Thursday, October 02, 2008

Article: There are only two religions in the whole world

There are only two religions in the whole world, so which one would you choose? Would you rather believe in God or believe in Man?

39 comments:

Joel Tay said...

Great Blog.

City of God all over again.

Believe God :)

PuritanReformed said...

Joel:

yup, thanks.

Joel Tay said...

Can I post you article, "The Gospel of Sola Fide" in its entirety on my website? It's a well written article.

Very often professing Christian today think that salvation is grace + works (as in the Roman Catholic church), or more commonly... think that salvation is "by faith through grace" rather then "by grace through faith" (as seen in wide-spread heresy of decisional regeneration)

PuritanReformed said...

Joel:

sure, just place a link over to the original article and it's fine.

Joel Tay said...

Do you know if there are any colleges in Singapore that hold to a Clarkian understanding of apologetics?

vincit omnia veritas said...

Not that I know of.

PuritanReformed said...

Joel:

neither do I know of any either. I think even Van Tillianism is not found here in Singapore.

Antithesis said...

Dear Joel,

What is "Clarkian" apologetics? How is it different from Van Til's?

Just want to clarify your terminology.

Yours,
Antithesis.

Joel Tay said...

A number of areas, which I am sure Daniel would be able to expound more clearly since he is a Clarkian reader. Hehe.

First of all, Van Tillian Apologetics is not really presuppositional in the first place. Van Til Himself admits that his arguments at its most basic level is not presuppositional at all. It's ironic that Van Til is known as the father of presuppositional apologetics.

"I do not reject the theistic proof but merely insist on formulating them in such a way as not to compromise the doctrines of Scripture. There is a natural theology that is legitimate (613); and When the proofs are thus formulated [i.e., on a Christian basis] they have absolute probative force (615). This is true, we are told, of the ontological proof, the cosmological proof, and the teleological proof (621). Dr. Bahnsen, in summarizing his teacher's position, states: Van Til did not sweepingly and indiscriminately discard theistic proofs. He affirmed quite boldly that the argument for the existence of God, when properly construed, is indeed objectively valid (622)."

http://www.trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=128

The Gordon Clark school of presuppositional apologetics, on the other hand, is based on the presupposition of scriptures being the word of God.

Van Til uses the transcendental argument alot. But even his disciple, John Frame rejects this argument. The transcendental argument is "arguing from the impossibility of the contrary". Van Til was making a basic error in logic. This is demonstrated in this video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8QANkYFQ_0

We should be arguing for the impossibility of the contradictory, not impossibility of the contrary as suggested by Bahnsen or by many in the Van Til school of apologetics.

Starting with the presupposition of scriptures being the Word of God, Clark explains why only the Christian worldview can make sense of the use of logic, whilst all other views lead to total agnosticism. His arguments are based on God being the divine logos (Logic), wherelse Van Til rejects this.

As Clark would translate John 1:1. in the beginning was the Logic, and the Logic was with God, and the Logic was God.
John 1:4 - In him (this Logic) was life, and the life was the light of men.

Clark argues for a univocal point of similarity with God in that man is a logical creature (made in the image of God). Van Til holds to an analogical view of revelation.

Other differences between Clark and Van Til would include Van Til's view on the Trinity being both 1 person and 3 persons. This is a heretical statement. The Nicene creed is clear that God is 1 Godhead in three persons.

Gordon Clark's Presuppositional apolgoetics is sometimes called scripturalism.

Antithesis said...

Dear Joel,

1) First of all, Van Tillian Apologetics is not really presuppositional in the first place.

>First off, I would like to say that I am neither Van Tillian nor Clarkian as most of us can agree that there are weaknesses in both systems of thought. Herman Hoeksema's “The Clark-Van Til Controversy” would reveal deeper issues, but I’m sure you would have read it.

In your opinion, what is the definition for “presuppositional”?

2) The Gordon Clark school of presuppositional apologetics, on the other hand, is based on the presupposition of scriptures being the word of God.

>Are you sure Van Till rejected this “presupposition” – “of scriptures being the word of God?” Hmmm …

3) Van Til uses the transcendental argument alot. But even his disciple, John Frame rejects this argument. The transcendental argument is "arguing from the impossibility of the contrary.

>The conceptualist’s argument for the existence of God (as described by atheist Quentin Smith) has much potential in the realm of dealing with atheologians; unfortunately, the tag (pun intended) of “transcendental argument for God” has been following this valid argument. By the way, Gordon Clark used the ontology of truth to develop an interesting “transcendental argument” in “A Christian View of Men and Things.” The late Ron Nash, a Christian philosopher heavily influenced by Clark, defends it in his lectures on Christian apologetics. Again, I’m certain you would have known this.

4) Starting with the presupposition of scriptures being the Word of God, Clark explains why only the Christian worldview can make sense of the use of logic, whilst all other views lead to total agnosticism. His arguments are based on God being the divine logos (Logic), wherelse Van Til rejects this.

> You are right that the ontology of Logic and epistemology are the salient points of disagreement between them both (IMHO).

Question: Did God create the laws of logic, and/or is He subjected to these laws (or what is your point of view on this, as my question could have been deliberately phrased)? Are the laws of logic immutable/same in all possible worlds? Your answer to these questions will delineate your stand to either side.

Also, do you believe that there are paradoxes in the Word of God?

Van Til’s disagreements with Clark were also theological in nature, but I tend to agree with Plantinga/Calvin concerning the sensus divinitatis and the noetic effects of sin on man.

5) Clark argues for a univocal point of similarity with God in that man is a logical creature (made in the image of God). Van Til holds to an analogical view of revelation.

> The entire debate concerns this relation: whether human and divine knowledge is analogical or can be univocal at some points. Is propositional human language capable of expressing truths concerning a transcendent God and associated truths? Seems like this is more a philosophical debate than theological error. But if we are to follow the logic of language, then it is quite difficult to defend the view that language can be expressed precisely in logical forms (for e.g., read Ernest Lepore’s text). But again, if language cannot express logic (of propositions) precisely, what are we to say of revealed propositions and their associated logical forms?

truly,
Antithesis

PuritanReformed said...

Joel:

I have read a few of Clark's books, but not as many as you seem to have. As for Van Till, I have nearly fainted from reading one of his books since it is too philosophical, and as such yes, it does give credence to the notion that he is not a true presuppositionalist.

Antithesis:

I will just like to comment on a few items here, and Joel can do the rest.

>Question: Did God create the laws of logic, and/or is He subjected to these laws (or what is your point of view on this, as my question could have been deliberately phrased)?

C. Matthew McMahon of A Puritan's Mind in his doctoral thesis, published as a book The Two Wills of God, did discuss this very issue in his first few chapters. Logic ontologically flows from God, but it epistemologically precedes God. So God is independent of logic ontologically, but is dependent on logic epistemologically. Thus, you cannot have one without the other.

>Are the laws of logic immutable/same in all possible worlds?

The laws of logic precede from God and are independent of the material world, and therefore this question is nonsensical, because you would not know otherwise even if they were different, for they are as transcendent and unchangeable as God.

>Also, do you believe that there are paradoxes in the Word of God?

Define "paradoxes". If by paradox, you are talking about apparent contradictions which may be resolved logically, then I agree. If by paradoxes, you mean apparent contradictions which may not be resolved logically, then I disagree.

>Is propositional human language capable of expressing truths concerning a transcendent God and associated truths?

Question: Is God sovereign over language? If God is sovereign, then since He reveals Himself in words, shouldn't He superintend the development of language such that human languages are able to express God's truth univocally?

Joel Tay said...

1) In your opinion, what is the definition for “presuppositional”?
====The bible alone is the axiom. Axioms (or presuppositions) cannot be proven; if they could, they would not be presuppositions. Van Til believes that there are proofs for the existences and truth of his Word. This makes him post-suppositional.

2) >Are you sure Van Til rejected this “presupposition” – “of scriptures being the word of God?”
==== scriptures is not the axiomatic starting point for Van Til. Clark would understand sola scriptura to mean “The Bible alone is the Word of God”.

