Sixty Hours I’ll Never Recover

But at least no naked actresses.

That is the general reaction in the Hart household to the completion of Mad Men, a tv series perhaps a tad better than Breaking Bad, but miles behind — wait for it — The Wire. (The atmospherics of Mad Men inch the series just barely ahead of Breaking Bad.) I had to go through 90 episodes to see Don practicing transcendental meditation, Peggy finding love, Joan being torn between love and career, Roger finding love appropriate to his age, and Pete landing in Witchita? Yes, it was uncomfortable to see Betty get sick, but not so much that you see a different side of her.

The morning after I read Louis Menand (who is emerging as someone worthy of a man-crush) on Charles Duhigg’s book, Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life. Menand can’t quite understand why self-help books for business people sell. They are so obvious:

There is not much to disagree with here, and that is one of the intriguing things about the genre this book belongs to. Not dozens or hundreds but thousands of titles like “Smarter Faster Better” are published every year, and they account for a disproportionate percentage of total book sales. Yet they mainly reiterate common sense.

Does anybody think it’s unwise to be lean, nimble, and innovative? Who needs a book to know that rote behavior and fear of uncertainty are not going to take us very far? It’s not startling to learn that organizations that nurture a “culture of commitment” are more productive than organizations that don’t, or that setting ambitious objectives can jump-start innovation. “People who know how to self-motivate, according to studies, earn more money than their peers, report higher levels of happiness, and say they are more satisfied with their families, jobs, and lives.” I can believe that. “Determined and focused people . . . often have higher paying jobs.” I won’t argue. “An instinct for decisiveness is great—until it’s not.” An impregnable assertion.

In an uncanny way, Menand also explains the logic of Mad Men:

If you owned an advertising agency fifty years ago, on the other hand, you wouldn’t care how much pig iron your workers could carry in an hour. You would want your account executives to have winning personalities, to be able to bond easily with other people, to be likable. You would want them to have manners tailored to attract the patronage and retain the loyalty of your customers. Their task would be to persuade, not to push. You would therefore want them to be able to conceal, maybe even from themselves, the manipulative and possibly mercenary nature of their relationship with clients, and to transform a business transaction into a friendly quid pro quo. You would reward the most successful account executives with lavish expense accounts.

The series never goes beyond this (except when Don is being Don).

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405 thoughts on “Sixty Hours I’ll Never Recover

  1. How many thousands of God’s hours have you spent filling your heart and mind (and your covenant wife’s) with the unbelief of the world Darryl? Have you spent one tenth that personal investment in prayer and God’s word? When you stand before Him and give account for the stewardship of His time (Ephesians 5:16), and the woman over whom He has gaven you spiritual charge (Ephesian5:22-ff), will He say “well done my good and faithful servant?” Will He say you even tried?

    Will He say that your investment has been built on a foundation of gold, silver and precious stones? Or wood, hay and stubble? (1st Corinthians 3:10-14)

    Or might He even tell you that you are a practitioner of sin (1st John 3)? A flagrant and perpetual abuser of His grace and serial adulterer and blasphemer who took delight in securing the damnation of his fellow children of Adam? Do you look forward to seeing all the facts and figures of how much of His time and money you deliberately poured down that sinkhole of sin?

    Because of my past interaction here, you could be forgiven for seeing a finger of condemnation in your face, but I tell you before Father, Son and Holy Ghost that it is not so. I don’t care what kind of moral self trickery you, or the rest of these spiritually lobotomized world-lings around here delude yourselves with. You are gong to pay dearly my friend if you do not repent of this life of idolatry.

    I really believe you hear me. Way down inside where you live, you hear me. And if not? I’ve done my part and my conscience is clear (Ezekiel 3). It is a genuine tear jerking shame that your church isn’t up to the job. It tears my heart out for you and them. And for myself and the rest of the church world who could benefit so greatly from a strong and faithful OPC.

    I didn’t plan on this today, but it was simply not possible to hold it in and no matter what you believe, it is out of a heart of hopefully brotherly love. If you sower or ban me, I’ll feel bad (I really will), but that will have to be how it is.

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  2. I have to say, we never quite understood the draw to this show in the first place. We tried in good faith on various occasions but were never drawn in. I’ve seen January Jones in other things and in the same way don’t see what all the buzz is about: Sure, in the same way that “determined and focused people make more money,” you do want attractive people portraying your story on the screen, but maybe Ham and Jones are to compelling TV what self-help books are to literature, a great big shrug. Which might make the cast of “Happy Valley” the exception to the Obvious Rule and…Shakespeare?

    But since we took a pass on some TV, maybe Greg will give me some points.

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  3. “A flagrant and perpetual abuser of His grace and serial adulterer and blasphemer who took delight in securing the damnation of his fellow children of Adam? ”

    Well, that escalated quickly.

    Darryl,

    Where’s the Fargo tv series review.

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  4. I really tried to give Mad Men a chance but after the first season, the only thing it had going for it was an incredible visual aesthetic, which wasn’t itself original or creative but just a meticulous recreation of a bygone era. Not an interesting, or compelling character to be found; just pretty sets and pretty people. I dunno, maybe they’re super smart that’s what they were going for all along?

    Greg, maybe this is my Lutheranism showing but what’s the difference between a normal wife and a “covenant wife”?

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  5. Greg: “I didn’t plan on this today, but it was simply not possible to hold it in”

    Sean: Lack of self-control. Impulse control issues. Not a fruit of the Spirit.

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  6. Greg, maybe this is my Lutheranism showing but what’s the difference between a normal wife and a “covenant wife”?
    It was just a reminder. Marriage is a divine covenant with divine joys and responsibilities. It is the most primary and ancient of God’s social institutions. Precious in His sight. A man’s stewardship of his wife is first on God’s list of earthly duties.
    ——————————————————————
    I’ll be mostly offline, except for a time maybe tonight, until tomorrow late afternoon. I’m not ignoring any substantive interaction.

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  7. To Greg the Terrible:

    ” It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” (Gal. 5:1)

    ” But it was because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage.” (Gal. 2:4)

    Greg, I make no defence for Mad Men or Breaking Bad as I am not a fan of them either, but since it seems like you do not watch any TV you might want to study the verses above and then you might not be so “Terrible” a person!

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  8. RL, what are yours? I find “Saul” is a compelling character and the back story interesting, but the plot often times seems like an attempt to simply ride the BB momentum (even lazily re-create some of the drama). That said, we are watching out for season two to emerge.

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  9. Sorry Scott. You can waste somebody else’s time with your sophomoric bible butchery. Which is quite typical of you idolatrous world worshipers. If that’s the standard, I prefer to remain terrible.

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  10. Greg,

    I appreciate your zeal for obedience, but just maybe in your attempt to be Phinehas (Num 25:8), you’re actually being a zealot like Peter (John 18:10, Matt 26:51).

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  11. So, Greg, when I interact with you(everything I do, by definition is substantive), am I supposed to just include the part under the perforation? Sort of a virtual remittance slip? Maybe a youtube tutorial on formatting would help.

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  12. CVD, have you seen Fargo? I’m on episode 4 now. I started it cause McMark said it was better than the movie. I don’t know if I will ever think anything is better than Fargo the movie. There are some great homages though to the movie. The villain is the only thing right now. He’s too competent and charismatic for Fargo.

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  13. Scott,

    Those verses are speaking of circumcision, and the Jewish ceremonial law, not the moral law, that can never be abrogated.

    You guys beat up on Greg and he honestly cares for you. If he was beating you with insults or treating those who he is charged to nuture ( namely his family)with cruelty in order to prevent their fall into sin, he would be doing evil so as to get good. That kind of wrong might even be the hallmark of fundamentalism in practice. But If he’s only warning you, why not discuss why you think the program’s content is innocuous?

    I haven’t seen The Wire, but I did read what kinds of situations they explicitly act out, and
    I wouldn’t watch it.

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  14. Susan, it’s been discussed with Greg at length. He is not simply warning. His views are moralistic.

    You have an odd understanding of beating–Greg is beating, others are mocking. Also odd is while you might recognize blow hardery when it comes to some Protestants and their posture against some Catholics generally, you don’t seem to recognize the blow hardery when it comes to this topic and moralists versus Christians.

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  15. Hi Steve, how are you?

    We will have to disagree because I don’t know why you would want to treat morality as if it was a science outside of the realm of theology and religion.

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  16. Terrible Greg,

    I am sorry the Lord has hardened your heart to remain Terrible. I do appreciate your honesty of your intent to remain so though. It is also nice to see that despite your hatred for the word of God you agree it is sharper than any two edged sword and able to butcher Terrible people.

    Since I struck a chord the last time:

    ” Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.” (Matt. 23:15)

    ” Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness” (Matt. 23:27)

    “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?” (Matt. 23:33)

    How will Terrible people escape Greg? How will you escape?

    Susan,

    Are you related to Darth? He’s pretty terrible like Greg!

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  17. Dr. Hart asks “Greg, how come you get to read OL but I can’t watch Mad Men (no nudity).”
    It’s not just, or even primarily about nudity or uncovenanted sexual contact Darryl. (but you knew that) I ask once again, before I possibly assume in error. What analogy are you drawing between reading OL and promoting the damnation of my neighbor whom I am commanded to love as myself? That’s the angle you’re looking for. Go ahead. I’m sincerely interested in your clarification.

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  18. I like BCS. Some of the characters are cartoonish, but fun. I really like the Chuck character and Michael McKean’s performance. But it’s similar to BB in that the characters are a bit oversized.

    The Wire is hard and real, while BCS and BB, by comparison, are fuzzier, more surreal.

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  19. Susan says: “Those verses are speaking of circumcision, and the Jewish ceremonial law, not the moral law, that can never be abrogated.”
    Good one Susan, this is true. It is important however to also understand that keeping the never abrogated moral law won’t save anybody either. Again, all those rules and lists in the catechism aren’t to get anybody saved. That’s the standard that saved people strive for out of love for Jesus first and their fellow man next. Starting with their covenant family.

    Back to Lazarus for a second. Jesus didn’t tell him to come out of that tomb so he could live. He gave him life so he could come out when called. Nobody there had any problem discerning that this was a now once again living man. Because living men have these unmistakable and universal characteristics that dead men do not. Denying that this is also the case with those who have been eternally elected by he Father, given new life in Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit evinces a level of self deception without parallel.

    The OPC’s own Westminster assembly has left them a very reliable set of characteristics taken from the Decalogue whereby it is to be discerned who is displaying spiritual life in Christ an is who is not. It’s on their own SITE. I didn’t write it and I didn’t put it there.

    Susan says: “…Greg and he honestly cares for you.”
    I really believe everything I say. It’s what pretty much the whole protestant church used to say. You’re right too. I care about people. When you pray for them you can’t help it. There is no way you can go to your knees and earnestly pray the Lord’s blessing on somebody from your heart for very long without growing to love them,. It’s impossible. That’s why I keep telling Erik to pray for Darryl.

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  20. Susan, “morality as…a science outside of the realm of theology and religion”? Not sure how you got that–morality is a category resident within theology and religion. But you must admit there is such a thing as a moralism that is opposed to Christianity and vice versa, e.g. Pelagianism. That’s what Greg’s ethos is when it comes to film. He rages, CvD mocks, you “like” CvD’s mocking but also stick up for Greg, I’m confused. Have you found a way to have cake and eat it, too?

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  21. Greg can discern the hearts of others and embodies the “what the whole Protestant church used to say.” Must be good to be Greg.

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  22. Ah, yes. Lenny and Squiggy. I remember them well from my yute.

    MM was also fantastic as David St. Hubbins. Stefan Vanderhoof as well. Who would have thought thick Lenny was a real talent?

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  23. GTT: “How many thousands of God’s hours have you spent filling your heart and mind (and your covenant wife’s) with the unbelief of the world Darryl? Have you spent one tenth that personal investment in prayer and God’s word?”

    GW: Brother Greg, how many countless hours have you spent time writing lengthy comments here on old life which you could have been spending in prayer, the reading of God’s Word, spending time with your wife, handing out gospel tracts, volunteering at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter, or doing something else far more productive in the ultimate scheme of things?

    And is not your participation in the opportunities for dialogue provided by this site (and others you may also comment on) at least in part a form of entertainment for you? Or are you so spiritual and ahead of the rest of us in your sanctification that your only motivation for commenting on this site is a sense of personal mission to bear witness for Christ and set straight the carnal-minded 2K old lifers who like to watch movies & tv shows, and not at all because you find the interactions interesting, stimulating, and even at times enjoyable?

    The point here is, before you claim the moral high ground in discussions like these, you might want to first try taking the log out of your own eye before looking for specks of dust in those of your brethren.

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  24. Scott:hatred for the word of God

    Hatred? arguing your perceived Greg- exaggeration with exaggeration ..not too convincing;
    thinking Greg is prompted by love:
    14 Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, …17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. 2 Peter 3

    that moralist, Apostle Peter, right, Zrim? never heard Greg reduce the Gospel to earning righteousness by behavior improvement

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  25. We are headed out to one of our regular street missions to the 9th precinct east side warzone here in a Detroit in a half hour Geoff. What I do online is but one component in what the Lord has called me to do. I wouldn’t have time for television even if I had one. (since you asked).

    Dealing with people like here on this site is exhausting. Which this site is maybe 3-5% of my total online activity. I long for the day when nobody will ever have to do it again. I take joy in the knowledge that I’m pleasing my Savior. It’s enjoyable at times. Some more than others. That’s allowed.

    I would offer what I said to Andrew on Erik’s site about the godly use of the internet recently:
    —————————————————————————
    “Verbal, literary, propositional communication, that is, the capability for high level, morally accountable interaction with words, is one of the major defining components of the image and likeness of God in man. Jesus is THE logos, the living WORD of God. The ἐξηγέομαι (eks eh geh oh my) exegesis (this is where we get that word from) of God Himself (John 1:15)

    WORDS are precious and powerful because THE Word is precious and powerful. (not in the positive confession sense at all). The scriptures are the very mind of the LORD (YHWH) conveyed man-ward in the form of WORDS. Jesus of Nazareth is, again, the living WORD of God conveyed man-ward by covenant, promise, and fulfillment in incarnation. THE WORD made flesh.

    The scriptures are WORDS. The standards are WORDS. Books are WORDS. Sermons are WORDS.

    The internet is the most efficient and powerful instrument for the spreading abroad of those very same WORDS in the history of the universe. It is an in itself neutral weapon, the righteousness or evil of which is determined wholly by the use to which it is put.

    Yours or Trueman’s (who I love overall) or anybody else’s attempt to overthrow this manifestly unassailable reality is an embarrassment. I hope ya knock it off. You’re both smarter than this. Btw, your relentless admonishments of the frivolous and inconsequential nature of online communication are…hang on… also WORDS. Online WORDS. What makes your online WORDS valid over everybody else’s?
    —————————————————————————–
    That is my driving motivation. Mixed while still in this flesh, as is everything I think, say or do, with that remaining corruption. I beg Him every day to purify my motivations and save me from dishonoring Him. That He continue to teach me to love my wife like He loves me and to give myself for her. That He remove the beam from eye as only He can so that maximum credibility can be conveyed through my life in His name. And that He allow me to confess when I’m wrong, both to Him and to men, and to take whatever consequences that may mean so that His Hebrews 12 discipline will do it’s work.

    Believe me Geoff. Left to myself, I wouldn’t have seen my 17th birthday (long stories), but it’s His merciful fatherly forgiveness of the sin I’ve committed right in His face after knowing better that drives me hardest. I am no better than anybody here and probably worse than most. You missed everything.

    BBL.

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  26. I always enjoy the scorched earth send offs, that and the melodramatic, christianese bio pics: “You missed EVERYTHING”. Can’t help but play judge and executioner. Just…………….can’t………………..stop…………………it. Lack of self-control. Again, not a fruit of the Spirit.

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  27. Greg:You missed everything.
    sean beat me to it. love ya, Greg. suggestion: please don’t encourage exaggeration.

    Greg: left to myself, I wouldn’t have seen my 17th birthday ,but it’s His merciful fatherly forgiveness of the sin I’ve committed right in His face after knowing better that drives me hardest.

    Amen Greg. no ‘i’ in ‘prophecy’, for the testimony of JESUS is the spirit of prophecy. Rev 19:10

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  28. Greg, please re-ask. I don’t equate watching The Wire with promoting the damnation of my neighbor. You logic is spotty.

    But if OL is such a dangerous place — question still stands — why are you here? What about your neighbor?

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  29. Aaaahhhhh! Feel that deep breath of fresh air? To me, having grown up in a self help family, a self-help culture, having owned my own business since age 17 fully engage in business America, that is what this article by Menand based on a book review was for me, fresh air.

    Here is an interesting,entertaining and related book I read about 2 years ago. I think the author hits the nail on the head. Funny read as well.

    http://www.amazon.com/Promise-Land-Journey-Americas-Self-Help/dp/1439100195

    Is being more productive what makes one a better human being? I think this is a question that the Christian community needs to wrestle with as well. Is being a “more productive” Christian what makes one a better Christian?
    I know Greg the Terrible, Mark Jones and John Piper got this all figured out, but I think they are full of it.
    To many ( it seems) keeping busy transforming things, (to their own standards) tracking their works quota for the week is the litmus test of what it means to be a better more mature Christian. It’s astonishing how similar corporate America in its legalistic drive to make one feel like they are never doing enough or being enough is to the hyper disciplinarian attitude of many higher life Christian’s. It is bad enough to get that in corporate America Monday- Saturday then to turn around and get it on Sunday, at the Bible study, or Christian fellowship time, small group, or via the next Christian book you read. Good grief!!
    I enjoy glorifying my heavenly father by being a productive Christian but I do not see the biblical mandate to track my TV hours or devotional time or use it as a notch in my belt as the litmus test of what it means to be a mature Christian. There are those who go to beach resort and spend all their time at the pool, clean, spotless and judging others. Then there are those who go to the beach resort spending their time on the beach by the ocean embracing the sand in their crack, living like dirty hippies.

    Here is to being productive, but still embracing my hippie poet as well as the sand in my crack.
    Resting in Christ all the while, not in my own righteousness.

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  30. THIS comment was given in response to Geoff’s assumptions and accusations. It would never have been given otherwise. If there is exaggeration somewhere in this response, I’ll need further explanation to understand where. He was wrong about about pretty much everything. Is it wrong for me to answer his allegations with facts?
    ==============================================

    Dr. Hart says: “Greg, please re-ask.”
    I honestly have no idea what this means.

    Dr. Hart says: “I don’t equate watching The Wire with promoting the damnation of my neighbor.”
    I know.

    Dr. Hart says: “You logic is spotty.”
    No. It is not.

    Dr. Hart says: “But if OL is such a dangerous place — question still stands — why are you here? What about your neighbor?”
    What ABOUT my neighbor? Can I ask you to please just state your point plainly Darryl? I have no problem answering when someone does that. How does your paying people to commit blasphemy and immorality in the name of worldly art and entertainment correspond in any way to my interaction on this site? I’m not giving you a hard time. I can’t answer a question I don’t understand?

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  31. Greg the Terrible,

    You must have a lot of free time on your hands combined with delusions of grandeur to complain of others and their perceived lack of righteousness (and stewardship of their time) as much as you do here.

    But I guess with mobile devices these days one can both make comments here and head out to his regular street missions at the 9th precinct east side warzone here in a Detroit.

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  32. Dr. Hart says: “Greg, my point is that I disagree with you about watching television. Is that clear?”
    A a bell. What is still not clear however is how “my neighbor” figures in your position in a way that is analogous to how “my neighbor” figures in my position. Which, unless you flatly deny that, I will continue to believe was your intention.

    You are of course under no obligation in your house to talk to me at all, nevermind on any certain point, but YOU did advance to proposition after all. I was genuinely interested in understanding.
    ==================================================
    Geoff, you have my word. I am not picking a fight and I’m not taking an adversarial stance here. There’s a good chance we very much agree on THIS ONE.

    I’m now asking you outright to forget about art, entertainment and culture for the time being please and talk to me about epistemology, certainty and worldview in the above linked thread. if you think from my use of those three words that you already know what I believe, I’m pretty sure you’re wrong. Being wrong about what I believe is not a crime. I don’t mean it like that.

    That is a far more fruitful (and pleasant) conversation for us to have at this time in my view. You are clearly an exceedingly capable fella and I believe much good could from that. Seriously.

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  33. GTT: “Dealing with people like here on this site is exhausting. Which this site is maybe 3-5% of my total online activity.”

    GW: If your (at times) very lengthy and involved comments on this site or only about 5% of your total online activity, then I would suggest that either you must be super-fast at cranking-out your thoughts on the keyboard, or you are probably spending way too much time online.

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  34. @Geoff.
    Over a year’ let’s say, it’s 3-5% of my online activity. Not in a 24 hour day. Lack of clarity my fault. A good bit of what I post across the web is copied and pasted from existing work on my “BLOG” which is kept for that very purpose, or from previous comments on other sites which I keep an extensive set of bookmarks for.

    I’m a terrible typist.

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  35. GTT: “Geoff, you have my word. I am not picking a fight and I’m not taking an adversarial stance here. There’s a good chance we very much agree on THIS ONE.”

    GW: Nor am I trying to pick a fight with you or offend you. I don’t doubt there is much we probably agree on in the areas of epistemology, worldview and certainty, though I don’t believe that adopting a Van Tillian position requires one to agree with your understanding of entertainment and the arts. (I can think of plenty of men much better versed on Van Til than myself who would not agree with your views on these subjects.) As I’ve stated before, I basically follow Van Til in my understanding of epistemology and apologetics. But I’m also not a Van Til junkie, so I think I’ll pass on this, thanks.

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  36. What it is it with you man? 😀 I’m trying everything I can to get you off this topic and you won’t leave.

    It doesn’t have to center on Van Til. Here’s a shocker. I myself disagree with Van Til sometimes.

    The problem you’re having is that you’re including “entertainment and the arts” as an ipso facto major defining component of “worldview”. I do not. That is a huge symptom of the idolatry that is related to them.

    Epistemology, worldview and certainty. The intersection of theology, ethics and philosophy. Must that directly include “arts and entertainment” to be fruitful and interesting?

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  37. RL, a man has to start somewhere. But were there really that many Italian-Americans in Milwaukee in the 1950s with Brooklyn accents?

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  38. Dr. Hart says: “Greg, you invoked neighbor..”
    Yes, I know. I first did it a couple years ago here in the sweetbreads thread. The point is, you attempted to demonstrate inconsistency on my part regarding that by citing my presence on this blog. A thing I did not, and still do not understand. Nevermind. You have apparently abandoned that argument anyway.

    Dr. Hart says: “I won’t talk about epistemology. It makes my head hurt.”
    I was talking to Geoff Willour actually. Your self induced aversion to philosophy is responsible for this though. It need not be so. Philosophy deals with ultimate questions on all levels. Dare we, as ambassadors of Christ proclaim the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as anything less than the ground and explanation of them all?

    A truly biblical and christian epistemology alone answers the question of “how do we know?” Not how does man know this or that particular object of knowledge, but how does he know anything at all? Because until we know HOW we know anything at all, any question of WHAT we know is ultimately meaningless. Dr. Van Til was unbelievably correct when he predicted that, though it’s always been the case, this would be the explicit battleground of the church going forward.

    The God of WCF II, replaced by an uncertain contingent imposter created in the image of post modern man. Even by professing children of the Reformation. It has been and is a monumental disaster.

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  39. Greg the Terrible,

    Now you are being dangerous. Driving to your street missions in the 9th precinct east side warzone in a Detroit and belting out comments here. Man that is just not safe! Greg, Greg, you are worried about many things, slow down bud. You are not only an amazing steward of your time but a top notch multi- Tasker to boot. I wonder if multi- tasking will also become a litmus test for being a mature Christian? Why don’t you give us a list of all the other things you are good at and the other things you do or don’t do so that we can also add that to the standards of what makes a person a “level 11” Christian like you?

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  40. Philosophy deals with ultimate questions on all levels. Dare we, as ambassadors of Christ proclaim the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as anything less than the ground and explanation of them all?

    Greg, you over-realize the powers of philosophy. Paul took a more modest (even severe) view and in following him, to answer your question, yes, we do so dare:

    For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

    Do you dare to dump your philosophizing and hold out the cross? Or is all your severity just a lot of bleeting and blustering?

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  41. Zrim you woefully under realize the power and scope of the cross. Every single syllable that falls from this keyboard is a self conscious proclamation of the axiomatic necessity and centrality of the cross. The eternal covenant of the Father with the Son through the power of the Holy Spirit to His own glory as Creator and King of the universe.

    True philosophy is simply the good and necessary intellectual consequence of true theology. True ethics can only be built upon that foundation of truth starting with true theology. This is called “worldview”. It covers absolutely every nook and cranny of the reality that the Lord our God has put us in whether you,. or anybody else likes it or not.

    I think it would be a blast to talk to Geoff about that. He apparently does not agree.

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  42. Greg, too bad all that worldview doesn’t protect against fragment sentences. Grammar’s a part of all of life, isn’t it? But if you can draw such easy peasy straight lines from theology to philosophy to worldview, why is your grammar always so…pagan? And why do you care so much about worldview when the Bible’s category is faith? Doesn’t your superior theology teach you that there is an essential difference between the two? Do you ever listen to Paul? Philosophy is a worldly way, so why are you so smitten with it?

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  43. Greg: True philosophy is simply the good and necessary intellectual consequence of true theology. True ethics can only be built upon that foundation of truth starting with true theology. This is called “worldview”. It covers absolutely every nook and cranny of the reality that the Lord our God has put us in whether you,. or anybody else likes it or not.

    So …

    In the 00’s, I argued over here for a kind of “worldview” perspective, and I got the raspberries that you’re getting.

    I did make some clarifications at that time in response to the following line of questioning:

    (1) Where is worldview in the confession?

    Clarification #1: Worldview is a synonym for doctrine.

    (2) Why then does the confession not spell out details concerning arithmetic or grammar or (our favorite topic) plumbing?

    Clarification #2: Scripture does not dictate all of the details, but instead provides a framework within which we have the freedom to order those details — so long as we do not transgress.

    In my mind, at that time, the fuss over “worldview” was a tempest in a teapot.

    Two events occurred to change my mind and drive me out of solid support for “Christian worldview.”

    The first was attending, with my students, a weeklong seminar on Christian worldview. I will not mention the group’s name for charity’s sake, but the upshot was that Christian worldview boiled down to concrete rules about consumption of culture: Don’t listen to ‘X’ music, where X is anything whose lyrics are contrary to Christian worldview.

    Well. Obviously, we could debate which music falls in that category, but I’ve been around the block enough to know that a large swath of contemporary Christian music falls in the category of “contrary to sound doctrine” — including some of the praise songs played by this group.

    My takeaway was this. While the origins of “Christian worldview” might well be van Til or Blamires, the rubber-meets-the-road application of Christian worldview was to create “Do not taste/do not touch” (Col 2) rules not actually grounded in Scripture.

    That is, quite contrary to my understanding of worldview-as-doctrine, Christians in the wild were using “worldview” as a tool for generating moralisms.

    Once I saw that in this particular group, I started to see it everywhere.

    The second event was more nuanced, yet more definitive. It was my “final straw.” We had a speaker for our inservice week come talk to us about his book on Christian Education (again, name withheld). In his lectures, he argued that Christian worldview requires us to teach towards multiple learning styles and multiple intelligences — essentially, Howard Gardner’s educational theory.

    To the speaker’s credit, he gave many disclaimers that were intended to free our consciences from being bound to particulars. But at the end of the day, he firmly held that Christian Education entails teaching to multiple learning styles.

    Here’s the problem: The latest research does not support the notion of “multiple intelligences.” And the latest educational research suggests that in fact, students do best when teachers find an optimal presentation mode, rather than presenting the same material in three or four different ways.

    What I took away from that event was the conviction that even when Christian worldview is kindly intended (and it very much was here, in contrast with the first group), it still has a tendency to conflate doctrine, “thus saith the Lord”, with pragmatic ways and means, “this seems wise.”

