Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The Cosmological Argument

One common formulation of the cosmological argument begins, "everything that exists requires a cause." (example) Smart people sometimes formulate the argument this way, but it is actually not correct.

A better (let's call it "the correct") formulation is, "Everything that comes into existence has a cause."

Under the incorrect formulation you either have contradiction or infinite regress.

Under the correct formulation you have a singularity. A first cause who is uncaused. As a result, that uncaused cause must never have come into being: he must always have been. This is because if that cause had come into existence, there would have to be a still earlier cause. On the other hand, if that cause did not exist at all, and consequently never came into existence in that sense, nothing could exist.

This causeless first Cause, without whom nothing would exist, is God.

-TurretinFan

34 comments:

natamllc said...

Excellent!

Dr. J Sidlow Baxter, when preaching at University Baptist Church in Fayetteville Arkansas said something asking that his listeners should do, that, after listening to the recorded preaching of that message, I did and I won't ever do anymore.

I recommend you try it, though, yourself, and see why I won't ever do it anymore?

He said first off that God created us to think directionally, only in one direction. He then asked that you start thinking backwards into eternity and see just how far back you are able to think before you go insane!

Then he asked that you start thinking into the future eternally and see what happens.

Of course I did both and came to insanity rather quickly when thinking backwards into eternity.

Then sometime after I did the exercise I came around to reading this:

Ecc 3:10 I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with.
Ecc 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
Ecc 3:12 I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live;
Ecc 3:13 also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil--this is God's gift to man.


And this:

Act 20:33 I coveted no one's silver or gold or apparel.
Act 20:34 You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me.
Act 20:35 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"


And this:

Eph 3:8 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,
Eph 3:9 and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things,
Eph 3:10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.
Eph 3:11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord,
Eph 3:12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.


All that is to say this, God is God and we are His creature made for His Glory. I live for His Glory. I live according to the eternal purpose that He has realized in Christ Jesus Our Lord now, and now I am working to serve those less fortunate than I during my sojourn on earth continually asking for His Kingdom to come and His Will to be done on earth as it is right now being done in Heaven as I type what you are reading now! :)

Ryan said...

I dislike these and the other "classical arguments." In them, "God" becomes a word into which you must impart meaning rather than a word which presupposes the understanding that who is being referenced is the Triune God of Scripture, which is what we have when we assert the epistemological primacy of Scripture. And since all classical arguments presuppose an epistemological foundation, they are superfluous, really, and I would say that is put rather kindly.

Victoria Lynch said...

I thought your explanation was quite helpful. Thank You

Dan said...

I don't see how the correct formulation rules out an infinite regress; unless you are assuming some premise you haven't stated. The idea that everything that begins to exist has a cause does not rule out an infinite past consisting of things coming to exist each of which is caused by an earlier one.

Turretinfan said...

Dan:

Infinite regress rules itself out, as patently absurd.

-TurretinFan

Dan said...

'Infinite regress' was an infelicitous term for an infinite past, and that is what I was talking about. (Whether it's a "regress" or not, it's an apparent alternative to there being a "singularity"). Are you saying that an infinite past is patently absurd? If not, then it's still the case that you need more premises to infer a singularity. If you are, that would imply that God couldn't create a world with such a past; and do you really think that?

Turretinfan said...

Dan:

You wrote: "'Infinite regress' was an infelicitous term for an infinite past, and that is what I was talking about. (Whether it's a "regress" or not, it's an apparent alternative to there being a "singularity"). Are you saying that an infinite past is patently absurd?"

Yes. An infinite past is patently absurd, which is why the infinite regress "alternative" can be eliminated.

-TurretinFan

Dan said...

I think the kind of people who would be satisfied with your quick dismissal of an infinite past are the same kind of people who already believe in God. Past thinkers who have formulated cosmological arguments have, in doing so, taken this very option seriously. As part of his cosmological argument, Craig provides lengthy argumentation for the premise that the universe began to exist (as opposed to having always existed infinitely in the past). Leibniz's cosmological argument takes the possibility of an infinite past seriously, and argues that even the existence of such an infinite series of events would require the positing of a necessary cause outside the series. And Aquinas held that we could only know that there has not been an infinite past by divine revelation (there being nothing impossible in the idea of an infinite past).

