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LIBERTY AND NECESSITY,
FREEDOM NECESSARILY AND
ITS IRREVOCABLE CONDITION
Adelaide Advertiser, August 22, 2006 ... The Idle Debate
THE INITIAL CONFUSIONS
Were freedom null, so that one's genetic system, genome, epigenetic controls, neurones, bones or other imagined sources of will were in full charge, jointly, severally, or in any conceivable manner, then thought would be a function of such necessity, and this being not wisdom, overviewing all with supernal knowledge, but constraint, pushing all by its necessitous paths, what is would be unknown, and what is pushed would be provender for the mind.
If absolute truth did not exist, were all relative, then it could not, being absent, be reached; and hence could not be divulged, as by those who believe themselves, on their own model, by some physiological fiddle, to be divulging it, while from the nature of the model, divulging further that it is not there.
Into such muddles does determinism proceed*1. It is not merely that constraints by circumstance, itself construed as 'chance'*2A, are not the same as information by reality, which on this basis is unknowable; it is that reality is dismissed as well, as not being formulable because what would formulate, is absent. It is a system without meaning, filled perversely with method, but incapable of speech. To speak for it is merely to presume, since it has neither voice, nor mind, nor understanding; and if it lacks it, how much less do its subjects, participants have it.
Yet they presume to 'debate' about determinism*1.
Thus in the Adelaide Advertiser, August 22, 2006, we see the sad and even grievous spectacle of a debate between Adelaide University's School of Humanities Head, and an erstwhile Thinker in Residence.
The former is of view that beliefs such as religion or even the choice of an AFL team could be determined by physical make-up; with the caveat that the brain could be moulded by life experiences so that 'beliefs' could change. It is not just genes; it is living experiences, but at the physical level. Such is the report. Learn more of this, and lead better lives: this is the message.
The quondam residential thinker however stresses that beliefs could be formed without evidential support, become resistant to contrary evidence, holding that this adds weight to the view that the brain is predisposed to certain beliefs. The question is then put: How can something in the brain be formed not through living a memory or learning a practice ? It is deemed to be a most interesting thing that the brain does. Who can explain it ?
It is natural that this gap is there, for any such model as this, and the taint is predictable from Biblical-Christian theism as we shall see. It thus constitutes yes one more verification of it, in terms of normal scientific method. Indeed, on all sides, positively and negatively, this is what is found for this divinely implanted, time-tested, millenially unchanging Biblical depiction. What however of the views of the debaters ?
Both of these views lack everything which could redeem them from futility, as noted in Chapter 1, from Ephesians 4. It is in that sense that it is an idle debate.
If the brain in fact determined beliefs, being a deterministic guide, then it is impossible to know it, for the reasons already given. Further, if such were the case for man, then truth would be unknowable as Kant in fact essentially declared (cf. Predestination and Freewill Section 4), in a hopelessly self-contradictory manner (cf. SMR Ch. 5). You would know this however! There is no limit or end to contradictions when you are wrong.
If you abuse logic, obviously you will gain little from it.
However, when self-contradictory and superfluous premises are discarded, all is harmoniously and consistently explicable.
The realm of logic has to be validated, to be sure. The mere fact that it WORKS, and that it RESOLVES (when not abused), needs further confirmation. This position is infinitely preferable to one which ignores rationality at the outset, as does determinism. However, as shown in SMR, when you follow reason and logic to their inevitable conclusions, you find first God and then the Bible; and then you find the verification on all sides to confirm this. That gives the absolute validity, just as consistency and non-self-contradiction in the first place, gave it legitimacy.
RETURN TO REALITY
The brain is merely an instrument, and the genes are instrument makers. Neither determines the player; though either can, to alarming degrees, act in that realm, when given licence by corruption, desire, decadence or dissipation, moral, rational, ethical or ideological. People are indeed able to be taken over by the conquest-making powers of passions, as you see in countless murders through hatred, temper, jealousy, ambition and the like. These are spiritual diseases, and any effort to pin them onto the tunic of equipment is in vain. Equipment enables; desire directs.
But as to desire, what directs it ? It is obvious that contention or contrariness or self-will or self-fulfilment are merely some of the orchestra which plays the fateful music to which many listen, and being conquered, act as those subject to conquest. Indeed, such sins play havoc and not nice music in the minds of devotees of such desires, passions and preferences. This is that small element of truth in the deterministic position; but it confuses pathology for principle, and so cannot proceed logically.
Indeed, some gene may make such and such a weakness, contrary to design, in the equipment which might make it easier for one to fail in some mode, than would be the case, other things equal, for someone else. Others, however, with just the same defect, either do not fall in that way, or if falling, are delivered by Christ in practical, observable fact, and so no longer follow the way they took.
It is not a question of living experiences, since these may be to soften or strengthen resolve, according to the interpretation of spirit, that source of thought, spire of information and inspiration, that function for will, that pondering place, that ruminating reality, that conceiving plateau in man, dynamised by reason, accessible to desire, driven by forces too horrendous almost for words, or enlightened by vision of magnitudes sufficient for all.
Like the other equipment, it is susceptible to disease; but unlike it, it has the spice of the voluntary. Like other equipment, it has certain requirements; abort these and it may simply entangle you.
It is not unlimited in its volitional powers and resources. It cannot at will dispense with this or that passion, although it may be despised; but it can ponder with profundity the position, and seek with desire the deliverance. In this, it may act in what basically are only two ways. Firstly, it may seek deliverance where it may not be found; and secondly, it may seek it where it may be found.
