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 PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 3:25 am Reply with quote  
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  Life Is The Path
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I agree with Skuldren. While I've read about nearly every religion there's ever been, I've based my beliefs on their application to the people around me, and how they react, and how those beliefs have affected society. Hmm. I suppose in that sense several books have influenced my beliefs, but not, I think, in the sense that was intended in the question.
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 PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 3:54 pm Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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Well I think it's safe to say that C. S. Lewis impacted my beliefs tremendously. I would say he's had the biggest impact on my life (even though I never met him). I even question whether or not I'd be a Christian if I hadn't stumbled upon his books.

Other than that I can't think of too many books that shaped my beliefs much. Paradise Lost shaped how I think of Satan, I guess (i.e. as a "tragic revolutionary" rather than as "God's rival"). Then again Screwtape probably did even more work in that area. Wink

My gosh, I'm predictable...
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 PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 10:31 am Reply with quote  
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  Alan Skywalker V
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Figured I'd bump this thread.

We had a pretty interesting discussion of Isaiah 7 at Bible Study last night (my request ... though my dad complained that I never pick easy stuff. Wink ) The main point my dad emphasized was that King Ahaz was already so far out of the will of God by hiring the Assyrians to help him fight against Syria and Israel. As a result, when God reassured Ahaz through Isaiah and told the King to ask for a sign that the Syrians and Israelities would not prevail against Judah, Ahaz wouldn't do it; but God gave him the sign anyway - the Immanuel prophecy of Isaiah 7:14. What I find a little ironic is that the same Assyrians Ahaz hired to help him later destroyed the Northern Kingdom and then attacked Judah. Ddidn't work out too well, did it?

Also, I've been doing a little personal study of the Conquest and Judges period and discovered something interesting. It all fits into the 480 year time frame given in 1 Kings 6:1 from the Exodus to the beginning of Temple construction in the 4th year of Solomon's rule - but how, exactly?

If all the periods of oppression and rest in Judges are taken literally and added up along with the 40 year timespans given for both Saul and David's reigns, the first four years of Solomon's reign, the forty year wilderness wanderings, and the other five years mentioned in Joshua, that takes up most of the 480 year period. It's further complicated by the fact that the Bible doesn't record how old Joshua was at the Exodus, only his age at his death. At the other end of the timeline we have Samuel, but his age at death and exactly when during Saul's reign he died aren't recorded either.

I have no doubts that 1 Kings 6:1 is correct, or that the events of the Conquest, Judges and the Early Kingdom fits into the timeframe - I just don't have any idea how.


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 PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 6:50 pm Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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You know, I've diverged from a "literalist" (finding the right terms in this discussion is always a challenge) interpretation of the Bible, so the whole question about what fits where in the timeline doesn't really concern me that much. I am now more than open to their being myths (in the full, ancient sense - not the "10 Myths About [...]" sense), clerical errors, different literary genres (rather than just straight up history, records - and even those meant different things then than now), etc. in the Bible. Basically, while I view the Bible as much more than ancient literature, I don't view it as less, if that makes sense.

I can explain a bit more later, why I changed my mind and stuff, if you're interested. I actually put quite a bit of thought into it and it took me a couple years to arrive at where I am now regarding the nature of the Bible.

Isaiah is one of my favourite books in the Bible btw. Wink
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 PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 3:33 am Reply with quote  
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  Life Is The Path
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Reepicheep wrote:
You know, I've diverged from a "literalist" (finding the right terms in this discussion is always a challenge) interpretation of the Bible, so the whole question about what fits where in the timeline doesn't really concern me that much. I am now more than open to their being myths (in the full, ancient sense - not the "10 Myths About [...]" sense), clerical errors, different literary genres (rather than just straight up history, records - and even those meant different things then than now), etc. in the Bible. Basically, while I view the Bible as much more than ancient literature, I don't view it as less, if that makes sense.

I can explain a bit more later, why I changed my mind and stuff, if you're interested. I actually put quite a bit of thought into it and it took me a couple years to arrive at where I am now regarding the nature of the Bible.

Isaiah is one of my favourite books in the Bible btw. Wink


Not particularly surprised by this, since I've noticed some change in opinions in your posts on here, over time, but I'd be interested to hear the reasoning behind it Smile .
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 PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 6:20 am Reply with quote  
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  Alan Skywalker V
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I'm still very much a literalist, perhaps too much so, but I've come to realize that some things are not meant to be the way they seem. For instance, several of the judges listed in the book of Judges should be considered minor (local) and not national judges.

