Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Essence-Energies Distinction

Abstract: Was Gregory Palamas a ditheist? Did he destroy God’s simplicity? We will see that the answers to both these questions are "No" and that St. Gregory Palamas's Essence-Energies distinction, properly understood, is in harmony with the dogma of Absolute Divine Simplicity. Catholic philosopher Dr. Michael Liccione vindicates the teaching of St. Gregory Palamas from accusations of ditheism and reconciles EED with the teachings of the illustrious prince of theologians St. Thomas Aquinas.

Monday, December 03, 2007

God Is Jealous

YHWH is jealous. He says [Ex 20:4-5], "Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing, nor the likeness of any thing that is in Heaven above, or in the earth beneath, nor of those things that are in the waters under the earth. Thou shalt not adore them, nor serve them: I am the Lord thy God, mighty, jealous, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me." YHWH is not guilty of envy, which is "sorrow for another's good."{1} There is no parallel to the mortally sinful kind of jealousy (envy) [Job 5:2; Ps 36:1; Gal 5:20,26], an example of which would be Mario opining, "I wish Luigi wasn't so much more athletic than me." God is rightly jealous because idolaters give the adoration of latria to creatures when such service and worship belong to God alone. Jealousy is righteous when its object is something that belongs properly to us [cf. 2 Cor 11:2].

Notes and References
{1} Hieromonk St. John Damascene (676-12/5/749), Doctor of the Church, De Fide Orth. 2:14.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

St. John Chrysostom and the Jews

John Chrysostom was a raving anti-Semitic sinful bigot

Abstract: Scholar Robert Louis Wilken shows that St. John Chrysostom ("Golden-Mouth") was not an anti-Semite and explains why the saint used harsh, uncompromising language in the eight homilies he delivered to Judaizing Antiochene Christians toward the close of the fourth century A.D. Those who accuse the saint of anti-Semitism, such as the heterodox James P. Carroll (author of the blatantly anti-Catholic, historically inaccurate book Constantine's Sword), are simply wrong.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Theodicy: Flood of Noah

The God of the Torah was unjust to destroy the whole world in a flood

God's judgment upon the world by a universal (global) flood was good. God willed to spare the innocent and Noah and his family members were the only righteous people on earth [Gen 6:8-10; 7:1]. You must understand that earth was FILLED with wickedness [Gen 6:11]; everyone but the eight righteous people were thoroughly corrupted [Gen 6:11-12], and had committed inordinate violence including rape [Gen 6:1-2]. Noah preached to these sinners for 100+ years [2 Pt 2:5] in an awesome demonstration of God’s patience and mercy [1 Pt 3:20]. He reproved them for their violent, persuasive mortal sins and warned them over the course of more than a century that if they did not stop, then they would perish specifically from a flood, and he told them how to be righteous. But these fools had blasphemed the Holy Spirit and were hopeless, so they deserved death. Really every second of our lives is a chance for repentance but these people were never going to repent (they were children of despair [Eph 2:2]) and so they were justly executed in a global flood [Gen 7:3-5,18-23].

Friday, November 09, 2007

Serpent Seed

Mirror link

The serpent in the Garden of Eden (Satan) had sex with Eve and he, not Adam, is the biological father of Cain

Serpent Seed and Its Supporters
1. The Serpent Seed Theory is the idea that the serpent in the Garden of Eden (Satan) had sexual intercourse with Eve and fathered Cain. One notable proponent was the anti-Trinitarian false prophet William H. Branham. This is contrary to Scripture, despite having rabbinical support, e.g., "And Adam knew his wife Eve, who was pregnant by the Angel Sammael, and she conceived and bare Cain; and he was like the heavenly beings, and not like the earthly beings, and she said, I have acquired a man, the angel of the Lord" [Targum of Jonathan to Genesis 4:1]; "Rabbi Johanon stated, When the serpent copulated with Eve, he infused her with lust" [Yebamoth 103b]; "Thus I have learnt, that when the serpent had intercourse with Eve he injected defilement into her" [Haye Sarah 126a]; and "You rightly said that when the serpent had carnal intercourse with Eve he injected into her defilement" [Haye Sarah 126b].{1}

Adam the Biological Father of Cain
2. The first thing that rules out the idea that Satan fathered Cain is Gen 4:1: "And Adam knew Eve his wife; who conceived and brought forth Cain, saying: I have gotten a man through God." That this means that Adam is Cain's father is evident from the parallel passages of Gen 4:17 ("And Cain knew his wife, and she conceived, and brought forth Enoch: and he built a city, and called the name thereof by the name of his son Enoch") and Gen 4:25 ("Adam also knew his wife again: and she brought forth a son, and called his name Seth, saying: 'God hath given me another seed for Abel, whom Cain slew'").

Making Nonsense out of God’s Command
3. Secondly, God's command to Adam in Gen 2:16-17 is nonsensical given the Serpent Seed Theory. St. Moses writes, "And He commanded him, saying: Of every tree of paradise thou shalt eat: But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat. For in what day soever thou shalt eat of it, thou shalt die the death." In the Serpent Seed paradigm this would have to mean "You may have a sexual relationship with every serpent except one." The serpent was a beast [Gen 3:1a]: "Now the serpent was more subtle than any of the beasts of the earth which the Lord God had made." But Adam did not commit bestiality. The serpent was not some attractive guy as SSTs like to pretend; he was a reptile.

Why Eating of the Tree Is Devoid of Sexual Connotation
4. Thirdly, eating of the tree cannot have any sexual connotation because God gave this prohibition of eating from the tree to Adam before He created Eve; Eve does not come into play until Gen 2:22; Gen 2:21-23 reads, "Then the Lord God cast a deep sleep upon Adam: and when he was fast asleep, He took one of his ribs, and filled up flesh for it. And the Lord God built the rib which He took from Adam into a woman: and brought her to Adam. And Adam said: This now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man." Adam sinned by eating from the tree but (1) it is not sinful to have sexual intercourse with one's wife so there is no sexual connotation from that angle; Gen 1:28 reads, "And God blessed them, saying: Increase and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it, and rule over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and all living creatures that move upon the earth;" (2) Adam did not commit the sins of bestiality and homosexuality but he would have if eating from the tree meant having sexual intercourse with the serpent [Gen 3:6: "And the woman saw that the tree was good to eat, and fair to the eyes, and delightful to behold: and she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave to her husband, who did eat"], for the serpent is a beast [Gen 3:1a above] and the serpent was male [Gen 3:1b]: "And he said to the woman: 'Why hath God commanded you, that you should not eat of every tree of paradise?'"

