Top Ten Reasons to Reject the “Van Tillian Package” Tuesday, Dec 28 2010 

Top Ten Reasons to Reject the “Van Tillian Package”

 By Drake (Many of these apply to the Scholastic Philosophy as well)

1. The Van Tillian Philosophy Posits a Loss of Humanity in the Fall

2. Van Tilism Has Only Created Light.

3. Van Til’s Denial of Occasionalism/immediate revelation/immediate Knowledge Leaves Infants Dying in Infancy with No Hope of Salvation

4. Van Til’s Paradoxes Leave the Door Open for Every other Religion to do the Same Thing

5. Van Tilism is a Denial of the Protestant Doctrine of Sola Scriptura  and the Sufficiency of Scripture or a Denial of the Trinity and the Hypostatic Union

6. An Infallible Assurance of Salvation is a Denial of Cessationism and Posits Extra- Scriptural Revelation, ergo, a Denial of Sola Scriptura.

7. Van Til’s Infinitude Predication of God is Eastern Irrationalism that Posits a Denial of Omniscience

8. Van Tilism Fails to Provide Objective Proof for Reformed Christianity

9. Van Tilism is Marketed as a Presuppositional Christian Apologetic Yet Posits Proofs for God’s existence. This is Inconsistent

10. Van Tilism is a Denial of Revelation.

Three Scriptural Arguments for the Tripartite Distinction by Drake Sunday, Dec 26 2010 

1. 1 Cor 7:19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God.

But if our opponents are correct this statement makes no sense. He could not distinguish circumcision from “the commandments of God” if there was no moral and ceremonial distinction. The fact is God did command circumcision, but Paul here refers to the moral law as “the commandments of God” and circumcision as ceremonial.

2. Rom 2:25 For indeed circumcision is of value if you practice the Law; but if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. 26 So if the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27And he who is physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the Law, will he not judge you who though having the letter of the Law and circumcision are a transgressor of the Law?

The point is the same here. How could Paul distinguish circumcision from the commandments of God if there was no moral and ceremonial distinction?

3. Mat 12:3 But He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he became hungry, he and his companions, 4 how he entered the house of God, and they ate the consecrated bread, which was not lawful for him to eat nor for those with him, but for the priests alone?

Calvin says,

“Have you not read what David did? First, David, .) While David was fleeing from the rage of Saul, he applied for provisions to the high-priest Ahimelech; and there being no ordinary food at hand, he succeeded in obtaining a part of the holy bread. If David’s necessity excused him, the same argument ought to be admitted in the case of others. Hence it follows, that the ceremonies of the Law are not violated where there is no infringement of godliness.1 Samuel 21:6

If there is no distinction the allowance makes no sense. David broke a ceremonial law to obey a moral one.

 

 

 

 

 

Tripartite Division in Tertullian Saturday, Dec 25 2010 

Schaff, Ante Nicene Fathers Volume 3 [http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf03]

Tertullian an Answer to the Jews:

The Law Anterior to Moses

“I contend that there was a law unwritten, which was habitually understood naturally, and by the fathers was habitually kept. For whence was Noah “found righteous” if in his case the righteousness of a natural law had not preceded? Whence was Abraham accounted “a friend of God,” if not on the ground of equity and righteousness, (in the observance) of a natural law? Whence was Melchizedek named “priest of the most high God if, before the priesthood of the Levitical law, there were not levites who were wont to offer sacrifices to God? For thus, after the above-mentioned patriarchs, was the Law given to Moses, at that (well-known) time after their exode from Egypt, after the interval and spaces of four hundred years. In fact, it was after Abraham’s “four hundred and thirty years” that the Law was given. Whence we understand that God’s law was anterior even to Moses, and was not first (given) in Horeb, nor in Sinai and in the desert, but was more ancient; (existing) first in paradise, subsequently reformed for the patriarchs, and so again for the Jews, at definite periods: so that we are not to give heed to Moses’ Law as to the primitive law, but as to a subsequent, which at a definite period God has set forth to the Gentiles too and, after repeatedly promising so to do through the prophets, has reformed for the better;”

Of Sacrifices

“From this proceeding we gather that the twofold sacrifices of “the peoples” were even from the very beginning foreshown. In short, when the sacerdotal law was being drawn up, through Moses, in Leviticus, we find it prescribed to the people of Israel that sacrifices should in no other place be offered to God than in the land of promise; which the Lord God was about to give to “the people” Israel and to their brethren, in order that, on Israel’s introduction thither, there should there be celebrated sacrifices and holocausts, as well for sins as for souls; and nowhere else but in the holy land.”