It may of course seek partial deliverances, where they may be found; but as Christ declared, get rid of one devil and seven worse ones may be delighted with the scene ready for infestation. It is not only physical viruses which act to grab the cell controls and reproduce themselves; it is spiritual ones as well. The application is of course here metaphorical; but the reality is visible enough.
The necessity of truth, for any to propound it, requires that it be. Necessary therefore is a model with space for it, for any conversation of any validity concerning meaning, reality and actuality, as distinct from thoughts; and that one have access to absolute truth, past all the conditions of pathology or otherwise of soul, mind and body. It requires further that this truth be not limited to distortion or delimitation by the errors or simple inabilities of what seeks it. If you seek mathematical truth, you need more than Einstein to start with, to get to where he sought in vain; but you also need a mind able to receive it. When it is the truth ABOUT YOURSELF, you need what is able and willing to impart it in such a way that your self cannot, and HENCE does not, interfere, or by littleness, fail.
It needs integrity to present it, ability to inculcate it, and knowledge to ensure it gets through. Matter in whatever format, can never act as mater to these.
This of course is precisely what God has; and in one sense, it is simply that if you negate Him, then all manner of conditions and controls and qualifications and quantizations and exasperations, frustrations and contradictions occur, so that people lose heart and talk of determinism, or volitionalism, where one can do just as one pleases, a position as ludicrous and contra-real as the other. They fight because they are both wrong, in that tragic and traditional human way which makes of philosophy a killing ground; and ignores truth.
When however one following reason as in SMR, comes to God and then to Christ, all is answered. The equipment may indeed limit you, distress you, harass you and even harrow you, because of its misuse (like a car, an instrument only, but one in an accident, able to deform you for all that!). It is however apparatus, not lord. It enables, it does not direct.
The mental may indeed make you delinquent, but only because you have surrendered yourself to its misuse. The spiritual may make of you a fraud, for example claiming false results for areas of popular interest, such as stem-cell research; but this is because you have surrendered it to ambition, lust for money or whatever other thing disturbed the integrity of your actions, the truth of your dealings, the accuracy of your representations and the nature of your conduct.
When one comes to the Lord, however, then the pathological is as if by X-ray exposed (cf. John 16), and you are convicted of sin; you realise the folly of seeking to live without Him, and you are then recomposed, so as to be able to communicate with your Maker. You are then instructed, like any now willing but very limited and somewhat fouled up student; and you are disciplined, corrected, directed, plainly taught and the work goes on so that you see the light as it is, and not, having fallen with all mankind into a pathological state, as you would naturally have conceived it.
Then it all flows like light in the heavens, waters in the rushing stream, now salient, now peaceful, always moving, always pointed, always arriving and always in order (in principle, fluctuations may of course occur, but storms past, the river proceeds). It coheres (cf. Celestial Harmony for the Terrestrial Host), and is a delight.
This it is not merely experientially, as is galloping on a willing horse, but intrinsically, as one finds in regarding a perfectly cut jewel. It is what it is, and what it is is incomparably coherent, consistent, but this at such a level of inordinate power, not lustfully seeking for its own sake to determine, but exposing truth as it is, that the very grace of it is charming beyond all expression. It meets life head-on; yet it is found not to be a collision, now that regeneration has occurred, but a joining, as when one's company finding the total army, now becomes a part of it.
But the Commander! ...
He instils and teaches and so enables deliverance and escape from all the trends to being determined by this or that fallacy of logic (through stubborn self-will and possibly fear of the truth, because it leads to the Lord, whereas the pathological person may secretly or even openly desire to be his or her OWN LORD). Indeed, vulnerability to needless fracture of body, or systematic breach of mind or spirit are removed; and one can find liberty in reality.
It does not have to sell itself. It is there. It exhibits its power to resolve all mysteries, with nothing left over, in terms of the systematic requirements of conceptual coherence, and it verifies itself in all fields. Biblically it is objective; personally it is subject-oriented, but not subjective. We have considered this before: for this latter term can mean twisted or flouted by littleness, whereas the actuality is that the personal does not have to be such at all. It can be both objectively oriented because of the truth, its base, lord and saviour, and yet personal in kind.
WHAT IS MAN ?
Let us apply this to the debate terminology, as noted above in News. Thus of course life experiences affect the behaviour of those whose spirits respond to them, either wilfully, willingly, astutely, grudgingly, enviously, implacably, sensitively and in a myriad of other possible ways, depending on the person in view, the personality, the pathology, the nature of the case, the model of life in mind, and other choices of or against reason, emotional, social and organisational.
It is complex, like the cells in the fingers, so much so that someone temporarily mesmerised by the millions of cells might forget that there are only ten fingers, each easily subjectible to will, and all in unison really skilled in joint effort. When you cease mesmerism, and look at facts, it is simple. Similarly, when you look at all the things the human spirit may elect to do, and all the reasons why this is so, pathological and normal, spirited or spiritual, godly or anti-godly, it may mesmerise in complexity; but ultimately, when you regard its basis and nature, it is quite simple in KIND.
The spirit of man being personal, and being responsible for its selections of sin, or its upward thrust to reality, and in particular for refusing truth and preferring a squalling mob of antilogies and even antinomies which neither cohere nor are consistent with any realisable view of reality, it is often assiduous in avoiding truth. It pays for this in endless conundrums (cf. SMR Chs. 3, 5, 10, Predestination and Freewill), not the result of mind or reality, but of the misuse of mind through alien models, predators on fact , not purveyors of it.
As noted in Downfall from Defamation, Ch. 1 (q.v.):
This then is the way, the manner of insistence on irrelevance, here lies the arbitrary antinomy, the irrevocable antilogy, the crass incoherence that makes of modern man a prey to folly, and a butt for discipline.
