Scripturalism Defended and Explained

Dr. W. Gary Crampton has once again provided another stellar piece in the latest Trinity Review expounding the Scripturalism of Gordon Clark.

Here’s a taste:

“The Christian view of epistemology has its roots in the Logos doctrine.  According to the Gospel of John, Jesus Christ is the cosmological Logos (1:1-3), the epistemological Logos (1:9, 14), and the soteriological Logos (1:4, 12-13; 14:6). He is the Creator of the world, the source of all human knowledge, and the giver of salvation.  As to the epistemological Logos, which is the focus of the present study, Christ is the “true light which enlightens every man coming into the world” (1:9). Apart from the Logos, the “inward teacher,” knowledge would not be possible.

Another way of explaining this is that the sum total of all truth exists in the mind of God: “For in Him [God] we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Nothing exists outside of the mind of God. That is the meaning of the words “omniscient” and “omnipresent.” If man is going to know the truth, he must come to know the eternal propositions in the mind of God. As stated by Jonathan Edwards, “since all truth is in the mind,” and since “God is truth itself,” if we are going to know the truth there must be “the consistency and agreement of our ideas with the ideas of God.”  Some of these propositional truths are implanted in man from conception by God. And when man interacts with creation or reads the words of Scripture, the divine teacher, the Logos, illuminates the mind so that the propositions come to consciousness, as the invisible ink. This is possible because the mind of man is enveloped by the mind of the Logos, who enlightens him to understand the eternal propositions in the mind of God. It does not come about by man’s effort or initiative, but by God’s, who reveals truth.

God created humans with rational minds that use the same laws of thought as His own; men are image-bearers of God. The principles of reason (logic) and knowledge are innately given by God to mankind through the Logos. Thus, whenever human beings know truth, they know that which exists in the mind of God; they do not merely have a representation of the truth.”

Scripturalism: A Christian Worldview, Dr.  W. Gary Crampton, Trinity Review, March-May 2011.

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50 Comments on “Scripturalism Defended and Explained”

  1. Hugh McCann Says:

    Rich fare, this! Not bad for a recovering Presbyterian! 😉

    Another tidbit:

    The laws of logic are not created by God or man; they are the way God thinks. And since the Scriptures are a part of the mind of God (1 Corinthians 2:16), they are God’s logical thoughts. The Bible expresses the mind of God in a logically coherent fashion to mankind. (Crampton)

  2. Ryan Says:

    Thanks for the heads up, Sean.

    Since it touches on the subject, I finally found Clark believed something with which I must disagree: the idea that God knows only finitely many propositions. I discussed this with several other persons on my facebook page, if you care to look, but at any rate, I was wondering on what side of the fence you fall. Here was the opening status:

    //Fun fact: if mathematical axioms can by good and necessary consequence be deduced from Scripture, an implication of Scripturalism would be that man’s possible knowledge approaches infinity.//

  3. Sean Gerety Says:

    Thanks Ryan. I’ll check it out. But if that’s your major disagreement with Clark, I’d say you’re ahead of the game. 😉

    FWIW John Robbins was asked a similar question on the old “anti-Clark” Yahoo Groups list. He said:

    Of course, Clark argued against the infinity of God based on Scripture, saying that the Bible nowhere says that God is infinite, and that theologians have misunderstood Scripture. If “infinity” can be defined other than the way Spinoza defined it, then it might be possible to use the word. It was Spinoza’s definition that Clark clearly objected to. I suspect the solution . . . is hidden in the phrase: Every class is a member of itself. JR #3019

  4. Sean Gerety Says:

    Also, let me add, disagreeing with Clark is hardly a sin. I suppose he was wrong in a number of places. Concerning one such disagreement John wrote:

    I disagree with Clark on a number of points, such as his allowing, with Augustine, for more than 24 hour creation days…. #9273

    FWIW Clark held to historic premillennialism, whereas I agree with Robert Reymond and that “All of the New Testament writings project the same eschatological vision; none of them teaches that a millennial age should be inserted between Jesus’ ‘this age’ and ‘the age to come’ (Matthew 12:32) (NSTCR 1064).” FWIW I’m a pretty convinced amillennialist.

    However, to your point, I recall Reymond having something to say concerning your arguments re infinity. I’ll have to look it up when I get the chance.

