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STRANGE DEALINGS, REELING IN FISH AT THE OCEAN
What, he asked, as the waves plashed on the beach, do you think of the succession ?
Admittedly, this was a strange beginning to a conversation with a stranger, but I endeavoured to follow him.
Was there, I asked sotto voce, some particular progression which you had in mind ?
Of course, he mused. The philosophic progress from materialism to its refutation by Berkeley, the assault on that of Hume, and the extension by Kant ?
Materialism, I expostulated, an idea that ideas are governed by matter, which gives no evidence of being minded to do anything but follow what it is; an idea to trample on the validity of ideas, an icon of blunder to make a MEANS of thought, namely rationality, an export of what merely exhibits the result of it!
Since he assumed rather a lot in starting this conversation on the beach, I thought it good to proceed likewise, as if it were a dream.
You have, perhaps, I noted my refutation of the twisted torment of materialism in my site at http://webwitness.org.au/repentorperish7.html and /call9.html in the same place.
Not actually, he responded.
Suppose we meet tomorrow if you like, when you have read these.
Right! he said as if tomorrows were foregone conclusions; but that's the way it was ... same time, I added.
When we resumed, I remarked that Berkeley in that progression has laughed at the puppish floppiness of materialism, pointing out that it was after all, the mind which presented the considerations, logic, the available data if you will, and that it was in its domain that the precise contact with nature had its sunrise. Matter is of course a derivative FOR US of the mind, a conclusion, the mind for one, providing the stark primary data..
But said Samuel Johnston, when my foot kicks a stone, it still hurts, or such a proposition.
Very well, we progress. There is therefore not only the mind, means of knowledge, basis for knowledge, valid if anything is for us to be so in the progressive method here in use, but something which it does not simply produce, present, compose and author.
That's all we know, has pondered Locke, the empiricist, and what rests upon that, resultant ideas we have. But Kant sees far more in these than resultants. There is their own composition and significance vested in system: in the very act of seeing the empirical acts, the impact of our own minds is also seen, he declares. While we are at it, says Kant, though not in those words, let's face it. The whole CATEGORIES of understanding, COMPOSITION, causation and the rest, they are endemic to our thought; we see IN THE MIND THROUGH these, which like special glasses introduce what we find: and they condition it. Alas, it is as if he mourns, where is the reality.
What is left, says he, is the noumena, the great unknown, the underlying reality, lodging where we are not, for it is not subject to our little impositions. So how do we know it ? It manages a few break-throughs like the categorical imperative in the world of morals, but along lines useful to Barth, it is not really known. It is as if it were known. Some passers by are allowed, but only in the most general terms, as if that gives them visas, for no known reason. The breach from reality has relief, but the theory itself thus provides none.
Such devious dissuasions here! IF we impose the categories such as causation, then HOW does that affect our reaching through power to the actual reality ? HOW is it brought to pass that this happens. Oh, in effect says Kant, it is the RESULT of this action of causation. It is caused in the following way. These things are imposed on the noumena by our thought nature, restrictive, constrictive, constructive in a way. Then, we reply, those entities which you evoke, these are the cause. In brief, for example, cause causes cause, or causality is the product in a situation where the cause is stated and the consequence is thus supposedly stated. That is how this concept of causation comes about, it creates itself, from itself. Not very original, and certainly not at all origination: you have it because it is there.
You invoke it to make it: you take the parts of a sports car, assemble them, already there, and declare how clever or enterprising you are to so cause the car. But the ingredients ARE the cause.
But how can it be that causation, a subjection additive, is the cause of something (whatever in your theory you choose to lay down in accounting for it), when the PURPOSE is to account for its existence... When you come to causation itself, giving the ground of its operation in man is showing its cause, and so simply using it to impose it, forgetting that the question was to find the cause, the basis, the evocation of this causality-impact, the explanation: allegedly then it is caused by the mind of man in its operation.
