Thursday, May 07, 2009

An explanation of Rutherford's argument on James 2

In my previous post quoting Rutherford's argument for why James 2 is not teaching salvation by works, the argument by Rutherford is rather convoluted, thus making it hard for probably most people to grasp. In this post therefore, I would like to simplify and put forward Rutherford's main argument so that it can be better appreciated.


Let us suppose that the passage in James 2 is indeed talking about legal justification. Therefore,

1) From the text of Scripture, verse 21 teaches that Abraham was justified by his work of sacrificing Isaac on the alter. Therefore, verse 21 teaches that the act of sacrificing Isaac caused Abraham to be justified.

2) From verse 23 (quoting Gen. 15:6), it is taught that belief caused Abraham to be justified.

Scenario one shows us that Abraham was justified by works, while scenario two shows us that Abraham was justified by his faith. Both must be true since both are "derived from Scripture" (assuming James 2 is about justification in the legal sense), yet the two contradict each other, an impossibility if one believes in the inspiration of all Scripture.


I may add here that justification being considered in a legal sense means that before it, the person is not justified, and after it he is. Roman Catholics may say that initial justification (by faith) does not preclude subsequent justification (by works), and that is true only if we ignore the fact that we are talking about the legal sense of justification. Being legal, such means that prior to that justification, the person was NOT justified at all. If James 2 teaches that justification happened only after the work (of Abraham sacrificing Isaac), then justification DID not happened after faith as stated in Gen. 15:6, James 2:23.

The only recourse for the logical Roman Catholic would be to deny the legal aspect of justification here. However, that would effectively concede our case — that justification is not to be considered in the legal sense in the passage of James 2.

22 comments:

Nick said...

Here are a few thoughts that come to mind as I read this:

1) Justification certainly takes place in the future as Mat 12:36f, Rom 2:12, and 1 Cor 4:4 state.

2) Gen 15:6 cannot be using "righteousness" in two ways, one 'legal' and one 'non legal'.

3) Catholics already deny justification is forensically based, not that there isn't a legal component, so this doesn't cause much of a problem.

4) You run into a problem because for your original proposal to stand, the two justifications James mentioned, by faith and by works, require a new definition of justification to be applied to each, which undermines Gen 15:6 as quoted in v23.

This is kind of a carry over from the last discussion, so sorry if I repeated anything.

2 weeks ago

PuritanReformed said...

1) All these passages talk about the final judgment , nothing about justification. To say that judgment = future justification is a mere assertion which you must prove, especially since none of them are situated in a context discussing justification.

2) I have refuted that assertion already in my comment in the previous post.

3) Please elucidate how justification can be legal but not forensic.

4) Nope! You obviously have not read our explanation of James 2, if you think we use two different definitions of justification in the passage of James 2.

2 weeks ago

Nick said...

1) How can you say they speak nothing of justification when the very Greek term justify is used?

2) I was narrowing it from "credited as righteousness" to simply the "righteousness" part.

3) For example adoption, there is a legal component to that, but the relationship goes beyond the legal realm. Adoption is the foundation of justification for Catholics.

4) I am not saying you are using two different definitions of justification in James 2. I am saying that whatever definition you pick for justification must apply for James' mention of "justification by faith" and "justification by works."

2 weeks ago

PuritanReformed said...

1) First, only 1 Cor. 4:4 has a word from the dikaio- group, so your other two examples are moot. Second, the CONTEXT primarily determines how the word is being used, not the mere usage of a single Greek word. Nobody understands language as a string of words apart from its usage in context, and the Bible is no exception. To do so is a type of exegetical fallacy, of which I cannot remember the technical name off the cuff but you can read about it in D.A. Carson's book on the topic (Exegetical Fallacies).

2) ... which is totally irrelevant to the point of contention.

3) But adoption is not less than forensic. It is certainly more than legal and forensic, but not less than that - You cannot adopt anyone if the court or agency or whoever in charge of the adoption did not declare the adoption valid in the first place.

4) Agreed. But we do not need to redefine Gen. 15:6 at all. I DID mention that in our view James 2:23 uses Gen. 15:6 as application rather than as meaning, didn't I? James 2:23 is not defining Gen. 15:6 or using the meaning of Gen. 15:6. As per the practical focus of James' epistle, it is applying Gen. 15:6 and working out its practical implications.