3) >The conceptualist’s argument for the existence of God (as described by atheist Quentin Smith) has much potential in the realm of dealing with atheologians; unfortunately, the tag (pun intended) of “transcendental argument for God” has been following this valid argument. By the way, Gordon Clark used the ontology of truth to develop an interesting “transcendental argument” in “A Christian View of Men and Things.” The late Ron Nash, a Christian philosopher heavily influenced by Clark, defends it in his lectures on Christian apologetics. Again, I’m certain you would have known this.

==== I’m referring to Van Til’s argument which "argues from the impossibility of the contrary”. This is a basic mistake in Logic, as the video link in my earlier comment s indicate. We should be arguing from the impossibility of the contradictory – not contrary.

4) Question: Did God create the laws of logic, and/or is He subjected to these laws (or what is your point of view on this, as my question could have been deliberately phrased)? Are the laws of logic immutable/same in all possible worlds? Your answer to these questions will delineate your stand to either side.

====God is the Logic. It is his very nature. The laws of logic are the way God thinks, and these laws are embedded in Scripture.
There is only one system of logic. If there were more then one form of logic, then we cannot make sense of scripture since that would depend on which form of logic we use. Besides, the one claiming multiple forms of logic expects the listener to be using the same form of logic as him. Thirdly, as far as formal logic goes, there is only one form. An apple either "is a fruit" or "is not a fruit". If there is another other form of logic, knowledge of the anything becomes impossible and one is left with agnostism.

Gordon Clark's stand on logic is based on God being the logic(LOGOS) in John 1:1. And verse 4 tells us that this LOGOS is the light of man. We are made in the image of God in being able to understand Logic.

Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Logic and the Logic was with God, and the Logic was God.
Joh 1:4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

Man can use the same logic as God because God himself says so. Again, the presupposition is scriptures. Argument from Logic is built from scripture
Logic cannot exist before God for that would give Logic pre-eminence over God. Either did Logic exist after God, for that would make God illogical before that. God has to be the divine Logic Himself.

5) Also, do you believe that there are paradoxes in the Word of God?

====Rhetorical paradoxes yes. Logical paradoxes no.
http://www.trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=76


5) The entire debate concerns this relation: whether human and divine knowledge is analogical or can be univocal at some points. Is propositional human language capable of expressing truths concerning a transcendent God and associated truths? Seems like this is more a philosophical debate than theological error. But if we are to follow the logic of language, then it is quite difficult to defend the view that language can be expressed precisely in logical forms (for e.g., read Ernest Lepore’s text). But again, if language cannot express logic (of propositions) precisely, what are we to say of revealed propositions and their associated logical forms?

====Logic is univocal. As John 1:1 and John 1:4 indicates, this divine Logic/wisdom is the light of man. Here, scriptures show that logic is a univocal point of agreement between man and God. If our knowledge does not coincide with God in at least one propositional point, then we cannot understand any truth. Those from the Van Til school as well as the Neo-orthodox, would say that there is no univocal truth between man and God, and that any understanding between man and God is at best analogical. However, any theological-propositional-statement that says we cannot understand any theological-propositional-statement, is self-defeating and proven false. Secondly, verse 4 implies that when man is being made in the image of God, it refers not to the physical, but to the intellect. As Clark points out,
“The image of God cannot refer to the physical body, for God is Spirit. Animals have bodies, but they are not in God’s image. Man’s mind, therefore, his rationality, is God’s image as Ephesians 4:24 and Col 3:10 indicate... It ought to be obvious that a blank mind cannot be an image of God. God is a God of knowledge and truth. His image must reflect that fact. This ability to reason set us apart from animals. Univocal Logic allows God to reveal propositional truth to man and be understood in the process. This also means that those who reject God are without excuse for rejecting him. To reject rationality as the image of God would mean that theology as “knowledge of God” becomes impossible resulting in complete agnosticism. This strikes at the heart of the gospel since Jesus Himself taught theology. It is interesting to note that verse 14 tells us that this Divine-Logic became flesh in the person of Jesus and that grace and truth comes through Jesus.
Logic (LOGOS) is an attribute of God Himself. God is truth. (Ps 31:5) – The Logic-incarnate (John 14:6). He is not a God of confusion (1 Cor 14:33) and thus we can deduce that God cannot speak forth propositions that are logical contradictions. Since man is made in the image of God, and the Logos is the light of man, when we turn away from the truth in rebellion against God, we are illogical. The bible speaks of non-believers as being illogical – ALOGOS (Jud 110 and 2 Pet 2:12) When Jesus told the woman in John 4:21, “Woman, believe me”, He was speaking about believing in His Words (propositional truth). When Jesus in John 5:46 compared believing Moses with believing Jesus, “For if you believed Moses, you would believe me for he wrote of me, But if you do not believe in his writings, how will you believe in my words” (John 5:46-47). Jesus, the logic-LOGOS is referring to belief in what He says. It is not possible to separate belief in God with belief in the truth of His words in scripture (logical-propositions). To disbelief LOGOS-Jesus’ words as recorded in scripture, is to disbelieve in LOGOS-Jesus. To say that scriptures is not inerrant, casts doubt on our faith in the LOGOS.

On Language, do note that God made Adam with full capability to speak – even with the ability to understand what death is before death had even occurred on earth. Language therefore is God’s of revealing propositional truth to man. So yes. Language therefore is able to express truth concerning a transcendent God and its associated truths. As mentioned earlier, logic is univocal between man and God. Formal logic is an example of how language is translated into logical forms. As you pointed out, if language cannot express logic (of propositions) precisely, we cannot understand revealed propositions and their associated logical forms. In other words, rejecting logic being univocal in God and man, results in complete agnosticism. That is why a rejection of Clarkian apologetics is ultimately self-defeating.


Joel

Antithesis said...

Dear Joel,

1) The bible alone is the axiom. Axioms (or presuppositions) cannot be proven; if they could, they would not be presuppositions. Van Til believes that there are proofs for the existences and truth of his Word. This makes him post-suppositional.

>OK. Your definition of “presuppositional” = Using axioms derived from the Bible.

Am I interpreting you correctly?

So, you are using these axioms in “proving” certain truths; am I interpreting you correctly again? In which case, how would you proceed? What I mean is, what kind of “proof” are you trying to furnish? In fact, what is an acceptable “proof” for you? What qualifies as a “proof” for you?

Do you have an example of such a “proof” for whatever you are trying to prove i.e. in your apologetics endeavors?

What is the epistemological basis for your “proof?” Are you using the classical foundationalist/coherentist theories for justification (or what)? Deductive/inductive/abductive or what?

2) Clark would understand sola scriptura to mean “The Bible alone is the Word of God”.

>So Van Til believes otherwise???

3) I wrote, “The conceptualist’s argument for the existence of God (as described by atheist Quentin Smith) has much potential in the realm of dealing with atheologians; unfortunately, the tag (pun intended) of “transcendental argument for God” has been following this valid argument. By the way, Gordon Clark used the ontology of truth to develop an interesting “transcendental argument” in “A Christian View of Men and Things.” The late Ron Nash, a Christian philosopher heavily influenced by Clark, defends it in his lectures on Christian apologetics. Again, I’m certain you would have known this.”

You wrote, “I’m referring to Van Til’s argument which "argues from the impossibility of the contrary”. This is a basic mistake in Logic, as the video link in my earlier comments indicate. We should be arguing from the impossibility of the contradictory – not contrary.”

>Er … the conceptualist’s argument is similar to the TAG you are reiterating here. Try googling for “conceptualist’s argument Quentin Smith?” But I’m sure you would have done this.

My point is, both Van Til and Clark used the TAG. By the way, if you would research into this a little more, the TAG is logically valid (which points us back to my previous question – what qualifies as a “proof” for you?). There’s more to Aristotelian logic than this; Google is a useful tool.

4) God is the Logic. It is his very nature. The laws of logic are the way God thinks, and these laws are embedded in Scripture.
There is only one system of logic. If there were more then one form of logic, then we cannot make sense of scripture since that would depend on which form of logic we use. Besides, the one claiming multiple forms of logic expects the listener to be using the same form of logic as him. Thirdly, as far as formal logic goes, there is only one form. An apple either "is a fruit" or "is not a fruit". If there is another other form of logic, knowledge of the anything becomes impossible and one is left with agnostism.

>Absolutely. This IMHO is the most important thing we can glean from Clark’s work (if nothing else). Glad you got that. But again, many other Christian apologists/philosophers had defended this. Of course, Clark popularized this in the controversies of the OPC.