    That’s where I’m at right now. I still think it is legitimate to speak of doctrine-as-worldview, in that my doctrine definitely shapes and frames my thoughts on everything. BUT, I am much more wary than I used to be of human teachings flying under the radar on the wings of “Christian worldview.”

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  44. For now, please listen to Calvin listening to Paul on “philosophy” in Collisions 2:8:
    ————————————————————
    “As many have mistakenly imagined that philosophy is here condemned by Paul, we must point out what he means by this term. Now, in my opinion, he means everything that men contrive of themselves when wishing to be wise through means of their own understanding, and that not without a specious pretext of reason, so as to have a plausible appearance. For there is no difficulty in rejecting those contrivances of men which have nothing to set them off, but in rejecting those that captivate men’s minds by a false conceit of wisdom. Or should any one prefer to have it expressed in one word, philosophy is nothing else than a persuasive speech, which insinuates itself into the minds of men by elegant and plausible arguments. Of such a nature, I acknowledge, will all the subtleties of philosophers be, if they are inclined to add anything of their own to the pure word of God. Hence philosophy will be nothing else than a corruption of spiritual doctrine, if it is mixed up with Christ. Let us, however, bear in mind, that under the term philosophy Paul has merely condemned all spurious doctrines which come forth from man’s head, whatever appearance of reason they may have. What immediately follows, as to vain deceit, I explain thus; “Beware of philosophy, which is nothing else than vain deceit,” so that this is added by way of apposition.

    According to the tradition of men. He points out more precisely what kind of philosophy he reproves, and at the same time convicts it of vanity on a twofold account — because it is not according to Christ, but according to the inclinations of men; and because it consists in the elements of the world. Observe, however, that he places Christ in opposition to the elements of the world, equally as to the tradition of men, by which he intimates, that whatever is hatched in man’s brain is not in accordance with Christ, who has been appointed us by the Father as our sole Teacher, that he might retain us in the simplicity of his gospel. Now, that is corrupted by even a small portion of the leaven of human traditions. He intimates also, that all doctrines are foreign to Christ that make the worship of God, which we know to be spiritual, according to Christ’s rule, to consist in the elements of the world, and also such as fetter the minds of men by such trifles and frivolities, while Christ calls us directly to himself.
    ——————————————————————-
    Of course he’s absolutely right and he saved me some typing.
    Oh yeah. Grammar has no intrinsic moral content and is therefore neutral, which precludes it out of hand from being pagan or Christian. There’s no such thing as grammar that is sinful in itself.

    This is what smart people do when desperately trying to defend the indefensible. I actually do believe you’re better than this Steve. I really do.
    Some thoughts on the rest later. Tied up right now. Maybe you’d like to talk about the relation of faith to worldview then? That’s a great topic too. Even though I’ve already talked about it like a dozen times here.

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  45. Greg, what point are you making through Calvin? Are you thinking that the point through Paul is that philosophy is categorically condemned? If so, that isn’t the point. Worldly wisdom has its legitimate place and Christians need not fear it, i.e. philosophy falls on the same provisional spectrum as cinema and as such both are facets of God’s very good creation, so have at them and gain whatever benefits they may yield. You’re the one who mysteriously vilifies one and exalts the other. Where’s your middle switch?

    The point is that if worldly wisdom and the cross are as opposed as provisional life is to eternal life then why the apparent attempt to syncretize them? Why the attempt to make a worldly way serve an eternal purpose? Don’t look now, but the exaltation of philosophy to be some hand maiden to the faith is what the “God is Dead” types do with cinema or the CCM types do with popular music.

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  46. Zrim asks: “Greg, what point are you making through Calvin? Are you thinking that the point through Paul is that philosophy is categorically condemned?”
    No, that’s the point it sounded like you were making. Only pagan philosophy is condemned. The bible is full of godly philosophy. Indeed, in a very real sense it may be said, that rightly pursued, philosophy is a branch of theology. It simply leans and speaks into the realm of natural revelation from special (so to speak).

    Zrim says: “If so, that isn’t the point. Worldly wisdom has its legitimate place and Christians need not fear it,”
    Worldly wisdom is what is specifically denounced by the apostle in the passage from 1st Corinthians 1 that you yourself quoted above. Especially if you finish the chapter. What is popular in the world is EXACTLY what God does NOT use. No Christian need fear anything. He is called to love what God loves and hate what God hates. That has noting to do with fear.

    Zrim says: “philosophy falls on the same provisional spectrum as cinema and as such both are facets of God’s very good creation, “
    Godly philosophy is on the same spectrum as godly theology. Worldly cinema (boy you guys just cannot stay away from this for 2 comments and you say I’M obsessed?), is drama utilizing real human beings. This bears no direct analogy whatsoever to literary, non-fiction theology or philosophy. Cinematic technology is neutral in itself, and can therefore be used for righteousness sake in the hands of righteous producers. Attempting to draw from this a justification for the support of blasphemous bloodthirsty pornography is a tragic lapse in theological, philosophical AND ethical discernment.

    Zrim asks: “The point is that if worldly wisdom and the cross are as opposed as provisional life is to eternal life then why the apparent attempt to syncretize them?
    The philosophy I am talking about has nothing to do with worldly wisdom and therefore the charge of syncretizing the cross with same is moot.

    The rest of your comment is answered in what I’ve already said and is just as absolutely invalid.

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  47. Jeff, THIS at very best is a refutation of a bad application, or even definition of “worldview.” It is not a demonstration of it’s non-existence.
    ————————————————————————-
    Once again this fatal confusion of categories rears it’s ugly head. The New Testament has all kinds of commands that amount to “do not taste/do not touch.” We are commanded to come out and be separate from the pagans in both testaments.

    What Paul is talking about in the 2nd of Colossians are things indifferent in themselves (food) or maybe monastic type self abuse of the body. Things that go in the mouth or upon the flesh. Not in the eyes and in the ears where unlike food, they are never ever eliminated.

    This confusion of essential categories has beguiled 95% of today’s American Christendom.

    This was not the case with the writers of your own standards who did not see all those lists and rules in WLC 91 through the commandments, as in any way being in conflict with WCF XX. You folks just cannot handle that because it destroys your Americanized 21st century unbiblical and standard violating version of “liberty.”

    It is very very telling that no amount or type of effort I can bring will divert you guys off this culture crap. One way or another you find a way to steer every single thing I say back there. Jeff, your concession to skeptical agnostic uncertainty is something I really pray you give up. That’s what I was hoping to get to with the other Geoff. His view of “certainty.”

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  48. Jeff, good comment.

    Would you be willing to say that w-w is a way to take something ordinary and make it special? If we can make something seemingly insignificant a task with great moment, then it gets our attention.

    I’m not saying w-w proponents are insincere. But I do wonder if the larger point is the need for a higher Christian life.

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  49. Speaking for myself and others like me Darryl? Nothing could be further from the truth. I mean, you ain’t even close by accident. Most of the w-w folks I’ve seen are supreme lovers of the world. They don’t impress me either. My take on “worldview” is purely in the interest of rightly exalting the God of all creation. I’m sure I do it imperfectly, but that’s the motivation. There is no “higher life.” I’ll say it yet again. What I preach would have been utterly unremarkable in a prior healthy era in the midst of a healthy reformed church.

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  50. Greg, it’s not obsession because cinema is actually the topic of this post. You’re the one who wants to turn it into something about epistemology. I’m only trying to stay somewhat on topic and indulge your own obsession.

    The Greeks had the stage play to convey philosophical ideas. Paul could’ve been relevant and employed that format but didn’t. Is that because he thought the stage play was inherently sinful or because he knew the gospel is a proclamation and not a presentation? The latter. It’s the same for philosophy. If you’re right about the Bible being so full of philosophy and “rightly pursued…a branch of theology,” then where is something like the Apostolic Academy for Rightly Pursued Philosophy (and other worldview type stuff)? No where.

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  51. If I had my way Zrim I’d be in the other thread talking to Geoff about epistemology, worldview and certainty.

    I have never said a stage play is inherently sinful and said just above (again) that cinematic tech is neutral in itself. Nobody is more opposed to the evangelical church’s contemporary quest for relevance than I am. It is a full frontal assault on 1 Corinthians 1 and 2. An attempt to diminish the offense of the cross and in so doing makes the cross of none effect.

    It is not possible to do theology without philosophy and vice versa. Therefore a dedicated academy would never have crossed the early apostolic church’s mind. Theology rightly pursued IS philosophy rightly pursued. The only alternative is wrongly pursued autonomous philosophy for it’s own worldly sake like Paul was denouncing in Col. 2.

    Let’s not forget that Cornelius Van Til was Machen’s boy and he weren’t no token Dutchmen or Princeton alumnus either. I learned philosophy largely from him. His apologetic method was nothing more than his doctrine of God expressed philosophically. As usual, I have lots of kindred company in YOUR history. You guys do not, which is one of my greatest points in being on this blog.

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  52. Dr Hart says: “Ah, but Greg, I exalt the God of redemption (modestly, of course).”
    Do you? How?

    He is King and Creator before He is redeemer. Indeed, He redeems (and damns), loaves and hates in service of His own glorious name and throne. Just as it should be.

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  53. Yes, Greg, I’m aware that nobody is more this or that than you (Trump alert). But Peter and company were just fisherman. They didn’t have any philosophy credentials and yet they did inspired theology. So what do you mean it’s “not possible to do theology without philosophy and vice versa”?

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  54. Zrim asks: “Yes, Greg, I’m aware that nobody is more this or that than you (Trump alert). But Peter and company were just fisherman. They didn’t have any philosophy credentials and yet they did inspired theology. So what do you mean it’s “not possible to do theology without philosophy and vice versa”?”
    I don’t have any credentials either. I mean that philosophy, which seeks to learn how to think and what about, is unavoidable by definition in the very nature of the human condition as designed by God Himself.

    Trying to do theology without philosophy and vice versa is roughly like trying to do math without logic. They are components of and define one another. Every divine image bearing sentient human being is a morally accountable philosopher AND theologian by definition. They have no choice. Faithful believers do both to the glory of God on purpose. Pagans do both for any reason at all other than that, but the Lord makes even the scorn of sinners to praise Him. He always wins.

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  55. Greg, I see, every member ministry. But this sounds like the same ideology that says everyone should go to college, when not everyone is really fit for college. In the same way, not all people are really philosophers and theologians. Good rhetoric maybe but not really true. But that’s what worldviewry does, collapses all of life into one neat little package.

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  56. Zrim 🙂

    All people are moral agents created in the image and likeness of God. That makes them theological beings, entities accountable for their thoughts words and deeds to their creator. This means they are by design incapable functioning in a non-theological manner or environment. They DO theology simply by existing. While the majority are not self conscious theologians (or philosophers) by profession, they ARE theologians nonetheless.

    Likewise philosophy, which is nothing more than one’s theology expressed intellectually, is also inescapable. Mathematics and language for instance are ALLLLLLLL about philosophy. With all the schooling Dr. Hart has had, I KNOW he has been up to his eyeballs in this reality. Has there been a single individual from father Adam to this day who has not operated constantly in the realm of mathematics and language and yes, ethics for that matter? All philosophically charged areas of life. ALL areas of life are philosophically charged.. It’s only matter of what informs one’s philosophy epistemologically.

    For Christians it is the ontological trinity and His infallible inerrant, self authenticating inscripurated word. For pagans, it’s themselves. For most Christians today, tragically, it’s STILL themselves. Hence this nearly blasphemous post modern uncertainty.

    EVERYone is a philosopher and theologian. Even infants Steve. They cannot cease to be no matter how hard they may try and there you are trying.

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  57. Greg, existing in a world that demands one do some math and language doesn’t make one a mathematician or a linguist. Similarly, being a morally accountable creature doesn’t make one a theologian or a philosopher. I know it’s a popular way of speaking, but it’s not very responsible or thoughtful. You’ve been sold a five-and-dime apologetic.

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  58. Greg: Jeff, THIS at very best is a refutation of a bad application, or even definition of “worldview.” It is not a demonstration of it’s non-existence.

    Hi Greg, they were anecdotes rather than arguments. The purpose was to invite you into some reflection and discussion rather than to argue for the point.

    Let me make the invitation clearer:

    (1) Consider jurisdiction. If “worldview” is a subset of philosophy but also Christian doctrine, then who has jurisdiction over the content of worldview? Is it the church or is it the university? Isn’t that a problem when you consider who has the proper, God-given jurisdiction over doctrine?

    (1a) This becomes particularly acute when it comes to the civil law. Who has jurisdiction over the government: The civil magistrate, or the church?

    (2) Consider content. If Christian worldview is true and binding consequence of Scripture, then should it not be confessional content? If on the other hand Christian worldview is not true and binding consequence, then is it not mere opinion, on par with other teachings and commands of men? In what sense “Christian”, then? Is “Christian” just a flavor like “Marxist” or “trans-left-handed-feminist”? In which case, Christian worldview is just a voice at the table and not a transcendent foundation for all other knowledge.

    (3) Consider specificity. How specific is Christian worldview? Does it dictate choice of plumbing materials? (Presumably not) So then, what decision rules help us understand which details are specified or required by Scripture and which are not?

    (3a) Are those decision rules binding doctrine? See (2).

    My two anecdotes illustrate these three questions in this way. In the first case, the parachurch organization that was laying down decision rules for culture consumption (1) had no jurisdiction to do so, (2) was presenting non-binding consequence as if binding, and (3) was overly specific.

    In the second case, our speaker (1) had jurisdiction as a university professor, but not as a minister of the gospel, (2) was baptizing a non-Christian’s psychology of education as if Christian, and (3) was overly specific.

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  59. Dr. Hart asks: “Greg, are you serious? You take OL to be ALL of me. Like I don’t do anything else, and like none of it exalts my savior?”
    It was a question Darryl. No, I know that oldlife is not all you do.Have I not recently been saying that I believe there may be more to you than initially met my eye?

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  60. Those are great questions Jeff. How bout this? Let’s take it outta this thread over to HERE.

    You drive. One question at a time please and lead it wherever you want to. I’ll answer as best I can. Definitions might be a good place to start though I’ll leave it up to you.

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  61. aw, sheesh, Jeff, can’t you just say that there IS a Christian worldview : that God made the world and all things in it; He is Lord of heaven and earth and not served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation Acts 17:24-26

    and sheesh, Zrim, can’t you just admit every one of God’s human creatures is a theologian and philosopher, having been made in His image, with ideas and opinions about God, belief, knowledge, truth, life

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  62. Zrim says: ” You’ve been sold a five-and-dime apologetic.”
    “five and dime apologetic” he says LOL!! 😀 The same on that J. Gresham Machen’s hand picked professor taught for 43 years at Westminster east? .You mean that five and dime apologetic Zrim?

    Look, it’s like this. You’re wrong. Everybody is sometimes. This is a really big one to be wrong about though. It’ll be a lot easier if you just own that now than if you keep up with these embarrassing comments. I will never gloat or tease anybody for being wrong. Very rarely has anybody done it to me actually either. Even enemies.

    Most people respect a man (girls too), even if begrudgingly, who can stand himself corrected. It’s a thing to be grateful for, because now you have more truth and less error than before. If of course that’s what’s important to you.

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  63. Ali: aw, sheesh, Jeff, can’t you just say that there IS a Christian worldview : that God made the world and all things in it; He is Lord of heaven and earth and not served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation Acts 17:24-26

    Snarky response: Sure, if you’ll admit that baptizing your children and raising them as covenant members is part of a Christian worldview.

    Serious response: I have no problem affirming any of those things or even calling them my worldview. At the same time, I wonder why we need two words (worldview, doctrine) to refer to the same body of beliefs. Or if those bodies of beliefs are different, then I wonder who has jurisdiction over worldview.

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  64. Ali, sorry to get repetitive but I can’t “just admit” people are theologians and philosophers simply by virtue of being human any more than my dealing with computer glitches at work all day long makes me an IT guy or keeping record of bills make me an accountant. It’s this sort of sloppy and lazy reasoning among your kind that gives the rest of us a black eye.

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  65. Jeff, we need the two words because they indicate who are the culturalists (worldview) and who are the doctrinalists (faith) around us. The words are not synonymous.

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  66. Jeff asks: “I wonder why we need two words (worldview, doctrine)”
    Maybe I should coin my own term and I’ve already said that I’m not addicted to “worldview” as the best way to describe at least what I myself am propounding. I’ve used it because it’s there and it’s convenient. It does carry a lot of baggage from Schaeffer though and it appears that that baggage is automatically ascribed to anybody who uses the term. That’s understandable I suppose.

    Whatever label it may be given, in my view, “doctrine”, that is to say, theology, is but one of the three legs of our reality, by God’s own design, that we are required to inescapably stand upon, with philosophy and ethics being the other two. That’s my short answer if I may interject for a moment.
    =========================================
    Zrim says: “Jeff, we need the two words because they indicate who are the culturalists (worldview) and who are the doctrinalists (faith) around us. The words are not synonymous.”
    As indicated above,(and for the last 2 years) at least for myself, “culturalist”, is the last thing I could ever be legitimately accused of if I ever I am actually heard around here.

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  67. Jeff: Snarky response: Sure, if you’ll admit that baptizing your children and raising them as covenant members is part of a Christian worldview.

    oh, Jeff. nice try.

    Jeff: who has jurisdiction over worldview.

    that’s a worldview question – it is the righteous judge of all (Acts 17:31) –Him who is true (1 John 5:20) Who has jurisdiction

    Zrim: among your kind
    sheesh Zrim, or shold I say heavens to Murgatroyd.what kind is that?
    You mean a” the-world-is the-Lord’s-and everything-in-it” kind versus the “my first-and-secondary-doctrines-have-to-be-worldview-so-that-the big-picture-truth-can-get-obscured” kind.

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  68. And here goes Zrim again with an eye popping confusion of CATEGORIES.
    . The confusion (and conflation) of categories is another of the devil’s incredibly effective modern deceptions. All across the spectrum of life. Here’s another example.

    Think with me please Steve. Theology and philosophy (and ethics) deal with eternal, foundational and at times axiomatic issues of existence and life under the living God. In other words, the epistemological level of life. Follow me now please Information technology and record keeping are temporal, individual aspects and activities of life that are once again, in no way analogous to theology, philosophy and ethics, as you are trying to make them.

    In short, most people are not IT folks or record keepers. Now watch this please. EVERYbody is created in the image of God, must think to live and are ethically bound to think and live according to His law. Did ya see that? One category applies to only some people at the formal level and the other applies to ALL people at the epistemological level.

    If this is still in any way unclear, please say so and I will heroically continue to attempt to explain it to you.

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  69. and brothers, and just read this helpful, related bit re: worldview theologian philosopher

    “There is a kind of practical attempt to make sense of the world, but it is the attempt of the worldly person.”…

    “The ultimate failure of such wisdom, which does not begin with the fear of the Lord, is acknowledged in the closing verses of the chapter (Eccl. 7:23-29). The Teacher is determined to be wise, but his brand of wisdom “from below” leaves him unable to glimpse much of the real meaning of life; true wisdom is still beyond him (Eccl. 7:23-25), and his own wisdom is clothed with a cynicism regarding human relationships that says more about him than about the people he describes (Eccl. 7:27-28). Only when he returns to the pattern of Creation and Fall (Eccl. 7:29) does he begin to approach a more stable answer.”

    https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/loveofgod/ todays’ reading:Leviticus 24; Psalm 31; Ecclesiastes 7; 2 Timothy 3

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  70. Zrim: “It’s this sort of sloppy and lazy reasoning among your kind that gives the rest of us a black eye.”

    GW: Brother Zrim, you and I are on the same page in many (though not all) regards, and I appreciate many of your comments. At the same time, this kind of demeaning tone toward a fellow believer (“your kind”) is uncalled for. I know this is “just a blog” and that participants like to get into it, but I think we all have a duty to treat our brethren in a brotherly manner, even when we sharply disagree with them on certain matters. (I admit I have often fallen short in this, so I’m preaching this to myself as well.)

    “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” (Colossians 4:6, ESV)

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  71. The principle problem with “worldview thinking” is that it is simultaneously too ambitious and consequently vacuous. The overwhelming majority of activities we engage in on a day to day basis are informed by convention and habit. It simply has to be this way, otherwise we would never be able to get anything done. Here is a nice line from McArdle about why academics have to bracket metaquestions about their discipline to make progress,

    Levy points out that there’s also a limit on when and where we contest ideas between different sub-communities within the university. Physicists can make fun of social scientists for not doing “real science,” and the economists and the sociologists can call each other names, and philosophers can point out that everyone’s assumptions about reality are really pretty shaky, but at the end of the day, each of these faculties retreats to their offices to do their work. It’s not that these challenges aren’t valuable; they are, in fact, one of the great benefits of a multi-disciplinary university. But if they all had to continually justify their methods and assumptions to each other, no one would ever get any other work done. So universities create “safe spaces” (aka academic departments) where people can sit down and deploy their discipline’s methods without having to start each time with a defense of their work from first principles.

    The world viewers suggest that we all make all decisions by starting with first principles and deriving the best course of action. This is of course madness, and I think most advocates would say that’s not what they have in mind at all. So the question is then, what do they in fact mean by “worldview”. If we mean general outlook, or the ideological lens through which one interprets reality, then I’m not sure it really makes sense to talk about “worldview” in the singular. I suspect most of us do lack the intellectual wherewithal to construct a single metanarrative that provides meaningful guidance to aspects of our experience.

    If we take politics as just one example, the lenses through which we view debates in our neighborhood association about the kinds of landscaping to pay for in public space, debates on the city council about changing zoning ordinances, debates by our state legislature on how we should raise tax revenue, and debates by our federal legislature about what to do about the corporate tax rate are unlikely to be identical. Then we take off our political hats and try to figure out what to do about the puppy that won’t start chewing up everything it can fit in its mouth and wonder what to do about all that kudzu taking up half of the backyard. Then we take off our suburban homeowner hat and get to work and decide whether to finish the project for your boss or get on that project for your boss’s boss – you can’t do both. After work, you go to the coaches meeting for your kid’s t-ball league and have to decide how to select players (do you balance the competition among teams or do you make sure friends are on the same team?). Then it’s home for dinner, family devotions, homework, bath’s and bed. And repeat…over and over. We wear a lot of different hats and have to make a lot of small (but important) decisions (Roth or traditional IRA, 529 or Coverdale, etc…) that doctrine has no bearing on other than in the most fundamental way. But by being fundamental, that entails that we don’t appeal to it as it we don’t start from first principles every time we make a decision – indeed, almost nothing we do is truly informed by first principles…and it doesn’t need to be. If we tried, we would likely make a hash of it anyway – our wisdom is not greater than the collective wisdom of our forebears. It seems to me that this is the genius of conservative thinking (in the vein of Kirk or Burke) – namely that we shouldn’t throw out tradition and custom (the tried and true) in honor of ideology. But this is exactly what worldview thinking does.

    To be sure, Scripture has essential, clear teachings that we have to follow. But these teachings are not comprehensive, nor were they intended to be.

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  72. Zrim, stop being a pawn of the deveel and work harder to curb your bigoted(your kind) proclivities-This message is a service of “I read it in a book somewhere” and The Diane Rehm Show-If you were a Jesuit at Georgetown you might be a racist.

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  73. @GTT
    “Theology and philosophy (and ethics) deal with eternal, foundational and at times axiomatic issues of existence and life under the living God. In other words, the epistemological level of life. ”

    This is muddled. Philosophy can deal with eternal, foundation, issues of existence. It can also deal with questions about how to interpret the double slit experiment or whether scientific theories can be falsifiable. Dealing with foundational questions about existence need not bear on epistemology. Indeed, one’s epistemology could in fact entail a rejection of foundationalism (consider Plantinga). Indeed, I would argue that it should. Much of what theology is concerned with is decidedly not foundational – some of the most important aspects of theology are practical and applied.

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  74. Clearly what I am not communicating with anybody here. (sdb demonstrates that again) For the time being at least, I’ll consider it my fault.
    ===========================================
    Ya see THIS Geoff?

    I have lurked around this blog during the months at a time I don’t comment and I’m here to tell ya that Sean is an exceedingly capable fella. I mean really. This is a very sharp guy. Observe the infantile level of dialog he is reduced to when dealing with me. I have no illusions that this is due to my invincible brilliance. It IS due to his utter inability to overthrow the substance of what I say however. It could be anybody saying it. While I take no joy in this per se, it is very encouraging to see such a formidable man rendered silent when confronted with what I bring.

    Believe me. If he had any answers, I’d be hearing them.

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  75. Greg, don’t be so humble(false humility is the same as lying and deceit, be a Nathanael), it’s your invincible brilliance that renders me a Simple Jack. However, I can’t take credit for your sense of well being(being encouraged) it’s merely my gifting. So, give credit where credit is due(the holy spigot). And look, I’m a bit confused, I take your side in your pushback on Zrim and I get impugned for it?! What’s up bromeister? Bad leg day? Little too much ephedrine? You gotta ‘member to keep the stimulants balanced out, maybe a little more tyrosine in the stack will help. Of course deadlifting with a trap bar and straps really shouldn’t take that much build up. Maybe reduce the rest periods and bring some aerobic into the routine and go with a Texas Bar. I think the results will prove it out the wisdom of that approach. I don’t quite remember but I think that’s how Van Til got after it. Little more antithesis with your workout plan, broheim, and I believe you’ll find the lawd will reward your diligence.

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  76. or … seeing as Sean has mentioned several times in a lighthearted, disregarding aortof way the ‘deveel’, we could let this remind us of another major important worldview element – that by Jesus all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him (Col 1:16); that we have a formidable ‘invisible’ foe in the world – in fact – the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. (1 John 5:19); and that while here, our true struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Eph 6:12); yet- Jesus has disarmed these rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him. (Col 2:15)

    just reiterating Christian worldview is vital

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  77. Greg, being a creature accountable to God (watch this!) makes one a creature accountable to God, not a theologian or philosopher. And (watch this!), while every theologian and philosopher is a creature accountable to God, not every creature accountable to God is a theologian or philosopher. But I’m guessing you’re also from the every-citizen-is-a-magistrate school also. Again, popular rhetoric but inaccurate description.

    I get it, you’ve read a lot of books and picked up some big words along the way and you want others to know it. But it doesn’t really appear that you’ve thought enough about the implications of much of what you assert. And when pressed, you simply declare you’re right and others are wrong, that you embody all that was good in church history and are among the last remaining few that understand anything at all, etc. At the risk of more chiding, you are a type. You don’t really engage with what someone else is saying or asking but simply waiting for the opportunity to jump to the front and display your brilliance as you understand it.

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  78. Sean SAYS abuncha stuff.
    I don’t use straps and haven’t used ephedrine for like 7 or 8 years.

    I didn’t see you take my side in my pushback on Zrim. Where please?

    The point I was making is abundantly attested to in your multitudinous comments demonstrating it.

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  79. Zrim says: “But I’m guessing you’re also from the every-citizen-is-a-magistrate school also.”
    Did I follow a rabbit down a hole to get here? The office of magistrate is a temporal function of man that occupies no place at the epistemological level. Though, like every other area of life, the magistrate acts from which of the two existing epistemologies he is spawned from and lives by. Either as covenant breaker in the first man Adam, or as covenant keeper in the last. If the former he proceeds from himself, if the latter, he proceeds from God.

    ALL that he thinks, says, does and IS, rises from whichever Adam he is now living in. Each Adam has his own “worldview”, and there only those two. God’s, and all the rest, that ultimately reduce to the same thing. Man and not God as first principle.

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  80. Greg, I told Zrim to stop being a pawn of the deveel and stop being a bigot. What the heck! I’m just spotting for all your max sets!. I’m the brohype to your brosolosophizing. Btw, Bronkaid still counts as ephedrine. But, like I said, I’m with you, broman. How’d the sleep go? You double up on your ZMA? Make sure you’re knocking out all distractions and remember it’s a heavy feed day when your going to the wall on your legs. You got this, broleman.

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  81. sdb says: “Or maybe you are communicating, and you are wrong.”
    That would possibly be the case if people’s responses were addressing what I actually mean by what I say. I’m pretty sure the extant contemporary vernacular is not helping and that’s nobody’s fault.

