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Re: Monotheism does not require a finite deity

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  • Isa
    Rob, Thank you for coming to my defense. Isa
    Message 1 of 9 , Apr 1, 2010
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      Rob, Thank you for coming to my defense.

      Isa
      -----------

      --- In biblicanlapologetics@yahoogroups.com, "Rob" <faithhasitsreasons@...> wrote:
      >
      > Bill,
      >
      > Your assertion that monotheism must have a finite God is incorrect. Classic monotheism of Judaism and Christianity adheres to belief in an infinite, personal God. "Infinite" does not mean "everything," as you seem to assume; rather, infinite means unbounded by the limitations of the physical universe (so that God is incorporeal, omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, and eternal).
      >
      > The observation is a commonplace; see almost any systematic theology textbook, treatises on the doctrine of God, and the like. Francis Schaeffer was an evangelical thinker who especially emphasized the point that God is both infinite and personal.
      >
      > In Christ's service,
      > Rob Bowman
      >
      >
      > --- In biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com, William Mayor <eliadefollower@> wrote:
      > >
      > > Isa,
      > >  
      > > I see one HUGE error in your logic.  You consider God to be infinite, which is fine.  This makes creation to be pantheistic (or possibly panentheistic for those who see a distinction) in nature, as by definition an infinite God cannot have anything excluded from Himself, including creation.  However, you conclude your argument with the statement "It should also bring into focus the unquestioned monotheism of Christianity".  Monotheism and Pantheism are diametrically opposed to each other.  Monotheism MUST have a finite God as it requires a creation that is separate from God.
      > >  
      > > Now I could go through and point out other potential errors, however even without looking at other issues, this one issue sinks your whole argument unless you revise it.
      > >  
      > > Bill
      > >
      >
    • Isa
      Bill, I submit Rob s comment on your comment about a finite God as my response. I look forward to your other comments on the paper. Isa
      Message 2 of 9 , Apr 1, 2010
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        Bill, I submit Rob's comment on your comment about "a finite God" as my response. I look forward to your other comments on the paper.

        Isa
        --------

        --- In biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com, William Mayor <eliadefollower@...> wrote:
        >
        > Isa,
        >  
        > I see one HUGE error in your logic.  You consider God to be infinite, which is fine.  This makes creation to be pantheistic (or possibly panentheistic for those who see a distinction) in nature, as by definition an infinite God cannot have anything excluded from Himself, including creation.  However, you conclude your argument with the statement "It should also bring into focus the unquestioned monotheism of Christianity".  Monotheism and Pantheism are diametrically opposed to each other.  Monotheism MUST have a finite God as it requires a creation that is separate from God.
        >  
        > Now I could go through and point out other potential errors, however even without looking at other issues, this one issue sinks your whole argument unless you revise it.
        >  
        > Bill
        >
      • William Mayor
        Rob,   Actually what you, Francis Schaffer and otehr theologians are doing is redefining terms so that there is not a conflict.  Infinite means unbounded, no
        Message 3 of 9 , Apr 2, 2010
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          Rob,
           
          Actually what you, Francis Schaffer and otehr theologians are doing is redefining terms so that there is not a conflict.  Infinite means unbounded, no boundaries.  As soon as you place an infinite God outside of creation you have placed boundaries on that God which is a contradiction until theoloogy races to the rescue to remove it.  This includes however, an assumption that you might wish to reconsider.  That is the assumption that science and theology must be different fields.  You force a situation where the life you lead outside of theology must contradict the beliefs you live by within theology.  This is not required by scripture, but is rather an assumption forced in by Greek thought.
           
          Now since you have placed God outside of the realms of science, this means that God can do things that are scientifically impossible, and you have no problems with that.  Likewise the perfectly sound explanations that science has for the problems of Sin, pain and death are not to be considered for theology.  The vary obvious faith that humans show in science is categorically different then the faith we are to have in God.  This in spite of the places in the New Testament where faith is clearly distinguished from intellectual assent, which is what the faith of theology appears to be. 
           
          Please remember that theology arose in a Greek setting, and the Greek belief system was pantheistic.  If you review ancient Canaanite, Egyptian or Greek theology you will find that all had a triune stage to God while acknowledging the unity of God, just as traditional theology does. 
           
