Anti-Supernaturalism and God's Logic Vs. Man's Logic

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Anti-Supernaturalism and God's Logic Vs. Man's Logic

Postby Philip » Wed Feb 15, 2017 9:19 am

As always, I take issue with people who assert anti-supernaturalism understandings of how God works and what Scripture prolifically reveals. That a universe began, that is so complex, precisely run according to design and applicable laws - that's miracle number one. Life emerges where there was none. Massively complex mechanisms, chemistries, elements, interactively so, allow and empower what exists to function. All that. And yet, once those miraculous things were put into place, the TYPICAL way God allows things to run are according to His designs and purposes for them. We are so used to these "norms," and yet their origins are miraculous/supernatural. So, that these many things operate as they do - that is our norm. And instantaneous, inexplicable interruptions as to how they normally work, that defy those norms, these are what we call miracles. And the Bible is full of them. The Incarnation alone is an enormous one - and the events surrounding Jesus can only be described as miraculous. So, for a Christian who is anti-supernatural, well, that is a Christian who must not believe in much of Scripture. I was inspired to this post by the exchange below:

Philip: I just think Hugh has a problem with the supernatural when it comes to God. Yes, there is healthy skepticism, but he seems to discount anything that might be evidence of the miraculous. But anti-supernaturalism is not in sync with believing the many miracles recorded in Scripture. Does that mean this is how God always works - course not. The miraculous is uncommon/atypical.


Hugh: Now there you do alight on a major difference between our respective understandings of the workings of God. I think he always works rationally.


As previously noted, how God works rationally, as per Scripture, is that He often uses the miraculous per HIS version of what is rational - and not per OUR sense of what is rational! We are material, God is Spirit. We have tiny created brains of limited knowledge. He has no limitations whatsoever. So, that's a starting point. We don't often know what God does - or has done, don't have His abilities, and He even states in many places in Scripture is that His ways are not our ways. That means that what WE think is rational about an issue or thing is not necessarily the way God thinks about it. Scripture is replete with God doing things exactly the opposite of how a rational human would plan and implement things. Jesus becoming a human - nothing about this is rational, per how a human would have planned it. God wanting man to understand Himself and his plans for mankind - we'd likely have planned for Jesus to simply arrive in great power and majesty, and begin meeting with the world's great leaders, demonstrating clearly to all, all at once, Who He is, what His power is capable of, and what He wants. Not this nonsense of being born into poor, humble circumstances - really, an unremarkable first century, ancient Palestinian birth. He's this "nobody" that comes our of nowhere, speaking often cryptically and quoting the OT, saying these remarkable, but often difficult-to-understand, things. Is that how we would have done it? RATIONALLY? Of course not!

Look at Jesus. A God that is eternal, has all power and knowledge, all capabilities, lives within the bliss and love of His Trinity, and He decides to also take on a MATERIAL thing He had already created: Human form! Before God created humans, there were none.

A wild (if imperfect analogy): God also taking human form on is as if one of us were to create some kind of amazing, high-tech robot, yet infused with incredible artificial intelligence, speech, hearing, and based upon how our intelligence works, with many of our high-functioning capabilities. Now, this robot you have created, it's not a human, but it certainly mirrors many amazing attributes of a human. Let's call him Herb. You begin to love Herb the robot as if he is more than just some thing we created, but as if he is as another human. And you've programmed Herb to be able to make his own decisions, and placed him in an environment of considerable dangers, in which many of his bad decisions could be destructive to him, perhaps fatally so. But you wanted him to have freedom and to be able to think for himself. Remember, you have begun to LOVE Herb. He is your pride and joy, this astonishing created thing. But Herb, being given the independence of making decisions, decides not to love you back - actually, he can't really understand love like you do, nor does he desire it. And then Herb's decisions cause him some catastrophic malfunction that will eventually lead to his destruction. He's also become aggressive and very dangerous. And you realize the only way to keep him from destruction is to confront him and change him, but you decide to do this without using any great aggressive power or weapons at your disposal. And so, to do this, you are willing to risk Herb turning on you - to the point you are willing to risk - if necessary - even die to save Herb from his inevitable corrosion and ceasing any future functioning - a death of what is no more than a created machine - although you think of him in a far greater way and with love. You have loved a CREATED machine, with many of your attributes, and yet you inexplicably LOVE a created thing, and so you have decided that you are willing to die for Herb. And Herb has remaining capabilities to inflict great and exceptionally painful injuries - and that is only before he may well kill you. But you are willing to horrifically die for a thing that once did not exist, that you decided to love to the point of great personal sacrifice, to keep Herb from his own destruction.

