Arguements Against Classical Theism or Deism?

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Seraph
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Arguements Against Classical Theism or Deism?

#1

Post by Seraph » Thu Sep 12, 2019 7:14 pm

Hello All,

Been awhile since Ive posted here (Over 5 years in fact), just thought Id check back in out of curiosity. These days Id describe myself as an agnostic classical theist/deist or possibly panentheist. One question I pose to Christians nowadays is: what arguments are there in favour of the Christian God specifically? A lot of the debate seems to revolve around the existence of God in general but supposing there is an existing God, what evidence is there on scientific or philosophical grounds which points specifically to the God described by the Bible? To me it seems that even if a creator entity is shown to exist, there is still a very long way to go from that point to a personal God, especially one with all of the qualities and characteristics described by Christianity. So ultimately I'm wondering, supposing a God exists, what is the reasoning that it cannot be a vauge general non-specific God like one described by classical theists or deists? Many philosophers (Like Aristotle and Spinoza) throughout history reasoned that a Prime Mover or Uncaused Cause exist, but they didn't reason that this entity is a being which performs miracles, answers prayers, or prescribes laws and salvation/damnation.
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Re: Arguements Against Classical Theism or Deism?

#2

Post by DBowling » Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:16 am

Seraph wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 7:14 pm
Hello All,

Been awhile since Ive posted here (Over 5 years in fact), just thought Id check back in out of curiosity. These days Id describe myself as an agnostic classical theist/deist or possibly panentheist. One question I pose to Christians nowadays is: what arguments are there in favour of the Christian God specifically?
I would say that the foundation of Christianity is the historical reality of Jesus of Nazareth, the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, and most importantly the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth from the dead.
In 1 Corinthians 15 the Apostle Paul tells us that the truth of Christianity is directly tied to the historical reality of Jesus' resurrection from the dead.

Here is a Video called The Case for Christ that describes Lee Strobel's journey through the evidence regarding the historical reality of Jesus of Nazareth and his resurrection from the dead.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92t441KLTos

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Re: Arguements Against Classical Theism or Deism?

#3

Post by PaulSacramento » Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:30 am

Please read Edward Fesers, "the Five proofs".
https://www.amazon.ca/Five-Proofs-Exist ... 1621641333

Please note that IF you understand classical theism then you must acknowledge that God MUST be Personal, or He can't be God for he would be INFERIOR to a God that is personal.

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Re: Arguements Against Classical Theism or Deism?

#4

Post by Seraph » Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:57 pm

I disagree that an impersonal God would be inferior to a personal one. A being great enough to create the universe would be so grand in scale that it would probably not have much to do with humans at all since we are so infinitesimally small compared to the universe. But even if its the case that an impersonal creator is impersonal, so? A universal creator existing does not mean it is necessarily the maximally great being described by ontological argument. The creator of the universe might not be maximally great by our standards.

Just an aside but I also think a maximally great being would look extremely different from the entity described in the early chapters of Genesis as well as Exodus.
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Re: Arguements Against Classical Theism or Deism?

#5

Post by Philip » Fri Sep 13, 2019 5:13 pm

Seraph: Just an aside but I also think a maximally great being would look extremely different from the entity described in the early chapters of Genesis as well as Exodus.
Let me guess - you think He would behave and think much more like a man?

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Re: Arguements Against Classical Theism or Deism?

#6

Post by Seraph » Fri Sep 13, 2019 5:27 pm

Opposite actually. God in Genesis and Exodus is extremely anthropomorphic and constantly displaying human qualities like jealousy, regret, and anger. Anger for example is not something Id expect to be part of the experience of a perfect being, because it would've planned everything in such a way that everything unfolds according to its will and so there would be no need for anger on its part. Regret is another, like when God lamented that he made humanity. This is not something a maximally great being would experience. The God of Genesis seems to be constantly in the mode of correcting his own mistakes, and this is probably because the ancient Hebrews had not yet formulated that Yahweh is to be a flawless being back when Genesis was written. My interpretation upon reading it anyway.
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Re: Arguements Against Classical Theism or Deism?

#7

Post by Philip » Fri Sep 13, 2019 5:39 pm

Seraph: Anger for example is not something Id expect to be part of the experience of a perfect being, because it would've planned everything in such a way that everything unfolds according to its will and so there would be no need for anger on its part.
Ah, so you'd expect Him to have created robots with no free will of their own - so they would never be able to disappoint Him?
Seraph: Regret is another, like when God lamented that he made humanity. This is not something a maximally great being would experience.
Just because God knows fully what will happen, and what our actions will be, that doesn't mean that He wouldn't be upset when we do things that upset Him. For a totally perfect Being, ANY things He considers wrong or harmful are upsetting. But if He had not given us free will, we could not sin. And thus, as God has free will, and as He created us in His image, He gave us the ability to freely choose our own actions and decisions.
Seraph: The God of Genesis seems to be constantly in the mode of correcting his own mistakes.
So, giving us free will was BAD? A mistake? What is the alternative? Robots? Make us amoral beings, like animals?