          I would further challenge you, or anyone else in the forum, to explain how faith healing works for Christian believers without acknowledging that the same process works for non-Christian healers when science finds the same process at work for all.  Further, the process that science finds underlying all faith healings, regardless of outward theology, makes perfect sense. 
           
          Bill

        • William
          Isa, Without going back to review my notes and do some research on specific points, which I will try to do soon, one point that popped out that I immediately
          Message 4 of 9 , Apr 2, 2010
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            Isa,

            Without going back to review my notes and do some research on specific points, which I will try to do soon, one point that popped out that I immediately know the problem with is the immutability of God. Scripture does not require this. What scripture states is that God DOES not change. Immutability requires that God cannot change. Does not change merely requires that either God is incapable of change, which you assume is the answer, or that God chooses not to change, that is He is capable of change but will not do so. Given that there are two potential understandings of this point, your assertions weaken when you do not consider both and provide reasons why the specific understanding you choose is the best.

            Likewise, if I remember correctly, you have asserted that God is a person. Could you please provide an objective understanding of what a person is? Science has observed that some nonhumans species might well fit the definition of a person by most objective standards, while humans in a permanent vegetative state probably would not. However, to define a person as being either human or deity and nothing else is not an objective persepective, but rather assumption, which may be challenged.

            Bill

            --- In biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com, "Isa" <isalcordo@...> wrote:
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > Bill, I submit Rob's comment on your comment about "a finite God" as my response. I look forward to your other comments on the paper.
            >
            > Isa
            > --------
            >
            > --- In biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com, William Mayor <eliadefollower@> wrote:
            > >
            > > Isa,
            > >  
            > > I see one HUGE error in your logic.  You consider God to be infinite, which is fine.  This makes creation to be pantheistic (or possibly panentheistic for those who see a distinction) in nature, as by definition an infinite God cannot have anything excluded from Himself, including creation.  However, you conclude your argument with the statement "It should also bring into focus the unquestioned monotheism of Christianity".  Monotheism and Pantheism are diametrically opposed to each other.  Monotheism MUST have a finite God as it requires a creation that is separate from God.
            > >  
            > > Now I could go through and point out other potential errors, however even without looking at other issues, this one issue sinks your whole argument unless you revise it.
            > >  
            > > Bill
            > >
            >
          • Rob
            Bill, Thanks for your concern for my health. I appreciate it. You wrote:
            Message 5 of 9 , Apr 2, 2010
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              Bill,

              Thanks for your concern for my health. I appreciate it. You wrote:

              << Actually what you, Francis Schaffer and otehr theologians are doing is redefining terms so that there is not a conflict.  Infinite means unbounded, no boundaries.  As soon as you place an infinite God outside of creation you have placed boundaries on that God which is a contradiction until theoloogy races to the rescue to remove it. >>

              Most if not all words are capable of being defined in different ways in different contexts, of having different connotations, and this is true of the word "infinite." But again, you are defining "infinite" not to mean "unbounded" but to mean "everything." That begs the question. Is it "placing boundaries on God" to say that he cannot lie (Titus 1:2)? If you want to call that a "boundary" you may, but let's avoid equivocation. When orthodox Christians affirm that God is infinite, they mean infinite WITH RESPECT TO the finite "bounded" conditions of created things, i.e., the limitations imposed on anything that exists as part of the order of space, time, matter, and energy. Thus, God is infinite with respect to space (God's omnipresence and immensity), time (God's eternality), matter (God's incorporeality and transcendent Spirit nature), and energy (God's omnipotence). They do not mean that God is without any definition or specification of nature, as many Hindu philosophers mean.

              You wrote:

              << This includes however, an assumption that you might wish to reconsider.  That is the assumption that science and theology must be different fields.  You force a situation where the life you lead outside of theology must contradict the beliefs you live by within theology.  This is not required by scripture, but is rather an assumption forced in by Greek thought.
               
              > Now since you have placed God outside of the realms of science, this means that God can do things that are scientifically impossible, and you have no problems with that. >>

              You should really try to find out what I think before criticizing it (Proverbs 18:13). I do not hold that God can do things that are "scientifically impossible" or that science and theology may contradict one another. I do hold that God can do things in the natural world for which there is no adequate immanent natural mechanism or causal explanation. Miracles are extra naturam, not contra naturam.

