Thursday, December 22, 2022

Merry Christmas

I thought warv on Christmas was BS umtil today.I see people bending over backards to keep from saying it. Embers of the great Trib.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

The stupidest atheists on the net

I finally found him, Now U've seen itall. This guy wims theaway stupidiest athyest with this brilliant arguent:

L: Gibbs McGuire

Joe Hinman I’ve seen the propaganda videos and articles. What I want is a link to Jesus or god actually speaking and performing the kind of miracles claimed by the bible.

Sunday, December 11, 2022

St Augustine's Corrolation: God, Truth, Being itself

…St. Augustine’s view that God is being itself is based partly upon Platonism (“God is that which truly is” and partly on the Bible—“I am that I am”). The transcendence of time as a condition of full reality is a central theme…[in Augustine’s work].[1]

Of course Augustine was one of the seminal thinkers of all Church history. Along with Aquinas he’s probably one of the two most important theologians of all time. He might be called the last thinker in the tradition of the classical age. His view of the Trinity cemented the Orthodox position and set the Western view of Trinity on it’s trajectory diverging from the eastern Church. His work The City of God is one of the greatest theological master pieces of all time, and to think it’s a letter to friend (a letter the size of the New York Phone book).

Augustine expresses the concept of the super-essential Godhead many times and in many ways. Augustine was a Platonist. In that regard perhaps his greatest innovation was to place the Platonic forms in the mind of God. That is a major innovation because it trumps the Neo-Platonistic following after Plotinus, who conceived of a form of the forms. In Augustinian understanding the equivalent of the “the one” the form that holds all other forms within itself is the mind of God. Augustine never made an argument for the existence of God because for him God was known with certainty and immediacy. God is immediately discerned in the apprehension of truth, thus need not be “proved.” God is the basis of all truth, and therefore, cannot be the object of questioning about truth, since God is he medium through which other truths can be known.[2] Tillich said:

Augustine, after he had experienced all the implications of ancient skepticism, gave a classical answer to the problem of the two absolutes: they coincide in the nature of truth. Veritas is presupposed in ever philosophical argument; and veritas is God. You cannot deny truth as such because you could do it only in the name of truth, thus establishing truth. And if you establish truth you affirm God. “Where I have found the truth there I have found my God, the truth itself,” Augustine says. The question of the two Ultimates is solved in such a way that the religious Ultimate is presupposed in every philosophical question, including the question of God. God is the presupposition of the question of God. This is the ontological solution of the problem of the philosophy of religion. God can never be reached if he is the object of a question and not its basis.[3]
Augustine says God is truth. He doesn’t so much say God is being as he says God is truth. But to say this in this way is actually in line with the general theme we have been discussing, the one I call “super-essential Godhead,” or Tillich’s existential ontology. Augustine puts the emphasis upon God’s name as love, not being. Since he was a neo Platonist he thought of true reality as beyond being and thus he thought of God as “beyond being.”[4] This makes no sense in a modern setting since for us “to be” is reality, and to not be part of being would meaning being unreal. But in the platonic context, true reality was beyond this level of reality and what we think of as “our reality” or “our world” is only a plane reflection of the true reality. We are creatures of a refection in a mud puddle and the thing reflected that is totally removed from our being is the true reality. It was this distinction Tillich tried to preserve by distinguishing between being and existence.

Augustine looked to the same passage in Exodus that Gilson quotes in connection with Aquinas. Augustine’s conclusions are much the same about that phrase “I am that I am.” This is one of his key reasons for his identification between God and truth. He saw the nature of God’s timeless being as a key also to identifying God with truth. The link between God and truth is the Platonic “one.” Augustine puts the forms in the mind of God, so God becomes the forms really. The basis of this identification is based partly upon God’s eternal nature. From that point on it’s all an easy identification between eternal verities, such as truth, eternal being, beauty, the one, and God. The other half of the equation is God’s revelation of himself as eternal and necessary through the phrase, for very similar reasons to those listed already by Gilson, between I am that I am and being itself (or in Augustine’s case the transcended of being). “He answers, disclosing himself to creature as Creator, as God to man, as Immortal to mortal, eternal to a thing of time he answers ‘I am who I am.’”[5]