OK, the analogy above is problematic, but you get the idea. What we as humans consider RATIONAL, is not God's idea of it. He starts a nation as an example and to model His desires and ways to, and yet He starts it with a barren woman and man, whereas we would have chosen the young and fertile. He already foreknows these people will greatly disappoint Him and not appreciate Him, over and over, and yet He does so anyway. Jesus chooses a ragtag band of misfit fishermen, who He well knows will desert Him, screw up over and over, and yet this is His plan. God doesn't send down some perfect digital, completely understandable messages to the world's leaders, all at once, so A) ALL can SEE He exists, B) so that He demonstrates clearly His miraculous powers, C) So ALL people can instantly know perfectly what He wants, how He thinks, and provide everything they could possibly want to know, all that. NO, He reveals His will and words to prophets and leaders, apostles, and He does this over 16 centuries - slowly, VERY slowly - often cryptically or unclearly - looking forward.

Point is, we would never do things the way God has done them. His logic and rationality are not OURS! And they never were, never will be - not here. He stands alone in His often mysterious ways and objectives. Anyone asserting God operates logically, ACCORDING TO MAN'S LOGIC, has a very distorted understanding of God and His ways, and they clearly don't accept much of what Scripture says, as being true. To be a Christian is to realize that human expectations concerning God are often highly problematic, or likely just wrong. He doesn't think like we do. He doesn't operate like we would. And thankfully so - as humans have a pretty dismal track record.

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Re: Anti-Supernaturalism and God's Logic Vs. Man's Logic

Postby PaulSacramento » Wed Feb 15, 2017 10:52 am

That man, with our imperfect and SEVERELY LIMITED understanding of how the universe actually works, can somehow dictate what is "rational" or not for God is the height of arrogance.

2000 tears ago everyone KNEW the sun revolved around the world
1000 year ago every KNEW that circumnavigating the world was impossible
100 years ago everyone knew that space flight was impossible

Can you just imagine what we will know 100 years from today? 500? 2000 ??

The height of arrogance to make any absolute statement about the universe.

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Re: Anti-Supernaturalism and God's Logic Vs. Man's Logic

Postby hughfarey » Fri Feb 17, 2017 6:37 am

When you say: "He doesn't think like we do. He doesn't operate like we would" you don't really mean that, do you? You mean that he doesn't work like I think he does, but he does work like you think he does. You have decided that he must work 'supernaturally' when it comes to the remarkable things that occasionally take place in the world, and that I am wrong to think otherwise. You have decided that my ideas are "the height of arrogance", while your ideas are the only sensible ones. How mean. I have never "dictated" what God does, nor made any "absolute statement about the universe." Indeed, I have freely accepted the possibility of alternatives. Why not consider which of the following is an absolute statement, and then decide who epitomises the "height of arrogance"?

"The question is not could he but did he, and I think he did not."
"No, I do not think that God is incapable of "sudden, immediate interruptions"; I just don't think he works that way."
"Jesus becoming a human - nothing about this is rational, per how a human would have planned it."
"What we as humans consider RATIONAL, is not God's idea of it."
"Point is, we would never do things the way God has done them."
"His logic and rationality are not OURS!"

The last four statements imply that you know a lot about God's mind. They are not balanced assessments of God's capabilities or what he has actually done from a point of view of human humility. They seem to me a dogmatic and rather reactionary assertion of some kind anti-rational prejudice, as if you think rationality somehow demeans the power of God. You are, of course, welcome to your views, but they are by no means self-evidently true, and without reason, how can you defend them without resorting simply to repetition, capital letters and exclamation marks? I sympathise with the dilemma.

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Re: Anti-Supernaturalism and God's Logic Vs. Man's Logic

Postby Philip » Fri Feb 17, 2017 7:08 am

Hugh: When you say: "He doesn't think like we do. He doesn't operate like we would" you don't really mean that, do you? You mean that he doesn't work like I think he does, but he does work like you think he does. You have decided that he must work 'supernaturally' when it comes to the remarkable things that occasionally take place in the world, and that I am wrong to think otherwise. You have decided that my ideas are "the height of arrogance", while your ideas are the only sensible ones. How mean. I have never "dictated" what God does, nor made any "absolute statement about the universe." Indeed, I have freely accepted the possibility of alternatives. Why not consider which of the following is an absolute statement, and then decide who epitomises the "height of arrogance"?


Hugh, I'm merely pointing out that your anti-supernaturalist views are not Biblical. You do not believe what the Bible asserts, by many prophets, apostles and Jesus. I can't help that you do not. I did not write Scripture. It is not arrogance to point out the obvious. You do not believe much of what the Bible says.