T​ertullian, Against Marcian, Book 2, 

Trace God’s Government in History and in His Precepts and You Will find it Full of His Goodness

 
“At any rate, my Creator did not learn from your God to issue such commandments as: Thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not commit adultery; thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not bear false witness; thou shalt not covet what is thy neighbour’s; honour thy father and thy mother; and, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. To these prime counsels of innocence, chastity, and justice, and piety, are also added prescriptions of humanity, as when every seventh year slaves are released for liberty;”

 

 

 

 

Aquinas on the Tripartite Division, ed. Drake Saturday, Dec 25 2010 

Summa 2.6.99.3

From : http://www.ccel.org/ccel/aquinas/summa

“Whether the Old Law comprises ceremonial, besides moral, precepts?

Objection 1: It would seem that the Old Law does not comprise ceremonial, besides moral, precepts. For every law that is given to man is for the purpose of directing human actions. Now human actions are called moral, as stated above (Q[1], A[3]). Therefore it seems that the Old Law given to men should not comprise other than moral precepts.

Objection 2: Further, those precepts that are styled ceremonial seem to refer to the Divine worship. But Divine worship is the act of a virtue, viz. religion, which, as Tully says (De Invent. ii) “offers worship and ceremony to the Godhead.” Since, then, the moral precepts are about acts of virtue, as stated above (A[2]), it seems that the ceremonial precepts should not be distinct from the moral.

Objection 3: Further, the ceremonial precepts seem to be those which signify something figuratively. But, as Augustine observes (De Doctr. Christ. ii, 3,4), “of all signs employed by men words hold the first place.” Therefore there is no need for the Law to contain ceremonial precepts about certain figurative actions.

On the contrary, It is written (Dt. 4:13,14): “Ten words . . . He wrote in two tables of stone; and He commanded me at that time that I should teach you the ceremonies and judgments which you shall do.” But the ten commandments of the Law are moral precepts. Therefore besides the moral precepts there are others which are ceremonial.

I answer that, As stated above (A[2]), the Divine law is instituted chiefly in order to direct men to God; while human law is instituted chiefly in order to direct men in relation to one another. Hence human laws have not concerned themselves with the institution of anything relating to Divine worship except as affecting the common good of mankind: and for this reason they have devised many institutions relating to Divine matters, according as it seemed expedient for the formation of human morals; as may be seen in the rites of the Gentiles. On the other hand the Divine law directed men to one another according to the demands of that order whereby man is directed to God, which order was the chief aim of that law. Now man is directed to God not only by the interior acts of the mind, which are faith, hope, and love, but also by certain external works, whereby man makes profession of his subjection to God: and it is these works that are said to belong to the Divine worship. This worship is called “ceremony” [the munia, i.e. gifts] of Ceres (who was the goddess of fruits), as some say: because, at first, offerings were made to God from the fruits: or because, as Valerius Maximus states [*Fact. et Dict. Memor. i, 1], the word “ceremony” was introduced among the Latins, to signify the Divine worship, being derived from a town near Rome called “Caere”: since, when Rome was taken by the Gauls, the sacred chattels of the Romans were taken thither and most carefully preserved. Accordingly those precepts of the Law which refer to the Divine worship are specially called ceremonial.

Reply to Objection 1: Human acts extend also to the Divine worship: and therefore the Old Law given to man contains precepts about these matters also.

Reply to Objection 2: As stated above (Q[91], A[3]), the precepts of the natural law are general, and require to be determined: and they are determined both by human law and by Divine law. And just as these very determinations which are made by human law are said to be, not of natural, but of positive law; so the determinations of the precepts of the natural law, effected by the Divine law, are distinct from the moral precepts which belong to the natural law. Wherefore to worship God, since it is an act of virtue, belongs to a moral precept; but the determination of this precept, namely that He is to be worshipped by such and such sacrifices, and such and such offerings, belongs to the ceremonial precepts. Consequently the ceremonial precepts are distinct from the moral precepts.