5) Gordon Clark's stand on logic is based on God being the logic (LOGOS) in John 1:1. And verse 4 tells us that this LOGOS is the light of man. We are made in the image of God in being able to understand Logic.

>Not many will agree that the Greek word (strong’s number 3056) means strictly “logic.” Have you done your own lexical study?

By the way, this “logos” as God’s “logic” is nothing new in the history of thought. Heard of Heraclitean Logos? I’m sure you do.

6) Man can use the same logic as God because God himself says so. Again, the presupposition is scriptures. Argument from Logic is built from scripture
Logic cannot exist before God for that would give Logic pre-eminence over God. Either did Logic exist after God, for that would make God illogical before that. God has to be the divine Logic Himself.

>To put it succinctly, just like moral laws (read Plato’s Euthyphro and the associated dilemma) and logical concepts, all these exist in the Mind of God. God didn’t create the moral laws or logic, neither is He subjected to them. They exist immutably and eternally as part of His Being. This concept forms the bases of the conceptualist argument. Thanks for “proving” that for me.

5) Also, do you believe that there are paradoxes in the Word of God? Rhetorical paradoxes yes. Logical paradoxes no.

>That makes you a Clarkian. Congratulations! In all honesty, I repudiate the presence of logical paradoxes in Scripture as well (pat ourselves on our backs?).

I wrote, “The entire debate concerns this relation: whether human and divine knowledge is analogical or can be univocal at some points. Is propositional human language capable of expressing truths concerning a transcendent God and associated truths? Seems like this is more a philosophical debate than theological error. But if we are to follow the logic of language, then it is quite difficult to defend the view that language can be expressed precisely in logical forms (for e.g., read Ernest Lepore’s text). But again, if language cannot express logic (of propositions) precisely, what are we to say of revealed propositions and their associated logical forms?”

6a) Logic is univocal.

>Agreed.

6b) However, any theological-propositional-statement that says we cannot understand any theological-propositional-statement, is self-defeating and proven false.

>Yes, yes! So is God 100% knowable to Man? Can any theologian dead or alive ever get Systematic Theology 100% correct?

6c) Secondly, verse 4 implies that when man is being made in the image of God, it refers not to the physical, but to the intellect.

>Are our emotions/affections functions of the intellect? Are our minds likewise tainted by the Fall?

6d) Thus we can deduce that God cannot speak forth propositions that are logical contradictions … To disbelief LOGOS-Jesus’ words as recorded in scripture, is to disbelieve in LOGOS-Jesus. To say that scriptures is not inerrant, casts doubt on our faith in the LOGOS.

>You wrote a little while ago that, “Gordon Clark's stand on logic is based on God being the logic (LOGOS) in John 1:1.” Do you mean “logic” as the laws of logic (LOGOS)?

In this comment, you mentioned LOGOS as “Jesus’ words” and Jesus Himself as the divine Logos.

Can you clarify your understanding/usage of the word “logos” in your comments here? Does Logos refer to the laws of logic, Jesus, words of Jesus, or all of the above? In which case in John 1:1-4, how do you understand Logos here to mean “laws of logic/logic?”

6e) Language therefore is able to express truth concerning a transcendent God and its associated truths. As mentioned earlier, logic is univocal between man and God. Formal logic is an example of how language is translated into logical forms. As you pointed out, if language cannot express logic (of propositions) precisely, we cannot understand revealed propositions and their associated logical forms.

>You do not seem to realize that philosophers of language, logicians and linguists all agree that language cannot be accurately/precisely (at least in some cases) expressed as symbolic logic. If you had (and I believe you must have) studied basic “formal” logic of language – as you had so aptly mentioned – you must be acquainted with simple property predicate logic. Lepore, for example, taught his students how best to symbolize the logical form of various statements, but this is at best inadequate when we encounter certain sentence structures (read carefully, I’m not saying that language CANNOT express propositional truths).

If the logical forms of language cannot be adequately expressed (as in the usage of formal logic), how are we to say that we have 100% epistemic certainty concerning the logical forms of such language?

With that in mind, I asked, “Is propositional human language capable of expressing truths concerning a transcendent God and associated truths?”

Perhaps a better question would be, “Are we able to understand the logical forms of such linguistic expressions of propositional truths in all its entirety?”

We know that the Reformed position is that, “Scripture is perspicacious”; but does that mean we are able to know every truth/logical form/proposition contained in the Bible with 100% epistemic certainty? See where I’m driving at now?

Yours truly,
Antithesis

Antithesis said...

"Van Til’s argument which "argues from the impossibility of the contrary”" - Joel

Oh yes, before I forget – no contemporary philosopher who uses the TAG or the conceptualist argument "argues from the impossibility of the contrary”. Copi’s text (shown in that “enlightening” Youtube video) is for first year students; the folks I know don’t make that mistake. And surely if you would pick up a paper on this, you would find more than the square of opposition.

Kind regards,
antithesis

PuritanReformed said...

Antithesis:

With regards to the philosophy of language, you did not address sufficiently the providence of God argument. Your argument over this does not at all take into account the existance of God who is sovereign over the development.

>Lepore, for example, taught his students how best to symbolize the logical form of various statements, but this is at best inadequate when we encounter certain sentence structures

Does this therefore mean that language cannot be sufficiently symbolized using logical forms, or that language is not logical? These two things are very different. Just because there may be a problem reducing a sentence into a formal logical setence does not equate to the sentence being not able to be processed logically.

>We know that the Reformed position is that, “Scripture is perspicacious”; but does that mean we are able to know every truth/logical form/proposition contained in the Bible with 100% epistemic certainty?

I guess you mean "Scripture is perspicuous"? Is 100% epistemic certainty neccessary for all doctrines/truth? And is the opposite of 100% epistemic certainty equals 0% epistemic certainty? Also, who or what exactly determines the level of certainty to be held for any one doctrine?

Antithesis said...

Dear Puritan-Reformed, (can I call you PR?)

“With regards to the philosophy of language, you did not address sufficiently the providence of God argument. Your argument over this does not at all take into account the existance of God who is sovereign over the development.”

>PR, I am bemused by your apparent confusion concerning my statements. My comments are just a few inches away on your computer screen; please do go over it yourself. Amongst other things I wrote, ““Are we able to understand the logical forms of such linguistic expressions of propositional truths in all its entirety?”

Here, the issue is “language” per se and expression of that language in its logical form. My contention is that, it is difficult for language simpliciter to be precisely symbolized into its logical form in some instances. How is God’s providence in the “development” of language pertinent to the issue within this context?

“Does this therefore mean that language cannot be sufficiently symbolized using logical forms, or that language is not logical? These two things are very different.

>??? Yes, they are two very different things. And your point is? I neither say that language is “illogical,” nor claim that language cannot be “sufficiently symbolized using logical forms.” What I did insist is, language cannot be ALWAYS precisely symbolized into its logical forms. Unless you can quote me an instance whereby a logician says/prove otherwise, you have to accept that this is the limit of human means in expressing the logical forms of language.

“Just because there may be a problem reducing a sentence into a formal logical setence does not equate to the sentence being not able to be processed logically.”

>And how do you propose that we “process logically” the non-logical forms of language? Example?

“I guess you mean "Scripture is perspicuous"?”

>Yes, my bad. Perspicuous is the word.

“Is 100% epistemic certainty neccessary for all doctrines/truth?”

>If not 100% certainty, how much do you suppose we require?

“And is the opposite of 100% epistemic certainty equals 0% epistemic certainty?”

> I’m seeing a straw man here. Epistemic certainty is a cline or gradation, so how would you propose that we derive the contradictory value of an arbitrary degree of certainty? Isn’t that what you mean by “opposite?”

“Also, who or what exactly determines the level of certainty to be held for any one doctrine?”

>Epistemic certainty concerns knowledge. Allow me to answer your question with this question, “Would you regard yourself as having knowledge of a particular doctrine/truth if you have any less than 100% epistemic certainty?” If yes, what degree of certainty would you admit?

Who or what exactly determines the level of certainty to be held for any one doctrine? If you are Clarkian, you should be defending the “primacy of the intellect.” So as rationalists, shouldn’t we use reason? Or perhaps you have something from the Word of God – any thoughts?