    In any case, I do very much appreciate your thoughtful responses sdb and the time it takes to compose them. You too Jeff.

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  82. SEAN, the only supplement I use (and can afford anyway) is creatine. Unless you count the dollar energy drinks (low carb version with my diabetes) at Aldi, I use no stimulants either. See, this is what I’m talkin about. Instead of addressing the substance of what I say, you are still fishing around for some ad-hominem angle by which to discredit ME instead. You, I know, are better than this.

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  83. Greg, are you making sure it’s Creapure? Only the German micronized Creapure is worth the money. Make sure it’s dissolved, don’t mix it with your cold protein stack, it just ends up in the toilet that way. Try it dissolved in tea or even coffee. Also, go with at least 1500mg of Tyrosine. The creatine and tyrosine won’t compete with each other for absoption. Also, after the warmup, make sure all your compound movements are at the beginning of the workout, your CNS is most ‘awake’ and firing at that point. Don’t load the back after you’ve fatigued it, it’s not near as efficient and you can’t push the load you should be. I’m just trying to help and you keep casting aspersions upon my efforts. What’s up with that? I’m bringing even the specialized, miniscule details of life and working out under my God-given acumen(what could more all of lifery?) and then sharing it with you(free) and you’re questioning my circumspectness and sincerity. I’m not just talking about it in theory, here I am being the Par Exemplar right where you live(leg day) and you’re looking askance at it. Come on bro.

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  84. Greg, the remark about the magistrate wasn’t to rabbit trail but simply to speculate that you likely follow another form of pop reasoning that has superficial appeal but doesn’t make much sense after about two minutes of thought. Maybe you don’t.

    But now you’re saying that a fairly vital area of life has no epistemological import? So infants are philosophers but epistemology has no bearing on how civil government is executed? The small mind boggles over here. And do I detect the old theonomy or autonomy chestnut? I thought you were the torch carrier for all old Protestantism which all sorts of room for natural law and natural revelation? Oh, Greg, do hang on and suffer this poor wretched and confused soul to become only half enlightened as thee.

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  85. Sean, I tied to be indulgent, but THIS isn’t going to work on me.
    ===================================================
    Zrim says: “But now you’re saying that a fairly vital area of life has no epistemological import? “
    By “epistemological level” Zrim, I mean the narrowest of eternal, unproveable first principles that account for, govern and prove all others. The magistrate is not one of those principles.

    How one views every area of life however, IS dictated by their epistemology. Even if they have no explicit idea of what that is. For the Christian, 1+1=2 because mathematics and logic reflect the ordered mind of the God of the bible who designed everything except Himself. It makes no difference which particular version of unbelief this or that particular pagan might call upon to account for it, it will not be the God of the bible who is responsible for 1+1 equaling 2. He has therefore exalted his own reason and judgment over God’s and is an idolator.

    A pagan magistrate will adjudicate or legislate for his own glory, power and advancement. Even when his judgements or laws are formally just and right according God’s law, he will not have it be so because he cares that that’s the case. Even his formally righteous judgements, which benefit many, are performed in the service of his own self interests.

    A Christian magistrate will adjudicate or legislate, maybe even the exact same case or bill, in the exact same way as the pagan magistrate, except for him, faithfulness to his Lord and honoring His name is the ultimate motivation.

    Which first principles each proceeds from, will dictate their motivation. Thus the pagan magistrate adjudicates in sin, while the Godly one does so in righteousness, even when the formal outcome is exactly the same.

    “Epistemological import” of the magistrate is not the way I would phrase this. It is epistemology that has import for the magistrate and not the other way around.

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  86. Greg, worldviewers talk about worldview the way Callers talk about paradigms. So neat and tidy. But what happens when the pagan rules per God’s law and the believer doesn’t? Happens all the time. What happens when two believers hold office and rule in two different ways–which one is adjudicating “in faithfulness to his Lord and honoring His name is the ultimate motivation”? Can tow believers come to different doctrinal conclusions and still be adjudicating “in faithfulness to his Lord and honoring His name is the ultimate motivation”? If not, then how can they be doing so in the political setting? How is any of this not trying to discern motivations? And who really cares what motivates the pagan cashier when she gives me correct change? You seem to want to say that she’s doing it to exalt her own reason and judgment over God’s. That may make you feel epistemologically superior, but all I want is my correct change back, and when she does it she should be commended, not judged for doing it with wrong motives. It’s this kind of thing that earns Christians a lot of well deserved scorn for superiority complexes. But it’s ok, right, because it’s chest thumping for Jesus.

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  87. Zrim asks: ” Can two believers come to different doctrinal conclusions and still be adjudicating “in faithfulness to his Lord and honoring His name is the ultimate motivation?”
    Maybe sometimes, but most times not.

    Zrim says: “How is any of this not trying to discern motivations?”
    Zrim you have consistently assigned motivation to my words since I’ve been around here. That would be ok, if you based it on something further than your own wishful thinking. The fact that God perfectly and exhaustively discerns motives does not mean that man can’t do so at all. Courts of law do it all the time for instance. Hence degrees of murder.
    There will be more on this below.

    Zrim asks: “And who really cares what motivates the pagan cashier when she gives me correct change?”
    Not me.

    Zrims says: “You seem to want to say that she’s doing it to exalt her own reason and judgment over God’s.”
    Well, in her case she would have the job in the first place, not to support a life of service and testimony to the Lord her God, but for her own self interests. And whatever is not done out of faith in (Rom. 14:23) and to the glory of the Lord (1st Cor. 10:31, is sin.

    I will care very much that this makes her a hell-bound sinner, but in the context of our business transaction, all that matters is that the change is correct. However, yes, she should be recognized for doing her job correctly at the formal level and yes, she should be judged for doing it sinfully at the epistemological level.

    Same with the magistrate.

    Zrim says”Christian … superiority complexes..”
    Oh no! Any Christian with such an attitude, has understood neither their own sin, nor what was required to pay for it. “Haughty eyes” are at the top of God’s list of things He hates (Prov. 6) and it was the publican who went home justified, not the self righteous pharisee. (Luke 18). I would burn myself at the stake before ever looking down my nose at anyone else after all that Jesus has forgiven me.

    I want everybody to have from Him what He has given me. It’s out of adoring gratitude that I seek to live a pure and holy life before Him. Not because it makes me better than anybody else. What kinda Calvinist do you think I am? The difference between myself and any sinner is Christ and He’s the one who came after me..

    Zrim says: “…chest thumping for Jesus.”
    Not from me and I will join you in rebuking whoever may be found engaging in such an ungodly display. You persist in confusing me with others Zrim. I wish you’d stop that please.
    .

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  88. Greg, you complain about wondering about discerning motives. You also give a pat answer about superiority complexes. But you say this:

    However, yes, she should be recognized for doing her job correctly at the formal level and yes, she should be judged for doing it sinfully at the epistemological level.

    This is where it sure sounds like it’s a mater of scoring points. What could it possibly mean that an unbeliever is doing a temporal job sinfully simply because she lacks an eternal faith? She is under only eternal judgment. What’s her temporal job got to do with her eternal status? This is where you probably stop breathing for a second because you’re programmed with the all-of-life worldviewery that wants to work so earnestly and hard to match all of temporal life up to eternal meaning.

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  89. Zrim says: programmed with the all-of-life worldviewery that wants to work so earnestly and hard to match all of temporal life up to eternal meaning.

    sincere worldview question to ask of Scripture- does the God of the universe do anything without eternal meaning?

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  90. Ali, to ask is to answer, right? But there is such a thing as the Creator-creature distinction, which would seem to suggest that there isn’t the one-to-one correspondence between what God is and does and what his creatures are and do. God may do all things with eternal meaning, but why does that mean creatures do? After all, if the highest temporal institution among creatures–marriage–ceases to even exist in eternity, why would anyone suggest governing or cashiering has eternal meaning? And if temporal activity has eternal meaning, then maybe all temporal things aren’t really passing away?

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  91. Zrim says: “Greg, you complain about wondering about discerning motives.”
    Depending on what exactly you mean by this, I don’t think I remember doing it.

    Zrim says: “What’s her temporal job got to do with her eternal status?”
    Her eternal status as covenant breaker and the depravity that it’s curse has brought upon her, has bound her to a Romans 3 existence wherein even the formal good she does due the remaining but broken image of God, is polluted by sin and corruption.

    It is her eternal status that dictates the motives of her temporal job and it is the motives her temporal job, along with every single other thing she thinks, says or does that evinces her eternal status. According to the apostle of love in the 3rd chapter of his first epistle, the children of the devil and the children of God are obvious by whether they PRACTICE sin or righteousness. Practice. The standards handle all of this magnificently.

    Is it not standard reformed truth that even the best and noblest of the works of the saints are yet tainted with motives of sin? How much more for an unregenerate pagan? That’s what her temporal job, and everything else about her, has to do with eternal state.

    Zrim says: “… all-of-life worldviewery that wants to work so earnestly and hard to match all of temporal life up to eternal meaning.”
    Actually it’s a rather effortless and intuitive endeavor Steve once you allow scripture and historic reformed orthodoxy to feed your worldview rather than that blasphemous, bloody filth factory in Hollywood.

    All sarcasm aside. This site really is a monument to Satan’s spectacular success with that abomination. He has the people best prepared to withstand it, laying spiritually dismembered in a gory pool of their own spiritual guts, stiff-neckedly defending one of the weapons most instrumental in doing it to them. As they gurgle out cries of “LIBERTY!”

    I mean ya jist gotta tip your hat to the ol serpent. It really is a nearly flawlessly executed campaign of subversive genius

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  92. Zrim asks: “God may do all things with eternal meaning, but why does that mean creatures do? “
    Because they are created in His image and likeness? Even that which passes away affords us the glorious opportunity to honor and please him. See how good He is? OR, we can spend it polluting ourselves with the world while paying our neighbors to sin in the process.

    Zrim asks: “And if temporal activity has eternal meaning, then maybe all temporal things aren’t really passing away?”
    See immediately above.

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  93. It is her eternal status that dictates the motives of her temporal job and it is the motives her temporal job, along with every single other thing she thinks, says or does that evinces her eternal status. According to the apostle of love in the 3rd chapter of his first epistle, the children of the devil and the children of God are obvious by whether they PRACTICE sin or righteousness. Practice. The standards handle all of this magnificently.

    There’s the motive discerning thing again, Greg. How do you know her motives aren’t simply to make a living? But if all you’re saying is that an unbeliever is guilty of unrighteousness without the benefit of faith to cover it no matter what circumstance of life she is in, fine. But I don’t think that’s what you’re saying. I think you’re wanting to say that one’s particular station in temporal life is somehow relevant to her eternal status. You’re trying too hard and it’s not making an iota of sense. What does make sense is to say she goes to work to earn a living. Why doesn’t common sense make any to you?

    As to the rest of your comment, where’s Geoff when you need some pious chiding? Break the blue pill in half next time, Greg.

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  94. So, Greg, are you omniscient then since you are created in God’s image and likeness? Wait, don’t answer that right away. Think first.

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  95. Zrim says: ” I think you’re wanting to say that one’s particular station in temporal life is somehow relevant to her eternal status.”
    How is it even humanly possible that you be hearing this in what I’m saying? I’m saying that no matter WHAT one’s station in life, they will think, say and do everything either as a covenant breaker in Adam or a covenant keeper in Christ. Thereby and therefore, EVERYthing they think, say and do has eternal import. Not due to the thing in itself, but the heart behind it.

    There is no such thing as Christian cashiering. Cashiering can be done however, to make a living with which to serve the Lord or to make a living with which to serve one’s self. Both have eternal import though rising from a temporal activity. That’s how life works see? “Faithful presence” largely means living the ares of life indifferent in themselves from a heart of love and gratitude for Jesus Christ rather than to spend on one’s own depravity.. The other part means remaining separate in the areas that are NOT indifferent and showing them God’s grace in each.

    This really is not that complicated.

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  96. Cashiering can be done however, to make a living with which to serve the Lord or to make a living with which to serve one’s self.

    Greg, what about cashiering to serve one’s family? Your fundamentalism is showing. But the older Protestantism you claim to embody made lots of room for something in between life as only holy or evil, which is to say common. It may not be complicated as in difficult, but you are making it simplistic, which ironically is hard for a sane mind to grasp. Those in left field however…

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  97. Zrim asks: “Greg, what about cashiering to serve one’s family?”
    Different scenario, same principles. See below please.

    Zrim says:”…life as only holy or evil…”
    Serving anything first in the place of God, including family, is idolatry. The generally decent non-religious middle class suburbanite Joe, may be formally fulfilling 1 Timothy 5:8 in his dutiful work in providing for his wife and children. However, his failure to do it out of worship and love of the Lord his God first, makes it self serving sin at the eternal (epistemological) level. Unless you want to say that his formally good work earns him eternal points with God?

    This is Van Til’s total ethical antithesis in action. There are two kinds of people in this world. Those who have been born dead in sin in Adam and those who have born again into new life in Christ. Even what they have in common as fellow image bearers is utterly antithetical at the epistemological (spiritual) level which is where the eternal import is found.

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  98. Greg, nobody’s giving any eternal points to unbelievers. Just making sense of life in the inter-advental age.

    You keep on going with CvT if you want, but if someone embodies older Protestantism it’s Horton:

    …we begin the story with one creation, one covenant, one people, one mandate, one city. Then after the fall, there is a covenant of creation (with its cultural mandate still in effect for all people, with the law of that covenant universally inscribed on the conscience) and a covenant of grace (with its gospel publicly announced to transgressors), a City of Man (secular but even in its rejection of God, upheld by God’s gracious hand for the time being) and a City of God (holy but even in its acceptance by God, sharing in the common curse of a fallen world). Just as the failure to distinguish law covenant from promise covenant leads to manifold confusions in our understanding of salvation, tremendous problems arise when we fail to distinguish adequately between God’s general care for the secular order and his special concern for the redemption of his people.

    Religious fundamentalism tends to see the world simply divided up into believers and unbelievers. The former are blessed, loved by God, holy, and doers of the right, while the latter are cursed, hated by God, unholy, and doers of evil. Sometimes this is taken to quite an extreme: believers are good people, and their moral, political, and doctrinal causes are always right, always justified, and can never be questioned. Unless the culture is controlled by their agenda, it is simply godless and unworthy of the believers’ support. This perspective ignores the fact that according to Scripture, all of us—believers and unbelievers alike—are simultaneously under a common curse and common grace.

    Religious liberalism tends to see the world simply as one blessed community. Ignoring biblical distinctions between those inside and those outside of the covenant community, this approach cannot take the common curse seriously because it cannot take sin seriously…everything is holy.

    …[But] the human race is not divided at the present time between those who are blessed and those who are cursed. That time is coming, of course, but in this present age, believers and unbelievers alike share in the pains of childbirth, the burdens of labor, the temporal effects of their own sins, and the eventual surrender of their decaying bodies to death…there is in this present age a category for that which is neither holy nor unholy but simply common.

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  99. I don’t know how you can’t see, despite maybe a bit of differing phraseology, that Horton and I are saying the same thing.

    Does anybody else see that Horton and I are saying what amounts to pretty much the same thing?

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  100. Zrim: So, Greg, are you omniscient then since you are created in God’s image and likeness?

    Greg: This IS English I’m speakin here right folks? Unbelievable. Really.

    Actually, Steve’s question is on-point. You had previously argued that

    Because creatures are created in His image and likeness, therefore, they may do things that God does … namely, do all things with eternal meaning.

    Steve’s question can be stated more formally: Why is “doing all things with eternal meaning” a communicable attribute of God?

    In other words, “God does it; man is created in his image; therefore man does it” is an invalid syllogism because “created in his image” does not entail “thus does everything that He does.” Some of God’s attributes are incommunicable.

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  101. The saints have at once fully everything and nothing in common with sinners.

    Everything, because of the shared image and likeness of God.

    Nothing, because of what they do with it.

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  102. JEFF, I have not proposed anything even remotely resembling the syllogism you ascribe to me in that comment.

    What men think, say and do has eternal ethical import because it will follow them out of this life, by the Lord’s own design. Eternal moral character IS communicable and HAS been given to man by God. How does this compare to attributes such as the three omnies?

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  103. Greg, you’re sounding a lot like a Caller now. “Nothing you have said refutes anything I’ve said. Question begging. Wrong paradigm.”

    And now you think you and Horton are on the exact same page? I’d LOL if I LOL’d. Good grief.

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  104. Greg, wait, are you saying you’re in the “religious fundamentalism” camp as Horton describes it? In that case, I suppose saying you’re on the same page is one way of saying it. Then again, you refuse the fundie label.

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  105. “Greg, wait, are you saying you’re in the “religious fundamentalism” camp as Horton describes it? In that case, I suppose saying you’re on the same page is one way of saying it. Then again, you refuse the fundie label.”
    Zrim I am this close to simply concluding that are playing brain dead on purpose.

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  106. @ Greg: Sure you did.

    Greg: Zrim asks: “God may do all things with eternal meaning, but why does that mean creatures do? “
    Because they are created in His image and likeness?

    Perhaps your intent was different, but your words were crystal clear.

    Liked by 1 person

  107. Zrim says: And if temporal activity has eternal meaning, then maybe all temporal things aren’t really passing away?

    Dear Zrim, did you stop and search Scripture, or are you just exclusively Zrim-opining?

    Offhand, these are instructive re judgment and reward:
    and the dead (unbelievers) were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. Rev 20: 12b

    And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead (unbelievers) to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth.” Rev11:18

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  108. Ali, I’m not familiar with any passage about cashiers and their epistemological status as cashiers. Your quotes align with how imago Dei creatures as imago Dei creatures are accountable to God, on which none of us disagree.

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  109. Zrim says , how accountable to God, on which none of us disagree.on which none of us disagree.

    interesting. or should I say sheesh.
    also
    1) Zrim says: I’d LOL if I LOL’d !!
    2) I hope you don’t tell your kids, oh never mind, what you do here is on earth in this life is all temporal, so whatever.

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  110. Greg, you fit with what Horton describes as religious fundamentalism, e.g. there are only two kinds of people in the world (un/believers) and unbelievers only serve self and believers only serve God, and it’s all based on the alleged perspective of each. You make no concession for complications like unbelievers actually serving God because they are creatures and it’s inevitable that they serve God regardless of their epistemological state–you make the sinner the center instead of God; nor do you make any place for the possibility of believers serving self. It’s almost as if they have a secret epistemological decoder ring such that it’s impossible to follow sinful ways that still abide.

    And your epistemelogical reasoning makes no room for serving other people. We observe unbelievers serving others but your reasoning insists they are still only serving themselves. It’s true that only believers’ works can glorify God because only faith glorifies God, but how those serving others cannot be said to be doing so because they have no faith is the result of a slavish devotion to a reasoning that doesn’t want to admit what is actually happening. Your reasoning makes no room for believers and unbelievers being able to live together in common life because one group is the children of light and the other darkness.

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  111. Ali, then feel relieved because I don’t. That temporal life is fading isn’t the same as temporal life not mattering. You sound like the Catholics when it comes to justification–sola fide breeds antinomiainsm because what incentive is there to do good works if they avail nothing? You’re mistaking 2k theology for don’t-polish-the-brass-on-a-sinking-ship dispensationalism. Temporal life matters but it’s also fading away so don’t get too attached.

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  112. Geoff Willour, whether you agree or not, I can’t say, but I’m reasonably certain that you at least understand the essential framework of what I’m saying well enough to answer Zrim for me. I don’t know if I’m up to it any more today and tomorrow I’m mostly tied up until evening. A funeral to work and then a lunch appointment with some open possibilities after that.

    You have a superb command of the language and are probably a better communicator than I am. Can I humbly implore your assistance in playing devil’s advocate for me? I sure would genuinely appreciate it. Sdb or somebody else is welcome too, but Geoff is the one I’m almost certain gets it.

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  113. @gtt “However, his failure to do it out of worship and love of the Lord his God first, makes it self serving sin at the eternal (epistemological) level. Unless you want to say that his formally good work earns him eternal points with God?”

    This makes no sense. Epistemological is about the justification (warrant for) beliefs. The unbeliever who takes care of his family (even unbelievers do that) is not earning God’s favor even if what he does is right. His good behavior is spoiled by sin. That has temporal and potentially eternal consequences for him to be sure. But it has no implications for his knowledge of how to care for his kids. On this side of glory, unbelievers may be faster, smarter, more ethical, and more prudent than a given believer. That has no eternal benefit for them though. It does matter. That’s why a nonbelieving doctor, ups guy, plumber, teacher, or lawyer may be better to hire than the one with the fish by their name in.the phone book.

    Is this what you are saying?

    By the way are you confusing ontology and epistemology?

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  114. Zrim says: Ali, then feel relieved because I don’t.

    oh ok , Zrim, good. I am relieved – I was possibly a little concerned for the little-zrimites (if there are any), because it seemed possible, that even though ‘your-kind’ 2k, possibly, might have no greater joy than to hear of your children walking in the truth.(3 John 4), but that maybe didn’t apply to ‘temporal’ -type walking in the world, doing a bunch of ‘temporal’ type things. Probably need to define ‘temporal’, since it appears that some things we thought temporal, are actually eternal ? like….fruit, work, love (John [15:16, 1Cor 3:14, 1 Cor 13:13)

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  115. Maybe it’s a Michigan thing. Greg, 1500mg of Tyrosine and 250mg of caffeine. People get paid for this kind of advice. Tyrosine on an empty stomach or at least 30 minutes away from a meal on either side. Greg, you’re pretty fundy. Greg, one of the intended fruits of a liberal arts education is humility. You’re pretty sure you think you know something or somebody you read knows something until the next person up in the syllabus wrecks what that person proposed that you were certain was worth knowing. And then there’s eight to twelve weeks more of that experience across various disciplines and then you do that for upwards of four to twelve years(the SDSU plan) and that’s just on the undergraduate level and that’s all without considering the professor’s contribution to the effort which he’s certain is the best compilation of all of it. It can be a rough ride but it’s worth it. Unless it’s not, then if you don’t at least get the paper for the time and money spent it’s damn near useless. It’s not dissimilar to Susan saying Kierkegaard or Kant (I think) blew her mind.

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  116. Sean writes:
    “and then you do that for upwards of four to twelve years(the SDSU plan)”
    ***That line made it worth wading through all this insanity.

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  117. “@gtt Thanks. At least it is clear what you are trying to say is all wrong then.”
    Clearly I need rest.

    When I said you weren’t even close, I was referring to this:
    “But it has no implications for his knowledge of how to care for his kids.”
    I was denying that it has anything to do with how well he provides for his kids. I have 4 conversations going at once. That’s how it is sometimes. That’s not your fault though.

    I apologize for not reading you carefully enough before answering. I should know better. Especially after chiding you guys for doing that to me.

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  118. @sdb can’t tell anything from beating Memphis. But I’d be happy if someone went Tanya Harding on Curry, Green, Westbrook, Durant and Paul. Parker needs to turn back the clock three years, Leonard needs to go ahead and finish becoming a rich man’s Pippen and they need someone to recreate Robert Horry putting Nash into the boards but Curry.

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  119. Ali, I’m more than happy to be “a kind” or “a type.” I still fail to see why that language is always derogatory. (Sorry, Geoff.)

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  120. sdb, I may be the one not getting him but I haven’t been reading Greg to be saying that either. I think what he may want to be saying is that all image dei creatures are accountable to God (agreed), but he then forget to take a left turn in Albuquerque and couches it in this muddled epistemological-worldview lingo that he is so smitten with and out pops something awkward about everyone being a philosopher and theologian and something about cashiers and magistrates only doing their work to serve themselves and idolatry and autonomy and blahblahblah.

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  121. Zrim,

    But wouldn’t work done to provide for one’s family, while laudable, also be idolatrous if the person doing the work was not thankful to God for His job, etc.? I think that might be Greg’s point. There’s also a point to be had that all of us are philosophers and theologians because all of us have some thought/opinion about God, even if not well-defined. I think going from that to watching 60 hours of mad men being sinful is the wrong leap, not the other points.

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  122. Robert, it’s just never been clear to me how these dots from unbelief to work being some sort of idolatry are connected. It seems to rely on so much speculation, which the epistemologists seem way too comfortable indulging so that their system all works out. And are believers thankful to God for their good things 24/7? If not, then aren’t they being idolatrous in those non-thankful hours, too? At the end, it still seems like just a way to exact epistemological superiority among believers–haven’t you noticed how we smell like roses all the time in this little theory? I thought we were sinners, filthy rages and all that?

    On the “everyone’s a philosopher/theologian because they are imago dei,” what more can be said than what I have? But, ok, since I have political opinions will you make me your senator? Evidently an opinion qualifies me.

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  123. Interesting tidbit on the secular being thankful, it’s now becoming pretty standard fare in all things self-improvement that a useful technique besides meditation is to be thankful in the midst of adversity and trials. Thankful to whom, isn’t generally spelled out but the thought is at the very least reminiscent of twelve step programs reliance on a higher power. And as regards antithesis, please, please, can we remove the antithesis from the imago dei, common sphere and utilize it the way scripture does: It’s a religious antithesis. Whether you’re dealing with Paul in Romans or Corinthians or Colossians or John in his anti-Christ developments. Scripture’s finding inadequacy in the unregenerate’s ability/capacity is squarely centered on their cultic antagonism not their ability to drop a plumb line.

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  124. Zrim, you just need to use the word ‘brokenness’ more. I’m assured it’s a really important concept for us to use. And repeat. And repeat again.

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  125. Z, you need to lean in to Greg’s gritty, authentic brokenness. Press your life and story into his and true, deep relationship will be birthed, the loinfruit of which will be understanding and authentic community. Also missional and so forth.

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  126. Zrim,

    Robert, it’s just never been clear to me how these dots from unbelief to work being some sort of idolatry are connected. It seems to rely on so much speculation, which the epistemologists seem way too comfortable indulging so that their system all works out. And are believers thankful to God for their good things 24/7? If not, then aren’t they being idolatrous in those non-thankful hours, too?

    No to the first question, yes to the second.

    At the end, it still seems like just a way to exact epistemological superiority among believers–haven’t you noticed how we smell like roses all the time in this little theory? I thought we were sinners, filthy rages and all that?

    Well that is the danger, but I don’t know of anyone who holds the view that says we aren’t sinners. I think the point is more that only Christians are capable of not being idolaters, even though we fail at it all the time.

    On the “everyone’s a philosopher/theologian because they are imago dei,” what more can be said than what I have? But, ok, since I have political opinions will you make me your senator? Evidently an opinion qualifies me.

    What is the job of a theologian? To understand God’s revelation and come to accurate conclusions about Him, at the very basics. What’s the job of a senator? To enact laws. Seems that having a theological opinion would make you more qualified to be a theologian than a political opinion makes you to be a senator. If you are teaching your kids at home about God, you are doing the work of a theologian. If you are conveying a political opinion at home, you aren’t doing the work of a senator.

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  127. Robert, no, I’m doing the work of a Christian father. Theologians write books and teach. If I waltz over Calvin Sem and apply for a Systematics post, doubt I’ll be considered because I’m not a theologian.

    I’m not saying anyone is saying we aren’t sinners. I’m saying some are saying some sinners are epistemologically superior to other sinners. Isn’t that different from saying there are sinners justified by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone and sinners not so justified? The former seems loaded with superiority, the latter with grace.

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  128. Robert, no, I’m doing the work of a Christian father. Theologians write books and teach. If I waltz over Calvin Sem and apply for a Systematics post, doubt I’ll be considered because I’m not a theologian.

    The work of a Christian father includes teaching his children, so yes you are doing the work of a theologian. Maybe not a capital T Theologian, but a theologian nonetheless.

    I’m not saying anyone is saying we aren’t sinners. I’m saying some are saying some sinners are epistemologically superior to other sinners. Isn’t that different from saying there are sinners justified by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone and sinners not so justified? The former seems loaded with superiority, the latter with grace.

    I don’t know, the people who are saying that Christians have a radically different epistemological orientation are also saying that said orientation comes by grace.