Reply to Objection 3: As Dionysius says (Coel. Hier. i), the things of God cannot be manifested to men except by means of sensible similitudes. Now these similitudes move the soul more when they are not only expressed in words, but also offered to the senses. Wherefore the things of God are set forth in the Scriptures not only by similitudes expressed in words, as in the case of metaphorical expressions; but also by similitudes of things set before the eyes, which pertains to the ceremonial precepts.

2.6.99.4

Whether, besides the moral and ceremonial precepts, there are also judicial precepts?

Objection 1: It would seem that there are no judicial precepts in addition to the moral and ceremonial precepts in the Old Law. For Augustine says (Contra Faust. vi, 2) that in the Old Law there are “precepts concerning the life we have to lead, and precepts regarding the life that is foreshadowed.” Now the precepts of the life we have to lead are moral precepts; and the precepts of the life that is foreshadowed are ceremonial. Therefore besides these two kinds of precepts we should not put any judicial precepts in the Law.

Objection 2: Further, a gloss on Ps. 118:102, “I have not declined from Thy judgments,” says, i.e. “from the rule of life Thou hast set for me.” But a rule of life belongs to the moral precepts. Therefore the judicial precepts should not be considered as distinct from the moral precepts.

Objection 3: Further, judgment seems to be an act of justice, according to Ps. 93:15: “Until justice be turned into judgment.” But acts of justice, like the acts of other virtues, belong to the moral precepts. Therefore the moral precepts include the judicial precepts, and consequently should not be held as distinct from them.

On the contrary, It is written (Dt. 6:1): “These are the precepts and ceremonies, and judgments”: where “precepts” stands for “moral precepts” antonomastically. Therefore there are judicial precepts besides moral and ceremonial precepts.

 
I answer that, As stated above (AA[2],3), it belongs to the Divine law to direct men to one another and to God. Now each of these belongs in the abstract to the dictates of the natural law, to which dictates the moral precepts are to be referred: yet each of them has to be determined by Divine or human law, because naturally known principles are universal, both in speculative and in practical matters. Accordingly just as the determination of the universal principle about Divine worship is effected by the ceremonial precepts, so the determination of the general precepts of that justice which is to be observed among men is effected by the judicial precepts.

We must therefore distinguish three kinds of precept in the Old Law; viz. “moral” precepts, which are dictated by the natural law; “ceremonial” precepts, which are determinations of the Divine worship; and “judicial” precepts, which are determinations of the justice to be maintained among men. Wherefore the Apostle (Rom. 7:12) after saying that the “Law is holy,” adds that “the commandment is just, and holy, and good”: “just,” in respect of the judicial precepts; “holy,” with regard to the ceremonial precepts (since the word “sanctus”—“holy”—is applied to that which is consecrated to God); and “good,” i.e. conducive to virtue, as to the moral precepts.

Reply to Objection 1: Both the moral and the judicial precepts aim at the ordering of human life: and consequently they are both comprised under one of the heads mentioned by Augustine, viz. under the precepts of the life we have to lead.

Reply to Objection 2: Judgment denotes execution of justice, by an application of the reason to individual cases in a determinate way. Hence the judicial precepts have something in common with the moral precepts, in that they are derived from reason; and something in common with the ceremonial precepts, in that they are determinations of general precepts. This explains why sometimes “judgments” comprise both judicial and moral precepts, as in Dt. 5:1: “Hear, O Israel, the ceremonies and judgments”; and sometimes judicial and ceremonial precepts, as in Lev. 18:4: “You shall do My judgments, and shall observe My precepts,” where “precepts” denotes moral precepts, while “judgments” refers to judicial and ceremonial precepts.

Reply to Objection 3: The act of justice, in general, belongs to the moral precepts; but its determination to some special kind of act belongs to the judicial precepts.”