From Psalm 101:25 he ponders the phrase “generation of generations” rather than the choice of saying your years is endless.” He concludes that this Psalm is not merely saying God is living through a parade of endless years but that God is timeless. He concludes that the generation of generations is a timeless generation. He concludes that God’s years are his substance, they cannot be separated from God himself (as we see ‘substance” can be a way of saying “being). “God’s years are God’s eternity, his eternity is God’s very substance.” Thus God is not only eternal but his being his essence coincide, his eternal nature is the same as his being. Thus God is eternal necessary being.[6]


[1] Carl Avren Levenson Reality: Readings in Phlosophy. Indianapolis, Indiana:Hackett Pulbishing company, inc. Carl Avren Levenson, John Westphal, editors, 1994, 54

[2] Donald Keef, Thomism and the Ontological Theology: A Comparison of Systems. Leiden, Netherlands: E.J. Brill, 1971, 140.

The “two Ultimates” discussed are philosophy and Religion.

[3] Paul Tillich, Theology of Culture,Oxford: Oxfored University pressm 1964 12-13

[4] Jon D. Levenson, Creation and the Persistence of Evil: The Jewish Drama of Divine Omnipotence Princeton University Press,1994, The quotation above from the Levenson and Westphal book says Augistine believe God was being itself, Marion seems to say that Augustine put God beyond being. I think it’s debatable as to which he did because he didn’t say directly which it was. I’m assuming Marion is probably right just because of the time in which he lived and because he was a Platonic thinker.

[5] see fn1.

Posted by Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) at 6:43 AM Labels: apologetics, Augustine, corrospondence theory of truth, God is truth, norm of truth No com

[6] New Advent, Exposition in psalsm 101

Sunday, December 04, 2022

The "Bible God:" The Depth of Being

....To hear Atheists tell it the only view of God the Bile gives us is that of a jerk, red-faced hysterical angry old man sitting on a throne with a white beard, commanding the destruction of some society every few moments. As with most things, however, this is just one image the atheists have picked out to vilify the belief system agaisnt which they struggle, the Christian fundamentalist viewpoint. That's a view they can never escape becuase they can't recognize that fighting that view of God is the same as thinking in that way; they are still "funides," they don't like God anymore but they still think in the terms of fundamentalists. I've pointed out many times that religious traditions are constructed by filtering experience of God through cloistral constructs. So that view of God is there in the OT, it's there becuase those are cultural constructs that they had to work with. The ancients, however, were not stupid. They knew there was more to God than that because they experienced the divine. That view point is the surface level, lurking ninetieth the surface is a much deeper concept: the depth of being. That concept is echoed in all my myriad different views of God that atheist ignore and don't see.

....Most people tend to think of God as a big man in the sky. Feminism tries to counter by thinking of God/ess as a big woman in the sky, but it’s the same principle. God is seen as a thing, a human, a big person who is only the most powerful but still part of creation. Even those of us trained in a more liberal kind of theology still have a hard time shaking the childhood notion. In trying to discuss Tillich’s ideas with both Christians and atheists I find atheists are as committed to “the big guy in the sky” as are fundamentalist Christians. Both can be very strong about insisting that Tillich’s idea is not the Christian concept of God. Of course Tillich was convinced that he had hold of a deep forgotten truth buried beneath the tradition that one can see hinted at by all the major theologians. I will discuss in this chapter some of the theologians whom Tillich uses as such examples, but I will not critique his understanding of them extensively. I assume Tillich was reading into the theologians he liked ideas that may not be there originally. On the other hand some of the ideas are obvious. I will get that toward the end of this chapter. In this chapter I want to explore the notion that while Tillich’s idea is controversial and in some quarters much objected to, in a general sense its concerns if not its assertions are generally favorable to Catholics, Protestants and Eastern Orthodox, and that one can find in all of these traditions major thinkers who are in a general sense in agreement with either Tillich’s idea or his concerns. I think at least we can say these views are not anti-Christian, not heretical.