That is simply begging the question and it is the invalidity that like a fate, awaits all endeavours to bring all things under an umbrella which has to have one exception, namely that of the maker of the theory. Account with validity for this and that, matter, or mind, or more realistically spirit as well, and if there is no basis there, but what includes the result, then there is no result either in attempting to gain it. It is a masked import.
Kill your method in advance and you cannot validly use it to account for it.
If understanding of reality is posited in order to make your method a possible one for reach of reality, then this becomes the immediate removal of any argument to the contrary. Knowing the structure, powers, situations, limits and so on of what is unknowable ('noumena') is a regal access to the unknowable, but not a success. If you have understanding in order to understand the debate and the argumentation, and to apply logic validly, then this is a PREMISS. It is not found in matter, nor by simple guess in mind. It cannot then act as an OUTCOME, without giving the premiss a creative power, as the cause. There is no as if! You have it because you put it there, and knowing what it is, knew what to do.
Hence neither Berkeley with his mind nor the materialist without his (as a valid mode of working and presenting his theory), nor Kant do more than indicate elements, matter and mind and the need for derivation of the working of both, and Kant has no answer. He is rather expert in fact in his considerable summation and giving of functions to the noumena, which escapes from his humanly imposed categories of knowledge marvellously, a areal work of Olympic proportions; but more, a prescribed impossibility which must linger on stage while Kant talks knowledgeably of the ostensibly unknowable, in comprehensible terms and in terms of the entire network, which his mind, escaping his own theory, is able witlessly to impose.
Hume put in his own little "puff" as he called it*1. Mind, he had said, why it is all a matter of sequences, multi-partite happenings, and causation establishes nothing. Kant in his own way proceeded in parallel, but each presupposed what was contrary to their capacity to speak it! If thought is ONLY some series of data-delivering events, as in Hume, how is the THOUGHT that this is so merely the same, for that omits validity, logic, orientation, expectation and the whole of the mental apparatus just as Kant intrudes with it and makes it rule (cf. Predestination and Freewill Section IV, SMR Ch. 5). Hume just uses it in presenting his world. He is there and it is with him, and so what his world is not is what his working requires and has. He is like an escapee from prison, with all the nurture of understanding to present what lacks it.
Nothing of this partial kind rules. It becomes mere foolish self-contradiction to make points that do not work as arguments because they are invalidated at the outset as to method. If the world is like that, then Hume's theorising is not like the world, and extruded, cannot be used to designate it. It is like using paints that are not there, by direct statement, in order to paint a non-paint picture, with paints.
So we are left with the world of matter and the world of mind, and the findings in each through mind, as it approaches reality. Suppose then with no presuppositions, we simply proceed with reason, and the ways of mind and their rules as found out in all other activities seeking truth, and see what happens. After all, for thousands of years, we have been doing so and advancing in many fronts.
As shown in SMR, you have met that in your travels ? So men think and work, using the properties found to be sustainable in reason, and checking results.
Hey wait a minute. This is emphatically not a dream and you have left me with no time to speak. Take the next hour, I responded. Same time, he noted.
We did so. Time passed.
Well that hour we spoke of, it is yours, I noted happily.
Nothing to say, he said. It was quite an effort to get through all that, but I follow it. Good.
Now we can just a
little in terms of the progression in which you first showed an interest, I
There are three realms, matter, mind and spirit, and these relate in various ways. Thus mind in its preoccupation with rationality and reason's requirement for its own validity, so that it does not foul up its own precinct, finds that it has an open door to finding the cause of all, and each segment in particular. That is why such intensively individual things as laws of logic which can fill books, and laws of matter, which can fill reports, match so well. So then, what made the brilliance of the universe (it was indeed, not our own minds which merely search it out) in its material subtleties, mathematical laws components of bits, broken or not, is partner to what is able to use the same sort of logic to excavate all this, bring it to the light, like a mechanic stooping into an engine and finding all its parts which his looking certainly did not put there!
