Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Etched spectacles

I’m going to briefly respond to Drake Shelton. One of Drake’s conceits is to claim that I haven’t responded to his “arguments,” when most of the time he’s just asserting something to be or not be the case.

I’ll begin with something he said to someone else at a theologyonline forum:

So you pray to multiple persons? How is this not paganism?

i) We say the three members of the Trinity are “persons” because the Bible presents them each in personal terms, and there’s no good reason to regard that presentation as a divine accommodation or personification.

ii) As such, Christians can pray to the Father, to the Son, and to the Spirit.

iii) It’s not pagan for the obvious reason that Scripture doesn’t treat the members of the Trinity as equivalent to pagan gods.

Sure I have a definition of God. I defined God by his revealed attributes in Scripture.”

>>Notice Steve defines God by attributes. God is then not a person.

And why should we accept Drake’s dichotomy? Just because Drake says so?

We worship God as God reveals himself to us in Scripture. In Scripture, the way God identifies himself as the true God, and distinguishes himself from false gods, is through his stated attributes and actions. That’s how we know what God is like. This includes a range of personal attributes.

Talk about projection huh? I cannot count how many times I have said that the Latin system defines God as a set of attributes instead of a person. Here we have overlap between the Latin system and Hays #1.

This is Drake’s chronic mental blog. He constantly filters what I say through something I didn’t say. I didn’t begin with the Latin system. I didn’t define God as a set of attributes instead of a person. Rather, I referred to God’s revealed attributes in Scripture. That’s what we’ve got to work with. That’s how God makes himself known to us (apart from general revelation).

It is inescapably clear that what Steve is doing now is, he is placing an ontological distinction between persons and attributes.

Drake has certain categories etched on his spectacles. He picked these up from some books he’s read. Whenever he looks at what I’ve read, he sees something that isn’t there.

First, your symmetries are created.

That’s simplistic. Abstract symmetries often have concrete property-instances.

 That puts this concept in the second Van Tillian circle and incapable of speaking of God ad intra.

This is yet another example of Drake’s mental block. I haven’t made use of the Van Tilian circles in my discussion. That’s something Drake drags into the exchange from left field.

Second, show us where in the history of Christianity that your use of enantiomorphic symmetries, is taught.


Your appeal to Clark here is simply a diversion from my exposure of your Neoplatonism.

That’s ironic. Drake is the one who alluded to Clark when he responded to me by paraphrasing one of Clark’s statements.

A representation by definition does not contain the reality.

That only follows in case of abstract/exemplar-concrete/instance relations.

THIS IS DAMNING. STEVE COMPLETELY AVOIDED THE ARGUMENT BEFORE HIM. HE KNOWS THIS IS THE CRACKING POINT OF VAN TILISM. The Van Tillian two circles precludes a hypostatic union and thus also revelation.

Notice how Drake is framing the discussion according to Van Til’s two-circles paradigm, even though I never used that paradigm.

HERE IT IS AGAIN. Clearly, Steve appealed to analogical knowledge above. Van Tillians have despaired to show any real difference between Aquinas’ and Van Til’s analogical knowledge of God. It is identical in my estimation.

One doesn’t have to be a Van Tilian or a Thomist to appeal to analogical knowledge. You can get that direct from Scripture. The Bible uses a variety of theological metaphors to describe God. That’s analogical.

Secondly, Clarke clearly showed that the Bible teaches that the one God is one person.

i) It’s revealing to see Drake’s reliance on an Arian like Samuel Clarke.

ii) If, according to Drake, the one God is one person, and the Father is the one God, then where does that leave the Son and the Spirit?

A set itself is not abstract, unless it is meant with reference to object instead of concept and that still would not preclude a generic unity.

By definition, the Mandelbrot set is an abstract object.

Physical objects are not the only objects that have a generic unity. Angels are spirits, yet, they have the same generic nature.

Although angels are incorporeal, they are not timeless.

Lacking spatio-temporal parts is a diversion with reference to simplicity. Thoughts are not temporal parts…

Since human thoughts are successive, they are divisible into temporal parts.

 ...yet Plotinus was consistent to deny thought to his simple One because thoughts require distinction; thus they are not simple.

I didn’t use Plotinus. 

But here is the rub: One of the trinity is the Son. Thus the Son, the HS, and the Father are not simply called one name but are one name. That is Sabellian.

No, that is Scriptural. The NT frequently uses Kurios for Jesus, in settings where that’s a Septuagintal rendering of Yahweh.

And beyond naming is the fact that the NT often equates Jesus with Yahweh, whether or not the same name is used.