  5. Sean Gerety Says:

    Not to detract from the above TR piece, but isn’t there a significant overlap with the January-February 2011 issue?

  6. lawyertheologian Says:

    Way to go Gary! I hope he continues to be a major writer, if not THE major writer , for the Trinity Foundation.

  7. Ryan Says:

    I think the reviews are a little too similar, but to persons less acute to the intricacies of Scripturalism, both are probably more duly appreciated. I posted a link to the article on my facebook page and someone who is new to Scripturalism has already expressed his interest in it and thanks for it. On the plus side, I see that the latest 10 year compilation of Trinity Reviews will soon be available, and that good news was worth whatever redundancies there may have been!

    Unfortunately, I do not yet own Clark’s The Incarnation – thought I expect to have it in a few weeks – in which Clark seems to have written about this in full. But I’m not patient, so excuse me for continuing. One of my textbooks defines infinity fairly well, I think:

    “Definition. A set B is finite if it is empty or if there is a bijection with domain B and range in an initial segment of N. If there is no such function, the set is infinite.”

    N is the set of natural numbers {0, 1, 2, …}, and a bijection is a one-to-one correspondence between two sets. However, even though the set of odd natural numbers is infinite by definition, there is a bijection of it onto the set of natural numbers: f(x) = (x+1)/2, x in {the set of odd natural numbers}. The number 1 in the set of odd natural numbers corresponds with the number ((1)+1)/2 = 1 in the set of natural numbers, 3 with 2, 5 with 3, 7 with 4, and so on. The point is that an infinite set can be embedded in another set, something with which Spinoza, from what I have gleaned online, would seemingly disagree.

    But what is more interesting is the fact that, so defined, infinite sets can be subsets, i.e. sets contained in another set. The Cantor set, discovered ~200 years after Spinoza lived, is a an example of an infinite set which is both bounded and a subset of the interval [0,1] and the set of real numbers.

    So I do not see any prima facie reason it is implausible to analogously suppose God can know or that His knowledge could contain an infinite number of propositions.

  8. speigel Says:

    @Gerety:

    Are you aware of any other differences Robbins may have had with Clark? If so, could you list them out. Thanks.

  9. Sean Gerety Says:

    @Ryan – You had me then you lost me 😛

    @Speigel – Not really. If I come across any more or think of any I’ll let you know.

  10. Ryan Says:

    Where did I lose you?

  11. MikeD Says:

    speigel: I know that Robbins disagreed with Clark in “What Presbyterians Believe” as it pertains to the nature of how infants (and, as Clark put it, morons) are justified. I believe the Scripture teaches that the sole instrument of justification is belief and so did Robbins. Clark disagreed by saying that it would be impossible for infants to believe and so are saved via election or something like that. John leapt in the womb with joy a the announcement he understood. Furthermore all men, that is, all those who are God’s image, are made with a priori knowledge that places them in covenant with him… the covenant of works. So as surely as we might say an infant does not have the motor skills to profess faith, the Scripture is clear that they can, and do, believe propositions.

    Ryan: I too, especially being a math major in college, have trouble acquiescing to the idea that God’s knowledge is not infinite. Even using the elementary rule of inference of Addition (A, therefore, A or B) one can deduce a limitless number of propositions from a single statement of Scripture. There are a few podcasts on this over at The Reign Of Christ, an ex-full preterist site (thanks the Lord for that!). You can get the poscasts most easily through iTunes and there are about three that deal with the problem of infinity, Sam Frost takes the view that there are a finite number of true propositions, no actual infinities and this was a major part of his recent rejection of full preterism. He is Clarkian and sites Clark a few times on the matter.

  12. speigel Says:

    @Gerety and @MikeD:

    Thanks. Look forward to hearing more when you can.

  13. lawyertheologian Says:

    Mike D: “I know that Robbins disagreed with Clark in “What Presbyterians Believe” as it pertains to the nature of how infants (and, as Clark put it, morons) are justified. I believe the Scripture teaches that the sole instrument of justification is belief and so did Robbins. Clark disagreed by saying that it would be impossible for infants to believe and so are saved via election or something like that.”

    Can you provide the citation where this may be found? In “Faith and Saving Faith” Clark suggested he believed in the faith of infants, claiming the Lutheran argument for was stronger and more consistent than the Reformed view against, citing the case of John the Baptist in the section “The Necessity of Faith” p. 93.

