Reality Check: What Must Be the Case if Christianity is True?

I'm going to start a series of posts describing what must be the case if Christianity is true. When done I'll put them all together so Christians can see the formidable obstacles there are to their faith at a glance.

1) There must be a God who is a simple being yet made up of three inexplicable persons existing forever outside of time without a beginning, who therefore never learned anything new, never took a risk, never made a decision, never disagreed within the Godhead, and never had a prior moment to freely choose his own nature.

30 comments:

J. K. Jones said...

Three persons, one being. Okay.

What exactly is time?

Why would someone who knows everything ever need to learn anything?

What’s the fascination with risk?

God can make decisions. He created, after all.

What does “freely choose his own nature” mean? God always does what he wants, just like us.

J. K. Jones said...

And by the way, what does "simple" mean to you?

Ipmilat said...

Wouldn't the concept of 'decision' be meaningless to a being who knew everything? It can only make sense to beings who can speculate about the result of taking one course of action and not another. Omniscience would be complete paralysis.

shane said...

J.K.Jones.

You said "three persons, one being ok."

That would be a contradiction my friend. A "person" is an individual being!

You said, "Why would someone who knows everything need to learn"?

Can you explain how a being can know anything without having to learn?
If you want to appeal to "God has always known", then can you explain how He acquired this information?

'Whats the fascination with risk" you ask?
Only a being who can make choices under risk can be considered truly virtuous!

J. K. Jones said...

“[Making decisions] can only make sense to beings who can speculate about the result of taking one course of action and not another. Omniscience would be complete paralysis.”

Personal beings always do what they want to do. God always chooses according to His desires. He chooses with complete information and without reservation. Why is that a problem?

No one who makes a decision is equally attracted to two alternatives. That would be complete paralysis. The person could never choose. One thing must be desired more than the other for a choice to be made. God desires only one thing in any situation, but the principle of choice is the same.

“A "person" is an individual being!”
Why must that be true?

“Can you explain how a being can know anything without having to learn?”

You must first explain why a being must learn in order to acquire information. There is nothing logically inconsistent about a being who has always known everything unless you can show that to be the case.

J. K. Jones said...

I said "acquire information." I meant to say "have information."

shane said...

J.K.Jones.

You said "God chooses according to His desires".

Like I said in the other post, a perfect being can not have desires!

A person must be an individual being because that is what a person is defined as????
God cannot be "A" being, and "three" seperate beings at the same time.

You asked "can I explain why a being must learn in order to have information"?
J.K., have you ever seen an example of an entity having information without recieving it from some where?

As for your last comment, yes it is logically inconsistent.
Considering that since the future does not exist till you arrive there, it has not been created yet, it would be impossible to know what will happen in the future.

Clare said...

Comparing God to a person implies that he is a human being and not a supernatural ethereal creature living outside the universe somewhere. If he is not a person, he definitely cannot be three in one persons.
If he and his son are one and the same, then he sent himself to the cross and allowed himself to be tortured and die. Why would he do that?

J. K. Jones said...

“Comparing God to a person implies that he is a human being and not a supernatural ethereal creature living outside the universe somewhere. If he is not a person, he definitely cannot be three in one persons.”

God is three in person and one in essence or being. There is nothing logically contradictory about that.

“If he and his son are one and the same, then he sent himself to the cross and allowed himself to be tortured and die. Why would he do that?”


Right. That’s what He did. The One who required the penalty paid the penalty in the Person of Jesus Christ.

He did it on account of love. A desire He has.

shane said...

J.K.

Yes J.K, it makes perfect logical sense that God and Jesus are the same being?

It makes sense that Jesus frequently prayed to Himself and asked what His will was.

It makes sense how Jesus prayed to Himself in gethsemane and asked Himself what if the cup could be passed from Himself, yet He decided His will be done nontheless.

Yes it makes sense that God said He was very pleased with Himself.

Yes it makes sense that Jesus and the father are one, yet the father is greater then Him.

perfect sense????

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Then what you are saying with this series is that if God does exist he must be beyond our understanding of him and our reasoning capacities and we are doing good to understand what part of himself that he has communicated to us through scripture.

Is that it?

BTW: Personhood is determined on the basis of relationship, not on methaphysical extension in time and space.

Ipmilat said...

'There is nothing logically inconsistent about a being who has always known everything unless you can show that to be the case.'

Does he know now what he's going to think next? Does he know now what he's going to need to think after that, based on the previous thought? Does he know now the repercussions and ramifications of every thought as yet unthunk, but in fact thunk, because he lives outside time and has actually thought every thought, thinkable and unthinkable, already?

He must be bored senseless.

shane said...

Harvey.

No thats not what im saying, im saying Jesus divinity was something that was suggested and determined long after the time He existed. That is why the pieces do not fit.