Two Major Passages

We start with the Bible since that for so many forms the basis of Christian theological tradition. There are no passages that blatantly say God is being itself. Of course we are not going to find one that says “verily Verily, I say unto you, Tillich is right.” The main aspect of Biblical theology in which we can expect to find support is not the overt quotation of passages but the imagery and other theological devices used to communicate truth about the nature of God and God’s relation to reality. Also the relation of the concept of being to the concept of God as we see it used in the Bible is a major aspect of this evidence. Moreover, the endorsement of the idea outright by other theologians both living and ancient is a major part of the proof. Nevertheless, there is one passage that may be taken as embodying a concept the consequence of which would entail that God is being itself, or the ground of being. Thais passage is actually a translation; it’s the Septuagint (LXX) version, the Greek translation of the OT produced in the Intertestamental period. This passage is found in Exodus 3: 14 where God speaks to Moses out of the burning bush and tells him to go demand of Pharos “let my people God.” Moses says “whom shall I say is calling?” God tells him, as translated from Hebrew to English from the Masoretic text, “I am that I am.” In the LXX however, he says ego eimi ‘O on, which literally means “I am he who is.” The meaning implied is that of eternal necessary being. Why say “I am he who is” when anyone who exists can say that? He’s not talking bout the mere fact of existence but the implication of being the basis of all existence. “He who is” implies an eternal and necessary nature.

The famous passage of God appearing out of the burning bush and giving Moses his name as “I am” is an important passage, not only is it important for movie goers and Charlton Hesston fans but also in the history of philosophy. It was upon the basis of this passage that Etinene Gilson says Thomas Aquinas based the notion he had of God as the primary act of existence, and the basis of the argument about existential energy.

Quote the passage in Gilson

Why, St. Tomas asks, do we say that Qui est is the most proper name among all those that can be given to God? And his answer is because it signifies ‘to be.’ : ipsum esse. And what is it to be? In answering this most difficult of all metaphysical questions, we must carefully distinguish between the meaning of two words which are both different and yet immediately realted, ens, or being and esse or ‘to be.’ To the question “what is being” the correct answer is, “being is that which is, or exits” If for instance we ask the same question with regard for God the correct answer would be “the being of God is an infinite and boundless ocean of substance.” But esse or to be is something else and much harder to grasp because it lies more deeply hidden in the metaphysical structure of reality. The word being as a noun designates some substance;the word “to be”—or esse—is a verb, because it designates an act. To understand this is also to reach beyond the level of essence, the deeper level of existence…we first conceive certain beings, then we define their essences, and last we confirm their existences by means of a judgment. But the metaphysical order of reality is just the reverse of the order of human knowledge. What first comes into it is a certain act of existing, which. Because it is this particular act of existing, circumscribes at once a certain essence and causes a certain substance to come into being. In this deeper sense “to be” is the deeper and fundamental act by virtue of which a certain being actually is, or exists…to be is the very act whereby an essence is.[1]

Of course for those not enamored of Thomistic philosophy this may seem a bit questionable but the point in bringing it up is to show the profound power and importance of the passage, which served as a spring board for a major movement in the history of philosophy and of faith. The meaning is obviously bound up in questions of the metaphysical nature of being and what it means to be. The Scholastics derived from this idea of essence and existence the notion that God alone is unique because the divine essence (what God is) is the same as the divine existence (the fact that God is), or to put it another way God’s essence is the same as his existence. For everything else existence is a function of essence. The up shot of all of this is that the thing God is is an eternally existing act. The job description of God so to speak is to always be because what God is eternal necessary being. We can see that in the passage just by translating in the stadanrd way form Hebrew as “I am that I am.”

Aquinas’ view of God is counter to that of Tillich even though they are both termed “existential.” Wolfhart Pannenberg used Aquinas to actually counter Tilich (one can see the contradiction between Aquinas’ use of the term “existence of God” and Tillich’s abhorrence f the term). [2] Even so I would argue that weather one works from the Hebrew derived translation “I am that I am” or the Greek “I am being” it’s hinting at the same thing. He doesn’t say “I am the most powerful being” or even “I am the creator” but either way it definitely rests the relationship between God and the world upon the notion of God as the basis of reality. “I am that I am” implies a self sustaining uncaused or eternal state, aka aseity, and that implies that the one who has aseity would have to be the foundation of all reality and the creator of all things. The interview between God and Moses is so crucial to the Christian concept of God, it is the unveiling of God’s identity to the great Patriarch of Israel, their leader out of slavery and to the promised land. This is a very key verse. This is where we are given the basic revelation of who God is. What does it tell us but that God is fundamentally connected to being at the most foundational level? The Hebrew word most used for God derives from this passage and it basically means “being.” “The name of god, which in Hebrew is spelled YHWH, is difficult to explain. Scholars generally believe that it derives from the Semitic word, "to be," and so means something like, "he causes to be."[3]