    Anything can be pressed too far into nonsense. But if sin makes you stupid (and can we agree that the transgender bathroom nonsense is stupidity?), then there is or should be an epistemological difference between the regenerate and the unregenerate. Not that there is one always evident, but it seems that there should be.

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  129. Or I suppose you could say that the work of a theologian and the work of a Christian father overlap in some respects.

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  130. But, Robert, there are those regenerates that affirm stupidity and unregenerates who affirm non-stupidity. So what is the point in making the epistemological distinction? Faith has nothing to do with intelligence one way or another.

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  131. A great exchange about intellectual matters for days, and what does my mind walk away with? The word “loinfruits.”

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  132. Zrim,

    Not morally superior. But are you going to tell me that regeneration has absolutely no impact on our ability to tell right from wrong? Really?

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  133. Robert, I understand from Romans it’s not a lack of intellectual capability but an issue of rebellion and/or education( catechism-they didn’t have the statutes the Jews had, but even then the Jews(us) sure were/are prone to getting it wrong.) And again, this is all cultically related.

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  134. Robert, what I am going to tell you is that the conscience is part of every imago dei, regenerated or not, and all have equal access to knowing right and wrong. But what faith does is give some the ability to understand their bankrupt condition in relation to God, how Christ alone remedies that condition, etc. Those are two different things. But if you’re telling me that same faith helps someone sort out questions about restrooms better than those without said faith, well, “really?” back at you.

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  135. Zrim,

    I don’t see any regenerate people looking to let bearded men in dresses share restrooms, do you?

    So when God changes our hearts in regeneration, nothing at all happens to our moral intuitions?

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  136. Sean,

    I don’t think it is a lack of intellectual capability either. People are intellectually capable of knowing right from wrong, and on a base level, all do. But regeneration doesn’t make one more sensitive to the fact that some things are wrong and some aren’t? I see a lot of unregenerate people with seared consciences who can’t figure out that a certain set of parts means you go to the men’s room and a certain means you go to the women’s room.

    I would hope that regeneration makes it harder to suppress the truth of God in unrighteousness. And given the cult prostitution in the ancient world, that means that matters related to sex fall under the cultic sphere.

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  137. Robert, and how did Paul recommend to the Christians at Corinth they deal with such an opportunity? 1 cor. 5. Intolerance within the cult, tolerance outside the cult.

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  138. Sean,

    Is it not one thing to tolerate private behavior and another to tolerate people wanting to pass laws that aren’t remotely related to the common good? And what happens when a church wants to build a sanctuary but local building codes mandate that restrooms must be open to all regardless of what gender they happen to be that day? Build a church with no bathrooms? Don’t build a church building?

    God has no opinion on whether the government should mandate that men should be free to enter the ladies room? What happened to natural law? Christians can’t say “We’re pretty sure that the author of natural law, who by the way also authored Scripture, is okay if you create a law that allows bearded men to expose themselves to women and girls and then say that law must apply in any public place or we’ll fine you into obsolescence?

    I’m actually all for a wide measure of tolerance; I’m not for the government telling insane people that they are sane.

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  139. Robert, ok, so you’ve moved on from regenerative powers. I have no idea what individual localities may or may not do as far as code compliance and enforcement but I’m betting churches will be relatively unaffected by transgendered bathrooms. We seemed to, so far, successfully navigated the threat of ‘hate speech’ charges in sermons.

    I’m sure God has more than an opinion, but I’m limited by what He’s revealed. I think the transgendered thing is pretty weird but I don’t think the effective response is to overreact to it. The bearded man threat is an overreaction. I’ll give you a little insight into what I know about it, though I understand the tone now is more along the lines of a civil rights grievance. The bathroom kerfuffle with transgendered folks used to center around biological men in the transition of becoming women, being afraid to go into a men’s restroom(mostly in a club) for fear of getting beat up. So, they would often ask their biological girl friends who they were with, if they could go with them to the women’s restrooms(utilizing stalls) so, as to avoid being battered. Now, I have no Idea how numerous the transgendered population is or how much an actual issue this will ever become, but all it is at this point is a political football to animate the polarized political bases. So, no, I’m not overly concerned, because of the transgendered situation, about the bearded man scenario.

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  140. Robert, in fact I do know presumably regenerate people who affirm transgendered folks be given such access. Granted, they’re not important regenerates as the world understands important but I do know some. Are you suggesting that this puts serious doubt on their profession? I’d much rather ground that in one’s resistance to baptize her children.

    And what happens when a church wants to build a sanctuary but local building codes mandate that restrooms must be open to all regardless of what gender they happen to be that day?

    Oh, come on now. No American force of law is making pastors marry gays, much less mandating houses of worship open their women’s rooms to “bearded men.”

    God has no opinion on whether the government should mandate that men should be free to enter the ladies room?

    Chapter and verse please. But I have an opinion. Do I baptize it as God’s? Far be it.

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  141. The work of a Christian father includes teaching his children, so yes you are doing the work of a theologian. Maybe not a capital T Theologian, but a theologian nonetheless.

    And everyone who thinks back to their college days is a historian, everyone who puts a bandaid on their kid when she skins her knee is a doctor, everyone who logs onto TurboTax is an accountant, and everyone who points out the Big Dipper to a bunch of scouts is an astronomer, everyone who puts air in their tires is a mechanic…. In other words everybody is everything and the expertise entailed by titles label philosopher, theologian, plumber, artist, etc… are meaningless. Or maybe I can mow my lawn without being a landscaper, shoot baskets in the driveway without being a basketball player, and lead family devotions without being a theologian.

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  142. Sean,

    Robert, ok, so you’ve moved on from regenerative powers. I have no idea what individual localities may or may not do as far as code compliance and enforcement but I’m betting churches will be relatively unaffected by transgendered bathrooms. We seemed to, so far, successfully navigated the threat of ‘hate speech’ charges in sermons.

    So far. But last I knew, Churches weren’t exempt from building codes.

    I’m sure God has more than an opinion, but I’m limited by what He’s revealed. I think the transgendered thing is pretty weird but I don’t think the effective response is to overreact to it. The bearded man threat is an overreaction. I’ll give you a little insight into what I know about it, though I understand the tone now is more along the lines of a civil rights grievance. The bathroom kerfuffle with transgendered folks used to center around biological men in the transition of becoming women, being afraid to go into a men’s restroom(mostly in a club) for fear of getting beat up. So, they would often ask their biological girl friends who they were with, if they could go with them to the women’s restrooms(utilizing stalls) so, as to avoid being battered. Now, I have no Idea how numerous the transgendered population is or how much an actual issue this will ever become, but all it is at this point is a political football to animate the polarized political bases. So, no, I’m not overly concerned, because of the transgendered situation, about the bearded man scenario.

    Sean, we already have instances where men dressed up like women are going into women’s bathrooms to take pictures of them. The ubiquity of phone cameras, etc., has long been touted as a problem for perverts taking pictures. At least in the past, if you were a woman who saw a man in the restroom, you could complain. No longer. You are a bigot. If the man decides he is a woman, or professes to be one, there you go. You can’t identify a person’s gender by what they look like. If you think this isn’t going to have an effect on the public’s willingness to report strange behavior or on the police’s willingness to do something about it, I think you are dreaming.

    The problem isn’t actually the “transgender” community. I’m sure that most people who identify as transgender aren’t doing these things. The problem is the other sexual deviants.

    Fair point on political football. But it seems foolish to go from that to thinking, “Eh, no big deal.”

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  143. Steve,

    Robert, in fact I do know presumably regenerate people who affirm transgendered folks be given such access. Granted, they’re not important regenerates as the world understands important but I do know some. Are you suggesting that this puts serious doubt on their profession?

    Yes I am. And so should you. It’s a fundamental denial of God’s authority as Creator to affirm “transgenderism” and it’s not loving to your neighbor to support people in their mental illness and pretend all is okay.

    I’d much rather ground that in one’s resistance to baptize her children.

    Really? I mean I appreciate this, but you think the Bible is clearer on baptizing infants than it is on the distinction between male and female?

    Oh, come on now. No American force of law is making pastors marry gays, much less mandating houses of worship open their women’s rooms to “bearded men.”

    Yet. Where are churches exempt from building codes? Where are churches immune from civil and criminal legislation for allowing crimes to occur on their properties?

    Chapter and verse please. But I have an opinion. Do I baptize it as God’s? Far be it.

    For someone who wants to accuse people of being biblicists, this is rich.

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  144. Robert, nobody said anything about affirming transgenderism. The question is about public restroom usage. Those are two different things. To favor particular laws that allow trannys public restroom use isn’t to affirm transgenderism. By your logic, Machen affirmed intoxication by opposing Prohibition.

    “Chapter and verse” is simply a way of asking for the biblical case that God is opposed to bearded male trannys using women’s restrooms. The invitation stands. But until you can make that case as convincingly as the one for believers obligated to baptize their kids, it’s political liberty. I know you may not like it, but I don’t actually make the rules.

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  145. Ali, that’s more than a bit different from going after pastors and charging them with a crime(the guy is a public health official, if he hates a certain demographic of the people he’s supposed to serve, that might be a compelling interest for the government who employs him and a conflict of interest on his part). But, it’ll be interesting to see what happens. In Houston, the mayor tried to push her luck on this issue and got swamped by irate constituents and inundated with thousands of sermons and was roundly reprimanded by everyone from all sides politically for the attempt to censor and ostensibly punish pastors for their anti-homosexual stance, including from the LGBT community. Freedom of religion and religious expression is a pretty sacrosanct plank in this country. However, you never know for sure what the future holds. The bigger “threat”, if you want to call it that, will be if churches can hold onto their tax exempt status. They probably will, but should they?

    Robert, still pretty ‘meh’ about the bathroom bearded man. As you say, it’s not a transgendered opportunity. Sexual deviants are gonna do what they do. Here’s betting women complain, here’s betting cops will investigate, here’s betting if he’s got a sex offender or criminal background the cops and judiciary are going to roll over the transgendered claim and pursue charges, here’s betting the deviant has parole violation opportunities to hang a prosecution on. Here’s betting if he can’t prove medical intervention/treatment for his bathroom choice he’s not gonna get much mileage from it.

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  146. Sean: The bigger “threat”, if you want to call it that, will be if churches can hold onto their tax exempt status. They probably will, but should they?

    Should they? not sure either; but ‘bigger’ threat? Guess it’s a matter of perspective -money is hardly the bigger threat, unless you are talking about the love of money

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  147. Guys, honest question that would help me understand some of the conversations around here. *Deep breath* What does “w-w” stand for?

    OldLife kinda needs a glossary at this point.

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  148. Zrim, I suspected but the double “w” confused me.

    Speaking of sinful media, I feel like this comment thread should be adapted into an HBO miniseries.

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  149. http://www.mbird.com/2009/06/jimmy-mcnulty-walt-white-and-search-for/

    Some Christians “act as if some vast conspiracy is brewing in America over the Christian faith, with naysayers organized against Christians. They feel like they live life on the cultural margins, so they take that as their identity–they count their marginalization as their righteousness. They are not looking to Jesus as their only righteousness, and so they act from prejudice, assuming that everyone hates them, and they act in a way that confirms this.” (Crucifying Morality, p 105, R. W. Glenn)
    Mark 9: 40 For whoever is not against us is for us

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  150. sdb says: “And everyone who thinks back to their college days is a historian, everyone who puts a bandaid on their kid when she skins her knee is a doctor, everyone who logs onto TurboTax is an accountant, and everyone who points out the Big Dipper to a bunch of scouts is an astronomer, everyone who puts air in their tires is a mechanic…. In other words everybody is everything and the expertise entailed by titles label philosopher, theologian, plumber, artist, etc… are meaningless. Or maybe I can mow my lawn without being a landscaper, shoot baskets in the driveway without being a basketball player, and lead family devotions without being a theologian.”

    I very specifically dispensed with this argument with Zrim.

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  151. If so, it certainly has not been demonstrated. Another fatal confusion and conflation of categories. What every person IS by created design is not the same as what they DO as individuals.

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  152. C-dubs, it’s easy. There’s r(egular)2k and there 2k-lite. The former says that just as there’s no religious test on political office, there is no political test on religious office. The latter isn’t so sure those things really follow because babies and marriage.

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  153. Said Greg, the Facebook sneerer and jeerer:

    “For anybody who may care, you will never see me celebrating the life of reprehensible, degenerate pagan entertainers on this page upon their death. The modern American exaltation of utterly worthless individuals who added absolutely nothing of eternal value to the human race and usually polluted it with their immorality and crackpot views is more idolatry in the purest form possible.

    I could not possibly care less what godless movies or tv shows they starred in or produced or directed, or what godless music they made or anything else. I also could not possibly care less what color they are. What I DO care about is that they are my fellow child of father Adam who passed into eternity by all credible accounts without my Jesus.

    The perverted weirdo known as Prince, who helped defile and corrupt a generation of youth and then converted to the Jehovah’s Witnesses cult, is, barring a death’s door sovereign miracle of the Holy Ghost, I promise you not celebrating his life as I type this.

    He’s left that to a world worshiping, biblically ignorant, secular celebrity adoring church to do that for him. Every time one of these cultural idols dies, my heart is torn out watching those calling themselves God’s people celebrate them as they are facing the reality of their eternal destiny under the wrath of the thrice holy God, who is not nearly as impressed with their life as it seems His woefully misguided church is.
    It is no mystery why this country is in the shape it’s in with salt and light like this. Repent church. Weep for yet another soul you helped into the jaws of hell by supporting and financing and now celebrating their life of flagrant public sin.” (frown emoticon)

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  154. There’s no way you don’t understand me. It’s almost not possible that you can think this has anything to do with the mixing of vocation into ontology.

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  155. I wasn’t complaining about sneering Zrim. I was pointing out that sneering in the place of an intelligible biblical challenge does not translate into a demonstration of error. Elijah quite loudly sneered at the prophets of Baal. (1 Kings 18:27) Paul told the Judaizers at Galatia that he hoped they castrated themselves. (5:12) For instance.

    Your guy’s sneering is not the issue. Your doing so in the absence of an argument is the issue.

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  156. Zrum, we’re either Baalish prophets or eunuchs. Don’t know why you’d think that’s a bit over the top.

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  157. Greg, can you not see that a reasonable person might think that you have just a little itty bitty prophet complex about yourself? Might the word “jeremiad” reasonably pop into our little eunuch minds?

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  158. “Greg, can you not see that a reasonable person might think that you have just a little itty bitty prophet complex about yourself?”

    In today’s church Chortles? Of course I do. That’s one of the main points I’ve been making all along. A man who once would have been an entirely unremarkable average reformed Christian, now seems like a radical nutcase when compared to the backslidden worldly shell of what passes for the reformed Church today.

    I’ll say it again. I’m standing where your history once was. You guys are the one’s who left it. Not me.

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  159. Dear Zrim , wait – you mean there’s R2k, 2K, and 2k-lite?

    R is supposedly supposed to be dropped, according to DG, however, I’m not sure he realizes that some seem to embrace ‘R’, (radical that is) which seems to be defined, in a summary fashion, as ” It isn’t Sunday right? Befree – do whatever – it’s all temporal ….(but remember, just return and ‘remember the Lord’ ) next Sunday
    !!

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  160. Ali: It isn’t Sunday right? Befree – do whatever – it’s all temporal ….

    You have *definitely* missed the point.

    The correct point is:

    * Obey God at all times.
    * In worship, what He has not commanded is forbidden. Scriptural example implies permission.
    * In secular (lit: “of this age”, temporal) life, what He has not forbidden is permissible. Scriptural prohibition may be inferred only by good and necessary inference.

    There are many subsidiary points, but wrt obedience, that’s the correct way to express 2k.

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  161. “* In worship, what He has not commanded is forbidden. Scriptural example implies permission.
    * In secular (lit: “of this age”, temporal) life, what He has not forbidden is permissible. Scriptural prohibition may be inferred only by good and necessary inference.”

    I’m not doubting you, but I am asking for a historical source for this idea. One you trust.

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  162. Sure.

    For the first,

    But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by Himself, and so limited by His own revealed will, that He may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation, or any other way not prescribed in the holy Scripture. — WCF 21.1

    For the second,

    II. God alone is Lord of the conscience,[10] and has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men, which are, in any thing, contrary to His Word; or beside it, if matters of faith, or worship.[11] So that, to believe such doctrines, or to obey such commands, out of conscience, is to betray true liberty of conscience: — WCF 20.2

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  163. “What every person IS by created design is not the same as what they DO as individuals.” That’s a nice slogan, but it has no bearing n my response to Robert. Leading family devotions is not theology and doesn’t make one a theologian. Nothing you have written in this thread dispenses with this assertion. I’ve adequately illustrated how such an argument reduces to absurdity.

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  164. @Jeff
    The first point is indisputable by anybody who takes scripture seriously.

    The second point is where my trouble may be. Where does the idea of secular or temporal things being the definition of what the assembly is addressing in XX:II come from? I say the line is between what is indifferent and what is not. There are secular/temporal areas of life that are indifferent or morally neutral and some that are not.

    Again, the case from the relation of the catechism to the confession bears this out.

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  165. sdb says: “I’ve adequately illustrated how such an argument reduces to absurdity.”
    No, you have not, but I’m not able to get into why at the moment. I just didn’t want you to think I was ignoring you.

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  166. Ali, it’s a play on words, as in what others mean for harm use for good. R(adical)2k is a loaded term meant to marginalize and inject fear and loathing. R(egular)2k is for those who take a consistent view of the theology and apply it accordingly; and since everyone is 2k after Augustine but some aren’t as thorough to lesser or greater degress, 2k-lite seems fitting without marginalizing in kind. Is this where you say “sheesh”?

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  167. Greg, if the first is so indisputable then how can you abide praise teams, which are arguably an instance of the “imaginations and devices of men” and in no way prescribed by Scripture?

    As to the second, you realize teetotalers speak of substance use (and worldly amusements) the way you do worldly amusements because substance use does intersect with morality, i.e. there is always the possibility of stumbling into intoxication? The answer then is “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” That’s you with film, where personal chastity has the possibility of being compromised–go radical and build a Pharisaical hedge and you’ll be all good. How are you not a fundamentalist in the order of what Paul warns against in Colossians:

    If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations—“Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

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  168. I do thank God for the encouraging knowledge that the people I directly address online are not the only ones who read what I say. i don’t know how on earth you can still be missing what I’ve said after the 5 trillion times I’ve said it Zrim.

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  169. “No, you have not, but I’m not able to get into why at the moment.”
    Perhaps if you spent as much time clarifying your writing (linear ideas expressed in short declarative statements) as you do complaining about how we don’t get you, you might get somewhere. Of course that somewhere may be to discover that your position is much less secure than you thought.

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  170. Tiribulus: The second point is where my trouble may be. Where does the idea of secular or temporal things being the definition of what the assembly is addressing in XX:II come from?

    The definition is found in the text itself. There are two categories of commands from which are consciences are free in WCF 20.2.

    (1) Any command which is contrary to the word of God.

    If the magistrate OR the church commands me to worship Baal or murder my aunt, I can say No with a clean conscience.

    (2) Any command which is beside — that is, not found in — the word of God if a matter of faith or worship.

    So the magistrate may command me to stop at red lights, not as a matter of faith, but as a matter of ordering civil society. As his subject, I owe obedience, again not because stopping at red lights is “the Christian thing to do”, but simply because that’s how we are ordering society.

    If on the other hand the church tells me that I should vote for red lights to replace stop signs, because stopping at red lights is part of a Christian worldview, then I have the right and responsibility to ask, “Is this taught in Scripture?” That is to say, if the church moves red-light-stopping into its jurisdiction, then the liberty test changes.

    When the command moves out of the secular realm and into the realm of faith and worship (the jurisdiction of the church), then the test is no longer whether the command is contrary to the Word, but whether it is beside the Word.

    If not, then my conscience is free — indeed, obligated — to say No.

    GtT: I say the line is between what is indifferent and what is not. There are secular/temporal areas of life that are indifferent or morally neutral and some that are not.

    Agreed. However, “indifferent” is merely a synonym for “permissible.” To say that “things indifferent are permissible” is to simply restate. It does not answer the crucial question, “What is the criterion for identifying indifferent matters?”

    In the Scripture, the morally indifferent matters are those on which God has not bound our consciences by direct teaching or good and necessary inference.

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  171. Zrim: Is this where you say “sheesh”?

    yes, I know you like me to give you a bad time (you not having actually said that, but me sensing so), so I do, not to mention there is a fair amount of legitimate sheesh worthy material (IMHO, of course).

    Thanks Jeff. Also, I didn’t know if I’d find this in the WCF: “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24),… but there it was: XXI. VI. God is to be worshipped everywhere, in spirit and truth.
    thinking the greatest unacceptable worship for us to guard against – drawing near with words and honoring Him with lip service, but with hearts removed far from Him ( Isa 29:13)

    and yeah, Letmesplainsean , more celebrity artist confusion: “Lemonade” is less a dramatization than a daydream, infused with black magic, embracing — if only notionally — African tribalism, science fiction, menstruation and witchcraft ? (nytimes.com).

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  172. Greg, for the backstory on WCF 20, I recommend reading Calvin’s Institutes 3.19

    That section contains too many good thoughts per square word to quote it all here. Calvin connections Christian liberty to justification by faith alone; circumscribes it carefully both with regards to legalism and to license; relates it to the controversies of the day; and speaks extensively as to the giving and taking of offense.

    As a teaser, I want to highlight a couple of sentences:

    “I know,” says Paul, “that there is nothing unclean of itself,” (by unclean meaning unholy); “but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean,” (Rom. 14:14). By these words he makes all external things subject to our liberty, provided the nature of that liberty approves itself to our minds as before God. But if any superstitious idea suggests scruples, those things which in their own nature were pure are to us contaminated.

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  173. At first tired blush Jeff, I don’t disagree with anything you have said in these last two comments.

    All I care about is the truth sdb. I will believe whatever that is no matter who or what it makes me wrong about. I have abandoned many erroneous views over the past three decades to arrive where I am now.

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  174. But, Greg, your biblicism is showing. You do realize everyone approaches the text of truth with a pre-conceived grid, right? That’s Reformed hermeneutics 101. To say you’re just interested in the truth sounds pious, but it’s to suggest that all someone needs to do is put truth in front of you and you’ll have no problem receiving it, which might even prompt some to say your grasp of just what the human condition is in light of abiding sin is and what it does is sorely lacking, despite your explicit attempts to assure everyone otherwise. We get it, you see all manner sin in the big bad world all around (and you hyperventilate about it), but you often don’t realize how your own words unwittingly reveal you really don’t understand it very well.

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  175. SDB,

    Leading family devotions is not theology and doesn’t make one a theologian.

    I see your point, and perhaps it is better to say that when one leads family devotions, one is doing the work of a theologian. Unless, of course, you are simply reading the Scriptures and catechism and not having any discussion or explanation. The second you start answering your kid’s questions about God, how one text relates to another, etc., you are doing the work of a theologian.

    When I fix a leaky faucet in my home, I am doing the work of a plumber or I am doing plumbing work. Does that make me a professional or expert? Not in the least. You don’t want me repiping your whole house. But nevertheless, I am dong the work of a plumber.

    There’s the Professional Theologian who writes books, gets paid to teach, etc. And then there is the father who is the amateur theologian who is doing his best to teach his family the truths of God. Apply that to a host of other things. You can’t so sharply bifurcate vocational tasks.

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  176. Morning Zrim – Interesting or should I say sheesh ..brings to mind maybe another ‘R’ 2k distinctive -liberally invoking the charge of and and making accusation using the term ‘ biblicism’, whatever is meant by that.

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  177. ali, how long have you been here and you don’t know what biblicism is?

    It’s using the Bible for all truth and it’s a violation of the sufficiency of Scripture. Biblicists wind up reading into the Bible their own convictions or priorities. You may also want to look in the mirror.

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  178. Ali, it’s pretty standard for Reformed to oppose biblicism so it should be no surprise it’s detected as a problem on the part of those claiming Reformed at a Reformed site. So, yes, I suppose it is a R(egular)2k distinctive.

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  179. oh, forgive me DG, I was under the impression there was some amount of debate about what it really was, just like there seems to be ever continuing debate about what the ‘R’ of R2k really is, and of course more e.g.s, continuing debate about what certainty really is, and speaking of ‘is’ ,reminded some even debate what ‘is’ is…..

    … all that meaning to say you, saying ‘you don’t know’ and ‘mirrors’, reminds me how we all do see in a mirror dimly, knowing in part for now; however but now knowing faith, hope, love abide but the greatest of these is love. (1 Cor 13:12-13) –meaning, I think, those are not to be dimly seen? thinking that to be fitting in with the new covenant writing on our hearts?

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  180. Sentence structure, grammar, and punctuation are fruits of the spirit inasmuch as they evince love for the brethren. #AliAntinomian #brutal

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  181. REALLY Zrim?
    ======================================
    “It’s using the Bible for all truth and it’s a violation of the sufficiency of Scripture. Biblicists wind up reading into the Bible their own convictions or priorities. You may also want to look in the mirror.”
    Ali, you’ll note that nothing you’ve ever seen me say leaves me vulnerable to this charge. I could copy and paste 36 inches of text from this very site where I have demonstrated this.

    This is what happens when idolators attempt to strip the bible of it’s authority in areas that expose their idols. They throw around canned accusations with the exegetical and expositional and historical force of a cottonball from a slingshot.
    =====================================

    I will slightly revise and re-post this for sdb, Zrim (and by extension Robert:)
    ——————————————————————
    And here goes Zrim again with an eye popping confusion of categories.
    The confusion (and conflation) of categories is another of the devil’s incredibly effective modern deceptions. All across the spectrum of life. Here’s another example.

    Think with me please Steve. Theology and philosophy (and ethics) deal with eternal, foundational, axiomatic issues of existence and life under the living God. In other words, the epistemological level of life. Follow me now please. Information technology and record keeping [and plumbing] are temporal, individual aspects and activities of life that are once again, in no way analogous to theology, philosophy and ethics, as you are trying to make them.

    In short, most people are not IT folks or record keepers [or plumbers]. Now watch this please. EVERYbody is created in the image of God, must think to live, and are ethically bound to think and live according to His law. Did ya see that? One category applies to only some people at the formal (and temporal) level and the other applies to ALL people at the epistemological/ontological (and eternal) level.

    One need not be a plumber or even do amateur plumbing. Because “plumber” is not what he IS by created definition.

    Man, that is, the pinnacle of God’s creation, and the only part that bears His direct image and likeness, IS What he IS by definition. He IS man. His very ontology denies him the ability to remain conscious while avoiding theology, philosophy and ethics. God Himself has sen to it.

    Most of human history has been completely devoid of what we call “plumbing” and hence “plumbERS” as well.

    Theology, philosophy and ethics ARE what man IS. Plumbing is not. How is it possible for the clearly intelligent folks around here not to see that?

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  182. Theology and philosophy (and ethics) deal with eternal, foundational, axiomatic issues of existence and life under the living God. In other words, the epistemological level of life.

    “Epistemological level of life” is a meaningless string of words. Epistemology is a subfield of philosophy that looks into the nature of knowledge – including its limits and the methods that produce reliable knowledge. There is no “level of life” that is characterized by this aim. Further, most philosophy is decidedly not axiomatic nor is theology done well. It is revealed in narrative form. Much of theology and philosophy is a rejection of foundationalism. Many (most?) issues that philosophers deal with are decidedly not eternal (though perhaps that is my bias towards philosophy of science).

    Information technology and record keeping [and plumbing] are temporal, individual aspects and activities of life that are once again, in no way analogous to theology, philosophy and ethics, as you are trying to make them.

    The fact that arts are temporal does not make theology, philosophy, or ethics non-analogous. Indeed, much of what these fields deal with is in fact temporal.

    In short, most people are not IT folks or record keepers [or plumbers]. Now watch this please. EVERYbody is created in the image of God, must think to live, and are ethically bound to think and live according to His law. Did ya see that? One category applies to only some people at the formal (and temporal) level and the other applies to ALL people at the epistemological/ontological (and eternal) level.