I'm not arguing that you need to argue for the non-existence of an infinite past. Your answer to me shows that you did indeed take it as a tacit premise that the past is not infinite; and there's nothing wrong with developing an argument with that as one of the basic premises (many would find it plausible). But I find it odd that you think it "patently absurd" (why couldn't God create such a series?); and I think that it's not an issue that should be glossed over in discussing cosmological arguments (since the kind of people to whom it would be most relevant to give such an argument are those who would take the possibility of an infinite past seriously).

Turretinfan said...

Dan:

You wrote: "I think the kind of people who would be satisfied with your quick dismissal of an infinite past are the same kind of people who already believe in God."

Maybe so, maybe not. I'm not particularly concerned.

You wrote: "Past thinkers who have formulated cosmological arguments have, in doing so, taken this very option seriously."

:shrug:

You wrote: "As part of his cosmological argument, Craig provides lengthy argumentation for the premise that the universe began to exist (as opposed to having always existed infinitely in the past)."

a) ok

b) Hopefully you're aware that even patently absurd things can be shown to be false.

c) WLC is not a "past thinker" just yet. :D Although given his popularity, I can see why he might be cited.

You wrote: "Leibniz's cosmological argument takes the possibility of an infinite past seriously, and argues that even the existence of such an infinite series of events would require the positing of a necessary cause outside the series."

ok (see above)

You wrote: "And Aquinas held that we could only know that there has not been an infinite past by divine revelation (there being nothing impossible in the idea of an infinite past)."

ok

You wrote: "I'm not arguing that you need to argue for the non-existence of an infinite past."

Good.

You wrote: "Your answer to me shows that you did indeed take it as a tacit premise that the past is not infinite; and there's nothing wrong with developing an argument with that as one of the basic premises (many would find it plausible)."

ok

You wrote: "But I find it odd that you think it "patently absurd" (why couldn't God create such a series?); and I think that it's not an issue that should be glossed over in discussing cosmological arguments (since the kind of people to whom it would be most relevant to give such an argument are those who would take the possibility of an infinite past seriously)."

As to your question about whether such a series could be created, if the series were created, it would have a beginning, since the act of creation is the act of imparting a beginning.

-TurretinFan

natamllc said...

Don,

If it is not an imposition to you, I shall find out, I would like to respond a bit with your line of reasoning in here. It is intriguing to say the least.

First, as I read it, [your line of reasoning], I can say you either are not a man of faith, or, if you are, your faith is weak, as it should be; but, it isn't your faith that seals the deal, it is the gift of Faith, that Faith Jude writes about, the Faith once delivered to the Saints, that is weak too.

Rom 16:25 Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages
Rom 16:26 but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God,
to bring about the obedience of faith--
Rom 16:27 to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.

Someone wrote or said and it was repeated and I read it or heard it spoken, I know not by who or how, [so if anyone can give the attribution], that would be helpful? In any event, someone said or wrote that God cannot learn anything. If He learned anything, He would not be God because God knows all things and with God all things are possible.

Isaiah, in dealing with something similar to your line of reasoning, weak in your faith, weak in the Faith once delivered to the saints, wrote this:

"Isa. 7:1 ...Isa 7:9 And the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah. If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all.'"

The problem is waiting patiently for the Word God has given to come to pass or be fulfilled; waiting for 65 years, to be fulfilled in their case!

Without Faith or Patience, we do not inherit the promises given secured by Christ, before the foundation of the world created out of nothing!

"Just saying ..."

natamllc said...

ooops, Dan, not Don! grrrr!

Dan said...

Me: "As part of his cosmological argument, Craig provides lengthy argumentation for the premise that the universe began to exist (as opposed to having always existed infinitely in the past)."

TF: "b) Hopefully you're aware that even patently absurd things can be shown to be false."