Philip: "Jesus becoming a human - nothing about this is rational, per how a human would have planned it."
"What we as humans consider RATIONAL, is not God's idea of it."
"Point is, we would never do things the way God has done them."
"His logic and rationality are not OURS!"


Hugh:The last four statements imply that you know a lot about God's mind. They are not balanced assessments of God's capabilities or what he has actually done from a point of view of human humility. They seem to me a dogmatic and rather reactionary assertion of some kind anti-rational prejudice, as if you think rationality somehow demeans the power of God.


NO, Hugh, those statements are Biblically based - they are not MY opinions. Now, you are free to not believe what the Bible prolifically reveals/says - VERY clearly - about every one of those statements. So, your argument, rhetoric and conflict are not with me, but are with what Scripture prolifically asserts. Now, I would adjust them to say, that while we can rationally, but only to a degree, understand how God thinks, mostly per how He explains Himself, and per His stated principles, and that nonetheless many things He has done are clearly not how WE would plan and execute actions, and especially consequences. This is very obvious to any student of Scripture. And the only way we could truly have his understandings and ways of thinking, would be to also fully have HIS mind. But we don't and we don't. And the way most hyper-rationalists, who say they believe in God, in Christ, handle these many perplexities and strange things in Scripture, especially the miraculous, by denying they can be literal meanings (which is not to say everything in Scripture is literal), or that there must be some non-miraculous explanations for them. But then, you're left with very little of God's Word, when you do so.

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Re: Anti-Supernaturalism and God's Logic Vs. Man's Logic

Postby hughfarey » Fri Feb 17, 2017 9:23 am

Prolifically. There's Isaiah 55 and some of Paul's letters. They narrow down to "God's ways are not our ways" which is not a ringing endorsement of sporadic sudden supernatural intervention in the universe. "Nonetheless many things He has done are clearly not how WE would plan and execute actions, and especially consequences." It's easy to say that, but we were never in a position to be compared. In his place, I dare say we might have come up with very similar plans and actions. "And the way most hyper-rationalists, who say they believe in God, in Christ, handle these many perplexities and strange things in Scripture, especially the miraculous, [is] by denying they can be literal meanings (which is not to say everything in Scripture is literal), or that there must be some non-miraculous explanations for them." Yes, I think that's largely true. "But then, you're left with very little of God's Word, when you do so." No. Quite the reverse. You could remove every single sporadic sudden supernatural intervention from the bible and it would be left substantially unchanged in message, except perhaps for those for whom only magic is truly convincing of an omniscient, omnipotent, overseer of the progress of the universe.

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Re: Anti-Supernaturalism and God's Logic Vs. Man's Logic

Postby Philip » Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:10 am

Hugh: Prolifically. There's Isaiah 55 and some of Paul's letters. They narrow down to "God's ways are not our ways" which is not a ringing endorsement of sporadic sudden supernatural intervention in the universe.


Apparently, you have a different Bible than most. It's not just what many prophets and apostles have said, it's how those things are demonstrated in what God made, and how He has intervened across Scripture. You are in denial of this, or don't believe what it says.

Philip: "Nonetheless many things He has done are clearly not how WE would plan and execute actions, and especially consequences."


Hugh: It's easy to say that, but we were never in a position to be compared. In his place, I dare say we might have come up with very similar plans and actions.


But that's not an answer, and it contradicts what so many who wrote Scripture assert.

Hugh: You could remove every single sporadic sudden supernatural intervention from the bible and it would be left substantially unchanged in message, except perhaps for those for whom only magic is truly convincing of an omniscient, omnipotent, overseer of the progress of the universe.


So, you could remove the resurrection from Scripture and it wouldn't matter???!!! Your assertions deny Who God is and how He operates - SPEAKING physical worlds into existence from a non-physical spirit realm. A God who will take on lowly physical form, and love created beings to the point of submitting to their hate, humiliations, and unimaginable physical barbarity. Logical - by whose standards? His prophetic, all-knowing pronouncements - knowing the future. We're told He knows exactly when and how the world will end, and how the New Heaven and Earth will come about. What about the doctrine of Hell? Logical? God has wrath that needs to be eternally satisfied? One can reject God, but be punished forever? Logical? He does not micromanage every little detail, but the ones that matter, per His purposes. He can and has chosen to intervene or not.