My “Experience” at the Puritan Board by Drake Wednesday, Dec 22 2010 

 My “Experience” at the Puritan Board

by Drake

Recently I have signed up at the PuritanBoard. I posted five threads: 1. Scripturalism’s Immediate Knowledge Related to Infant Salvation 2. Was Augustine a Scripturalist? 3. Causality and Divine Fiat 4. The Scholastics and the Van-Tilians Have Only Created Light. 5. Does the Van Tilian System Posit a Loss of Humanity in the Fall?

With the exception of 3 and 5, the issues involved the Immediate Knowledge of Scripturalism. 3 was the only thread that the posters actually engaged me on the topic of the thread. In threads 1, 2 and 4 the men that posted did not even touch the argument before them. They immediately turned to ad hominem snipes and tried to catch me in inconsistencies with the Confession. I admitted a couple but what remained very clear is that no one could touch my arguments on the issues of immediate knowledge. One gentleman, P.F. Pugh, said some really dumb things and I told him that his posts were stupid in thread 2. On thread 1 is where the real dung hit the fan. I allowed a great diversion from the argument at hand, bad mistake, and followed the arguments of a gentleman on the light of nature. I pointed out that WLC 2 posits the light of nature in man not in some external world. No one could contest the assertion and for this I was booted off of the PuritanBoard. I had only been on the Board for a few days and I forgot to check my messages. I had a couple from the administrator. Since I forgot to check my messages this was seen as a rebellion against authority. Oh, another thing, I was debating a gentleman on the issue of Christmas. He has said that there is an official acceptance of the day here in America, which is an admission I rarely get from Holy Day observers so I replied, “I am curious about the official status you predicate of the day [Christmas day]. This may make a prepared accusation much easier a bit later.” I know many “Christians” that use the argument that if they simply celebrate the day as a civil day instead of a sacred day then it will not be idolatry. I usually want to respond that this will not work because there is an accepted understanding of what the day is in our nation and God judges nations as moral persons. Yet it is so difficult to get people to admit that there is indeed one official acceptance of this day. I found this admission helpful. Yet the moderator took it much more seriously. He said, “The use of the term “accusation” brings to mind the filing of charges as would be done by a church court. Please elaborate.” I was never able to because by the time I read the message I had been booted. Here is his final address to me:

1. Historical anachronism with an inability to listen to your superiors.
2. Repeated instances of churlish behavior in threads.
3. An unbalanced and un-Reformed obsession with Clarkianism.

You’ve got a hobby horse and we’re not interested in feeding hobby horses here. You’re enamored with Clarkianism to the point that you cherry pick Church writings to confirm your a pirori conclusions and have an inability to evaluate history as it has been written. You also do not listen to the correction of your superiors but deign to lecture on topics that you are woefully ignorant assuming that your study in Clarkian philosophy makes you qualified to lecture.

Farewell Drake. If you come to the point that you actually come to a true sense of your limitations and can evaluate historical theology without resorting to rank anachronism then you may contact us via the Contact Form to return but, in the meantime, we’re not interested in your imbalanced and churlish interactions here”

1. This accusation is based on article 1 I think. When I used WLC 2 they accusesd me of teaching that the Puritans were Scripturalists; this I never said.

2. I did call a guy’s arguments stupid on a couple of occasions. They were stupid and I was getting frustrated that no one would engage me on the topic of the threads

3. I love this one. Fellow Clarkian brothers. If you are reading this, the Van Tilian system is becoming abundantly clear that they do not view us as brethren. Quite frankly I am prepared to admit it. They have shown themselves completely unable to answer the primary arguments and are borrowing the Satanic philosophy of Dionysius the Areopagite. At no point did anyone show how anything that I said was out of context with History they simply booted me because they could not answer the arguments. Read the threads yourself. If you think I am being unfair here then let me kow. I was booted around 3pm or so ET 12/22/2010 so any posts after this time do not reflect anything I could have responded to. I believe in truth. I believe that people can know truth. I lost everything for truth and I take truth very seriously. Van Tilians and Americans take this as arrogance and statements like, “you actually come to a true sense of your limitations” are simply cryptic setences that really mean, “There is no One True Religion and I hate you for believing such a thing.”