I said he argued that the universe has only a finite past, not that he showed it. I don't think he succeeded in demonstrating it (in "Theism, Atheism, and Big Bang Cosmology").

TF: "As to your question about whether such a series [an infinite series of past events (relative to us)] could be created, if the series were created, it would have a beginning, since the act of creation is the act of imparting a beginning."

It sounds like you don't think that the existence of an infinite past is patently absurd; since, whether or not God's creating such a series would justify saying that it "has a beginning," it is still an infinite past. I gather, then, that you are clarifying that what you take to be patently absurd is the notion of an infinite series of past events that has no cause "outside" the series. I probably have similar intuitions. (Even if having a non-temporal cause suffices for "coming to exist," one could only agree that an infinite past, supposing such existed, falls under the things to which the "correct formulation" applies, namely, things that come to exist, if one supposes such a past has a non-temporal cause. In contrast, being temporally finite suffices for "coming to exist," and hence one can subsume such things under the things to which the correct formulation applies without antecedently assuming they have causes.)

(Incidentally, Craig argued for the impossibility of an infinite past simpliciter, not merely an uncreated one.)

Dan said...

natamllc,
I'll respond to the first part of your post, but the rest of it doesn't make much sense to me, as far as how it is supposed to be relevant to anything I've said.

natamllc: "First, as I read it, [your line of reasoning] [sic], I can say you either are not a man of faith, or, if you are, your faith is weak, as it should be..."

I don't know why you think I am either not a man of faith, or one of weak faith. Further, supposing I were of weak faith, I don't understand why you say "as it should be." I thought I saw a noteworthy gap in TF's presentation of a cosmological argument, and so I commented on it; and subsequently have been getting a clearer picture on what he thinks. I don't see how this implies an absence or weakness in faith, unless you mean faith in the impeccability of the opening post; and not in God or Christ.

natamllc: "...but, it isn't your faith that seals the deal, it is the gift of Faith, that Faith Jude writes about, the Faith once delivered to the Saints, that is weak too."

The gift of faith *is* one's own saving faith. God doesn't give us someone else' faith.

Turretinfan said...

Dan:

You wrote: "I said he argued that the universe has only a finite past, not that he showed it. I don't think he succeeded in demonstrating it (in "Theism, Atheism, and Big Bang Cosmology")."

Understood.

You wrote: "It sounds like you don't think that the existence of an infinite past is patently absurd; ..."

I'm not sure how I could say that I think that any more clearly, but ok.

You continued: " ... since, whether or not God's creating such a series would justify saying that it "has a beginning," it is still an infinite past."

No, it's a self-contradiction, and consequently nonsense.

You concluded: "I gather, then, that you are clarifying that what you take to be patently absurd is the notion of an infinite series of past events that has no cause "outside" the series."

No.

You wrote: "I probably have similar intuitions. (Even if having a non-temporal cause suffices for "coming to exist," one could only agree that an infinite past, supposing such existed, falls under the things to which the "correct formulation" applies, namely, things that come to exist, if one supposes such a past has a non-temporal cause. In contrast, being temporally finite suffices for "coming to exist," and hence one can subsume such things under the things to which the correct formulation applies without antecedently assuming they have causes.)"

I'm not too worried about "non-temporal causes," myself.

"(Incidentally, Craig argued for the impossibility of an infinite past simpliciter, not merely an uncreated one.)"

ok

-TurretinFan

Dan said...

Me: "It sounds like you don't think that the existence of an infinite past is patently absurd; ..."

TF: "I'm not sure how I could say that I think that any more clearly, but ok."

You had said:

TF: "As to your question about whether such a series [an infinite past] could be created, if the series were created, it would have a beginning, since the act of creation is the act of imparting a beginning."

Based on your next comment in the most recent post (about self-contradiction), it seems that by this sentence you were giving an argument that the idea that God creates an infinite series is self-contradictory. However, it seemed to me that you were admitting that God could create such a series and making the following point about such a series: it would still "have a beginning" (in the loose sense of being created, or having a source of origin).