But as you don't believe these kinds of things, why do you believe in a resurrected God/man, who was physically killed, and then physically returned to life? Why do you believe that? Jesus confirmed the entirety of the OT as being what God wanted written down: "The Law and the Prophets." Much of what we know of Jesus and the Resurrection is from eyewitnesses and or those who knew the eyewitnesses. Jesus raised people from the dead - miraculous! Etc. So if you doubt the details of the NT, then you doubt the OT. And if these things are not true, you have faith based upon - what? One thing is certain, one rejecting so much wouldn't seem to have a faith based upon the historical Jesus and the actions of God recorded in Scripture - which is very dangerous, because you are dividing the God of history, from the god you construct. Not saying you've done that - I don't know your heart - but it is entirely a danger, for those who reject so much of what the Bible says has occurred.

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Re: Anti-Supernaturalism and God's Logic Vs. Man's Logic

Postby RickD » Fri Feb 17, 2017 11:42 am

C'mon Philip,

The miraculous virgin birth, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, aren't essential to the message of salvation.


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Re: Anti-Supernaturalism and God's Logic Vs. Man's Logic

Postby Philip » Fri Feb 17, 2017 1:03 pm

My point wasn't that believing those other (miraculous) things saves a person - but that they are connected to the historical Jesus, and Scripture reveals these things about Him. But you don't think belief in the resurrection has anything to do with believing in the real Jesus? Not sure what you're getting at?

Romans 10:9: "because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord AND believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."

Maybe you only hold to the first part of the sentence? What if you believe in a Jesus that wasn't resurrected? What then?

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Re: Anti-Supernaturalism and God's Logic Vs. Man's Logic

Postby RickD » Fri Feb 17, 2017 1:11 pm

Philip wrote:My point wasn't that believing those other (miraculous) things saves a person - but that they are connected to the historical Jesus, and Scripture reveals these things about Him. But you don't think belief in the resurrection has anything to do with believing in the real Jesus? Not sure what you're getting at?

Romans 10:9: "because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord AND believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."

Maybe you only hold to the first part of the sentence? What if you believe in a Jesus that wasn't resurrected? What then?


Philip,

Look at my signature:
"St. Richard the Sarcastic--The Patron Saint of Irony"


In case you still haven't caught on, of course the miracles of Christ's incarnation and resurrection are absolutely crucial to the message of the gospel. There is no gospel without them.
1 Corinthians 1:9
9 God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Audie wrote:
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Re: Anti-Supernaturalism and God's Logic Vs. Man's Logic

Postby Philip » Fri Feb 17, 2017 1:13 pm

Guess I need to learn to read, eh? :roll: I think I'm still a little tanked up from last nights funtime with J.

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Re: Anti-Supernaturalism and God's Logic Vs. Man's Logic

Postby RickD » Fri Feb 17, 2017 1:20 pm

Philip wrote:Guess I need to learn to read, eh? :roll: I think I'm still a little tanked up from last nights funtime with J.

I have no idea what you're talking about.
:shock:
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Re: Anti-Supernaturalism and God's Logic Vs. Man's Logic

Postby Philip » Fri Feb 17, 2017 1:29 pm

I have no idea what you're talking about.
:shock:


I sure wish I didn't either!

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Re: Anti-Supernaturalism and God's Logic Vs. Man's Logic

Postby hughfarey » Sat Feb 18, 2017 2:33 am

Philip wrote:Philip: "Nonetheless many things He has done are clearly not how WE would plan and execute actions, and especially consequences.
Hugh: It's easy to say that, but we were never in a position to be compared. In his place, I dare say we might have come up with very similar plans and actions.
But that's not an answer, and it contradicts what so many who wrote Scripture assert.
I disagree. It's easy to say that God has done something that we would never have done, but you don't know that at all. A common instance of this is to say that no human would ever have sent his only son to be sacrificed for the failings of his creation, but then, no human has ever been in those circumstances. Would you like to justify this: "many things He has done are clearly not how WE would plan and execute actions", with one single indisputable instance?

Hugh: You could remove every single sporadic sudden supernatural intervention from the bible and it would be left substantially unchanged in message, except perhaps for those for whom only magic is truly convincing of an omniscient, omnipotent, overseer of the progress of the universe.
So, you could remove the resurrection from Scripture and it wouldn't matter???!!!
Missed the point again. The word 'supernatural'. Lots of remarkable things are recorded in the Bible, many of which have profound philosophical significance, and I agree that the resurrection is the most important of them. What I don't agree is that any of them are necessarily beyond rationality.

Your assertions deny Who God is and how He operates
No. My speculations deny your version of who God is and your version of how he operates.
SPEAKING physical worlds into existence from a non-physical spirit realm.
"Speaking" can have a very literal meaning and several metaphorical meanings. Does your comment mean anything?