Serpent Seed is Pseudohistory
5. Fourthly, there is an insuperable historical difficulty for the Serpent Seed Theorists. Serpent Seed Theorists claim that serpentine Kenites survive to this day. But that would be impossible even if Eve did have sexual intercourse with the serpent, for 2 Pt 2:5 says, "… and if He did not spare the ancient world, even though He preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, together with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the godless world…" Pope St. Peter's words rule out the idea essential to Serpent Seed Theory that serpentine Kenites survive because it would be absurd to say that St. Noah and his family were of the serpent seed. Serpent Seed Theory entails that all Kenites are of the serpentine. But if there is one Kenite who is not serpentine, then there are no serpentine Kenites. And one such person comes to mind immediately; Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses [Jdg 1:16]: "And the children of the Kenite, the kinsman of Moses, went up from the city of palms, with the children of Judah, into the wilderness of his lot, which is at the south side of Arad, and they dwelt with him." St. Jethro was a godly man, according to Gen 18:12,19-23:
"So Jethro, the kinsman of Moses, offered holocausts and sacrifices to God: and Aaron and all the ancients of Israel came, to eat bread with him before God. … But hear my words and counsels, and God shall be with thee. Be thou to the people in those things that pertain to God, to bring their words to Him: And to show the people the ceremonies, and the manner of worshipping; and the way wherein they ought to walk, and the work that they ought to do. And provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, in whom there is truth, and that hate avarice, and appoint of them rulers of thousands, and of hundreds, and of fifties, and of tens, who may judge the people at all times: and when any great matter soever shall fall out, let them refer it to thee, and let them judge the lesser matters only: that so it may be lighter for thee, the burden being shared out unto others. If thou dost this, thou shalt fulfill the commandment of God, and shalt be able to bear His precepts: and all this people shall return to their places with peace."
Misinterpreting the Statement of Eve
Obj. 1: In Gen 3:13 Eve herself says that the serpent sexually seduced her.
Ans. 1: Eve said that the serpent "deceived" her. The Hebrew word nasha has this meaning and is devoid of any sexual connotation. The only support for the idea that Gen 3:13 is discussing sexual seduction is the KJV translation of the first as "beguiled;" however, the KJV translation is egregious (which fact makes KJV-Onlyism a farce). E.g. Ps 22:21 "unicorns" instead of "aurochs;" Mk 6:20 "observed" instead of "protected;" Acts 12:4 "Easter" instead of "Passover;" Acts 17:22 "Mars' hill" instead of "the Aeropagus" and "too superstitious" instead of "pious;" etc. In the latter translation the KJV calls good evil, contrary to Is 5:20: "Woe to you who call evil good, and good evil!"

Misinterpreting the Statement of St. John
Obj. 2: 1 Jn 3:12 states that Satan is Cain's biological father: "Not as Cain, who was of the wicked one and killed his brother."
Ans. 1: It is never good to take words out of context yet the above objection appears to have resulted from such a fallacy. The Serpent Seed Theorist objector fails to do justice to the other part of God's word which says [1 Jn 3:8], "He that committeth sin is of the Devil: for the Devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God appeared, that He might destroy the works of the Devil." 1 Jn 3:8 provides the context which shows that 1 Jn 3:12 means that Cain was "of the devil" because he committed grievous sins.

Misinterpreting the Statement of Christ Himself
Obj. 3: But Christ Himself appears to have said that some Jews were the natural, biological descendants of Satan [Jn 8:44]: "You are of your father the Devil: and the desires of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning: and he stood not in the truth, because truth is not in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father thereof."
Ans. 3: On the contrary, Jesus was saying that these Jews were of Abraham's biological seed [Jn 8:37: "I know that you are the children of Abraham: but you seek to kill Me, because My word hath no place in you"] but were spiritual descendants, in a manner of speaking, of Satan because they contravened Abraham's righteous deeds and gave in to bloodlust, for they wanted to kill Jesus [Jn 8:39-41a]: "They answered and said to Him: Abraham is our father. Jesus saith them: If you be the children of Abraham, do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill Me, a man who have spoken the truth to you, which I have heard of God. This Abraham did not. You do the works of your father."

Notes and References
{1} Scott Stinson (7/1998), "The Serpent and Eve" in The Vision Vol. 2 #8 p. 28 (Schell City, MO: The Church of Israel).

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Eastern Orthodoxy and Filioque

Abstract: With its official position that Filioque (the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son) is false, Orthodoxy has given perspicuous proof that it is not the Church Christ founded.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

My Favorite Limbo Icon

Behold the sublime beauty of this icon of our Lord's descent into hell (Limbus patrum){1}!


Image source = http://frgcat.netfirms.com/pascha_hades.jpg.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Almost 18!

Praise the Lord! Tonight is my last night on earth as a 17-year-old! I am thankful to YHWH that I have made it to 18.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Aseity of Jesus

Jesus is not God because His so-called "eternal generation" rids Him of aseity

1. The infidels argue as follows:
(i) The generated thing derives existence from its generator so that which is generated is a derived existence.
(ii) A derived existence cannot be a self-subsistence.
(iii) The divine existence is self-subsisting.
(iv) Thus a generated existence cannot be the divine existence.

2. What is generated in God receives its existence from the generator but this does not negate divine self-subsistence because the generated existence is not received into a subject. Rather, the generated Son receives His existence from another but not as if He was different from the divine nature, because the perfection of the divine existence contains the Son proceeding by way of intelligible action, as well as the Father Who is the principle of the Son. For God's existence is the same as His act of understanding. A helpful analogy is that the sun's rays have existed just as long as the sun has but the rays proceed from the sun while the sun does not proceed from the rays. The Son is autotheos in the sense of being true God, lacking none of the perfections of the Father. But He is not personally autotheos but essentially autotheos; He is not autotheos relatively as Son since He is from the Father but He is autotheos absolutely because His essence is the one essence which exists of itself and is not divided or produced from another essence. This is the truth which Christ teaches when He says [Jn 5:26], "Just as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself." This is why St. John Damascene, Doctor of the Church, says [On the Orthodox Faith 1:10], "All things which the Son and the Spirit severally have, They have of the Father, even being itself."

3. (i) Something that always exists needs nothing in order to exist [St. Thomas Aquinas, Disputed Questions On the Power of God, q. 3, art. 13, arg. 1].
Need does not mean a defect regarding what is needed, but simply an order of origin regarding that from which it is; thus something can always exist yet need something to exist since it receives its nature from another rather than from itself [ibid., ad 1].

4. (i) Every effect is posterior to its cause [ibid., arg. 5].
(ii) Whatever is from another is the effect of that from which it exists.
(iii) Thus since the Son is from the Father He is posterior to the Father.
(iv) Thus the Son is not eternal and is not God.

