Ask a Christian Theist

Is there a God? If so, what is She like?

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Yon Yalvin
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Ask a Christian Theist

Post by Yon Yalvin »

After trolling around on this board it appears as if there are a few theists but I've yet to spot a Christian. To further define myself, I'd say (for my purposes here) that I am a philosophical, Calvinist, Christian theist.

By philosophical I mean that I hold a degree in philosophy and so am familiar with philosophical issues and discourse.

By Calvinist I mean that I generally agree with reformed confessions of faith and systems of theology.

By Christian I mean that I confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of all peoples and nations and the only mediator between God and man.

By theist I mean that I believe in a divine person who created all things and sustains everything He has made.

If you ever wanted to ask a self-styled philosopher, Calvinist, Christian, or theist anything this thread is your chance.
Ginkgo
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Re: Ask a Christian Theist

Post by Ginkgo »

Yon Yalvin wrote:After trolling around on this board it appears as if there are a few theists but I've yet to spot a Christian. To further define myself, I'd say (for my purposes here) that I am a philosophical, Calvinist, Christian theist.

By philosophical I mean that I hold a degree in philosophy and so am familiar with philosophical issues and discourse.

By Calvinist I mean that I generally agree with reformed confessions of faith and systems of theology.

By Christian I mean that I confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of all peoples and nations and the only mediator between God and man.

By theist I mean that I believe in a divine person who created all things and sustains everything He has made.

If you ever wanted to ask a self-styled philosopher, Calvinist, Christian, or theist anything this thread is your chance.

There have been a few from time to time, but most have been young Earth Creationists- they tend to give up after awhile. There was one Catholic fellow I recall, and I thought he was rather good.
jackles
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Re: Ask a Christian Theist

Post by jackles »

yon as a christian you must believe that you have eternal life.tell me do you think eternal life is a moving or nonmoving thing.in other words is eternal life local or nonlocal to the event you are a part of as a physical body.if the soul is spirit it then cannot be moved but is the nonphysical spirit that is the nonmoving mover of things.as seen in the measuring of c the speed of light by an observing spirit.regs jackles
Yon Yalvin
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Re: Ask a Christian Theist

Post by Yon Yalvin »

jackles wrote:yon as a christian you must believe that you have eternal life.tell me do you think eternal life is a moving or nonmoving thing.in other words is eternal life local or nonlocal to the event you are a part of as a physical body.if the soul is spirit it then cannot be moved but is the nonphysical spirit that is the nonmoving mover of things.as seen in the measuring of c the speed of light by an observing spirit.regs jackles
I'm sorry jackles but I find this question incoherent. Could you possibly rephrase or use more colloquial verbage?
Sappho de Miranda
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Re: Ask a Christian Theist

Post by Sappho de Miranda »

Why is the Universe so damnably violent when your god is a god of love and discourages violence?

Note: This is not about Humanity or any other sentient being. This is about the Universe itself.
jackles
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Re: Ask a Christian Theist

Post by jackles »

what i am saying to yon is i think the spirit is another name for consciousness.do you think its the spirit of the observer that is found to br stationary when measuring c the speed of light.i think that it is and i would like to known what you think on it.
Last edited by jackles on Fri Aug 29, 2014 8:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
uwot
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Re: Ask a Christian Theist

Post by uwot »

Hello Yon, welcome to the PN forum.
Most of what you say is refreshingly lucid and forthright, but I don't know what you mean by this:
Yon Yalvin wrote:By Calvinist I mean that I generally agree with reformed confessions of faith and systems of theology.
Are you hedging your bets with 'generally'? What are the "reformed confessions" anyway?
You may well be surprised by the depth of my ignorance, but a good starting point is the one Ginkgo alluded to: How old is the Earth? (I rather hope you are mildly offended by such a stupid question.)
If we can waive that one away; what is your take on original sin?
Yon Yalvin
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Re: Ask a Christian Theist

Post by Yon Yalvin »

Sappho de Miranda wrote:Why is the Universe so damnably violent when your god is a god of love and discourages violence?

Note: This is not about Humanity or any other sentient being. This is about the Universe itself.
Let me make sure I understand the question. You're not asking: "why are humans violent?" or "why are animals violent?" You're asking: "why is the non-sentient environment that we call the universe violent?" Yes? Also, could you define "violent"?
Sappho de Miranda
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Re: Ask a Christian Theist

Post by Sappho de Miranda »

Yon Yalvin wrote:
Sappho de Miranda wrote:Why is the Universe so damnably violent when your god is a god of love and discourages violence?