And again, in this place, we have:
Verification vomits; method faints; only myth remains. This is the way of death, with the scientistic, the fantastic and the fantasising in one inglorious realm where the real gradations are from arbitrary antinomy, through ascending antilogy to alogistic vacuity.
These features and foci are dealt with in that Chapter, and correlative ones; but for the moment, let us pursue our current theme, the relevance of experience to belief and conduct in general.
Thus experience is OF and BY something, the PERSON. The person may elect to be mean, generous, gracious or liberal, perceptive and so on, if those qualities are not already pathologically cancelled by wilful waywardness added to imperfection from birth; for it is a fallen race, and even infants are not confusable by realistic eyes, with angels in disguise, whatever their charming or even beguiling features.
The effect on the person of what the person does is obvious, for we all find it. If you lose your temper, this may engender (if you are honest to the point) shame, or guilt; and if you are a Christian, it may lead to repentance and cleansing so that the impact is met by power from the source of one's spirit, and the equanimity is not lost, nor the heart hardened, two otherwise dangerous possibilities. This apart, such things will then have perhaps a physical resultant, if it leads to an ulcer, or to pre-occupation while you are driving, and so to an accident.
Indeed, if you make a practice of not resisting the call to lose your temper, then a pathway of normal response may occur psychologically in your pre-set controls, thus changing them indeed for the worse, and this may make new patterns tend to become procedural norms.
Worse, it may lead to a sense that nothing matters too much, as a self-protective device for pride, and so affect your 'philosophy', and this could lead you to take a cynical course in that domain, and that could lead to your becoming white-anted with confusion, mastered by another cultural pathology, and this could lead to a whole bevy of new orientative adjustments, even at the physical level, to the psychological, moral and spiritual change in view.
If you walk on your side of the foot, then your shoe leather will show it, even though it has NO relationship at the personal level. Equipment can SHOW what you know and will, quite readily; and if you are sufficiently weak, it can begin to trip you up, since it inclines you this way or that, and you simply follow, being submissive, or you may fall headlong, being furious, perfidious or inclined to whatever other of the myriad of spiritual responses may appeal to your discursive and adventuring person.
You may hear someone denouncing this, and so at the spiritual level, on consideration of its infantile nature, change it; but if you reject the Lord, having then no rational or real access to absolute truth, you may sidle off into something else, even if only for a change, or in a combination of frustration and exasperation. To try to shove off these conundrums of being a person with demonstrable powers of orientation, often demonstrably misused for some purpose or penchant, desire or wilfulness, in known conflict with truth, onto your equipment is no better than blaming your horse because it has a limp, and you cannot be bothered sitting differently to spare it. (Cf. SMR Ch. 3.)
Empirically, each domain, each phase of life has to be considered where it is and for what it does and can do; and this, if truth is to exist in the matter, has to be subject to two criteria. Firstly, one must avoid blaming what is merely circumstantial when it is clear that resolve can and could readily overcome it; but the preference may be otherwise, the matter being duly weighed, and desires accorded status by evaluation.
What is the source of the evaluation ? There are many influences, but what needs to be recalled is this, that reason and reality are one of these. Even when consciously there is an impediment for wilful reasons, to receiving truth, this is far from the end of the matter. As there are impediments, so there is God who made made and remedies; and as there are remedies, there is truth and fabrication. Without an objective, verified, validated revelation OF God BY God, man has not access to truth, only to superficial sequences (cf. SMR, TMR, The Meaning of Liberty and the Message of Remedy, Raason, Revelation and the Redeemer). It is necessary to find, test and accept the remedy, or have no basis for so much as argumentation concerning truth; for it is not found in the field, or in the mines or skies, or dreamed or desire; but where it is attested.
One may be afflicted by conscience, summoned by known deletion of relevant elements, however hard rationalisation may try to deliver one, and immersed in remorse, or its counterpart, and so exhibit swaggering disregard (cf. SMR Ch. 3). It varies, and who can know it except he knows the One in whom knowledge without taint comes from being Creator, not convener, fabricator, not author of fabrications.
Much is simply FACT, however imperfectly known, versus will. If reason be followed, truth is surely found; but from oneself (SMR). It is pathetic to ignore pathology, and man without God is pathological, however well logic works; but when by reason revelation is found and attested by the grace and mercy of God, then it is readily validated, verified and assured.
Thus whether one has access to truth itself, or to this by will misused, does in itself not grant truth which must be obtained; yet there are facts and what to do with them is not limited merely to the irrational, though a sufficiently slavish mind may find it so, but may relate initially or superficially, if relevantly, to the rational and evaluative; and this may relate not least to processive data (I DID do that, and THIS DOES happen in such a case, and so forth). In principle, the mind can move from this if it stays, to real revelation and abide in what abides and in Him who gave it. In practice, the upshot varies in mood, in mentality, in aspiration, in influence by truth in various domains, and above all, on attitude to THE TRUTH, in God. Protestations do not constitute the equivalence of reality in this field.
The human heart is by nature now desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9), even trying to deny its own responsibility and debauching reason in the process, as noted above. He who trusts is his own heart is a fool, categorically and correctly proclaims Proverbs 28:26. You must be sure you have the LIVING GOD, and have ACCESS to Him, independently of your own inherent limitations or wounds of spirit or mind, and that He is WILLING to give this to you!
The Bible is by no means wrong in this, and few are they more morbidly determined to avoid it than those who nobly pretend to be treating the facts, while ignoring the only source in which to find them, finally. Justice may be the conscious criterion of conduct, or truth, or goodness, or mercy, or all of them, or these things may lie slain in the aspirations of the subject. It is not the bones which determine the love for these things, but a yielding to the nature of the case; for without justice, there is mere force, which is far below the capacities of man, in creation and co-operation; and without mercy, there is loss, through hard-nosed pretence, for all men fail in some things; and without goodness, there is evil, the marring and the marching that seeks what is desired, and not to complement what is produced with ingenuity and understanding.