Scripturalism’s Immediate Knowledge Related to Infant Salvation by Drake Tuesday, Dec 21 2010 

Scripturalism’s Immediate Knowledge Related to Infant Salvation by Drake

WCF 10.3 states, III. Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated, and saved by Christ, through the Spirit, who works when, and where, and how He pleases: so also are all other elect persons who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.

The scripture that is quoted for this doctrine is “JOH 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”

Yet the Scholastic and the Van Tilian cannot believe this. On their view as was the case with Barlaam of Calabria, “God is only knowable through the mediation of his creatures.” There must be a “sensation” through a created nature for knowledge to be attained by a human person on the Scholastic and the Van Tilian system. Ergo, the Van Tilian and the Scholastic needs to posit the doctrine that all infants dying in infancy go to hell. What creaturely sensation can an elect infant have in the womb of its mother that leads to salvation? Only on the Scripturalist view of immediate knowledge can an elect infant even have a fighting chance.

Divine Fiat by Drake Sunday, Dec 19 2010 

 

Divine Fiat

by Drake Shelton

An article concerning the agent of the Godhead as the sole cause of all things and a denial of Aristotleian causality.

 

Col 1:16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

Aquinas, Summa, 1.2.14.13  Whether the knowledge of God is of future contingent things? [http://www.ccel.org/ccel/aquinas/summa.FP_Q14_A13.html]

“Objection 1:
It seems that the knowledge of God is not of future contingent things. For from a necessary cause proceeds a necessary effect. But the knowledge of God is the cause of things known, as said above (A[8]). Since therefore that knowledge is necessary, what He knows must also be necessary. Therefore the knowledge of God is not of contingent things…
On the contrary,
It is written (Ps. 32:15), “He Who hath made the hearts of every one of them; Who understandeth all their works,” i.e. of men. Now the works of men are contingent, being subject to free will. Therefore God knows future contingent things…

Reply to Objection 1:
Although the supreme cause is necessary, the effect may be contingent by reason of the proximate contingent cause; just as the germination of a plant is contingent by reason of the proximate contingent cause, although the movement of the sun which is the first cause, is necessary. So likewise things known by God are contingent on account of their proximate causes, while the knowledge of God, which is the first cause, is necessary.”

I reject this because the works of men are not contingent by reason of proximate contingent cause. As it is written, Acts 15:18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world. kjv There is no such thing as a fallible cause. God causes everything. Dr. Clark in his Lord God of Truth [Hobbs, New Mexico: The Trinity Foundation Hobbs, 1986, 2nd ed. 1994] says,

“Experience at best teaches us that one event follows another. It never shows that one causes the other. Experience at best gives sequence not causality. (pg. 24)…First of all causality is a relative term: That is, there can be no causes unless there is an effect. We say X causes Y. Omit either one of them and there is left neither cause nor effect (pg. 25)…a cause must be an event that guarantees the effect…There must be because the cause must produce its result. If in the time interval something happens, or even could happen, to prevent the effect, there is no cause…two objections. First, but illogically, he will say, ‘But I mean X cause Y if nothing intervenes.’ Stated thus baldly the fallacy is flagrant. However, it can be stated more covertly. Food nourishes us, if we do not get seasick, and if the stomach finishes its function, and if the juices are absorbed into the blood, and if the blood is brought to the muscles. But note well: We no longer have two event, X and Y. We have the definition of nourishment; and surely it is logical to insist that if we are nourished, it follows logically but not temoporally, that we are nourished.” (pg. 26) 

The context of this last section is the “spatio temporal” world of the empiricists and the Aristotelians. This view of God we reject. They will say that God causes all things because he is the first mover. This is not what a Scripturalist means when he says that God causes all things, because the Aristotelian view assumes that the subsequent motions are proximate causes. This Clark just refuted. Dr. Clark says, 

“We now concur with the Islamic anti-aristotelian Al Gazali: God and God alone is the cause, for only God can guarantee occurrence of Y, and indeed of X as well. Even the Westminster divines timidly agree, for after asserting that God foreordains whatsoever comes to pass immutably and infallibly, yet by the same providence he ordereth them to fall out according to the nature of second causes…’ What they called second causes, Malebranche called occasions. But an occasion is neither a fiat lux nor a differential equation.” (pg. 27)

  
W​hen God said “let their be light” His command or divine fiat is a true cause of the light. This is what Clark means by a fiat lux. Nothing could have intervened and prohibited the light and in this is the true definition of causality.  Does water or oxygen cause the germination of a plant? No. Water and oxygen do not cause life, God causes life. The water and the oxygen are occasions wherein God causes life.    