2 weeks ago

Nick said...

1) When I look up dikaioo, it appears in Mat 12:37 and Rom 2:13. I've checked a few lexicons and this is what I see. I agree that context plays the key role, and these contexts are clearly in regards to the final judgment.

2)

3) True, my point is that justification is not purely forensic, not that there is nothing forensic about it.

4) True, we don't need to redefine Gen 15:6, but your original claim said this:
"Scenario one shows us that Abraham was justified by works, while scenario two shows us that Abraham was justified by his faith."
Your claim was that "justify" here cannot be in the forensic sense, thus doing the substitution your sentence would read like this:
"Scenario one shows us that Abraham was non-forensically justified by works, while scenario two shows us that Abraham was non-forensically justified by his faith."
In 2:24 it would read: "you see a man is vindicated by works and vindicated by faith."

You also said: "James 2:23 is not defining Gen. 15:6 OR using the meaning of Gen. 15:6."
What are the other options? This is honestly confusing, because he is quoting 15:6 without a meaning or definition attached? You keep talking of "applied," but we need to know the meaning to have be able to be applied.

When James' audience heard him quote Gn 15, is THIS what the people heard James say?::
"And Scripture was fulfilled: Abraham was legally justified."

2 weeks ago

PuritanReformed said...

1) You gave me Mt. 12: 36 and Rom. 2:12 earlier. Now you are changing the verses? As for those two verses, the context shows the way the word is used, and they do not support your case.
3) In which case, Rutherford's argument would apply, and thus the RC position would result in contradictory nonsense.

1 week ago

PuritanReformed said...

4) Nope, I did not say that the justification here means "vindication". The way you phrase the setences are totally off. Let me give you a Christian and Reformed interpretation of Jas. 2:2-24

Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that mere profession of faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father manifesting his justification through his works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that [true] faith was active along with his works, and [true] faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was realized and shown to be true that says, “Abraham [truly, not with mere profession] believed God, and it [this true faith which produces good works] was counted to him [yet prior to any works] as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by [a faith that] works and not by [professed] faith alone.

1 week ago

Nick said...

I tried posting this yesterday, but the system kept timing out:

I hope I am not missing one of your responses with this new cascading comments set up, but I think I am seeing everything you posted.

1) I'm not "changing verses" in the sense I'm trying to trick you, I'm not. I originally typed Mat 12:36F, with the 'f' meaning v37 was included, and for Rom 2:12 I was one verse off. So, sorry if you misunderstood me, the two verses I had in mind from the very start were Mat 12:37 and Rom 2:13. The Lexicons I checked have the term dikaioo in each. I'm not sure how the context changes the meaning away from a 'legal' one, because they are both talking about the final judgment.

3) The RC position cannot result in contradictory nonsense because we deny the definition you placed on the text originally.

4) Then I'm not sure how you are defining "justify" if it is not 'legal' and not 'vindicate'. You are using the term in the passage you gave, but I don't know how you are interpreting justify, the definition is left hanging in my mind. Further, I don't agree with the way you have rendered the passage, especially in the equivocal usage of "works" in v20-22 as works, while in v24 the term "works" is translated as "faith that works."
The same can be said of "faith" which in v 20 "faith" means "mere profession of faith" while "faith" in v22 'faith' becomes 'true faith' and then v24 back to 'professed faith''. Lastly, the way "justify" is used in v24, it applies to ''a faith that works" and "professed faith," saying BOTH justify, not one or the other.

One argument I consider a "reductio ad absurdum" is having James seeking to convince us that Abraham's faith was genuine. I don't think James would be seeking to prove Abraham's faith in Gen 15:6 was genuine, that's a given, to question Abraham's genuineness is to question the inspired text itself. God cannot reckon a false faith as righteousness.

Also, I didn't see a response to my last question:

When James' audience heard him quote Gn 15, is THIS what the people heard James say?:

"And Scripture was fulfilled: Abraham was legally justified."

1 week ago

PuritanReformed said...

1) You are violating basic hermeneutical principles. You go from a perceived notion of dikiao- always equals legal justification, instead of letting the context determine the meaning not the lexicon.