Mind and matter are of the same sub judice kind, mushroom and ground for it, and match in the same system.
What made them and made them match is not nothing, which never has anything to do, and never is able to become something so that it might do it. If you do not have any existence, there is nothing you can do about it; and of course, there is not even any you to feel frustrated. Nothing is like that, no future, no potential; it lives down to its name.
What made these collections of disciplined dovetailing is either adequate or not for the task. Since nothing is adequate which does not understand the components and their differences and their correlations (as with an aircraft manufacturer, who needs in some way to know that the parts are needed, the modes of connections and the relationship of it all to the design of flying, so that mind might discipline the dealings to that end), you need not only something. You need, just as in the case of illegitimate begging the question, not a begging but a provision. The Being concerned of course is normally called God.
How does that help ? my concentrating listener asked.
Help what ? I queried.
Me, he noted, looking rather mournful.
The One who made the mouth and its physiological, associated structures, such as the larynx, can speak His mind in other ways, just as He chooses.
Our researches with logic*2 found the Bible to be the only communication asserting itself to be frrm God, to match His capacities and the plight we are in, as you will have read by now. It is then tested for verification, and found to be unique and amazing in its fidelity imperviousness to logical assault, while it has a certain majesty about the WAY it goes about our instruction, which marvellously matches the content.
Now comes the Gospel, he added with a little smile.
It is useless to think and not find, when the discovery is already tested, verified, validated and used by millions over millenia, on its own handbook's word.
Not to mention, he added, on its own Author's performance.
Ah, I said, you are coming to the point. It is the Author of the entire program who has both known and foreknown and provided evidence of that fact (as in Isaiah 40-48, for example) what is to be, and the methods of differentiation.
Of what ? he queried.
Why, this world is full of things good and things evil, of nurture and desolation, of means forsaken and methods worthy of being forsaken, but kept, like poison for use on oneself or others.
How does that help ?
It is good that you evidently feel the need of help. It does so in this. There is reason as we find in the Bible, for this brilliance and this devastation, for this care and this horror. The occasion of divergence, including judgment, is called sin and simply means that the handbook declares all men sinners, out on a limb being sawn, spectacularly astray, looking for evil and gloating in it, or for good and looking where it is not to be found, not finding and becoming cynics or whatever else has no good to offer and in such rambles or confusions of wayless paths. The world is full of the divine creation's brilliance and of its Maker's rebukes, including man's own magnificently stultified efforts or actions to ruin the world given, as in World War I and II, the Cold War, the Murder Squad pathology of the present, along with Putin's vainglorious twistiness about motives and meanings! It becomes more and more tempestuous turmoil, just as Christ indicated, too much for the race to continue UNLESS He, the Lord, returned (Matthew 24:21-22).
The good is available from God's own method, which is all but unbelievably generous. The way of it is indeed called the Gospel. The curse as the Devil deceives the nations (Revelation 20:2), sin deceives the individuals and lust leads the unstable, is most apparent (Romans 5, Ephesians 2, 4); but then so too is its release procedure for good. Christ has taken that curse in Person, as the alternative option, the doctor who heals by absorbing the consequences in Himself and donating freely the medicine, called the medicine of immortality by one beneficiary. It is often referred to as the blood.
That means, as a symbol, His actual physical death as incarnate God, specialising in love for His misdirected wonders, mankind, whose gifts are so astonishing that some even make the infinite error of imagining that they are a god, or even God, though of short duration only! It is however hard to be the Author of all, when you are yourself written, right down to the plans for the trillions of connection in each human living head.
These exist between the billions of nucleated cells, each with its plan for building the body, within. It is like bricks each one with the architect's plan, a work of such utter mental and manipulative power as to force even many of the reluctant using logic, to acknowledge that information, let alone the equivalent of 1000 inter-connected books of it as in human DNA and parallel command structure, that is - symbols with their referents, orders with their connection with what they command, is not found made by non-mind, for can this be by that category, for it is mind which makes the structure as recipient and form, and content, systematised as information. Matter cannot even mutter.