  14. David Reece Says:

    speigel,

    Are you a Scripturalist?

  15. speigel Says:

    @Reece:

    Any reason for the question?


  16. @Sean,

    Are there any books you’d recommend on Eschatology/Amillenialism?

  17. MikeD Says:

    @lawyertheologian: I know the place you are speaking of in F&SF. While he seems to give commendation to Lutherans for a degree of consistency, I can in no way conclude an approval of the notion that infants can have saving faith. He even asks, “… how can they believe the gospel which they cannot possibly have heard remains a mystery, for the Scripture says, Faith cometh by hearing.” Not very Clarkian of Clark. Hearing in that passage in Romans means communication of some form and in fact, granting an empirical framework, it’s conceivable that infants can hear in the womb as easily as I can hear my kids through the walls of my home.

    The citation in WDPB? can be found on p.144 in the section titled “Of Saving Faith.” The quote is, “The second point is that this work of God is in our minds, causing us to believe, is ordinarily, one might say always, accomplished by means of the Word. We do not deny that God can regenerate an imbecile, an insane person, or a dying infant. In these cases the person in mentally incapable of faith so that he must be saved apart from understanding the word.” Seeing that Clark rightly denies the doctrine of implicit faith, we must conclude, at least at the time of the writing of that book, that he believed that the imbecile, insane, and infant are saved without faith.

  18. MikeD Says:

    @ Patrick T. McWilliams:

    Riddlebarger’s book, A Case for Amillenialism was compelling and his lectures at http://www.christreformed.org/mp3s-and-real-audio-of-academy/ are outstanding.

  19. Denson Dube Says:

    Ryan,
    //Fun fact: if mathematical axioms can by good and necessary consequence be deduced from Scripture, an implication of Scripturalism would be that man’s possible knowledge approaches infinity.//

    Listing the nitty itty bitty things(reals) in [0,1] is only one of several ways the idea of “infinity” is arrived at. Division by zero is also referred to sometimes as infinite, but perhaps more accurately as “undefined”.
    In my view, “undefined” is a more accurate and literal meaning to what people refer to as “infinity” in mathematics. The use of “infinite” or “infinity” gives the appellation that there is a specific number being referred to by the term. There is no number N that enumerates the reals of the set [0,1]. This is a “warning” light that the axioms of mathematics are not the neat logically coherent systems we think thIf God knows all things, “all” it seems to me is not “undefined”.

  20. Denson Dube Says:

    Ryan
    I am having problems with my browser, which posts, without me pressing the “post” button. I will continue …

    … we think they are. I wish Godel’s incompleteness theorem, though often misunderstood and misused, would be taken a little more seriously by mathematical types.

    If God is omniscient, He knows “all” things. If He knows “all” things, then His knowledge is NOT “undefined” since He knows “all” of them. If His knowledge is not undefined then it is NOT “infinite”.

    //Fun fact: if mathematical axioms can by good and necessary consequence be deduced from Scripture, an implication of Scripturalism would be Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem.//

  21. Sean Gerety Says:

    @Patrick – I agree with MikeD, the Riddlebarger book was quite good. The PRC has a number of articles on the topic. Anthony Hoekema’s book is also now online: http://www.the-highway.com/amila_Hoekema.html

  22. Sean Gerety Says:

    Scratch that, it looks like it’s just a selection from Hoekema.

  23. Ryan Says:

    Denson,

    Is the future “defined”?

  24. lawyertheologian Says:

    @Mike D. Thanks for the citation. I do think that Clark’s word in F&SV, which was written much later, is his final word on the matter. Yes, Clark seemed at first to think it impossible or unknown ( a mystery) that an unborn infant can hear and believe. But he follows up that statement with the account of John the Baptist being filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb. Of course, that only implies regeneration. And yet regeneration is always followed immediately by faith. It seems Clark was at least allowing for the possibility of faith of unborn infants. And I would point out that Clark was towing the WCF (10.3)line in especially in WDPB.
    BTW, I often point out that having faith doesn’t necessarily mean one can articulate the faith.

  25. Hugh McCann Says:

    MikeD, http://thereignofchrist.com/ sure sounds full-preterist. Do they repudiate that position somewhere there, or do I have the wrong site?