My question to Joel was, “We know that the Reformed position is that, “Scripture is perspicuous”; but does that mean we are able to know every truth/logical form/proposition contained in the Bible with 100% epistemic certainty?”

I am asking this, NOT from a philosophical point of view, but from a biblical perspective. The hint is in the preceding comment. Think about it, PR.

your truly,
Antithesis

Antithesis said...

PuritanReformed wrote, “Question: Is God sovereign over language? If God is sovereign, then since He reveals Himself in words, shouldn't He superintend the development of language such that human languages are able to express God's truth univocally?”

Using your line of reasoning,

Question: Is God sovereign over His own inspired Word? If God is sovereign, then since He reveals Himself in words, shouldn't He superintend the preservation/textual criticism of His very own Words of Scripture in the apographs/eclectic texts such that what we have in our hands is the very inerrant, inspired Words of the autographs unequivocally?”

So do we have errors in our extant manuscripts?

Do we have the inerrant words of God today in our hands?

If we can’t even answer this question, why are we “discussing” the expression of “God's truth univocally?” Why, we aren’t even sure if these (apographs/eclectic texts) are God’s very words as it is in the autographs, let alone the “expression” of univocal truths via these words/sentences.

Or perhaps a 100% certainty in textual criticism is a presupposition in “presuppositional” apologetics, eh?

yours truly,
Antithesis

PuritanReformed said...

Antithesis:

>PR, I am bemused by your apparent confusion concerning my statements. My comments are just a few inches away on your computer screen; please do go over it yourself. Amongst other things I wrote, ““Are we able to understand the logical forms of such linguistic expressions of propositional truths in all its entirety?”

And all of this does not show that you have understood my point at all. You are attempting to argue from Man's experience, I am stating that we must argue from the TRUTH of God's sovereign control over language development as an axiom before we tackle any other problems.

>Here, the issue is “language” per se and expression of that language in its logical form. My contention is that, it is difficult for language simpliciter to be precisely symbolized into its logical form in some instances. How is God’s providence in the “development” of language pertinent to the issue within this context?

You did not listen. I have asked:

If God is sovereign, then since He reveals Himself in words, shouldn't He superintend the development of language such that human languages are able to express God's truth univocally?

You start with the human experience, and are trying to argue backwards to God and Truth, but that is the wrong anthropocentric way to go about it. Try tackling the problem from God's perspective.

>And how do you propose that we “process logically” the non-logical forms of language

I mentioned: "language cannot be sufficiently symbolized using logical forms", NOT "language cannot be symbolized using logical forms". Just because something is hard or even seemingly impossible to symbolize does not mean that it is not possible to do so. Unless you want to show otherwise?

>If not 100% certainty, how much do you suppose we require?

Certain doctrines of Scripture ie Eschatology wrt the Millinium are not derived deductively from Scripture, but according to a paradigm which is itself inductively derived from Scripture. I was thinking of such doctrines when I was saying that 100% certainty is not possible, NOT the basic doctrines of Scripture which we can be 100% certain of.

>>And is the opposite of 100% epistemic certainty equals 0% epistemic certainty?”
>
> I’m seeing a straw man here. ...

That was a pre-emption of the Emerging Church epistemology, or at least one of their options.

>Allow me to answer your question with this question, “Would you regard yourself as having knowledge of a particular doctrine/truth if you have any less than 100% epistemic certainty?” If yes, what degree of certainty would you admit?

Yes. The degree of certainty, which applies only to doctrines derived from a larger paradigm of Scripture and not basic doctrine, is dependent on how much explanatory power the doctrine has in light of all of Scripture.

>Who or what exactly determines the level of certainty to be held for any one doctrine? If you are Clarkian, you should be defending the “primacy of the intellect.” So as rationalists, shouldn’t we use reason? Or perhaps you have something from the Word of God – any thoughts?

Since when did the primacy of the intellect means ONLY the use of the intellect? Clarkans are not rationalists, and that accusation is a straw man. At least for me, the Holy Spirit does play the most vital role in making me able to discern truly rationally.

>I am asking this, NOT from a philosophical point of view, but from a biblical perspective. The hint is in the preceding comment

Which "biblical perspective"? So far, you haven't appealed at all to Scripture! We have been playing on the philosophical playground all the while. If and when we go to Scripture, all your skepticism will be shown to be similar to patterns of unbelief. Think about it: Since where in Scripture was there any of such skepticism but a trust in such basic things as the ability of language to communicate truth? I seem to recall one person in Scripture questioning the usage of language, and hissing "Has God said?" (cf Gen. 3:1).

PuritanReformed said...

Antithesis:

>Question: Is God sovereign over His own inspired Word? If God is sovereign, then since He reveals Himself in words, shouldn't He superintend the preservation/textual criticism of His very own Words of Scripture in the apographs/eclectic texts such that what we have in our hands is the very inerrant, inspired Words of the autographs unequivocally?”

And where in Scripture is that "promise" stated? God has promised to preserve His Word, but He did not state how He would do so, or that He would do so by preserving a "perfect manuscript". So therefore, your question is a false analogy.

Beng said...

Erm, 1 Tim 6:4 anyone?

(It was right there when I launched e-sword. I promise. So I had to share it).

Joel Tay said...

perhaps a reading the previous verse will help.

1Ti 6:3 If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness,
1Ti 6:4 he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions,

I'll address the questions another time. it's 2.55am now. This discussion is becoming an essay. LOL.

Antithesis said...

Dear PR:

1) PuritanReformed wrote, “Question: Is God sovereign over language? If God is sovereign, then since He reveals Himself in words, shouldn't He superintend the development of language such that human languages are able to express God's truth univocally?”

And where in Scripture is that "promise" stated?

>Ditto; where in Scripture is that “promise” stated?

2) God has promised to preserve His Word, but He did not state how He would do so, or that He would do so by preserving a "perfect manuscript".

>Ditto; Did God state how he would superintend the development of language such that human languages are able to (perfectly) express God's truth univocally?” Does God need to state HOW he would do it?

3) So therefore, your question is a false analogy.

>In informal logic, this is not a false analogy. This is a reductio ad absurdum using the SAME line of reasoning you furnished. Think about it. “Is God sovereign over … ? If God is sovereign, then since He reveals Himself in words, shouldn't He superintend the development of … ?” etc etc

If God is sovereign and cares enough to superintend the development of language such that human languages are able to express God's truth univocally and perfectly (and therefore the logical forms of the language of Scripture as symbolized in formal logic), wouldn’t God HAVE TO preserve the SCRIPTURE itself perfectly (otherwise what is there to express univocally and perfectly?)?

Don’t like the word “perfect?”

If you claim that language is not developed/superintended by God providentially to express truths perfectly, then it is a tacit admission that truths cannot be expressed in language perfectly. (which is self-defeating).

And by the way, unless the statements/words are themselves preserved perfectly, how would these “human languages [that] are able to express God's truth univocally” be able to express these truths perfectly? If the truths/words contained in the original statements/Scripture were not perfectly preserved, how would you propose that these truths be expressed perfectly together with their logical forms?

Unless you contend that, although the words of Scripture are imperfectly preserved, the languages are superintended by God to express the truths of these (lost and imperfect) words of Scripture univocally and imperfectly?

yours truly,
Antithesis

Antithesis said...

Dear PR,

1) And all of this does not show that you have understood my point at all.

>I disagree respectfully. I would counter that you have not understood my point at all.

2) You are attempting to argue from Man's experience, I am stating that we must argue from the TRUTH of God's sovereign control over language development as an axiom before we tackle any other problems.

>Ditto; what about the TRUTH of God's sovereign control over the preservation of His Word as an axiom? Thus far, I am simply showing how inconsistent your “claim” of God’s “sovereignty” is. Apparently, you claim that God cares enough/sovereign enough to superintend the [perfect] development of language to express truths perfectly and univocally, but is not sovereign enough to preserve the VERY TRUTHS/WORDS of Scripture perfectly. Now isn’t that inconsistency at best?

Unless, of course, you agree that language cannot express truths/propositions perfectly (albeit univocally?).

3) You start with the human experience, and are trying to argue backwards to God and Truth, but that is the wrong anthropocentric way to go about it. Try tackling the problem from God's perspective.

>Ditto; isn’t that what you do with textual criticism and the very words of the Bible? Prove me wrong.