To desire these things, while short of knowing God, is a derivative of being derived from God, and thus a second derivative in status. The imprint of eternity is disposed into the temporal by its truth. It does not require; but it does attest what reason confirms and indeed requires. It is this which is the basis of much differentiation, as rationalisation and self-defence induce towards further errors. Refusal of this dual attestation is a result of liberty plus truth, a peculiar specialty found in, but not confined to man.
The lust for power, control, mastery, glory are all involved, and much else besides. It is not the peculiar parts of the dynamics of self-destruction through desired delusion, masquerading as truth, which are crucial here; it is the type of procedure. It is attested in scripture in Ephesians 4:17-19.
But what of the love of truth, mercy, goodness and justice ?
Loving these things is no more determined by quality of your nervous energy, than is a horse's temperament by the quality of its legs. Hating them is indeed a diseased condition of the spirit, but it is one accessible by will. The will for truth is not subject to the shape of the brain, which serves in ideational facilitation, or the pockets of its planning. If it were, then capacity would equal direction, what is would equal what should be, and what is enablement would equal purpose. Such identities are no more acceptable re persons, than are inadequate identities in trigonometry.
The place of purpose in the design called man is obvious in what is found in him: the integrality and unity, the inimitable intimacies of the correlative qualities and components and the capacity to transcend what is ordered or programmed, by making programs and making the scenarios for which made programs are adapted, by deciding on what OUGHT to be done. Nothing that is, makes what ought to be so much as exist ... except God.
He however is not part of man's equipment, nor are His powers those of man. He is in fact the sina qua non of truth (cf. Barbs ... 6 -7, It Bubbles ... Ch. 9), the rational ground of justice and the personal source of mercy and goodness.
The reason why the existence of God makes for what OUGHT to be, is simple. Since man is a design (cf. Chs. 1 - 2 in Dip Deeper, Higher Soar...), the WILL and purpose of the designer becomes what is right for him. Without this, he does not exist. By it, he has the right way to exist. If it were put that the Designer was evil, then this is impossible, as we have seen in detail in such sites as Sparkling Life ... Ch. 4; for being contained by nothing, delimited by none, having all things, needing nothing, giving all that it might be, lacking all pre-determined controls, with the inhibitions of time merely His own invention for His creation, He has nothing but to give, to create, to enable and of course, to judge, since He is not only the truth, but what constitutes it.
What He wills is wrought; and if He makes freedom, that is wrought; and if man misuses it, that is man's error, and man's response should be, as it sometimes is, repentance. When He designs, moreover, He does not use what lacks the requisite potencies, or potential, in the work, but what has them. In all creation, it is so. Thus even a hat-designer can take materials and by imagination and enterprise CREATE a chapeau to dazzle. It is however a HAT still, with whatever appeal to the imagination, which shares the vision behind it, perhaps, in the mind of the designer. It is not a thinking object, but a stimulus to thought in those who possess the powers of thought.
If, similarly, you make a tape-recorder, and store there the EFFECTS acoustically, or a video and store the visual and acoustic effects in its receptacle-prone potential, you do not create a thinking or imagining or performing object out of matter: in matter you store it, in DESIGNED matter, you are ABLE to store it. It has however nil in creativity, merely possessing transmissibility through code, precisely as in DNA.
The confusion of
means in matter with
an end, what uses them, and
the end itself, design
prescriptions, with the originating thought of design, or
for that matter,
design prescriptions with the inner thought of
that very resultant, man,
For thought you need not merely its results - code can be a result of thought, just as can originality makers such as man. Thought is put into each; but it is put into different receptacles. What is potent for thought is one thing; what is a mere transmitter of it, that is another. You see this highlighted with brilliantly discerning and dully, near automated students: the latter follow, the former may even lead.
A conscious evaluator, critic, originator of thought, assessor of means, institutor of priorities, exponent of imagination, whether rebel against his or her own construction, or in sympathy with it may by arrogance imagine itself a god (as in Ezekiel 28:9, where the transcendent beauty and brilliance of one of God's creation leads him to act the god-part, and to be asked: "Will you still say I am a god, when I slay you!").
This is the extent to which the amazing licence for liberty accorded to man can go. It is however of course just as much a work of folly to extrapolate liberty and imagination into all-power and control of creation (including one's very self), as to imagine that what is manifestly occurring before one's eyes, does not exist. Thus some may seek to imagine that they are without the qualities which matter lacks, and cannot be contrived to possess; and this while they even engage in conscious thought and critically evaluation, for which matter is not the domain, though the results of this, as of many other things, can be stored in it, or exhibited by it.
All of this however is as far from the programmatic, it is as far from the hard-wired in, what is merely settled in the electronic media, instilled in directive or inanimate process by the experiences that come with the mere passage of time, as can be! It is simply a different domain, with different meaning, facilities, laws and ways. To confuse the two is to confuse what CANNOT err because it is programmed - and even a determinist failure to follow a program is NOT an error, but a failure in the programmer - the mere enactment from the thing made, on the one hand, and on the other, what can err, because it is personal and liable to do so.
