Monday Musings for November 06, 2017

Good morning, Musers,

Can God be false? Can God be non-God? Those are the kinds of questions we are dealing with today. If God is omnipotent, couldn’t he misrepresent himself? Couldn’t God just be messing with us in a big cosmic experiment? No… because God cannot be non-God. But you don’t need a doctorate in philosophy to figure out why. What would be his motive? What could God possibly gain by being false?

Classical mythology delivers a plethora of gods who could indeed be false… because they operate under motivations that are similar to ours. But this is because those gods are just humans on steroids… and they are not gods at all (Jeremiah 16:20; Acts 19:26)… but our God is not like that.

There is a methodological problem at play here, too, because when it comes to arguing against a person’s position, your premises must be the same as your opponent’s… at least for the sake of the argument. You don’t have to believe that those premises are true, but you must grant them as so for sake of the debate. If that doesn’t happen, then either side’s argument could be based on false premises… and this is how we get a false dilemma.

We see a false dilemma in the cliched challenge “Can God make a rock so big that he can’t move it?” This challenge fails at the most basic point. Every entity acts according to its nature... and God is an entity. Indeed, it would be absurd for either party to discuss a non-entity in a debate. So, what do we Christians say about the entity that is God?

We postulate that God made a logical world as part of his self-revelation (Romans 1:18-25) … because he is logical, too. Now, logic is a restrictor… but it’s a good restrictor. It prevents God from acting contrary to his nature. But this means that there are plenty of things that God cannot do.

It is a mistake, however, to think of these limits pejoratively because even the God who created the universe cannot create something absurd… like a married bachelor… or a rock so big he can’t move it … without violating his logical nature. So, my standard warning applies: just because a sentence makes syntactical sense, doesn’t mean it makes logical sense... and you can’t make God jump through hoops by using a clever sentence.

The God we Christians postulate is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, immutable, etc.… but where do we get this list? From reading Scripture, by examining the creation, by examining our hearts… but we can’t make sense of any of it until we apply our minds to it, too. You see, some things about God we can only know through philosophy… and I join Dr. William Lane Craig of Reasonable Faith Ministries in calling them naïve who disagree with this premise.

Unfortunately, the Church has some fideistic and anti-intellectual members in its ranks. But as long as we are indeed born again by the Spirit of God (John 3:3) — and as long as we walk in that same Spirit (Galatians 5:16) … then we can’t make Christianity too intellectual. Instead, we will make it optimal.

“Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’”
(Matthew 22:37, NIV)

To read the article referenced above, visit the link below.

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