5. The Son is not an effect because He is begotten, not made, as in "created" [ibid., ad 5]. He is generated which means that His nature is the same as that of the Father Who generates Him and this is the eternal divine nature [ibid.]. Thus the Father is called the source/fount instead of the "cause" of the Son (though several Eastern Doctors called Him the "cause" strictly meaning "principle of origin"). He is the principle not of duration but of origin without priority [ST I, q. 33, art. 1, ad 3]. The principle and that which proceeds therefrom are related as simultaneous according to the order of intellect (reason) and nature inasmuch as they enter into each other's definition [ST I, q. 42, art. 3, ad 2]. The relations are the Trinity of Persons subsisting in one divine nature, "so neither on the part of nature nor on the part of relation" is any person "prior to another," even according to "the order of nature and reason" [ibid.]

6. (i) Nothing receives what it already has [DQPG q. 13, art. 3, arg. 2].
(ii) Something which always exists always has nature.
(iii) Thus something which always exists does not receive its nature from another.
(iv) Since the Son is from the Father He receives His nature from the Father.
(v) Thus the Son did not always exist.

7. The Son did not have His nature before receiving His nature but He has it when He has already received it from the Father. Since the Son receives His essence from eternity, He has His nature from eternity [ibid., ad 2].

8. (i) Whatever already exists is not brought into being by any means, including via generation [ibid., arg. 3].
(ii) Thus whatever is generated does not exist at some time.
(iii) Everything from another is generated.
(iv) Thus since the Son is generated there was a time when He was not.
(v) God is eternal, i.e. there was never a time when God was not.
(vi) Therefore the Son is not God.

9. This objection is based on a misunderstanding of the eternal generation of the Son. It would hold if the eternal generation was one occurring via motion because whatever is moving towards nature does not exist yet; the Son is not successively generated [ibid., ad 3]. But with the Son there is no difference between being generated and having been generated and so it is not necessary or even possible that the Son Who is generated did not exist at some time [ibid.]. There is no difference between being generated and having been generated with the Son because, as St. Thomas Aquinas says, "in eternity the indivisible 'now' stands ever still" [ST I, q. 42, art. 2, ad 4]. The Son is ever being born but it is preferable to say He is "ever born" since this expression better conveys the permanence of eternity and His perfection [ibid.]. The Father begets the Son by nature and His nature is perfect from eternity [ibid., corp.].

10. (i) That which has existence only from another does not exist as considered in itself [DQPG q. 13, art. 3, arg. 4].
(ii) Such a thing must have not existed at some time.
(iii) Since the Son has existence from the Father there must have been some time at which He did not exist.

11. True, something which has its nature from another is in itself a non-being if it is other than the very nature it receives from the generator [ibid., ad 4]. But the Son is the nature He receives from the Father and so in nature He cannot be called a non-being or something with the potential to not exist [ibid.].

12. Thus it is clear that the doctrine of the eternal generation of the Son suffers from no defects and preserves the full divinity of the Son and guards from the Sabellian and Tritheist heresies.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Defending the Orthodoxy of the Fathers

1. The Cappadocian St. Basil the Great (330-1/1/379), Bishop of Caesarea and Doctor of the Church, says, "The Holy Spirit, sent by God Himself, has Himself for a cause." He meant not that the Holy Spirit is a creature, but that the Father is His principle of origin. We do not use the word "cause" these days because even efficient causes always differ in essence from their effects but Basil used that word in an orthodox sense, i.e. to mean "principle." Likewise St. Athanasius the Great, Doctor of the Church, in this sense affirms that "The Son is not the cause, but is caused." St. Hilary of Poitiers, Doctor of the Church, says [On the Trinity, Bk. 12], "And being born of a cause [although that cause be] perfect and unchangeable, it must be that He is born from the cause, in the property of the cause itself." St. Augustine the Greta, Bishop of Hippo and Doctor of the Church, says in his Book on 83 Questions Qq. 16, "God is the cause of all things that exist. Now, in that He is the cause of all things, He is the cause also of His own Wisdom; and [yet] God never was without His own Wisdom; consequently He is the eternal cause of His own eternal Wisdom, nor is He prior in time to His own Wisdom." And St. John Damascene says, "The Son is the (living, natural, and unvarying) image of the invisible God, bearing in Him the Father entire, having His identity with Him in all respects, and differing from Him only in this, that He is caused; for the Father is by nature a cause, and the Son caused" and in On the Orthodox Faith Bk. 3 Ch. 5 he states, "We acknowledge a difference of the Persons in their three properties alone, of being uncaused, and what belongs to a Father; being caused, and what belongs to a Son; and of being caused and proceeding."

2. Moreover, Basil says that "In dignity and order, the Spirit is second from the Son." In Bk. 3 against Eunomius he says, "The Son is indeed in order second to the Father, because He is of Him, and in dignity because the Father is the beginning and cause of His being." But by this he means not that the Spirit is less dignified than the Son but that He is a distinct hypostasis by His personal dignity and is second in numerical order.

3. St. Epiphanius, Bishop of Cyprus, says that "The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, the third light from the Father and Son." St. Epiphanius confessed three lights as in three persons and the relation of origin (since light is diffusive), but these days we just confess one light to denote the unity of essence (one light = one God).
4. We say the Father alone is unbegotten, but the Cappadocian St. Gregory Nazianzen the Great (329-1/25/389), Patriarch of Constantinople and Doctor of the Church and Theologian of the Trinity, called the Holy Spirit unbegotten in an orthodox sense. It is wrong to say that the Holy Spirit is unbegotten in the sense of lacking a principle. But the Dalmatian priest and monk St. Jerome the Great (347-9/30/420), Doctor of the Church, joined Gregory in calling the Holy Spirit unbegotten because He is not begotten but He has a principle.

5. Further, when the Egyptian St. Cyril of Alexandria (376-6/27/444), Doctor Incarnationis, says, "So how would Jesus, the Son of the essence of the Father, be a creature?" he does not mean that Jesus was begotten from the Father’s essence but rather that Jesus receives the Father's essence through the generation.

6. Origen Adamantius, who was undeniably heterodox in other doctrines (e.g. by affirming universalism, the preexistence of souls, and radical allegorism), called the Son "the Second God" in an orthodox sense in his fifth book Contra Celsus. He calls the Son "the Second God" in the same sense that St. Basil the Great calls the Son second in dignity and order, viz. the Son is God of God, i.e. has His origin from the Father. Wherefore in order to intimate his orthodoxy Origen says, "Albeit, then, we call Him second God, let them know, that by second God we mean nothing else than the Power which embraces all Powers." For the Son is "the very Word, and the very Wisdom, and the very Righteousness." Origen clearly meant that the Son is "the Second Person Who is called God."

7. In his eighth book Contra Celsus Origen declares, "For we, who say that the sensible world is His Who made all things, distinctly affirm that the Son is not mightier than the Father, but inferior to Him. And this we maintain, persuaded by Him Who said, ‘the Father, Who sent Me, is greater than I." Origen's choice of "inferior" is unwise because it is too strong a term but elsewhere he explicitly declares the Son to be just as great as His Father, lacking no perfections of the divine nature. Here Origen simply agrees with our Lord Who affirms that the Father is greater insofar as the Son is begotten of Him [Jn 14:28]. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, Origen correctly said that the Father is pre-eminent in rank (taxis) because He is mentioned first among the Persons, in dignity (axioma) as I explained in (2) above, for He is the principle (arche), origin (aitios), and source (pege) of the whole Godhead not in the sense of generating or spirating it but because He communicates it via generation and spiration.
Source: St. Thomas Aquinas, CEG 1-3; 5; 8.