3) Nope, you agreed that justification includes a legal and a forensic component. Once this is the case, Rutherford's argument proved RCism to be illogical and contradictory. More than legal and forensic does not imply less than that.

4) That is bercause you insist on super-imposing legal justification onto every single place the word dikaio- is utilized even in James. I did not equivocate, only make explicit what the context teaches, which is something called systematizing and harmonizing Scripture. Of course verse 24 does not say "faith that works", but neither does it say "works that operate (not exist) separately from faith" as RCism teaches. It just say "works", and it is the job of systematic theology to determine the meaning in context! Ditto for all your other examples.

Your interpretation of verse 24 is not found within the text itself, and as Rutherford shows, results in a logical contradiction. You are reading your RCism into the text where it is not found, for only if you take all mentions of dikaio- to be legal justification will you read Jas. 2:24 as talking about justification by faith and works. If one does not use your faulty lexical a-contextual reasoning and does not always read dikaio- = legal justification, then there is no basiis for the RC conclusion at all. I deny your exegetical premise, so your argument does not follow.

And you constantly refuse to even interact with the idea that Gen. 15:6 is quoted in Jas 2:23 not for its meaning, but for its application. That is why your "reductio" does not work. You have not even considered it, nevermind refuted it.

>When James' audience heard him quote Gn 15, is THIS what the people heard James say?::
"And Scripture was fulfilled: Abraham was legally justified."

NO, that is not what they would hear James say. They would hear something along the lines of "And Scripture was fulfilled: Abraham was justified and the evidence for that justification is shown to us here"

1 week ago

Nick said...

Hi,

1) I was never letting the lexicon trump the context, in Mat 12:37 the context is the final judgment, mentioning being judged and either justified or condemned. I cannot think of a more "legal" context. Paul is given more leeway by Protestants when using "justify" in places where no or limited "legal" theme is present. The same thing goes for 1 Cor 4:4, again it is about the final judgment and being judged. That's the context, and it's certainly a legal one.

3) I wouldn't want us talking past eachother and thus creating a problem where none existed. Having a legal component does not mean I see justification in a purely forensic manner. Thus Catholics would not be guilty of contradiction in that manner, because we never used that definition there in the first place.

4) I don't super impose legal justification wherever the term "justify" is used, quite the opposite in fact. From my understanding, for Protestants the two main usages are legal justification or vindication, and Protestants usually opt for "vindication" in James 2's use of "dikaioo." You seemed to reject the vindication usage, so I asked what other definition of justify is there for you?

When I said equivocal usage, I meant that you were putting different definitions on "works" and even "faith" within the same context. That is not the same as being able to interpret "works," only that you cannot put different definitions on "works" in the same context. Further, Catholicism does not state works operate separately from faith, because we believe faith is the root of all Christian life. Heb 11:6 (which Trent quotes) says "without faith it is impossible to please God" because you must believe he exists and rewards those who obey Him.

I think we talked passed eachother on James 2:24, the Catholic position was never that it means legal justification. My point in bringing it up was that I've read books and articles in which Protestants insist the "righteousness" mentioned in Gen 15:6 was a legal one, thus they are in the bind of having James mention legal righteousness in a non legal justification context.

I'm not deliberately avoiding interacting with "meaning" versus "application," I'm struggling to get a clear definition of the two concepts. This difficulty for me is brought out in the point that I don't know how you are interpreting Gen 15:6 in this situation. For example, you just said this is how you read James 2:23-

"the Scripture was realized and shown to be true that says, “Abraham [truly, not with mere profession] believed God, and it [this true faith which produces good works] was counted to him [yet prior to any works] as righteousness"

I have no idea what "credited as righteousness" means here in this context. Terms like "righteousness" have to mean something here. In my study of Protestant theology, there are two righteousness, a 'legal' and a 'moral' one. If it is not one of those in this 2:23 context, then I have no idea what "righteousness" means here, it's effectively an X variable.
I asked if the audience heard "Abraham was legally justified," and you responded:

"NO, that is not what they would hear James say. They would hear something along the lines of "And Scripture was fulfilled: Abraham was justified and the evidence for that justification is shown to us here""

In what way was Abraham justified? You just denied this interpretation: "Abraham was legally justified and the evidence for that legal justification is shown here"...so what is left? What you are saying is that Abraham was justified in a non-legal way and then gave evidence of his non-legal justification. I want to know what a non-legal justification is, and why there is a need to give evidence for a non-legal justification.