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Re: Arguements Against Classical Theism or Deism?

#8

Post by Seraph » Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:05 pm

I don't think metaphysical free will is a coherent concept whatsoever, especially when an all powerful all knowing God who's will is always done is thrown into the mix. But even that aside, if God already knows exactly whats going to happen, and ALWAYS knew exactly what was going to happen, why get angry when it happens exactly as he had foreseen? Anger, especially of the violent rage sort, typically requires some sort of surprise on the part of the one getting angry. Free will, even if it exists, is not a sufficient explanation for Gods rage (and expressed sense of surprise) in Genesis and Exodus.
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Re: Arguements Against Classical Theism or Deism?

#9

Post by Seraph » Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:16 pm

DBowling wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:16 am
Seraph wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 7:14 pm
Hello All,

Been awhile since Ive posted here (Over 5 years in fact), just thought Id check back in out of curiosity. These days Id describe myself as an agnostic classical theist/deist or possibly panentheist. One question I pose to Christians nowadays is: what arguments are there in favour of the Christian God specifically?
I would say that the foundation of Christianity is the historical reality of Jesus of Nazareth, the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, and most importantly the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth from the dead.
In 1 Corinthians 15 the Apostle Paul tells us that the truth of Christianity is directly tied to the historical reality of Jesus' resurrection from the dead.

Here is a Video called The Case for Christ that describes Lee Strobel's journey through the evidence regarding the historical reality of Jesus of Nazareth and his resurrection from the dead.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92t441KLTos
I missed this post from earlier, but how can one know that the resurrection of Jesus was a factual event? Scholars generally place the earliest written gospel (Mark) written at around 50 years after the events supposedly took place, and the others as much as 100 years after. Thus it seems unlikely that they are reliable first hand witness accounts. The gospels describing the events surrounding Jesus aren't any more credible as far as I can tell than other books claiming to have divine inspiration, such as the Quran, the Vedas, or the texts which served as the basis for Taoism, Shinto, Zoroastrianism, or Buddism. I just don't see much reason to give the gospels or the Christian bible as a whole more benefit of the doubt than those texts.
I am committed to belief in God, as the most morally demanding, psychologically enriching, intellectually satisfying and imaginatively fruitful hypothesis about the ultimate nature of reality known to me - Keith Ward

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Re: Arguements Against Classical Theism or Deism?

#10

Post by Philip » Fri Sep 13, 2019 7:34 pm

Seraph: ... if God already knows exactly whats going to happen, and ALWAYS knew exactly what was going to happen, why get angry when it happens exactly as he had foreseen?
If God getting angry has only to do with the transgression He is upset over - then the timing of it is irrelevant to HIM. Now, His RESPONSE of anger, in noted passages, is aimed at the transgressors. And his response is in real time, as human beings live in real time.
Seraph: Anger, especially of the violent rage sort, typically requires some sort of surprise on the part of the one getting angry.
No it does not. Think about it - there are many terrible things that I've long known about that still make me angry - as I'm sure you have examples of as well.

God hates whatever He considers sin - as He is perfect and Holy. We can't really understand that. But the expression of His anger, across Scripture, is designed to correct those willing to be corrected and to listen. Many did eventually listen and began to obey, and many did not. And sometimes His anger was expressed to those whom refused to listen, as His punishments were also a warning to others. Forgiveness and restoration is what He ultimately desires - but He ties it to repentance - a sincere acknowledgement of the error and an intention to obey not repeat the action.
Seraph: Free will, even if it exists ...
What, do you think everything is determined? If so, HOW so? Who or what determines things?

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Re: Arguements Against Classical Theism or Deism?

#11

Post by DBowling » Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:08 pm

Seraph wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:16 pm
DBowling wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:16 am
Seraph wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 7:14 pm
Hello All,

Been awhile since Ive posted here (Over 5 years in fact), just thought Id check back in out of curiosity. These days Id describe myself as an agnostic classical theist/deist or possibly panentheist. One question I pose to Christians nowadays is: what arguments are there in favour of the Christian God specifically?
I would say that the foundation of Christianity is the historical reality of Jesus of Nazareth, the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, and most importantly the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth from the dead.
In 1 Corinthians 15 the Apostle Paul tells us that the truth of Christianity is directly tied to the historical reality of Jesus' resurrection from the dead.