    The fact that one is made in the image of God, must think, and are called to live according to God’s law does not make one a theologian, philosopher, or ethicist.

    One need not be a plumber or even do amateur plumbing. Because “plumber” is not what he IS by created definition.

    “Created definition”? Do you mean that being a plumber is not essential to human identity? If so, agreed.

    Man, that is, the pinnacle of God’s creation, and the only part that bears His direct image and likeness, IS What he IS by definition. He IS man.

    He can be a lot of things. I think what you are trying to get at is that there are certain characteristics which are essential to his being and others that are accidental. I can be a man without being a Father. I am by very nature an image bearer of God.

    His very ontology denies him the ability to remain conscious while avoiding theology, philosophy and ethics. God Himself has seen to it.

    This is false. These are systematic fields of inquiry. If you aren’t pursuing a systematic study of the nature of God, you aren’t doing theology. If you aren’t pursuing a systematic study of the nature of reality, you aren’t doing philosophy. Same with ethics. Most people never do (and frankly lack the aptitude to do) these things.

    Theology, philosophy and ethics ARE what man IS. Plumbing is not.

    Because you are butchering the english language. Man is not the systematic study of the nature of God, the systematic study of reality, or the systematic study of right behavior. Redefining these words to fit your ideology does not bring clarity.

    Thinking about what you heard in a sermon last week does not make one a religious historian whatever the etymology of those words may suggest. The fact that God acted in history, we have a history, and we necessarily think about things in the past does not imply that history is what man is.

    How is it possible for the clearly intelligent folks around here not to see that?

    One possibility you might consider is that you are simply wrong.

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  183. GtG: Theology, philosophy and ethics ARE what man IS.

    I disagree, along the lines of sdb’s comments. If philosophy is what man IS, then why does Genesis look so different from Aristotle? Why does God make a covenant with Abraham instead of a promise to provide free university education for all of his offspring?

    There’s something in your formulation that places a priority in the rarified life of the mind, which Scripture does not require or encourage.

    Could it be that philosophy and theology and ethics are human systems that try to describe what people do? There is a phrase: “The map is not the territory.”

    The territory is believing the creed; the map is the theology of the Trinity.

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  184. @sdb
    Man IS the image and likeness God. A theological being. He has no choice.

    As the image and likeness of God, man IS a logical thinker. A philosophical being. He has no choice.

    As a child of Adam, man IS a covenant breaker.(or in Christ, a covenant keeper) An ethical being. He has no choice.

    No other category of existence or life can be added to this list. Man is not anything else in the same way, on the same level as he is any one of these three. Or especially the three together, which inescapably operate as a systemic whole. A “worldview.” He CANNOT make it be otherwise no matter how hard he tries like you guys do.

    A man’s epistemology is that unprovable intellectual foundation from which he seeks to prove all else. Even when declaring that nothing, including His God can be certain. Epistemology, from man’s perspective, just is, because God has designed him and his environment to exist and function theologically, philosophically and ethically. He has no choice.

    At all times and everywhere.

    A grain of sand is a theological object because God called it into existence from nothing.

    A grain of sand is a philosophical object because it cannot even be comprehended, to say nothing of analyzed, without logic.

    A grain of sand is an ethical object because the denial or affirmation of it’s creation by God, is either sin or righteousness respectively.

    At the level of epistemology, the unchangeable first principle that explains, defines and governs everything else, all men, women and children ARE theological, philosophical and ethical beings. They have no choice. At that level, even a grain of sand, while neutral in itself (in it’s bare form, that is, the formal level), IS a theologically, philosophically and ethically charged object.

    I am genuinely assuming my own shortcoming in explaining what I mean, at least to this group, and trying to improve.

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  185. Greg, you make my eyes glaze over. If we’re going to go with biblical categories, the imago dei is best understood not in an ontological way but in the offices that the first and second adam’s inhabited, prophet, priest and king. These offices were all in service of the cult and creation before the fall, BUT THE FALL happened and cult and culture are split apart. Thus, the exhortations to be holy(separate). Aristotelian first principles are interesting and useful but they aren’t the ontology. Theological categories are body and soul and the offices mentioned. It’s not that you’re denying that necessarily and you aren’t unique in your descriptions but I hear Rome’s substituting of philosophical categories for biblical categories(not Biblicism alert) and all sorts of neo-cals make these same moves. This study of ontology in the abstract is what raises red flags when you want to assume imago dei. If we’re going imago dei(Christian) than we’re subject to holy writ. Antithesis and neutrality are all interesting but don’t address the specificity you see in something like Rom. 3 where antithesis is brought to bear specifically on religious practice and rebellion or John’s anti-Christ developments. When you start breaking out the antithesis into general ethical considerations or acovenantal imago dei applications, such that we’re creating religious antithesis in objective(not subjective), vocational, common grace(postlapsarian) engagements now you’re relying more upon philosophical categories to further your point and trying to make scripture speak where it hasn’t or where it’s presumed a different particular historical context than the attempted application. Anyway, much more can be said but two cents and all.

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  186. Man IS the image and likeness God.

    No. The scriptures say that we are created in his image and bear his likeness. We are not the image and the likeness of God.

    A theological being. He has no choice.

    So you’ve said. This is false.

    As the image and likeness of God, man IS a logical thinker. A philosophical being. He has no choice.

    Perhaps you mean that man is rational as a result of being made in the image of God. Presumably angels are rational beings as well even though they are not made in God’s image. But whatever, the case, it does not follow that because one is rational (or a logical thinker) that on is a philosophical being. Philosophy is not merely rational thought. Philosophy is the systematic study of the nature of reality. Redefining philosophical to mean rational is a butchery of the English language and decidedly unhelpful.

    As a child of Adam, man IS a covenant breaker.(or in Christ, a covenant keeper) An ethical being. He has no choice.

    To be capable of sin does not entail that one is an ethicist.

    No other category of existence or life can be added to this list. Man is not anything else in the same way, on the same level as he is any one of these three. Or especially the three together, which inescapably operate as a systemic whole. A “worldview.” He CANNOT make it be otherwise no matter how hard he tries like you guys do.

    Well we’ve established that man is not a theological, philosophical, or ethical being. We agree that man is created in the image of God, is capable of rational thought, and is capable of sinning. Further, even if allow that one must hold beliefs that could be characterized as theological, philosophical, and ethical, it does not follow that these beliefs necessarily form a single coherent worldview though which all of reality is interpreted. Nor does it entail that one’s interpretation(s) of reality are built from theological, philosophical, or ethical reflection. We are also instinctual, emotional, and cultural beings. Indeed, these have a far stronger influence on our beliefs and behaviors than theology, philosophy, and ethics. We do what we do because of custom, conditioning, and training. Whether one *should* do that or not is a different question.

    A man’s epistemology is that unprovable intellectual foundation from which he seeks to prove all else.

    There are lot of epistemic theories out there some of which explicitly reject this sort of classic foundationalism.

    Even when declaring that nothing, including His God can be certain.

    That’s a curious statement. Who would argue that God cannot be certain. Perhaps you mean to say that one’s knowledge of God cannot be certain. I would affirm that. There’s a reason that some day faith and hope won’t be necessary any more.

    Epistemology, from man’s perspective, just is, because God has designed him and his environment to exist and function theologically, philosophically and ethically. He has no choice. At all times and everywhere.

    Epistemology is the systematic study of the nature of knowledge. So let’s rewrite your sentence reflecting that, “The systematic study of the nature of knowledge, from man’s perspective, just is, because God has designed him and his environment to exist and function theologically, philosophically, and ethically.” This is obviously false.

    A grain of sand is a theological object because God called it into existence from nothing. A grain of sand is a philosophical object because it cannot even be comprehended, to say nothing of analyzed, without logic. A grain of sand is an ethical object because the denial or affirmation of it’s creation by God, is either sin or righteousness respectively.

    Greg, this is nonsense. The being of an object is independent of my apprehension of it.

    At the level of epistemology, the unchangeable first principle that explains, defines and governs everything else, all men, women and children ARE theological, philosophical and ethical beings.They have no choice.

    Do you mean that the “unchangeable first principle that explains everything else [is that everyone is a] theological, philosophical, and ethical being? If so, perhaps you can explain how this principle explains Schwarzschild radius? More to the point how do you handle the challenges posed to foundationalism summarized by folks like Alistair McGrath and Alvin Plantinga? If foundationalism falls, what does that do to the utility of your unchangeable first principle that purported explains everything?

    At that level, even a grain of sand, while neutral in itself (in it’s bare form, that is, the formal level), IS a theologically, philosophically and ethically charged object.

    So we have gone from being a tpe object to being a tpe charged object. What’s the difference?

    I am genuinely assuming my own shortcoming in explaining what I mean, at least to this group, and trying to improve.

    Greg, I assume you mean well and that you are a swell guy who loves the Lord. I also assume that you really believe you are onto something meaningful here. I’m not playing games with you nor am I offended by anything you’ve written here (accuse me of defending pornography and perhaps that’ll be a different story). The reason I engage you is two fold – I hope to learn something and I think you’ve stumbled into a pretty serious error. When anyone falls in love with their theory (framework, ideology, paradigm – whatever you want to call it) it is easy to get trapped forcing facts to fit the theory. We are all prone to it. That’s why it is so helpful engaging those who will challenge you at a fundamental level. In face-to-face life, folks are often too polite (or timid) to really challenge someone (anonymous referee reports and panel reviews are far harsher than any questions I’ve ever been asked at a conference!). This tendency is especially dangerous to autodidacts. Really smart people go way off the rails because they don’t have anyone to tell them they are wrong. The systems we have in place aren’t perfect in academia, but they are helpful. The amateur scientist with their own version of cosmology, the amateur historian with her own story of America’s founding, or the amateur philosopher with his own definition of what theology and philosophy are not wrong because they are amateurs,but they are more prone to falling into the trap of cranks everywhere.

    I’m certainly no theologian or philosopher, so I am happy to be corrected by any pros who may be lurking, but I know enough to be dangerous and enough to know you are wrong here. Instead of restating your position, it may be helpful to try and reformulate it. Perhaps try to justify your idiosyncratic definitions for example.

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  187. SEAN this was the best dialog you have ever given me. It will require significant thought and time to respond to. This was the guy I was looking for a long time ago. Some real challenge in here. I appreciate that. Truly.
    ================================================
    sdb likewise. I didn’t even get to Jeff yet, but my last response to you, does largely address him as well. Between you and sean now, I have a project on my hands.

    “…it may be helpful to try and reformulate … your idiosyncratic definitions…”
    This may wind up being very helpful indeed. To be honest, most of the conversations I have like this, are with people who don’t have your guy’s background, so using the definitions the way I do is not inhibited by their preexisting ones.

    Certainly, it would be the height of arrogance to expect you to change your definitions to accommodate mine. Yours are the widely accepted ones. I’m speaking generally here. I’m not conceding this across the board, but I am owning that the burden is more on myself than you to close this communication gap.

    My thoughts are not surviving the interpretative framework of your minds. What I’m sending is not what’s being received. I can tell this, because the responses are rarely even close to addressing what I have thought I said. I am being completely honest when I say that I have seen no serious threat to what I’m actually trying to say. The problem is in knowing how to say it to people like hang around this blog.

    I’m not sure how to proceed, but I’m sure there’s an answer.

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  188. @ Tiribulus:

    Fair enough. While you’re contemplating, consider this:

    If the use of logic makes one a philosopher, what to make of the fact that computers use logic at a far lower error rate than humans.

    Imago dei? Nah.

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  189. @jeff So no transitive property of imago… man is creared in the image of God, AI in the image of man, therefore…. ha!

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  190. Tiribulus says: Man IS the image and likeness God. A theological being. a logical thinker. a covenant breaker.
    Letmesplainsean says: If we’re going to go with biblical categories, the imago dei is best understood not in an ontological way but in the offices that the first and second adam’s inhabited, prophet, priest and king.
    Jeff Cagle says:what to make of the fact that computers use logic at a far lower error rate than humans. Imago dei? Nah. sdb says:@jeff So no transitive property of imago… man is creared in the image of God, AI in the image of man, therefore…. ha!

    part of my reading this am – this: 1 Peter 3:8 To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit;…

    brings to mind ( following along and learning here), can we at least do ‘some summing up, in harmony’, and say being made in God’s image is humbling and a privilege, special to God as well (Gen 9:6) and In His image, at least, we have minds – that think, reason, rationalize; make choices, have and use conscience; and we are relational – we can love (hate); have compassion, have relationships, have unity

    Also, this, sdb says: Perhaps you mean to say that one’s knowledge of God cannot be certain. I would affirm that. There’s a reason that some day faith and hope won’t be necessary any more.

    Isn’t faith the assurance of things hoped for, sdb. Your statement sounds like Cletus and his ‘unsure’ salvation, so could you explain?

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  191. Jeff, which may explain why Greg and The Bryan both sound like Hal 2000: “Nothing-you-have-said-refutes-anything-I have-said.”

    Greg, sorry for the evil entertainment industry reference but you know what they say about shoes and their fitting.

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  192. Isn’t faith the assurance of things hoped for, sdb. Your statement sounds like Cletus and his ‘unsure’ salvation, so could you explain?

    Assurance is not the same thing as certainty. One can be confident and assured that something is true and have that something be wrong. On the other hand, there are some things we know that it doesn’t make any sense to apply the label “hope” to. For example, I’m not hopeful that A and ~A cannot be simultaneously true. The epistemic status of a necessary truth is different from a truth inferred by induction or one inferred from revelation. Additionally, the epistemic status of the resurrection is different on this side of it than on the other side. I am hopeful for the resurrection and have faith that Christ will come again. I am very sure that is true. Indeed, I doubt it at all. The fact that I don’t doubt it and am very sure is not sufficient to establish that I can’t be wrong. I just don’t have any reason to be believe I am wrong about this. On the other hand, it hasn’t happened yet. But once he returns, I won’t need hope or faith any more (love is a something else though isn’t it). The reason is that we will see him face to face. That implies the epistemic status of that which we hope for and that which we see face to face are not the same thing. We aren’t Thomas – we don’t get to put our hands in his wounds on this side of glory. The resurrection of our Savior had a different epistemic status for Thomas than it does for us (not saying better or worse, only different).

    Now this is not to imply that knowledge of His resurrection or our hope for the final resurrection is in the same class of the hope I have that I turned off the water sprinkler this morning. The Holy Spirit testifies to our spirit that these things are true (unlike say the sprinkler). On the other hand, we know that people can be deluded – believing that they are in when they aren’t. And of course, it is possible that we are deluded somehow. I doubt that, but again that possibility is necessary unless there is no epistemic change that happens pre and post resurrection.

    Sorry for the stream of consciousness response. I’m sure this needs to be qualified and clarified, but that’s a thumbnail sketch of where I’m coming from anyway…

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  193. Never apologize for stream of consciousness responses unless you’re no good at it, then, stop it. But, I’ve weighed it and determined that it’s ok. For now. I’ll be making ongoing judgements as this thread goes forward. Hey, I like this role. It fits right in with irrational self-confidence and just doing something even if it’s wrong. Two principles or state/s of mind to live by. My scripture paraphrase-justification: “As a man thinks within himself so he is”. Amen.

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  194. Jeff says: “If the use of logic makes one a philosopher, what to make of the fact that computers use logic at a far lower error rate than humans.

    Imago dei? Nah”
    The mere use of logic alone is not what makes man a philosopher Jeff. Existing as a logical philosophical being by design is what makes him (her too) a philosopher.

    Also, machines are not sentient beings and never can be, no matter what the Sci-Fi fantasizers might tell us. They are in the end, a reconfiguration of the lower creation and while subject to theology, cannot themselves do it.

    Unlike man, machines are also not morally accountable agents due to their status in relation to divine covenant, which also aligns with my last point. (I believe Ali said that)

    Most importantly though, is the fact that God Himself declares man, and man alone as bearing His image and likeness. It doesn’t take that much to deduce the things that that means.
    ====================================================
    SDB’S VIEW is pretty much where I still was minutes after my first time through “The Defense of the Faith.” (the pictured edition)

    I finished it, and had a literal strained wince on my face as I pondered what I’d just read for a good while. I picked it up and started over. It was like I could smell a sumptuous feast on the other side of a wall with a door I couldn’t find.

    I don’t remember the exact quote of what I was reading at the time,(1988) but the second time through the shade went up and the light came flooding in. I felt like an idiot for it even having to have been pointed out to me. I actually chuckled out loud: “of course. How could it possibly be otherwise?” I understood the Godhood of God like never before. I’m not being over dramatic. It was kinda like becoming aware of your own eyelids for the first time. The preeminent intellectual exaltation of the God of WCF I, II and III had been sitting there in every last syllable of scripture all along. In fact He was MORE obvious than my eyelids. As is also the case for every sinner as well.

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  195. Thanks sdb. I think I know what you are saying, and yet here‘s where I start :
    God is not pleased if we have doubt and doesn’t want us to have doubt, therefore, He explains and makes possible how we can be certain/assured.
    God tells us what does not please Him: 1)one without faith and 2)one who operates in the flesh; from that I surmise …
    The human logic you are using that keeps you short of the assurance He wants for us = fleshy or human wisdom= not pleasing to Him
    Thoughts?

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  196. Let’s start with this Sean:
    Sean says: “If we’re going to go with biblical categories, the imago dei is best understood not in an ontological way but in the offices that the first and second Adam’s inhabited, prophet, priest and king.”
    I deny this. I’m not saying that the categories of office are invalid, but I am denying that they constitute the the sum of the Imago Dei. I say that the ontological categories are required for man to fulfill the official ones.

    Your formulation Sean is more popular in the new perspective camp than in the historic reformed one. Though Calvin cites Chrysostom disapprovingly as holding a similar view. Calvin agrees with me. (or I with him actually)

    It’s what man IS that equips and qualifies him for his commissioned offices, that is, what he DOES. (or was commanded to do) As created, a chimpanzee cannot do this, even if handed the offices and commanded to. Indeed, as created, a chimpanzee is ontologically incapable of even comprehending what an “office” is. To say nothing of the capability for holiness or majesty also require to be a prophet, priest or king.

    What if we hammer that out before getting to my vehement denials that this is an Aristotelian/Thomistic construct?

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  197. Greg, I don’t know about hammering anything out. I do know the Imago dei conversations I’ve been involved in that centered around trying to identify the ontological(nature of being) similarities between us and God quickly run into trouble with the vastness of disparity between our created being and God’s eternal being. The much safer route I’ve seen is the federal head(covenanted existence, actually covenant as intrinsic to man’s creation, not a later superimposed(not native) contrivance. This would be the import of sabbatical enthronement -Gen and Heb 3 or 4) We were created in covenant with God and that created order is best understood in Paul’s 1st and 2nd adam federal head construct with the 1st adam failing in his covenanted offices but the 2nd adam succeeding in those same offices, thus the need for the 2nd Adam to be “born under the law”. As has been pointed out, there are other rational beings created but without sabbatical enthronement, as well as other lesser creatures(without souls capable of heavenly aspirations). I give as my defense of such a consideration Chapter 8 of the WCF, which says more than what I’ve asserted but doesn’t say less.

    Chapter VIII

    Of Christ the Mediator

    I. It pleased God, in His eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, His only begotten Son, to be the Mediator between God and man,[1] the Prophet,[2] Priest,[3] and King,[4] the Head and Savior of His Church,[5] the Heir of all things,[6] and Judge of the world:[7] unto whom He did from all eternity give a people, to be His seed,[8] and to be by Him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified.[9]

    II. The Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, being very and eternal God, of one substance and equal with the Father, did, when the fullness of time was come, take upon Him man’s nature,[10] with all the essential properties, and common infirmities thereof, yet without sin;[11] being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the virgin Mary, of her substance.[12] So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion.[13] Which person is very God, and very man, yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and man.[14]

    III. The Lord Jesus, in His human nature thus united to the divine, was sanctified, and anointed with the Holy Spirit, above measure,[15] having in Him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge;[16] in whom it pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell;[17] to the end that, being holy, harmless, undefiled, and full of grace and truth,[18] He might be thoroughly furnished to execute the office of a Mediator and Surety.[19] Which office He took not unto Himself, but was thereunto called by His Father,[20] who put all power and judgment into His hand, and gave Him commandment to execute the same.[21]

    IV. This office the Lord Jesus did most willingly undertake;[22] which that He might discharge, He was made under the law,[23] and did perfectly fulfil it;[24] endured most grievous torments immediately in His soul,[25] and most painful sufferings in His body;[26] was crucified, and died,[27] was buried, and remained under the power of death, yet saw no corruption.[28] On the third day He arose from the dead,[29] with the same body in which He suffered,[30] with which also he ascended into heaven, and there sits at the right hand of His Father,[31] making intercession,[32] and shall return, to judge men and angels, at the end of the world.[33]

    V. The Lord Jesus, by His perfect obedience, and sacrifice of Himself, which He through the eternal Spirit, once offered up unto God, has fully satisfied the justice of His Father;[34] and purchased, not only reconciliation, but an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, for those whom the Father has given unto Him.[35]

    VI. Although the work of redemption was not actually wrought by Christ till after His incarnation, yet the virtue, efficacy, and benefits thereof were communicated unto the elect, in all ages successively from the beginning of the world, in and by those promises, types, and sacrifices, wherein He was revealed, and signified to be the seed of the woman which should bruise the serpent’s head; and the Lamb slain from the beginning of the world; being yesterday and today the same, and forever.[36]

    VII. Christ, in the work of mediation, acts according to both natures, by each nature doing that which is proper to itself;[37] yet, by reason of the unity of the person, that which is proper to one nature is sometimes in Scripture attributed to the person denominated by the other nature.[38]

    VIII. To all those for whom Christ has purchased redemption, He does certainly and effectually apply and communicate the same;[39] making intercession for them,[40] and revealing unto them, in and by the word, the mysteries of salvation;[41] effectually persuading them by His Spirit to believe and obey, and governing their hearts by His word and Spirit;[42] overcoming all their enemies by His almighty power and wisdom, in such manner, and ways, as are most consonant to His wonderful and unsearchable dispensation.[43]

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  198. Sean says: ” …the Imago dei conversations I’ve been involved in that centered around trying to identify the ontological(nature of being) similarities between us and God quickly run into trouble with the vastness of disparity between our created being and God’s eternal being….”
    You won’t have that problem with me.

    Sean says: “…the federal head(covenanted existence, actually covenant as intrinsic to man’s creation, not a later superimposed(not native) contrivance.”
    I agree. Wholeheartedly.

    Sean says”This would be the import of sabbatical enthronement -Gen and Heb 3 or 4)”
    Offhand I don’t think i have a problem here, but if this is important to your points, a bit more precision would be helpful.

    Sean says: “We were created in covenant with God and that [covenanted] created order is… understood in Paul’s 1st and 2nd Adam federal head construct with the 1st Adam failing in his covenanted offices but the 2nd Adam succeeding in those same offices,…”
    Absolutely. However, I say that this innate covenant relational component of the divine image and likeness is made possible by the component of the divine image and likeness present in man’s being and nature.

    No other of God’s creatures is either declared to bear His image and likeness, or reported to be in independent covenant with Him. The rest of creation, indeed, all the rest, is in covenant with God through the Adams. (Romans 8)

    Sean says: “thus the need for the 2nd Adam to be “born under the law. “
    Yep.

    Sean says: “As has been pointed out, there are other rational beings created but without sabbatical enthronement, as well as other lesser creatures(without souls capable of heavenly aspirations).”
    Now you’re losin me. I promise you my goal is not simply to be right and make you wrong. Before I go any further or address the magnificent VIII-th chapter of the confession, I really want to understand you. Can you please further elucidate sabbatical enthronement and these lesser soul-less, but rational, heavenly aspiring creatures? I honestly don’t know what you’re referring to.

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  199. It has been brought to my attention Sean that I may have grievously misunderstood you on the nature of these lesser beings. I see my friend’s point. If so, I apologize, but will welcome any clarification you may deem useful.

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  200. @Ali

    Thanks sdb. I think I know what you are saying, and yet here‘s where I start :
    God is not pleased if we have doubt and doesn’t want us to have doubt, therefore, He explains and makes possible how we can be certain/assured. God tells us what does not please Him: 1)one without faith and 2)one who operates in the flesh; from that I surmise … The human logic you are using that keeps you short of the assurance He wants for us = fleshy or human wisdom= not pleasing to Him
    Thoughts?

    The classic text on doubt is found in the NT Wisdom literature – the epistle of James. The letter really is a NT version of Proverbs, and it is helpful to think about what James has to tell us in his sermons here. The two texts that are most relevant to our discussion are James 1:5-8 and James 3:18

    If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

    The text here does not have in mind epistemic status. Rather it is describing what the cool kids might call authenticity these days. The word for doubt here is diakrinomai which means to now how to decide between alternative interpretations (Mt. 16:3), discuss the relative merits of two points of view (Acts 11:2, or be hesitant to decide on some matter (Rm 14:23). Here the idea is one of allegiance – you are of two minds on something (i.e., uncommitted). We get this from the reference to the dipsychos (or two-faced). Think of Jesus’s warning that one can’t serve two masters. Again, the issue here is epistemic certainty, it is commitment. We see this in James 3:

    But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial [without uncertainty] and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

    The ESV translates this impartial, but many translations translate the text “without uncertainty”. It has the same idea of commitment.

    This is important – the issue here is loyalty to a person. You can be wrong about a person, you can err, you can lose heart. Indeed, apart from God’s grace, we would! But you would never say that I am loyal to my belief about my eyelids. Or I will believe in my eyelids no matter what. If you heard someone talking like that at a party, you’d start backing away slowly and looking for the nearest exit! We have assurance given to us by the work of the Holy Spirt. This requires faith and hope because we don’t see clearly, and we need the admonishing, encouragement, etc… that fills the NT letters because we don’t get to see like Thomas did. The fact that we do not have the same epistemic status as Thomas (or the others who were with Christ when ascended) does not mean that we doubt. But it does mean that the epistemic status of our belief that we have eyelids is different than the epistemic status that we will rise again with him. This is not a lack of assurance, it is the recognition of the need of trust (a sort of trust we don’t need for lots of other knowledge).

    That’s why I find the slogans like “I’m more sure of God’s existence/my salvation/the resurrection of the dead than the existence of my left hand/eyelids/chair I’m sitting in” so problematic. They simply aren’t true. No one stops believing in the existence of their eyelids, but lots of people cease to believe in God. The difference is a moral difference, not an epistemic difference. This is why Jesus tells Thomas, ““Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” The issue isn’t epistemic quality, rather it is fidelity or loyalty. Of course, that loyalty brings with it assurance as one perseveres through life. That is not necessarily an epistemic quality – even the mature believer can go through those “dark nights of the soul”. I don’t think we do that with our belief in eyelids. In other words. These are very different things and it is not helpful to convolve them.

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  201. Greg, sabbatical enthronement is the very imitation of God. Just as God rested(finished, reigned over his work) so, we were to share the same end, though as a lesser vassal(if you will). That’s what it means in an ultimate way to be made in the image of God, to be sharers, co-heirs in his eternal enthronement, which we now have access to as co-heirs with Christ(Heb 4). So, yes, this is the ‘substance of what it means to be made in the image of God. It’s a covenantal enshrinement devoid of speculation of ontological similarity of parts, pieces or substance. Scripture tells us we are a dichotomy-body and soul, but God is only spirit but now Jesus has a body but a resurrected body. How to precisely parse that all out is beyond my capacity(I mean I can read a book and do it after a fashion but that doesn’t mean I understand it in detail). However, I do understand the idea of federal headship and offices undertaken. And that seems to be where scripture and the confession focus it’s attention. As regards other creatures, in short, they aren’t promised that same end, that same shared enthronement, a heavenly aspiration.

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  202. thank you sdb, and amen, to: Jesus: Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” (John 20: 29);
    blessed, in a way, seems like such an understatement! -For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;. Eph 2:8

    Letmesplainsean says: the much safer route

    It’s safer not say what God says?
    If God exhorts, everywhere, things like: be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit then, we must be -are – God image-bearers in ways of the mind and heart ?

