An Examination of Objectivism and an Excursus on Identities, Nouns, Verbs and the Soul Thursday, Aug 7 2014 

randThe following is my review of the section regarding metaphysics and epistemology in Ryan Hedrich’s A Systematic Refutation of Objectivism.

I began my reading of Hedrich’s essay with one prediction: This whole debate is going to fall back on the confusions in Christian Neoplatonism and Occam’s Razor brought into the history of Western Philosophy. Namely, Western philosophy fundamentally conflates a noun and a verb. That is, they think that actions are things or nouns/beings. This is a holdover of the Neoplatonic influence on Christianity where God is absolutely simple. Thus being, will and activity must be totally conflated. My prediction was satisfied methinks.

Hedrich states,

“For instance, Rand emphasized that “Man’s senses are his only direct cognitive contact with reality and, therefore, his only source of information”

>>>But are we all working off the same definition of reality? By reality does she mean man’s senses are his only direct cognitive contact with nouns/beings? Is she limiting reality to only nouns/beings? Are we to believe that verbs or actions are not real?   And does Hedrich and his influences, Clark and Robbins, even make that distinction?

Let these questions remain at the back of your mind as we proceed.

Hedrich points out that Rand baselessly rejected empiricism. Hedrich states,

“Rand’s rejection of “the claim to a non-sensory means of knowledge'”confirms her to have been a classical empiricist.”

>>>We must always take into consideration how we view sensory means. Are we to believe that sensation has nothing to do with knowledge? Even Hedrich’s tradition, which I used to be a part of, admits that sensation is the occasion in which knowledge is attained. It still acts as an instrumental cause. So we must also deal with this issue:

When we refer to our philosophy’s means of knowledge, what kind of cause are we referring to? Material, Formal, Efficient, Instrumental? Which one?

Hedrich’s main arguments against Rand are as follows,

  1. “Though physicalism is what one might anticipate, Rand actually distinguished matter from volitional consciousness, equating to the latter to man’s soul or spirit.[15] This raises an interesting question: how is one able to sense his conscious, free will? Even if “the validity of the senses must be taken for granted,”[16] unless a volitional consciousness can be tasted, touched, heard, seen, or smelled – not merely unnecessarily inferred from the alleged effects thereof – self-knowledge would apparently be impossible. ”

And again,

  1. “One ramification is that no observation of the physical world can warrant belief in the following precondition for knowledge: “propositions may be true.”[18]

And again on the issue of innate forms,

  1. “Moreover, if truth, knowledge, and language are creations of man, they must have been the creations of a particular man who Rand would have argued was born with a blank mind.[FN Ayn Rand, Return of the Primitive, pg. 54. Rand explained the Lockean theory of tabula rasa by using the following metaphor to describe a newborn: “…he has a camera with an extremely sensitive, unexposed film (his conscious mind), and an extremely complex computer waiting to be programmed (his subconscious). Both are blank.” Other statements by Rand herself show the faultiness of this theory: “A consciousness conscious of nothing but itself is a contradiction in terms: before it could identify itself as consciousness, it had to be conscious of something.” Atlas Shrugged, pg. 942.] This would make communication impossible, as no two individuals could ever verify that the differences in their experiences and sensations are negligible to the meanings each attaches to some word[s]. Of course, as Rand’s was not even able to demonstrate how she could know herself, she certainly could not have known any other consciousnesses.”

And again,

  1. “Interestingly, however, Rand denied the existence of abstractions.[ FN “Remember that abstractions as such do not exist: they are merely man’s epistemological method of perceiving that which exists – and that which exists is concrete.” (The Romantic Manifesto, pg. 23). Under what conditions could an abstract proposition be true, given that truth is recognition of reality and abstractions do not exist in reality?”] How can abstractions be formed yet be said not to exist? “To exist is to possess identity,”[22]and as abstractions certainly possess identity, it is unclear what reason can be offered as to why Rand would have rejected the “existence” of abstractions apart from the fact her empirical epistemology could not account for them.”

>>>This is where I think my contributions to the history of philosophy become significant. I have spent my youth studying the philosophical blunders of Christian Neoplatonism. In this time I have seen the fundamental issue is Occam’s ridiculous notion of smashing categories of language together in order to gain clarity! Specifically the noun-verb conflation. I stand between both Hedrich’s Platonism and Rand’s Aristotelianism. I maintain that abstractions are activities;verbs, not nouns. Hedrich is right and Rand is right. While at the same time both being wrong. Thinking is the activity of a mind. Thoughts are not things/nouns/beings. Thoughts are verbs. This is what both Hedrich and Rand miss and continue the endless task of solving Western philosophical turmoil. Abstractions are real to buttress Hedrich, but no, they are not nouns to buttress Rand. Hedrich’s Platonist tradition has fooled us into thinking ideas are things. Rand’s Aristotelian tradition has fooled us into thinking that only nouns are real.

And again,

  1. “There is also quite a bit of irony in the idea Objectivists do not think abstractions exist. There can be no more fundamental or well-known Objectivist axiomatic concept than Rand’s mantra that “existence exists.” But as a concept, “existence” is an abstraction, and Rand said abstractions as such do not exist. So, after all, existence as such does not exist.”