  26. lawyertheologian Says:

    It seems to me that what God knows is His own thoughts, which are an eternal, static set of propositions. I also think that the perpetuation of propositions from a single proposition by logical inference really doesn not add to one’s knowledge. It is simply the application of logic to a statement that simply demonstrates understanding of the statement.

  27. MikeD Says:

    @Hugh McCann:

    If you look at the last few podcasts you’ll see the episodes where they have changed their mind on that issue. Most of the episodes are full-preterist. Several of the podcasts are only on a Clarkian view of things but sprinkled with this and that throughout the discussion. If you do a search on Sam Frost and full preterism you will see many articles describing his disavowing of it.

  28. Hugh McCann Says:

    Thanks, Mike!

    These guys are new to me, and having had run-ins with full-on Prets before, I’m interested in an ex-hyper-Pret.

  29. MikeD Says:

    I thought those interested in the topic of God and infinity may be interested in the following quote from the text of Clark’s answer to the Complaint filed by Murray and Stonehouse (and of course endorsed by VanTil). The texts involved are being posted over at http://reasonablechristian.blogspot.com/ in response to the not-so-fair representation of Clark by the crew at Reformed Forum in the latest episode of Christ the Center. From Clark’s Answer:

    “On the other hand Dr. Clark contends that the doctrine of the incomprehensibilty of God as set forth in Scripture and in the Confession of Faith includes the following points: 1. The essence of God’s being is incomprehensible to man except as God reveals truths concerning his own nature; 2. The manner of God’s knowing an eternal intuition, is impossible for man; 3. Man can never know exhaustively and completely God’s knowledge of any truth in all its relationships and implications; because every truth has an infinite number of relationships and implications and since each of these implications in turn has other infinite implications, these must ever, even in heaven, remain inexhaustible for man.”

  30. Denson Dube Says:

    Ryan,
    “Denson,

    Is the future “defined”?”

    You tell me!

  31. Ryan Says:

    Denson,

    If the future is not defined, can God have determined it?

  32. Denson Dube Says:

    Ryan,
    Please make your point!

  33. lawyertheologian Says:

    I think Denson’s point is that the future is indeed defined, since the future is what God has thought eternally. And if infinity equals undefined, then there is no infinity.

    “Man can never know exhaustively and completely God’s knowledge of any truth in all its relationships and implications;because every truth has an infinite number of relationships and implications and since each of these implications in turn has other infinite implications, these must ever, even in heaven, remain inexhaustible for man.”

    I’m not sure I would agree with Clark’s statement here. How does he know that there are an infinite number of relations and implications that are thus inexhaustible? But distinguishing truth and its implications, we can say the truth that God knows is finite; it is the set of eternal thoughts in His mind.

    In any event, Clark’s final thought on the issue of infinity as it pertains to God is in his last book, “The Incarnation.” With respect to mathematics he says,

    “One may wonder whether the truths of mathematics, unlike the truths of history, are infinite in number. Each year some brilliant professor adds one or two more. Theorems seem to be possible without end. Then would not omniscience make God infinite? There are two replies. First, if the theorems are infinite in number, neither God nor man can know them all, for with respect to infinity, there is no ‘all’ to be known. P.61-62.

  34. Ryan Says:

    Denson,

    You wrote:

    //If God is omniscient, He knows “all” things. If He knows “all” things, then His knowledge is NOT “undefined” since He knows “all” of them. If His knowledge is not undefined then it is NOT “infinite”.//

    If God knows our future, then our future, according to you, seemingly cannot be undefined. But talking about the “future” implies some sort of sequence analogous to the present discussion on mathematics. Furthermore, such a sequence has no upper bound – our future never reaches a limit. So my point is that I do not understand how you can reconcile this with the idea God cannot know that which is not, as you say, “defined.”

  35. MikeD Says:

    @lawyertheologian

    You said, “I think Denson’s point is that the future is indeed defined, since the future is what God has thought eternally. And if infinity equals undefined, then there is no infinity.” I’m not sure I’d agree that infinity is undefined. To say this is to say it has no essence or that it’s nonsense, literally. The set of integers, which I would contend is infinite, may be denotatively DEFINED as {…-2, -1, 0, 1, 2,…}. Also, when we say that God knows all true propositions I do not think that necessitates saying that there is a set amount. What it means is that given any true proposition, it is known by God. Just like when we say that God is omnipresent (if you choose to retain that word in your vocabulary) we do not mean it God is located everywhere, for He is not located anywhere. What it means is that there is nowhere you could be so as to be hid from Him. So I would have to respectfully disagree with Clark on that.

