RE: human bias

ArvesonPT@nswccd.navy.mil
Fri, 26 Feb 1999 14:55:40 -0500

Dear Adam:

I didn't think I was saying anything controversial to those on this net,
when I described God's personality as 'multiple'. I wasn't thinking of
psychology, I was alluding to the Trinity. The revelation of the Trinity is
a key to many issues in theology.

I appreciate your candid comments about searching for a solid answer on
theodicy and other theological issues. We have all struggled with this.
There are a couple of clues that I can recommend: 1) The article, 'Does the
Trinity Play Dice?' by George Murphy in the latest issue of Perspectives.
2) The web site at http://www.his.com/~bridges/ASA/ht/ where you will see
my approach to the problem.

Paul Arveson

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Adam Crowl [SMTP:qraal@hotmail.com]
> Sent: Friday, February 26, 1999 8:32 AM
> To: ArvesonPT@nswccd.navy.mil; asa@calvin.edu
> Subject: Re: human bias
>
> Hi ASA,
>
> >From: ArvesonPT@nswccd.navy.mil
> >To: asa@calvin.edu
> >Subject: human bias
> >Date: Tue, 23 Feb 1999 09:31:41 -0500
> >
> >David Campbell wrote:
> >
> >If He is sovereign over the outcome of casting lots, the long-range
> >weather, and other random or chaotic (in the mathematical sense)
> events,
> >then it seems that randomness does not constrain Him. Whether there is
> a
> >pattern yet hidden to us, or whether He simply directly chooses the
> outcome
> >is moot.
> >
> >David C.
> >
> >Thanks for this. I think much of the confusion in discussions about
> >creation and providence is artificially restrained by our naive
> assumption
> >that
> >in some way God is like a human.
>
> I don't actually operate with such a bias. I know that God isn't human,
> but there must be some mapping between God and Man which allows us to
> call God personal. If omniscient beings can be simulated in Game Theory
> then we must be able to say something about God. If God is personal and
> subject to logical laws [since by his nature he is Logos/Reason, the
> foundation of logic] then we can potentially say quite a bit.
>
> You can say that God isn't like this, but i then ask "in what way is he
> then personal? rational? How can we be the image of the wholly Other?
>
> We equate 'person' with 'human'.
> >Humans have physical attributes such as existence in a 4-dimensional
> >space-time, with severe constraints on travel in space and time, bias
> for
> >the size
> >of things on the order of a meter; bias for electromagnetic radiation
> >in a narrow wavelength band around .5 microns, a tendency to ignore or
> >approximate all the microscopic complexity of our surroundings,
> limitations
> >on awareness of events happening now, even more so for events in the
> past
> >and
> >practically no awareness of the future.
> >
> >In light of all these handicaps, biases, disabilities, and parochial
> >conceits,
> >it's a wonder we are able to say anything valid about God at all.
>
> It is a wonder, usually called "revelation", muddied by something called
> "interpretation" which is often fuelled by shoddy hermeneutics. What we
> bring into the reading of a text will guide or blind us - if we're
> idiots then it will be an idiot's reading. Like so many wild ideas I had
> when I was almost a YEC.
>
>
> >[S]cholars who have
> >assembled the Scriptures systematically have discovered that although
> God
> >is clearly said to be personal, He is not human, and in fact even His
> >personality
> >is not like that of humans -- it is multiple, so that there is not a
> >one-to-one
> >correspondence between bodies and personalities.
>
> Sorry I take issue with such a simplification of psychology and
> theology! I'm convinced that we are more than one "personality" - maybe
> one is conscious at any one time, but that says nothing about the rest
> of our psyches... this is just an opinion shared with various AI
> researchers. Is God more than one consciousness? Paul tells us that the
> Spirit knows God's Mind, just as a man's spirit knows his mind. Sounds
> like unitary consciousness to me, with the added complication of the
> Incarnation.
>
> I'm just saying all this to illustrate the complexity of what you're
> invoking.
>
> We cannot even make
> >a picture or model of such a Being.
> >
> We're almost commanded not to. Why? Because the image is already before
> us - our fellow human beings, whom we're commanded to love. Not a
> rational argument, perhaps, but I'm thinking laterally just as you seem
> to have done. My original question was about the nature of creativity,
> novelty and freedom - we can either believe that such are real, or all
> events are determined. If God is Personal and is Love, then freedom must
> be real or else there should be no evil. Creation should be eternally
> perfect, since "freedom" is unreal and then makes irrelevant to any
> theodicy which posits "free-will creations" in comparison to "robots",
> which might then go-wrong and become evil.
>
> If all is caused by God then God is evil, since evil exists. Only if
> novelty and freedom are ontologically real is free-will possible and
> relevant to discussions about theodicy. I'm specifically directing my
> ire at the endless fall-back of Calvinists, the Sovereignty of God,
> which must never be violated regardless of how absurd God then becomes.
> A doctrine which has no real place in Christian theology and is instead
> an Aristotelian hold-over that Newtonian mechanics should have
> destroyed. But that's another issue.
>
> If Man was free at the Fall, where did that freedom come from? Was God
> NOT sovereign for some brief moment? Why did God MAKE us fall if he was
> sovereign?
>
> I apologise if I seem to be baiting for an argument. Presently I'm going
> through a whole lot of self-examination and wondering about everything I
> once believed. I wrote my original question in the hope of some insight
> beyond the usual proclamations from the Bible. Yes God decides the
> outcome of the fall of lots, but such a system is potentially
> predictable and at least sensitive enough to perturbations for God to
> tip it his way. It answers nothing about what I'm asking.
>
> Adam
> >
> >
>
>
>
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