>>>I agree with Hedrich’s affirmation that propositions are the only objects of knowledge. I agree with Hedrich’s affirmation of innate forms. That is, I believe that Yahuwah has created man’s brain with innate forms in his thinking. But, and this is a recent development, I can no longer maintain the doctrine of the ghost in the shell. I cannot believe that the innate forms are cosmic platonic ideas floating around in some ghost trapped inside my body (Pace Gnosticism). To be frank, I cannot see how even the Scripturalist view of innate forms requires the ghost in the shell. Crampton states,

“Rather, as noted above, the senses apparently stimulate the mind of man to intellectual intuition, to recollect the God-given innate ideas that man already possesses. Gordon Clark used the illustration of a piece of paper on which is written a message in invisible ink. The paper (by illustration, the mind) might appear blank, but in actuality it is not. When the heat of experience is applied to the mind (as when heat is applied to the paper), the message becomes visible. Human knowledge, then, is possible only because God has endowed man with certain innate ideas.”

I would simply ask the Scripturalists to account for the paper. My account is man’s physical brain.

I believe the ghost in the shell doctrine to be a holdover of Christian Neoplatonism. Milton and my brilliant friend Joshua Poore broke me of this idea:

I request my readers to search the use of the word Nephesh H5314, in the Tanach and you will see that the Nephesh is man’s physical life encompassing the complexity of man’s faculties. It is not a ghost in the shell.  The use of the word in the Greek TRANSLATION  of the New Covenant, psyche G5594, means the physical life encompassing the complexity of man’s faculties, the breath of life or the mind/thinking of man. There is not a single mention of a ghost in the shell. Thus, and I know this is going to drive the Clarkians crazy, I believe the brain to be essential to thinking.


Drake’s Scripturalist/Anti-Nicolaitan Categories Monday, Mar 3 2014 

This is my attempt at a list of Language Categories as a Replacement of Aristotle’s List

1. Existence-Numeric being (Numeric nature) subsisting in a historical series.

2. Essence- Epistemology, definition, meaning (generic nature), propositions necessary to a class of thing subsisting in a logical series (per se).

3. Quantity

4. Quality

5. Relation

6. Circumstance- location, position, time, (ad extra)

7. Activity

8. Passivity

9. Mode – propositions accidental to a thing (per accidens); in a rational being this is the level of person.

10. Habit- tendency of a subject (ad intra)

11. Faculty (Ad intra)

Ryan Hedrich: Hegelian Internal Relations and Van Tilian Analogical Knowledge Sunday, Jun 2 2013

Ryan Hedrich on Self-Knowledge Tuesday, May 21 2013

Philosophical Realism Butressed by Orthodox Triadology Tuesday, Apr 2 2013 

In the past I have argued that the passages in the New Testament that speak to our participation in God (2 Pet 1:4) have huge philosophical realist implications and also show how the Son and Spirit are homousios with the Father. I wanted to provide the patristic precedent for that which you can read in The Letters of Saint Athanasius Concerning the Holy Spirit, Epistle 1, letter 24, page 125:

Does God Transcend Human Language? Sunday, Mar 17 2013 

John 4:22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.

 When confronted with Nicene Monarchism, which some see to be an overly rational view of God, people will often complain that I am erroneously  putting God into human categories of language. This I will term Clarkian Univocalism.  I do not apologize for this. However, there does need to be some clarification and then defense of this practice.

First, by way of clarification, I hold to the Analogy of Proportion (Which allows univocal revelation) not the traditional Analogy of Proportionality (Which does not allow univocal revelation). The categories of divine and human are not mutually exclusive: Apophaticism. The categories of divine and human are also not Jointly exhaustive: An absolute Cataphaticism. The categories of divine and human proportionally overlap at the level of intellect and even at this level we do not have a full exhaustion. The exact area where divine and human ontology overlap is the objects of God’s knowledge. I have explained this in detail here.

Now by way of defense I would like to present to the reader why I do believe there needs to be an overlap, not necessarily a joint exhaustion, of the categories of predication-divine and human.

1. The rejection of my Clarkian Univocalism operates off of a materialist view of language. In my 68 Theses Against Jnorm’s Eastern Orthodox Theology Proper: Case Studies in Ad Hoc Reasoning I said,

“30. You quoted Athanasius, “For the offspring of men are portions of their fathers, since the very nature of bodies is not uncompounded, but in a state of flux, and composed of parts; and men lose their substance in begetting”

>>> I replied to this here:

If the Son emanates out of the Father, did the Father lose a part of himself that subsequently (whether pertaining to logical or temporal sequence is irrelevant here) constituted the Son?

As a Scripturalist, I follow Dr. Clark’s system of Philosophy and Theology Proper which adhered to a form of Christian Platonism, where the Divine Ideas of Plato become the Ideas and Attributes of God and subsist within him. These Ideas then constitute his being at a fundamental level. They are not created representations of God or his individual attributes. They are God at some fundamental level.   Dr. Clark said in expositing Plato:  “A single body cannot be in several places at once, but any number of men throughout the world can have the same thought at the same time; and if, as is surely the case, the Ideas are more of the nature of thought than of body, the objection is convicted of a false analogy.” Gordon H. Clark, Thales to Dewey (Unicoi, Tennesse.: The Trinity Foundation, 1957,  Fourth edition 2000), 78.

Here then is my Clarkian solution to the Eternal Generation: When I communicate an idea that I affirm myself as constitutive of my own personhood, to another person, and the other person believes it and therefore becomes personally constituted by this thought as well, I lose nothing of myself or my thought in doing so. This is the nature of thought (two people can have the same thought at the same time without losing anything of themselves, per Clark) as opposed to the nature of physical composition and the transference of physical substance from one subject to another. This is analogous (And the analogy that I am appealing to is the analogy of proportion, not the analogy of proportionality) to the eternal generation of the Son. Thus eternal generation is defended and yet again the materialism of Jnorm is exposed.”

See also here and here.