More to come on St. Hilary of Poitiers, St. Athanasius the Great, St. John Damascene, St. Justin Martyr, Tertullian, St. Gregory Nazianzen, St. Augustine the Great, and St. Gregory of Nyssa.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Recommended Catholic Apologetics Books

1. Summa Theologica{1} by St. Thomas Aquinas. St. Thomas demolishes the seemingly invincible arguments of detractors of Catholic doctrines.
2. Summa Contra Gentiles by St. Thomas Aquinas. This one is more pithy and comprehensible than the Summa Theologica but is not as encyclopedic.
3. The Catholic Verses: 95 Bible Passages that Confound Protestants by Dave Armstrong. Dave Armstrong is an exceptionally kind, intelligent guy and I don't hesitate to call his work scholarly; his treatment in this book is very thorough and is backed up by lots of references. Buy it straight from Armstrong's blog.{2}
4. More Biblical Evidence for Catholicism by Dave Armstrong. This is a very robust defense and is true to the title; Armstrong's 150 points make up a brilliant, rich pro-Catholic summary.

{1} Also "Theologiae."
{2} Dave Armstrong: Cor ad Cor Loquitur. http://socrates58.blogspot.com.


Friday, October 12, 2007

Impersonations #1

The following are the voices I can and habitually do mimic very well:

Borat Sagdiyev
C. Montgomery Burns (The Simpsons)
Carl Brutanalanadilewski (ATHF)
Charlie Mackenzie’s father (So I Married An Axe Murderer)
Chewbacca (Star Wars)
Chuck Taylor (Chappelle’s Show)
Comic Book Guy (The Simpsons)
Earth, Wind & Fire
Emperor Palpatine (Star Wars)
Eric Cartman (South Park)
Glen Quagmire (Family Guy)
George W. Bush
Ja Rule
Jasper (Family Guy)
Jerry Seinfeld
Joe Swanson (Family Guy)
Krusty the Clown (The Simpsons)
Mario Mario and Luigi Mario (Mario Bros.)
Mayor Joe Quimby (The Simpsons)
Michael Jackson
Meatwad (ATHF)
Mr. Herbert (Family Guy)
Mr. Mackie (South Park)
Performance Artist (Family Guy)
Peter Griffin (Family Guy)
Professor Frink (The Simpsons)
Scooby Doo
Stewie Griffin (Family Guy)
Terry (Reno 911)
Tom Tucker (Family Guy)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Divine Omnipotence Revisited

Mirror link

God Has Infinite Power
1. God's power is infinite{1} because the Divine essence through which He acts is infinite{2} and active power exists in God according to His degree of actuality. God is omnipotent in the sense that He can do all things that are absolutely possible (this is a very simple way of phrasing the doctrine), i.e. things in which the predicate is compatible with the subject.{3} There is no effect which can be taken away from God's power: there are three ways an effect might not be in an agent's power and none of them apply to God: unlikeness of effect does not apply because all beings inasmuch as they exist are like God, excellence of effect does not apply because God is supremely good and perfect, and defect of material does not apply because God does not need material to act (after all He created the universe ex nihilo and not ex materia).

Misunderstandings of Omnipotence
2. God's omnipotence is not nullified by His immovability (no change, etc.) and impassibility (no anger, sadness, etc.) because He is omnipotent as regards His active power. God's impeccability is no prejudice to His omnipotence because to be able to sin is to be able to fall short in action.{4} As was said, it is impossible for God to do absolutely impossible things because the object and effect of His active power is a certain produced reality. Thus God cannot make a soulless man, make the past not to have been,{5} stop being happy, or annihilate Himself. Yet we are not incoherent when we affirm with St. Job that God can do all "things" and that He cannot make a square circle because a square circle is not a "thing" (it is absolutely impossible and cannot exist in any way).

3. Divine omnipotence does not entail universal possibilism; God’s omnipotence does not remove the necessity and impossibility of things. Things are called absolutely possible in reference to themselves. The effect has contingency or necessity according to the condition of the proximate cause and things which are possible with regard to some power are possible in reference to their proximate cause.{6} God's power is not defective because He cannot make a square circle, since things which imply being and non-being at the same time do not have the nature of a possible thing and do not come under the scope of God's power.

Falsehood of Universal Possibilism
4. It is easy to show conclusively that universal possibilism is a false doctrine, pace the belief attributed to René Descartes by many scholars.{7} Assume for the sake of argument that there is a possible world in which God makes it so that there are propositions that are true in every possible world. However, if there are such propositions then there is no world in which no propositions are true in every possible world, which is to say that it is not possible that there are no necessary truths, contrary to the absurd notion of universal possibilism.

Notes and References
{1} St. Hilary of Poitiers, Doctor of the Church, De Trin. viii.
{2} God’s existence is infinite inasmuch as nothing that receives it can limit it.
{3} St. Luke says [Lk 1:37], "No word shall be impossible with God." "Word" here means something in which the subject and predicate are compatible. St. Job says [Job 42:2], "I know that You can do all things."
{4} St. Thomas Aquinas, ST I, q. 25, art. 3, ad 2.
{5} St. Jerome the Great, Doctor of the Church, Ep. 22 ad Eustoch.
{6} St. Thomas Aquinas, ST I, q. 25, art. 3, ad 4.
{7} Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview by Dr. William Lane Craig and Dr. J.P. Moreland. This is one of the many valuable gems to be found in the book despite several grave errors which I have enumerated and refuted elsewhere.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Trinity and Identity

If there is one God and the Father is God and the Father is not the Son, then the Son is not God

1. There is no need to worry that the Trinitarian identity heptad is inconsistent. St. Gregory of Nyssa proved that the following is true:
(A) The Father is God.
(B) The Son is God.
(C) The Holy Spirit is God.
(D) The Father is not the Son.
(E) The Father is not the Holy Spirit.
(F) The Son is not the Holy Spirit.
(G) There is exactly one God.

2. (D), (E), and (F) are true because the Three Persons are distinguished by the four relations. These propositions entail the falsity of Modalism/Sabellianism/Monarchianism. (G) is necessary in order to preserve monotheism.

3. According to the brilliant blogger Brandon Watson of Siris, St. Gregory of Nyssa implied the following in order to prove the possibility of (A)-(G) above:
(H) Peter has a human nature.
(I) Paul has a human nature.
(J) John has a human nature.
(K) Peter is not Paul.
(L) Paul is not John.
(M) Peter is not John.
(N) There is exactly one nature that is human nature.