    I could be off on this, but if Clark is right (in the Incarnation) then many unwanted implications follow. For example, God would then have to know an elect person’s last thought, for certainly their thoughts do not go on forever seeing that there is no infinite. But the elect have no last thoughts seeing that death has been swallowed up and they are everlastingly rational. This is more consistent with the Answer to the Complaint. Any thoughts?

  36. Ryan Says:

    MikeD wrote:

    //3. Man can never know exhaustively and completely God’s knowledge of any truth in all its relationships and implications; because every truth has an infinite number of relationships and implications and since each of these implications in turn has other infinite implications, these must ever, even in heaven, remain inexhaustible for man.//

    Good find. I find that interesting. It is certainly near to my view, if not exact. I can only guess that Clark changed his mind over time, as The Incarnation is the final word of his we have. “Every truth has an infinite number of relationships and implications” only if, correspondingly, God knows an “infinite number of relationships and implications.” But that is precisely what he denies is possible in The Incarnation.

    I wonder if Clark realized that when he suggested that God is finitely knowledgeable, he was also erasing the distinction between Creator and creation he formerly (correctly) posited. Man’s knowledge may ever be discursive, it is true, but if there are only finitely many propositions to be known, and man’s knowledge is univocal with God’s knowledge, man could – and given the fact he will live eternally, seemingly must – come to know all that God knows. Man is able to become omniscient.

  37. Sean Gerety Says:

    Ryan, I don’t see how your last paragraph follows? Wouldn’t the fact that man’s knowledge is forever discursive and successive make omniscience impossible no matter how many truths he might learn throughout eternity? I would have thought one aspect of omniscience is the immediate retention of all truths and their relationships. FWIW I sometimes forget truths that I learned even a week ago at bible study.

    Would you agree with Clark per infinity that if there is no “all” then God’s knowledge is as incomplete as man’s? If that’s the case, then how would you defined “omniscience,” or is this just a religious term with no meaning?

    As for what I didn’t get earlier, I’d say it was your textbook definition along with your explanation, which I assume was to make it clearer for all us who last saw a math textbook in High School and even then wasn’t too sure about it. =8-)

  38. Sean Gerety Says:

    FWIW the topic of infinity re Clark was breached on the Scripturalist Yahoo Groups some time ago and I came across this from Dr. George Coghill that, as I read it again, provides an interesting alternative, or a least something else to chew on:

    Why would God’s knowledge being endless suggest that he is always learning? Surely since God’s knowledge is intuitive it is simply the case that for each proposition corresponding to the natural numbers, say, it is the case that God’s knows it.

    As for there being no all to know, surely that again depends on how one understands “all”. We are used to thinking in finite terms as ‘all’ referring to the totality of the members of a set or class, and perhaps that makes it difficult to accept it as applied to an infinite set or sequence.

    However, one must be careful not to simply beg the question against infinite sets in that case.

    But there is another way of focusing the problem. For standard logics it is the case that a proposition is equivalent to it’s double negation (ie p is equivalent to not not p, or ~~p). So if we consider that with propositions of the ‘all’ type the contradictory is ‘some are not’. In the current case let us assume that it is not the case that God knows all members of an infinite set. That means that there must be some propositions that he does not know. It is, I think, intuitively obvious that this is not the case.

    Take the natural numbers again, each time you add 1 you get another number of which it is the case that God knows it is a number. It is impossible to devise such a thing. As such, regardless of whether the sets are finite or infinite, it is not the case that there are some things which God does not know. Ergo it must be the case that God knows all.

    If God’s knowledge is not infinite in this way then there are theological problems. The discussion of the biblical material has focused only on the words used (ie what is expressly laid down in scripture), but that is not the only thing relevant: there is also what follows by good and necessary consequence, and it is in that department that I have problems with God being finite. (Though I do concur with Anthony that ‘without number’ is an excellent way to express the infinite – anyone who has had a ‘divide by zero’ error on a computer, may have had the response ‘NaN’ from the machine, meaning ‘Not a Number’)

    If God is finite then everything is. Finite by definition involves a definite number. If it is a set it will have a particular number of elements and if it is a sequence it will have a largest value. So here is the problem: What about everlasting life and everlasting punishment?