4) I mentioned: "language cannot be sufficiently symbolized using logical forms", NOT "language cannot be symbolized using logical forms".

>Did I say that you said, "language cannot be symbolized using logical forms"? Read again, please.

5) Just because something is hard or even seemingly impossible to symbolize does not mean that it is not possible to do so. Unless you want to show otherwise?

>Why don’t you show me how language can be perfectly symbolized into its logical forms? As far as I’m concern, all linguists and logicians agree with my observation. It’s you who disagree. Therefore, the onus of proof is on you.

In the same vein, just because textual criticism isn’t perfect, it doesn’t mean “it is not possible” for God’s Word to be preserved perfectly. Like your own reasoning thus far?

6) Certain doctrines of Scripture ie Eschatology wrt the Millinium are not derived deductively from Scripture, but according to a paradigm which is itself inductively derived from Scripture. I was thinking of such doctrines when I was saying that 100% certainty is not possible, NOT the basic doctrines of Scripture which we can be 100% certain of.

>My question is, “How much epistemic certainty is it required for knowledge?” And I asked, “If not 100% certainty, how much do you suppose we require?”

I never asked whether a particular amount of certainty is “possible” or “impossible.”

Any thoughts?

7) That was a pre-emption of the Emerging Church epistemology, or at least one of their options.

Dear PR, my original discussion wasn’t with you. I was having some fun with our newfound friend Joel. Anyway, I’m no Emergent “friend.”

8) I asked, “Allow me to answer your question with this question, “Would you regard yourself as having knowledge of a particular doctrine/truth if you have any less than 100% epistemic certainty?” If yes, what degree of certainty would you admit?”

You answered, “Yes. The degree of certainty, which applies only to doctrines derived from a larger paradigm of Scripture and not basic doctrine, is dependent on how much explanatory power the doctrine has in light of all of Scripture.”

>I agree with your observation here.

9) I ASKED, “Who or what exactly determines the level of certainty to be held for any one doctrine? If you are Clarkian, you should be defending the “primacy of the intellect.” So as rationalists, shouldn’t we use reason? Or perhaps you have something from the Word of God – any thoughts?”

You wrote, “Since when did the primacy of the intellect means ONLY the use of the intellect?”

>DID I SAY “ONLY”???

9b) Clarkians are not rationalists, and that accusation is a straw man.

>Anyone acquainted with Clarkian thought would know that he IS a [biblical] rationalist, which is actually a compliment (unless – as Clark would say – you are an irrationalist?).

http://www.ontruth.com/apologetics.html

I quote Carrigan, “Gordon H. Clark … is a revelational rationalist.”

But again, you must have known this. ☺

9c) At least for me, the Holy Spirit does play the most vital role in making me able to discern truly rationally.

>There’s a name for this: it’s called the “logic of faith,” or “faith (as enlightened by the Holy Ghost)” plus “reason.” And I agree!

10) I wrote, “I am asking this, NOT from a philosophical point of view, but from a biblical perspective. The hint is in the preceding comment.”

Which "biblical perspective"?

>The Fall?

So far, you haven't appealed at all to Scripture!

>I thought you’d have known this!

We have been playing on the philosophical playground all the while.

>Really?

If and when we go to Scripture, all your skepticism will be shown to be similar to patterns of unbelief.

>Really? If Man is tainted by the Fall, is the intellect likewise tainted by the Fall? Primacy of the intellect?

11) Think about it: Since where in Scripture was there any of such skepticism but a trust in such basic things as the ability of language to communicate truth? I seem to recall one person in Scripture questioning the usage of language, and hissing "Has God said?" (cf Gen. 3:1).

>Think about it: Since where in Scripture was there any of such skepticism but a trust in such basic things as God’s ability to preserve truth/His word perfectly? I seem to recall one person in Scripture questioning the usage of language, and hissing "Has God said?" (cf Gen. 3:1).

My concluding word: I don’t disagree with Clark on many things. But if you would insist on “trusting” in God’s sovereignty, and advised that we shouldn’t “start with the human experience, and … [try] to argue backwards to God and Truth,” why is your faith in Man’s textual criticism (human’s ability) greater than your faith in God’s ability to providentially preserve His Word perfectly for the Church? Isn’t that inconsistency at best?

Your belief in God’s providence in guiding the development of language is obviously based upon the nature of God (where in Scripture does it say explicitly that God will guide the development of language such that logical forms can be perfectly symbolized, or that language can express truths perfectly).

I don’t disagree with this. In fact, if you are truly exercising your faith in God as one who has magnified his Word above all His name, do you think he wouldn’t preserve perfectly something – i.e. His Word - which He has magnified ABOVE ALL HIS NAME? (Ps 138:2). And you had the faith that he would guide the development of language to express truths of Scripture univocally and presumably, perfectly (or imperfectly? – which is then a tacit admission that truths cannot be expressed in language perfectly).

NKJV:
I will worship toward Your holy temple, And praise Your name For Your lovingkindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.

ESV is even stronger:
“I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above ALL things your name and your word. (Ps 138:2)

yours truly,
Antithesis

PuritanReformed said...

Antithesis:

Don't you realize that you are using words now to express your own thoughts?

>Your belief in God’s providence in guiding the development of language is obviously based upon the nature of God (where in Scripture does it say explicitly that God will guide the development of language such that logical forms can be perfectly symbolized, or that language can express truths perfectly).

The entire doctrine of the authority and Verbal, Plenary Inspiration of Scripture depends upon the axiom that language can express God's truth perfectly in the written Scriptures. So therefore, if language cannot express God's truth perfectly (~p), both of these doctrines are nonsense (~q). And therefore, since both of these doctrines are biblical (q), therefore language can express God's truth perfectly (p). Modus tollens!

>Ditto; where in Scripture is that “promise” stated?

See the above logical statement.

>>Ditto: Did God state how he would superintend the development of language such that human languages are able to (perfectly) express God's truth univocally?” Does God need to state HOW he would do it?

So if God does not so superintend the development of huamn language, how can the doctrine of Verbal, Plenary Inspiration be correct?

>>In informal logic, this is not a false analogy. This is a reductio ad absurdum using the SAME line of reasoning you furnished.

What same line of reasoning? One concerns something which is deductively derived from Scripture; the other not.

>Think about it. “Is God sovereign over … ? If God is sovereign, then since He reveals Himself in words, shouldn't He superintend the development of … ?” etc etc

The proposition p that is to be inserted must be scriptural of course, so it is still a false analogy, since very plainly one is dedutively deduced from Scripture while the other isn't.

>If God is sovereign and cares enough to superintend the development of language such that human languages are able to express God's truth univocally and perfectly (and therefore the logical forms of the language of Scripture as symbolized in formal logic), wouldn’t God HAVE TO preserve the SCRIPTURE itself perfectly (otherwise what is there to express univocally and perfectly?)?

Where is that proposition "God has to preserve the Scriptures perfectly" found in Scripture?

>If you claim that language is not developed/superintended by God providentially to express truths perfectly, then it is a tacit admission that truths cannot be expressed in language perfectly

Language is developed/superintended by God to providentially express truth perfectly ONLY as they are used in the Scripture. Words and phrases that are not found in the Scripture are irrelevant to the entire question.

>And by the way, unless the statements/words are themselves preserved perfectly, how would these “human languages [that] are able to express God's truth univocally” be able to express these truths perfectly?

I said that they are preserved within the manuscripts, so they ARE perfectly preserved, just not in the way you desire probably.

>>Ditto; isn’t that what you do with textual criticism and the very words of the Bible?

You obviously do not know my view on textual criticism, as if I believe in the higher critical school or even the Westcort/Hort textual critical philosophy.

>Why don’t you show me how language can be perfectly symbolized into its logical forms? As far as I’m concern, all linguists and logicians agree with my observation. It’s you who disagree. Therefore, the onus of proof is on you.

I have never said we can do it; I just said that it may be possible to do it by God.


>I was having some fun with our newfound friend Joel

And for what reason? Discussion is meant to challenge and edify each other within the Body of Christ, not create unneccessary strife, or "having fun". BTW, just so you know, I have very dim views of sombody masquerading as another 'annonymous' person, so I wouldn't be too pleased if you are actually somebody I know, to say the least.