I've also noticed that there's a scribal error in Chronicles with regard to King Ahaziah of Judah's age at his accession to the throne when compared to the equivalent verse from Kings and King Jehoram's age at his death in both verses.

It's not hard at all for me to believe that, since the Bible was transcribed and translated numerous times since the original manuscripts were written, these scribes would have made errors that weren't corrected but instead passed down to the manuscripts today. After all, we're all human and prone to mistakes. What matters is that the original authors of the Bible did not make mistakes in their writing because they were inspired by God; the Bible had dual authorship.


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 PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 9:42 am Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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Allrighty! Where to begin...

I guess the simplest way of describing my new interpretation would be comparing it to my old one. Growing up, I guess I assumed that the Bible was written by God telling the authors what to write verbatim. I have now discarded this idea. Now I think that the books were written with the authors using the normal creative process (e.g. they actually had to think about what they were writing) and it was guided by the Holy Spirit. I also don't think that the authors were aware of the guidance. There might be a few exceptions to this, but for most of the books, I just don't get the sense the authors think they are writing "the Bible" or even a holy book at times. This means that the authors don't have unlimited knowledge and therefore, the Bible need not be infallible in terms of science, history etc. This also makes context very important. You always have to remember you are reading an ancient book.

How I got here:

1) C. S. Lewis. I never heard him say it in so many words, but it seems like he had a similar interpretation to mine. Either way he was receptive to questioning and criticism and he was what I would consider a humanist i.e. he put stock in human reason and conscience. His Reflections On the Psalms - a lesser known work, probably because it might not sit well with everyone - had a big impact on the way I view the Bible.

2) Biology class. Science isn't really my forte, but I had a really good Bio teacher in Grade 11 Biology that explained evolution in a way that really made sense to me. It seems the most probable explanation for certain features of the earth (e.g. fossil layers). I wouldn't say I "believe in" evolution, but I don't have any issues with it and it seems likely to my admittedly unscientific eyes.

3) Reading other ancient books. By reading other books written in the ancient world, I began to see the Bible more and more as an ancient book rather than a book that was beamed down from God to humanity. For example, reading other creation myths made Creation Science look rather silly. Imagine proving the Egyption Creation Myth scientifically. I think Creation Scientists are missing the point.

4) Biologos.org. A good website about Faith and Science. I'm usually not very impressed with websites dealing with this subject, but I highly recommend this one.

5) Reading the Bible for myself. When I read the Bible I read it cover to cover (though not always in order) and, honestly, I think this is one of the biggest reasons why I switched interpretations. The Bible never really presents itself as "the Bible". It's a compilation of various different books, letters etc. I see very little internal evidence supporting the Bible being under direct divine inspiration i.e. the authors writing what God tells them to write verbatim. In contrast the Quran very much presents itself as the Quran (read the opening verses) and as being under direct divine inspiration. I think if more Christians read the Old Testament more, I think inerrancy would be questioned more. There's a lot to make you uneasy in there.

Some parts of the Bible that support my new position:

For the idea of the authors using the normal creative process when writing the Bible, read the beginning of Luke:

Most honorable Theophilus: Many people have written accounts about the events that took place among us. They used as their source material the reports circulating among us from the early disciples and other eyewitnesses of what God has done in fulfillment of his promises. Having carefully investigated all of these accounts from the beginning, I have decided to write a careful summary for you, to reassure you of the truth of all you were taught. (Luke 1:1-4 NLT)

Luke wrote his gospel through careful investigation, rather than being told what to write. It's also interesting that Luke is writing his gospel to a man named Theophilus, rather than addressing it to the entire human race.

Now, for those who are married I have a command that comes not from me, but from the Lord. A wife must not leave her husband. (1 Corinthians 7:10 NLT)

Now, I will speak to the rest of you, though I do not have a direct command from the Lord. If a Christian man has a wife who is an unbeliever and she is willing to continue living with him, he must not leave her. (1 Corinthians 7:12 NLT)

Here Paul makes a distinction of a command coming from the Lord (probably based on a recorded saying of Jesus) and his own opinion. If Paul was writing God's words verbatim, he wouldn't need to make this distinction.