    Time is the sequence of thoughts in a created being. But if God is finite then that sequence must have a largest term, since he knows the end from the
    beginning. That is, the end must be some finite time in the future. What then? What are we to make of such sayings as “where the worm does not die
    and the fire is not quenched”? Are they simply metaphorical?

    It seems to me that the only solution is that God is infinite.

  39. lawyertheologian Says:

    Mike: “I could be off on this, but if Clark is right (in the Incarnation) then many unwanted implications follow. For example, God would then have to know an elect person’s last thought, for certainly their thoughts do not go on forever seeing that there is no infinite.”

    Infinite/infinity does not equal eternal/everlasting. That we live forever does not make us or God infinite. Again, that we can always think another thought, add another number, etc., does not make us undefined or limitless. Our knowledge and God’s is defined and limited (God is limited to ALL the thoughts of His mind). Again, if the future is set/defined and known by God, then somehow God knows what our next thought will be throughout eternity, just as He knows/is aware of His eternal thoughts which appear to us as sequential in history.

  40. lawyertheologian Says:

    “Why would God’s knowledge being endless suggest that he is always learning? Surely since God’s knowledge is intuitive it is simply the case that for each proposition corresponding to the natural numbers, say, it is the case that God’s knows it.”

    I’m not sure I understand the point here, but if what is meant that God’s knowledge is intuitive is God is aware of His thoughts, and that His thoughts are true simply because He thinks them. And of course, God understands that His thoughts are logical, and thus also the nature of numbers.

    “Take the natural numbers again, each time you add 1 you get another number of which it is the case that God knows it is a number. It is impossible to devise such a thing. As such, regardless of whether the sets are finite or infinite, it is not the case that there are some things which God does not know. Ergo it must be the case that God knows all.”

    This confuses the nature of propositions with logic. Propositions are the objects of truth and logic is a necessary element of proposition. Again, God understands the nature of numbers or numbering, that such is a logical concept, that one can add perpetually to/throughout eternity. But you have to posit a number and speak of it if you want to speak of knowing a proposition. In other words, you can speak of God knowing that 1 followed by x number of zeros as a particular number and that God knows that logically there is no limit to the number of zeros placed at the end of an integer, or the limitlessness to adding or increasing in number.

    “What about everlasting life and everlasting punishment?

    Again, infinite does not equal eternal or immortal. An eternal thought is not an infinite thought.

    “But if God is finite then that sequence must have a largest term, since he knows the end from the
    beginning. That is, the end must be some finite time in the future.”

    Well, there are beginnings and ends to things, and God knows both. But the fact that we will have no end does not mean that God can’t know that or our everlasting/eternal thoughts that He has willed. Again, if He knows His eternal thoughts, which are not infinite but are what they are and do not change and do not increase, then He indeed knows ALL our future everlasting thoughts.

  41. Denson Dube Says:

    I find myself in agreement with pat.
    “Jesus is the Son of God”, is an eternal thought, just one as it is. Eternality is the property of truth or true propositions not size or length of time. It simply means(perhaps amongst other things I might not be aware of), unchanging. God is eternal because He is truth. The Bible says God has no “variableness or shadow of turning”. When we believe the truth, we possess eternal truth, or as Jesus put it, eternal Life. Truth is God’s Life. We do not need to possess an “infinite” number of propositions before we possess eternal life; just a handfull of true propositions, the gospel. Neither does God. Size or time has nothing to do with it!
    I can posses a handfull of truths “forever”, and thus my future will be determined in that it will consist of contemplating those handfull of propositions.
    By Omniscience, the Bible simply means all knowledge has its origin in God’s mind, since He is the origin of all things. For all we care, God might posses 3 or 7 axioms from which He derives all His knowledge. I have no idea why this would make Him less than God. After all, God is three persons and not an infinite number of persons, and the finiteness of the number three does not seem to embarass him.
    As Sean pointed out(and seems to have been ignored), Clark’s point was that infinity is not exegetically derived from the Bible, his ad hominem arguments not withstanding. Infinity was first smuggled into Christianity by none other than “The Doctor of the Church”, “S…t” Thomas Aquinas.
    As for George, the Scotsman was displaying his confusion concerning knowledge, eternity and time and writing as if these are settled matters. Does eternity refer to “endless” time? I think eternity is a property of truth not time.