BTW, personhood still does not extend beyond the individual, and your ignoring the first definition given in dictionary.

Saint Brian the Godless said...

Assuming God is omniscient;

Why would Satan ever even think of rebelling against Him, knowing that He already knows all about it?

Why would God let the serpent into the garden?

Why would Satan make a bet with God about Job? Again, Satan knows that God already knows how it will turn out.

Why would God create this world in a way so that our eventually develpoing science would tell us that it wasn't created in the way that God says that it was in the Bible? Indeed, why would God create it in a way that doesn't show us that it was definitely created at all? Why create the controversy on purpose like that?

And why why why. The list goes on.

God supposedly already knows how this all will end, so why bother running the experiment in the first place?

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Shane,

There is ample evidence against the speculation of Jesus deity was a second or 3rd century creation. I've done 5 podcasts (over 2 hours worth)and 2 articles outlining the case. So I'm not a novice in examining that issue by a long shot. In short the claimed deity of Jesus, was Caiaphas's issue. Jesus clearly identified himself as God. Caiaphas understood the only one who would judge him was God but Jesus took on that declaration invoking Dan. 7:14, we've been through that before.

Person-hood, as defined in the dictionary doesn't quite nail down the biblical concept. Both the Father and Son have will, mind and intellect and the Holy Ghost has specific duties and can be lied to (Acts 5:3-4) but at the same time each is considered God, not independently of one another but interdependently.

So as I said person-hood is formulated, biblically, on the basis of relationship and not physical extension in space or any other metaphysical characteristic. It's a difficult relationship to understand but also one that holds true throughout scripture when examined in the light of what Jesus himself reveals.

Breckmin said...

"There must be a God who is a simple being" "

God is an Infinite Existence. To call Him a "simple being" is non-sequitur and implies limitation.
To me, this presents Christianity incorrectly.


"yet made up of three inexplicable persons"

The English word "persons" here fails for me. The Hypostases of God's Eternal Triune Existence should never be explicitly defined.
The Nicene Creed was guilty of over defining as was St. Gregory.
The Athanasian Creed carefully says that these personas were eternally begotten and not directly created. This is important. I believe that it is illogical to assume "three persons existing outside of time." This is NOT the way in which I perceive the Athanasian Creed. I don't even believe that God the Father is "outside of time" because I believe this phrase "outside of time" is mispeaking with respect to His atemporal omni-time Existence. Nothing is really outside of time...better to say "beyond the limitations of time and space" then say "outside
of time."


"existing forever outside of time without a beginning,"

Clearly God is without a beginning by definition of being the Uncause Cause of all things and stopping the infinite regress.

I believe that classic trinitarian theology has some work to do with respect to the eternally begotten states of Sonship and God's Holy Spirit and their relationship to finite existence. I am an ANT monotheist who agrees with the wording of the Athanasian Creed by rejects what you have stated as far as "the Godhead."

"who therefore never learned anything new,"

The Man Christ Jesus I believe learns. God the Father and His Spirit would NOT learn the way in which a finite being would.

"never took a risk,"

Every time Jesus would swing his hammer as a Carpenter He could risk hitting His finger.

"never made a decision,"

This is very very important to understand with respect to God the Father. It is true that God the Father does NOT come to a point in time and make a decision the way in which we do. Jesus, however, did make decisions. God the Father has a purpose which is an immutable purpose consistent with His Omniscience. We would need to go into much greater detail on this because our perspective is often anthropocentric and we need
new words to address some of these concepts.

"never disagreed within the Godhead,"

True.

"and never had a prior moment to freely choose his own nature."

God's nature is immutable. It would be illogical for God to somehow choose something other than Perfection. To even make that part of the statement is completely meaningless. It's like saying "God didn't get to create Himself."

shane said...

Harvey.

I understand some people probly believed in Jesus divinity right from the start.
But the gospels were not written till 50-90 years after the fact. The apparent OT prophecies that Jesus suppossedly fulfilled is crap, a simple reading of most will reveal the prophecy had nothing to do with Him.

The council of Nicaea, was not till 325 AD (around there) where many things regarding Jesus were debated upon.
The gnostic gospels reveal Jesus as a mortal prophet.

The whole thing anyway is just too rag tag for me to accept.
I cant believe a creator of the universe would go about it all the way christianity says He did.

In fact, if there is a creator I think the christian theology would be insulting to Him!

dguller said...

Quick question:

How can a Perfect Being be LACKING in anything?

Desire implies a deficiency that needs to be filled.

If God has desires, then he possesses deficiencies that must be fulfilled by his creation, and thus he is ultimately dependent upon his creation.

Somewhat odd, no?

dguller said...

Another question:

What is the point of coming up with a definition of a concept that ultimately is stripped of any coherent meaning?