Just for clarification, I do still think of the Bible as God's Word (i.e. one of His ways of communicating with us), I just think He takes a more subtle role in its composition.
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Where sky and water meet,
Where the waves grow sweet,
Doubt not, Reepicheep,
To find all you seek,
There is the utter east.


Last edited by Reepicheep on Mon Sep 23, 2013 11:25 am; edited 1 time in total


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 PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 4:02 am Reply with quote  
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  Life Is The Path
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Thanks, Reep! It is quite fascinating to read, especially as I've taken an interest in the history of religion recently. Some brief thoughts, from my perspective - full disclosure, my perspective is somewhat different (I refer to your last statement), though there is some overlap.

1) I've not read any of Lewis' books, so I cannot comment.

2) This is quite a delight to hear. A short while ago, I read Adams' Salmon of Doubt - in one essay, he talks about his growing fascination with evolution. It started thus (I paraphrase): 'I was trekking with Mark Carradine, and I asked him "so what's so interesting about this evolution, then?" and in two minutes, I was stunned. Of course, I'd heard about it in school, but it took until then to understand it fully, and be bowled over. So if you talk to your science teacher about evolution, or astronomy or whatever, and you're not in wonder, tell them from me that they did a terrible job of it.' My point is that so much hinges on having the right teacher - no matter the subject.

3) An interesting thing about other creation myths, and other gods and belief systems in general, is that they haven't been disproven.

4) Though not familiar with biologos, I too haven't been particularly impressed with such websites, and for reasons I shan't go into, I tend to not lend them much credence.

5) This is something that is of paramount interest, and I'm kicking myself that I've lost my list of books on this subject. The list I refer to is a number of books that detail the evolution of the formation of the bible, and its different interpretations and messages, and how it's changed over time with changing moral attitudes and societal pressures. For example, you're familiar with the idea God is loving and omnipotent, omniscient, etc.? That's a fairly recent understanding - though I say that tentatively. To say such is to really not convey the full story. Certainly, he was loving in 'ye olden days', but the emphasis was placed on him being a fearful god, a wrathful war god. This is because the tribes at that time respected power and fear. It helped, for example, in relations with other tribes to have them believe that theirs was the Mace Windu of the pantheon. Indeed the bible calls him a god of war ('host' meaning army). And, also reading the Old Testament, it can be seen that the omniscience and omnipotence was not present (aside from their being incompatible), specifically with the very beginning of humanity, in the Christian mythos: God must seek out Adam and Eve after the 'apple event' (on a personal level, this is a good example of why I'm not a fan of the Christian God). On the last point, my memory fails me. I can't recall a good example (or even a bad one) of the nonbelief of omnipotence on the OT; and I can't recall when they became more prominent (again, =/= absolute prominence), though I think it was the start of the second century AD.
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I am a Star Wars fan. That doesn't mean that I hate or love Jar Jar. That doesn't mean I hate or love Lucas, or agree or disagree 100% with him. That doesn't mean I prefer the PT over the OT, or vice versa. That doesn't mean I hate the EU, or even love all of it (or even read all of it). These are not prerequisites. Being a man is not a prerequisite. Being a geek is not a prerequisite. The only prerequisite is that I love something about Star Wars. I am a Star Wars fan.


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 PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 9:34 am Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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Life Is The Path wrote:
My point is that so much hinges on having the right teacher - no matter the subject.


Indeed. Teachers can have incredible impacts.

Life Is The Path wrote:
3) An interesting thing about other creation myths, and other gods and belief systems in general, is that they haven't been disproven.


You mean we really could be sandwiched between Geb and Nut? Razz

Life Is The Path wrote:
5) This is something that is of paramount interest, and I'm kicking myself that I've lost my list of books on this subject. The list I refer to is a number of books that detail the evolution of the formation of the bible, and its different interpretations and messages, and how it's changed over time with changing moral attitudes and societal pressures.


This is something that I've slowly accepted. I'm sure you can imagine that there was an initial repulsion to the idea of Israel's view of God changing, but this idea is present even in a literalist interpretation. First God reveals himself through fire, storms etc., then through the Law and Tabernacle, then Prophets, then finally through Christ. In each step, He gets nearer and nearer and the reader gets a fuller picture of who He is. When viewed through the lense of the Holy Spirit guiding this process, I don't really feel my faith threatened at all. I'm also beginning to see God as often doing things more gradually and subtly than He's sometimes given credit for (another reason why evolution doesn't seem that out of character for Him.

e.g.