>>Anyone acquainted with Clarkian thought would know that he IS a [biblical] rationalist, which is actually a compliment (unless – as Clark would say – you are an irrationalist?).
http://www.ontruth.com/apologetics.html
I quote Carrigan, “Gordon H. Clark … is a revelational rationalist.”

If you want to call that "revelation rationalist", then fine. I was thinking more of the Descartes type of rationalist.

>>Really? If Man is tainted by the Fall, is the intellect likewise tainted by the Fall? Primacy of the intellect?

The intellect tained by the Fall does not make an objective truth an objective lie; it just makes it seems so and therefore the fallen Man is irrational. This does not change reality one bit though. Since God is the Word/Logic, and the Holy Spirit leads us into all truth (Jn. 16:13), therefore the regenerate mind is able to be rational in his/her thinking about the things of God.

>why is your faith in Man’s textual criticism (human’s ability) greater than your faith in God’s ability to providentially preserve His Word perfectly for the Church? Isn’t that inconsistency at best?

Do you know my views on textual criticism? I don't think so.

PuritanReformed said...

antithesis:

Btw, are you Vincent in disguise?

Antithesis said...

testing

Antithesis said...

Dear PR:

1) Don't you realize that you are using words now to express your own thoughts?

>And how is that related to your proposal that language can be symbolized perfectly in formal logic, or that language can express truths perfectly?

2) The entire doctrine of the authority and Verbal, Plenary Inspiration of Scripture depends upon the axiom that language can express God's truth perfectly in the written Scriptures.

>Verbal plenary inspiration means full inspiration of each and every WORD of Scripture. VPI simply stated is thus, “The word plenary means "full" or "complete". Therefore, plenary verbal inspiration asserts that God inspired the complete text(s) of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, including both historical and doctrinal details. The word verbal affirms the idea that inspiration extends to the very words the writers chose. For example, in Acts 1:16 the Apostle Peter says "the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake" (KJV).”

http://www.theopedia.com/Inspiration_of_the_Bible#Plenary_verbal_inspiration

How is this related to your proposal that language can be symbolized perfectly in formal logic, or that language can express truths perfectly?

And you haven’t explained how the authority of Scripture necessitates that language can be symbolized perfectly into formal logic, or that language can therefore express truths perfectly. Again, if language can express truths of Scripture perfectly, why are there so many different interpretations of the SAME Scripture? What do you think?

What is so “deductively sound” concerning your statements?

3) So therefore, if language cannot express God's truth perfectly (~p), both of these doctrines are nonsense (~q).

>This is a non sequitur, an unsound argument with false premises.

4) And therefore, since both of these doctrines are biblical (q), therefore language can express God's truth perfectly (p). Modus tollens!

>Nope. See above.

Likewise, I can formulate my argument as such:

If dogs cannot speak, then cats cannot meow.
But cats can meow, therefore dogs can speak. (doesn’t follow, does it? False premises!) Ditto, modus tollens!

Apply the axioms (Authority of Scripture + VPI), and therefore, language must express truths/be symbolized perfectly? It just doesn’t follow i.e. this is deductively valid but unsound.

5) See the above logical statement.

>But not deductively sound. How logical is that?

6) So if God does not so superintend the development of huamn language, how can the doctrine of Verbal, Plenary Inspiration be correct?

>Again, what has VPI to do with the development of language? If each and every word of Scripture is inspired or God-breathed, does that guarantee that e.g. Koine Greek per se will be able to express truths/propositions perfectly?

7) What same line of reasoning? One concerns something which is deductively derived from Scripture; the other not.

>See above (i.e. your deductively UNSOUND argument). Nevertheless, it IS reductio ad absurdum. Don’t believe me? Show our comments to a logician.

8) The proposition p that is to be inserted must be scriptural of course, so it is still a false analogy, since very plainly one is dedutively deduced from Scripture while the other isn't.

See above. It’s not a false analogy. It’s a reductio. And your argument was deductively unsound.

9) Where is that proposition "God has to preserve the Scriptures perfectly" found in Scripture?

>Likewise, where is the proposition “God has to develop language perfectly to express truths perfectly” found in Scripture? Chapter and verse?

A question: If God superintended the preservation of Scripture, the preservation is perfect, right/wrong? Options are: Scripture is not preserved, partially preserved or perfectly/completely preserved (plus/minus God’s sovereign providence). Reformed folks will admit God’s sovereignty/providence, unless you say that God has no part in this. Which leaves us with: God did not preserve, partially preserve or perfectly/completely preserve Scripture. Which one will it be?


10) Language is developed/superintended by God to providentially express truth perfectly ONLY as they are used in the Scripture. Words and phrases that are not found in the Scripture are irrelevant to the entire question.

>That’s so puzzling! You mean the same Koine Greek (as a language) used in NT/Scripture can express truths perfectly, but is unable to express truths perfectly elsewhere?

It’s the SAME LANGUAGE the development of which was superintended by almighty God. You mean the Koine Greek used in Scripture is “different” from Koine Greek used elsewhere (like those used by the READERS of Scripture?)?

11) I said that they are preserved within the manuscripts, so they ARE perfectly preserved, just not in the way you desire probably.

>I didn’t say that I believed in “perfect” preservation. I was using the example as a reductio (didn’t I reiterate that???).

Ah, how do you know that these words of the autographs are perfectly preserved in the manuscripts/apographs if you do not know which words are in the originals?

Now since you said these statements, let me ask you the same question you asked a moment back, “Where is that proposition "God has to preserve the Scriptures perfectly" found in Scripture?”

12) You obviously do not know my view on textual criticism, as if I believe in the higher critical school or even the Westcort/Hort textual critical philosophy.

>Really? Since you promote/use the ESV on your blogs and writings, you must believe/trust the underlying texts for the ESV. What are the underlying Greek texts used to translate the ESV? What critical theory are these texts based on? (Hint: you mentioned this a few sentences ago)

13) I wrote, “Why don’t you show me how language can be perfectly symbolized into its logical forms? As far as I’m concern, all linguists and logicians agree with my observation. It’s you who disagree. Therefore, the onus of proof is on you.”

You answered, “I have never said we can do it; I just said that it may be possible to do it by God.”

>Yes, with God all things are possible. So is verbal plenary preservation possible? Likewise, “I have never said we can do it; I just said that it may be possible to do it by God” irrespective of whatever textual theory one may have.

14a) I said, “I was having some fun with our newfound friend Joel.”

You said, “And for what reason?”

>Is fun evil/sinful? Why the fuss about having “fun?” When you go out with your friends to the shopping malls (and whatever else you do), you mean you don’t have any “fun?” When you go dating, there’s no fun involved?

Isn’t it needful to think through one’s theological leaning/system with such challenges? Isn’t that the whole point of a discussion or debate? Or would you rather stay comfortably in your ivory tower? If that’s the case, I wouldn’t question any of your beliefs EVER.

And by the way, your statements are red herrings.

14b) Discussion is meant to challenge and edify each other within the Body of Christ, not create unneccessary strife, or "having fun".

>What strife? Commenting on your blog is considered “strife?”

So you didn’t find the discussion edifying/fun? Why not? I found this extremely edifying and fun, and it’s good to have our theological high horses challenged for iron sharpens iron, isn’t it? Or perhaps you’re not used to being challenged?

14c) BTW, just so you know, I have very dim views of sombody masquerading as another 'annonymous' person, so I wouldn't be too pleased if you are actually somebody I know, to say the least.

>Why would you “know” me? I have very dim views of somebody suspecting others of masquerading as 'anonymous' persons, so I wouldn't be too pleased if you are actually somebody I know, to say the least.

Time to address the issues instead of ad hominems?

15) If you want to call that "revelation rationalist", then fine. I was thinking more of the Descartes type of rationalist.

>He IS a rationalist, not a Cartesian rationalist. Another reference for you:

Westminster Handbook to Evangelical Theology, pp 46-47.

And I’m sure you know that already. 

16) The intellect tained by the Fall does not make an objective truth an objective lie; it just makes it seems so and therefore the fallen Man is irrational. This does not change reality one bit though. Since God is the Word/Logic, and the Holy Spirit leads us into all truth (Jn. 16:13), therefore the regenerate mind is able to be rational in his/her thinking about the things of God.

