Re: Evil ? (was: Hypostases (was: Natural Order & Belief)

From: Tom Caylor <>
Date: Fri, 29 Dec 2006 01:57:57 -0800

I tried to address everything but ran out of time/energy. If there is
something I deleted from a previous post that I cut out that you wanted
me to address, just bring it back up.

Bruno Marchal wrote:
> Le 26-d c.-06, 19:54, Tom Caylor a crit :
> >
> > On Dec 26, 9:51 am, Bruno Marchal <> wrote:
> >> Le 25-d c.-06, 01:13, Tom Caylor a crit :
> >>
> >> > The "crux" is that he is not symbolic...
> >
> >>
> >> I respect your belief or faith, but I want to be frank, I have no
> >> evidences for the idea that "Jesus" is "truth", nor can I be sure of
> >> any clear meaning such an assertion could have, or how such an
> >> assertion could be made scientific, even dropping Popper falsification
> >> criteria. I must say I have evidences on the contrary, if only the
> >> fact
> >> that humans succumb often to wishful thinking, and still more often to
> >> their parents wishful thinking.
> >>
> >
> > If you are not sure of any clear meaning of the personal God being the
> > source of everything, including of course truth, this entails not
> > knowing the other things too.
> Is that not an authoritative argument?
> What if I ask to my student an exam question like give me an argument
> why the square root of 3 is irrationnal. Suppose he gives me the
> correct and convincing usual (mathematical) proof. I could give him a
> bad note for not adding: "and I know that is the truth because truth is
> a gift by God".
> Cute, I can directly give bad notes to all my students, and this will
> give me more time to find a falsity in your way to reason ...

Just to clear this up, my above statement was not meant to be an
argument. I purposefully used the word "entail" rather than "imply". I
wasn't saying that you cannot believe in some kind of truth without
believing in the personal God. However is makes sense *from my
perspective* (of belief in the personal God) that you do not have a
basis for any truth on which personhood can be based, which *from my
perspective* (which I *have* been arguing for in general) needs more
than the impersonal core.

> The card records facts. To judge them historical is already beyond my
> competence. Why the bible? Why not "the question of king Milinda" ?

My approach on the Everything List has been to argue for the necessity
of the personal God as the ultimate basis for Everything. If someone
wants to research the historical record sufficiently to convince
themselves one way or another about the Bible or Jesus' resurrection,
that's great, and I can give them some sources, but it's probably too
contingent for this List. But I do have response to your comment on
universal-ness below.

> > My whole argument is that without it our hope eventually runs out and
> > we are left with despair, unless we lie to ourselves against the
> > absence of hope.
> Here Stathis already give a genuine comment. You are just admitting
> your argument is "wishful thinking".

I was being too poetic ;) By "despair" I meant nihilism, the belief
that there ultimately is no meaning. I am arguing that the ultimate
source of meaning has to be personal. I'm just saything that my
argument is of the form, "If meaning is not ultimately based on the
personal God, then there is no true meaning, because..."

> >
> > By "these words" I was referring to the John quote from the Bible. The
> > actual fulfillment was Jesus (the Word/Logos). He spanned the infinite
> > gap, like you said above, perhaps analogous to hypercomputation,...all
> > in one step.
> Note that most notion of hypercomputation does not make it possible to
> escape the G/G* logics, and when they do escape it, the price is the
> abandon of personhood.
> This is a general argument which is independent of the comp hypothesis:
> to escape the G/G* (and the related hypostases) you have to "abandon"
> your self or the person-hood (personal-ness I would like to say).

I agree I was too loose in my use of hypercomputation as an analogy.
Actually the direction of the "spanning" was downward, going from G*
(celestial) to G terrestial, described by the Greek work kenosis
(emptying). This does not mean that God the Father (the personal
fulfillment of the first hypostase), or the Holy Spirit (...second
hypostase) discontinued to exist, but that the Logos became flesh and
dwelt among us, so that we could see his grace and truth. Again, this
does not mean that we cannot believe and seek truth, and have a feeling
that we are on the right track, without a relationship with the
personal God. This means that the ultimate source of all truth made
himself known to us on a human level and solved the problem of evil.

> > This is why Jesus was the Word, the Logos. God simply shouting words
> > out of the sky or something would have this problem. This is why I
> > said that the incarnation was primary in God's communication to us.
> OK, but why not Nagarjuna instead? What is so special about Jesus
> (beside our culture) ?

Death itself is the ultimate effect of evil: separation/isolation from
everything and everyone. Jesus proved his divinity by raising
*himself* from the dead.

> For any belief I have I try to figure out if I would have had that
> belief in completely different context. "Jesus" or "Nagarjuna" does not
> survive such a test. For example I would not have believed in Jesus in
> the case I would have born in the time of Plato, nor would I believed
> in Euler would I have born on a different planet, but it make sense
> that I would have believed in the content of their message. This forces
> us to make the argument the most universal possible, the less
> culturally influenced.

I am not saying that God's communication is an exhaustive communication
of all truth, i.e. all facts (scientific, historic, etc.) that it is
possible for us to know. It was a message saying, "I am here. I love
you. I am your source of meaning. Here is my hand to rescue you from
darkness/meaninglessness and death/isolation. Your
meaning/relationships are actually, ultimately, based on something:

I am not building an argument from the ground up to everything (see my
last comment below). This thing has been handed down to me, I admit,
but it can be investigated by anyone interested. So I can't make the
argument up the way I want it.