The other archetypical passage that literally connects God to being itself proceeds from the other end of the equation, from the standpoint of the being and their connection to God. That passage is found in Acts 17: 28 “In him we live and move and have our being. Paul is telling the Greek philosophers and worshippers on Mars Hill that their alter to “the unknown God” hints at the reality of the true God. These were pagan followers of another religion. Paul stood up and said to them, "Men of Athens, I see that in every way you are very religious for as I walked around and observed your objects of worship I even found an alter with this inscription 'TO AN UNKOWN GOD' Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you." He basically says that they are worshiping God, they just don't know who he is. That's why he says "I will make it known to you." He doesn't say "you have the wrong idea completely." Most Evangelicals dismiss this as a neat rhetorical trick. But if we assume that Paul would not lie or distort his beliefs for the sake of cheap tricks, we must consider that he did not say "you are all a bunch of pagans and you are going to hell!" He essentially told them, "God is working in your culture, you do know God, but you don't know who God is. You seek him, without knowing the one you seek. He goes on,(v27)"God did this [created humanity and scattered them into different cultures] so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out and find him though he is not far form each one of us." This implies that God not only wants to work in other cultures, but that it is actually his plan to do things in this way. Perhaps through a diversity of insights we might come to know God better. Perhaps it means that through spreading the Gospel people would come to contemplate better the meaning of God's love. The significance is that the Hebrew passage is God’s revelation to his chosen people, to the Israelites, the Greek passage of the NT is the revelation of the Christian God reaching out to other people.

In both cases God is revealing himself or being revealed. In both cases God’s basic identity is related to God’s relation to being. The passage in v28 says “In him we live and move and have our being.” Literally it says “in him we live and move and are.” The tense is present. The translation in English is usually slanted to the poetic. The notion of our being is not only derived from God but is played out “in” God suggests the concept of Being and the beings. The beings are produced and sustained as part of being. Since God is the producer and sustainer of our being, of all being it stands to reason that God is the foundation of all that is, and that God is therefore, fundamentally related to Being itself. This is also a picture of the depth of being. God’s estrangement from other cultures and revelation to those cultures demonstrates a fundamental relation to being, he is not an idol made with hands, (as Paul says in the passage) he is not served by men with their hands, yet he is “not far from any one of us.” In fact Paul quotes the Greek poet “we are all his offspring.” One is reminded of the notion “being is present and manifest in the beings.”

God and Biblical Metaphor

Another major aspect of our conventional conceptions of God as “big man in the sky” is Biblical imagery. We see the king on the throne. We hear Jesus pray “our father” we see God parting the red sea. We are constantly confronted with the notion that God is the big man in the sky, the king, the father. This imagery sticks in our heads and overshadows other imagery because our culture is conditioned by the patriarch. We forget there is other imagery for God in the Bible. There is actually quite a bit of “other” imagery where God is seen as something other than a big man. Starting with the most obvious alternative, there is quite a bit of female imagery associated with God. Now that is not the same being itself. Of course, because the big woman in the sky is no better than the big man in terms of its rootedness in thinghood.. Nevertheless, in terms of an alternative to what many consider to be the rock solid belief that the Christian God has to be the big man in the sky, we should point out the female imagery.

There are also many ensconces in scripture where God is imaged in female or motherly terms: Deu 32:11 "As an eagle stirs up her nest, and hovers over her young, and spreads her wings, takes them up, and bears them on her wings.

Deu 32 :18 "Of the Rock that bore you, you were unmindful, and have forgotten God that formed you." (that one may be hard to get, baring children--female image).

Job 38:8 "Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb."

Job 38:29 "From whose womb did the ice come forth, and who has given birth to the hoarfrost of heaven."

Isa 45 9-10 Woe to you who strive with your Maker, earthen vessels with the potter. Does the clay say to the one who fashions it: What are you making, or Your work has no handles? Woe to anyone who says to a father: What are you begetting? or to a woman: With what are you in labour?