              You wrote:

              << Likewise the perfectly sound explanations that science has for the problems of Sin, pain and death are not to be considered for theology. >>

              I think you and I have been down this path before. I simply disagree with your approach to these issues.

              You wrote:

              << Please remember that theology arose in a Greek setting, and the Greek belief system was pantheistic.  If you review ancient Canaanite, Egyptian or Greek theology you will find that all had a triune stage to God while acknowledging the unity of God, just as traditional theology does. >>

              I am familiar with the issues here, and you are vastly oversimplifying matters, to the point of distortion of the facts. The Canaanites certainly did not hold to a triune view of deity. Greek philosophy did have some sort of triadic view of the absolute (in Neoplatonism), but the doctrine of the Trinity had its source in the teachings of the New Testament, not in some universal theology.

              You wrote:
               
              << I would further challenge you, or anyone else in the forum, to explain how faith healing works for Christian believers without acknowledging that the same process works for non-Christian healers when science finds the same process at work for all.  Further, the process that science finds underlying all faith healings, regardless of outward theology, makes perfect sense. >>

              This is simple: "Faith healing" does not work. God heals people, as he pleases, when he pleases, sometimes providentially, sometimes miraculously, sometimes in response to prayers of faith, sometimes even for those who lack faith. There is no such thing as a science or method of "faith healing" that works every time. God is not a force to be harnessed but a Father to be honored.

              In Christ's service,
              Rob Bowman
            • Isa
              Bill: To put things in definite perspective allow me to state that I am proposing a theology purely based on the Bible and what reasons and/or reasonable
              Message 6 of 9 , Apr 2, 2010
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                Bill:

                To put things in definite perspective allow me to state that I am proposing a theology purely based on the Bible and what reasons and/or reasonable Biblical faith allows me to draw from its revelations. Philosophies and non-Biblical theologies, hence "various metaphysical terms," are not my concern except insofar as the Bible points to them such as the terms: God as Infinite Mind, Infinite Intellect, and Infinite Spirit

                Now, to my responses to your comments.

                You wrote:

                I see one HUGE error in your logic. You consider God to be infinite, which is fine. This makes creation to be pantheistic (or possibly panentheistic for those who see a distinction) in nature, as by definition an infinite God cannot have anything excluded from Himself, including creation.

                My response:
                That God is INFINITE is not my own statement. The Bible points, in no uncertain terms, that the One God is INFINITE. And I have shown this by presenting as many Biblical verses as possible. Now, is the Bible teaching pantheism? That is a question of metaphysics and not a Biblical question. I will hold my opinion at this time. But here is the International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia on the Infinity of God:

                "Universally Implied: While, however, the term is not found, the truth that God is infinite, not only in His understanding, but in His being and all His perfections, natural and moral, is one that pervades all Scripture. It could not be otherwise, if God was unoriginated, exalted above all limits of time, space and creaturehood, and dependent only on Himself. The Biblical writers, certainly, are far from thinking in metaphysical categories, or using such terms as "self-existence," "absoluteness," "unconditioned" yet the ideas for which these terms stand were all of them attributed in their conceptions to God. They did not, e.g. conceive of God as having been born, or as having a beginning, as the Babylonian and Greek gods had, but thought of Him as the ever-existing One (Ps 90:1-2), and free Creator and Disposer of all that exists. This means that God has self-existence, and for the same reason that He is not bound by His own creation. He must be thought of as raised above all creaturely limits, that is, as infinite."

                You wrote:
                However, you conclude your argument with the statement "It should also bring into focus the unquestioned monotheism of Christianity". Monotheism and Pantheism are diametrically opposed to each other. Monotheism MUST have a finite God as it requires a creation that is separate from God.

                My response:
                The Oneness of an Infinite God requires that some "Finite Entity(ies)," having the fulness of God, serve as "vehicle(s) or instrument(s)" of His revelations to His finite creations, otherwise He will remain forever unknown and subject to speculations - such as being a "god" that demands sacrifice of human blood and human life. This is the "MUST" of the Monotheism of an Infinite God. Thus, the Holy TRINITY, as the One Infinite God's revelation of His PERSON serves that purpose.

                You wrote:

                Now I could go through and point out other potential errors, however even without looking at other issues, this one issue sinks your whole argument unless you revise it.