"Go out and stand before me on the mountain," the LORD told him. And as Elijah stood there, the LORD passed by and a mighty wind-storm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire there was a gentle whisper. (1 Kings 19:11-12 NLT)

And of course God was in the "gentle whisper".

Life Is The Path wrote:
On the last point, my memory fails me. I can't recall a good example (or even a bad one) of the nonbelief of omnipotence on the OT; and I can't recall when they became more prominent (again, =/= absolute prominence), though I think it was the start of the second century AD.


I'm not sure if this is what you were thinking about, but there are a few times when God "changes His mind".

So the Lord changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people. (Exodus 32:14 NASB)

I know from theology (e.g. Numbers 23:19) that God is unchanging. The LORD seem to appear initially as a lower-case "g" god in the minds of the Israelites and slowly turn into the monotheistic deity we know today. It's all really interesting and, like I said earlier, I don't feel threatened by it at all.
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Where sky and water meet,
Where the waves grow sweet,
Doubt not, Reepicheep,
To find all you seek,
There is the utter east.


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 PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:03 am Reply with quote  
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  Life Is The Path
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Reepicheep wrote:


You mean we really could be sandwiched between Geb and Nut? Razz


I nearly choked on my drink when I read that Laughing . It's possible, of course, though I think it's simply more likely told to some kids one night, to keep them quiet on a boring boat ride down the Nile.


Quote:
I'm not sure if this is what you were thinking about, but there are a few times when God "changes His mind".

So the Lord changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people. (Exodus 32:14 NASB)

I know from theology (e.g. Numbers 23:19) that God is unchanging. The LORD seem to appear initially as a lower-case "g" god in the minds of the Israelites and slowly turn into the monotheistic deity we know today. It's all really interesting and, like I said earlier, I don't feel threatened by it at all.


That wasn't, and if I'm reading that right, seems to point more to non-omniscience rather than non-omnipotence, but it was still a good example. I'll have a dig around t'internet, see if I can find something. I can't be bothered to reread the bible at this point.
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I am a Star Wars fan. That doesn't mean that I hate or love Jar Jar. That doesn't mean I hate or love Lucas, or agree or disagree 100% with him. That doesn't mean I prefer the PT over the OT, or vice versa. That doesn't mean I hate the EU, or even love all of it (or even read all of it). These are not prerequisites. Being a man is not a prerequisite. Being a geek is not a prerequisite. The only prerequisite is that I love something about Star Wars. I am a Star Wars fan.


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 PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 8:22 am Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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Life Is The Path wrote:
Reepicheep wrote:
I'm not sure if this is what you were thinking about, but there are a few times when God "changes His mind".

So the Lord changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people. (Exodus 32:14 NASB)

I know from theology (e.g. Numbers 23:19) that God is unchanging. The LORD seem to appear initially as a lower-case "g" god in the minds of the Israelites and slowly turn into the monotheistic deity we know today. It's all really interesting and, like I said earlier, I don't feel threatened by it at all.


That wasn't, and if I'm reading that right, seems to point more to non-omniscience rather than non-omnipotence, but it was still a good example. I'll have a dig around t'internet, see if I can find something. I can't be bothered to reread the bible at this point.

Darn. I'm getting my "omni"s mixed up! Razz
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Doubt not, Reepicheep,
To find all you seek,
There is the utter east.


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 PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 9:25 am Reply with quote  
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  Dog-Poop_Walker
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Really interesting stuff. Of course the Creation was not being written down by someone who was witnessing it and much of the Bible comes from oral history... and that has no baring on whether it's true and whether it's given by God. Even if you believe that every word of the Bible is exactly as God wanted it to be said, it's still up to people to interpret what that means so they can get it wrong or right.
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 PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 4:01 am Reply with quote  
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  Life Is The Path
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@Reep: well, we could always add omni-benevolence into the mix, get things really confusing Laughing . Just a quick update: I've yet to find any examples of N-OP. Unfortunately, putting 'God + non + omnipotence' into google comes up with many returns, most not including the 'non' part, so this may take a while.

Although there are simple examples of logic disproving omnipotence, outside of the bible: That omnipotence paradox, for one. God cannot make 2+2=5, nor can he make a rock so heavy that it cannot be lifted (and if he can, he's not omnipotent). Or another, an omnipotent being cannot kill itself.