2. The denial of my Clarkian Univocalism is a denial of Plenary Verbal Inspiration. Plenary verbal inspiration posits a form of revelation, where the Holy Ghost guides the writers but at the same time gives them the freedom to express the core meaning of the Spirit in their own words and express their own personalities.  There is an important assumption at the base of this position. Namely, it assumes that men can understand what God is saying.  The dictation theory asserts that God gave men word for word what they were to write with no freedom at all. The assumption here is man’s inability to understand what God is saying but God feels an obligation to dictate the scriptures to men so men do not mess it up. And since men cannot understand the real truth, the scriptures are mere signposts pointing to the true revelation.

3. The denial of my Clarkian Univocalism operates off of a Neo-Platonic system of Ontology where the One is outside of human predication precisely because it does not submit to the distinctions required for propositions. See here.

4. The denial of my Clarkian Univocalism is ipso facto Nestorianism or Adoptionism. It denies the Hypostatic Union. Jules Grisham states in his Felled By “Good Pleasure”. An Examination Of The Condemnation Of The Grammatico Historical Method Of Interpreting Scripture, As It Was Developed In The Exegetical School Of Antioch

“Theodore, then, to his own thinking, was only being consistent when he taught  that the human nature of Jesus was essentially distinct from the divine nature of  the Son-Logos.  Because he understood hypostasis as referring to the concrete instance of a nature (in the sense that a person is a concrete instance, a particular expression, of human nature), and because, according to his fundamental understanding concerning ********the radical “other-ness” of God***********, he insisted that the divine and human natures could not be hypostatically joined without corruption of the divine, Theodore held that there is an inhering dualism in Christ’s person.  Accordingly, he taught that we must think of Christ’s union not as a hypostatic one (that is, of substance) but as a prosopic one (that is, of manifestation and benevolence).  Prosopon means “face,” “role” (referring to drama as well as to social status), or “person,” in the societal-functional sense –i.e., what one does.  And the concept he used to explain how this prosopic union came to be and remains intact is “assumption.” (pg. 27)

5. If God is outside of the categories of human language have we not now made a mockery of the word Truth? If the truth is something outside of our cognitive abilities, we then have no access to truth. We have denied revelation.

6. If God is outside of the categories of human language, and our knowledge is then full of mysteries and paradoxes, this leaves the door open for every religion and cult in the world to do the same thing. It is a rejection of Apologetics.  Every time we bring up a problem with another religion they can now cop-out and say that the before mentioned problem is a mystery outside of human language.

7. If God is outside of the categories of human language, then we have no basis to formulate a creed in order to define Orthodoxy and Heresy.

8. As Rutherford points out in Free Disputation and many others pointed out in describing the Roman Doctrine of Implicit Faith, the Roman System thrives off of the idea that the Common Man cannot understand God. If we make this admission we have set ourselves up to have our consciences submitted to a Pagan Hierarchy. This is fatal because it denies the fundamental principle of the Protestant Reformation: Private Judgment.  If we cannot understand the Trinity then we cannot make a Private Judgment on that Doctrine. We must then submit to the Church, admitting its supremacy to the Conscience.  

9. The Scriptures plainly teach that we can understand God and his revelation. A denial of this is nothing new. Both the Papists and the Anabaptists denied it so that the former could saddle their hierarchy onto the Church and the latter could do away with the first table of the law and bring pietism into the supreme position in Christianity. From my summary of Rutherford’s Free Disputation, One Holy Catholic Church

[Footnoted Quotations are from Rutherford]

Acts 24:16. And herein do I exercise myself to have always a Conscience void of offense toward God, and toward man.

Eph 4:14  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

Col 2:6  As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:

Col 2:7  Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

Heb 6:18  That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:

Heb 6:19  Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;

Luk 1:3  It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,

2Ti 3:16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

2Ti 3:17  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Col 2:1  For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh;

Col 2:2  That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;

Col 2:3  In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Heb 6:1  Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,

Heb 6:2  Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

Heb 5:12  For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

Heb 5:13  For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.

Heb 5:14  But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

1Pe 3:15  But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you areason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

Eph 4:11  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; Eph 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Eph 4:13  until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. Eph 4:14  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; Eph 4:15  but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,

Eph 5:26  That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, Eph 5:27  That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. [11]

Assertion 1.) “A good conscience is a complete entire thing, as our text saith, both toward God and man; its not to be a moral man in the duties of the second table, and a skeptic in the duties of the first table, not in some few fundamentals, as patrons for liberty of conscience do plead, but in the whole revealed will of God; and therefore the good conscience consisteth in an indivisible point, as they say, the number of four doth, if you add one, or take one from it, you vary the essence, and make it three or five, not four; so Paul taketh in completeness in it, I have all good conscience, either all or none; and a good conscience toward God and man; not a conscience for the streets and the Church, and not for the house, and not for the days Hosanna, and not for eternity; therefore they require an habit to a good conscience, I have exercised myself to have always a good conscience, there is a difference between one song, and the habit of music, and a step and a way, Psal. 119. 133. order, (not my one single step,) but my steps, ym;[‘P in the plural number; to fall on a good word by hazard, and to salute Christ in the by, doth not quit from having an evil conscience; as one wrong step, or extemporary slip, doth not render a believer a man of an ill conscience; the wicked world quarrel with the saints before men, because they cannot live as Angels, but the true and latent cause is because they will not live as Devils, and go with them to the same excess of riot.”[12]

Assertion 2.) “It argues the word of God, of obscurity and darkness, as not being able to instruct us in all truths, and renders it as a nose of wax in all non-fundamentals, histories, narrations, etc… in which notwithstanding the Scripture is as evident, plain, simple, obvious to the lowest capacities in most points, except some few Prophecies, as it is in fundamentals, and lays a blasphemies charge on the Holy Ghost, as if he had written the Scriptures, upon an intention that we should have no assured and fixed knowledge[13]