4. Brandon Watson says (K), (L), and (M) are true because Peter, Paul, and John not the same person. (N) is true because everything human shares one human nature. (N) is parallel to (G) because another way of phrasing (G) is (G'): "There is exactly one nature that is Divine nature." And another way to phrase (A) is (A'): "The Father is the Divine nature."{1}

5. Watson ponders whether the analogy is valid. Watson grants that the metaphysics differ: the Persons of the Trinity have the same nature via the eternal processions (the Persons are the subsisting relations themselves and so it is no prejudice to Divine simplicity to say that the Persons are distinguished by the relations), while Peter, Paul, and John share the human nature by division. But we are not concerned with a metaphysical difference, Watson observes. There is no logical difference between the two heptads and so (H)-(N) show that (A)-(G) do not make up a contradictory heptad; i.e. (A)-(F) do not contradict (G) because they do not entail Tritheism.

6. Those who deny that we can coherently affirm (D)-(F) in light of (A)-(C) are making a fundamental mistake. They would have it that if the Father is God and the Son is God then the Father is the Son (F=G,S=G,F=S), i.e. the Father is the same Person as the Son, which would be Modalism. But this would only be true if the relations of paternity and filiation (which are really the same as the divine essence) did not import opposite respects in their own proper idea and definitions, as "from which" and "which is from."{2}

Notes and References
{1} Lateran IV, A.D. 1215 (Denzinger 804): “Each of the Persons is that supreme reality, viz., the Divine substance, essence, or nature.” Because God the First Being is altogether simple we say that He is His nature rather than He has nature, just as we say that God does not merely have life, but that He is life itself [Jn 14:6].
{2} St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor Angelicus, ST

Sunday, October 07, 2007

On the Old Law, Pt. 1

1. The Old Law was indubitably good.{1} Its judicial precepts were indeed severe. But that does not mean that they were unjust in the least. Nor were God's judgments in Old Testament times merciless or unfair. It seems that atheists have a field day complaining about the alleged injustice of God's punishments in the Old Testament. But they are seriously misguided.

2. Atheists blaspheme when they say God admitted that His Old Law was evil. St. Ezekiel says, quoting YHWH [Ek 20:25], "I gave them statutes that were not good, and judgments in which they shall not live." Here YHWH discusses the ceremonial precepts and says they "were not good" because they did not confer grace unto remission of sins,{2} yet men confessed themselves to be sinners by fulfilling the ceremonial precepts. He says "judgments in which they shall not live" because the ceremonial precepts did not grant men the beatific vision. Wherefore YHWH says, "And I polluted them in their own gifts, when they offered all that opened the womb, for their offenses." When YHWH says He "polluted them" He means that He showed them to be polluted. That is why St. Paul says [Heb 7:19], "The law brought nothing to perfection." The Old Law was imperfect in this respect. But then how could it have been from God, since St. Moses says [Dt 32:4], "The works of God are perfect"? The Old Law was not simply perfect but it was perfect as regards condition of time.{3} Heb 7:19 does not mean that God failed to give the Holy Fathers sufficient aids to salvation, for they believed in the promised Messiah.

3. Still there was no injustice in God’s judicial precepts in the Old Law. For it is written [Prov 8:8], "All My words are just; there is nothing wicked nor perverse in them." Atheists refer to the prescription of the death penalty for diverse crimes. Blasphemy is a mortal sin [Ex 22:20; Lev 24:10-23; Dt 13:1-15; 17:2-5; 18:20; Jos 23:7,16; 3 Ki 18:40]. There was death for gathering sticks and kindling and working on the Sabbath [Ex 31:14-15; 35:2-3; Nu 15:32-36]. Moreover, strangers in the night would be executed [Nu 1:51; 3:10,38; 18:7], as would adulterers [Dt 22:22-24; Lev 20:10] and disobedient children [Lev 20:9; Ex 21:17; Dt 21:18-21] and those who committed bestiality (and the beast with whom the pervert copulated) [Dt 20:15]. But the killing of sinners is lawful. Each individual is a part of the whole community as a limb is part of the whole body. But sometimes limbs are gangrenous and simply must be amputated in order to save the entire body. Thus if a man is an immediate danger to the community as a grave sinner, then it is good that he should be executed to protect the common good. For St. Paul says [1 Cor 5:6] that "a little leaven corrupts the whole lump." Many of the people whose punishment the Old Testament relates (for example, the 23,000+ men of Ex 32:28) are to be understood as having blasphemed the Holy Spirit [Mt 12:32]. Their punishment [e.g., Ex 32:34,38] reveals that they sinned against the Holy Spirit (i.e., through certain malice) and thus had no excuse for which their punishment could have been alleviated. Moreover, those persons God punished sinned against the Holy Spirit in the sense that they permanently removed all chances/paths/ways of forgiveness and their free will could no longer be turned to good. Thus the sin they committed was intrinsically unpardonable as a disease is intrinsically incurable.

4. God justly gave the death penalty for these offenses, for (1) the sinner could not repeat the sin; (2) the sinners had time to repent; (3) others were deterred from committing the same mortal sin [Dt 13:11]; (4) the sinner had no more occasion to spread his evil to others via contact and association; (5) God the Almighty, All-Wise, All-Knowing, All-Just fulfilled His commands; and (6) evil is quarantined so as to prevent the fall of far more into wickedness than without the death penalty. So murderers are justly executed by public authority. God executed murderers in the Old Testament. So a Biblioskeptic would then say that God justly gave the death penalty to murderers. But Biblioskeptics say that God was nevertheless unjust to kill blasphemers [Lev 24:16]. The problem with this line of thinking is that blasphemy is actually worse than murder! Sure enough murder is the graver sin in respect of the harm it does because murder harms the neighbor and the community while blasphemy does no harm to the Almighty God. But the gravity of a sin in fact depends on the intention of the evil will instead of the effect of the act. So the blasphemer wants to harm God's honor and thus sins directly against God, while the murderer sins against his neighbor. Thus blasphemy is absolutely a graver sin than murder. Thus if murder was punished with death then surely God rightly punished blasphemers and unbelievers with death. God does not just let things slide. For only an unjust judge would inordinately abate punishment, since that would do two things: (1) harm the community in which sins must be punished so men can avoid sinning and (2) prevent the victim from regaining his honor via the punishment on the man who sinned against him.