Moreover, all these parts, participants, logical categories, commanding notations, all this information, it comes with a unitary result, man, each with power to verify mentally that what works merely physically, does not code itself amidst mindless spatter, but must be in subjection to what does, called mind. Selection of referents for orders is not a work of the mindless, but the mentally acute; enablement of orders not to be fiascos but building steps, is not a property of matter, but mind, and organisation with material, mental and command-consequent alignments is not called into being by what is not in this field, but by what is.
Desire NOT to believe in the manifest implications of our construction is not a work of logic, but of will. It is however an excellent illustration of will, for even logic may be disowned, disassembled and sent about its business, by many, who yet use it for their own argumentation, a sublime ludicrous procedure, like killing yourself to show how tough you are. They may even imagine other worlds and try to show how they split off, but only by logical sequence as a method, however invalid and unavailing. But extending and diversifying still leaves the self-same need to make in the first place, merely extending the problem, without solving anything.
HENCE when the Lord, incarnate in love because sin requires death as justice and mercy requires life as pity, pauses things, there is still the vast field of unbelief ready to divorce not universes but man from the Maker of the One that is manifest.
This One, incarnate, died for sinners, who need however to pick up the credit slip before leaving (this world), so that their due payment for sin may be cancelled (cf. II Corinthians 5:19-21). We are used enough to ransom calls now, when many mutineering against life, use death as the coin of commerce. Christ Jesus, incarnate God, bent on business for love's sake and mercy's impact, has done the opposite. He has provided the ransom adequately for any, sufficient for all, directed to those receiving it. He has paid enough to cover all (I John 2:1-2, Matthew 28:20), but never forces anyone.
Come to me all you labour (Matthew 11), He calls; Except you drink my blood and eat My flesh ... He observes, there is no life (John 6:50ff.). In other words, such sacrifice is ONE ONLY, ONCE MADE ONLY (Hebrews 9), and this brings in eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12), one payment, one atonement, one reconciliation, once performed, eternally relevant.
But what if I do not want to do this and value my own self which, for all its faults, is still mine, giving me a delicious sense of mattering and being in charge (at least sometimes) ?
Then you face audit without funds and fail. It is called everlasting shame and destruction, asked my friend (Daniel 12, II Thessalonians 1).
Is it not rather like giving someone a good education and then having that person fail to use it and loiter in drugs, slums and sleaze!
The parallel is spectacular, rich provision, wanton waste, utter loss.
I think it better to trust my Maker and His provision and to let Him look after the potential He has given mankind to make his way and imagine and trial things, so that not with loss of what is basic, but with its fulfilment, I live.
I am glad you feel that way.
I guess then, it is goodbye.
No, we have not even begun.
THIS, it is not even beginning.
No, you look at kindergartens and select one for your child. Is that all ? No, you actually have to enrol. Otherwise your wise thoughts are totally in vain.
How do you enrol in this case then ?
ONE, you repent of sin as a curse and horror, that is what is against God and His ways for man and rebellious or indifferent to your own Maker, like a madly tempestuous colt, or a wandering cow that neither knows nor cares in whose field it is grazing. It just grazes on, or runs on.
Two, this is personal, so you cast all your sin with real contrition to the Lord whose death has met its sting, now made applicable to you, though He knew who were His before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4).
Then thankful and trusting in your Maker, who has become Saviour, and naturally at this level there is no other (Isaiah 45), you cast your sin on Him and receive His pardon, power and provision, bearing it away in Himself, or as in one place, letting it be cast into the depths of the sea (Micah 7). Thanking Him for this, you likewise rejoice in the authentication part of His offering, the resurrection of His bashed, mutilated, blood oozing body, as it then was.
How is this achieved or was it ?