Obj.) Fallible men cannot be the stewards of infallible knowledge[14]

Ans. 1) “But the wisdom of God (we believe) in the Scripture, is plain, to those that open their eyes, otherwise heresy should not only be no sin, contrary to the word of God, Tit. 3. 10. 1 Tim. 3. 1. 2. 1 Tim. 6. 4, 5. 2 Tim. 2. 16, 17, 18, 19. but an innocent apprehension of apparent truth, as there is no guiltiness in an eye vitiated with humors misapprehending colors that are white; and seeing them to be red when they are not so”[15]

Ans. 2) “Papists shall be in better case than we, for though they say that the Scriptures are dark and obscure, and admit of themselves divers and contrary senses, so that we cannot bottom our faith on them, yet the juridicial interpretation of the Church is to men a ground of faith, and that is the ground of faith which the Church giveth, as the only true sense of Scripture.”[16]

Ans. 3) “If any man say to you, lo here is Christ or lo there, believe it not: why if he teach me where Christ is, if I hear not him, I refuse to hear Christ, Matth. 10. 40, 41. Ergo the false Christ is knowable, Tit. 2. 10. An heretic avoid, & c. when Solomon saith, Make not friendship with an angry man, is not the formality of anger in the heart? if any should reply to Solomon, God only knows who is the angry man, who is the patient and meek man, therefore we will make friendship with all men, or with no man. Should any say, there is no such man knowable, should he not contradict the Holy Ghost? So must we say, there is not such a man knowable to a mortal man as a false Prophet, or an heretic; and therefore Paul doth but mock the Philippians, who were not infallible, when he writes to them thus, Beware of dogs; and John when he saith, If any man bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house. Might not Libertines say, God commands us to run the hazard of encroaching upon God’s chair, for who but he who knows the heart can tell who is the heretic, who not: when the Lord rebukes association with Thieves, Robbers, Slanderers, Prov. 1. 11, 12. Ps. 15. 18. holdeth he not forth that the Thief, the Robber, and the Slanderer are knowable?”[17]

Ans 4.) “and because there is no man infallible in taking up the right sense of the Scripture, if ye control the Jew, or put him off his sense of the Old Testament, which yields him this faith, Mary’s son is a false lying Prophet, the Apostles and all the martyrs are but cousening Impostors, yea domineer over the Conscience and force his faith, because ye are not infallible, ye may not condemn the way of any, for ye know not but they be the wheat, and you the tares, for ought that Scripture saith on either side: Never man in this life is sure of his faith and salvation from Scripture, and since the Jew may be wheat, if ye would go to”[18]

Obj.) “But now since the Prophets and Apostles fell asleep, no Magistrate, no Synod is infallible, all men are apt to deceive, and be deceived, for whether in fundamentals or non-fundamentals: none now can challenge Prophetical or Apostolic infallibility”[19]

Ans.) “yea but it holdeth in believing fundamentals, as well as non-fundamentals, for in neither have we Prophetical infallibility and immediate Oracles, and Scripture shows we have as great darkness, blindness of mind, natural fluctuation to believe nothing in supernatural fundamentals in the Gospel, as in non-fundamentals, but with trepidation and doubting of mind, we no more having monopolized the Spirit to us than Sectaries”[20]

e. A tender conscience smacks of popery.

“The causes of a scrupulous conscience are 1. God’s wise and just permission. 2. Satan’s working and acting on a cold, distracted, sad bodily complexion. 3. Ignorance. Weakness of judgment. 4. Immoderate fear troubling reason. 5. Inconstancy of the mind. 6. And withal some tenderness. Gregorius said, bonarum conscientiarum est ibi culpam agnoscere, ubi culpa non est. It is one of the most godly errors, and a sin that smelleth of grace. Papists, miserable comforters, say, a special way to be delivered, is to submit yourself to a superior’s blind command. They say, a Priest was freed of his scruple, when he obeyed Bernard’s bare word, and trusted in it; hearing that, Vade et meâ fide confisus sacrifica, go and upon my faith sacrifice confidently.”[21]

f.  Summary statement

The conscience is to be a complete moral man in both the first and second tables of the law, finding its good intentions from the word of God alone. From this word we know the sins to be repented of and confessed, never to dwell on them again in guilt having been cleansed by Christ’s blood (Heb 10:22).  To those pure in heart having their hearts cleansed by the washing of the Spirit in the new covenant all things are pure, that is, all things are clean regarding abrogated ceremonial dietary laws etc. (Tit 1:15, Rom 14:20). To these laws our conscience is to be strong in its understanding of what God’s moral law requires of us and what it has made free. To the meat sacrificed to idols the moral law remains the same (Ex 34:15).  That is eating meat sacrificed to an idol is a sin if it is done with the knowledge that it was sacrificed to an idol (1 Cor 10: 19-21, 25-28, Rev 2:14, 20). Therefore, the conscience is vital in respect of moral law regarding what it knows and what it does not.  If the conscience does not know the reason for its liberty concerning meats once forbidden in the ceremonial law, the ignorant conscience causes the man to sin if he partakes.  This principle is binding in all areas of life that we are ignorant of.  This however, does not mean that the conscience determines what is right and wrong.  In respect to the ignorant conscience, there are differing degrees of sin on both sides: A grievous sin for partaking of the meat with ignorance and a lesser sin for being ignorant. The foundation of a good conscience is the Bible alone.  A good conscience offers to God only that which he has commanded and never thinks good works can be established by the religious zeal and pretended piety of men.  However, when the conscience acts upon the word of God we should, as it were, reverence the Ambassador as the King.