Note: This is not about Humanity or any other sentient being. This is about the Universe itself.
Let me make sure I understand the question. You're not asking: "why are humans violent?" or "why are animals violent?" You're asking: "why is the non-sentient environment that we call the universe violent?" Yes? Also, could you define "violent"?
Violent - adjective - using or involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something.

Examples:

Galaxy Collisions
Star Explosions
Mass extinction from Asteroid impact
Sappho de Miranda
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Re: Ask a Christian Theist

Post by Sappho de Miranda »

Sappho de Miranda wrote:
Yon Yalvin wrote:
Sappho de Miranda wrote:Why is the Universe so damnably violent when your god is a god of love and discourages violence?

Note: This is not about Humanity or any other sentient being. This is about the Universe itself.
Let me make sure I understand the question. You're not asking: "why are humans violent?" or "why are animals violent?" You're asking: "why is the non-sentient environment that we call the universe violent?" Yes? Also, could you define "violent"?
Violent - adjective - using or involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something.

Examples:

Galaxy Collisions
Star Explosions
Mass extinction from Asteroid impact
More specifically, iff your God exists, why did your God create such a violent Universe?
Yon Yalvin
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Re: Ask a Christian Theist

Post by Yon Yalvin »

uwot wrote:Are you hedging your bets with 'generally'? What are the "reformed confessions" anyway?
The major reformed confessions of faith are the Westminster Standards - http://www.opc.org/confessions.html and the Heidelberg Catechism - http://www.crcna.org/welcome/beliefs/co ... -catechism. By "generally" I mean that there is only one point of departure that I can think of which is infant baptism. I also say "generally" because I believe that the Bible alone is inerrant. Man's attempts to systematize the teachings of the Bible can be excellent, but I don't believe they're ever perfect.
You may well be surprised by the depth of my ignorance, but a good starting point is the one Ginkgo alluded to: How old is the Earth? (I rather hope you are mildly offended by such a stupid question.)
I don't know how old the earth is. I'm not sure that anyone really does.
If we can waive that one away; what is your take on original sin?
I do believe in original sin. Here's my formulation of the doctrine: man, by virtue of a fallen nature, is at enmity with God.

Sin is the disruption of a personal relationship - man's most important relationship: his relationship with God. Mankind originally had friendship with God but early on in human history there was a historical rebellion that changed all of mankind's relationship with God. To say that man is originally sinful is to say that, since that historical rebellion, every individual is born into a culture of enmity and personal state of enmity with God. In other words, this enmity is something that's part of our fallen nature. We're not born neutral toward God or in friendship with God. From birth we are at enmity with Him.

What does it mean to be at enmity with God? It means two things - we are opposed to God and God is opposed to us.

First, we are opposed to God. We are opposed to the idea of another person who is outside of our control who has authority over our lives. Sin is also called "lawlessness" in the Bible and this expression communicates this idea. We don't necessarily mind law, but we are opposed to a law being imposed upon us from outside of ourselves. If there is a law, we are that law - a law unto ourselves. We are happy to hold ourselves to our own standard and to hold others to that standard but we patently reject a standard imposed upon us by another sovereign being to whom we owe allegiance. We are not interested in the living God. We desire to be our own gods and make our own laws, deciding for ourselves what's good and evil for us. We may be interested in fabricating a god made in our own image that deifies our own persons and standards, but we are utterly uninterested in the true God.

Second, God is opposed to us. God created us to bear his image, to represent him on earth, and to carry out his rule over his creation. We still maintain that dominion that He has given to us. The earth is, in many ways, under our dominion (though it does rebel against us like we've rebelled against God). God is incredibly patient with his rebellious stewards who are taking his creation in a direction that He did not intend. He gives us opportunity and time to repent. But ultimately he will not be mocked and will not allow his good creation to be perverted. He will not allow injustice to reign on the earth. He will depose all false gods and humans who think of themselves as gods and laws unto themselves. God will war against them and defeat them for the sake of his creation and for those who are oppressed by human evil.

How can man be reconciled to God? This question goes beyond the doctrine of original sin but it should be touched on because sin and judgment is not the last word. There is also mercy and reconciliation. In order for there to be reconciliation two things must happen - man must abandon his rebellion and freely submit to the rule of God. And the justice of God against sin must also be satisfied - mankind must pay for his crimes.