I understand that language is arbitrary, but the context is damning to you. This context is historical Christian Theology Proper. I will quote yourself to condemn you:

    “but each of them also has property the other two do not–a property which distinguishes one from another.”

You have clearly advocated that the three persons have the same attributes, so to distinguish them you appeal to properties, thus admitting the distinction.

No, I’m not differentiating properties from attributes. Rather, in addition to the properties they share in common, each has a distinguishing property not shared by the other two.

“26. Steve has a fundamental confusion between the ontological and economical trinity! This mistake is fleshed out more in Latin Theology Proper with the Filioque Heresy. Steve is saying that the distinction between Father and Son in the Ontological Trinity is the same distinction in the economy of salvation.?

    I haven’t said anything of the kind.”

>>>I quote you from Seeing and Revealing

    “You are misconstruing the passage to say the opposite of what it’s intended to say. You are joining with the Jewish enemies of Jesus in Gospel who drive a wedge between God and Jesus, whereas the point of Jn 17:3 just the opposite: whoever rejects Jesus rejects Yahweh. ”

>>>Here we have a fundamental confusion between the ontological and economical trinity! This mistake is fleshed out more in Latin Theology Proper with the Filioque Heresy. Steve is saying that the distinction between Father and Son in the Ontological Trinity is the same distinction in the economy of salvation. This refutes Steve’s interpretation of John 17:3 and his understanding of Yahweh.

No, that doesn’t follow from what I said.



  2. Drake Shelton:

    “Notice he thinks that a nature-person distinction is a dichotomy.”

    This illustrates Drake’s lack of basic reading skills. Drake is the one who drove a wedge between persons and attributes when he said: “Notice Steve defines God by attributes. God is then not a person.”

    I rejected the dichotomy.

    “And where is God defined as a set of attributes…”

    By how Scripture identifies the true God and distinguishes him from false gods.

    “…or a nature or a monad?”

    I didn’t define God as a “monad.” That is Drake’s broken record.

    “Wow! This is amazing. A Van Tilian refusing the structure of his own philosopher.”

    Once again, this illustrates the fact that Drake simply makes assumptions about his opponents rather than responding to what they actually say. I never claimed Van Til as “my own philosopher.” I use him for spare parts.

    “No, it is not irrelevant. Eph 4:11-12 clearly states that God has given teachers to the Church for her perfection.”

    Teachers who include critics of Nicene orthodoxy like Calvin, Warfield, Helm, et al. Teachers who include Frame, Bahnsen, Van Til et al.

    Drake is highly selective in his appeal to Eph 4:11-12.

    “This is incredible. Steve thinks that he has no obligations to the history of Christianity.”

    Since Christian history speaks with many conflicting voices, we couldn’t have obligations to Christian history even if we tried.

    And, no, we have no obligation to an abstraction called “the history of Christianity.” Rather, we have an obligation to God’s true, which is intermittently reflected in Christian history.

    “He is making things up as he goes.”

    Just like the church fathers.

    “The man has clearly defended and operated off of Van Tilism for years and is he now pretending to be a progenitor of a new philosophy?”

    No, I’ve been very selective in my appropriation of Van Tilianism. And that’s been combined with many other things.

    Most of the time I never frame my arguments in Van Tilian terms.

    “So then where in the history of Christianity did the analogical knowledge theory come to Steve?”

    Irrelevant. The Bible is chockfull of theological analogies. That’s a proper starting-point.

    “I UDERSTAND THAT Steve. The point is, you cannot contrast an abstract OBJECT with something concrete. You can only do that with an abstract CONCEPT.”

    Of course you can draw attention to similarities and dissimilarities between abstract objects and their concrete analogues.

  3. Cont. “Irrelevant to the point.”

    It’s directly relevant. Abstract objects are both timeless and spaceless. Angels are not. Therefore, Drake’s comparison is equivocal.

    “There is also a series in God’s thinking, it is not chronological but logical (Study Lapsarianism); therefore your dialectic fails.”

    Another equivocation. Human thoughts are temporally successive, God’s are not. Therefore, Drake’s claim that thoughts are note temporal parts is a hasty generalization.

    “I FINALLY GOT ONE TO ADMIT IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    To admit what? That Scripture names Jesus as Yahweh as well as naming the Father as Yahweh.

    “You are playing Jesuit semantic games. You clearly just acknowledged that there is a difference in the meaning.”

    Not at all. It’s just a stylistic variation. I could say they share the same attributes except for a distinguishing attribute, or I could say they share the same properties except for a distinguishing property.