    Chapter IV Of Creation II. After God had made all other creatures, He created man, male and female, with reasonable and immortal souls, endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, after His own image; having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfil it; and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject unto change.

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  203. Aw man, now ALI went n ripped me off 😀
    ===============================================
    I’m sorry Sean. some stuff has come up and I’m not gong to be able to respond tonight. However, I need a link or something to explain this further still. I will get to it. I appreciate your conversation.
    Let’s try sabbatarian enthronement. Though I could get behind the sabbatical type as well. I blame presbytery.
    I’m not getting how Sabbath rest, while certainly a biblical teaching translates into the virtual whole of the imago dei . The confession even points to intellect and moral agency as making up the image of God in man as Ali points out. She got ahead of me, but that’s cool 🙂

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  204. …and, sdb, after reading this am about the ‘green light’ for the ‘beatification’ of 38 Albanian martyrs, thinking we should probably clarify that the ‘blessed’ discussion above relates to GOD Himself blessing us, rather than any vain imagination that man’s work approves a category of people called “The Blessed”.

    “There are at present two ways in which the Church allows public worship to be paid those who have lived in the fame of sanctity or died as martyrs. Of these some are beatified, others are canonized.” http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02597b.htm

    Jesus: Romans 4:. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: 7 “BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN, AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED.8 “BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT.”

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  205. “blessed, in a way, seems like such an understatement!”
    Probably because we use it way to casually. Curious that the old english word from which are word “bless” derives is their word for blood – it meant to mark with blood or make bloody. Of course, contemporary usage has strayed pretty far from this, but I think it helps us recalibrate what the biblical text has in mind. The general connotation in modern usage is something akin to “I got lucky”, ” I was fortunate”, “Yay for me”, etc… This of course is not what the writes of scripture had in mind. To be blessed is to receive God’s favor. Certainly not an understatement! Though I can see how it would seem otherwise given alternative usages of the word.

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  206. Greg, moral agency, intellect are all capacities performed in service to the offices covenanted. The disconnect we all suffer is the fall. We all ultimately are looking for resolution of the tension that has occurred because of sin and the subsequent deleterious outcomes along with the curse. Imago dei is an state of being in search of an ultimate blessing/success/crowning-Sabbatarian/Seventh day enthronement. When we unhinge imago dei considerations from this ultimate eschatological reality and the covenanted context(prophet, priest, king), it becomes divorced from it’s divinely oriented, heavenly inspired and aspired end. So, we’re left with an ethics book with a bunch of horizontal considerations melted down into various formulations of law(mostly second table considerations) without any Christological center much less a heavenly hope-so, pharisaical legalism or mere moralism. This eschatological reality/hope is recovered in Christ and then born in us by faith and ‘lived’ in us in this interadvental period, primarily denoted, ethically and eschatologically, in our cultic engagement-church membership-Lord’s day participation-Word and sacrament. In this already/not yet state we have to resist all sorts of temptations, including worldview universals, that promise to resolve our pilgrim-tension state now(immanentizing the eschaton). There is a day coming, when Glory and final resolution comes to all Christ’s elect but now we wait in faith and hope and love.

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  207. thanks sdb.

    Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.

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  208. (a bit rushed, but I wanted get a response to you)
    Sean says: “Greg, moral agency, intellect are all capacities performed in service to the offices covenanted.”
    Yep. Could those services be performed without those uniquely human capacities?

    Sean says: “The disconnect we all suffer is the fall. We all ultimately are looking for resolution of the tension that has occurred because of sin and the subsequent deleterious outcomes along with the curse.”
    I’m gonna skip this for now. I’m just not certain I’d say this this way without knowing more fully what you mean by it.

    Sean says: “Imago dei is a state of being in search of an ultimate blessing/success/crowning-Sabbatarian/Seventh day enthronement.”
    Why is it impossible that this be the pragmatic component of an Imago dei that also includes the ontological components of inescapable God consciousness, high intellectual capacity and moral agency?

    Sean says: “When we unhinge imago dei considerations from this ultimate eschatological reality and the covenanted context(prophet, priest, king), it becomes divorced from it’s divinely oriented, heavenly inspired and aspired end.”
    I submit that my view does no such thing. It in fact accounts, and biblically so, for what makes man the object and subject of covenant and eschaton in the first place. Man needed to BE the Imago dei in order to function in it’s offices. No other creature CAN do this, even if so commanded and ordained, because it lacks the ontological components that make the functional, office bearing components possible.

    Sean says: “So, we’re left with an ethics book with a bunch of horizontal considerations melted down into various formulations of law(mostly second table considerations) without any Christological center much less a heavenly hope-so, pharisaical legalism or mere moralism.”
    Sean, I must respectfully further submit that this is 200 proof reductionism right here. How can you possibly dehydrate all that I’ve been saying on this page down to the immediately above? Even allowing for some communication issues, I doubt if even Darryl would go along with you on this. I’m actually enjoying your “company” so I don’t send this in a combative tone, but if forced, I will dedicate a comment to documenting the theo-centric, christo-centric nature of everything I’ve been saying.

    Sean says: “This eschatological reality/hope is recovered in Christ…”
    I don’t know if I’d characterize the eschaton in exactly the same way you do, but we’ll consider that secondary for now. Certainly it is focused and centered on Christ. that’s not my hesitation.

    Sean says: “…This eschatological reality/hope is recovered in Christ and then born in us by faith and ‘lived’ in us in this interadvental period, primarily denoted, ethically and eschatologically, in our cultic engagement-church membership-Lord’s day participation-Word and sacrament.”
    It’s not that this is untrue, it’s that it’s deficient. Our cultic engagement-church membership-Lord’s day participation-Word and sacrament is for the purpose of growing in us spiritual maturity so that we may faithfully follow and portray Christ before an eschatologically doomed world. Our cultic engagement-church membership-Lord’s day participation-Word and sacrament are merely the means by which we are equipped to live the other 167 hours as unto the Lord.

    Sean says: “In this already/not yet state we have to resist all sorts of temptations…,”
    Absolutely. Out of love for God and through His power.

    Sean says: “…including worldview universals,…”
    No No NOOOO. 😀 I’m not gonna let ya slip that in here. The God of WCF I, II, and III IS worldview universals. In that God alone, is where they can be found. To deny that is to inflict contingency into the Godhead, A direct contradiction of WCF II:II. Maybe we should concentrate on that for a while going forward.

    Sean says: “…worldview universals that promise to resolve our pilgrim-tension state now(immanentizing the eschaton).”
    Not for me. If, as I say, the God of WCF I, II, and II IS worldview universals(the epistemological ground of all thought), then it is no wishfully immanentizing of the eschaton to worship Him as such. The God of the eschaton is not different from the God of the interadvental period, or any other period for that matter. This is where our most foundational difference is. sdb touched on it above when addressing a proposed difference between the certainty of God Himself and our certainty of His certainty.

    Sean says: “There is a day coming, when Glory and final resolution comes to all Christ’s elect but now we wait in faith and hope and love.”
    AMEN!! I do believe however that you have grievously under-realized what the present age holds for those who love God and are called according to His purpose and that has nothing to do with general human flourishing or culture building.

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  209. Greg, apart from the obvious difference over reformed piety and practice(sabbitarianism for brevity’s sake), I’m not happy with the discussions I’ve been both a part of and read where we break out these ontological capacities from our covenanted context. Being a former RC, I’m sensitive to how this was done in that communion and acutely aware of being more Aristotelian at the end of the day than Christian. And it’s too late, I got the w-w universals jab in. And, yes, the manner in which God rules the cult and the common culture even now is different-1cor. 5 Think how much more that’s going to differ in glory. Holding everything else in suspense, they’ll be no more sin to deal with, no more death, no more faith and hope but reality instead. So much better. Paul says it’s incomparable. So, I’ll stay busy ‘under-realizing’ in this age, waiting on a better one.

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  210. Sean says: “I’m not happy with the discussions I’ve been both a part of and read where we break out these ontological capacities from our covenanted context.”
    Ok, but nobody is doing that. The larger catechism of course agrees with the confession.
    —————————————————–
    Question 17: How did God create man?

    Answer: After God had made all other creatures, he created man male and female; formed the body of the man of the dust of the ground, and the woman of the rib of the man, endued them with living, reasonable, and immortal souls; made them after his own image, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness; having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfill it, and dominion over the creatures; yet subject to fall.
    —————————————————–
    In here I see theology in the very life breath of man from God Himself and his having God’s law written on his heart. I see philosopher in his reason and knowledge and I see moral agent in his righteousness and holiness, yet subject to the fall. Theology, philosophy and ethics. There is, as you say, dominion over the creatures as well. At this point it does appear however, that mine is the more robust standard reformed view. Don’t take this as a jab Sean, but you must see that.

    Sean says: “Being a former RC, I’m sensitive to how this was done in that communion and acutely aware of being more Aristotelian at the end of the day than Christian.”
    I do hereby give you my solemn word of honor that you will not make this charge stick. No Van Tillian could possibly be an Aristotelian/Thomist. Aristotle and Aquinas were two of Van Til’s most prominent targets. There is good reason for that.

    Sean says: “And, yes, the manner in which God rules the cult and the common culture even now is different… So, I’ll stay busy ‘under-realizing’ in this age, waiting on a better one.”
    The following is a direct copy and paste quote of what I said:

    The GOD of the eschaton is not different from the God of the interadvental period, or any other period for that matter. “

    Please note that I did not say, as you would have me, that “the manner in which God rules” is not different. That would be a crass and clumsy denial of even progressive revelation. An egregiously sophomoric error I’m thankful to report being long past making. I said that GOD HIMSELF is not different, which is simply to declare His immutability.

    I was discussing His essential being, nature and character as so beautifully proclaimed in WCF I, II and III when I said that. My point was, that recognizing the present reality of worldview universals is not a rush to consummation because they are based on His His essential being, nature and character which do not change from age to age.

    The ontological image and likeness of God in man as theologian, philosopher and moral agent, and the offices of prophet priest and king, which depend on the ontological image in order to function, answer to the certainty and worldview universals provided by God’s own essential being, nature and character from which man originates.

    Forget who you’re talking to for a minute now. You honestly see no force or merit in what I’m saying here at all?

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  211. Greg, I’m not sure how your citing the LC is somehow a more robust understanding of the imago dei particulary when the ontological capacities you want to highlight have their meaning within a particular covenantal context, which you noted in the paragraph before. The points I’m trying to make with you, primarily at the 30k foot level, is that eschatology overarches all of biblical theology and that our union with Christ, including our subsequent piety and practice isn’t mediated to us through an all encompassing w-w but instead by mere faith in the Christ placarded to us in the preaching of the word and the administration of the sacraments. Our ontological capacities don’t ultimately ‘answer’ or find their satisfaction or end in the “certainty and worldview universals provided by God’s own essential being……..etc” but, instead, find their end in a resting, saving faith in the second adam. This is part of the humiliation of the word, if you will. Jews seek signs and greeks seek wisdom but we preach Christ. This is the ‘reformed’/biblical move away from the ways of the world and the ways of Rome, in this particular historical context. We preach foolishness in the eyes of the world. We placard Christ and the world declares, fool. I know there’s a sense of power and triumph and intellectual satisfaction in laying out sophisticated philosophical systems and polemical defenses but this isn’t how God has chosen to exhibit his power and his people.

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  212. Before we go any further Sean, let’s just make sure we’re clear on what you’re denying.
    You are denying that WSC 10, WLC 17 and WCF IV:II (not to mention Heidelberg 3 and 32, Belgic 14 and Dordt, 3rd and 4th – article 1) affirm any scriptural teaching of any ontological/essential component to the created image and likeness of God in man? I honestly want to make sure I’m hearing you correctly.
    =======================================
    Also, true worldview universals based upon God’s immutable being, nature and character are bound in and upon ALL image bearing creatures whether mediated in Christ or not. This is what accounts for common grace and provides those who ARE mediated in Christ with a common, but absolutely NOT neutral ground for evangelism. They are fellow image bearers and spend every minute of their lives suppressing that truth in their unrighteousness.

    They are subject to all the same worldview universals (natural revelation) we are. We’re supposed to be telling them that (in essence), not joining them in claiming they don’t exist. I had to make sure that wasn’t missed, but for now, if you would please answer the first part of this comment. I don’t want to misrepresent you.

    Are you saying that the image and likeness of God in man is official and covenantal only, and not in any way essential and ontological?

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  213. GtG:

    Good discussion, both of you.

    You are denying that WSC 10, WLC 17 and WCF IV:II (not to mention Heidelberg 3 and 32, Belgic 14 and Dordt, 3rd and 4th – article 1) affirm any scriptural teaching of any ontological/essential component to the created image and likeness of God in man? I honestly want to make sure I’m hearing you correctly.

    I’m hearing something different from Sean. Namely, that the ontological component on imago dei is very easy to over-read, so that we shoe-horn our philosophical priors (Aristotelian, van Tilian, whatever) into imago dei and then think we’re being Biblical about it.

    So the stance I perceive in Sean is one of caution, not denial.

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  214. Greg, I’m not denying anything. I’m trying to comprehend Imago dei in biblical categories. Jeff gives a helpful explanation of what I’m trying to avoid.
    I’m trying to ground imago dei considerations in God’s covenant dealings with man which includes pre and post lapsarian circumstances. So, even common grace is covenantally considered-the noahic covenant. Trying to ground or extrapolate the imago dei out from ontological considerations of God, leaves a lot of room for speculation and conjecture. I don’t know what an eternal being without body but, instead, spirit, is, really. But, I do know what a man is. I can relate to the human condition, because I am one. So, the incarnation becomes this acceptable(to God)template for knowing God the father. God condescends to reveal himself to me in His son. My relationship and my understanding of imago dei is mediated to me. I’m given very specific biblical parameters to how I know God and how I know myself. So, even when we get to Romans and we want to talk about the unregenerate resisting of natural revelation, the judgement isn’t one of capacity or even common grace endeavors, it centers around their cultic engagement, “Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.” So, they were pagans in their worship. Thus, the import of the first table of the law. Here’s your religious antithesis. It’s cultically oriented. The unregenerate can “do” this world, including the most foundational of cultural products, progeny. But they can’t know God apart from how God has revealed himself in His son. Even what they have of God that they don’t suppress is a knowledge of his power and holiness. Neither of those revelations are good news to man apart from the merciful mediation of Christ. I find no comfort or joy in knowing God is great and he hates me. That’ll ruin your day.

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  215. Well Jeff, “caution”, defined as trembling, reverent deliberation, certainly is a godly attitude to take when yet sinful fallen men would pursue the things of God in Christ. This kind of “caution” drips off of every word of the standards. Especially Westminster.

    I will be more than happy to accept whatever Sean says he means.

    Real quick.
    “…philosophical priors…
    It is not possible for finite man to have true objectivity in himself. That is to say, for him NOT to have “philosophical priors.” Only the God of WCF I, II and III does, or even CAN have true objectivity. OR certainty. (2 sides of the same coin) Man’s comes from Him. He has personally seen to it by created necessity. (Romans 1:19)

    1+1=2 for absolutely everybody. And for the same reason. Same “philosophical priors.” Saint and sinner alike because we all still bear His image, broken though it is in sin. Christians affirm this truth on purpose by loving faith, and pagans affirm it in practice because they have no choice. They deny that because they are liars who deny Him. They deceive themselves into embracing ANYthing except Him as that philosophical prior. Because, left to themselves, they will be damned before they will acknowledge their accountability to Him.

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  216. I’m trying to understand what you believe.
    So then you do believe that the image of God in man is ontological? You keep sounding like you’re saying you don’t and then when I ask if you deny that very thing, you say are not denying anything. I’m not badgering you. I’m really just trying to understand.

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  217. Greg, maybe this will help, I don’t find the discussion of ‘naked’ ontological characteristics particularly helpful. Interesting, maybe, but quickly becomes unmoored from biblical/covenantal context. I’ve seen it done by my betters and participated in the doing of it and it rapidly becomes bereft of the locus of the apostolic faith. I give as example the Thomism of the RCC.

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  218. Ok Sean, but I didn’t make them up. They are all over the reformed standards. I mean like ALL over.

    I am against Thomism. Flatly. Yes, Cornelius Van Til taught me why I should be.

    What if it’s actually a richly represented reformed view that sees ontological man as bibilically necessary for covenantal man as I’ve been saying? Can I ask if you deny THAT.

    Is man as image bearer uniquely qualified for the covenant offices? Yes, only a maniacal heretic would say that any other of God’s creatures could sustain a conscious covenant relationship with Him.

    That being the case, what is it about man that constitutes these qualifications if not his essential, being, nature and character? His “ontology” in other words. If not that, then I’m asking you what?

    If it IS man’s essential, being, nature and character that uniquely qualifies him for the covenant offices, that is, his ontology, then we agree.

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  219. So while Zrim and I have different views of philosophy (his being more pessimistic than mine), I take this away from his points:

    Fashions in philosophy will come and go. Right now, anti-foundationalism is all the rage. At some point, that may shift. Aristotle was “da man” until Pascal and Bacon. Modernism gave way to Po-Mo gave way to post-critical realism.

    Do we want to tether God’s word to that horse?

    So here. Cornelius van Til was fantastic. At the same time, his work opens up huge questions about man’s knowledge; in fact, my take on certainty and uncertainty (which you vigorous dispute!) is directly indebted to van Til’s views on analogical knowledge (which you don’t — go figure). At some point in the future, van Til may be entirely passe.

    At that point in time, what will become of the man who conflates Biblical truth with philosophical?

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  220. Jeff, there is one and only one distinctly and explicitly biblical and hence Christian epistemology and philosophy. It is as eternal as God is because, again, it is based in His essential being, nature and character. It is not going anywhere. A reformed faith without certainty is like water without wet.

    You guys keep viewing “philosophy” as something other than theology. Calvin’s Institutes ARE biblical philosophy.

    Secualr philosophy is pagan man’s attempt to answer ultimate questions, in other words to do theology without God. Try to stop seeing THAT when I say “philosophy” please. In my mind, to use Van Til’s words, right philosophy is thinking God’s thoughts after Him on a finite derivative scale. It has nothing whatever to do with the ever meandering secular trends.

    I like you and hold you in high regard generally, but I must say this. (you knew there’d be a “but” 🙂 ) You are caught in a vicious whirlpool of secular reasoning. Van Til cannot be compartmentalized like you’ve done. Any take on him that rejects absolute and utter epistemological certainty is somebody else’s thought. The reason you can hold incompatible components of thought at the same time is because you have bought into post modern logic. You are uncertain because uncertainty is to you more certain than God. You will deny that, but I am looking at it right here on my screen.

    I hasten to add that the answer is NOT NOT NOT a return to rationalistic modernity. Both are pagan. There is one and only one distinctly and explicitly biblical and hence Christian epistemology and philosophy. It is as eternal as God is because, again, it is based in His essential being, nature and character. It is not going anywhere. It is also erupting from WCF I, II, and III.

    The self authenticating scriptures alone of I:IV make it a logical necessity if taken seriously. But I:IV praise the Lord is not alone. God and His decrees come next. Every major thing I’ve been telling you guys rises from there as a faithful extrapolation of the scriptures. What’s really frustrating is that most of what you reject as W-w, I ALSO REJECT 😀 I will stand with you against all this Biola, Lifeway, TGC culture redeeming crap.

    I’m going to stick with this a while longer because no matter what anybody tells me, somebody is getting it, even if they don’t say anything. If not? I’ll face the Lord knowing I did my best.

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  221. there is one and only one distinctly and explicitly biblical and hence Christian epistemology and philosophy

    Epistemology is the study of the theory of knowledge. There is no explicit epistemology taught in scripture nor is there a distinct Christian theory of knowledge.

    It is as eternal as God is because, again, it is based in His essential being, nature and character. It is not going anywhere. A reformed faith without certainty is like water without wet.

    No. The theory of human knowledge is decidedly part of the created order. How we justify true beliefs, what makes a belief warranted, and the basis for changing belief are not dealt with explicitly in scripture nor are they essential to God’s being, nature, or character.

    You guys keep viewing “philosophy” as something other than theology. Calvin’s Institutes ARE biblical philosophy.

    Because philosophy (with or without scare quotes) are not theology. Philosophy is the study of the fundamental aspects of various things. For instance, one might study the philosophy of beauty (aesthetics), the philosophy of right action in medical practice (medical ethics), or the philosophy of music. None of these are theology which is the study academic study of God. To be sure, biblical insights might inform various philosophical studies, but the scripture is decidedly silent on a lot of issues

    Secualr philosophy is pagan man’s attempt to answer ultimate questions, in other words to do theology without God.

    Well a lot of non-pagan unbelievers do philosophy as well. And it is true that a lot of these unbelievers do address ultimate questions about say the philosophy of science without reference to God. But it is a category error to describe what they are doing in that case as “theology without God”. Then there are a lot of various flavors of theism that are decidedly non-biblical that make ample reference to God (think the Islamic Aristotelians for example).

    Try to stop seeing THAT when I say “philosophy” please. In my mind, to use Van Til’s words, right philosophy is thinking God’s thoughts after Him on a finite derivative scale. It has nothing whatever to do with the ever meandering secular trends.

    van Til was a great man, but a terrible philosopher. None of his contributions to the field are lasting or noteworthy.

    The reason you can hold incompatible components of thought at the same time is because you have bought into post modern logic.

    I’m not sure that there is any such thing as postmodern “logic”, but insofar as it is possible coherently describe post-modernism, the best is as a rejection against enlightenment hegemony. In that sense van Til is decidedly post-modern (relativism as applied to religion and morality is a decidedly consistent with the enlightenment…think J.S. Mill). Though I’m not so sure he would fit in with the radical orthodoxy of post-modern prots such as Milbank and others.

    You are uncertain because uncertainty is to you more certain than God. You will deny that, but I am looking at it right here on my screen.

    Of course I can’t speak for Jeff or Sean, but my recognition of my epistemic limitations has nothing to do with uncertainty being more certain than God. You have made a lot of assertions, but none of them can be woven together to create an argument of any sort. They do reflect a certain lack of careful thinking about the case you are trying to make. Maybe to move the conversation forward, you could describe how you understand how the epistemic state that requires faith and hope is different from the epistemic state that no longer requires faith and hope without reference to degrees of certainty on either side of the state.

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  222. Is it man’s essential being that qualifies him for office? No. It’s the God who made him that ‘qualifies’ him for office. But, having made him(man)such(crowned with eschatological glory-the hope of it, the destined end of the being), it would’ve been unjust for God to have made him incapable of it. Greg, I think you want to work out the implications of an ontology that constitutes the imago dei, and I want to keep those prospects squarely grounded in the biblical contexts in which we do find them developed. I’m unwilling to unhinge those prospects from their eschatological context. I spent years working through those developments in catholic social teaching, it got pushed to it’s absolute breaking points and eventually, for all intents and purposes, it came out as universalism within a cultic/churchly dogmatic context. You telling me that Van Til has inoculated you against such a happening isn’t very credible to me. Furthermore, It’s just not interesting to me. It flattens categories and redemptive history such that I’m left with an ethics book. If I want to do ethics as an academic pursuit or even as a religion of life, I’ll go back to Rome. I like their system better for those efforts. How do you beat the monastic impulse? The answer is you don’t. Fortunately and savingly the apostolic faith points us to another way. I think it’s fine if you want to be a student of Van Til and major in presuppositional apologetics. For me, it’s just o.k. I think it has some helpful polemical moves. I’m not a big believer in antithesis outside of a very specific cultic animosity that has definition in the cultic behavior of the people of God contrary to the cultic behavior or non-cultic engagement of non-believers/unregenerate. The kind of antithesis that leads to martyrs. Not the kind that tries to find an objective difference between the pagan plumber and the Christian plumber. I’m just interested in a competent plumber and I know that ground exists. I live in that context every day.

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  223. sdb says: “There is no explicit epistemology taught in scripture nor is there a distinct Christian theory of knowledge. “
    Machen says there is:

    “But what miserable makeshifts all such measures, even at the best, are! Underlying them is the notion that religion embraces only one particular part of human life. Let the public schools take care of the rest of life — such seems to be the notion — and one or two hours during the week will be sufficient to fill the gap which they leave. But as a matter of fact the religion of the Christian man embraces the whole of his life. Without Christ he was dead in trespasses and sins, but he has now been made alive by the Spirit of God; he was formerly alien from the household of God, but has now been made a member of God’s covenant people. Can this new relationship to God be regarded as concerning only one part, and apparently a small part, of his life? No, it concerns all his life; and everything that he does he should do now as a child of God.

    It is this profound Christian permeation of every human activity, no matter how secular the world may regard it as being, which is brought about by the Christian school and the Christian school alone. I do not want to be guilty of exaggerations at this point. A Christian boy or girl can learn mathematics, for example, from a teacher who is not a Christian; and truth is truth however learned. But while truth is truth however learned, the bearings of truth, the meaning of truth, the purpose of truth, even in the sphere of mathematics, seem entirely different to the Christian from that which they seem to the non-Christian; and that is why a truly Christian education is possible only when Christian conviction underlies not a part, but all, of the curriculum of the school. True learning and true piety go hand in hand, and Christianity embraces the whole of life — those are great central convictions that underlie the Christian school.

    I believe that the Christian school deserves to have a good report from those who are without; I believe that even those of our fellow citizens who are not Christians may, if they really love human freedom and the noble traditions of our people, be induced to defend the Christian school against the assaults of its adversaries and to cherish it as a true bulwark of the State. But for Christian people its appeal is far deeper. I can see little consistency in a type of Christian activity which preaches the gospel on the street corners and at the ends of the earth, but neglects the children of the covenant by abandoning them to a cold and unbelieving secularism. If, indeed, the Christian school were in any sort of competition with the Christian family, if it were trying to do what the home ought to do, then I could never favor it. But one of its marked characteristics, in sharp distinction from the secular education of today, is that it exalts the family as a blessed divine institution and treats the scholars in its classes as children of the covenant to be brought up above all things in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
    =======================================================
    Excerpted from “The Necessity of the Christian School”
    A lecture given by Dr. Machen at the Educational Convention held in Chicago under the auspices of the National Union of Christian Schools, August, 1933.

    I’ll leave the rest of YOUR assertions for now and go with this:
    “Maybe to move the conversation forward, you could describe how you understand how the epistemic state that requires faith and hope is different from the epistemic state that no longer requires faith and hope without reference to degrees of certainty on either side of the state.”
    That is VERY slick of you sdb. I’ll give ya credit for this one. However, it is not something that hasn’t come up in various forms throughout the years with unbelievers usually.

    One God hater (and boy is he ever) in particular is a still ongoing STORY. He kept beating me over the head with probability and then, to this very day cannot give me an actual definition of what probability even is. I’ve been back over there asking a dozen times and he still won’t do it.

    Here you are giving me the definition of probability by accident. Degrees of certainty = probability (and vice versa). A thing is more or less probable in direct proportion to how certain is. To someone who denies certainty, but affirms probability, how can a proposition be more or less of something that doesn’t exist?

    Epistemological probability is foreign to the Christian religion and is in fact the intellectual currency of skepticism as archaeopteryx1 there is saying. Here’s what it is. To hold the promises of the eternal God, who is truth itself and cannot lie, as anything less than as unassailably certain as He is, is unbelief and therefore sin. Once glorified, we will be freed from your epistemic humility.

    Uncertainty, that is, unbelief, is not a neutral feature of mere finitude. It is the noetic plague of the curse of Adam. A thing to be at war with through the means of grace and spiritual disciplines and repented of. Not embraced as a happy pre-lapsairan reality that persists after the fall.

    Just as we are commanded to perfect holiness, perfect belief, which IS certainty, is bound up in this perfect holiness. This will not be possible while still in this flesh, but it IS the standard. Think. That is far more than a semantic difference from what you’re saying. You are treating uncertainty/unbelief as a humble and virtuous component of creation and I’m treating it as a result of the fall. You really believe Adam and Eve had this uncertainty before the fall? If they did then God created them imperfect and if they didn’t then it came to us through sin.

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  224. Sdb:epistemic state that no longer requires faith and hope without reference to degrees of certainty on either side of the state.

