Who do you say that this is?
When we killed Jesus, we killed the perfect material implementation of the Logos of our whole world. We repudiated our own sort of being as it is originally meant to be. Our rejection of the Second Adam was a rejection of the very order of our own being – not just of our being as Man, but that of the whole cosmos, of which we are an integral procedure. Thus the world’s murder of Jesus its own incarnate Logos was the sum of all sins, was the apotheosis and perfection of sin, was the ultimate sin.
As a contravention of being, sin is self-murder. Calvary, then, was the effectual suicide of the cosmos, the beginning of the world’s death. When Jesus died, so did the whole order of the world. At Golgotha, the eschaton was consummated.
The death of Jesus was the death of the cosmos.
And when Jesus triumphed over death, the resurrection of the world began.
Among the objections to the doctrine of the Trinity raised by our Mormon brothers, some may be dealt with quickly. They say that it is nonsense, but that is certainly not true. Substantial unity is logically distinct from personal unity, and the fact that the two are isomorphic for humans does not prove that they must be so for God. That we cannot really imagine what it would mean for a single intelligent being to have three personal “centers” is true but irrelevant. All of the divine attributes are ultimately unimaginable to us, including those we think most self-explanatory–his omniscience (we cannot imagine knowledge that is not limited in being mediated by concepts) and omnipotence (we cannot imagine creating beings out of nothing, so that their entire existence is a participation in one’s own). Nevertheless, we can have some abstract idea what it means to be omnipotent, omniscient, and tripersonal.
A more serious objection, raised multiple times by Bruce Charlton, is that the doctrine is unnecessary to our relationship with God, that it does nothing practically for simple believers but create confusion. We orthodox Christians obviously do not accept this. The dogma of the Trinity we hold to have been revealed to us by God, and when God tells us something, it’s because we need to know it. In fact, the dogma of the Trinity vouchsafes for the orthodox what we think is the proper understanding of God’s greatest and most important promise to us–that through Christ He makes us His own sons. Misunderstanding the nature of God opens one to disastrous misunderstandings of this promise.
For every phenomenon of nature, there is a perfectly natural explanation. Such is the credo of naturalism. In practice, it has worked out amazingly well, so far. This should not surprise us. In a causally coherent and ordered world, it could not be otherwise, for in such a world (as in no other state of affairs) every event would be neatly and completely tied to its antecedents and successors by definite and orderly causal relations. And this would be so, whether or not the causal relations were intelligible to its denizens, or even apprehensible. In other words, it would be so, even if there were nothing in the universe more intelligent than amoebae. If the world were not coherent, and therefore, in principle, completely intelligible, then we – i.e., members of the world – could not understand any bit of it. For, if things were not integrated with each other in an orderly way, then the world would not really hang together – it wouldn’t be a world at all, properly speaking. It would be nothing but a jumble of unrelated events, a Humean chaos.
Many people have quite naturally concluded that the causal integrity of the world precludes the operation therein of causes exogenous thereto. This is the second sentence of the naturalist credo: there are no causes exogenous to our world, and no things exogenous to it, either.
But it won’t do. For, there is no perfectly natural explanation of the natural phenomenon that there is a perfectly natural explanation of every phenomenon of nature. Nature can’t explain the fact that there is a Nature of Nature.
Blogger Ex Cthedra has kindly unearthed and posted a comment of mine from a couple years ago at bonald’s old site Throne and Altar, wherein I set forth in fairly succinct form the theodicy I developed over about ten years. I had totally forgotten this comment, and in retrospect I find it does a pretty good job of nailing down all the main points of the argument.
Lydia McGrew has posted a great-hearted and generous essay on Heaven, The Glorious Liberty of the Children of God, which I heartily encourage you to read. The following started out as a short comment thereto, but became too long, and thus too presumptuous to post as such on someone else’s site. So, I inflict it on you! Thanks, then, to Lydia. I loved that post. Some reactions, beginning with a quote:
We don’t know what [a new Earth] will be like. Will there be germs, while we are simply resistant to them? If there are dogs, cats, and horses, will they have puppies, kittens, and foals, and how will the animal population problem work if they do? Where will our food come from, and how will we acquire it without the “sweat of our brow”? Bugs certainly have their place in the present ecosystem, but a new earth containing ticks, mosquitoes, and chiggers sounds a bit problematic, so how is that going to work? We have no idea of the answer to any of these questions.