5. Atheists cannot find any examples of injustice on God's part in the Bible. Double effect demands that at one and the same time (A) the action is intrinsically good or morally neutral; (B) the evil effect must not cause the good effect and (C) the evil effect must be merely permitted and not desired in itself; and (D) permission of the evil must only be granted for sufficiently grave reasons. Further, according to the CCC, a war is just if at one and the same time (E) the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations is lasting, grave and certain; (F) all other means of putting an end to it have been shown to be impractical or ineffective; (G) there are serious prospects of success; and (H) the use of arms will not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. Whoever kills anyone at God’s command does not sin, nor does God Whose command he executes. For God is the sovereign Lord of life and death by Whose decree the sinful and just alike die.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

God's Mercy in 2 Kings 6

1. Atheists, the champion critical thinkers? No. In AFTB.1996, Teddy Bear Drange says, “According to premise (8) of the argument, the Bible contains a perfect morality and no ethical defects. But that claim seems incompatible with the fact that God iss described in the Bible as killing people for no good reason. We have already mentioned the many children killed in the Great Flood, in Sodom and Gomorrah, and in the ten plagues on Egypt (especially the last). Here are some additional examples of people whom God killed: … 9. Another man who, with good intention, touched the box (2Sa 6:6-7).”
2. Let us read the passage in question, 2 Ki 6: “David again brought together out of Israel chosen men, thirty thousand in all. He and all his men set out from Baalah of Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name, the name of the LORD Almighty, Who is enthroned between the cherubim that are on the ark. They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart with the ark of God on it, and Ahio was walking in front of it. David and the whole house of Israel were celebrating with all their might before the LORD, with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, sistrums and cymbals ... When they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. The LORD's anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down and he died there beside the ark of God.
3. God gave specific instructions for handling the Ark.{1} The atheists who claim ethical defects on God’s part in this passage are thoroughly wrong-headed. If they were critical thinkers they would see that 2 Ki 6 is a superb illustration of God’s mercy. God could have killed Uzzah at the start of his journey but gave him ample time to stop violating the laws He explicitly proclaimed. Uzzah did not have a high priest cover the Ark so that no one would die. Uzzah was not a Levite but only Levites could carry the ark. Men were supposed to carry the Ark on poles on their shoulders and not put the Ark on a cart/wagon; Uzzah violated God’s command in following the Philistine procedure and not the Levite method.{2} Even Kohathites who touched the Ark would die and Uzzah touched the Ark without being even a Kohathite. Most importantly, non-Levites were prohibited from even coming near the Ark lest they should die. God is just and cannot let sin go unpunished but He gave Uzzah maybe a couple of days to correct his blatant violation of God’s clearly defined and widely announced law.
4. 2 Ki 6 is a perfect historical demonstration of the veracity of myriad Scripture verses citing God’s mercy.{3} Likewise Lev 5; 10:16-18; Num 16; 2 Chr 30; 35, and many other Old Testament passages show that God is mercy.

5. In an upcoming post I will relate this to God’s impassibility and the mode of speaking used by the inspired saints who recorded God’s inerrant word.

Notes and References
{1} St. Moses says [Ex 25:14-15], “And you shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark, to carry the ark with them. The poles shall remain in the rings of the ark; they shall not be removed from it.”
St. Moses says [Num 1:50-51], “But you shall appoint the Levites over the tabernacle of the testimony, and over all its furnishings and over all that belongs to it. They shall carry the tabernacle and all its furnishings, and they shall take care of it; they shall also camp around the tabernacle. So when the tabernacle is to set out, the Levites shall take it down; and when the tabernacle encamps, the Levites shall set it up. But the layman who comes near shall be put to death.
St. Moses says [Num 4], “The LORD said to Moses and Aaron:"Take a census of the Kohathite branch of the Levites by their clans and families. Count all the men from thirty to fifty years of age who come to serve in the work in the Tent of Meeting … This is the work of the Kohathites in the Tent of Meeting: the care of the most holy things. When the camp is to move, Aaron and his sons are to go in and take down the shielding curtain and cover the ark of the Testimony with it. Then they are to cover this with hides of sea cows, spread a cloth of solid blue over that and put the poles in place... Over the table of the Presence they are to spread a blue cloth and put on it the plates, dishes and bowls, and the jars for drink offerings; the bread that is continually there is to remain on it. Over these they are to spread a scarlet cloth, cover that with hides of sea cows and put its poles in place...They are to take a blue cloth and cover the lampstand that is for light, together with its lamps, its wick trimmers and trays, and all its jars for the oil used to supply it. Then they are to wrap it and all its accessories in a covering of hides of sea cows and put it on a carrying frame …Over the gold altar they are to spread a blue cloth and cover that with hides of sea cows and put its poles in place … They are to take all the articles used for ministering in the sanctuary, wrap them in a blue cloth, cover that with hides of sea cows and put them on a carrying frame … They are to remove the ashes from the bronze altar and spread a purple cloth over it. Then they are to place on it all the utensils used for ministering at the altar, including the firepans, meat forks, shovels and sprinkling bowls. Over it they are to spread a covering of hides of sea cows and put its poles in place … After Aaron and his sons have finished covering the holy furnishings and all the holy articles, and when the camp is ready to move, the Kohathites are to come to do the carrying. But they must not touch the holy things or they will die. The Kohathites are to carry those things that are in the Tent of Meeting...Eleazar son of Aaron, the priest, is to have charge of the oil for the light, the fragrant incense, the regular grain offering and the anointing oil. He is to be in charge of the entire tabernacle and everything in it, including its holy furnishings and articles … The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "See that the Kohathite tribal clans are not cut off from the Levites. So that they may live and not die when they come near the most holy things, do this for them: Aaron and his sons are to go into the sanctuary and assign to each man his work and what he is to carry. But the Kohathites must not go in to look at the holy things, even for a moment, or they will die.”
St. Moses says [Num 7:9], “But to the Kohathites he gave none, because they were charged with the care of the holy things that had to be carried on the shoulders.”
{2} St. Moses says, quoting YHWH [Lev 20:23], “Moreover, you shall not follow the customs of the nation which I shall drive out before you, for they did all these things, and therefore I have abhorred them.”
{3} St. Jeremiah says [Lam 3:32], “Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love. For He does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men.”
St. Isaiah says, quoting YHWH [Is 65:2], “All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations – a people who continually provoke Me to My very face.”
St. Jeremiah adds, quoting YHWH, [Jer 42:10], “If you stay in this land, I will build you up and not tear you down; I will plant you and not uproot you, for I am grieved over the disaster I have inflicted on you.”
St. John the Evangelist says [1 Jn 4:16], “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.”
St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles, says [2 Pt 3:9], “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

Friday, September 28, 2007

September 28, 2007 Log

1 bowl Honey Nut Cheerios with 1% milk

1 small Red Gatorade

½ PBJ sandwich

1 turkey/cheese/mayo/mustard/lettuce sandwich

1 mile run to post office
1 mile run to beach
1 mile run on beach
2 mile run back to school

12 inch Italian special
1 20 oz Orange Gatorade
1 Chocolate Nesquik
1 chocolate chip fudge brownie