A God who will take on lowly physical form, and love created beings to the point of submitting to their hate, humiliations, and unimaginable physical barbarity. Logical - by whose standards?
As a child made in the image and likeness of God, this is exactly the logic to which we humans desperately aspire. When we fail, it is not Logic that fails, but our capacity to encompass it properly. There are not two different 'Logics'; only one, and piece by scientific and philosophical piece we are groping towards a better understanding of it.

His prophetic, all-knowing pronouncements - knowing the future. We're told He knows exactly when and how the world will end, and how the New Heaven and Earth will come about. What about the doctrine of Hell? Logical? God has wrath that needs to be eternally satisfied? One can reject God, but be punished forever? Logical?
Of course. Books and papers devoted exclusively to these doctrines are at great pains to explain these doctrines in rational terms. If you think a concept like the "wrath of God" is an illogical whimsy, then you are close to agreeing with Richard Dawkins's assessment of him as a vindictive bully.

He does not micromanage every little detail, but the ones that matter, per His purposes. He can and has chosen to intervene or not.
I exactly disagree. He does micromanage every little detail. Not a sparrow falls without his personal intention, attention and action. This is the progress of the universe through time. But it was all predicted (Good word: Latin dico - I speak), and the unusual built, entirely logically, into the usual. All the sporadic sudden interventions which appear to you to contradict the logical progression he maintains are, in my opinion, part of it. What, I wonder, do you think God does when he is not micromanaging every little detail?

But as you don't believe these kinds of things [but as you can see - I do], why do you believe in a resurrected God/man, who was physically killed, and then physically returned to life? Why do you believe that? Jesus confirmed the entirety of the OT as being what God wanted written down: "The Law and the Prophets." Much of what we know of Jesus and the Resurrection is from eyewitnesses and or those who knew the eyewitnesses. Jesus raised people from the dead - miraculous! Etc. So if you doubt the details of the NT, then you doubt the OT. And if these things are not true, you have faith based upon - what? [Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet believe. Some of us do not need supernaturalism to derive truth from scripture.] One thing is certain, one rejecting so much wouldn't seem to have a faith based upon the historical Jesus and the actions of God recorded in Scripture - which is very dangerous, because you are dividing the God of history, from the god you construct.[Not at all. A true understanding of God must come not only from Scripture, clumsily transmitted via human agency and successive translation, selection and interpretation, but also from his creation, which is laid out before us in all its glory.]Not saying you've done that - I don't know your heart - but it is entirely a danger, for those who reject so much of what the Bible says has occurred.
Wrong again. You really have difficulty with this, don't you? If I disagree with you about the Bible, it is rarely, if ever, about "what the Bible says". It is about our different interpretations of what the Bible says.

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Re: Anti-Supernaturalism and God's Logic Vs. Man's Logic

Postby Kurieuo » Sat Feb 18, 2017 3:20 am

Hugh wrote:
Hugh: You could remove every single sporadic sudden supernatural intervention from the bible and it would be left substantially unchanged in message, except perhaps for those for whom only magic is truly convincing of an omniscient, omnipotent, overseer of the progress of the universe.
So, you could remove the resurrection from Scripture and it wouldn't matter???!!!
Missed the point again. The word 'supernatural'. Lots of remarkable things are recorded in the Bible, many of which have profound philosophical significance, and I agree that the resurrection is the most important of them. What I don't agree is that any of them are necessarily beyond rationality.

That would depend on how you define rationality. I think the Christian message aka Christ, may be beyond rationality in the positivism forms many expect such to be found, but it is not beyond wisdom.

1 Cor 1:18-25

    18For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
    19For it is written,
    “I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE,
    AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE.”
    20Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; 23but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, 24but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
"Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13)

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Re: Anti-Supernaturalism and God's Logic Vs. Man's Logic

Postby hughfarey » Sat Feb 18, 2017 5:35 am

Kurieuo wrote:
Hugh wrote:Lots of remarkable things are recorded in the Bible, many of which have profound philosophical significance, and I agree that the resurrection is the most important of them. What I don't agree is that any of them are necessarily beyond rationality.
That would depend on how you define rationality. I think the Christian message aka Christ, may be beyond rationality in the positivism forms many expect such to be found, but it is not beyond wisdom.
If I really knew the difference between rationality and wisdom, I might agree. I'm reluctant to dabble much further into a forum outside my sphere, in case I find myself out on a limb of mere personal opinion rather than attempting to express some accumulated wisdom (oops. That word again...) of many people over many centuries.


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