shown to be a load of dingo's kidneys?

    I'd like a mug of warm intellectual honesty, please.

  2. I'd much prefer a load of dingo's kidneys myself. At least I could probably sell those on eBay.

  3. So are you saying that the origin of evil is God (He is evil's source), or that it arises wholly from some other creative entity?

    It seems either one creates philosophical problems.

  4. John,

    What is evil?

    This is not a trick question or a sarcastic inquiry. I'm serious. When you define evil, I'll be able to respond to your question.

  5. Steve, this is off-topic the present blog entry, but I was reading over some old posts of you guys' after doing a search of "John Loftus", and I came upon one post which possibly is some of the best writing I've ever encountered on this blog. I wanted to just say, wow:

    You know, watching John’s obsession with having his one-time mentor validate his meaningless existence reminds me of those ads you sometimes see on cable TV–of an Elvis’ concert in which the corpulent King rips a sweaty kerchief from his rhinestone-studded jumpsuit and tosses it into an audience of screaming, swooning females–who get into a catfight for possession of the priceless article. One bloodied fan emerges from the melee with the article clasped to her breast, which–like splinters of the True Cross–she will keep in a padlocked jewelry case and take with her to the grave. Something she takes out of the case from time to time to show her friends or remind her when she’s alone that her little life is ultimately worthwhile–cuz she owns a piece of “The King.”

    Bring on some more of this stuff versus a helmet and the Arminian goons!

  6. Steven,

    Thanx. I do have my moments, I guess. Of course, some folks (like Loftus) supply such fine material to work with that I can hardly take all the credit. It's like sculpting a block of fine Italian marble!

  7. PP: I'm not sure I can define evil so much as describe it. It is destructive, malevolent, without mercy, deceitful, capricious, unjust and violent. Its primary focus is the gratification of every transient and base impulse arising from its own desires.

    Some describe it as the negation or absence of any positive or real attribute.