 

The Scholastics and the Van-Tilians Have Only Created Light Sunday, Dec 19 2010 

The Scholastics and the Van-Tilians Have Only Created Light

 by Drake Shelton

2 Peter 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

John 17: 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth

Psalm 36:9 For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light.

A​quinas said in Summa 1.2.16.7 Whether created truth is eternal [http://www.ccel.org/ccel/aquinas/summa.FP_Q16_A7.html]

“Objection 1: It seems that created truth is eternal. For Augustine says (De Lib. Arbit. ii, 8) “Nothing is more eternal than the nature of a circle, and that two added to three make five.” But the truth of these is a created truth. Therefore created truth is eternal.

Objection 2: Further, that which is always, is eternal. But universals are always and everywhere; therefore they are eternal. So therefore is truth, which is the most universal.

Objection 3: Further, it was always true that what is true in the present was to be in the future. But as the truth of a proposition regarding the present is a created truth, so is that of a proposition regarding the future. Therefore some created truth is eternal.

Objection 4: Further, all that is without beginning and end is eternal. But the truth of enunciables is without beginning and end; for if their truth had a beginning, since it was not before, it was true that truth was not, and true, of course, by reason of truth; so that truth was before it began to be. Similarly, if it be asserted that truth has an end, it follows that it is after it has ceased to be, for it will still be true that truth is not. Therefore truth is eternal.

On the contrary, God alone is eternal, as laid down before (Q[10], A[3]).

I answer that, The truth of enunciations is no other than the truth of the intellect. For an enunciation resides in the intellect, and in speech. Now according as it is in the intellect it has truth of itself: but according as it is in speech, it is called enunciable truth, according as it signifies some truth of the intellect, not on account of any truth residing in the enunciation, as though in a subject. Thus urine is called healthy, not from any health within it but from the health of an animal which it indicates. In like manner it has been already said that things are called true from the truth of the intellect. Hence, if no intellect were eternal, no truth would be eternal. Now because only the divine intellect is eternal, in it alone truth has eternity. Nor does it follow from this that anything else but God is eternal; since the truth of the divine intellect is God Himself, as shown already (A[5]).”

Yet what does the scripture say? “Through these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature.” So if the knowledge is the means then created knowledge gives us access only to created nature. Van Til taught no point of coincidence, between God’s knowledge and man’s knowledge. In this case what else is there but a created knowledge?

In the 14th century Gregory Palamas and Barlaam of Calabria debated this issue. According to Palamas, Barlaam said, “God is only knowable through the mediation of his creatures.”[33] In context of other conversations, he also believed that knowledge could come through direct revelation, which produces some kind of vision. Romanides says of Barlaam,

“What Barlaam is actually saying is that there are two ways of arriving at a knowledge of God – through TA MATHIMATA (the philosophical sciences) and through revelation.”[34]

Palamas seems to understand Barlaam as saying that secular education was required to understand God. What is clear to me is the typical demand for empirical means to knowledge, as if these sensations are infallible agents that always produce a uniform effect, which is nonsense.

Palamas often quoted 1 Cor 1 and 2 and Matt 11:25 much the same way a Scripturalist would, claiming that all secular epistemology is the wisdom of this world and gives no knowledge. Scripturalists believe also that God directly reveals the knowledge of his mind to the minds of men. Yet, we do not necessarily commit ourselves to the requirement of an empirical second cause. Now we do believe that the reading of the Bible, the “hearing” of preaching etc, is a required occasion when this happens. The “hearing” and the “seeing” of the words do not give us knowledge. This is simply the occasion in which God directly reveals his knowledge to our mind. This must be distinguished from a second cause because a second cause by definition would eliminate the possibility of God directly revealing the propositions to the mind. However, we must stress that the preaching and the reading etc. are required, as an ad extra decree, though they do not cause the knowing to happen. 1 Cor 2:9-10 denies that the senses give this knowledge and teaches that we know these things “by his Spirit.” Palamas said, “Do you not clearly see that it is not the study of profane sciences which brings salvation, which purifies the cognitive faculty of the soul, and conforms it to the divine Archetype?”[44] It is on these points that the Scripturalist view overlaps with the Eastern view because we believe in a more mystical view of immediate knowledge and we have tenable interpretations of 2 Peter 1:3-5, though we differ greatly on what knowledge is and the Scripturalist demands the occasion of reading or listening to the propositions of the Bible. Scripturalism teaches univocal predication. This principle states that the proposition in God’s mind is the same proposition in the mind of the man to whom God reveals himself. Thus the man possesses eternal propositions, i.e. uncreated light.