  42. MikeD Says:

    Enjoying the discussion:

    lawyertheologian said, “Infinite/infinity does not equal eternal/everlasting. That we live forever does not make us or God infinite.” I wouldn’t say that infinity = eternal/everlasting, but rather that eternality and everlasting are subsets of infinity. That is, they are species of the genus, infinitude.

    Now I’m not being snarky but two things. One is, you keep saying that infinity is undefined but who here leaning in the direction of an amen to infinity is using it as such? Besides, if you are using the word, even to say it is not the same as eternal, you must have an idea of the definition of the term. If we know what finite is defined to be, then infinite would simply be the negation of it. Furthermore, I understand what you are flirting with when you capitalize ALL so as to indicate a set number, but I see no reason to go with this definition or connotation. To say that God has all knowledge may be thought of, by obversion, as there are no true propositions that God does not know. Notice how there is no indication of some set amount here.

    So am I right that the main concern here is that there is, in your understanding, some notion of chaos and/or process necessarily entailed in the idea of infinity?

  43. lawyertheologian Says:

    I really don’t know what you’re getting at except that maybe we should start defining terms.

    Oh, I think Denson brought up undefined, in which I don’t think is meant having no definition but unquantified or limitless.

    Okay, finite =df limited,quantified, defined
    infinity =df limitless, unquantified, undefined
    eternal =df having no end

    “To say that God has all knowledge may be thought of, by obversion, as there are no true propositions that God does not know.”

    This only makes sense if we think there are true propositions apart from God. There are no true propositions other than what God thinks, and what God thinks, again, is an eternal fixed set of propostions. Otherwise, God would change from thinking a thought He had not thought before.

  44. theoldadam Says:

    The finite contains the infinite.

    I think this is how God operates.

    Unlike the Muslims, our book does not have to be textually inerrant.

    Our God is much bigger than that.

  45. Denson Dube Says:

    @everyone

    I forgot one point, in my last post. Clark presents Zeno’s paradox, showing that the model of physical space in which there is an “infinite” number of points between any two points in physical space no matter how close, seems to render physical motion “impossible” or at least inexplicable!

    @The old Adam
    What’s up?
    (1) Is “The finite contains the infinite” not just very bad grammar?
    “Finite” and “infinite” can be used in a sentence as adjectives or even adverbs. One refers to a ‘hot bath’ not just a ‘hot’, and so ‘a finite or infinite something’ not just ‘a finite’. Just as it is, your sentence does not convey any meaning.
    And you claim your “God” operates according to this meaningless mantra?

    (2) Which is “our book” you are refering to, and is the “we” implied in your sentence the royal “we” or are you refering to your membership in some society?

    (3) When you say “Unlike the Muslims, our book does not have to be textually inerrant.”, what do you mean by “textually inerrant”?
    Is “The moon is made of green cheese.” textually inerrant or not? Or do you mean your book is made of bad grammar and meaningless sentences like your first sentence, in which case it is no better than the Koran(perhaps you have never read the Koran, trust me it is the sort book you would be proud of, by the sound of it)?

    What is your “God” bigger than, “textual inerrancy”? How is your “God” bigger than “textual inerrancy” if your book which you presummably got from him/her/it is not textually inerrant? Isn’t your “God” just illiterate, being unable to demonstrate literary competence?

  46. AZTexan Says:

    [subscribing to comments]

    Compelling thread, everyone.

  47. Ryan Says:

    Sean (and others),

    Sorry I can’t keep up with this interesting thread. I have a quick question: did Clark write Clark Speaks from the Grave? I am a bit confused because if that’s the case, he seems to refer to himself in the third person rather than the usual first person?

  48. LJ Says:

    Recently presented on Facebook:

    http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/04/16/can-we-prove-the-existence-of-god/

    James Anderson and arguments for the existence of God and how helpful they are.

    LJ


  49. […] of the important positive points of Scripturalism.  Other relevant articles may be found here, here, here, here, […]


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