That is one of the summits of creation, that a person can construe, err, repent or revile, love truth or hate it, sell it consciously for prevailing reasons, or buy it where it may be found, for whatever it may cost, if anything, and even know why. The deliberations are personal, not programmatic, may even err in their assessments by confusion in certain aspects, and this by the thrust of desire or the lapses of laziness. Indeed, we as persons discuss this; and it is not our brain capacities nor is it yet our physical criteria which make the discussion; it is our capacities to deploy these capacities with purpose against or for the nature of our construction. If we elect to hate the construction, or life, or the creator of it, or to so despise Him as to imagine that nothing did the job, and created causation while it was at it, even though for that reason it would not exist in order to be caused, and so end in endless antinomies: so be it. That is a product of freedom which is a function of personality, which CAN and DOES err repeatedly.
Not only would mankind be insane to imagine guilt when matter drives thought, though it cannot think, or to argue as if truth were even available, when natural and thoughtless dynamics are the criteria of understanding, or to ponder career because of spiritual reasons, such as love, when this is known by a model which despises facts, to be a heartless code throbbing: the case for determinism is yet more vaguely vain and confused even than that. He would, for the model's sake, have to try to work out how a person with consciousness and contemplative facilities for evaluation and rational analysis is sited in what is merely the programmatically impersonal. It is precisely the same as trying to work out how an aircraft, whose career one is following, it being gifted with many kinds of automation and control, sensor and global positioning devices, programs for contingencies and so forth, yet does things not contemplated by the maker, and invents actions and chooses directions in no way even possible for program.
The answer as in all such contusions of thought, is simple. It is this. Cease trying to force on domain of reality into another, to seek one model for all things, divorcing here powers that yet manifest themselves, and adding there powers that deny all such attribution empirically. Cease dreaming. Become a realist. Attribute function where it is to be found, and use theory to account for what is found, not to deny it. Cease to be rationalist and irrational, trying by simplistic thought to dragoon facts into your impatient maw, and in the process leaving only antinomy and unanswered because unanswerable questions, when the rational, empirical and scientific mode brings you to the exact opposite, a sensitive perception of multi-functional domains of reality, conjoined by what is definably design, and inhabited by the functionalities which design so often brings, from diverse sources (cf. Dip Deeper, Higher Soar Chs. 1 - 2, cf. Ancient Words, Modern Deeds Ch. 9, History, Review and Overview Ch. 5).
To be sure, if a man sees his fallacies and returns to rationality, he may still hate God, with a studied impudence, seeking to outdo Him, much as a prisoner might seek to overturn the gaoler; but God is not limited, so that it cannot be done. It is not in the stars but in ourselves that the error lies; and when it is consciously escalated, then so much of the truth at last begins to appear, as when an employe, hating the boss, subservient in appearance but not in spirit, chooses his moment for betrayal, in public. With God it cannot work more than ruin, since the book cannot run or ruin the author.
However, it is tried; and in the fury of the folly of failure, there are the wars, often seemingly without much real cause; and sometimes with abundant cause, since man without God, having no inbuilt purpose, but a reasonable trend to note and consider justice and truth (as distinct from lie), and co-operation and productivity and performance, can directionally go anywhere, like a misfired rocket. His power to create and endure becomes misdirected, a power to vaunt and scoff and arrogantly to seek to subdue others better than he, by guile or fraud or surprise or mere murder.
Endless tangles result, in which cries of justice and judgment may be heard, even though at this or that moment, in gross and vile error, the very topic was either forgotten or suppressed for long enough by those who cry.
The tangle and wrangle ... is history; the bad part, the testimony to the futility of godlessness, acting without either the testimony of reason, or the book of truth, from God, and so of necessity, being misdirected. As power grows, the liabilities do the same, until man is no longer capable of living conveniently on this earth, and vast civilisations become vulnerable to extinction by those with neither wit, nor wisdom, nor understanding, nor progress nor perception. In this way, freedom enables centuries of effort to become nothing; and so it is not unjust, though deplorable, because the conditions of progress have received a substitute, those of regress, which lacks insurance, except for its end, which comes soon enough.
Thus if God who alone COULD have made freedom, and has made it, is ignored, then the misuse of freedom is secure and certain, since He is not a book to read, but must be understood, as must we all, from His own speech.
DNA is coded, and for persons, so is conduct coded at the ethical but not compelled level, and so is purposiveness created and so is truth delivered. The former is programmatic in vital array, the rest is moral, ethical, as applicable to persons.
The former is found in our beings; but it does not give moral or purposive direction to the person as such; the latter is found in the heart, and in the Bible, duly verified (cf. SMR, TMR Chs. 1, 5-7). If it is ignored, then power without wisdom is a grave-digger, and deep is that grave already, for the race. Past that is the judgment which so many so often and for so long clamour about; but this time it is not the judgment of this or that multi-fouled player against the other, but that of the Maker of Liberty. It is He who as Lord apportions blame for the misuse of liberty, or pardon for the use of the facilities provided for it, in Jesus Christ, crucified to bear sin, and available to purge it. Sin ? it is the failure to be what you ought to be, do what you ought to do, to please your Creator and indeed, to know Him. It comes where WHAT OUGHT TO BE defers to WHAT IS.
THE INTERSTICES OF ERROR
Erring man, he is not programmed in his morals or purposes, which involve disjunction between what is and what ought to be; nor could be; nor could it be known; nor is he without some guidance even from reason; nor does reason fail to show Him the truth (cf. SMR Chs. 1, 3, 5, 10), nor to verify it (SMR Chs. 4, 8 -9).
Error is not even possible for the programmed except relative to the desire of the Designer; and where He is plucked irrationally from the thought of man, then what man is becomes impossible, a pleasant reductio ad absurdum*2. It becomes like what is described as one view of the creation of the moon which none can resolve (except from God): why, one approach has it, let us make it a matter of observational error, and say that actually the moon does not exist.