The disjunction forming the title of this post is true because both its operands are true. Prima facie, it seems impossible that it should be so: for, how can any creaturely event happen spontaneously – that is to say, as a result of the free operation of a creaturely will – if Omniscience has known from before all time that the event will occur? God cannot know of a fact that is not indeed a fact; if he knows what I will do, it would seem then that I have no alternative but to do it, and am not therefore the least bit free. If on the other hand I am anywise free, then it would seem that God cannot know what I will do before I have done it.
As is his inimitable, charming wont, Mike Flynn eviscerates eliminative materialism in the nicest possible way. A summa:
Science is a filter, much like a fishing net; but we mustn’t conclude from the fish caught in the net the sizes of fishes in the deep blue sea. Yet some people reason that if science cannot distinguish between the mechanistic and the volitional, everything at bottom must be mechanistic. The apparently volitional is “really” mechanical. But surely it is just as reasonable to conclude that everything is at bottom volitional. The apparently mechanical is “really” the working out of a Will. At least from the scientific perspective you cannot prove otherwise.
Flynn is one of the most amiable rapiers you are ever likely to encounter. Feser cheerfully and relentlessly obliterates his adversaries, pounding their smithereens into dust; Flynn just lops off their legs, in such a gentlemanly fashion as to make it seem as though he is doing them a favor.
Consider this moment of your existence. In this moment, you have certain feelings. Notice that all these feelings are of two sorts: either reactive, or proactive.
On the one hand, they are responses to aspects of the past – of moments previous to this one, whether arriving from your own past experiences or from other parts of the world. For example, you feel the sound of the bird singing outside the window, and you feel a jet of glee at the beauty of his song. I. e., you feel something you have inherited, not from one of your own past moments, but from the world exterior thereto, which has then been supplemented by your own evaluation of that feeling. At the same time, you feel a glow of satisfaction arriving at your present moment of life from the fact of your having taken a delicious, roborific swallow of coffee a moment ago, and you feel good about that feeling. You have feelings of your own past experiences, that are traces of your past feelings; and you have feelings about those past feelings, such as judgements or desires. E.g., the judgement that the coffee has had a good effect upon you, and that other such effects would be welcome.
So, you have feelings that you have inherited from the past of the world in general, and also feelings about that portion of the past of the world that is included in your own personal career through life; and you have feelings about those feelings from the two departments of the past, the you department and the not-you department.
On the other hand, you have feelings about the future. There are things you feel are lacking in the present moment, that you wish were present; and there are things you feel are present to you at this moment, which you wish could be absent. You might for example feel right now that it would be nice to be chewing a croissant; meantime, you might also be feeling that it would be nice if you didn’t feel so hungry. These feelings are not about things that are present to you now, or that were present to you a moment ago, but about things that have never yet been present to you: namely, the feeling of chewing right now, and the feeling of satiety right now. True, you had a croissant yesterday, and felt sated; but the croissant of yesterday is not the croissant of today, nor likewise is yesterday’s satiety any comfort to this morning’s hunger. It is not as though you could chew yesterday’s croissant again right now, or feel yesterday’s satiety. No; these feelings of desire are about the future.
You have all these feelings you’ve somehow inherited from the past, and then you have all these feelings about the future. So here’s the question: where is that past, and where that future?
No matter what aspect of experience we might begin to think about, once we have begun, then provided we are honest, careful and courageous as we follow the path that patient deliberation gradually makes apparent to our inward eye, we shall eventually discover that we have arrived at that ultimate basis of all thought, from which it proceeds, upon which it supervenes, and toward which it relentlessly tends.