Decisions of Synods, though they should be examined thoroughly as the noble Bereans examined Paul’s teaching, should be received as binding on the conscience if they be found to be agreeable to scripture.  The conscience is to be fully studied and persuaded of all things taught in the scripture, whether directly or by good and necessary consequence, to be equipped for every good work, not just fundamentals. No matter what experience a tender conscience may have, these experiences have no right to bind the conscience to any man made rule as if the violating of it be sin.  A drunken relative gives no reason to profess alcohol a sin.  A gluttonous friend makes not meat a thing carnal.  A cruel cattle farmer does not make cheeseburgers iniquitous.  Pornography and adultery do not make sex shameful.  Lung cancer does not make moderate tobacco smoking unclean.  Such a conscience reeks of false piety and man made religion.”

10. The rejection of my Clarkian Univocalism relies on Pantheistic and Pagan assumptions of God’s Infinity.  People will say that I cannot put the Infinite into finite categories, not knowing that they are submitting to Pantheism. I have shown this here and here and here.

Ryan Hedrich, do you have anything to add?

The Essence of God Huperousia in the Cappadocians Monday, Feb 11 2013 

I have claimed that the Cappadocian Theology, the first pioneers of Dionysianism, whose principle of unity rests on their idea of a singular reality shared among the divine persons: the divine essence. I have argued that this divine essence is not real. It is huperousia: outside of the categories of human language. A friend of mine challenged me to prove this statement. And thus to the following:

Gregory Nazianzen

For in Himself He sums up and contains all Being, having neither beginning in the past nor end in the future; like some great Sea of Being, limitless and unbounded, transcending all conception of time and nature, only adumbrated by the mind, and that very dimly and scantily…not by His Essentials, but by His Environment; one image being got from one source and another from another, and combined into some sort of presentation of the truth,(ARE WE SEEING THE INHERENT VAN TILISM?-DS) which escapes us before we have caught it, and takes to flight before we have conceived it, blazing forth upon our Master-part, even when that is cleansed, as the lightning flash which will not stay its course, does upon our sight…in order as I conceive by that part of it which we can comprehend to draw us to itself (for that which is altogether incomprehensible is outside the bounds of hope, and not within the compass of endeavour), and by that part of It which we cannot comprehend to move our wonder, and as an object of wonder to become more an object of desire, and being desired to purify, and by purifying to make us like God; John 10:15 so that when we have thus become like Himself, God may, to use a bold expression, hold converse with us as Gods, being united to us, and that perhaps to the same extent as He already knows those who are known to Him. The Divine Nature then is boundless and hard to understand; and all that we can comprehend of Him is His boundlessness; even though one may conceive that because He is of a simple nature He is therefore either wholly incomprehensible, or perfectly comprehensible. For let us further enquire what is implied by is of a simple nature. For it is quite certain that this simplicity is not itself its nature, just as composition is not by itself the essence of compound beings.

Oration 38:7


Gregory Nazianzen again,

III. What is this that has happened to me, O friends, and initiates, and fellow-lovers of the truth? I was running to lay hold on God, and thus I went up into the Mount, and drew aside the curtain of the Cloud, and entered away from matter and material things, and as far as I could I withdrew within myself. And then when I looked up, I scarce saw the back parts of God; Exodus 33:23 although I was sheltered by the Rock, the Word that was made flesh for us. And when I looked a little closer, I saw, not the First and unmingled Nature, known to Itself— to the Trinity, I mean; not That which abides within the first veil, and is hidden by the Cherubim; but only that Nature, which at last even reaches to us. And that is, as far as I can learn, the Majesty, or as holy David calls it, the Glory which is manifested among the creatures, which It has produced and governs. For these are the Back Parts of God, which He leaves behind Him, as tokens of Himself like the shadows and reflection of the sun in the water, which show the sun to our weak eyes, because we cannot look at the sun himself, for by his unmixed light he is too strong for our power of perception. In this way then shall you discourse ofGod; even were thou a Moses and a god to Pharaoh; Exodus 4:2 even were thou caught up like Paul to the Third Heaven, 2 Corinthians 12:2 and had heard unspeakable words; even were thou raised above them both, and exalted to Angelic or Archangelic place and dignity. For though a thing be allheavenly, or above heaven, and far higher in nature and nearer to God than we, yet it is farther distant from God, and from the complete comprehension of His Nature, than it is lifted above our complex and lowly and earthward sinking composition.

Oration 28.3


Basil the Great, (Sounds like he is arguing with a Clarkian. This is fascinating.-DS)


To the same, in answer to another question.

Do you worship what you know or what you do not know? If I answer, I worship what I know, they immediately reply, What is the essence of the object of worship? Then, if I confess that I am ignorant of the essence, they turn on me again and say, So you worship you know not what. I answer that the word to know has many meanings. We say that we know the greatness of God, His power, His wisdom, His goodness, His providence over us, and the justness of His judgment; but not His very essence. The question is, therefore, only put for the sake of dispute. For he who denies that he knows the essence does not confess himself to be ignorant of God, because our idea of God is gathered from all the attributes which I have enumerated. But God, he says, is simple, and whatever attribute of Him you have reckoned as knowable is of His essence. But the absurdities involved in this sophism are innumerable. When all these high attributes have been enumerated, are they all names of one essence? And is there the same mutual force in His awfulness and His loving-kindness, His justice and His creative power, His providence and His foreknowledge, and His bestowal of rewards and punishments, His majesty and His providence? In mentioning any one of these do we declare His essence? If they say, yes, let them not ask if we know the essence of God, but let them enquire of us whether we know God to be awful, or just, or merciful. These we confess that we know. If they say that essence is something distinct, let them not put us in the wrong on the score of simplicity. For they confess themselves that there is a distinction between the essence and each one of the attributes enumerated. The operations [The EO claim that this is the word for “energy” in the original-DS] are various, and the essence simple, but we say that we know our God from His operations, but do not undertake to approach near to His essence. His operations come down to us, but His essence remains beyond our reach.