Accordingly, regarding universal-ness, the personal God would have to
communicate this message to us with a means specific to this planet.
(I don't know what he has done for other planets.) We would not really
be able to believe him if he did not become one of us (we would just
say, "You don't know about my experience as a human"). To truly
communicate with a human, you have to be a human. He became one human,
took on human death, and proved his divinity by raising himself from
death, and then the message was spread by those who believed in him.

In a similar manner as "I don't know about other planets", I would say
I ultimately don't know about other people (first person pov and all
that), what it means for them to believe in the personal God's love for
them. All I know is the way I've heard it (Jesus being the personal
God's hand to us). To try to worry and orchestrate how all of that
works for everyone would be going way above my competence. But this
doesn't negate the truth of the personal God.

> >
> >>
> >> How do you know? Are you willing to assume this clearly and build some
> >> axiomatization?
> >>
> >
> > This follows from the acceptance of the personal God who is love (among
> > the three Persons I outlined using the hypostases) independently of
> > anyone/anything else.
> In an axiomatization the meaning does not depend on the choice of the
> words. Would your argument be palpable with axiomatic definition?
> Do you know and accept Godel's axiomatisation of St-Anselme definition
> of God?

To the last question, yes. However, I think that Godel's
axiomatization also applies to an impersonal god. The axioms for a
personal God would have to include all three persons as I outlined with
the four hypostases. This is for reasons similar to the reasoning of
the hypostases, with the added axiom that the ultimate One is personal
and that the three persons somehow communicate and love one another.
This is the basis on which there can be communication and love among
other persons. In a way, communication and love are on a par with
truth on the ontological scale. This is an important point.

> >
> > I agree, words are not enough. Here again, the primary communication
> > of love was not words e.g. a command to love, but the actually
> > expression by the action of incarnation and giving his life and death.
> In a story. I can appreciate symbolically.
> If you want Jesus playing a personal role in our 3-person approach,
> just pray Him to make a 3-person communicable sign.

This goes back to his death and resurrection, which opened up the way
again for our relationship with the personal God.

> >>
> >> I am not sure, because we can bet. We can make act of faith. We can
> >> learn from our mistakes, we can change our minds and still keeping
> >> faith, faith corrected by reason and experiences can only grow. Only
> >> "bad or wrong faith" (generally based on wishful or fearful thinking)
> >> can fear to be "corrected".
> >> A bit like it is more easy for a parent to "punish" his child when the
> >> parent "truly" loves it.
> >
> > But this hope is without an ultimate basis. Real hope has an ultimate
> > basis.
> All the lobian point is that as far as the word "real" means something,
> we cannot use it and still keep the scientific attitude (humility,
> modesty).

This goes back to comp's taking arithmetic truth as the basis for
"reality". I am saying that this kind of truth is not broad enough for

> >
> > Knowledge is personal. Without an ultimate personal basis, we cannot
> > expect or hope for more, because we have nothing to begin with.
> I make it plain that S4Grz1, alias the arithmetical first person (the
> solipsist topos of "conscience & m canisme), alias the third hypostase,
> is a good candidate for the ultimate personal basis. Here you should
> appreciate. In a way it vindicates both Nargarjuna and Jesus, with the
> same proviso that their "stories" (Jesus resurection, Nagarjuna
> reincarnation) should not be taken literally (by adults).

Yes, because for instance if Jesus' story is taken literally, and he
claimed to be the Son of God and proved it by raising himself from
death, then this would contradict the impersonal basis of comp.

Also, Nagarjuna did not claim to be God in human form, and he did not
prove it.

> >
> > Again, the "sacred text" by itself is not sufficient. The proof is in
> > God's actual act of love toward us. For us, love is expressed in
> > meeting our need, which was our being lost and dead, separated (by
> > evil, by definition) from truth, meaning and life.
> You refer to personal things. If you are lucky enough to be blessed by
> Love, it is ok, especially if it inspire you to work toward a
> communciable theory. But nobody can use such reference in a theory.
> Even, and I would say especially in a "theological" theory.
> Bruno

This is just my argument again: Without a personal God, we don't have a
basis for these personal things. I am not trying to develop a theory
from the ground up (upward emanation). My argument is just presenting
the problem and lack of solution, and then saying that the answer has
been given from the top down (downward emanation). St. Paul reasoned
with the Greeks about the problem (meaninglessness, evil, etc.) in the
same way, and then simply proclaimed the "good-news" answer. The only
way he could proclaim it from their context was by saying that he
noticed they had an altar with the inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.
This reminds me of the One or 0-person. He then said, "Now what you
worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you." Then he
went on to tell them about the personal God. You can read what he said
in Acts 17:24-31 here:;&version=31;

In this configuration of Everything, our part is not to build
everything from the ground up (which is required if there is no one "up
there" to give us anything), but to just look at the evidence for what
God did to show us he exists and has solved our problem of inescapable
meaninglessness and death, and believe.

This doesn't mean that, if we believe that God is our ultimate source
of meaning, we don't need to do anything for any purpose whatsoever.
On the contrary, it gives both *consistent* and *complete* meaning to
what we do and it takes away our need to spend our lives in fear of
meaninglessness and isolation/death.


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Received on Fri Dec 29 2006 - 04:58:15 PST

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