• Relativist
    2.1k
    I began this discussion because I believe that I've found some flaws in his theology.BillMcEnaney
    The only "flaws" I've noticed is that his views aren't consistent with Thomist metaphysics. That's not a logical flaw that connotes incoherence; it's just disagreement on certain first principles. I've spent a good bit of time trying to understand Craig's philosophy, and it seems coherent - even though far-fetched (compared to naturalism), so I'd be very interested in examining an incoherence in his views. So please explain: are you claiming Craig's view is incoherent?

    Perhaps you should start a thread where you show Thomist metaphysics is likely to be true. It appears to me that the Aristotelian concept of essence (which Thomas inherits) was embraced by the early church because it rationalized transubstantiation (and the Trinity). So you kind of need something like this to be true. However, it's an absurdity, and (IMO) that makes it a good reason to reject Catholicism. I'm eager to know if I'm wrong about it being an absurdity.
  • Wayfarer
    20.7k
    Craig says he takes theological disputes to the "bar of Scripture."BillMcEnaney

    Protestants say that, but because every matter of faith is then taken to be arbitrated by the individual conscience, in practice this results in a kind of hyper-pluralism. (Subject of a book The Unintended Reformation, Brad Gregory.)

    :up: Thanks for the recommendation.
  • BillMcEnaney
    54
    Hyper-pluralism explains why Dr. Allan Fimister and I think sola scriptura makes the idea of divine revelation seem absurd to secularists. When I recall that Protestants have splintered into about 47,000 sects, I don't blame agnostics, atheists, and others for rejecting Christianity. Why would they think they should believe the Bible when most Christians don't understand it?
  • BillMcEnaney
    54
    Relativist, the Catholic Church doesn't require Catholics to be Thomists. So, if a Catholic disagrees with St. Thomas on some point, maybe that means that Thomas is mistaken on it. About 62 opes have endorsed his philosophy and his theology, knowing that infallibility didn't protect what he wrote. Many believe. that he's the greatest theologian the Catholic Church has ever produced. I agree. Still, I'm free to disagree with him on subjects where the Church lets me do that.

    On the other hand, Catholics must believe that the essences of bread and wine became the essences of his body and blood. If they deny that belief, they become heretics. If they're impenitent for that heresy, they're no longer Catholics, even when they still believe they are. That means that they must revert to Catholicism if they still want to practice Catholicism.

    Pope St. Pius X writes: "45. In the first place, with regard to studies, We will and ordain that scholastic philosophy be made the basis of the sacred sciences. It goes without saying that if anything is met with among the scholastic doctors which may be regarded as an excess of subtlety, or which is altogether destitute of probability, We have no desire whatever to propose it for the imitation of present generations (Leo XIII. Enc. Aeterni Patris). And let it be clearly understood above all things that the scholastic philosophy We prescribe is that which the Angelic Doctor has bequeathed to us, and We, therefore, declare that all the ordinances of Our Predecessor on this subject continue fully in force, and, as far as may be necessary, We do decree anew, and confirm, and ordain that they be by all strictly observed. In seminaries where they may have been neglected let the Bishops impose them and require their observance, and let this apply also to the Superiors of religious institutions. Further let Professors remember that they cannot set St. Thomas aside, especially in metaphysical questions, without grave detriment."

    Pascendi Dominici Gregis (Feeding the Lord's Flock)

    The Eastern Orthodox Christians believe that bread and wine transubstantiate. But they don't describe the change in an Aristotelian-Thomistic way. Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox can agree that bread and wine change, even when the disagree on the metaphysics behind the dogma.

    Anyhow, I believe I've shown that Dr. Craig's theology is logically inconsistent with the Bible. So maybe you didn't find enough time to read the post where I argue that his theology is inconsistent. My point about the vicious infinite regress presupposes that Aristotelian-Thomistic metaphysics and the PSR are true. So, if someone falsifies them, that will show that I argued unsoundly.

    Then again, my point inconsistency doesn't depend on Aristotlelian-Thomistic metaphysics. It relies instead on two things. First, Dr. Craig believes Monothelitism, though the Third Council of Constantinople condemned it in the seventh century. Second, my argument relies on Matthew 26:39.

    In Matthew 26:39 in the RSV, Our Lord prays, "And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.”