>You are avoiding the key issues here; no one says that the “regenerate mind” is irrational. And to say that fallen man is always irrational is saying too much (e.g. fallen men don’t use the “rational” laws of logic in maths?)

However, are you saying that regenerate Man is PERFECT in his intellect/understanding, with no negative noetic effect whatsoever from the Fall after his regeneration? Hence, his understanding/intellect/noetic structure - being PERFECT - will in no way affect the interpretation of the Truth of Scripture?

In which case, as I have asked before and I’ll ask you again, why are there so many different interpretations of the SAME Scripture BY REGENERATE MEN if their intellects are all so perfectly rational, and our understanding so untainted by the Fall/sin?

17) Do you know my views on textual criticism? I don't think so.

>Well, your preference and usage of the ESV speaks volumes about your textual convictions, unless, of course, you are using the ESV out of ignorance.

18) antithesis, Btw, are you Vincent in disguise?

>Who’s Vincent?

Yours truly,
Antithesis

PuritanReformed said...

Antithesis:

>Who’s Vincent?

Vincent is a friend of mine who is studying philosophy and writes comments using the exact same format as you. Furthermore, he has been using a few alternate monikers recently which does not help his case if he was to be accused of commenting under a different name.

>>Why would you “know” me?

That was related to the issue stated above.

>So you didn’t find the discussion edifying/fun? Why not? I found this extremely edifying and fun, and it’s good to have our theological high horses challenged for iron sharpens iron, isn’t it? Or perhaps you’re not used to being challenged?

Look, you come in like a bull in a china shop, and question the positions of others without stating your opinion. Coupled with the little personal information you have revealed make you seem like someone who is only interested in deconstruction and not constructive dialogue.

How about you telling us more about you and your position on the topics?

And if you want to utilize the classic debate tactic and focus only on the truth, then I will give you what you ask for. Truth only; feelings NOT regarded.

PuritanReformed said...

Antithesis:

1) "And how is that related to your proposal that language can be symbolized perfectly in formal logic, or that language can express truths perfectly?"

So did this statement/question of yours "And how is that related to your proposal that language can be symbolized perfectly in formal logic, or that language can express truths perfectly?" relate any truth perfectly? If it relates any particular truth, but not perfectly, then how do I know that the truth is what exactly what you want to say without any distortion whatsoever?

2) "How is this related to your proposal that language can be symbolized perfectly in formal logic, or that language can express truths perfectly?"

Oh, if language cannot express truths perfectly, then how can the words used in Scripture express any biblical truth perfectly? If they cannot, then the words are NOT inspired, only the sense behind the words are, and that denies Verbal Inspiration.

3) "Again, if language can express truths of Scripture perfectly, why are there so many different interpretations of the SAME Scripture? "

How about sin, and traditionalism?

4) "Likewise, I can formulate my argument as such:
If dogs cannot speak, then cats cannot meow.
But cats can meow, therefore dogs can speak. "

The argument is unsound because the premise "If p, then q" is false. However, my stated argument is soun because the conditional premise IS true.

5) "Again, what has VPI to do with the development of language? If each and every word of Scripture is inspired or God-breathed, does that guarantee that e.g. Koine Greek per se will be able to express truths/propositions perfectly?"

You should go and be a lawyer; words seem to be mere putty to you. Question: In your opinion, is there ONE meaning for any particular sentence made by anyone?

6) "Don’t believe me? Show our comments to a logician"

Appeal to authority? For someone who argues against the ability of words to convey truths perfectly, you sure are using a lot of words to persuade me, as if your words can convey your meaning perfectly.

7) "Which leaves us with: God did not preserve, partially preserve or perfectly/completely preserve Scripture. Which one will it be?"

None of the options. Scripture is fully preserved; if you refuse to understand our position and constantly misrepresent it, then this particular area of discussion is done.

8) That’s so puzzling! You mean the same Koine Greek (as a language) used in NT/Scripture can express truths perfectly, but is unable to express truths perfectly elsewhere?

Language is used by individuals. If individuals do not use the words with their official meaning(s), then that sentence made would be unable to express truth perfectly because that person misuses words. That is all I mean by that.

9) "Ah, how do you know that these words of the autographs are perfectly preserved in the manuscripts/apographs if you do not know which words are in the originals?"

Answer: Because the Scriptures tell us that its own words are preserved (cf Mt. 5:18).

10) "So is verbal plenary preservation possible? Likewise, “I have never said we can do it; I just said that it may be possible to do it by God” irrespective of whatever textual theory one may have"

My axiom is found in Jn. 1:1, and that is all I am going to say. Go take up your argument with God and argue with Him how He can say He is the Word/Logic while there are proper sentences which are illogical.

11) "And to say that fallen man is always irrational is saying too much"

... while conveniently leaving out the second part of the sentence "in his/her thinking about the things of God".

12) "However, are you saying that regenerate Man is PERFECT in his intellect/understanding, with no negative noetic effect whatsoever from the Fall after his regeneration?"

Straw man again. I was saying that regenerate Man is able to be logical wrt the things of God, and whether they are so can be seen by them. I DID not say that they WILL always be logical.

13) On textual issues: "Well, your preference and usage of the ESV speaks volumes about your textual convictions, unless, of course, you are using the ESV out of ignorance"

Give me a break! Are all KJV users believers in KJVOnly-ism? Or maybe they are all TR only-ists? Or how about the NKJV users? Are NKJV users supporters partially supporting the TR and partially supporting Westcort and Hort? And are all users of Inclusive Language versions like the TNIV egalitarians?

The fact of the matter is that there is no strong correlation between my use of the ESV and the underlying manuscripts, unless I am a KJVO. I am satisfied (for now) that the textual basis is NOT corrupt, and that is all the "correlation" that is present. Non-belief in the corruption of the Critical Text does not mean that I am a Westcort and Hort supporter, if you just but apply some basic Aristotelian logic to the issue.

PuritanReformed said...

antithesis:

So what is your view on language? Are you a Neo-Orthodox theologian?

Antithesis said...

Hi PR,

I'm going back home today (Sing is not my home, mind you), so I'll chat again when I have the time.

I read you post, but I'm not convinced. Anyway, thanks for the effort.

It's a pity I didn't have fun with conservative Joel. Hope he'll have fun in TTC. He'll learn much good there :)

My convictions?

See my brand new blog:

http://god-antithesis.blogspot.com/

Antithesis said...

Dear PR:

I do not have the time to comment fully, but for now, the following will suffice.

1) I wrote, "Again, if language can express truths of Scripture perfectly, why are there so many different interpretations of the SAME Scripture? "

You said, “How about sin, and traditionalism?”

And you claimed that language can convey propositions to man PERFECTLY? Self-contradiction here? You are tacitly admitting that sin and traditionalism had confounded Man’s ability/noetic structure to understand Scripture. There you go – you agree with me!

Conclusion: Language CANNOT convey truths/propositions perfectly to Man.

2) The argument is unsound because the premise "If p, then q" is false. However, my stated argument is soun because the conditional premise IS true.

>Nope. Your primary premise (If P, then Q) is false. So, your argument is unsound. See above.

3) You should go and be a lawyer; words seem to be mere putty to you. Question: In your opinion, is there ONE meaning for any particular sentence made by anyone?

Let’s consider the sentence, “Great!” in different contexts.

A boy got his exam results, and it is an A. He said, “Great!”
A boy got his trousers torn by his school bullies. He said, “Great!”

Do those two sentences - “Great!” - mean the same thing?

But according to you, they both mean the same thing. One meaning, right?

4) Appeal to authority?

>That’s logically valid, unless I appeal to the WRONG authority.

4b) For someone who argues against the ability of words to convey truths perfectly …

>Perfectly? I don’t think so. Straw man?

4c) … you sure are using a lot of words to persuade me, as if your words can convey your meaning perfectly.

>It doesn’t, but it does convey meaning albeit imperfectly.

5) I asked, "Which leaves us with: God did not preserve, partially preserve or perfectly/completely preserve Scripture. Which one will it be?"

You answered, ‘None of the options. Scripture is fully preserved; if you refuse to understand our position and constantly misrepresent it, then this particular area of discussion is done.”

>Oh, please enlighten me. What is “fully” preserved? How is that different from “perfectly” preserved?

And what is “our” position? Define it and I wouldn’t “misrepresent” it. Thanks.