    Greg: Here’s what it is. To hold the promises of the eternal God, who is truth itself and cannot lie, as anything less than as unassailably certain as He is, is unbelief and therefore sin.

    Thanks Greg….and supplementing…
    Faith : being sure of what we confidently expect (hope), certain of what we do not (yet) see. Heb 11:1
    All the Heb 11 heros had this assurance; dying in faith, without receiving the promises but having seen them (by faith); because they considered Him faithful Who had promised. In hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it…. just like Noah about things not yet seen (v.7) and Moses as seeing Him who is unseen (v.27) etc. … for we walk by faith, not by sight

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  225. @Greg

    That is VERY slick of you sdb.

    Slick? Really? Yes, I’m just trying to pull one over on you. No honest conversation here…. or not.

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  226. Just as we are commanded to perfect holiness, perfect belief, which IS certainty, is bound up in this perfect holiness. This will not be possible while still in this flesh, but it IS the standard. Think. That is far more than a semantic difference from what you’re saying. You are treating uncertainty/unbelief as a humble and virtuous component of creation and I’m treating it as a result of the fall. You really believe Adam and Eve had this uncertainty before the fall? If they did then God created them imperfect and if they didn’t then it came to us through sin.

    Greg, you still haven’t made a coherent description of how our epistemic state changes on either side of glory. I’ve never made a value judgment about our epistemic status – I think that’s you reading into what I’ve written or I’ve simply been unclear. Commitment (faith) is compatible with uncertainty. You want to treat unbelief and recognition that one can be wrong as synonyms. That is a category error on your part. What I am reacting strongly against is the chest thumping: “I’m more certain of God’s existence than that of my eyelids”, and that sort of nonsense. No. I’m quite sure you aren’t. You can fail to persevere, you can fall into egregious sin and lose your confidence in God’s existence, etc… Not so with your eyelids. You see those by sight. Your faith is a gift.

    Adam and Even walked with God in the cool of the morning. They did not need faith, and someday those of us who trust him will no longer need faith and hope.

    To hold the promises of the eternal God, who is truth itself and cannot lie, as anything less than as unassailably certain as He is, is unbelief and therefore sin.

    That’s all well and good, but here is the thing – are you sure your unassailably certainty is true? Could you misunderstand, err, or be wrong in some way? I think so. In fact I am quite certain (ahem) that your foray into philosophy is all wet. You are making rather bold assertions and utterly failing to justify them.

    My argument is not now, nor has it ever been that there is a problem with God or the trustworthiness of his promises. I do think we struggle to understand his promises and what they entail – from the believer who understands his promises to mean that God will cure him if he has sufficient faith and is absolutely convinced and totally certain that this is the case. Or the believer who thinks the ending of Mark is inspired scripture and is happy to handle snakes or the other believer who thinks Mark was an uninspired later addition and thinks this snake handling bit is crazy – both may be certain and be wrong. Certainty as a subjective state may come and go – but we cling to his promises because he is faithful even if we aren’t so sure how to apply them in the state we live in.

    In short, I find you understanding of philosophy (and epistemology) naive at best – your schtick hinges on specious redefining words to fit your ideology. More serious though is that epistemic arrogance (hello Simon “I’ll never abandon you” Peter) is dangerous to your own soul. It is also dangerous to believers who do struggle with doubt.

    I am quite confident that my redeemer lives and that he will return. I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the promised everlasting rest. By his mercy I do not doubt these things, though I recognize that it is possible that I could be wrong, deluded, mistaken, etc… But just because it is possible does not mean that there is good reason to think that it is so. Epistemic humility is the recognition of my limitations not an assertion of God’s limitations.

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  227. @Ali – here is a better translation of Hebrews 11:1
    Now faith is the [a]assurance of things [b]hoped for, the [c]conviction of things not seen.
    Note that “assurance” can also be translated substance, “hoped for” can be translated “expected”, and “conviction” as evidence.

    I do not think your paraphrase accurately captures the meaning of the text. Looking at the examples provided in Hebrews 11 is instructive on this point. What we see in the case of Abraham and Sarah are numerous cases of doubt and uncertainty (consider Sarah’s laughter at the suggestion she would bear children or their clumsy stumbling along to “help” God out with his promise by bearing a son through Hagar) but evidently their faith was commendable.

    Recognizing that one could be wrong is not the same thing as uncertainty much less unbelief.

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  228. sdb: “Machen is wrong.”
    No, he is not. Do please note though, as per my ongoing point, that my views in these areas are better represented in your own tradition than yours are. Or than Darryl’s are. Even by Machen himself. There is no novelty in anything I’m saying. That being the case, every attack upon me is also an attack upon men like Machen. Were he on this blog right now, he would be on my side. Another reminder that Cornelius Van Til was his boy, hand picked to teach exactly what I am bringing here.

    sdb says: “Slick? Really? Yes, I’m just trying to pull one over on you. No honest conversation here…. or not”
    That’s not what I meant at all. 🙂 I just meant it was a well chosen and executed move. Well chosen and executed moves are allowed. You got a tip o the hat from me for it. Of course you’re making honest conversation. So is Sean. I appreciate that. Truly.

    I will have to get the rest, and Sean too as I can though. Very tied up until at least later tonight.

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  229. Greg: then, to this very day cannot give me an actual definition of what probability even is.

    Strange. The definition of probability is textbook:

    The probability of X occurring, denoted P(X), is the quotient

    P(x) = # of ways to have outcome X / # of possible outcomes in toto.

    For example, if rolling 2 fair dice, there are 3 outcomes that sum to four: one and three, two and two, and three and one. There are 36 outcomes in toto: six for the first die, six for the second, and independence is given in the word “fair.”

    So, the probability of rolling a four is 3/36 = 1/12.

    The practical meaning of probability is the expected value over a large number of trials: If fair dice are rolled many times, the number of “fours” rolled will be very close to 1 out of every 12 rolls.

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  230. Greg: Epistemological probability is foreign to the Christian religion and is in fact the intellectual currency of skepticism … Uncertainty, that is, unbelief, is not a neutral feature of mere finitude. It is the noetic plague of the curse of Adam.

    That’s quite a claim. Perhaps I’m misunderstanding, but are you saying that

    (GtG 1) Uncertainty is always unbelief,
    (GtG 2) Adam and Eve were free from uncertainty pre-Fall
    (GtG 3) Viewing X as “probable” rather than “certain” or “certainly not” is anti-Christian?

    So if you ask me whether it will rain and I reply, “Weather dot com gives a 70% of it”, then I am actually denying the faith?

    Something seems really off here.

    For the record, probability theory was first developed by a believer — Blaise Pascal.

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  231. Jeff we are talking about the probability of truth claims in answer to ultimate questions. Not the rolling of dice or a weather forecast.

    “In the beginning [the God who will reveal himself in the rest of scripture] created the heavens and the earth”

    Uncertainty with regard to that statement, or any other made by God in scripture is always sinful unbelief, yes. Uncertainty about the weather is entirely indifferent (see a pattern here?) and therefore is not.

    Adam and Eve were created free from any such uncertainty. Do you think they, like you guys, had any uncertainty whatsoever before the fall about whether the God who reveals Himself in the bible created the heavens and the earth? Would we have any such doubt if descended from an uncorrupted Adam?

    Uncertainty/unbelief/doubt was introduced when the serpent tempted them to question God and seek their own independent knowledge apart from His word. This, again, has nothing to to with something like the weather or rolling dice or any other such temporal phenomena.

    Please reread what I’ve said the last day or so in that light to better understand.
    ==================================
    Have mercy folks, I’m gong to do my best to get caught up.

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  232. Greg: Adam and Eve were created free from any such uncertainty. Do you think they, like you guys, had any uncertainty whatsoever before the fall about whether the God who reveals Himself in the bible created the heavens and the earth? Would we have any such doubt if descended from an uncorrupted Adam?

    Uncertainty/unbelief/doubt was introduced when the serpent tempted them to question God and seek their own independent knowledge apart from His word.

    Well, what does the Scripture say?

    Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’” The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” — Gen 3.1 – 5

    It is certainly true that the Serpent introduced an element of questioning the truthfulness of God in Gen 3.4-5. It was at this moment that the temptation clock started ticking.

    But notice something prior to that. Eve is mistaken about the command. God had previously said, “but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”

    When Eve reiterates this command, she gets it wrong by adding to it a prohibition against touching (cf. Peter Martyr’s commentary on Genesis).

    How is that possible? According to your own account, Eve must have had certainty concerning the knowledge of God’s command. Yet she was mistaken. Was that because of sin? If so, then she had sinned prior to the fall, which we know to be false. Since not, then you would need to rethink your connection between certainty and sinlessness.

    Eve shows that it cannot be the case that freedom from sin gives mankind certain knowledge, even with regard to the limited scope of knowledge of the commands of God. sin is not the enemy of knowledge, but of belief.

    Notice that the Serpent’s temptation is not to ask Eve to doubt whether she remembered God’s words correctly. Rather, it is to strike at the truthfulness of God Himself. The temptation is not at the level of factual certainty, but at the level of trust.

    That is an important distinction. I am fully certain of God’s truthfulness: whatever is Scripture is certainly infallible. I am not fully certain that all of Mark 16 is actually Scripture (nor are you); that uncertainty has nothing to do with sin and everything to do with the fact that we don’t have the original manuscript.

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  233. Sdb: Looking at the examples provided in Hebrews 11 is instructive on this point. What we see in the case of Sarah

    Thanks sdb; though we ought record what Hebrews 11 actually says about Sarah:By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised. Heb 11:11…..

    Sarah: Gen 1812 Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I have become old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?”
    God :Is anything too difficult for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you,at this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” Sarah denied it however, saying, “I did not laugh”; for she was afraid. And He said, “No, but you did laugh.” Gen 18:14-15
    God: Then the LORD took note of Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did for Sarah as He had promised. So Sarah conceived and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time of which God had spoken to him. Gen 21:1-2
    Sarah: Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.” Gen 21:6

    Anyway, bottom line, think we can agree on this: And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. Heb 11:6

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  234. I agree with Calvin:who specifically disagrees with Martyr:
    “When she says, God has forbidden them to eat or to touch, some suppose the second word to be added for the purpose of charging God with too great severity, because he prohibited them even from the touch , But I rather understand that she hitherto remained in obedience, and expressed her pious disposition by anxiously observing the precept of God; only, in proclaiming the punishment, she begins to give ways by inserting the adverb “perhaps,” when God has certainly pronounced, “Ye shall die the death.” For although with the Hebrews phn (pen) does not always imply doubt, yet, since it is generally taken in this sense, I willingly embrace the opinion that the woman was beginning to waver. Certainly, she had not death so immediately before her eyes, should she become disobedient to God, as, she ought to have had. She clearly proves that her perception of the true danger of death was distant and cold.”

    Not only that, but a very firm case can be made that their sin began before actually eating the fruit, just as adultery and murder happen before actually committing the physical act. Adam stood there and watched his wife have this conversation with the serpent. This could not possibly have been in accord with God’s command concerning the tree. I see the temptation and fall as an event that isn’t necessarily centered in the moment their teeth broke the skin of the fruit.

    “That is an important distinction. I am fully certain of God’s truthfulness: whatever is Scripture is certainly infallible. I am not fully certain that all of Mark 16 is actually Scripture (nor are you); that uncertainty has nothing to do with sin and everything to do with the fact that we don’t have the original manuscript.”
    Honestly, this is another confusion of categories Jeff. The conflation of the epistemological level (the level of first principle) and the formal or temporal level. I’m pretty convinced the long ending is not original. That is a temporal question of textual criticism. Not an eternal question like whether or not the God of the bible created the heavens and the earth, exists as a triunity and redeemed a people for Himself from amongst sinners in His Son.

    How many shots were fired at Kennedy is not the same kind of inquiry as adding them up once we know for sure we have accounted for them all. The former is a temporal/empirical question. The latter is a metaphysical/mathematical question. (Math and logic are invisible, immaterial an universal.) The former being what it is, can possibly have a number of correct answers depending on the particulars of an event. The latter can only have one correct answer matching the number of known shots, because logic and math operate according to laws built into the universe by God Himself. No such laws can exist for the historical event that occasions the use of logic and math, though certainly everything is subject to God’s secret providence and decree. That part is not our business.

    It is not a logical necessity that this or that specific number of shots be fired. It IS a logical necessity that once we know how many there were, that they equate to a certain number. (PLEASE, nobody start on numerical linguistic symbols)

    Likewise, it is not a divinely designed necessity that the long ending of Mark be regarded as scripture. It IS however a divinely designed necessity that it if WERE a divinely designed necessity that the long ending be regarded as scripture, that we believe it and assign to it the certainty of God Himself. Failure to do so would be sinful unbelief. Not so with evaluating the manuscript testimony for Mark 16.

    You and I may actually and ultimately be closer than it appears, but, and I’m not insulting you, you absolutely ARE confusing and conflating categories here. Please consider what I’ve said in this comment.

    I must get to Sean. God bless the guy, I appreciate his conversation after all this time and I don’t want to leave him hanging too long. (not that I think he’s on pins and needles waiting for me 😀 ) Probably won’t be able to do it tonight though.

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  235. ” uncertainty/unbelief/doubt ”
    These words are not synonyms.

    ” Uncertainty … [about] any [statement] made by God in scripture is always sinful unbelief, yes. ”
    This is false. Not being sure how to do understand the reference to the baptism of the dead, how to interpret Revelation, or when baptism refers to the rite or is meant metaphorically are not examples of unbelief.

    Regarding machen and cvt… your claims are slipping. First you claimed that our view would be utterly unknown to the reformers…Bayes is a good counterpoint (as is Pascal (who while not reformed per se, was congruent with a great deal of the reformed tradition). Now you claim ypur view is better represented on the basis of cvt (whose work was and is controversal in apologetic and reformed circles) and Machens statement on Christian schools. You are making a historical argument with insufficient data. You might be right, but you aren’t making the case in a commbox. More importantly, this line is irrelevant. If the case is such a slam dunk, it doesn’t matter (enter Einstein’s quip about one critic being enough).

    Your argument rests on idiodyncratic redefining common words to suit your ideology. Your argument so far has not been exegetical at all. Rather it hinges on your adherence to cvt. This is the same mistake our Aristotelian-Thomistic friends make. They start with their philosophy and squeeze scripture and even language to fit their system. I take this to be Sean’s (and Zrim’s?) point… You have fallen into the same trap.

    As far as I can tell you believe that the recognition of even the possibility of fallibility on the part of the believer (something I have argued here is unavoidable on this side of glory such that boasting one has overcome that is intellectually dishonest) is sinful unbelief. I reject this view and believe that it isn’t the strength of our faith that saves, but rather the object. We will be plagued with uncertainty until that great day when doubt and even faith will be no more. Until then we trust and commit to that which we see incompletely. I’ve addressed Heb 11 and James both of which bear on fidelity not epistemic status. I am not interested in CVT…as Ive said -great man, terrible philosopher. I am interesred in your exegetical case for the sinfulness of uncertainty.

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  236. Greg: I’m not insulting you, you absolutely ARE confusing and conflating categories here. Please consider what I’ve said in this comment.

    Let’s come back to this when you have some resolution w/ Sean.

    In re: Calvin, take a close look at what he says. He alludes to the possibility of addition to the command, but then pulls back from expressing an opinion one way or another. What he objects to is the view that Eve added “touch” in order to charge God with over-severity. He does not dispute the fact that she added to God’s command.

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  237. Greg: a very firm case can be made that their sin began before actually eating the fruit.

    amen, since that what the Lord tells us in His word, for each/all of us; and in Eve’s case falling for the trap,joining in Satan’s attack on God’s true character in her thinking. If only she had had the OL exhortation: Eve, THINK!

    Eve: “You shall not ….touch it….., or you will die.’” Gen 3:3

    knowing/agreeing with God’s character seems pretty important: for He will execute judgment/convict all of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him. Jude 1:15

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  238. Greg (and Ali), actually a firm case can be made that Eve’s words were the birth of legalism. God never said they couldn’t touch or handle the fruit. The command was only not to eat it. She could have brought it home a placed it on her mantle since it was so pleasing to the eye. But only eating it was verboten. Eve was adding her own law to God’s sufficient command. Think indeed.

    So here’s some of your own medicine: son of Eve, repent of your works righteousness and be reconciled to God.

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  239. Yeah Zrim definitely! Placing a deadly object of temptation in the middle of your house goes right along with the whole biblical witness from Gen. to Rev. Whatever on earth could I have been thinking!? You really need to get the world outta your soul and spend some time with Jesus my friend.

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  240. I see this lesson/exhortation, Zrim…..

    and it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.. 1 Tim 2:14

    I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. 2 Cor 11:3

    each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Jam 1:14 -16

    No one can serve two masters -for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other.

    now these things happened (the wilderness, but whole Bible) as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved. Do not be idolaters.. Nor act immorally…,. Nor try the Lord… Nor grumble. Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 1 Cor 10:6-14

    To whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were not able to enter because of ….unbelief. Heb 3:18-19

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  241. This may be pertinent

    When we stress that faith ought to be certain and secure, we do not have in mind a certainty without doubt or a security without any anxiety. Rather, we affirm that believers have a perpetual struggle with their own lack of faith, and are far from possessing a peaceful conscience, never interrupted by any disturbance. On the other hand, we want to deny that they may fall out of, or depart from their confidence in the divine mercy, no matter how much they may be troubled. (Calvin’s Institutes III.ii.17)

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  242. …and, in other words,too, Zrim… as you were saying (singing) yesterday..
    ”Thou and Thou only, first in my heart High King of Heaven, my treasure Thou art”

    Their heart is divided; Now they are held guilty. He will break down their altars;He will ruin their sacred pillars. Hos 10:2

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  243. Thank you TODD.

    Calvin makes my very point. Uncertainty and doubt are a lack of faith to be struggled with. Not a feature of God’s pre-lapsarian creation to be embraced and taught as doctrine. .

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  244. But, Greg, as much as your reasoning may make some sense, adding to God’s word doesn’t enjoy much biblical sanction. Martyr seems to have the better read over Calvin. I’m surprised, normally it’s you who wants a less nuanced reading of the text. God only says don’t eat it and Eve adds something to the plain and clear command. I also wonder what you think legalism looks like if not this example of adding to God’s commands.

    ps How much time with Jesus does it take to come around to your opinion on everything?

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  245. Actually Greg, I thought Calvin was more affirming sdb’s point, that uncertainty always has elements of doubt this side of glory. You can repent of it all day but it still remains as long as we are fallen creatures and not fully sanctified.

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  246. Nobody is adding to scripture Steve. Not Even Martyr. That’s not my problem. Actually my driving point is, even engaging the serpent at all on a topic that God had already commanded upon was already a bad move. On that part I disagree with Calvin.

    Additionally, Paul makes new covenant use in 2 Cor. 6:17 of Isaiah 52 that echoes Eve’s thought exactly. In that sense she may have been prophesying a principle (half tongue in cheek here) that would later be revealed by the prophet and apostle. “Touch not the unclean thing.” A sort of proto-prohihitio 😀

    Legalism is exactly what the Word says it is. Binding the conscience on a thing indifferent in itself. Like food, as the constant scriptural example.

    “ps How much time with Jesus does it take to come around to your opinion on everything?”
    You do credit me far beyond my worth as these opinions were held long before I was born, but 5 minutes outside of Sunday would be a great start. Have you (or Darryl) spent 60 hours in the word of God and prayer, either with yourselves or your families in your whole life? OR, would that be “pietism?” Serious question, but the answer isn’t for me. Take it to the Lord. You’ll never be the same if you do.

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  247. @Greg

    You claimed that your knowledge of God is more certain than your knowledge of the existence of your eyelids. Calvin writes, “When we stress that faith ought to be certain and secure, we do not have in mind a certainty without doubt or a security without any anxiety. Rather, we affirm that believers have a perpetual struggle with their own lack of faith, and are far from possessing a peaceful conscience, never interrupted by any disturbance.” How does what Calvin wrote, make your point? Evidently Calvin believes that certainty can exist along side doubt.

    No one is arguing that “Uncertainty and doubt are a…feature of God’s pre-lapsarian creation to be embraced and taught as doctrine.” Not sure what that means now that I think about it. If you mean that uncertainty and doubt are not a positive good, then I agree. That’s why we look forward to that day when faith and hope will be no more! If you mean that it is contrary to sound doctrine to recognize that believers on this side of glory can never have perfect certainty, then you are wrong. As Calvin notes, unlike believing in the existence of one’s eyelids, “believers have a perpetual struggle…”

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  248. Greg, I think you should slow down and consider the various responses that I and others have given to you. I’m flat brilliant but even I would slow up and really think through this level of pushback and even if you think everyone is either wrong or doesn’t understand you, maybe give some more time to, “maybe it’s me”.(Either what you believe and express or maybe it’s just how you’re expressing it. Whichever fits or both). So, don’t worry about lil ol me, I keep my own counsel as a matter of habit(benefit of being brilliant). I’m all good. Just kick back, grab some alcohol and tobacco and dwell for awhile.

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  249. I am honored by all this conversation here lately. I mean that, so don’t take me as complaining. There was a time when I could barely get 2 syllable of substantive engagement on this site, so I I genuinely appreciate you guys.

    I need to regroup though and figure out what path to go down here as I am being literally overwhelmed. Again, not a complaint, just a reality. Gimme a little time please.

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  250. Greg, so now we push back even further and add don’t even speak with Satan? But the second Adam did in his wilderness. And if the probationary period was to have a chance of going in the other direction, how could it without a tempter? It did with Jesus. if only Adam and Eve had the benefit of your instructions.

    Plus, you’re confusing me on just what your position is with regard to faith and doubt. You speak as if you disagree with Calvin, then say you agree.

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  251. SEAN, at the risk of coming off the wrong way, I’ve spent many years on these topics and find a great cloud of historical witnesses for every view I have.

    It could never cross my mind that the pushback I get on this site might overthrow that. I honestly don;’t mean that as offensively as it probably sounds, but I don’t know how else to say it right now.

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  252. Zrim says: “Greg, so now we push back even further and add don’t even speak with Satan?”
    That’s an oversimplification of what I actually said, but Jesus Christ was a different person and was specifically led into temptation in His case by the Spirit to fulfill his role as mediator.

    The problem is man’s corruption nature Zrim. Not God’s revelation.
    “because that which is known about God is evident within them; for GOD MADE IT EVIDENT TO THEM. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”

    Everything except God himself has been made. Man is the pinnacle of that creation and testifies to the living God more clearly than anything other created thing. HE HIMSELF MADE HIMSELF EVIDENT. Therefore He is inescapable and is known even to the blind man who can’t see His own eyelids. NOTHING can be more obvious than the God of WCF II.

    The problem is that we in our corruption, refuse to see clearly, suppressing that truth in our unrighteousness. Therefore, while nothing could possibly be more certain than God, we will go WAAAAY out of our way to make sure that He is anything BUT certain. With Him then regarded as uncertain, so is everything else. Because He is the ground of all being and everything else depends upon Him. Pure skepticism is the logical conclusion without the certainty of the God of WCF I, II and III.

    He tells me that He is more basic and obvious than my own eyelids. Because He created me and them. I call Him a liar until He makes me alive in Christ at which time I see that He was right. He IS more certain than my own eyelids. HALLELUJAH!!!

    Now the new man in Christ is at war with the old man in Adam. The new man agrees with God and the old man is still plagued with uncertainty and doubt. How dare I side with that old man and continue to call God a liar. The Gospel is HIM and HIS certainty. HE and HIS certainty are the standard. Not me and my pathetic double minded self.

    God says He is to me more certain than any and every other fact, because any and every other fact are ones He created. I agree. Though the old man in Adam never shuts up while in this flesh. So I proclaim Him as more certain and obvious than my own eyelids and would sooner doubt my own existence than His. WHILE my remaining sin relentlessly assaults me with sinful doubts and unbelief.

    Of course I have my struggles with doubt and fear and uncertainty. Sometimes more than others and less as I grow in grace, but that’s not what I preach as if it’s part of the gospel and a Christian theistic epistemology. He gives me Himself and hence His own mind and nature as weapons of faith by which I can live in His certainty, even if only imperfectly until the eschaton.

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  253. Greg, the only other way I can recommend it to you is to suggest you do something contrary to what you’re certain you think you know. It’s just a blog, the trauma won’t be so debilitating that you can’t recover from it.

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  254. Greg, I think that’s probably true. You seem to respond often as if you’re certain of what’s been said to you and you’ve already got the bullet in your belt for just that inquiry or rebuttal and you just fire it off. I’m suggesting you set aside your toolbox of responses and consider who is pushing back on you and what they are saying and allow yourself to doubt your certainty and consider strongly that you’re wrong and what that would like if you are in fact wrong in some of your resistance. Now, as I sometimes do, you might press forward anyway(orneriness and expected payoff in spite of the lumps) but at least in that case you’ll still have learned something.

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  255. Greg, “oversimplification”? Well, what you said was: “Actually my driving point is, even engaging the serpent at all on a topic that God had already commanded upon was already a bad move.”

    That sounds like they shouldn’t have engaged the devil. No? That’s an oversimplification? Then what is the simple take away from your “driving point”?

    And Jesus’ wilderness is the parallel to Adam’s wilderness. Jesus did what Adam should’ve done (on our behalf), which necessarily entails engaging a tempter. But you say engaging the tempter was a “bad move.” I don’t think you realize our salvation depends on it. Your legalism is getting in the way of your sanctification.

    As to the rest of your remark, muddied water becomes even more muddied.

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  256. Greg, pre-disobedience Adam lived by sight (which precludes doubt), post-disobedience by faith (which includes doubt). He had the unique experience of knowing living by sight and then faith, unlike his descendants who only live by faith.

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  257. on this Zrim –
    1)Jesus’s ‘engagement’ was quoting scripture, over, done, period, the end; not engaging, dialoging, reasoning, debating, arguing see below * & Luke & Matt 4, Mark 1
    2) James instruction: James 4:6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.” 7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
    3) Jude instruction: Jude 9 But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”

    *
    devil “If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”
    Jesus “It is written, MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’”

    devil: “I will give You all this domain and its glory for it has been handed over to me and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.”
    Jesus: “It is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’”

    devil:, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here; for it is written,‘HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU TO GUARD YOU and,‘ON their HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP, SO THAT YOU WILL NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.’”
    Jesus : “On the other hand, it is written, ‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.’”

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  258. Greg, in other words you’re trying to ensnare. You want an answer to fit your design to pounce and impugn. But nobody on this side of the conversation thinks “it’s possible that God is a delusion.” The point is actually much more simple: God is true, man is sinful and compromised and as such must live with doubt and uncertainty.

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  259. Zrim says: “Greg, in other words you’re trying to ensnare.”
    That’s not true.

    This however…
    “The point is actually much more simple: God is true, man is sinful and compromised and as such must live with doubt and uncertainty.”
    …IS true.

    God is true though every man a liar. Which should we proclaim to unbelievers? God being true and the problem being with us? Or should we tell them they may be right and God might not be true after all?

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  260. See this right here is the problem. When an epistemology is based upon our UNcertainty rather than His certainty. Just like unregenerate sinners.

    God has stated plainly that He has rendered them incapable of missing Him no matter how hard or by what method they try. I will be literally damned before siding with them against Him by telling them that He hasn’t.

    You folks do have a worldview. One that starts and ends with YOU. With the gospel clumsily duct taped to the side.

    That Machen quote I brought above is a complete and in context thought from late in his life and ministry, less than 31/2 years before he died. Show me a piece where he says otherwise. If Darryl doesn’t know, nobody does.You were better off sdb, just saying he was wrong.

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  261. Zrim says: Ali, right, all the things Adam should’ve done. What are you quibbling about exactly?

    that it’s ok to concede Greg’s point every once in a while. [this truth: Greg says : “even engaging the serpent at all on a topic that God had already commanded upon was already a bad move”] Another point: the devil never ‘engaged’ Adam or visa versa, that we know?

    and then this point : Greg: See this right here is the problem. When an epistemology is based upon our UNcertainty rather than His certainty. Just like unregenerate sinners. You folks do have a worldview. One that starts and ends with YOU. With the gospel clumsily duct taped to the side.