1 hour nap

3 slices extra-thin homemade pizza

1 large Breyer’s Vanilla Fudge Swirl Milkshake


Total mileage: 5 miles

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

September 26, 2007 Log

1 bowl Apple Cinnamon Cheerios (America’s Choice) w/ 1% milk

1 Cliff Bar
1 turkey, mayo?, mustard, lettuce, cheese sandwich
1 16.9 oz Mango Propel

15 minutes stretch
800 meter warm-up
Partner stretch

66 second quarter
90 seconds rest
2:30 800
90 seconds rest
72? Second quarter
90 seconds rest
2:42 800
90 seconds rest
75 second quarter
90 seconds rest
2:47 800
1 mile (perimeter) cool-down
200 crunches circuit (upper abs, lower abs, obliques) with Ted
10 wide push-ups
10 medium push-ups
10 narrow push-ups
10 medium push-ups
10 wide push-ups (failed on #49)

Piece of crumb cake from Paul

1 poppy seed bagel with King Kullen Cream Cheese

4 oz white meat chicken with Lizano sauce
1 bowl Apple Cinnamon Cheerios (America’s Choice) w/ 1% milk
Salad with croutons, carrots, romaine lettuce, oil, vinegar

1 egg everything bagel with King Kullen Cream Cheese
A LOT of tiny organic raspberries
1 16.9 oz Mango Propel
1 big bowl Plain Cheerios with raisins, banana slices, and 1% milk – stopped eating a while before 8:30 – felt traces of hunger before brushing teeth

Total Mileage: 3.75 miles

Monday, September 24, 2007

Jesus Christ Did Not Assume a Man or Person

Jesus assumed a man or person
1. Jesus did not assume a person because if that were true the person assumed would have been corrupted and thus useless or the person would have remained after the union and Christ would be two persons and the Trinity would be a Quaternity. This is because the thing assumed is presupposed to the assumption and is not the term of the assumption.

2. Jesus, the second Person of the Trinity, is the term of the assumption of the human nature. "Man" means human nature as it is in a suppositum because "God" indicates the Person Who has human nature. Thus Christ, having only one suppositum and one hypostasis,{1} did not assume a man; rather, Jesus is the man whose nature He assumed.

Notes & References
{1} "Contra Nestorius." The Banana Republican. 19 Aug. 2007. 24 Sept. 2007 <http://thebananarepublican.blogspot.com/2007/08/contra-nestorius.html>.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

September 22, 2007 Log

7:25 A.M. 1 ripe banana
7:50 A.M. stretch
8:00 A.M. 800m brisk warm-up
6x400m (six quarters with 90 seconds rest) = 64, 68, 70, 70, 72, 71 = avg. of 69.16
2 mile cool-down at easy pace

17 oz Chocolate Muscle Milk with 34g protein
2 lightly peppered poached eggs on whole wheat toast

3 hour nap

1 bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios

1 cup of Lemonade
1 egg bagel with cream cheese

1 Mango Propel (20 calories)

4 oz swordfish
Salad with carrots, lettuce, and oil & vinegar dressing
1 cup of orange juice

1 egg everything bagel with cream cheese

2 glasses of 1% milk
4 large chocolate chip cookies

Total mileage: 4 miles

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Holtz on Hell

The Bible does not give clear and consistent teachings about Hell

Apostate Brian Holtz says (AAC.2002) that "Jesus failed to leave clear teachings about … [H]ell."

On the contrary, the Bible's doctrine of Hell is perfectly clear.

In Hell=Gehenna=Infernus, the damned (men and demons) are subject to everlasting punishment [Is 66:24; Jer 18:7; Mt 25:41,46; Mk 9:43,45,47; 1 Cor 6:9-10; 2 Thess 1:9; Jam 2:10; 2 Pt 2:21; Rev 14:11; 19:3; 20:10] by corporeal fire [Wis 5:21; Mt 3:12; 13:42,50; 18:8; 25:41; Jude 7; Rev 19:20] of the same species as elemental fire [Wis 11:17; Is 30:33], brimstone and storms of winds [Ps 10:7; Is 30:33], snow waters [Job 24:19], an incorporeal worm which is the remorse of conscience (pain of loss) [Judith 16:21; Sir 7:19], incorporeal weeping [Lk 13:28; Rev 18:7], and material darkness [Ps 28:7; Mt 22:13; 25:30; 2 Pt 2:17; Jude 13]. The damned, who hate God [Ps 73:23] and always will evil and by right and deliberate reason wish not to be [Sir 41:3-4; Jer 20:14; Mt 26:24; Rev 9:6], repent indirectly by hating sin on account of the punishment with which it is connected [Wis 5:3], and they wish that the saints are damned [Is 14:9; 26:11]. The damned, whose pains are essentially immutable and differ in degree according to demerit, can use knowledge they acquired on earth [Lk 16:25] and they see the glory of the blessed [Wis 5:2; Lk 16:23]. Hell is beneath the earth [Nu 16:31; Jonah 2:4; Ps 54:16; Is 5:14; 14:9; Ek 26:20; Mt 12:40; Phil 2:10; Rev 5:3] and has plenty of room for the bodies of the damned [Prov 30:15-16].

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Devil's Sin

1. Contra Porphyry,{1} Beelzebub is not naturally wicked.{2} For as an intellectual substance, he is naturally inclined towards good which is the intellectually apprehensible object of the will. He did not sin in the first instant of his creation.{3} Jesus did not teach that He did, but simply that he never ceased to be evil after his first sin.{4} For God, the agent Who created the angels, is not the cause of sin (the evil of fault) and the operation of the angels came from God Who created their nature. But there was no interval between Satan's creation and his fall. For he used his free will in the first instant of his creation and was created in grace, and if he merited in the first instant of his creation then he would have received the beatific vision.

2. Now Satan was absolutely the highest angel God created.{5} Thus he is called Lucifer on account of the state from which he fell.{6} He was set over the terrestrial order as Rex Mundi.{7} The Seraphim are the highest order of angels{8} and Satan was from the order of the Cherubim.{9} Given the Catholic angelic hierarchy then, how is he said to be the highest angel? He is called a cherub (full of knowledge) instead of a seraph (on fire) because knowledge is compatible with mortal sin but the heat of charity is not compatible with mortal sin.{10}

3. And how could God’s will be frustrated in the noblest creature? This question is based on a false premise; God's will is not frustrated in the reprobate or the elect since He foreknows and makes glory from both. The wise God made it so that the intellectual creature so that even an exalted one such as Lucifer could use its own will in order to act for its own end, and thus could stray from its due end.{11} Further, though Lucifer's inclination to good may have been exceedingly high, he was not forced to incline towards good contrary to free will and hence he was able to not follow it.{12}

4. Satan caused the other angels to fall, not via coercion, but via encouragement,{13} and the cause and effect occurred in the same instant, since no angel needs to take time to deliberate and choose and consent, as we do. Of the seven deadly sins, only pride and envy can exist in a demon with regard to affection of their spiritual nature.{14} Beelzebub’s first sin was pride. For he first desired not to be subject to a superior when he was supposed to. His second sin was envy because he coveted the excellence which ceased to be singular when God, against Beelzebub’s will, used man for His glory.{15}