6) I asked, “That’s so puzzling! You mean the same Koine Greek (as a language) used in NT/Scripture can express truths perfectly, but is unable to express truths perfectly elsewhere?”

You said, “Language is used by individuals. If individuals do not use the words with their official meaning(s), then that sentence made would be unable to express truth perfectly because that person misuses words. That is all I mean by that.”

>Go read your comment again. This is obviously not what you meant, not unless you agree that words can have more than one meaning.

>Ah, for the word “Church,” what is the “official” meaning? Most dictionaries would furnish more than 10 different meanings. So which is “official?”

7) Answer: Because the Scriptures tell us that its own words are preserved (cf Mt. 5:18).

>So what kind of “preservation” is that? Again, full versus perfect/imperfect preservation? Are all the words of the autographs preserved for us TODAY in your version of “full” preservation?”

So is preservation of Scripture perfect OR imperfect? This is not a false dilemma. There are really only these two options, as ‘perfect’ and ‘imperfect’ are contradictory terms in logic. You like logic, right?

8) I asked, "However, are you saying that regenerate Man is PERFECT in his intellect/understanding, with no negative noetic effect whatsoever from the Fall after his regeneration?"

You claimed, “Straw man again. I was saying that regenerate Man is able to be logical wrt the things of God, and whether they are so can be seen by them. I DID not say that they WILL always be logical.”

>No, that’s not a straw man; I was ASKING a question. How can a question be a straw man? It’s not even a proposition. Know the difference between a proposition and a question?

Let me clarify: Is regenerate Man always perfect in his intellect/noetic structure when understanding Scripture, with no negative noetic effects whatsoever from the Fall after his regeneration?

9) Give me a break! Are all KJV users believers in KJVOnly-ism? Or maybe they are all TR only-ists? Or how about the NKJV users? Are NKJV users supporters partially supporting the TR and partially supporting Westcort and Hort? And are all users of Inclusive Language versions like the TNIV egalitarians?

>My question: So are all KJV/NKJV/TNIV users using those versions because they had studied the issues and come to a conclusion?

I wrote, “Well, your preference and usage of the ESV speaks volumes about your textual convictions, unless, of course, you are using the ESV out of ignorance.” See the exception clause behind my sentence?

So you could be using the ESV out of ignorance, or for some reasons despite your convictions, chose to continue using the ESV.

And you haven’t answered, “What are the underlying Greek texts used to translate the ESV? What critical theory are these texts based on?”

And you CLAIMED that you do not support the WH theory of textual criticism.

Any thoughts?

10) Non-belief in the corruption of the Critical Text does not mean that I am a Westcort and Hort supporter, if you just but apply some basic Aristotelian logic to the issue.

>But the critical text is based upon the WH theory. That’s not even Aristotelian, that’s common sense.

It’s almost like saying, “I trust the works of Jacques Derrida on language, but that doesn’t mean that I trust his theory of deconstruction.”

Obviously, if you trust the critical text as the most accurate form of eclectic text, then you must trust the theory behind its derivation/construction – which is the WH theory.

PuritanReformed said...

Antithesis:

1) "You said, “How about sin, and traditionalism?”
And you claimed that language can convey propositions to man PERFECTLY? Self-contradiction here? You are tacitly admitting that sin and traditionalism had confounded Man’s ability/noetic structure to understand Scripture. There you go – you agree with me!"

LOL. How did you pass your reading comprehension in English language in the first place? I was talking about the irrationality of the creature which has nothing to do with the ability of language (an impersonal tool) to convey truths/thoughts perfectly. Talk about faulting the tool for the ineptness of the person yielding it.

2) "Do those two sentences - “Great!” - mean the same thing?"

No, becuase they are two different sentences! Go brush up your logic!

3) "That’s logically valid, unless I appeal to the WRONG authority"

Like the heretic Karl Barth, and all the postmodern deconstructionists? Why am I NOT convinced they are the right authority to appeal to?

4) "It doesn’t, but it does convey meaning albeit imperfectly"

So what makes you so sure that that 1% or around there of imperfectness does not cause your message to be somehow lost or distorted? You may NOT argue from the fact that I understand you because that can be used to support my case.

5) "Oh, please enlighten me. What is “fully” preserved? How is that different from “perfectly” preserved?"

Fully preserved means that the very words of Scripture is preserved for us (which could include being preserved in the plurality of manuscripts). Perfectly preserved refers to any varient of the perfect bible theory which states that God has preserved the very words of Scripture in any single manuscript or tradition.

6) "Go read your comment again. This is obviously not what you meant, not unless you agree that words can have more than one meaning."

So now you know how to read my own words better than me? I think not!

7) "Most dictionaries would furnish more than 10 different meanings"

So? The meaning of a word as used in CONTEXT is only one, not the meaning of a word divorced from any context.

8) "So is preservation of Scripture perfect OR imperfect?"

Preservation of Scripture is 'perfect' in the sense that it is fully preserved. It is not perfect however in the sense that it is preserved in any ONE single manuscript or scribal tradition.

9) "No, that’s not a straw man; I was ASKING a question. How can a question be a straw man? It’s not even a proposition. Know the difference between a proposition and a question?"

Oh, so that wasn't a rhetorical question? Perhaps you may care to phrase your questions as questions and not insinuations.

10) "Let me clarify: Is regenerate Man always perfect in his intellect/noetic structure when understanding Scripture, with no negative noetic effects whatsoever from the Fall after his regeneration?"

Irrelevant. The topic is on the instrument of language, NOT on the person, as I have mentioned already earlier. The ability of language is the one YOU are attacking, not the capability of the person using the instrument of language.

PuritanReformed said...

Antithesis:

11) "My question: So are all KJV/NKJV/TNIV users using those versions because they had studied the issues and come to a conclusion?"

Irrelevant.

12) "And you haven’t answered, “What are the underlying Greek texts used to translate the ESV? What critical theory are these texts based on?”
And you CLAIMED that you do not support the WH theory of textual criticism"

Absolute non-sequitur. There is absolutely no logical correspondence between the WH theory of textual criticism and the usage of the critical texts. The critical texts were present even if Westcort and Hort did not examine them.

13) "But the critical text is based upon the WH theory"

Nonsense! Is the Majority text based upon the textual theory of Desiderius Erasmus, or of Theodore Beza or Stephanus? One is a theory; the other is a physical text.

14) "It’s almost like saying, “I trust the works of Jacques Derrida on language, but that doesn’t mean that I trust his theory of deconstruction.”"

False analogy! Unless you are saying that WH created the Critical Text ex nihilo? Anybody who is willing to take the time and effort and expenditure can look up the original texts ie Sinaticus and copies of Vaticanus, Aleph etc and bypass WH altogether.

Joel Tay said...

Delightful rebuttal PR,

Nothing left for me to address. (",)

So just 2 sentences to wrap up my thoughts:


1) Unless revelation is univocal in at least one point between man and God, man cannot know ANY truth, since God is Truth.

2) The person who decry the use of language must first use language to convey what he believes. It is self defeating.

PuritanReformed said...

Joel:

Amen.

Antithesis said...

Hi PR,

My reply to your "comments" is found at my brand new blog; it's getting too crowded here.

god-antithesis.blogspot.com

See you there, provided you have anything sensible to say. It's really telling when you have to resort to emotive ad hominems, while I have just warmed-up to your clarkian parroting.

I wanted to leave you to your self-imposed "battle glorying," but it seems readers of your blog should get acquainted with your ability to reason since you are so glad with yourself.

No point patting each other on the back, yeah? (call that self-delusion).

As Joel is your new bulldog, I hope you get a little comfort with his "support & strength."

Remember "Brokeback Mountain"?

yours antithetically,
Antithesis

Oh yes, how do you tell the difference between "persecutions" and divine chastisements? Perhaps the lack of self-awareness and personal pride make all the difference?

Found your recent post on "persecutions" interesting.

PuritanReformed said...

Antithesis:

My latest post has nothing to do with you, as if life revolves around you [Egomaniac]! You are blinded to the fact of your illogical and humanistic reasoning. I can only pray that the Lord will open your eyes to your irrationality, and bring you to repentance leading to a knowledge of the Truth.

P.S.: I didn't see that homo-bigoted propaganda piece Brokeback Mountain, and have no wish to. Good day to you.

Joel Tay said...

LOL...