I admit that might seem like an odd reading (insofar as I took you to be stretching the limits of what it means to "have a beginning"); but it never occurred to me that the sentence was an argument against God's ability to create such a series. It does not follow from God's performing an act of creation that he imparts a "beginning" to what is created (i.e., a finite interval of time at which it exists and before which it did not exist); unless you are assuming that God and his creative acts are in time. It's true that if God were in time, and if, at a given time, He had not created anything, and if He then created some matter, then that matter would necessarily have only a finite age. But there is nothing self-contradictory in a timeless God's timelessly creating a series of events, where the series has no first member (but runs on forever in the pastward direction); i.e., has no beginning. The creative act of a timeless God stands in no temporal relation (i.e., before, simultaneous with, after) to its temporal effects.

Turretinfan said...

I guess I'm glad I clarified myself then!

As for "The creative act of a timeless God stands in no temporal relation (i.e., before, simultaneous with, after) to its temporal effects."

In the beginning, God created.

-TurretinFan

natamllc said...

Dan,

1] maybe you can edit this so it reads with no mistakes?

natamllc: "First, as I read it, [your line of reasoning] [sic], I can say you either are not a man of faith, or, if you are, your faith is weak, as it should be..."


2] Can you restate the "gap" succinctly for me so I can be refreshed on it from your point of view?

I thought I saw a noteworthy gap in TF's presentation of a cosmological argument, and so I commented on it;

3] I am not sure I follow you reasoning here?

Do you believe your faith is sufficient for God to accept you on your terms into His Eternal Glory?

The gift of faith *is* one's own saving faith. God doesn't give us someone else' faith.

natamllc said...

Dan

here would be two examples of a rational communication with yourself subjectively or objectively with others that is patently absurd:

1] What is smaller than that that is the smallest?

2] What is heavier than that that is the heaviest?


Is God smaller than the smallest?

Is God heavier than the heaviest?

At what point does the smallest become smaller or become nothing?

At what point does the heaviest become heavier?

Cannot God create out of nothing something?

Dan said...

Me: "The creative act of a timeless God stands in no temporal relation (i.e., before, simultaneous with, after) to its temporal effects."

TF: "In the beginning, God created."

I gather based on your pattern that this is supposed to be an objection (since you didn't say 'ok'), either to the idea that God is timeless or to the idea that a timeless God's creating something would stand in no temporal relation to what is created. (Or perhaps you are just arguing that God *in fact* has not created a world with an infinite past. But this would provide no support for your claim that the idea of God's creating an infinite series is nonsensical.) Regarding the second, For a divine act of creation to exist is just for God, the triune being, to act; and hence if this being is timeless His acting is timeless (which is not to say that the effects of the act are timeless). So the act of creation could not be in time, if the mode of His existence were timeless. And it would be incoherent to suppose that a timeless act of creation stands in a temporal relation to what is created, for it logically follows from the instantiation of a temporal relation that the things related are in time. E.g., the relation "earlier than" holds between two things just in case the former occupies a prior time; and "simultaneous" with" holds just in case the two things occupy the same time.

As far as the idea that Gen. 1 is supposed to preclude divine timelessness, verse 1 does not just say that in the beginning God created; but that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. If time itself is bound up with "the heavens and the earth" (which I take to exhaust the created domains, including the "visible" and "invisible" of Col. 1), then time itself is a creature. How we take 'in the beginning' depends on this issue, whether time is a medium *in which* God exists and acts (as both space and time are for us), or an *object* of his non-temporal act(s). On the timeless view, 'in the beginning' has to be taken less literally, but not necessarily in less accord with authorial intent. It conveys the idea that the existence of the creation lies in something logically and causally prior to it (though not strictly temporally prior), in God. That is, the created world, subsuming both space and time themselves, have their source in God and exist only because of God's causing them to. The phrase might also indicate that the created world is finite in the pastward direction. It is natural to cast the production of a finite interval of time in terms suggesting the temporal priority of the productive act, even if strictly speaking the creative cause is located, not at an earlier time, but at no time at all.