1 week ago

PuritanReformed said...

1) >the context is the final judgment, mentioning being judged and either justified or condemned. I cannot think of a more "legal" context.

That is what you have not proved. You just assume that any reference to final judgment must be referring to legal justification, all the while ignoring the specific contexts these verses are in.

3) You still are not getting it. Unless you deny that James 2 is teaching legal forensic justification in any sense, then you are stuck with Rutherford's dilemna.

4) >You seemed to reject the vindication usage, so I asked what other definition of justify is there for you?

Have you read my previous reply? The answer is there as plain as day.

>I meant that you were putting different definitions on "works" and even "faith" within the same context.

I deny that I am "putting different definitions" within the same context. I am explaining the sense of how these terms are used, not their "definitions". Senses, NOT definitions.

>Further, Catholicism does not state works operate separately from faith,

This is what I said:

"works that operate (not exist) separately from faith"

Of course, RCism does not teach that works exist separately from faith, but they teach that it operates separately from faith. If works operates together with faith, then those with works have faith, and those without works do not have faith either. RCism states that it is possible to possess faith and then not have works (thus they deny Sola Fide), so it is a fact that it teaches that works operates separately from works. If you want, I can quote Trent to you on that.

>My point in bringing it up was that I've read books and articles in which Protestants insist the "righteousness" mentioned in Gen 15:6 was a legal one, thus they are in the bind of having James mention legal righteousness in a non legal justification context.

Nope, we are never in a bind. I have repeated myself over and over again that Gen. 15:6 is applied in James 2:23. Gen. 15:6 in context has a meaning of legal forensic justification, but James 2:23 does not teach that because there the verse is applied.

>I'm not deliberately avoiding interacting with "meaning" versus "application," I'm struggling to get a clear definition of the two concepts.

Here is an analogy: What is the "meaning" of a nuclear explosion? Learn all the atomic reactions that is going on in a nuclear explostion, and the meaning can be explained in nice physics formulae. What is the "application" of a nuclear explosion? Create one with an atomic bomb and you will know it. So if we are given the physics formulae describing a nuclear epplosion on a piece of paper, are we to think that the pen symbols on a paper actually cause the eplosion? Yet this is analogous to what you think — that the quoting of Gen. 15:6 in James 2:23 signifies James 2 teaches legal justification. It is just as inane saying that symbols written on a paper cause the nuclear explostion as saying that the quoting of Gen. 15:6 in James 2:23 reveals that James 2 teaches legal justification!

>I have no idea what "credited as righteousness" means here in this context

It does not "mean" anything in this context. It is applied here.

>In what way was Abraham justified? You just denied this interpretation: "Abraham was legally justified and the evidence for that legal justification is shown here"...so what is left?

The whole question of how Abraham was justified is irrelevant here; it is not taught in this passage. Application, application, application! The meaning of Gen. 15:6 is NOT taught here. The meaning of Gen. 15:6 is taught by Paul, not by James.

1 week ago

Nick said...

1) You said: "That is what you have not proved. You just assume that any reference to final judgment must be referring to legal justification, all the while ignoring the specific contexts these verses are in."

Here is Mat 12: "men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."
This is the context, and justified is contrasted to condemned, all in regards to judgment. If that is not legal, then nothing is. I'd like to see how you establish legal justification in Paul with the demands you put on me, especially texts where no such courtroom imagery is in the context.

3) I never accepted a purely legal justification in that text.

4) You said: Have you read my previous reply? The answer is there as plain as day."

Nick: I've seen you deny legal justification and vindication, I saw no other definition for justification given.

You said: "I deny that I am "putting different definitions" within the same context. I am explaining the sense of how these terms are used, not their "definitions". Senses, NOT definitions."