Denying the evidence is always one way of solving a conundrum which a vagrant and inadequate model does not allow devotees to find solution. The better alternative is to face the facts, and find what meets them, as here. Ignoring them is not to the point.
As to error, programs cannot create it, but must deny it; and where determinism is excluded, will is included. Even if it were imagined that the programmer desired that there would be transgression of the program, THAT would itself be programmed, and so the occurrence would not be error.
Error in man, indeed, can be conscious or unconscious, composed or uncomposed, intentional or unintentional (that is, a lie is intentional error, relative to truth), sudden and impetuous, or calculated and desired. It is as much a part of man as the roof is, of a house. To deny it is to describe some other being. Man qua free (in part) and because of this necessary pre-condition, is an error-maker and knows it and how. Hence, not from insanity, but from empirical fact and reason, arises guilt.
Indeed, argument for one position implies that the other, if contradictory, is wrong; and hence ... error. Hence to argue the case is to transgress the deterministic model.
No theory can become oblivious of the primary facts, and live; and of course, as to matter itself, it is a theory of mind, and subject for its very existence to the validity of mind; which in turn cannot so much as know the truth, unless firstly it is there, secondly it is willing to disclose itself past the denials and distortions, the limits and the errors of man; in which case, the personal God is seen at once, necessary source even of the rationality of trying to argue! Without Him, the model, doubly defective, fails either to cover the primary data, or to enable rational discussion about truth.
Error requires a supra-programmatic differential between purpose and performance, whether the purpose be of God, or of the created being, man. It further requires a movement from the descriptive to the prescriptive, in order that it might be aborted. Matter is describable, but has no prescriptive powers, no delivery system for 'ought', merely acting as it acts, being what it is.
Thus on all fronts, determinism is mere substitution of thought for reality, and like the opposite concept of liberty at all levels, is merely an extrapolation of an aspect which inheres in some things, at some levels. In fact, purpose may impose or seek to deliver on prescription; but this involves obligation, not mere action. You cannot move from what is to what ought to be, in terms of material events as the scope of your purvey. Deterministic theory and fact have infinite, continual collision.
Indeed, purpose has no place in program, except that of the programmer beyond it; and it is the correlative of error. As to that, all determinism has no place for it, whatever the format of matter. Empirically, however, no man is without place for it.
Our concern here, however, is with man. We therefore move from all such theories, in order to deal with the subject! At once the 'problem' on the deterministic model is resolved. It is not a strange thing to envisage experiences moving into life and effecting change, after all; it is just that the process is simplistically and reductionistically expressed.
In fact, experience meets in man, a person with purpose, and the experience will either educate him about how to be better, or worse (if the man is perverse, and the spiritual diseases are legion), or rebuke him for misconceived ideas, or bruise his conscience, or his relationship with God if he has one, or else confirm it. There are multiple layers; but there is one person.
Thus learning, he perceives; perceiving he conceives; conceiving he correlates; concerned with purpose, he integrates; proceeding, he activates the principles and priorities of his life; and in time he may change some of these, if not founded in truth, which does not move. It is all a matter of man's WHOLE ENVIRONMENT and WHOLE NATURE, so that what one is researching WITH, becomes the site for that in which one may effect change.
Moreover, beyond all this, God may effect change in the creation called man, moving on his mind, conscience, morals, understanding, and granting to him a more accurate perspective or conception on any topic. It is precisely in such matters that idle and inadequate theories do, because they MUST, run into difficulties. Ignoring the very nature and matrix of man, their agents try to make simplistic theories cohere; and of course, and this is merely one more verification, they do not do so, because they cannot. Truth in the end is not tolerant. It is what it is, and any violation of it leads to insoluble conundrums, antilogies or antinomies.
In fact, the domain of man has many functionally describable facets, diverse in their integrity; efforts to subsume them all under one heading are mere contrivances to ignore specifications, reductionism gone wild, clinical factuality aborting reality in the interests of pure irrationalism, impure pseudo-empiricism become mere expression of the very wilfulness which is so distinctive a part of man*3.
VOIDANCE OF FUTILITY IN TRUTH
Where the debates are futile, as in the case of the one noted in the News, is in this very sphere. There are per equipment, clearly ingredients of the genome which play a role in what type of apparatus one gets, including some defects, and one must face the fact that its powers are not without limits, however ingeniously devised. At the extreme, for a mongoloid child, this has serious effects on the limits of one's powers and the relevance of some of the normal ingredients of spiritual operation. Others may meet, unlike some twin, various challenges which will only by resolve and determination, be overcome. Someone may fall into infatuation, for example, and the other may not find such an opportunity, and this may deaden truth for the first party in that phase.
However this is not a directive to one's spirit, but a datum. Data do not determine what one does with them; only what one has with which to deal! The spirit of man is by function assessable, and to confuse it with the mind, which has its own lairs and ways, or the body, which has its own, is a fatal error from the first. Indeed, if programmatics were all, it would be impossible to know it; for even if the program were set to give a truth, it could not be known to be such, and hence would be mere reaction without meaning, except for the programmer of course. One would know nothing, merely react to stimuli at the intellectual level. It would therefore be quite impossible to assess anything, and all debate would be worthless, self-contradictory, on such a model*4.
When however one uses reason, and finds its outcomes, and finds its error types, and avoids them, and finds its resultant, which in turn both validates and verifies it as noted above, then the possibility of being programmed is just as oblivious to fact as is that of being utterly free. One has certain freedoms, which one can wilfully diminish by abusing the equipment of mind, spirit or body, or any combination. One is not bound. However, in the absence of God, there are such combinations of ingredients and equipment that a mêlée of disturbing complexity and profound disorientation can result, so making of life a matter of choosing some philosophy for working purposes, and so becoming chained by convenience or convention, or both.