                My response:
                If we limit ourselves to the OT, we are doomed to conclude that "God is Finite," that this "Finite God" named Yahweh is the God of the whole earth, and that the nation Israel alone is His people empowered to execute His Will and to whom all Gentile nations on earth must submit.

                Zionist Jews today live by this tenet and look forward and commit their resources towards this end. The New Testament, however, repudiated that expectation once and for all. That is the reason why Zionist Jews hate Jesus and Paul intensely. Some in Israel now are even forcefully collecting/confiscating books of the New Testament and burning them!

                The reality is that Yahweh and the Resurrected/Glorified Jesus are One and the Same Person - the Second Person of the Trinity, the Word of God, the Christ Spirit in human form as Jesus of Nazareth promised to David - all revelations of the One Infinite God. The proofs are the Biblical verses below:

                The "Finite God of Israel, Yahweh, declares:

                Isa 44:6: "This is what the Lord says — Israel's King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: `I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.'"

                Isa 48:12-13: "Listen to me, O Jacob, Israel, whom I have called: I am he; I am the first and I am the last. 13 My own hand laid the foundations of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens;
                when I summon them, they all stand up together."

                The "Finite God" Jesus, raised from the dead, ascended to heaven, and glorified by the One Infinite God through the "Finite God - God the Father" declares:

                Rv 1:17-18: "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades."

                Rv 2:8: To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: "These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again."

                Rv 22:12-13: "Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End."

                Now, the final support for my thesis that the One Infinite God alone is the One True God is contained in the following verses that declares a time "WHEN GOD WILL BE ALL IN ALLl."

                1 Co 15:20-28: But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For he "has put everything under his feet." Now when it says that "everything" has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 28 When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.

                I believe that the NEW understanding of the "One God and the Trinity" revealed in my paper is the KEY that will open the door to the NEXT STAGE OF CHRISTIANITY when "THE ONE INFINITE GOD WILL BE ALL IN ALL."

                I believe also that I could not have arrived at this revelation via reason and sustained research efforts without the leading of the Holy Spirit. Glory indeed be to the One Infinite God, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit!

                May God bless us all

                Isa
                In Service to the :Lay People of God.

                --- In biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com, William Mayor <eliadefollower@...> wrote:
                >
                > Isa,
                >  
                > I see one HUGE error in your logic.  You consider God to be infinite, which is fine.  This makes creation to be pantheistic (or possibly panentheistic for those who see a distinction) in nature, as by definition an infinite God cannot have anything excluded from Himself, including creation.  However, you conclude your argument with the statement "It should also bring into focus the unquestioned monotheism of Christianity".  Monotheism and Pantheism are diametrically opposed to each other.  Monotheism MUST have a finite God as it requires a creation that is separate from God.
                >  
                > Now I could go through and point out other potential errors, however even without looking at other issues, this one issue sinks your whole argument unless you revise it.
                >  
                > Bill
                >
              • Isa
                Bill: To put things in definite perspective allow me to state that I am proposing a theology purely based on the Bible and what reasons and/or reasonable
                Message 7 of 9 , Apr 2, 2010
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                  Bill:

                  To put things in definite perspective allow me to state that I am proposing a theology purely based on the Bible and what reasons and/or reasonable Biblical faith allows me to draw from its revelations. Philosophies and non-Biblical theologies, hence "various metaphysical terms," are not my concern except insofar as the Bible points to them such as the terms: God as Infinite Mind, Infinite Intellect, and Infinite Spirit

                  Now, to my responses to your comments.

                  You wrote:

                  I see one HUGE error in your logic. You consider God to be infinite, which is fine. This makes creation to be pantheistic (or possibly panentheistic for those who see a distinction) in nature, as by definition an infinite God cannot have anything excluded from Himself, including creation.

                  My response:
                  That God is INFINITE is not my own statement. The Bible points, in no uncertain terms, that the One God is INFINITE. And I have shown this by presenting as many Biblical verses as possible. Now, is the Bible teaching pantheism? That is a question of metaphysics and not a Biblical question. I will hold my opinion at this time. But here is the International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia on the Infinity of God:

                  "Universally Implied: While, however, the term is not found, the truth that God is infinite, not only in His understanding, but in His being and all His perfections, natural and moral, is one that pervades all Scripture. It could not be otherwise, if God was unoriginated, exalted above all limits of time, space and creaturehood, and dependent only on Himself. The Biblical writers, certainly, are far from thinking in metaphysical categories, or using such terms as "self-existence," "absoluteness," "unconditioned" yet the ideas for which these terms stand were all of them attributed in their conceptions to God. They did not, e.g. conceive of God as having been born, or as having a beginning, as the Babylonian and Greek gods had, but thought of Him as the ever-existing One (Ps 90:1-2), and free Creator and Disposer of all that exists. This means that God has self-existence, and for the same reason that He is not bound by His own creation. He must be thought of as raised above all creaturely limits, that is, as infinite."