Nick: Here is an example of what I'm saying, you said in your James 2 paragraph: "You see that [true] faith was active along with his works"
"You see that a person is justified by [a faith that] works". See how you are using "works" (and "faith") in different ways? In one sentence "works" stand alone, in another sentence "works" means "faith that works."

You said: "Of course, RCism does not teach that works exist separately from faith... [post size limits]...
Nick: I know what you are talking about, but I don't believe faith is ever defined in the manner you suggest. Proof of that is the fact Christians sin, which means faith wasn't producing the good works automatically, and in fact that's James' warning in 2:1 and throughout the Epistle. Plus the Catholic definition is the only one that makes sense of the phrase: "just as a body without a soul is dead, so is faith without works." To say this is about "true faith" which must always do good works makes no sense in light of James' body-soul analogy. The analogy becomes a fake body versus a real body. I'm really interested in how you interpret James 2:26.

You said: Nope, we are never in a bind. I have repeated myself over and over again that Gen. 15:6 is applied in James 2:23. Gen. 15:6 in context has a meaning of legal forensic justification, but James 2:23 does not teach that because there the verse is applied.
Nick: And my point has been, then what type of "righteousness" is James 2:23 talking about? You've denied legal righteousness, now the passage is left hanging mentioning "righteousness" without any meaning attached to the term.

1 week ago

Nick said...

You said: Here is an analogy: ... [post size limits]...
Nick: But there is a direct link to the application and the meaning on paper. What is taking place in real life reactions is the physical manifestation of the concept written on paper. The concept X is on paper, and the physical manifestation of X is what is seen in the lived out action. In the case of Gen 15:6, the concept is a legal righteousness imputed, so lived out it means a legal justification took place. Replacing your analogy with "justification" we learn what takes place at justification and write it on paper: legal righteousness is imputed. So when this justification takes place in real life, the CONCEPT must correspond to the manifestation (application). Writing a formula is precisely so that you know what is going to happen in the application.

You said: It does not "mean" anything in this context. It is applied here.
Nick: You have to exegete regardless. The word righteousness appears in James 2:23, it must carry a definition. If not, then it's squiggles on a page. The whole point of writing any word in a sentence is that it carries a meaning to get a message across.

You said: The whole question of how Abraham was justified is irrelevant here; it is not taught in this passage. Application, application, application! The meaning of Gen. 15:6 is NOT taught here. The meaning of Gen. 15:6 is taught by Paul, not by James.
Nick: But you said earlier "They would hear something along the lines of "And Scripture was fulfilled: Abraham was justified and the evidence for that justification is shown to us here" yet you did not tell me what "Abraham was justified" even means. You cannot say a meaning of that sentence is irrelevant, the whole point of writing is to tell someone something, so "Abraham was justified" must mean something. We agree the meaning of "Abraham" in this sentence is the guy from Genesis 15, we agree "was" means something happened or became of the guy from Genesis 15, what we don't know is what "justified" means here.

1 week ago

PuritanReformed said...

1) I was trying to keep it to James 2. But since you insist on mudying the waters, I will respond to your allegations in a separate post probably tomorrow or the day after when I have time to write one.

3) That sentence is irrelevant. Question is NOT: Does that text teach purely legal justification? Question is: Does it teach legal justification in any sense whatsoever? If you think it does, your position is impaled on Rutherford's dilemna.

4) >I saw no other definition for justification given.

I said in an earlier reply: "manifesting his justification". How many times must it be repeated that there is NO definition of justification here? The entire context of James 2 is on application -- senses, not definitions.

> See how you are using "works" (and "faith") in different ways? In one sentence "works" stand alone, in another sentence "works" means "faith that works."

Strawman! I did not use them in different ways. I am explaining the usage of the term, not utilizing their definitions.

> And my point has been, then what type of "righteousness" is James 2:23 talking about?

James 2 :23 is NOT talking about any kind of righteousness! He is using the reality of righteousness as application. Let me repeat this a couple of times to get that into your head:

James 2 :23 is NOT talking about any kind of righteousness!
James 2 :23 is NOT talking about any kind of righteousness!
James 2 :23 is NOT talking about any kind of righteousness!

> Replacing your analogy with "justification" we learn what takes place at justification and write it on paper: legal righteousness is imputed. So when this justification takes place in real life, the CONCEPT must correspond to the manifestation (application). Writing a formula is precisely so that you know what is going to happen in the application.