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  262. Ali, if Greg’s right then contrariwise it was a “bad move” for Jesus to engage the devil in the wilderness (the parallels only make sense if you understand the two Adam scheme, which it’s sounding like you don’t). Maybe you and Greg are good with that but you’ll forgive some of us for taking a pass on that implication.

    As to his second point you want to bolster, I still have no idea what he’s talking about. Frankly, Greg sounds like a fellow who is smitten with certain words and phrases and how they’re strung together but has very little understanding of them. sdb has taken him apart verse-by-verse and exposed his sophomoric comprehension. He does no more in response than to stick out his tongue and re-assert his claims to embody all of old Protestantism. What he is good for is an example of some of the worst in Reformed circles.

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  263. Zrim: ‘engage’

    depends what your definition of ‘engage’ is. It’s obvious from Greg’s comment that he means: to enter into contest or battle with ;to deal with especially at length

    Zrim: What he is good for is an example of some of the worst in Reformed circles.

    oh Zrim, Interesting, or should I say sheesh
    countering what you perhaps perceive is pride, with, well, pride, does not seem to make a very effective argument

    as Greg says, it’s all about JESUS, Zrim – the substance of things hoped for

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  264. …and Zrim , still thinking of the other today difficult DG post link (Catholic church: We’ve got the best record thus far- 17K saints, and don’t make the mistake of praying to Jesus, etc), that though some boast in chariots, some in horses, some in men, and some in their works.

    (conversely) says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD. Jer 9:23 -24… and by HIS doing ,we are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, Rom 3:27; 1 Cor 1: 30

    therefore do boast – just that, we will boast in the name of the Lord, our God – in JESUS – the boast of our hope firm until the end.…… Ps 20:7, Eph 2:9, Heb 3:6

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  265. Ali, you’re doing that evangie word-study thing which misses forest for trees. Then that Caller thing which papers piously over honest reckoning. Then back that evangie thing of blurting out Jesus’ name as if it settles everything, along with a blast of random Scripture texts. What Sean said.

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  266. Turrible, you in reformed circles? I’m thinking an obtuse trapezoid is more fitting for you.

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  267. Zrim:blurting out Jesus’ name as if it settles everything

    ‘nough said, guys (and about ‘ you guys’).

    Have a great day though.

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  268. See this right here is the problem. When an epistemology is based upon our UNcertainty rather than His certainty. Just like unregenerate sinners.

    What does it mean to say that an epistemology is based upon our uncertainty rather than his certainty? Epistemology is the study of human knowledge. The fact that God is omniscient says nothing about regenerate man’s knowledge.

    God has stated plainly that He has rendered them incapable of missing Him no matter how hard or by what method they try. I will be literally damned before siding with them against Him by telling them that He hasn’t.

    I don’t know what this means. I’m catching up on this thread, so perhaps I missed something?

    You folks do have a worldview. One that starts and ends with YOU. With the gospel clumsily duct taped to the side.

    No I don’t. I have many worldviews depending on context and particularities. It is curious to think about what it means for a worldview that starts and ends with the individual in the context of the opening two sentences of Calvin’s Institutes: Our wisdom…consists almost entire of two parts: knowledge of God and of ourselves. But as these are connected together by many ties, it is not easy to determine which of the two precedes, and gives birth to the other. I don’t know that entails anything about the development of a so-called “worldview”, but I find it an interesting nonetheless.

    That Machen quote I brought above is a complete and in context thought from late in his life and ministry, less than 31/2 years before he died. Show me a piece where he says otherwise. If Darryl doesn’t know, nobody does.You were better off sdb, just saying he was wrong.

    If you are trying to make the case that Machen said what you quoted, then the quote is fine as a piece of evidence. If you want to make the case that Machen would have agreed with van Til’s presup-apolo, then you have a lot more work to do. If you are looking to bolster your case that the notion of probabilistic knowledge of God is totally foreign to the reformed tradition until the rise of pagan post-MODERNISM!!!!!, well I think you have a lot more work to do. Clearly Calvin believed at some point in his ministry that we would never have perfect knowledge on this side of glory – which entails that it is always possible that we could be deluded – however improbably that is.

    If I were taking with Dawkins, I doubt that applying your bluster about being more sure of God’s existence than your own eyelids would be met with other than utter derision. Recognizing that there are serious challenges to theistic beliefs and allowing that I could be mistaken is likely to be far more effective at opening doors to further conversation and thus have the opportunity to share the reasons I have for my hope. Of course, our feeble attempts at persuasion are more or less irrelevant – the spirit blows where he may. So it could be a Jonah-esque message that leads to massive revival or something more like what Paul has to say to the worshipers of the unknown god or a sophist preaching for personal gain. Who knows what vessel God will use to save his elect. But whatever the case, I hope to be honest and forthright in whatever I say.

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  269. Greg: You folks do have a worldview. One that starts and ends with YOU. With the gospel clumsily duct taped to the side.

    Personal foul, #47. On the pass return: Claim to mind-reading. 200-word penalty, still 2nd down.

    Seriously, though, Greg. If a “worldview” is the sum of someone’s thoughts, encomapssing every area of life, you have no hope of being able to accurately infer someone’s worldview by piecing together random, incompletely presented remarks on epistemology.

    Given that, you have no basis for your charge. You don’t know nearly enough about your targets to be shooting that caliber rifle.

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  270. I have been unavoidably detained with other matters today. Still am. Will get back here as soon as I can.
    For now. Unbelievably awesome song and wadda great choice for a wedding. I love Twila.
    Trigger warning. Pretty pietistic though in spots. Try n make it through the whole thing. This song puts me on my face.

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  271. Sean says: “Is it man’s essential being that qualifies him for office? No. It’s the God who made him that ‘qualifies’ him for office.”
    (Of course, ultimately, it’s God who made him who qualifies him.) So then being created in the image and likeness of God was no part of man’s being equipped, (let’s try equipped instead of qualified for now) to walk in covenant with Him and fulfill those offices? In other words, as created, a primate could have done this just as well?

    Sean says: “Greg, I think you want to work out the implications of an ontology that constitutes the imago dei, and I want to keep those prospects squarely grounded in the biblical contexts in which we do find them developed.”
    Until we are willing to say that some other creature could have fulfilled the official functions of the imago dei, man’s ontology necessarily is what suits him to the task. Otherwise any being could have done it.

    Sean says: “I’m unwilling to unhinge those prospects from their eschatological context.”
    I’m giving you no reason you’d have to.

    Sean says: “I spent years working through those developments in catholic social teaching, it got pushed to it’s absolute breaking points and eventually, for all intents and purposes, it came out as universalism within a cultic/churchly dogmatic context.”
    I do appreciate that, but it has no bearing to this discussion at all. From the ground up, my worldview is the opposite of the Catholic one. Though some significant formal similarities exist in places.

    Sean says: “Van Til … flattens categories and redemptive history such that I’m left with an ethics book.”
    I continue to emphasize that I intend no insult Sean, but this right here tells me that you understand neither Van Til nor myself. To whatever extent my meager communication skills are responsible, I apologize. I’m really trying. Nothing could be further from the actual truth than my views being a mere ethics book. Seriously man.

    Sean says: “If I want to do ethics as an academic pursuit or even as a religion of life, I’ll go back to Rome. I like their system better for those efforts. How do you beat the monastic impulse? The answer is you don’t. Fortunately and savingly the apostolic faith points us to another way.”
    This is entirely inapplicable to anything I’ve said. It just is.

    Sean says: “I think it’s fine if you want to be a student of Van Til and major in presuppositional apologetics. For me, it’s just o.k.”
    No, it is not ok to you. Again, I promise no insult, but you absolutely do not understand Van Til and to me, it’s not even primarily (or even secondarily) about apologetics anyway. It’s about theology proper and a decidedly un-biblical and therefore un-reformed doctrine of God. Or more accurately, a humanistic philosophical/epistemological basis for coherent thought, that is utterly incompatible with the God of WCF I, II and III. In other words a pagan foundation with a Christian building sitting on it where none of the structure of one actually joins to the other.

    Sean says: “I think it has some helpful polemical moves.”
    I’ve been using them this whole time.

    Sean says: “I’m not a big believer in antithesis… of … the kind that tries to find an objective difference between the pagan plumber and the Christian plumber.”
    Revisit MACHEN please. Remember when I told you that believers have at once fully everything and nothing in common with unbelievers? Everything because we all bear His image and noting because only believers acknowledge it Van Til called this the “continuity and discontinuity” between the knowledge of be believers and unbelievers.

    Sean says: “I’m just interested in a competent plumber and I know that ground exists. I live in that context every day.”

    Allow me to paraphrase Dr. Machen:
    It is this profound Christian permeation of every human activity, no matter how secular the world may regard it as being, which is brought about by the Christian worldview and the Christian worldview alone. A Christian … can have their plumbing repaired, for example, by a plumber who is not a Christian; and the plumbing is repaired, whoever repairs it. But while the plumbing is repaired, whoever repairs it, the ultimate bearings, meaning, and purpose, even in the sphere of plumbing, seem entirely different to the Christian from that which they seem to the non-Christian; and that is why a truly Christian state of mind is possible only when Christian conviction underlies not a part, but all, of the areas of life.

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  272. Zrim says: blurting out Jesus’ name as if it settles everything

    …anyway Zrim, if perchance you were to come see enough certainty about this… please join in today….

    “The 65th annual National Day of Prayer, May 5, 2016, will have profound significance for our country. It is an unprecedented opportunity to see the Lord’s healing and renewing power made manifest as we call on citizens to humbly come before His throne. Our theme for 2016 is Wake Up America, emphasizing the need for individuals, corporately and individually, to return to the God of our Fathers in reverence for His Holy Name. To further highlight our theme, we’ve chosen Isaiah 58:1a as our Scripture for this year: “Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet.””

    National Prayer
    Dear heavenly Father, we come to You today as a humble people desperate for Your supernatural intervention on behalf of our beloved nation. First, we thank You for all the blessings You have bestowed on our land, blessings that have allowed us to bring so much good and benefit to not only our own citizens but also to the rest of the world. The very ideals upon which this country was founded were based on biblical truths, no matter how some try to rewrite history to deny that very fact today.
    This is why our hearts are so broken over how You continue to be marginalized and dismissed by both our people and our institutions. We are also saddened by the fact that Your people have contributed greatly to the spiritual apathy that now engulfs us. Our satisfaction in remaining religious without being fully committed to living out the truths of Your Word has caused us to become co-conspirators with the forces of evil that are destroying us as a society.
    It is for this reason that we personally and collectively repent of our carnality and recommit ourselves to becoming visible and verbal disciples of Jesus Christ. Enable us, by Your Spirit, to no longer be secret agent Christians but rather to publicly declare and live out Your truth in a spirit of love so that You feel welcome in our country once again.
    Thank You for Your promise to hear our prayers when we call to You with hearts of repentance and obedience, which is how we are appealing to You today, Father. On behalf of Your church, we affirm afresh the priority You are to us that You would fill every dimension of our lives as we seek to bring You glory through the advancement of Your kingdom in our personal lives, our family lives, and in the lives of our churches and our government leaders. We confidently invite heaven’s intervention into all the affairs of our nation and we praise You in advance for Your answer.
    In Jesus’ name we pray.
    Amen.
    by Dr. Tony Evans

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  273. Zrim says: Ali, I’m certain I won’t.

    oh ok Zrim, glad you are certain about something –wish it were certainty about the best thing though.
    Anyway, it’s helpful to get a visual here of what uncertainty ‘does’ –think that’s the point of Hebrews 11;
    faith = assurance of hope = ‘acts’ a certain way.
    When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8)

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  274. Ali, all he’ll need to do is go to the flag pole on September 28, right? That’s where all the really faithful are gathered. Then again, that thing about setting dates.

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  275. Greg, if I had the time I’d give a point by point response. I just don’t have the time. Look, primates weren’t crowned with the opportunity for glory(shorthand). Other creatures(including primates) don’t have a soul. After that, it’s better defined in the offices commissioned, scripturally expounded in the first and second Adam construct and further delineated under that construct in the offices of prophet, priest and king. I’m not sure you’re aware of the detail and development of shared ontological capacities that have been ferreted out in the past to try to comprehend the doctrine of Imago dei. I don’t even remember or recall them in all their detail. I can tell you that that pursuit, particularly along Aristotelian lines of substance, essence leading to capacity and fitness, is a large part of Rome’s departure from scripture as regards justice, justification, beatification and sanctification. It’s a better route to stick simply to man as inhabiting the threefold offices and comprising a dichotomy of body and soul(crowned/destined for glory). And an essence, capacity and end that is defined strictly along biblical lines of being co-heirs with the first and second Adam, yet still retaining an essence that does not partake in the divine nature. IOW, we don’t become God. But we share in the eternal inheritance per Jesus. Yes, I understand van Tillian’s push the antithesis beyond religious/cultic concerns and into epistemological certainty/uncertainty about what they think and unregenerates think they know. I disagree with the expansion of antithesis beyond cultic participation and norming. I plead Paul in Rom and 1 cor. 5 as a defense for that limitation of antithesis. As regards Machen, if it turns out I differ with him on certain common cultural applications and a creeping transformationalism(violation of sphere sovereignty) then I do. I’m not required to confess Machen. I think it’s Ironic, that arguing for a strictly biblical theology of Imago dei, gets classified as humanistic and contra van Til. Me thinks you don’t understand the landscape of this discussion.

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  276. A couple quick points Sean.
    I’m assuming you’re not doing it on purpose, but you are quite simply not understanding any major point I’m making. Most of this whole last comment is attacking things I do not believe.

    Van Til’s (the bible’s) antithesis is categorical and ethical. It’s not pushed into any particular area. It morally defines all areas. All that is not of faith in and to the glory of the one true God is sin. Nothing, even the formally lawful and laudable acts and attitudes of sinners are of faith in and to the glory of the one true God. Therefore everything they think, say, do and are is an affront to their creator no matter how good it looks to us. (Great plumber) It is spawned from the first Adam and not the last. In fact, the more they are gifted, the more they will be accountable for at the judgment.
    ====================================================
    A question. Is man’s soul a component of the imago dei and is that soul a component of his ontology?

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  277. Greg, we have a soul. It involves personhood, capable of moral culpability and destined for glory, or in the face of demerit, eternal torment.

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  278. Greg, so the question is: “Is a man’s soul a component of his essential being and nature and what makes him what he is?” Isn’t to ask to answer? What else would a man’s soul be if not his essential being? What are you driving at (so excruciatingly)?

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  279. Greg,
    So is your question:
    Is part of what it means to be made in the image of God to have a soul that is essential to our nature?

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  280. Greg, make sure to tell them that’s not you but a different Greg Tiribulus. “It’s crazy, I don’t even have an alias. I know but that’s not me!” Fingerprinting and urine analysis are so yesterday, we require a hair follicle. So, according to the gov. a hair follicle is an even more accurate measure of your essential being. Of course they’re getting at the essential elements of what you’re putting in your dichotomous self as well as a handy dandy DNA sample. We could do some blood panels and get another sense of our essential being as well. But endocrinology is about as baffling as neurology. “We don’t know how the head trauma will affect him, so much depends on how the synapses were formed and how many were formed before you hit him upside the head. Don’t be surprised if he’s a different person after recovery. ” The humanity of it all.

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  281. Zrim:Ali, all he’ll need to do is go to the flag pole on September 28, right? That’s where all the really faithful are gathered. Then again, that thing about setting dates.

    Not sure what you are getting at Zrim. You seem to be making fun of and/or are angry at somebody but not sure who and for what.
    Since you bring it up, though, just hoping if your kids told you they had decided they wanted to join in with a group at school to pray at the flag pole, you wouldn’t go all discouraging on them and dissuade them; especially after they liekly busted through the conflict within themselves due to the ridicule of some of their friends and their own self telling them it’s not necessary nor worth it.

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  282. “Greg,
    So is your question:
    Is part of what it means to be made in the image of God to have a soul that is essential to our nature?”

    Sean has to this point steadfastly refused to allow man’s essential being (ontology) to be a component of the imago dei. Man’s design features of covenant relational capability, High intellect and moral agency. He has repeatedly said that our bearing of God’s image consists wholly in what we DO, not what we ARE. Echoes of the new perspective actually.

    Now he says that the image of God means we have a soul and seems to include moral agency. I’m attempting to understand how this is not ontological like he’s been saying.

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  283. Sean has to this point steadfastly refused to allow man’s essential being (ontology) to be a component of the imago dei. Man’s design features of covenant relational capability, High intellect and moral agency. He has repeatedly said that our bearing of God’s image consists wholly in what we DO, not what we ARE. Echoes of the new perspective actually.

    Now he says that the image of God means we have a soul and seems to include moral agency. I’m attempting to understand how this is not ontological like he’s been saying.

    All this is your way of saying yes. Is that right?

    ” ’m attempting to understand how this is not ontological like he’s been saying.”
    You are misusing the word “ontology” and “ontological”. You would express yourself much more clearly if you used simpler words correctly, fewer adjectives, and avoided the purple flourishes. Ontology is not a synonym for “essential component”.

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  284. Greg, that’s simply not true. SInce jump, I argued that man is body and soul and the capacities therein are executed in fulfillment of covenanted offices. It seems rather obvious you have a particular argument you want to make and you’ve not been listening or engaging honestly so much as trying to get me or others to word our responses in such a way as to unleash your polemic and castigate me or us as not truly reformed or NP or whatever rhetorical flourish gives you your dopamine hit for the hour. You’re not engaged honestly and not worth the time.

    Liked by 1 person

  285. One’s ontology of man is what one believes man IS in his essential being. Like everything else. Everybody has one even if they have no idea what that is. All of the reformed standards, and especially Westminster, use ontological terms when describing the image and likeness of God.
    =======================================
    Chapter IV
    Of Creation
    II. After God had made all other creatures, He created man, male and female, with reasonable and immortal souls, endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, after His own image; having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfil it; and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject unto change.
    ======================================

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  286. Its’ possible SEAN I’ve terribly misunderstood you, but this whole conversation is on this page for all to see.

    Are not “capacities”, to use your most recent word, ontological in nature? Features of man’s essential being by design that render him capable of fulfilling his also divinely designed functions? If so, this is what I’ve been saying all along.

    To say that I’ve not been engaging honestly and have some gotcha agenda is outrageous Sean. I have said from the time I got here that I believe that the epistemology and non-worldview worldview prevalent on this site are corruptions of the truth and sub-Christian at best. I have made no secret of my campaign to demonstrate that.

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  287. Greg, I’ve used capacities from the start as well. It’s in this thread back in April, addressed to you. Still, it’s my mistake to engage you as if you either had the capacity or were willing to utilize the words and concepts you read in a book, in a manner other than the exact parameters and set up in which you originally encountered them. That’s on me. You carry on with your campaign.

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  288. Sean: You’re not engaged honestly and not worth the time.

    Interesting, or should I say sheesh

    Greg says: Its’ possible SEAN I’ve terribly misunderstood you, but this whole conversation is on this page for all to see.

    Greg, you do know he’s actually talking about himself about not engaging honestly, right?
    Thanks for being kind and patient in spite of that.

    Liked by 1 person

  289. Ali, that you tie public boasting and civil religion to true piety. The Bible says otherwise. I try to teach my kids what the Bible teaches.

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  290. Ali, Greg is the Donald Trump (feigned humility and a self-important agenda to exact) and you’re the Trump-e-teer of OL.

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  291. Dear Zrim, if you think public prayer is necessarily public boasting you might read the Bible; and including about judging hearts which ‘you guys’ , you know – ‘your type’ – seems to be big into.

    I am glad you are trying to teach your kids what the Bible teaches. In that case, don’t forget to teach them that blurting out Jesus’ name DOES settle everything (everywhere) and that at the name of Jesus, every knew WILL bow, one way or the other.

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  292. Zrim says: the Trump-e-teer
    well, in all seriousness, Zrim, it is my understanding that the trumpets are trumpeting

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  293. Ali, you mean like this:

    “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

    “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

    “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

    There’s public prayer and then there’s public boasting. Do you know the difference?

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  294. Sean says: “Greg, I’ve used capacities from the start as well. It’s in this thread back in April, addressed to you.”
    Yes:
    “Greg, moral agency, intellect are all capacities performed in service to the offices covenanted.”,
    :is what you said and I then asked you if those services could be performed without those uniquely human capacities?

    To which you then responded with:
    “I’m not happy with the discussions I’ve been both a part of and read where we break out these ontological capacities from our covenanted context.”
    Seeming to then equate these “capacities” with ontology as I maintain. Please note your conflicting phraseology, “capacities performed”. “Capacity” is a noun, not a verb. One cannot perform a capacity. A capacity is the innate capability to accomplish a corresponding action.

    First you say “capacities performed” and then you say “ontological capacities.” Two clearly conflicting ideas.

    “Ontological capacities” is correct (though sdb may not think so). “Capacities performed” is a confusion of categories.

    I promise you yet again that I am not on a mission to denigrate you, but you my friend have sent some rather confusing communication of your own.

    Now, please. Does not the noun, “capacity” indicate a metaphysical reality in the design of man that equips him to function in His covenanted offices in a way that no other creature is, and is this not then, the image and likeness of God?

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  295. Greg, if I imagined that you were honestly confused by my poor grammar and were forever engaged in a precise use of language not dissimilar to a mathematical formula, then your response would have some merit. But you’re not and you don’t, so, go fish. I tried to lay out to you a different way to engage the discussion of Imago dei, a way that more aptly appropriates biblical concepts and categories by which to talk about it but your limitations and general jackassery just can’t abide it. That, is on you. You’re not a philosopher, much less a philosopher or logician of such precision that any departure from a specific syllogism(which hasn’t been employed) and agreed terms throws you into genuine confusion about what is being communicated. You’re just being prickish, cuz you have an agenda(which you’ve admitted), have prejudged the situation and the participants and you’re gonna make your point even at the expense of misrepresenting your understanding of their words because that’s how you are(moral failure). Now, go play in the street. I have much better ways to spend my time.

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  296. “Ontological capacities” is correct (though sdb may not think so)

    You are correct. That phrase has no meaning in the English language. Adding the qualifier “ontological” to capacity is not more meaningful than asking if you have “plaid capacities” or “loud capacities” or “tasty capacities”. Ontology is the study of being, and ontological refers to those things related to the study of being. One’s ontology is one’s view about the nature of existence and so forth.

    Perhaps you are interested in getting at the difference between substance and accidents. As I’ve mentioned here before, I find metaphysics more or less useless for finding truth. Talk about ontology is no exception. But if you are going to do metaphysics, then at least learn the meanings of the words you are using. I highly recommend Peter van Inwagen’s work if you want to see what serious metaphysics is all about (he’s a reformed protestant, or at least was and still is as far as I know, but I don’t think you’ll find any reference to van Til. It is curious is it not that Christian philosophers like Alston, Plantinga, van Inwagen, van Franssen, and Wolterstorff seem to get by without it.

    By the way, here’s a nice overview of reformed epistemology you might find interesting if you haven’t seen it yet:
    http://www.iep.utm.edu/ref-epis/

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  297. The point is that included in man’s being are his “capacities.” God’s creation of man in His own image and likeness means that man has been given finite versions of some of God’s “capacities.” Among which are, awareness of God (divine consciousness), high intellect, and moral agency. These “capacities” are what uniquely equip him to fulfill his covenanted functions and offices.

    You disagree with this sdb?

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  298. I would say:
    God’s creation of man in His own image and likeness means that man has been given finite versions of some of God’s “attributes”. Among which are, the sensus divinitatis, reason, and moral agency. These attributes are corrupted and malfunctioning to various degrees due to sin’s noetic effects. The corruption of these attributes will never be fully reversed until the resurrection. When functioning properly, these attributes equip us to fulfill our covenanted functions and offices.

    Liked by 1 person

  299. Oh sdb, all this debate, finally some agreement and supposed mutual understanding…then this: sdb says to Greg: Great! There’s hope for you yet

    With it (the tongue) we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God James 3:9

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  300. Just for the heck of it sdb, please tell me more about how you view the communicable attributes of sensus divinitatis, reason, and moral agency that you quite rightly say above make up the image and likeness of God in man.

    More pointedly, are these not components of man’s essential nature? Features that make him WHAT he is? His being? His ontology, in other words?

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  301. @Greg
    I noticed this late and haven’t had time to respond. Regarding your later point, I don’t know what your point here refers to. The previous comment just asks questions.

    Regarding the prior comment, I should clarify. I don’t think sensus divinitatis, reason, and moral agency are comprehensive nor are they unique to people. Further because of the fall, all are malformed (to varying degrees).

    In short sensus divinitatis refers to our ability to enter into relationship with God. It manifests itself as a general awareness of God’s existence. That being said, sense it is malfunctioning to varying degrees, we should not be surprised to discover that some people really have no sense of God’s existence. Others find the belief quite naturally. Not all regenerate people find the belief as natural as all unregenerate people. Since most believers are covenant children, it is unlikely they are aware of what it would mean to believe.

    Reason, or rational capacity, is simply the ability to meaningfully communicate, process one’s surroundings, and make inferences. Again, this capability is deformed by the fall as well, and it is clear that in some people this deformation is so great as to render them incapable of reason – some times they are born that way (severe autism or downs) and some times it develops (alzheimers), sometimes it is the result of bad decisions (failed attempts at suicide that leave one in a vegetative state).

    Moral agency is simply the ability to recognize the right course of action and act accordingly. Again, this capacity is deformed to varying degrees in different people. All of the regenerate are not necessarily better on this axis than the non-regenerate. While our sanctification includes growth on this access, our growth is not monotonic.

    More pointedly, are these not components of man’s essential nature?

    I do not believe that man has an essential nature. I reject the notion of an essential nature along with all of metaphysics. I prefer to focus on particularities and keep my view of God and man grounded in scripture rather than metaphysical super narratives.

    Features that make him WHAT he is? His being? His ontology, in other words?

    To refer to “His ontology” is to refer to one’s stance on the nature of existence, being, etc… One’s ontology is not the features that make him what he is. Like I said, though, I reject metaphysics, worldviews, etc… I have many views that depend on what I am looking at – there is no grand metanarrative that weave all of these things together in any meaningful way. It sounds really exciting to college sophomores when they read Sire and think they have it all figured out. But experience should disabuse of us these simplistic categories.

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  302. While I’m working on the rest of your comment, let’s look at this for a minute if we could sdb.

    You say:
    “God’s creation of man in His own image and likeness means that man has been given finite versions of some of God’s “attributes”. Among which are, the sensus divinitatis, reason, and moral agency. “
    I agree fully and have been saying that very thing this whole time. The image of God in man at least includes the sensus divinitatis, reason, and moral agency.

    But then you say:
    “… I don’t think sensus divinitatis, reason, and moral agency … are … unique to people….”
    Are you saying that there are creatures other than man that are created by God in His image and likeness? If yes, I’m really going to need to see some biblical support for that. If no, how then is it that the sensus divinitatis, reason, and moral agency are components of the imago dei, other creatures have them, but not the imago dei?

    Am I to be faulted for asking such a question?

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  303. @Greg very briefly….
    Are you saying that there are creatures other than man that are created by God in His image and likeness?
    No.

    If no, how then is it that the sensus divinitatis, reason, and moral agency are components of the imago dei, other creatures have them, but not the imago dei?
    I’m saying that possessing the attribute of reason (for example) is not a sufficient condition for being made in the image of God.

    Think of the attributes of something else. One of the attributes of plants is that the undergo photosynthesis. Phytoplankton undergo photosynthesis, but they aren’t plants.

    Angels may have the capacity to reason. They aren’t image bearers of God. Demons have the sensus divinatatus, but tremble.

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  304. So are you saying there’s not so much wrong with that comment? Not exactly a ding, but I’ll take it!

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  305. You don’t see me giving me him grief too? The bloody, blasphemous pornography (and that IS what it is. God doesn’t care about your “redeeming” art and stories and you can’t show me one syllable of scripture demonstrating that He does) is only a symptom Darryl.

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