I agree with Augustine, as well as the preponderance (I believe) of both the Medieval and Reformation traditions, that God is timeless and time itself part of creation, such that it is nonsensical to ask why God did not create the world sooner than He did. (This question was an objection early Christians had to answer from detractors who thought the world was eternal, apparently unaware that such an idea was patently absurd.)

Further, even if Gen. 1 did teach that God was temporally related to his creation (specifically, strictly existing *before* it, at an earlier time), this would not show that it is self-contradictory to suppose that God create an infinite series (infinite in the pastward direction). For even were God temporal, it wouldn't follow that it is nonsensical to suppose that He is timeless and timelessly creates temporal effects. There is nothing self-contradictory in the idea of God's creating an infinite series; it just requires either (a.) divine timelessness or (b.) the idea that, though in time, God has always been creating, or sustaining, things forever into the past. (I find (b.) intellectually repugnant, but I wouldn't say it is self-contradictory.)

Dan said...

Me: "The creative act of a timeless God stands in no temporal relation (i.e., before, simultaneous with, after) to its temporal effects."

TF: "In the beginning, God created."

I gather that this is an objection (since it's not a one-word response), either to the idea that God is timeless or to the idea that a timeless God's creating something would stand in no temporal relation to what is created. (Or perhaps you're just arguing that God has actually not created an infinite past world; but this would not support the claim that God's creating such would be nonsensical.) Regarding the second, for a divine act of creation to exist is just for God to act; and hence if God is timeless His acting is timeless. And it would be incoherent to suppose that a timeless act stands in a temporal relation to created temporal effects, for it follows from the instantiation of a temporal relation that the things related are in time. E.g., the relation "earlier than" holds between two things just in case the former occupies a prior time.

As far as the idea that Gen. 1 precludes timelessness, v. 1 does not just say that in the beginning God created; but that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. If time itself is bound up with "the heavens and the earth" (which I take to exhaust the created domains, the "visible" and "invisible" of Col. 1), then time itself is a creature. How we take 'in the beginning' depends on whether time is a medium *in which* God exists/acts, or an *object* of his non-temporal act(s). On timelessness, 'in the beginning' has to be taken less literally, but not necessarily in less accord with authorial intent. It conveys the idea that the existence of the creation lies in something logically and causally prior to it, in God. That is, the created world, subsuming both space and time themselves, have their (only) source in God. The phrase might also indicate that the creation has a finite past. It is natural to cast the production of a finite stretch of time in terms suggesting the temporal priority of the productive act, even if strictly speaking the creative cause is located, not at an earlier time, but at no time.

I agree with Augustine, as well as the preponderance (I think) of the Medieval and Reformation traditions, that God is timeless and time itself part of creation, such that it is nonsensical to ask why God didn't create sooner than He did. (This question was an objection early Christians were faced with from detractors who thought the world was eternal, apparently unaware of the patent absurdity of such an idea.)

Further, even if Gen. 1 did teach that God was temporally related to his creation, this show only that it is false that God bears no temporal relation to His creation, not that it is nonsensical to suppose that He timelessly creates temporal effects. There is nothing self-contradictory in the idea of God's creating an infinite series; it just requires either (a.) divine timelessness or (b.) the idea that, though in time, God has always been creating/sustaining things forever in the past. (I find (b.) repugnant, but I wouldn't say it is self-contradictory.)

Dan said...

Me: "The creative act of a timeless God stands in no temporal relation (i.e., before, simultaneous with, after) to its temporal effects."

TF: "In the beginning, God created."

I gather that this is an objection (since it's not a one-word response), either to the idea that God is timeless or to the idea that a timeless God's creating something would stand in no temporal relation to what is created. (Or perhaps you're just arguing that God has actually not created an infinite past world; but this would not support the claim that God's creating such would be nonsensical.) Regarding the second, for a divine act of creation to exist is just for God to act; and hence if God is timeless His acting is timeless. And it would be incoherent to suppose that a timeless act stands in a temporal relation to created temporal effects, for it follows from the instantiation of a temporal relation that the things related are in time. E.g., the relation "earlier than" holds between two things just in case the former occupies a prior time.