The correspondence is that the legal justification corresponds to an application in a changed life, NOT legal justification corresponds to an application of legal and works justification.

> You have to exegete regardless. The word righteousness appears in James 2:23, it must carry a definition. If not, then it's squiggles on a page. The whole point of writing any word in a sentence is that it carries a meaning to get a message across.

The definition is irrelevant in James 2:23; It is applied. What is the definition of the symbol H2O when you are drinking water to quench your thirst?

> You cannot say a meaning of that sentence is irrelevant, the whole point of writing is to tell someone something, so "Abraham was justified" must mean something. We agree the meaning of "Abraham" in this sentence is the guy from Genesis 15, we agree "was" means something happened or became of the guy from Genesis 15, what we don't know is what "justified" means here.

OK, this is it. Here is my challenge to you:

1) Please show how in discussion on application the exact definition, NOT identification, is important. As an example, show me how the definition of H2O is even remotely relevant to the drinking of water to quench thirst. You are not allowed to include any application of the symbol H2O, since we are talking about definition. Just FYI, the definition of H2O is a chemical formula describing a chemical compound made up of 2 hydrogen atoms covalently bonded to 1 oxygen atom.The definition of H2O is not water; water is a word symbol associated with the chemical symbol H2O, but it is not H2O.

2) If you refuse to attempt to prove your point, I will not bother to continue wasting my effort talking to a wall.

1 week ago

Nick said...

PR: I said in an earlier reply: "manifesting his justification". How many times must it be repeated that there is NO definition of justification here? The entire context of James 2 is on application -- senses, not definitions.

Nick: When you said: "Was not Abraham our father manifesting his justification," you are inserting "manifesting his justification" where the term "justification" itself appears. So given your response there and here, "manifesting justification" is a definition, that's why I said I normally see Protestants interpret "justify" in James 2 as "vindicate," that is prove his first justification was genuine.

PR: Strawman! I did not use them in different ways. I am explaining the usage of the term, not utilizing their definitions.
Nick: The term "works" appears in both verses, but in one instance of "works" you substituted "faith that works," that's using the Biblical term 'works' two ways. I don't see the strawman.

PR: James 2 :23 is NOT talking about any kind of righteousness! He is using the reality of righteousness as application. ...
Nick: Perhaps we could appeal to a third party on this subject. James uses the term "righteousness" but is not talking about righteousness? That simply makes no sense. It's grammatically and exegetically impossible to use a term and not be talking about that term.

PR: The correspondence is that the legal justification corresponds to an application in a changed life, NOT legal justification corresponds to an application of legal and works justification.
Nick: I don't think you understood what I was saying. The application must map back to the meaning, just as a formula must map back to the physical manifestation.

PR: The definition is irrelevant in James 2:23; It is applied. What is the definition of the symbol H2O when you are drinking water to quench your thirst?

Nick: Here is how I see it:
Definition: H20 is water.
Application: Drinking water to quench thirst.
"Water" must map back to H20, the meaning of "water" cannot be irrelevant. If it's irrelevant then it's as valuable a message as saying "Drinking X to quench thirst," and saying X doesn't matter.

>You cannot say a meaning of that sentence is irrelevant, the whole point of writing is to tell someone something, so "Abraham was justified" must mean something. We agree the meaning of "Abraham" in this sentence is the guy from Genesis 15, we agree "was" means something happened or became of the guy from Genesis 15, what we don't know is what "justified" means here.

1 week ago

Nick said...

PR: OK, this is it. Here is my challenge to you:
Please show how in discussion on application the exact definition, NOT identification, is important. ...

Nick: Your demand is a little unfair. You are not allowing me to equate H20 to "water" as I did in my last example, this makes it impossible for me to link water to H2O, making the term 'water' pretty much worthless besides a temporary place holder. If I'm not allowed to link the two words, then you've put an impossible burden on me.
If you are asking whether we NEED to know the make up of H20 to know that it quenches thirst, I would say no we don't need to know. I can say "drinking H20 quenches thirst" without understanding the atomic principles involved. In the case of "righteousness" the term H20 would be the substitute here, otherwise your example fails to mirror the Scriptures because "righteousness" is used in Gn 15:6 and Js 2:23. I know righteousness is used for justification, just as H20 quenches thirst, but for practical purposes I don't have to know the specific details of what makes righteousness. A genuine Christian can believe they are saved by the imputed righteousness of Christ without having to have a professional theological grasp of "righteousness."