    Monothelites believe that Christ's only will his the divine will, and the will his the faculty a person chooses with. Can God the Father have a human. will when he hasn't adopted a human nature? No, he can't. That means that the divine will God the Father uses must be distinct from Christ's human one. Our Savior asks his Father to take Our Savior's suffering away if God the Father chooses to do that. But Jesus distinguishes between his will and the Father's will. So, if Christ's only will is the divine one, his prayer is self-contradictory. It's absurd to say "Not my will but mine be done."

    If I've found a self-contradiction in Dr. Craig's theology, that inconsistency makes his whole theology inconsistent. After all, propositions are mutually consistent if and only if they can be true together.
  • Relativist
    2.1k
    Catholics must believe that the essences of bread and wine became the essences of his body and blood.BillMcEnaney
    Then they have to accept the metaphysical assumption that there are non-physical essences to the objects of existence - including physical objects. Isn't it true that you uncritically accept this? If one denies this questionable metaphysical assumption, he could still interpret the Last Supper figuratively.


    , I believe I've shown that Dr. Craig's theology is logically inconsistent with the Bible. So maybe you didn't find eough time to read the post where I argue that his theology is inconsistent. My point about the vicious infinite regress presupposes that Aristotelian-Thomistic metaphysics and the PSR are true. So, if someone falsifies them, that will show that I argued unsoundly.BillMcEnaney
    I may have missed it, but my impression is that you've merely shown that Craig's theology is inconsistent with your interpretation of the BIble. Still, you admit your claim of an infinite regress depends on the premise of A-T metaphysics, so that doesn't entail an inconsistency on Craig's part.

    Monothelites believe that Christ's only will his the divine will, and the will his the faculty a person chooses with. Can God the Father have a human. will when he hasn't adopted a human nature? No, he can't. That means that the divine will God the Father uses must be distinct from Christ's human one. Our Savior asks his Father to take Our Savior's suffering away if God the Father chooses to do that. But Jesus distinguishes between his will and the Father's will. So, if Christ's only will is the divine one, his prayer is self-contradictory. It's absurd to say "Not my will but mine be done."BillMcEnaney
    Craig associates a will with personhood, so that if Jesus has 2 wills then he is 2 persons (i.e. Nestorianism). This also implies there can't be a single "divine will" because that is contrary to there being a 3 person trinity. He references Luke 22:42 in the same link:

    "When Jesus prays in the garden, “Not my will but thine be done” he is not praying to himself. That is not the human will of Christ talking to the divine will. That is the Son talking to the Father. The Son is saying, Not my will be done, but Father, thy will be done. I think this implies Monothelitism. Christ had a single will which was perfectly submitted to the will of the Father....
    ...If we define “mind” to mean a self-conscious subject, the doctrine of the Trinity is, I think, that there are three minds in God – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. If you think that God has a single self-consciousness, you are a unitarian...we want to affirm that there are three self-conscious subjects in the Godhead, and that these three all agree. In that sense, they are of one mind. They all agree. But that is in a metaphorical sense."
  • Fooloso4
    5.5k
    ... the Aristotelian concept of essence (which Thomas inherits) ...Relativist

    The term essence (essentia) was a Latin invention used to translate Aristotle's Greek ousia. Cicero is credited with inventing the term, from the Latin esse, to be. It means "what it is to be". To complicate matters, ousia is often translated as 'substance', a term whose meaning is not co-extensive with ousia. Ousia refers to some particular being, Socrates or Plato.

    The guiding question of Aristotle's Metaphysics is the question of 'being qua being", that is, what it is for something to be the thing that it is. What is it, for example, that distinguishes man from other beings. And, what it is distinguishes Socrates from other men. The puzzle is laid out in Plato's Phaedo. Each attempted solution proves to be problematic.

    Those who desire answers and assurances will take part to be the whole. In the Phaedo in the double sense of the soul not as a part but as the whole and the stories and not the arguments as the whole. In re Aristotle's Metaphysics, the problem of prime movers is taken to be not the problem but the answer.
  • BillMcEnaney
    54
    Relativist, maybe I believe some things uncritically. But I believe what the Catholic Church teaches, partly because I study documents from the Early Church. If you read them, I think you'll know that they confirm Catholicism instead of Protestantism.