Here is a Video called The Case for Christ that describes Lee Strobel's journey through the evidence regarding the historical reality of Jesus of Nazareth and his resurrection from the dead.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92t441KLTos
I missed this post from earlier, but how can one know that the resurrection of Jesus was a factual event? Scholars generally place the earliest written gospel (Mark) written at around 50 years after the events supposedly took place, and the others as much as 100 years after.
1 Corinthians is the earliest book in the NT to mention the resurrection of Jesus and scholarly consensus agrees that 1 Corinthians was written by Paul in Ephesus around 55 AD.
So the oldest Scriptural reference to the Resurrection of Jesus was written within 25 years of the historical event itself.

Scholars identify the early Christian creed in 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 as a creed that Paul received from Peter in the mid 30s, which places the origins of this creed less than 5 years from the historical event itself.
Gary Habermas discusses this in detail here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ay_Db4RwZ_M

If you can't make your way through the video, there is also a good discussion of the 1 Corinthians 15 creed here
https://carm.org/analysis-pre-pauline-c ... ans-151-11

But the bottom line is there is no historical event from around the first century that has a larger quantity of historical corroboration or more contemporary historical corroboration than the resurrection of Jesus.

It's a long and detailed book but The Resurrection of the Son of God by N.T. Wright is the best scholarly analysis of the Resurrection of Jesus that I am aware of.
https://www.amazon.com/Resurrection-Chr ... way&sr=8-1
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PaulSacramento (Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:19 am)

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Re: Arguements Against Classical Theism or Deism?

#12

Post by PaulSacramento » Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:36 am

Pretty much every real historian and scholar admits that the written source material for the events of Jesus' life are, historically speaking, were written closer to His death than the vast majority of source material written about other historical figures, even the very popular ones ( Alexander, Caesar, etc).
While some debate the gospel dates, none debate the timing of Paul's writings.

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Re: Arguements Against Classical Theism or Deism?

#13

Post by Seraph » Tue Sep 17, 2019 3:25 pm

Alexander and Julius Caesar were conquerors with an impact that spanned across Europe, there are coins minted and found in different countries with each of their faces on them, and many accounts of soldiers who participated in the wars they started. Theres abundant evidence in favour of both of those figures, much more so than the amount of evidence that the gospels provide for Jesus. Even though historians generally agree that Jesus that human figure existed, it is definitely not true that historians on the whole agree that the events recorded in the gospels are all completely factual.

I don't dispute the timing of the letters of Paul, however Paul never met Jesus and wasn't a first-hand witness (aside from his anecdotal claim of seeing a vision of him on the road to Damascus).
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Re: Arguements Against Classical Theism or Deism?

#14

Post by Philip » Tue Sep 17, 2019 4:44 pm

Seraph: ven though historians generally agree that Jesus that human figure existed, it is definitely not true that historians on the whole agree that the events recorded in the gospels are all completely factual.
What is in the Gospels and the New Testament about Jesus do you think are not historical - excepting the obvious doubts you have about the miraculous or Jesus' divinity? Because none of it has been proven wrong!

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Re: Arguements Against Classical Theism or Deism?

#15

Post by DBowling » Tue Sep 17, 2019 8:07 pm

Seraph wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 3:25 pm
Alexander and Julius Caesar were conquerors with an impact that spanned across Europe, there are coins minted and found in different countries with each of their faces on them, and many accounts of soldiers who participated in the wars they started. Theres abundant evidence in favour of both of those figures, much more so than the amount of evidence that the gospels provide for Jesus.
I would say that Jesus' impact on human civilization has a much greater reach than either Alexander or Julius Caesar.
The Greek Empire is gone, The Roman Empire is gone.
2000 years after the time of Jesus, Christianity is the largest religion on the face of the planet.

As for historical accounts regarding Alexander and Julius Caesar, you are simply wrong on the facts.
The quantity of contemporary historical corroboration for the resurrection of Jesus is greater than anything we have for either Alexander or Julius Caesar.
Feel free to prove me wrong on this one.
Choose any historical event from the life of either Alexander or Julius and show me how contemporary the historical accounts are for those historical events.
For example, the oldest manuscript we have of Julius Caesar's writings is 900 years after the events themselves.
The existing manuscript evidence we have for the four Gospels is much more contemporary than any historical manuscripts we have for Julius Caesar.
Same thing goes for Alexander the Great.
We have better and more contemporary manuscript evidence for the NT Gospels than any manuscript evidence regarding Alexander the Great.
I don't dispute the timing of the letters of Paul, however Paul never met Jesus and wasn't a first-hand witness (aside from his anecdotal claim of seeing a vision of him on the road to Damascus).
But Paul did talk to eyewitnesses of the resurrection (Peter and James the brother of Jesus) less than five years after the Resurrection (Galatians 1:18-19), and those eyewitness accounts to the resurrection of Jesus are part of multiple eyewitness accounts that Paul documents in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 less than 25 years after the resurrection.

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