On top of that, your question: "show me how the definition of H2O is even remotely relevant to the drinking of water to quench thirst" can be perfectly valid in a scientific context. The question HOW do these three atoms quench thirst, including what thirst is scientifically, is certainly a relevant inquiry in a study of biology or something similar

1 week ago

PuritanReformed said...

> If you are asking whether we NEED to know the make up of H20 to know that it quenches thirst, I would say no we don't need to know. I can say "drinking H20 quenches thirst" without understanding the atomic principles involved.

That proves my point. You do understand the concept, but refuse to consistently apply the same logic to the passage in James 2.

1 week ago

PuritanReformed said...

>On top of that, your question: "show me how the definition of H2O is even remotely relevant to the drinking of water to quench thirst" can be perfectly valid in a scientific context. The question HOW do these three atoms quench thirst, including what thirst is scientifically, is certainly a relevant inquiry in a study of biology or something similar.

I have a degree in science, and chemistry was one of my stronger subjects. And I can tell you that the chemical definition of H2O is not important for how it quenches thirst. The only thing that is needed to know for the quenching of thirst is
1. Our body needs water
2. It creates a sense of thirst
3. The body will seek to drink water to quench thirst

1 week ago

PuritanReformed said...

The biochemical part is only interested in the chemical, hormonal and cell signaling cascades involved in the control of the thirst mechanism. It is utterly irrelevant whether water is H2O, H2S or something else, as long as it is water. In fact, the water that is ingested is taken in more for its osmotic and homeostatic "value" rather than chemical "value" so to speak (ie participate in chemical reactions). So the definition of water is not relevant for it to quench thirst. Theoretically, it is entirely possible that another universe with different chemical but not biological properties exist in which water is H2S, and that would not impact the thirst mechanism at all.

1 week ago

Nick said...

PR: That proves my point. You do understand the concept, but refuse to consistently apply the same logic to the passage in James 2.

Nick: I was not refusing, I was trying to understand what you were saying. The issue of using a term but not needing to know the 'inner details' is perfectly reasonable. So I don't deny it. The problem is that just because knowing the details is unnecessary does not at all mean the details are insignificant and that looking into the details should only serve to further help you understand. Your introduction of "H20" as being different from "water" doesn't fit the James example, because only one term is used, "righteousness," here and Gen 15:6.
So to have a truly 1:1 example, you would have to agree that we know H20 quenches thirst, but knowing the details of what H2O exactly is is not necessary.

You are obviously far more knowledgeable in the chemistry field than I am, but comments like these don't sound right:
"It is utterly irrelevant whether water is H2O, H2S or something else, as long as it is water."
This doesn't make sense because anything other than H20 would not be water. H2S or whatever would not be water, and I'd bet no science text or prof would say it was either.

1 week ago

PuritanReformed said...

> This doesn't make sense because anything other than H20 would not be water. H2S or whatever would not be water, and I'd bet no science text or prof would say it was either.

I DID say "it is entirely possible that another universe with different chemical but not biological properties exist in which water is H2S, and that would not impact the thirst mechanism at all." I am sure you have heard of the possible worlds argument in philosphy, especially in the field of metaphysics? If a world exist in which water is H2S, but the biological features remain unchanged in that world, the need to drink water is still there. This is what I mean when I say that the definition of H2O is unimportant for quenching of the thirst mechanism. As an aside, pre-moderns do not realize that water has the chemical strcuture H2O, but they still understand the basics of the thirst mechanism.

The definition of H2O is just as unimportant for the thirst mechanism to function therefore, just like the definition of justification is unimportant for the practice of righteousness in James 2.

6 days ago

Nick said...

Going to hypothetical worlds doesn't work, for that presumes too much (eg the need to drink). Divorcing H20 from "water" does no good for the term "water" because it becomes a floating definition.

5 days ago