What would motivate man to abandon his rebellion and submit to a power outside of himself? Only if he is persuaded of the love, wisdom, beauty, and glory of this power would man ever submit to it. Only a display of God's love, wisdom, beauty, and glory would persuade a man to repent and submit himself to God.

What would satisfy the justice of God? All of the trouble that mankind has caused to God, creation, and one another must be returned on their own heads. That's what justice is.

So here's the problem that sin creates - how can man be reconciled to God and still live? How can man survive the justice that's due to him? How can the love of God be put on display?

The answer is in the cross. God took on humanity in the historical person of Jesus Christ - becoming personally responsible and accountable for human sin. He suffered for sin throughout his entire life but especially on the cross. The justice of God was poured out upon God himself - upon Jesus. At the same time the love, wisdom, and beauty of God is put on display. God himself will pay for the crimes of sinful men in order to restore them to right relationship with himself. The justice of God against mankind is satisfied, and men who see and believe abandon their rebellion because of the love of God. They freely submit to his rule.
Yon Yalvin
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Re: Ask a Christian Theist

Post by Yon Yalvin »

Sappho de Miranda wrote:More specifically, iff your God exists, why did your God create such a violent Universe?
So violence is everything that's opposed to life? That which damages life?

In that case it seems to me that the only relevant violence is the violence that we experience from nature on our own planet. I'm not too concerned about galaxies colliding. Who's being hurt by that? If anything it's just an amazing spectacle to observe. And I, for one, am glad that all of the dinosaurs are dead. They've left behind some very useful organic material and having them around today would make human civilization almost impossible. So does this really upset you?

But the question is indeed relevant when talking about violence we experience from the natural world. The earth, from one perspective, is a difficult place for humans to live. Threat of asteroids, natural disasters, disease, etc... There is much out there that threatens life. But, then again, we are alive and well, aren't we? Numbering close to 7 billion now? So the world is not as violent as it could be.

But why any violence at all? If God is real, shouldn't there be no death and opposition to life at all? Christians attribute the existence of opposition, frustration, violence, and death to God's curse. Mankind was created to have dominion over the earth, to cultivate it and subdue it. Man, when he was in proper relation to God, was to carry out this task effortlessly. The earth would obey and welcome him just like Jesus calming the storm with a word. But man has rebelled against God so God cursed everything under man's dominion. In the same way that man has rebelled against God, the earth will rebel against man seeking to throw him off of it. So we experience our planet to be opposed to us. This is meant to teach us about our opposition to God and to motivate us to turn to Him and cry out to Him for deliverance.
uwot
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Re: Ask a Christian Theist

Post by uwot »

Yon Yalvin wrote:The major reformed confessions of faith are the Westminster Standards - http://www.opc.org/confessions.html and the Heidelberg Catechism - http://www.crcna.org/welcome/beliefs/co ... -catechism.
At first glance, that's going to take me a while to plough through. In the meantime:
Yon Yalvin wrote:I don't know how old the earth is. I'm not sure that anyone really does.
Thousands or billions of years?
The rest of your story, again without having been too rigorous, appears consistent, albeit utterly absurd. Is there any evidence that you can point too that distinguishes your story from any number of self-consistent, but different tales about gods? It would be a waste of my time and yours examining the consistency of your belief; why should I believe it other than the fact that it makes sense?
Yon Yalvin
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Re: Ask a Christian Theist

Post by Yon Yalvin »

Thousands or billions of years?
I'm open to both possibilities. I think both fit within Christian theology.
The rest of your story, again without having been too rigorous, appears consistent, albeit utterly absurd. Is there any evidence that you can point too that distinguishes your story from any number of self-consistent, but different tales about gods? It would be a waste of my time and yours examining the consistency of your belief; why should I believe it other than the fact that it makes sense?
Good question. I think that the only reason that anyone has to accept this story is the resurrection of Christ. If Christ did indeed raise from death then all of this should be considered. If he did not then all of it can be dismissed. So I think the real question for those considering Christianity is: did Jesus actually raise from the dead? Is there any evidence to suggest that this is the case? I believe that there, indeed, is.
uwot
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Re: Ask a Christian Theist

Post by uwot »

Yon Yalvin wrote:So I think the real question for those considering Christianity is: did Jesus actually raise from the dead? Is there any evidence to suggest that this is the case? I believe that there, indeed, is.
Presumably that is the same evidence that I am familiar with. What, other than credulity, accounts for our different interpretations?
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