2. But, it is replied, if you are ignorant of the essence, you are ignorant of Himself. Retort, If you say that you know His essence, you are ignorant of Himself. A man who has been bitten by a mad dog, and sees a dog in a dish, does not really see any more than is seen by people in good health; he is to be pitied because he thinks he sees what he does not see. Do not then admire him for his announcement, but pity him for his insanity. Recognise that the voice is the voice of mockers, when they say, if you are ignorant of the essence of God, you worship what you do not know. I do know that He exists; what His essence is, I look at as beyond intelligence. How then am I saved? Through faith. It is faith sufficient to know that God exists, without knowing what He is; and He is a rewarder of them that seek Him. Hebrews 11:6 So knowledge of the divine essence involves perception of His incomprehensibility, and the object of our worship is not that of which we comprehend the essence, but of which we comprehend that the essence exists. [Exists? But I thought the essence was beyond existence? That is what Lossky says in Vision of God![1]-DS]

Letter 234



[1] Lossky says, “We have here the entry into darkness, an entry concealed by the abundant light through which God makes Himself known in His beings. Knowledge is limited to what exists; now, as the cause of all being, God does not exist, or rather He is superior to all oppositions between being and non-being.” Vision of God, page 123.

Documentation For the Assertion that the Meaning of the Term Homoousios was Misunderstood and Changed in the West Tuesday, Jan 29 2013 

I would like to thank Mark Xu for his work as the following will be taken from research that he did. I am simply editing and putting it in my words. Good work Mark!

I have argued, that the meaning of the term homoousios was changed into monoousios which in the Latin was translated, “unius substantiae cum Patre”. Thus, a generic unity in the Greek was changed into a numeric unity in the Latin. This comparison can be seen at the Early Church Texts website here:

Sir Isaac Newton (Peace be upon him) fingered Hosius for this deceit in his Twenty-three Queries About the Word ὁμοούσιος saying,

“Quære 7. Whether Hosius (or whoever translated that Creed into Latin) did not impose upon the western Churches by translating ὁμοούσιος by the words unius substantiæ instead of consubstantialis & whether by that translation the Latin Churches were not drawn into an opinion that the father & son had one common substance called in the Greek Hypostasis & whether they did not thereby give occasion to the eastern Churches to cry out ( presently after the Council of Serdica) that the western Churches were become Sabellian.”


 “Qu. 8. Whether the Greeks in opposition to this notion & language did not use the language of three hypostases, & whether in those days the word hyposta{sis} did not signify a substance.”

Mark Xu says,

“For the legend of the great Hosius, please see Schaff Vol. III, Chapter 9; note, he is portrayed as the leading Athanasian orthodox bishop from the Latin West by Schaff, a champion so to speak who fought and restored the true Nicene doctrine of consubstantiality; and “true Nicene consubstantiality” in Schaff’s eyes is NUMERICAL UNITY.

‘Basil turns the term oJmoouvsio” against the Sabellian denial of the personal distinctions in the Trinity, since it is not the same thing that is consubstantial with itself, but one thing that is consubstantial with another.  Consubstantiality among men, indeed, is predicated of different individuals who partake of the same nature, and the term in this view might denote also unity of species in a tritheistic sense.

But in the case before us the personal distinction of the Son from the Father must not be pressed to a duality of substances of the same kind; the homoousion, on the contrary, must be understood as identity or numerical unity of substance, in distinction from mere generic unity. Otherwise it leads manifestly into dualism or tritheism. The Nicene doctrine refuses to swerve from the monotheistic basis, and stands between Sabellianism and tritheism’.

Schaff, Nicene And Post Nicene Christianity: History Of The Christian Church Vol. III, Chapter 9, Section 127

Seeing the so-called “Nicene orthodox numerical unity” portrayed by Schaff, and the later Eastern “tri-theism” attempt, and Hosius’ defense of orthodoxy, I am of the supposition that Sir. Newton is correct; the Latin West really, truly thought numerical unity was the “true orthodoxy”.

Afraid of not being very clear about Nicene numerical unity, Schaff further wrote:

The Nicene Creed does not expressly assert the singleness or numerical unity of the divine essence (unless it be in the first article: “We believe in one God”); and the main point with the Nicene fathers was to urge against Arianism the strict divinity and essential equality of the Son and Holy Ghost with the Father. If we press the difference of homoousion from monoousion, and overlook the many passages in which they assert with equal emphasis the monarchia or numerical unity of the Godhead, we must charge them with tritheism.

But in the divine Trinity consubstantiality denotes not only sameness of kind, but at the same time numerical unity; not merely the unum in specie, but also the unum in numero. The, three persons are related to the divine substance not as three individuals to their species, as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, or Peter, John, and Paul, to human nature; they are only one God. The divine substance is absolutely indivisible by reason of its simplicity, and absolutely inextensible and untransferable by reason of its infinity; whereas a corporeal substance can be divided, and the human nature can be multiplied by generation. Three divine substances would limit and exclude each other, and therefore could not be infinite or absolute. The whole fulness of the one undivided essence of God, with all its attributes, is in all the persons of the Trinity, though in each in his own way: in the Father as original principle, in the Son by eternal generation, in the Spirit by, eternal procession. The church teaches not one divine essence and three persons, but one essence in three persons. [Unless you make the distinction between being and hypostasis ontological as I know many Dionysians do.-DS] Father, Son, and Spirit cannot be conceived as three separate individuals, [Why does he only offer us two options: one numeric substance or 3 separate beings? What is wrong with 3 inseparable beings?-DS] but are in one another, and form a solidaric unity.