(continued in next post)

Dan said...

As far as the idea that Gen. 1 precludes timelessness, v. 1 does not just say that in the beginning God created; but that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. If time itself is bound up with "the heavens and the earth" (which I take to exhaust the created domains, the "visible" and "invisible" of Col. 1), then time itself is a creature. How we take 'in the beginning' depends on whether time is a medium *in which* God exists/acts, or an *object* of his non-temporal act(s). On timelessness, 'in the beginning' has to be taken less literally, but not necessarily in less accord with authorial intent. It conveys the idea that the existence of the creation lies in something logically and causally prior to it, in God. That is, the created world, subsuming both space and time themselves, have their (only) source in God. The phrase might also indicate that the creation has a finite past. It is natural to cast the production of a finite stretch of time in terms suggesting the temporal priority of the productive act, even if strictly speaking the creative cause is located, not at an earlier time, but at no time.

I agree with Augustine, as well as the preponderance (I think) of the Medieval and Reformation traditions, that God is timeless and time itself part of creation, such that it is nonsensical to ask why God didn't create sooner than He did. (This question was an objection early Christians were faced with from detractors who thought the world was eternal, apparently unaware of the patent absurdity of such an idea.)

Further, even if Gen. 1 did teach that God was temporally related to his creation, this show only that it is false that God bears no temporal relation to His creation, not that it is nonsensical to suppose that He timelessly creates temporal effects. There is nothing self-contradictory in the idea of God's creating an infinite series; it just requires either (a.) divine timelessness or (b.) the idea that, though in time, God has always been creating/sustaining things forever in the past. (I find (b.) repugnant, but I wouldn't say it is self-contradictory.)

Dan said...

Sorry; I didn't realize that all these recent posts went through successfully (because I got an error message about length). I don't know how to delete posts, but if one wants to delete some, it would be best to delete all but the last two, or, second-best, saving only the first.

Dan said...

natamllc,
I don't understand your "1]" (in the first of the two of your most recent posts to me), since I was just quoting you.

As far as your "2]", your wording implies that you were aware of the "gap," but wish to be reminded ("refreshed"); but I see no reason to think you ever understood my first three posts (the ones that were posted before your first comment to me); given the baselessness of your "reading" (see "1]"). And since you've made no attempt to back up (or retract) the soft accusations about my faith in light of my having challenged their propriety, I see no reason to try and "refresh" you.

As for 3],

Me: "The gift of faith *is* one's own saving faith. God doesn't give us someone else' faith"

natamllc: "3] I am not sure I follow you reasoning here?"

I was just saying that the faith by which we are justified is our own faith. It seemed to me that you were making a distinction between faith and the gift of faith. But the gift of faith *is* one's own faith. We are not justified through a faith that is not our own believing/trusting etc. (as if we were justified through someone *else's* believing etc.)

natamllc: "Do you believe your faith is sufficient for God to accept you on your terms into His Eternal Glory?"

Faith is a sufficient instrument through which one is justified; and those are God's terms. As for your second post, I don't see the relevance.

Turretinfan said...

Dan:

You had written: "The creative act of a timeless God stands in no temporal relation (i.e., before, simultaneous with, after) to its temporal effects."

My response was to point out a verse that expresses God's creative act in a temporal relation to the effect.

As far as cause and effect go, we know of only one kind. The temporal cause precedes the temporal effect.

So, whether the verse is simply a condescension to us, or the actual way it is, we may never know.

- TurretinFan

natamllc said...

Dan

natamllc,
I don't understand your "1]" (in the first of the two of your most recent posts to me), since I was just quoting you.


You inserted [sic] after my bracketed [ [your line of reasoning] [sic] ].

Why did you do that?