                  You wrote:
                  However, you conclude your argument with the statement "It should also bring into focus the unquestioned monotheism of Christianity". Monotheism and Pantheism are diametrically opposed to each other. Monotheism MUST have a finite God as it requires a creation that is separate from God.

                  My response:
                  The Oneness of an Infinite God requires that some "Finite Entity(ies)," having the fulness of God, serve as "vehicle(s) or instrument(s)" of His revelations to His finite creations, otherwise He will remain forever unknown and subject to speculations - such as being a "god" that demands sacrifice of human blood and human life. This is the "MUST" of the Monotheism of an Infinite God. Thus, the Holy TRINITY, as the One Infinite God's revelation of His PERSON serves that purpose.

                  You wrote:

                  Now I could go through and point out other potential errors, however even without looking at other issues, this one issue sinks your whole argument unless you revise it.

                  My response:
                  If we limit ourselves to the OT, we are doomed to conclude that "God is Finite," that this "Finite God" named Yahweh is the God of the whole earth, and that the nation Israel alone is His people empowered to execute His Will and to whom all Gentile nations on earth must submit.

                  Zionist Jews today live by this tenet and look forward and commit their resources towards this end. The New Testament, however, repudiated that expectation once and for all. That is the reason why Zionist Jews hate Jesus and Paul intensely. Some in Israel now are even forcefully collecting/confiscating books of the New Testament and burning them!

                  The reality is that Yahweh and the Resurrected/Glorified Jesus are One and the Same Person - the Second Person of the Trinity, the Word of God, the Christ Spirit in human form as Jesus of Nazareth promised to David - all revelations of the One Infinite God. The proofs are the Biblical verses below:

                  The "Finite God of Israel, Yahweh, declares:

                  Isa 44:6: "This is what the Lord says — Israel's King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: `I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.'"

                  Isa 48:12-13: "Listen to me, O Jacob, Israel, whom I have called: I am he; I am the first and I am the last. 13 My own hand laid the foundations of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens;
                  when I summon them, they all stand up together."

                  The "Finite God" Jesus, raised from the dead, ascended to heaven, and glorified by the One Infinite God through the "Finite God - God the Father" declares:

                  Rv 1:17-18: "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades."

                  Rv 2:8: To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: "These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again."

                  Rv 22:12-13: "Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End."

                  Now, the final support for my thesis that the One Infinite God alone is the One True God is contained in the following verses that declares a time "WHEN GOD WILL BE ALL IN ALLl."

                  1 Co 15:20-28: But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For he "has put everything under his feet." Now when it says that "everything" has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 28 When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.

                  I believe that the NEW understanding of the "One God and the Trinity" revealed in my paper is the KEY that will open the door to the NEXT STAGE OF CHRISTIANITY when "THE ONE INFINITE GOD WILL BE ALL IN ALL."

                  I believe also that I could not have arrived at this revelation via reason and sustained research efforts without the leading of the Holy Spirit. Glory indeed be to the One Infinite God, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit!

                  May God bless us all

                  Isa
                  In Service to the :Lay People of God.

                  --- In biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com, William Mayor <eliadefollower@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Isa,
                  >  
                  > I see one HUGE error in your logic.  You consider God to be infinite, which is fine.  This makes creation to be pantheistic (or possibly panentheistic for those who see a distinction) in nature, as by definition an infinite God cannot have anything excluded from Himself, including creation.  However, you conclude your argument with the statement "It should also bring into focus the unquestioned monotheism of Christianity".  Monotheism and Pantheism are diametrically opposed to each other.  Monotheism MUST have a finite God as it requires a creation that is separate from God.
                  >  
                  > Now I could go through and point out other potential errors, however even without looking at other issues, this one issue sinks your whole argument unless you revise it.
                  >  
                  > Bill
                  >
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