Monday, July 5, 2010

Absolutes and Faith?

What if the Bible were 100% accurate or true in the regard to all physical reality? What would this do to the idea of Faith?

Wolfthart Panneberg basically said that the basis for faith in Christianity could be found in the reliability of the historical Christianity itself. Basically truth can be known plausibly with the facts of the past or within history.

This got me to thinking about the following, what if the Bible and its facts were 100% true in all known physical reality, would it remove faith altogether? What faith does it take to believe in something that is an absolute, at least physically speaking?

In this case it would seem that absolutes would nullify the concept of faith altogether.

In reference to scripture, this is not to say that scripture cannot be inerrant, but it must take into account both physical and spiritual realities to be fully inerrant.

If scripture were only spiritually true then that too would nullify our necessity for faith and belief because it (scripture) would simply become incomprehensible as a whole. How could we perceive fully of something we cannot experience temporally.

It would seem the bottom line point would be this: Some things can be explained in regards to the scripture physically, some spiritually and some by both, but they cannot be explained 100% of the time in both realities of understanding, otherwise we would become as God, knowing and understanding all things or better said we would be omniscient.

The statement and thought that God is good (in particular, always good) can be misunderstood if you merely think of God as being good in physical reality. This can take away from the truth that God is good. You must take into account the idea that God is good as a whole, and by that I mean God is good all the time whether physically observable and or spiritually observable. To say that God is not good because the little girl dies of cancer is to discredit and apply the potential for God’s divine goodness to physical reality alone. God is still good, but in this case Spiritual reality maybe be better equipped to explain and nurture the true goodness of God in that particular instance. Again in each circumstance one must weigh whether or not God’s goodness is observable to them physically and if its not then we should simply defer to the divine and attempt to understand his plan outside our observable reality. If we take this approach God would maintain his status as all knowing, all-powerful and always just and good. 

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  1. Nice article. I'd like to probe the concept of "good" deeper. What makes something good or bad?

    The hypothesis I want to run by you is that "good" is an arbitrary adjective unless we know what/who something is good for/toward.

    For example: "Bleach is good." Bleach is good? For what? Drinking?

    "Bleach is good for removing stains." Now the goodness of bleach makes sense, because we know what it's good for. We also know some things it is NOT good for.

    "Feeding the homeless is good." Good for who? The chickens on the plate?

    "Building houses is good." Good for the environment?

    So when we say "God is good", I wonder who he's good toward? Us? The deceased? Ultimately himself?

    We know he isn't always good toward the physical reality, such as the case of the little girl who died of cancer. God was not good toward her health and longevity.

    So maybe "goodness" has to apply toward the things that are most important, and the spiritual is more important than the physical? I can see that making sense, but it's unfortunate that that transfers God's goodness out of the dimension we live in, and seems to make it unclear whether God's goodness is an actual reality or a religious conviction.

  2. I believe it a false assumption for us to assume God is not still "good" in reference to the little girl.

    Though she died of a terrible disease (something I don't think we'd disagree on), she was still granted life, a life potentially full of smiles, satisfying meals, good nights of sleep and so on. True her ultimate fate may have appeared to run short to us, but what if the result of her death had instead been gang rap at the age of 18 or some other form of violent death later on in her life. How are we not sure this cancer, though seemingly violent and unfair was in fact not the more merciful fate for this child.

    If my particular theology is consistent, then given the fact that man is a fallen creation, namely it falls short of the creation ideals of moral perfection and thus physical perfection, diseases, natural disasters and the like are bound to happen now whether or not God had anything to do with it. He is certainly viewed as the Lord over the cosmos but does he always necessarily intercede in his creation. I believe not as it would not be consistent with libertarian free will nor the concept of what God knows. If God knew the future and every event then it could be said he knew every event before it happened back to creation and before, which ultimately implicates him as the author of sin, death and so on.

    Yet if we properly view God as William Hasker suggest: "God's "now" is not identical with any moment of our time; rather it is outside of time will not be literally true to say that God knows things before they happen; rather he knows them timelessly." then God cannot be the author of sin nor can his knowledge of future contingents be false, namely will you or will you not have eggs for breakfast tomorrow, or whether or not you will have breakfast at all tomorrow?

    Interesting stuff, I am just beginning a Philosophy course and the first book I am reading is on Metaphysics, boy I love this stuff, mind expanding!!!

    Thanks for the comments...lets continue to explore "good", I don't think I truly addressed that yet...peace