Does the Scripturalist view not provide a solution to end such epistemic debates that divide professed Christians in Eastern and Western Churches? I believe it does.

[33] Gregory Palamas, ed. John Meyendorf, Gregory Palamas The Triads, (New York*Ramsey*Toronto: Paulist Press., 1983), 12

[34] John S. Romanides, “Notes on the Palamite Controversy pt. 1,” The Greek Orthodox Theological Review Vol VI, N. 2 (1960-61)

[44] Gregory Palamas, ed. John Meyendorf, Gregory Palamas The Triads, (New York*Ramsey*Toronto: Paulist Press., 1983), 30

 
 

 

 

Aquinas and Augustine on Divine Simplicity, ed. Drake Saturday, Dec 18 2010 

 

Aquinas, Summa, 1.2.15.2 Whether ideas are many? ed. Drake

Whether ideas are many? [http://www.ccel.org/ccel/aquinas/summa.FP_Q15_A2.html]

“Objection 1: It seems that ideas are not many. For an idea in God is His essence. But God’s essence is one only. Therefore there is only one idea.

On the contrary, Augustine says (Octog. Tri. Quaest. qu. xlvi), “Ideas are certain principal forms, or permanent and immutable types of things, they themselves not being formed. Thus they are eternal, and existing always in the same manner, as being contained in the divine intelligence. Whilst, however, they themselves neither come into being nor decay, yet we say that in accordance with them everything is formed that can rise or decay, and all that actually does so.”

I answer that, It must necessarily be held that ideas are many. In proof of which it is to be considered that in every effect the ultimate end is the proper intention of the principal agent, as the order of an army (is the proper intention) of the general. Now the highest good existing in things is the good of the order of the universe, as the Philosopher clearly teaches in Metaph. xii. Therefore the order of the universe is properly intended by God, and is not the accidental result of a succession of agents, as has been supposed by those who have taught that God created only the first creature, and that this creature created the second creature, and so on, until this great multitude of beings was produced. According to this opinion God would have the idea of the first created thing alone; whereas, if the order itself of the universe was created by Him immediately, and intended by Him, He must have the idea of the order of the universe. Now there cannot be an idea of any whole, unless particular ideas are had of those parts of which the whole is made; just as a builder cannot conceive the idea of a house unless he has the idea of each of its parts. So, then, it must needs be that in the divine mind there are the proper ideas of all things. Hence Augustine says (Octog. Tri. Quaest. qu. xlvi), “that each thing was created by God according to the idea proper to it,” from which it follows that in the divine mind ideas are many. Now it can easily be seen how this is not repugnant to the simplicity of God, if we consider that the idea of a work is in the mind of the operator as that which is understood, and not as the image whereby he understands, which is a form that makes the intellect in act. For the form of the house in the mind of the builder, is something understood by him, to the likeness of which he forms the house in matter. Now, it is not repugnant to the simplicity of the divine mind that it understand many things; though it would be repugnant to its simplicity were His understanding to be formed by a plurality of images. Hence many ideas exist in the divine mind, as things understood by it; as can be proved thus. Inasmuch as He knows His own essence perfectly, He knows it according to every mode in which it can be known. Now it can be known not only as it is in itself, but as it can be participated in by creatures according to some degree of likeness. But every creature has its own proper species, according to which it participates in some degree in likeness to the divine essence. So far, therefore, as God knows His essence as capable of such imitation by any creature, He knows it as the particular type and idea of that creature; and in like manner as regards other creatures. So it is clear that God understands many particular types of things and these are many ideas.”