For example, the only concept of "personhood" that we have is based upon our understanding of one another as persons, and a person has a temperament and character that is developmental and undergoes change and transition over time on the basis of life experiences occurring in space-time.

There is no sense to a concept of personhood that lacks a spatiotemporal identity that unfolds over time. You can talk all you want about "intellect" and stuff, but these are notions abstracted from the context that gives them meaning and content.

You might as well fervently hold that a circle can be a square, as well, because it is a supernatural and metaphysical circle that square properties that exists beyond our current understanding, and thus must be viewed with respect rather than ridicule.

Breckmin said...

"How can a Perfect Being be LACKING in anything?

Desire implies a deficiency that needs to be filled."

So if you desire something "good" for your child...that means that you were the one that was lacking?

"If God has desires,"

This is the key. Define "desires" in this context..because clearly God is NOT a man that He would have emotional "need." So if God does NOT have "desires" like a man would have then this whole point is completely meaningless and an application to God of something anthropocentric.


"...then he possesses deficiencies that must be fulfilled by his creation,"

What if it is based on the KNOWLEDGE (not feeling) that it is better to give than to receive? What if it is based on "giving" NOT for validation, but rather because it is good to give?
What if there is no need and therefore no personal fulfillment for creating?

"and thus he is ultimately dependent upon his creation."

Clearly, not the God of Abraham who played for keeps when it came to the old testament.

God is dependent on no one...and creation is not done to somehow "fill" His desire. Anyone who believes this has a God concept that is far too small and you expect too little from God. QB

Breckmin said...

"What is the point of coming up with a definition of a concept that ultimately is stripped of any coherent meaning?

For example, the only concept of "personhood" that we have is based upon our understanding of one another as persons, and a person has a temperament and character that is developmental and undergoes change and transition over time on the basis of life experiences occurring in space-time."

The idea of "God is 3 Persons" has evolved over the centuries to the English language. What I mean is that "persona" which was derived from a mask was a carefully chosen word by trinitarians to refer to one of 3 distinct hypostases which were of one substance, etc.
The original choice of the word personae was NOT an individual person like we have today.

I agree.

Trinitarians should stop saying "God in Three Persons." "Persons" is confusing and I believe it can lead to an improper view of God's Eternal Triune state of existence. (such as Tri-theism).

dguller said...

Breckmin:

>> if you desire something "good" for your child...that means that you were the one that was lacking?

Yes. You lack the satisfaction of your child experiencing something good, for example. Take a parent’s desire that their child experience goodness in their life. Either that child is currently experiencing goodness or not. If they are experiencing goodness, then their the parent does not desire it (because it is now happening and their desire is satisfied) or their desire relates to the ONGOING experience of goodness in the future for their child (which is something lacking). If they are not experiencing goodness, then their parent desires to feel the satisfaction of their child experiencing goodness. Otherwise, why would they desire it if they felt NOTHING at all if it were to occur?

All desires are ultimately egocentric, even when they involve other people. So, if someone wants to talk about God’s desire, then they must be implying that he lacks something, unless they are draining the term “desire” from any meaning.

>> What if it is based on the KNOWLEDGE (not feeling) that it is better to give than to receive? What if it is based on "giving" NOT for validation, but rather because it is good to give?

So let me get this straight. God desires that good things happen to his creation, because of the abstract moral knowledge that it is better to give than to receive, but lacks any feeling whatsoever regarding the matter. I would say that this is not desire at all. This is what would happen if a robot was programmed to perform certain activities, but lacked any emotional content. Would you say that the robot “desired” the outcome? Not without an emotional component involving the pain of absence of the desired and the satisfaction and pleasure of its presence. No pleasure and pain, no desire. It’s really that simple.

Perhaps it helps for you to consider God to be akin to a robot, but the fact that the Bible clearly describes his multiple emotional states implies that this is a non-Biblical viewpoint. Rather, you should just admit that he has emotions, including desire, and that implies that his desire relates to something missing in his life that he yearns to have filled, and must involve pleasure and pain. And that still lands you squarely in the problem of God being characterized by a LACKING of some sort, which is odd for a perfect being.

>> What if there is no need and therefore no personal fulfillment for creating?

Again, where there is no need, there is no desire. Desire IS the pain of need and the pleasure of its fulfilment. Without this structure, it is not desire at all. Perhaps you can try to stretch the meaning of this term through analogy, but my contention is that you have stripped it of any meaning at all. You might as well talk about a loveless love or a full emptiness. I’m afraid most people would have no idea what you are talking about. You can take that as a sign of your profundity, but I would take it as a sign of your incoherence.

GearHedEd said...

@ J.K. Jones,

(Jones:) "...There is nothing logically inconsistent about a being who has always known everything unless you can show that to be the case."

EVERYTHING is logically inconsistent with this notion.