Here the orthodox doctrine forsook Sabellianism or modalism, which, it is true, made Father, Son, and Spirit strictly coordinate, but only as different denominations and forms of manifestation of the one God. [Notice, he didn’t tell us how they differed, he only asserted it.-DS]

But, on the other hand, as we have already intimated, the term person must not be taken here in the sense current among men, as if the three persons were three different individuals, or three self-conscious and separately acting beings. [DID YOU CATCH THAT SEAN GERETY? DID YOU CATCH THAT JNORM? THE NUMERIC VIEW RULES OUT THREE MINDS! It is time to tap out and come to our side of this issue. Moreover, if they cannot act distinctly then say goodbye to the Covenant of Redemption.-DS] The trinitarian idea of personality lies midway between that of a mere form of manifestation,[But isn’t manifestation the definition we run into frequently?-DS] or a personation, which would lead to Sabellianism, and the idea of an independent, limited human personality [Which we Nicene Monarchists utterly reject! Schaff need to get a clue!-DS], which would result in tritheism.’

Ibid, Section 130”

Now that ends Mark’s quotation but I want to keep going with Schaaf’s quotation because he admits something utterly damning to the anti-Nicene-Neoplatonist construction:

“In other words, it avoids the monoousian or unitarian trinity of a threefold conception and aspect of one and the same being [It does no such thing and isn’t it interesting that Schaaf knows better to associate the Sabellian view with Unitarianism and not the Generic Unity view!-DS], and the triousian or tritheistic trinity of three distinct and separate beings [Why do three beings need to be inseparable in order to be so defined? He never says.-DS]. In each person there is the same inseparable divine substance, united with the individual property and relation which distinguishes that person from the others.[So if I am a cousin, a father and a brother I am multiple persons because I have multiple relations? This is stupid.-DS]  The word person is in reality only a make-shift, in the absence of a more adequate term. Our idea of God is more true and deep than our terminology, and the essence and character of God far transcends our highest ideas.”

That is the Check right there to any Protestant and especially any Scripturalist.  Schaaf here admits that the departure from Nicene Orthodoxy was the first plunge into what we in the Reformed Community call Van-Tilism. It is the idea that God is outside of human language categories and thus outside of univocal predication. On the Van Tillian view, which is really the same Neoplatonism that came into Christianity with Origen and fully with Pseudo-Dionysius, God is “Totally Other”.  When Schaaf said, “the essence and character of God far transcends our highest ideas”, he is expressing the essence of Van Tillian philosophy.

John Robbins said in Cornelius Van Til The Man and the Myth,

“But the Van Til faction was not satisfied. It attempted to redefine incomprehensibility to mean that God cannot be understood at all…God cannot even be conceived by the mind of man, according to Van Til: ‘If we take the highest being of which we can think, in the sense of have a concept of, and attribute to it actual existence, we do not have the Biblical notion of God…Man cannot think an absolutely self-contained being…God is infinitely higher than the highest being of which man can form a concept’ (An Introduction to Systematic Theology, p. 206).” pg. 33.

Are you starting to get it guys? Robbins’ primary mistake in this booklet is that he thinks this language is new with Van Til. It is not new! Gnosticism tried to make its way into Christianity right at the start and then some of the early Fathers were influenced by Hellenistic thinking, but Neoplatonism primarily and formally came into Christianity by a man named Pseudo-Dionysius. Neoplatonism is the basis of the departure from Nicea. Neoplatonism is also the basis of Van Tilism.

In Van Til’s philosophy God and Man are represented by the infamous two circles:

Van Tillian

You see, in their foolishness, the Dionysians thought they could take a Neoplatonic Monad and make it fit into a religion that is not pantheistic. Both of these are wrong. The real diagram should look like this:

anit-van til

 Here we have the analogy of proportion. Man is made in God’s image. Thus there is a generic ontological overlap between divinity and humanity. There are SOME things about God that cannot be said of man. However, there are SOME things about God that can be said of man. This provides an uncreated logos; a design; a compatibility between God and man whereby a divine image may be given, a real revelation can be given, and a real union can take place between a divine person and a human nature in Christ.

Now what did Dr. Clark say about predication of the divine?

“The first part of the answer, the first element in the formulation of a Christian theory of language, and therefore the first criterion for judging the adequacy of biblical revelation, is the doctrine of the image of God in man. Or, rather, the very first part is the biblical doctrine of God. Is God the ‘Totally Other”? Do God and the medium of conceptuality ‘schliessen einander aus,’ completely exclude each other? Or is God an object of thought and knowledge as much as or even more than the square root of minus one?…Such verses [John 5:6, 17:3] as these indicate that God is a rational, thinking, being, whose thought exhibits the structure of Aristotelian logic.”

Language and Theology, page 136-137.

You see. It is the exact opposite of Neoplatonism.

Ryan Hedrich wrote a very detailed account of Clark’s view of homoousios, of which he clearly affirmed a generic unity, and how each member of the Trinity had its own mind and thus its own distinct being:

That should pretty much settle it that Nicene Monarchism is the view that should be taken by ALL Scripturalists and I believe Scripturalist Nicene Monarchism is the Nuclear Warhead philosophy of God that can destroy all Van Tillian, Liberal, Atheistic and Neoplatonic arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God (2 Cor 10:5) which have now destroyed the Protestant Reformation in America.

