Tuesday, July 12, 2016

It can't mean that!

What do Arminians and unitarians have in common? Take this notorious statement by John Wesley:

But you say you will prove it by scripture. Hold! What will you prove by Scripture that God is worse than the devil I cannot be. Whatever that Scripture proves, it never an prove this; whatever its true meaning be. This cannot be its true meaning. Do you ask, "What is its true meaning then" If I say, " I know not," you have gained nothing; for there are many scriptures the true sense whereof neither you nor I shall know till death is swallowed up in victory. But this I know, better it were to say it had no sense, than to say it had such a sense as this. It cannot mean, whatever it mean besides, that the God of truth is a liar. Let it mean what it will it cannot mean that the Judge of all the world is unjust. No scripture can mean that God is not love, or that his mercy is not over all his works; that is, whatever it prove beside, no scripture can prove predestination.  

Unitarians strike the same pose. No matter how many prooftexts we furnish for the deity of Christ, no matter how meticulously we exegete the prooftexts for Christ's deity, unitarians exclaim that whatever else they mean, they can't mean that! Both Arminians and unitarians rule out interpretations in advance that run contrary to their position. They won't allow any evidence to falsify their a priori commitments. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Steve - I'm taking this as a compliment! It is not merely special pleading though, but is a case of indirect proof, that is to say argumentum ad absurdum. In the Wesley case, the absurdity is that a morally perfect being should do something intrinsically wrong. In the unitarian case, the absurdity is that Christ is God, and yet differs from God, and so is not God. Impeccable reasoning! :-)