Isa 49:15 "Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. (comparing God's attitude toward Israel with a woman's attitude toward her children).

Isa 66:13 As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

Hosea 13:8 "I will fall upon them like a bear robbed of her cubs, and will tear open the covering of their heart";

Mat 23:37 and Luk 13:34 Jerusalem, "Jerusalem, the city that kills its prophets and stones those who are sent to it. How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing."

God transcends either gender. Gender is a matter of culture, sex is a matter of biology, and God is a product of neither. We can, however, learn a lot from the fact that God is compared with both mother and father. This sets the basis in equality; neither gender is privileged by imaging God. or the Hebrew sadeh, meaning BREAST, the usual translation being PROVIDER, SUSTAINER (Klein, Ernest. 1990. A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the Hebrew Language. Jerusalem: University of Haifa. 641).

SHADDAI would then be translated respectively as MOUNTAIN or BREAST[4]

EL SHADDAI is usually translated as GOD ALMIGHTY - EL, meaning GOD and SHADDAI being a combination word - SHE, meaning WHO and DAI meaning ENOUGH. EL SHADDAI GOD WHO IS ENOUGH, GOD WHO IS SELF-SUFFICIENT (Hagigah 12a). SHADDAI may also be from the Akkadian sadu, meaning MOUNTAIN, or the Hebrew sadeh, meaning BREAST. EL SHADDAI would then be translated respectively as GOD OF THE MOUNTAIN or GOD OF THE BREAST. Variant spelling - EL SHADAI “Adonai appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as El Shaddai” (Exodus 6:3).[5]

(Zohar. 1984. Tr. Harry Sperling et al. New York: Soncino. 3:130).

Examples of this word being used are Genesis 17:1, Exodus 6:3. Jacob giving last instructions to his sons said: Gen 49:24-25.(24) "But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God (El) of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:)25 Even by the God (El) of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty (Shaddai), who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb..."

(For other references to this same usage, see Isaiah 60:15-16 and Isaiah 66:10-13.)

Other metaphorical images:

Light (2 Chronicles 13:2 name Uriel means “God is my light” 1 John 1:5)
Whirlwind (Job 38:1-42)
Fire (Exodus 3:1-18, 13:21-22, Acts 2)
Water (New Testament, living water numerous references
Pillar of cloud (Exodus 13: 21-22)

The point being that the image of God as a big man in the sky is a metaphor. It’s no more literal than these other images. There are also images of inanimate and natural things pictured as images of God. In Job God speaks out of whirl wind, In Exodus God is constantly linked to darkness and to storms. In 1 John “He is light and in him there is no darkness.” To Moses he spoke from a burning bush, God’s spirit is imaged as a dove, water, fire. These are all obviously metaphors. Since God told the children of Israel not to make graven images of him, doesn’t this mean that God can’t be pinned down to any one image? These are all metaphors. Paul told the Greeks that as creator God does not dwell in temples made with hands. That contradicts the tabernacle Holy of Holies and the Temple in Jerusalem. But it’s not really a contradiction because those were not the limit on God’s presence. Even though God’s presence was there it was not only and entirely there, but everywhere. “Neither is he worshipped with men’ hands as though he needed anything seeing he giveth to all life and breath and all things.”(Acts 17: 25) that is the beginning of the discourse in which Paul leads, in the very next point to “in him we live and move and have our being.” God can’t be imaged and God is beyond our understanding, our own being is in god and derived from God. The connection of being ”in God” would certainly suggest that God is being and we are the beings. In any case it’s clear the images we see of God as Father and King and big guy in the sky are metaphors.


[1] Etienne Gilson, God and Philosophy. New Haven and London: Yale University press, Powell lectures on Philosophy Indiana University, 1941, 63-64.

[2] Find--Gilson

[3] Jewish Virtual Library, “Egypt and the Wanderings:Moses and the Cult of Yahweh ” visited 4/23/10, URL: “the Hebrews a Learning Module Washington State Universality, copyright Richard Hooker 2010.

[4] Kline Ernest, A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the Hebrew Language for Readers of English. Winona Lake, IN :Eisenbrauns Publishing, 1987.

[5] Tr. Harry Sperling et al. Zohar. New York: Soncino. 3:130 1984.