According to Tony Flood:
It seems that a certain non-philosopher has a difficult time fairly exegeting my plain words.
It seems that a certain apologist for Hare Krishna has a difficult time explaining himself.
That he also lacks charity in his expression of disagreement is also much in evidence. I have indeed returned to Christian orthodoxy -- the Nicene Creed was the standard implied by James Anderson in the discussion in question, and that will suffice for my purposes.
Yes, well, you know the old saying about the leopard changing his spots (Jer 13:23). The fact that Tony strenuously defends panentheism as “orthodox,” in the added context of Sudduth’s conversion of Hare Krishna, no less, suggests the spot remover was temporary.
In my initial post I had said they warrant a prima facie presumption -- a defeasible, "at first glance" presumption -- in favor of panentheism…I don't assume the locative sense for the Greek en, but the neither should the instrumental sense be assumed.
Tony fails to grasp what conditions must be met for Acts 17:28 to even constitute a prima facie prooftext for panentheism. Since he can’t see that for himself, let’s walk him through the process:
i) He’d have to show that the locative sense is the prima facie preferred meaning of the Greek preposition. Otherwise, Flood’s appeal is equivocal.
ii) Assuming he did (i), he’d have to show that the locative sense was prima facie meant literally rather than figuratively. Otherwise, Flood’s appeal is equivocal.
iii) Assuming he did (ii), he’d have to show that the quote prima facie teaches panentheism rather than pantheism. Otherwise, Flood’s appeal is equivocal.
iv) Assuming he did (iii), he’d have to show that even if the quote originally taught panentheism in Classical usage, that this was still the prima facie understanding in Hellenistic times. Otherwise, Flood’s appeal is equivocal.
v) Assuming he did (iv), he’d have to show that even if the quote was understood panentheistically by Paul’s pagan audience, that this is also how Paul prima facie intended to exploit the quote. Otherwise, Flood’s appeal is equivocal.
vi) Assuming he did (v) he’d have to show that even if Paul intended the passage panentheistically, that Paul’s model of panentheism is prima facie isometric with Flood’s panexperientialist model of panentheism. Otherwise, Flood’s appeal is equivocal.
vii) Assuming he did (vi), Flood would also have to show that his panexperiential model of pantheism is prima facie isometric with the panentheism of the Hare Krishna cult.
So Flood must establish each of seven individual propositions to even justify his prima facie appeal.
"Paul clearly has a different worldview than the pagan source he quotes," but even a broken clock tells time correctly twice a day, and this was one of those times.
That’s a non sequitur. The fact that Paul is exploiting a pagan source doesn’t necessarily or even probably mean that they coincidentally agree at this particular juncture.
Rather, Paul could just as well, or better, be mounting an ad hominem argument, by addressing his pagan audience on its own grounds. For Paul’s purposes, what matters is not what he thought the original writer meant, but what his audience would take the quote to mean, especially as a Paul recontextualizes the source material. Paul’s intent is determinative.
A pagan writer had said that we are the offspring of the Gods, but instead of denying that genealogy, Paul drew a lesson from it: "we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone" (Acts 17:29a). I suggested a panexperientialist model of how one thing can be “in” another, one person can be “in” another, and how creation can be “in” the creator. Again, why beg the question against that model? The most important question is: which model makes the most sense of all the scriptures?
i) To begin with, notice the bait-n-switch. Flood initially told Anderson that “it would be good to have Anderson’s interpretation of Acts 17:28...which at least prima facie supports a panentheistic understanding of the creator-creature relationship.”
Now Flood suddenly swapped out Acts 17:28 and swapped in Acts 17:29a.
ii) Even so, Flood must now explain how his new prooftext furnishes prima facie support for panentheism.
iii) He also needs to show that Paul’s alleged model of panentheism maps onto Flood’s preferred model.
iv) Finally, let’s briefly consider Flood’s own model. He said:
On a panexperientialist metaphysics, God experiences – not merely contemplates at a safe distance – His creatures, which are, at the basic level, also subjects of (at least rudimentary) experience, and they all experience God. Experience provides a non-spatial model for understanding how one entity can be “in” another – even how one Divine Person can be in Another – which is most assuredly not like Bob’s being in the kitchen. Neither is it a mereological (whole and its parts) affair (or set and subsets), on which your putative refutation trades. According to this panexperientialist model, God has judged and redeemed the fallen creation that He experiences, but its fallenness does not demote Him metaphysically in any way. It does not “pollute” Him, to use your descriptor, or derange Him. He knows His creation from the inside as well as from the outside. We enjoy the good and suffer evil, and so does God, He does so but eminently.
i) To suggest that in Classical Christian theism (e.g. divine impassibility), God contemplates his creation at a “safe distance” is a rather tendentious way of framing the issue.
For instance, a virologist might study a deadly virus at a safe distance to avoid infecting himself. But he’s not doing that merely to protect himself. Rather, if he were to risk infection, and thereby die, he’d be in no position to discover a cure. Putting himself at risk puts his patients at risk. He can’t treat his patients effectively if he himself is a dying patient.
Likewise, if a psychiatrist is treating a mental patient, it’s preferable than the psychiatrist is not himself mentally ill. The sane should treat the insane; not the insane treating each other. A psychiatrist shouldn’t experience the insanity of the patient. If he shared the insider perspective of his mental patient, he’d be incompetent to treat the patient.
“Distance” can be a good thing.
ii) Likewise, if God feels whatever Ted Bundy feels, then that does indeed, pollute or derange God. Bundy didn’t enjoy the good and suffer the evil. Rather, Bundy enjoyed the evil. If God truly identifies with the viewpoint of his creatures, from the inside out, then he takes pleasure in what pleases Ted Bundy.
While we’re on the subject of Flood’s spooftexting, he also cited 2 Pet 1:4 as prima facie evidence for his position. But as a standard commentary explains:
Peter's affirmation enters into the ancient discussion about the nature of the gods, humans, and the animal world. The question raised was not about humans becoming divine but rather which characteristics and attributes these different classes of beings shared or did not share (see 1:3 and comments).
Peter’s thought has to do with moral transformation and not divinization or becoming divine men...about the acquisition of moral character...Peter underscores the moral aspect of participation in the divine nature...
G. Green, Jude & 2 Peter, 186-87.
As such, that text supplies no prima facie support for Flood’s appeal.
Finally, the irenic tone James Anderson took in his last reply to me should be noted. It would be nice if it were also emulated.
It would also be nice if Flood led by example. When is Flood going to emulate the virtues which he urges on others?