    Thanks to sola scriptura, Protestants have splintered into about 47,000 sects. So it seems anyone can invent a new Christian religion and interpret the Last Supper metaphorically. Episcopalians don't believe bread and wine transubstantiate. Some Protestants believe Catholics are idolators who worship bread. If those Protestants rode a Time Machine to the second century to visit St. Ignatius of Antioch's diocese, the Catholics there would have avoided them because they didn't believe in transubstantiation.

    St. Ignatius writes:

    Chapter 6. Unbelievers in the blood of Christ shall be condemned

    Let no man deceive himself. Both the things which are in heaven, and the glorious angels, and rulers, both visible and invisible, if they believe not in the blood of Christ, shall, in consequence, incur condemnation. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it. Matthew 19:12 Let not [high] place puff any one up: for that which is worth all is faith and love, to which nothing is to be preferred. But consider those who are of a different opinion with respect to the grace of Christ which has come unto us, how opposed they are to the will of God. They have no regard for love; no care for the widow, or the orphan, or the oppressed; of the bond, or of the free; of the hungry, or of the thirsty.

    Chapter 7. Let us stand aloof from such heretics

    They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they confess not the Eucharist to be the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father, of His goodness, raised up again. Those, therefore, who speak against this gift of God, incur death in the midst of their disputes. But it were better for them to treat it with respect, that they also might rise again. It is fitting, therefore, that you should keep aloof from such persons, and not to speak of them either in private or in public, but to give heed to the prophets, and above all, to the Gospel, in which the passion [of Christ] has been revealed to us, and the resurrection has been fully proved. But avoid all divisions, as the beginning of evils."

    St. Ignatius of Antioch's letter to the Smyrnaeans


    From what I can tell, an essence is always a nonphysical property. Aristotle defines man as rational animal because all human beings have rational animality in common. Your five senses help you perceive another person. But you can't see, touch, taste, hear, or smell rational animality.

    In 431, the Council of Ephesus condemned Nestorianism. Then, in 451, the Council of Chalcedon taught that: "So, following the saintly fathers, we all with one voice teach the confession of one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ: the same perfect in divinity and perfect in humanity, the same truly God and truly man, of a rational soul and a body; consubstantial with the Father as regards his divinity, and the same consubstantial with us as regards his humanity; like us in all respects except for sin; begotten before the ages from the Father as regards his divinity, and in the last days the same for us and for our salvation from Mary, the virgin God-bearer as regards his humanity; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only-begotten, acknowledged in two natures which undergo no confusion, no change, no division, no separation; at no point was the difference between the natures taken away through the union, but rather the property of both natures is preserved and comes together into a single person and a single subsistent being; he is not parted or divided into two persons, but is one and the same only-begotten Son, God, Word, Lord Jesus Christ, just as the prophets taught from the beginning about him, and as the Lord Jesus Christ himself instructed us, and as the creed of the fathers handed it down to us."

    The Council of Chalcedon

    What does Dr. Craig think a nature is in itself? I've never heard him define it. Whatever he believes a nature consists of, you've just supported my belief that his theology is heretical by quoting a document where he says he believes that God has three minds. one for each divine person. His belief is understandable because he rejects absolute divine simplicity. But his point about three minds might suggest polytheism.

    In my opinion, if Dr. Craig absolute divine simplicity, he would know why Catholics disagree with his interpretation of Matthew 26:39. Catholics believe that since God is absolutely simple, each divine person has the same divine will and the same divine intellect.
  • BillMcEnaney
    54
    Wow, thank you for clarifying "being qua being."
  • Relativist
    2.1k
    The guiding question of Aristotle's Metaphysics is the question of 'being qua being", that is, what it is for something to be the thing that it is. What is it, for example, that distinguishes man from other beings. And, what it is distinguishes Socrates from other men. The puzzle is laid out in Plato's Phaedo. Each attempted solution proves to be problematic.Fooloso4
    That is essentially my point. One cannot point to a set of necessary and sufficient properties as the essence of a thing, so what's left other than the assumption that there is some unanalyzable, immaterial aspect of a thing. The notion that a bread wafer is essentially flesh is based on some such assumption. Why accept it, other than to rationalize Catholic dogma?
  • BillMcEnaney
    54
    Folks, please let me tell you a true story because it relates to sola scriptura helps explain why Protestants often disagree with Catholics.

    Years ago, I stumbled on a website where an acquaintance wrote about Genesis 1-3. After a serious motorcycle-accident, he convinced himself that only he interpreted Genesis accurately. He said the strangest things, too. For example, he told me that God gave Adam and Eve material bodies to punish the because they fell from grace "in the spiritual realm." That sounds Gnostic, eh? He even believed that "In the beginning" was a title for Christ rather than a phrase describing a time when something happened.