All programmatic philosophies (*2, *4), including those of Marx, Freud or Darwin (cf. SMR pp. 611ff.), have the same defect. If that were all, then the superficial being all (whether psychological, or biological or economic, in their various domains), the actual is divorced systematically from sight. You cannot know what is not there; or what is hidden by this or that imagined mist of distancing. Freud avoids the determinism of his psyche long enough to tell us the ... truth; Marx avoids the class conscious determinism in his heart long enough to tell us the ... truth; and Darwin avoids the meaningless machinations of over-time working mechanisms long enough to tell us ... the truth. Each finds God without acknowledgement, which is just as well, since the gods in view, being not God, but even excluded by mere modelling, have another name that may fit all too well: that of devils, the devils of delusion.
In the end, man is free, but sin has confined him; he has liberty, but not to play God; and even when he tries to use the liberty he indeed has, to do this, he is not a good actor. This also, it stands to reason, since when the finite acts the infinite, it is ... or would be, unfair. The class is missing! Man is responsible, for the voidance of truth is not total; and the avoidance of truth is answerable!
Living experience does indeed play a part in what one IS, and hence in one's behaviour, one's spirit in fact responding to events; but this is amenable to awareness of divine discipline, if you know God in person and in fact, not just in claim, so that you find the work of His power, like an expert panel-beater after an accident, to restore what has been dented. In fact, He can and does even bring peace, on the basis of the atoning blood of Christ who died, as Peter declares, the Just for the unjust, to bring us to God. Again, genes are relevant, but only as limits, whether intrinsic or pathological for equipment. They do not however induce action, merely at most promoting it.
The spirit of man cannot be sunk in the weeds of his equipment, whether physical, which has a strong possible constraining element, short of compulsion (except in limits of capacity for this or that field, depending on talent and power), or mental, which can inject thought, or spiritual, which can devise purposes for reasons, and construct evaluative criteria, and that for reasons also, of which facts may be part, more or less. Its originality, imagination, purposive thrust, survey of criteria over time and ages indeed, and election of aspects is wholly other than mere performance, markedly and even monumentally supervening what is on the existing front, with what has been conceived.
Jumbling the elements of man into this or that imaginary directive style, is more than truncation; it is truancy from truth. It is like a voluntary submission to Saddam Hussein, who is now in dock anyway. Man's devices have been in the dock, not least both for and with that absurd pride which tries to make of him, now a demi-god, his will able to direct life, and now a slave, programmatically immune from the blame which men in any case address to each other on the basis of their own experience of wilful sin.
There is no escape except into irrationality, in the face of reason itself, which requires God, responsibility and realisation of equipment, rather than the farcical endeavour to muse and reason about what is TRUTH, while divorcing it from the model in advance. As to irrationality, this denying logic, cannot consistently appeal to it; and hence is excluded summarily form all argument by the limits of its own model. Besides, reason when it finds its Maker, glows with the show, meeting even specification and matching every concept with concept; and it enables words, which distinguish things on a causal basis, and the life of man to be what it is.
Arguing about what is not, that is of course the nature of all atheism in general and of determinism in particular (cf. SMR Chs. 3, 5, 10).
One hopes, that in the next chapter it will be our privilege, as it is the plan in mind to share with you one basic practical outcome of these realities. It is of course not only in thought, but in what is wrought by the power and Spirit of God in the name and covenant of Christ, just as it is taught from the lips of Christ, expounded in Paul's epistles and found in life, that one delights. It is in Romans 7-8 in particular that is to be found schema of this living, as in Christian life the dynamic, the delicacy and the enduement.
In God are all the pleasures of eternity: not carnal pleasures (Psalm 17:15, 16:11), but those such as in the love of Christ were founded for the children of God through the agony of Calgary consummated at Golgotha, righteous joys, and realistic relish in the presence of the love of God. Far from this is any thrust as if to satisfy the self-satisfied; for these are spiritual joys, as in those who come to the city of God rejoicing, with everlasting joy on their heads (Isaiah 51:11), having overcome the flesh and the call of this world, in terms of its Creator.
There is a victory which makes martial prowess in flesh and blood give place to the Saviour's sacrificial splendour that has brought fulness of life. Here is a life in the victorious grace of the Lord which is neither merely controlled, nor distantly directed, but in a living, loving, personal, intimate and yet powerful manner ... led, as a Shepherd leads His sheep. They do not become automatons, anything but this: but they do learn to lean on His wisdom, rejoice in His strength and rely on His faithfulness.
Indomitable in grace, He is reliable; incomparable in character, it is good to rely on Him.
See Repent or Perish Ch. 7 for a coverage more fully on this topic of materialism and its ludicrous antilogies, per se, with SMR Ch. 1, and see also Downfall from Defamation Ch. 1, with It Bubbles ... Ch. 9, End-note 1,
Marvels of Predestination and the Ways of Will Ch. 7, including *1;
The True God has Go, Gives Grace and Glory Ch. 2 .
On the human spirit, see Little Things Ch. 5, It Bubbles ... Ch. 9. , SMR pp. 348ff. and Ch. 1. See also Barbs... 6-7 and some of the above, for the topics tend to intertwine.
On this confusion, see Ancient Words, Modern Deeds Chs. 7 and 9.
From It Bubbles ... Ch. 9, End-note 1, the following exhibits the point in view.
Man who makes such theories ? He is then a thinker, an evaluator, an assessor, a seat of consciousness in which a reviewing person SITS, making judgments with analysis, and desire, purpose and assessment. The term 'person' is used. It is normally taken to refer to that special ingredient and design called man (and some others, with not less than cardinal features that make man himself). In the judgments and overviews, the insights and the intuitions, this MAN, this PERSON is assessing all things. Hence reason is its watch-dog, observation is its eye, and review is its control-tower.