New Forum Created For Nicene Theology Tuesday, Jan 29 2013 

A New Facebook discussion group has been created called “Nicene Head-Quarters”.

Check it out for some serious Nicene Creed 325-ing action!

Dialogue With “Why Won’t God Heal Amputees” Friday, Jan 25 2013 

Jaimehlers, of the Why Won’t God Heal Amputees forum, has replied to my recent blog against Secularism.


Sensation is produced by the effects of electromagnetism.


I did not ask what its source was. I asked what it was.


Vision is the direct detection


You are conflating sensation with perception.


of electromagnetic radiation, hearing is the detection of vibrations


All you are doing is substituting the word “detection” for sensation and perception.


Perception is caused by the makeup of the body’s physical structures that allow for sensations; i.e.


You are again describing the source of of perception. You are not defining perception.


 Abstract ideas are derived from perception, because they are actually based on emotions (which are based on perceptions).


You have conflated an idea with an emotion. You have not shown how emotion causes cognitive activity. The fact is, it is cognitive activity that precedes emotion as you just said,


We perceive something, so we have an emotional reaction to it.


You see the cognitive activity comes before the reaction here but then later you say:


An emotional reaction causes an abstract idea (or a concrete one, depending on the circumstances).


Now this statement is also filled with error. An abstract idea is by definition something universal not particular. Thus an emotion, which corresponds to a particular event is not something universal but particular. You have thus failed to show how an emotion can produce an abstract idea.


 This is a good example of why you cannot solely rely on logic.  Gill may have “proven” that language was impossible, yet it clearly exists


Then you are proving your principles by your conclusions. This is the fallacy of asserting the consequent.


we are using it to communicate with each other right now.  If language was actually impossible, we would not be able to have this argument, therefore it clearly is possible.


And I have an explanation for that but this thread is not about me it is about you.


Therefore, the particular language does not matter provided we both have a sufficient understanding of it.


You are using the word “matter” ambiguously as you are with the word “understanding”. In the former you could mean “exist” in the genus of being or you could mean  “have a defined identity” in the genus of epistemology. In the latter, you could mean “operation” but seeing that you just admitted that Gill has made the endeavor impossible for an empiricist you have only asserted by ad hoc that you have this said understanding.


Your error is your attempt to rely on logic to resolve every question, even questions it is not suited to answer.


According to coherency theory, that is the way to demonstrate knowledge. Syllogisms are the paragon of knowledge, not empiricism.


If you try to use a hammer to pound in a nail, it does a very good job; but if you try to use it to drill a hole in a piece of wood, it will not work very well.  The same goes here.  All four of your attempts to refute individuation use logic, but logic is not good at refuting things that actually exist.


So then you admit then that the abstract does not exist. Aristotle took genus out of the category of substance I think you will have to admit it. Then you have admitted that abstract ideas do not exist. This is just the black hole of empiricism. That means that just in the last paragraph that I am replying to these words that you typed have no justification whatsoever:


“If”, “to”, “a” “in”, “it”, “very”, “but”, “piece”, “same”, “All”, “four”, “of”, “refute”, “logic”, “good”, “exist”, “that”.


Are you starting to see the problem?


You are referring to the problem of induction.  Note that it is not the same thing as the induction fallacy.  The induction fallacy happens when a sample used for testing is found to not be representative of the whole.  The problem of induction is whether or not the information that we base an inductive conclusion on is representative of the whole or not, and the only way we can actually find out is to discover that it is not.  That does not make it a fallacy.


The conclusion is asserted first to be representative of the whole. That is asserting the consequent.


As I have so answered.


You did not such thing.


I addressed this in my earlier post.


A  reply is not to be confused with an answer.

No, as I showed in my earlier post.  By declaring empiricism invalid, you have sabotaged your own argument.  The fact of the matter is that you cannot prove empiricism invalid without some way to test the validity of your premise.

Coherency theory, not Empiricism.


You are essentially arguing that you can do so with logic, but this is impossible, so it is nonsensical to make that claim.


You think it is impossible because you think an operation is a demonstration of truth, which Kline refuted. Kline showed that both Euclidean and Non-Euclidean Geometry had equal function. Function does not equal truth.

Your use of those logical proofs in this case were indeed attempts to confuse the issue.  Logical proofs cannot determine the validity of a premise, therefore giving me the choice of logical proofs to determine the validity of something makes no sense

The coherency of the whole provides a self attestation to the postulate.

No, but you cannot determine that it is valid with logic.  It shares that with something that’s subjective.

Well, the coherency of the set provides a self attestation of the postulate.

No, it is my assertion that you cannot show that coherence theory is valid with just logic, because logic can not validate logic.

You are using the words “show” and “valid” as if I have not already admitted that my first premise is not proven. I admit it is a dogmatic affirmation, not a proven one. However, that does not mean it is an arbitrary one as the coherency of the set provides a self attestation of the postulate.


It is circular because you attempted to define atheism in such a way that it plethora would have found himself defending circular logic if he had agreed with your proposition.


Well I am trying to show you that all theories operate off of axiom’s or postulates.


Basically, you devised a catch-22Wiki (if atheism depends on empiricism, then it cannot be skeptical, because in order to be skeptical it cannot accept empiricism), a logical trap that relies on circular logic.


It does not rely on circular logic but on the reality that all theories require axioms and postulates.


As I have said multiple times in this post, you cannot verify logic with more logic.  You must use something else to verify it.  Normally, empiricism is used to verify logic, but you excluded that, so you have nothing you can use to verify your logic.


You are conflating  the genus of being with the genus of epistemology. By verify you could be referring to experience in the historical chronological order of things, or verify in the logical order of propositions.



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