It was in the simplest possible way. Duly interred, deprived, desolate, ravaged, smitten, exactly as described in advance by Isaiah 52-53, He was raised from the dead, fitting for the Maker of human life, for whom its creation and recreation is within the norms of divine competence. HENCE you can pray henceforward to a known and living God, who has given you access in this tragic but triumphant manner (Romans 1:4, 10:9).
That, it is REAL progress. Thank you for sharing this, and I will set about it.
That way you give a miss to a world amiss, and get on board in the liner marked, the kingdom of heaven. Even in its preludes, it is beautiful.
On Hume, see SMR pp. 257-267.
See for example SMR, TMR, Predestination and Freewill, esp. Section IV.
BIBLICAL CHRISTIAN APOLOGETIC METHOD
In the three volume work, The Shadow of a Mighty Rock, we move through reason, without presupposition, to find its resultant, as normal. Here, in terms of methodology, we find through it that God is, almighty and omniscient, that He has spoken and that the Bible is the only God-referring composition relating to His eminence, testable by reason and verification, and that it so fills the logical need empirically, that it is a validation of the method, including the validity of reason, so attesting its veracity and vigour, and so confirmed.
The detail after identification of the Bible by reason (as to its place not its contents, these being here relevant only to the status and stature of God, as in Romans 1), leads on to investigation of those contents. If this then is it, and it is, what does it have to say, an independent resource with the knowledge of the Maker, not simply of derivatives of whatever kind ?
In every phase, unlike any other book, let alone any attributing authorship to God, in this Bible, there are to be found both (where applicable, which is very often) verification of data such as prediction and retrodiction, but presentation of what has no internal conflict or incidental failure. Further, every phase merges with others so that there is the cumulative and lateral coherence of the whole, as well as its chronological unfolding, matching all known facts (as distinct from imaginatively based dissidence on null grounds). Again there is found an irrefragable account first in predictive data and detail, with theological grounds, and then in historical presentation in fulfilment of the same, starting a millenium and more in advance of the occurrence, of the greatest event in history, even beyond the creation.
It is that of the incarnation of God, crucifixion and bodily resurrection of the staggering exhibit of the love of God, in the Messiah, not only judgment aside for those freed, but this by His own divine payment of the cost in death, precisely as predicted (Matthew 20:28, Isaiah 50-55, Psalm 22,16). Nor is the divine offer brought by the Messiah, forced, but free*3. This in turn allows and contains an ongoing work of prediction to the present day, so that nothing is in vain, but all that is said, has either happened or is in train of the scope and sequence of events as given (cf. SMR Chs. 8-9, for example, and general index). Everything to the point is covered, from understanding to testability, to clarity of its claims and the encouragement to use tests to verify it (as in Isaiah 40-48).
This method, forged and chosen in the 1978 Th.D. of some 150,000 words, has been employed in the more than 800,000 word logically sequential, 3 volume presentation, The Shadow of a Mighty Rock, 1992, Third Edition 1997, with limited updatings since. These latest additives, updates, are in the present Web Edition.
In terms of method, it incorporates as a
subsidiary, Scientific Method. On this last point, see
Scientific Method... See also on
Method, God is Not Only Great but Glorious Ch. 5,
The vast scope of issues covered by the Bible and its unique resolving power in matters philosophical and theological is attested in
LIGHT DWELLS WITH THE LORD'S CHRIST
WHO ANSWERS RIDDLES
AND WHERE HE IS, DARKNESS DEPARTS
Bible or Blight,
Christ or Confusion:
The Comprehensive Resolution of Man's Intractable Problems
is Found Only in the Bible, the Word of God.
On all sides the biblical teaching and Gospel is verified, validated, and its issuance in matters of human life on this earth and the living of it, becomes more necessary than any ambulance.
See for example Mercy Outdistances Judgment, Ch. 15, SMR Appendix B.
See for example Mercy Outdistances Judgment, Ch. 15, SMR Appendix B.