What is the PERSPECTIVE for review ?
What is the BASIS of assessment ?
It is not least, COHERENCE of the materials under the watch-tower of review, together with the meeting of the coherence with the purpose of the thinker and the facility the view which arises from creativity has, with all the indications which are presented to the mind.
It is SATISFACTION of the criteria which are in place. But what is the THING to be satisfied ? Truth ? or peace ? or self-esteem ? or vindictiveness ? or prestige ?
or justice ? with or without mercy ? and with or without truth ? or income and prestige in uneasy partnership ? or what ?
In other words, the abilities and facilities of Freud make the basis for his theory, which denies these to others. It is a self-contradiction. IF REALLY HE COULD see all these things, then ACTUALLY he would be subject to the same distortions which he posits for MAN AS SUCH, and hence could not conceivably make a true theory, truth being in receivership to the unconscious, the ego and the id, and any common companions of a more super kind, that afflict the poor besotted ego...
At the same time, Freud has been, like Hume, self-forgetful. He should have added that man is a person, and that in his experience many a man gave too much attention to selfish and hence irrational constructions of his understanding of the universe, and for that matter of his own life; and too many were merely seedy moralists whose substance was long gone, mere shadows of social mores; and that there was such a disposition to pleasure in the choice-patterns arising like statistics from his surveys of broken and crooked personalities coming his way, that he had to say it - it was to a vast degree, a society which, having met various standards thrust upon it, had no other idea than pleasure!
This then would be an assessment. To be able to be true, it would mean that a PERSON considered that this subjective, self-interested DISTORTION of truth was being made in all men, but this with just one exception: it could not happen in himself alone. This exception is as with Marx and Darwin, necessary for the 'preacher' to have access to the truth he needs in order to belabour his audience. That is rather ridiculous, since it lacks all evidence, as well as contradicts the generalisation itself so that it would simply become this: THIS is the way which a man who can see beyond the ego, the id and the super-ego sees things.
Then one acknowledges:
At last Mr Freud, you have acknowledged who you are, who it is that is doing all this speaking. So man exists, persons exist, and disease exists, which may or may not strike, and you are currently immune. However, if this is what MAN is, this piece of BITTISM (another new term), then HOW could you know that you are immune ? You cannot OPERATE as something which does not even exist.
If however bits are not the man, then the man is able to overview and review and construe and accept or reject the things which you assume, in your big three; and hence this is the design you missed out, the integrity you failed to note, and must now note, since you are implicitly assuming it as you act. Hence man is NOT this big three, but a thinking, analysing, willing, assessing, preference distributing being who is susceptible in Vienna to the sort of distortion you note. Whether your assumptions even of the nature of the disease are exaggerated, is quite unclear, since your theory MUST FIRST BE ASSUMED TO BE TRUE OF YOURSELF IF OF ANYONE, since you know so very much more about yourself than about any other person in the universe!
Certainly, one might continue, you could err about yourself through the disease called rationalisation, but it would seem that your private life is in tatters, for if it were wholly other than your theory, your theory could not be made.
Hence you should repent of your sins and find the Maker of your PERSON and do business in getting a moral rectitude which is not self-serving, an appreciation of pleasure which is not obsessive-compulsive, and an array of purposes which do not cluster like grasshoppers, on the ground of your soul, reducing it like crops, to such a projection of importance as is at war with the reality of your actual significance.
BUT, he might reply,
I AM SIGNIFICANT. I could kill you if I were devious and sure enough of myself, and THEN where would your analysis of my analysis be ?
Still where it was, one might reply,
before the eye of that person-maker called God. Your significance arises from your Maker, and when you deny Him in practice, then you cannot find your significance, and joining the ranks of other sick souls, you first omit the fact you have one, then despise the image of it, making spiritual pneumonia normal and health non-existent, then ignore the maker of the image, which when healthy, has reason to know the truth which you defile with your self-contradictory affirmations about what is true, and the basis from which you are supposing truth could possibly come.
The significance of man, then, is merely a reflection of the generosity of his creator, who, putting mind, matter and spirit into a unity called person, with facility for action in a physical, mental and spiritual environment, is a masterpiece of design, the purpose of which is to find, know and glorify God.
Without acknowledging the necessary source of your existence, facilities and functionalities, coherent and integrated in an ambulatory, cogitative, morally susceptible design called a person, you are merely in a morass of meaningless bits of thought, which neither cohere nor could cohere, which throw about ideas without substance for a being without a matrix, which operates in such a way, that were it true, it would make of your theory the fiction and fantasy which it properly is.
So which is it ? YOU are sick, or your theory is wrong.
If it were right, you would have assumed what contradicts your theory, a facility it will not permit; and you would be acting as something which has no existence, being merely bittistic, a series of pieces lying about without a being and a power which is in fact co-ordinate with what you DO!
In other words, to BE ABLE to be right, you would have to be wrong.
Spiritual Refreshings ... Ch. 13.
As in many things, the reality lies not in the bits, but in the knits - the design. Endeavours to force them into what they exhibit no power to do, or to squash what exhibits certain features into what lacks either the basis for or evidence of them is neither scientific nor logically precise. You have to follow the evidence, not invent it. When your inventions do not cover the facts, or meet reason, you are quite simply, wrong; and continuance in the error is one example of wilfulness to the point at this very item.
See also LICENCE FOR LIBERTY.
*4 See in full:
It Bubbles ... Ch. 9, End-note 1, and also the references in *1 above. .