 

 

Aquinas’ Created Light vs. The Scripturalists’ Uncreated Propositions by Drake Shelton Saturday, Dec 18 2010 

Aquinas’ Created Light vs. The Scripturalists’ Uncreated Propositions by Drake Shelton

Aquinas, Summa Theologica, 1.2.12.5 [http://www.ccel.org/ccel/aquinas/summa.FP_Q12_A5.html]

 “Whether the created intellect needs any created light in order to see the essence of God?

Objection 1: It seems that the created intellect does not need any created light in order to see the essence of God. For what is of itself lucid in sensible things does not require any other light in order to be seen. Therefore the same applies to intelligible things. Now God is intelligible light. Therefore He is not seen by means of any created light.

Objection 2: Further, if God is seen through a medium, He is not seen in His essence. But if seen by any created light, He is seen through a medium. Therefore He is not seen in His essence.

Objection 3: Further, what is created can be natural to some creature. Therefore if the essence of God is seen through any created light, such a light can be made natural to some other creature; and thus, that creature would not need any other light to see God; which is impossible. Therefore it is not necessary that every creature should require a superadded light in order to see the essence of God.

On the contrary, It is written: “In Thy light we shall see light” (Ps. 35:10).

I answer that, Everything which is raised up to what exceeds its nature, must be prepared by some disposition above its nature; as, for example, if air is to receive the form of fire, it must be prepared by some disposition for such a form. But when any created intellect sees the essence of God, the essence of God itself becomes the intelligible form of the intellect. Hence it is necessary that some supernatural disposition should be added to the intellect in order that it may be raised up to such a great and sublime height. Now since the natural power of the created intellect does not avail to enable it to see the essence of God, as was shown in the preceding article, it is necessary that the power of understanding should be added by divine grace. Now this increase of the intellectual powers is called the illumination of the intellect, as we also call the intelligible object itself by the name of light of illumination. And this is the light spoken of in the Apocalypse (Apoc. 21:23): “The glory of God hath enlightened it”—viz. the society of the blessed who see God. By this light the blessed are made “deiform”—i.e. like to God, according to the saying: “When He shall appear we shall be like to Him, and [Vulg.: ‘because’] we shall see Him as He is” (1 Jn. 2:2).

Reply to Objection 1: The created light is necessary to see the essence of God, not in order to make the essence of God intelligible, which is of itself intelligible, but in order to enablein the tellect to understand in the same way as a habit makes a power abler to act. Even so corporeal light is necessary as regards external sight, inasmuch as it makes the medium actually transparent, and susceptible of color.

Reply to Objection 2: This light is required to see the divine essence, not as a similitude in which God is seen, but as a perfection of the intellect, strengthening it to see God. Therefore it may be said that this light is to be described not as a medium in which God is seen, but as one by which He is seen; and such a medium does not take away the immediate vision of God.

Reply to Objection 3: The disposition to the form of fire can be natural only to the subject of that form. Hence the light of glory cannot be natural to a creature unless the creature has a divine nature; which is impossible. But by this light the rational creature is made deiform, as is said in this article.”

I reject Aquinas here. B​y “see the essence of God” a Scripturalist means, “knows the propositions of God’s mind.” I reject that man needs created light to “see” uncreated light because God directly reveals to our minds the truth of His Word and he has already made us metaphysically compatible with his truth in creating us in his image. It may be an ad extra decree that God has bound men to in this time that if they want knowledge they must obey the command to read the scriptures and attend the preaching of the scriptures along with the other occasions of grace in the visible Church. But these do not cause the knowledge, they are the occasions that God uses to directly reveal to our minds his truth. This eliminates the possibility that we NEED CREATED LIGHT. The Scripturalist then sees uncreated light when reading the Sriptures and participates in divine nature, 2 Peter 1:3-4.  This is the whole point on our insistence on univocal knowledge. The propositions in God’s mind, are the propositions in mine, as much as God reveals. See The Answer and my article Scripturalism and Immediate Knowledge Defended; Ephesians 1:17-18 Opened.

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