Dan said...

natamllc,
Oh. "sic" is sometimes used in quotations to indicate that a part of the quotation that might seem to be an interpolation is not in fact an interpolation, but part of the original quotation. E.g., if you made a typo, and I were quoting you, I might put "sic" after the typo, to indicate that the typo was part of the quote and not my own typo in re-producing the quote. In the case at hand, you had inserted a phrase in brackets ("[...]"), and since people often use brackets to add to quotations (to provide context etc.), I was just indicating that the brackets were yours and not mine.

Dan said...

TF,
Ok, thanks; I understand. (I think - not positive - that Turretin defends timelessness in explaining the generation of the Son.)

Turretinfan said...

Yes. God is transcendent. He is also immanent. He is timeless, but he acts in time.

natamllc said...

Dan,

oh.

Ok.

Here is my redacted sentence then:

First, as I read your line of reasoning, I can say you either are not a man of faith, or, if you are, your faith is weak, as it should be; but, it isn't your faith that seals the deal, it is the gift of Faith, that Faith Jude writes about, the Faith once delivered to the Saints, that is weak too.

Will you have a go at that?

Oh, also, in hindsight, I see I did not make a good connection between the thoughts of Jude and Paul and I should have. Sorry for that.

After making reference to Jude's words, Scripture too, I then simply pasted a quote from the Apostle Paul's line of reasoning on the Faith that I make a distinction about, Romans 16:25-27.

As for the gap in TurretinFan's article, ok, I have read his article now several times and your replies several times and now ask you, if you would, to kindly describe the gap that you see in his article another way since I am stupid and slow of heart to comprehend this gap that you see and I don't want there to be anything baseless or any charge as such between us?

thanks

natamllc said...

TF, if you see that I am missing something hereon, too, please, by all means, point that out to me so I can be brought into something greater in understanding in understanding these exchanges between you and Dan.

Thanks.

Dan said...

natamllc,
You: "Here is my redacted sentence then:

First, as I read your line of reasoning, I can say you either are not a man of faith, or, if you are, your faith is weak, as it should be; but, it isn't your faith that seals the deal, it is the gift of Faith, that Faith Jude writes about, the Faith once delivered to the Saints, that is weak too.

Will you have a go at that?"

Me: I don't understand. I've already addressed most of this before. If you want to make a specific point, or ask a specific question, go ahead.

You: "As for the gap in TurretinFan's article, ok, I have read his article now several times and your replies several times and now ask you, if you would, to kindly describe the gap that you see in his article another way since I am stupid and slow of heart to comprehend this gap that you see and I don't want there to be anything baseless or any charge as such between us?"

Me: he seemed to infer, from the premise that everything that begins to exist is caused to exist by something else, the conclusion that there is a first, uncaused, cause. The gap that I thought I saw was that this conclusion does not follow merely from this premise, because, were there an infinite series of events in the past, the premise could be true (each past event would have a prior cause) and yet the conclusion false (there being no first cause, but more causes forever into the past). So the gap would be an unstated premise to the effect such an infinite series is impossible. TF seemed to justify not actually stating such a premise by saying that such an infinite series is patently absurd. We then disputed whether such a series is patently absurd. I argued it wasn't, because it is coherent to suppose that God create such a series. We then disputed whether it is coherent to suppose that God create such a series.

natamllc said...

Dan:

Me: I don't understand. I've already addressed most of this before. If you want to make a specific point, or ask a specific question, go ahead.

Ok, moving on.

As for the gap, as yet, I see none!

What God sees and shares with His creature/s and what we see is what it is.

I will rest my head on what I cited above, Dr. J. Sidlow Baxter's experiment and from Ecclesiastes 3.

Ecc 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

Turretinfan said...

Dear NatAmLLC:

I think another way of looking at Dan's comments is that he thinks he found a place where my argument could be strengthened.

Looking at it that way, I appreciate his efforts aimed at helping me to strengthen my argument.

As I mentioned above, I wasn't (and still am not) particularly troubled by the issue he raised.

I'm out of analogies for the situation, but I'm quite willing to simply move on to other topics, since it seems Dan has said what he intended to say, and I have responded to him.

-TurretinFan