A being who has always known everything, said being also said to be omnipresent and eternal, would have no excuse to run the "movie" of the universe, humanity, etc., since the outcome (including who goes to heaven, who goes to hell, etc.) would be KNOWN IN ADVANCE.

Thus, the traditional concept of Gopd negates any reason for us to be here in the first place, while at the same time negating free will in humans.

And as has been pointed out before, if we are disallowed freedom, then any illusion of love we could display towards our equally loving creator would be a total sham.

I could go on and on, but if YOU were honest and looked at the xconsequences of your theology, it would be crystal clear to you, too.

GearHedEd said...

J.K. said,

(quoting Grace) “If he and his son are one and the same, then he sent himself to the cross and allowed himself to be tortured and die. Why would he do that?”

"...Right. That’s what He did. The One who required the penalty paid the penalty in the Person of Jesus Christ."

If you're HONEST about this ill-conceived concept, you have to admit that God sacrificing Himself (Jesus) to Himself (Yahweh) accomplishes exactly nothing.

GearHedEd said...

Breckmin said,

"...God's nature is immutable. It would be illogical for God to somehow choose something other than Perfection."

Yet that's exactly what he did (chose, and then created imperfection).

The universe isn't perfect, humans aren't perfect, etc... but God (we hear) brought all this into being; created imperfection so he could rail at us for not being perfect, too (Sodom and Gomorrah, Noah's Ark, etc, etc...).

And more than that! He even went as far as to IMPEDE our efforts at improving our situation (Tower of Babel)!

Why is it so hard to look at these stories and not see the inconsistent, cobbled-together nature of the scriptures and conclude that the Bible isn't literally true, and that we should stop MAKING SHIT UP to try and explain the problems by ascribing it to God being all-powerful and mysterious.

What is he, The Continuum Transfunctioner?

GearHedEd said...

Breckmin,

I've been reading all of this for the past couple of days, and everything you've said is analogous to

"No, no. It's SPELT Raymond Luxury-Yacht, but it's pronounced 'Throat-Warbler Mangrove".

Breckmin said...

my partial quote - "...God's nature is immutable. It would be illogical for God to somehow choose something other than Perfection."

GearHedEd's response -
Yet that's exactly what he did (chose, and then created imperfection)."

The subject was choosing His Own Nature which is superfluous.

But let's go with this. What if imperfection is inevitable..because it is a road to perfection...because it is a road to knowledge (knowledge of contrasts) in being able to actually know what Perfection is?

What if the present temporary creation that is clearly messed up because of evil (choice), is actually in some way "perfectly what it is supposed to be" because it is a means to future Perfection?

Breckmin said...

"No, no. It's SPELT Raymond Luxury-Yacht, but it's pronounced 'Throat-Warbler Mangrove"."



No. It is the imperfection of human language to address concepts which have dual meaning based on point of view. The dual reality of evil I have explained is a "perfect" (perhaps not) example.

We can look at any alleged contradiction in the bible (that is not a simple identifiable error) and see the two points of view.

We could even say that the temporary creation is perfect for dealing with the real problem of evil and how it is a danger to God's elect children..and at the same time look at all of its imperfection because of God's curse on it (and His knowledge that humankind would choose evils).

But even this is over simplification. If we say the earth is perfect (perfectly what God wanted it to be in this temporary creation even though He has logically cursed specific aspects of it) AND we say that the earth is not perfect (and list problems) - both of these statement address DIFFERENT aspects of what we are talking about. We can actually do this with just about everything...but the unwise person isolates on alleged contradiction (due to face value of the statements).

Breckmin said...

"You lack the satisfaction of your child experiencing something good,"

Clearly, I am at fault for the imperfect parent analogy...but "how can God possibly somehow unsatisfied?" He is omniscient...He is not finite...He is infinite. He doesn't experience emotions the same way we do...He doesn't need anything, etc. The claim that God is somehow emotionally "needy" (like we are) is non-sequitur.

Your examples are all anthropocentric. God's "desire" is not exactly the same thing as human desire.
There is also a dynamic to this which is spiritual. God's Spirit lives within us and we can indeed grieve His Spirit...but this doesn't mean that His Spirit is not perfect... It also doesn't mean that God the Father has the same economic role in relationship to our bodies that His Holy Spirit does.

Because of these complications..it is more than obvious that your accusations fail to address the dynamics of economic trinity.

God sets the standard for perfection in His Own universe. He created because it is good to create beings of love (who can choose). He doesn't create out of need....He doesn't create because He is lacking something. That is an induction which you are attempting to apply to Infinite Existence. I don't think human emotions dictate God's emotions.

GearHedEd said...

"...He doesn't need anything..."

Then there was no NEED to have created the universe, much less humans.

OR

We could say that it's all a story that's not based upon reality, and stop the need to bend so far over backwards to explin it that we're tea-bagging ourselves, hmm?