I'll keep looking. EDIT: I should say that while I have come across people saying 'the bible shows god being impotent all the time', they neglect to use specifics, so I can't check for myself.

EDIT 2: Ha! Just spotted that typo. I'm keeping it in.

In hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began (Titus 1:2). [NB: Not entirely true, according to the bible. God does deceive others quite a bit, actually. 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12]

Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God;" for God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself does not tempt anyone (James 1:13).

If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself (2 Timothy 2:13).

Forever, O Lord, your word is settled in heaven (Psalm 119:89).

In summary, God cannot 'act outside his nature'.
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I am a Star Wars fan. That doesn't mean that I hate or love Jar Jar. That doesn't mean I hate or love Lucas, or agree or disagree 100% with him. That doesn't mean I prefer the PT over the OT, or vice versa. That doesn't mean I hate the EU, or even love all of it (or even read all of it). These are not prerequisites. Being a man is not a prerequisite. Being a geek is not a prerequisite. The only prerequisite is that I love something about Star Wars. I am a Star Wars fan.


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 PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 3:49 pm Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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Life Is The Path wrote:
Although there are simple examples of logic disproving omnipotence, outside of the bible: That omnipotence paradox, for one. God cannot make 2+2=5, nor can he make a rock so heavy that it cannot be lifted (and if he can, he's not omnipotent). Or another, an omnipotent being cannot kill itself.


You might find this interesting:

C. S. Lewis (in The Problem of Pain) wrote:
Omnipotence means 'power to do all, or everything'. And we are told in Scripture that 'with God all things are possible'. It is common enough, in argument with an unbeliever, to be told that God, if He existed and were good, would do this or that; and then, if we point out that the proposed action is impossible, to be met with the retort 'But I thought God was supposed to be able to do anything'. This raises the whole question of impossibility.

In ordinary usage the word imossible generally implies a suppressed clause beginning with the word unless. Thus it is impossible for me to see the street from where I sit writing at this moment; that is, it is impossible to see the street unless I go up to the top floor where I shall be high enough to overlook the intervening building. If I had broken my leg I should say 'But it is impossible to go to the top floor' - meaning, however, that it is impossible unless some friends turn up who will carry me. Now let us advance to a different plane of impossibility, by saying 'It is, at any rate, impossible to see the street so long as I remain where I am and the intervening building remains where it is.' Someone might add 'unless the nature of space, or of vision, were different from what it is'. I do not know what the best philosophers and scientists would say to this, but I should reply 'I don't know whether space and vision could possibly have been of such a nature as you suggest.' Now it is clear that the words could possibly here refer to some absolute kind of possibility or impossibility which is different from the relative possibilities and impossibilities we have been considering. I cannot say whether seeing round corners is, in this new sense, possible or not, because I do not know whether it is self-contradictory or not. But I know very well that if it is self-contradictory it is absolutely impossible. The absolutely impossible may also be called the intrinsically impossible because it carries its impossibility within itself, instead of borrowing it from other impossibilities which in their turn depend upon others. It has no unless clause attached to it. It is imossible under all conditions and in all worlds and for all agents.

'All agents' here includes God Himself. His Omnipotence means power to do all that is intrinsically possible, not to do the intrinsically impossible. You may attribute miracles to Him, but not nonsense. This is no limit to His power. If you choose to say 'God can give a creature free will and at the same time withold free will from it', you have not succeeded in saying anything about God: meaningless combinations of words do not suddenly acquire meaning simply because we prefix to them the two other words 'God can'. It remains true that all things are possible with God: the intrinsic impossibilities are not things but nonentities. It is no more possible for God than for the weakest of His creatures to carry out two mutually exclusive alternatives; not because His power meets an obstacle, but because nonsense remains nonsense even when we talk it about God.


"You may attribute miracles to Him, but not nonsense" has become one of my mental catch phrases. Razz
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Where sky and water meet,
Where the waves grow sweet,
Doubt not, Reepicheep,
To find all you seek,
There is the utter east.


Last edited by Reepicheep on Tue Aug 20, 2013 10:27 am; edited 1 time in total


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 PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 2:45 am Reply with quote  
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  Life Is The Path
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That is interesting. But before I respond, if I do, I'd like to read the whole thing, if possible. There were one or two lines which seemed odd, and I wondered if that wasn't because it's part of a larger argument.
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