    The man revised his will to ensure that after his death, other people would spread his theological theory. A Protestant pastor asked my acquaintance to publish that theory to help him, the pastor, teach it to his congregation. Is it any wonder that Protestant services and Protestant youth group meetings convinced me to stay in the Catholic Church?

    By the way, acquaintance's name is "Kenneth G. Redden" if you want to Google for his writings. I can't find them online anymore.
  • Fooloso4
    5.5k


    I jumped in because too often Aristotle is viewed through the eyes of Aquinas. I think this is a mistake.What Aristotle leaves open and unanswered Aquinas answers theologically. To put it differently, they are on opposite sides of the ancient quarrel between philosophers and poets.
  • Relativist
    2.1k
    Relativist, maybe I believe some things uncritically. But I believe what the Catholic Church teaches, partly because I study documents from the Early Church. If you read them, I think you'll know that they confirm Catholicism instead of Protestantism.BillMcEnaney
    Protestants generally defer the Apostolic Fathers as well, but they deny they were necessarily of one voice. Regardless, the Reformation was a reaction to the undeniable corruption that grew in the Catholic Church. If the institution couldn't be trusted - where else to place their faith other than Scripture and reasoning?
    Thanks to sola scriptura, Protestants have splintered into about 47,000 sects.BillMcEnaney
    Agreed. Here's a Protestant who also agrees.

    IMO, the Protestants were right to mistrust the Church, and you're right to mistrust sola scriptura. All this shows is that Christianity is a human creation. If you get some good out of it, continue to embrace it. But recognize that others may gain something from their own unique beliefs- so why not let them embrace whatever they believe? No one can be proven right.
  • Relativist
    2.1k
    My favorite Protestant joke:

    Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, "Don't do it!" He said, "Nobody loves me." I said, "God loves you. Do you believe in God?"

    He said, "Yes." I said, "Are you a Christian or a Jew?" He said, "A Christian." I said, "Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?" He said, "Protestant." I said, "Me, too! What franchise?" He said, "Baptist." I said, "Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?" He said, "Northern Baptist." I said, "Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?"

    He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist." I said, "Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?" He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region." I said, "Me, too!"

    Northern Conservative†Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?" He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912." I said, "Die, heretic!" And I pushed him over.
  • BillMcEnaney
    54
    Maybe insomnia is affecting me brain since didn't understand the joke.

    Year ago, after I vowed to be a lifelong virgin, I boarded a bus with another member of the gym I belonged to in 2007. She said, "There's a guy in there. You know him very well. I've had my eye on him for months." Seeing that I didn't know who she meant, she asked whether I needed to get hit in the head with a brick.

    We went to dinner at a restaurant where a morbidly obese man danced to Who Let the Dogs Out. That wasn't fun, especially when I knew that the woman had almost nothing in common with me. She frightened me by inviting me to a Christmas party. So I skipped it. Then the first woman I asked for a date preferred women.

    You might say that my romantic life was a joke.
  • BillMcEnaney
    54
    Luther and the other Protestant revolutionaries fought against some awful abuses, simony, for example. In fact, Luther didn't expect to cause the splintering. He even said something like, "I wanted to depose a pope but created 100 popes." During a lecture I attended, a seminary professor, Fr. Peter Strvinskas, told us that Luther paid a daily Rosary until he died. I feel empathy for him, too, because he was mentally ill.

    I don't expect to convince anyone become Catholic because anything I write. Naturally, the do get something from what they believe. I do, too. That's why I should thank them when they prove me wrong.

    I'm not theologian. I'm a computer science tutor with a philosophy degree. That's why I need you folks to look into what your hear from me. If I misinterpret Thomas or Catholicism, I want someone or something to correct me.

    The older I grow, the more I long to know everlasting truths because knowledge is good in itself. I want to be an amateur scholar who writes about computer science, philosophy, theology, opera, and high culture. That's why I couldn't care less about most popular culture. Since have cerebral palsy, I want my intellect to make up for what my body can't do. Who knows how long that'll take.

    The Bach/Gounod Ave Maria
  • wonderer1
    1.7k
    Agreed. Here's a Protestant who also agrees.Relativist

    Very interesting article.
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