5. Satan sinned by seeking to be as God, not be equality, but by likeness.{16} In other words, he sinned by seeking final beatitude of his own power, which is proper to God alone. He desired final beatitude without God’s assistance by grace.{17} And thus he evilly wanted to have the authority of dominion over other beings. The will of Satan and his demons is forever obstinate in evil.{18} This sin is still in him according to desire, but he obviously doesn’t think he can get what he sought at this point. In the same way, a lustful man who remains in the same location while the lustful woman he knows moves to another country would fornicate if they could, i.e. if they weren’t so geographically separated.{19} Demons always sin when they act of their deliberate will; for they may tell the truth so as to trick somebody and when they unwillingly confess the truth when compelled by the evidence,{20} as in the case of the exorcism of Nicola Aubrey when Beelzebub, Legion, Astaroth, Cerberus, and other demons were forced to confess the truth of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.{21}

6. Satan is the most wicked and miserable being in the universe.{22} But he and his demons are not sorrow for the evil of sin on account of the sin itself, since that would mean he and his fallen angels have good will. Their sorrow is not evidence of a good will, but of their good nature which was created by God.{23}

7. The demons are subject to everlasting punishment. Origen incorrectly believed that God’s mercy will deliver the demons from their punishment after a very long time.{24} Scripture, on the other hand, teaches that the pains of Hell NEVER end.{25} If their sufferings ended then the bliss of the blessed would likewise end. God per se has mercy on everyone{26} but since His wisdom orders His mercy, the damned who are forever obstinate in evil (5) and make themselves unworthy of His mercy are not saved by His mercy. Mercy is not contrary to justice but is more than justice.{27} There is justice and mercy in every work of God.{28}

Notes and References
{1} Bishop St. Augustine the Great, Doctor of Grace, De Civ. Dei x, 11. Porphyry claimed that "There is a class of demons of crafty nature, pretending that they are gods and the souls of the dead."
{2} Pseudo-Dionysius, Div. Nom. iv.
Moreover, Lateran IV, cap. i, Firmiter credimus, says that "Diabolus enim et alii dæmones a Deo quidem naturâ creati sunt boni, sed ipsi per se facti sunt mali." This means that "the Devil and the other demons were created by God good in their nature but they by themselves have made themselves evil."
{3} St. Moses says [Gen 1:31], "God saw all the things that He had made, and they were very good."
St. Ezekiel says [Ek 28:13,15], "You were in the pleasures of the paradise of God. … You have walked in the midst of the stones of fire; you were perfect in your ways from the day of your creation until iniquity was found in you." St. Ezekiel is representing the instantaneous spiritual movement of the free will tending towards good as a corporeal movement measured by time.
St. Isaiah says [Is 14:12], "How you are fallen, O Lucifer, who did rise in the morning!"
Origen says [Hom. i in Ek], "The serpent of old did not from the first walk upon his breast and belly."
{4} St. John the Evangelist says [Jn 8:44], "He was a murderer from the beginning."
{5} That is why the Bible says "the Devil and his angels" [Mt 25:41], "the prince of the Powers of this air" [Eph 2:2] (referring to the seventh highest circle of angels, cf. Eph 1:21), and "the dragon and his angels" [Rev 12:7].
Pope St. Gregory I the Great, Doctor of the Church, Hom. xxxiv in Ev.: Satan, "being set over all the hosts of angels, surpassed them in brightness, and was by comparison the most illustrious among them."
{6} Petavius, De Angelis, III, iii, 4.
{7} St. John the Evangelist quotes our Lord as saying [Jn 14:30] "I will not now speak many things to you, for the prince of this world comes, and in Me he has not anything." Wherefore St. John Damascene says [De Fide Orth. ii, 4], "He who from among these angelic powers was set over the earthly realm, and into whose hands God committed the guardianship of the earth, was not made wicked in nature but was good, and made for good ends, and received from his Creator no trace whatever of evil in himself."
{8} St. Ezekiel says [Ek 28:14], "You were a cherub stretched out, and protecting, and I set you in the holy mountain of God."
{9} Pseudo-Dionysius, Coel. Hier. vi-vii.
{10} St. Thomas Aquinas, ST
{11} St. Thomas Aquinas, ST
{12} St. Thomas Aquinas, ST
{13} St. John the Evangelist says [Rev 12:3-4], "And another portent appeared in Heaven; behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems upon his heads. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth…"
{14} Bishop St. Augustine the Great says [De Civ. Dei xiv, 3] that Satan "is not a fornicator nor a drunkard, nor anything of the like sort; yet he is proud and envious."
{15} St. Thomas Aquinas, 1.63.2.
{16} St. Isaiah says of Satan [Is 14:13-14], "You said in your heart, 'I will ascend to Heaven, above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High.'"
{17} St. Anselm, De casu diaboli, iv: "He sought that which he would have come had he stood fast."
{18} King St. David says [Ps 73:23], "The pride of them that hate You, ascends continually."
{19} Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, ST
{20} St. Thomas Aquinas, ST
{21} "Satan's Aliases." The Banana Republican. 1 June 2007. 24 Aug. 2007 <http://thebananarepublican.blogspot.com/2007/06/satans-aliases.html>.
{22} St. John the Evangelist says [Rev 18:7], "As much as she has glorified herself, and lived in delicacies, so much torment and sorrow give Ye to her."
{23} Bishop St. Augustine the Great says [De Civ. Dei xix, 13] that "sorrow for good lost by punishment is the witness to a good nature."
{24} Bishop St. Augustine the Great, De Civ. Dei xxi.
{25} St. Matthew, quoting Jesus, says [Mt 25:41], "Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, which is prepared for the devil and his angels."
St. John the Evangelist says [Rev 20:9-10], "The devil who seduced them was cast into the pool of fire and brimstone, where both the beast and false prophet shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever."
{26} King St. Solomon says [Wis 11:24], "You have mercy upon all, O Lord, because You can do all things."
{27} St. James the Less says [Jam 2:13], "Mercy exalts itself above judgment."
{28} King St. David says [Ps 24:10], "All the ways of the Lord are mercy and truth."

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Craig Says God Is Intrinsically Mutable

God is not immutable in a strong sense

1. William Lane Craig and J.P. Moreland say, "Moreover, God's knowledge of tensed facts, implied by his omniscience, requires that since the moment of creation he undergoes intrinsic change as well, since he knows what is now happening in the universe. Thus God is not immutable in a strong sense."{1} Now I would say that Craig is a genius, but that he clings to several errors. Here he argues in favor of the error that God’s knowledge is variable.

2. I disagree with Craig and Moreland's proposition that God's knowledge is variable since it is contrary to verses from the Old Testament and New Testament to posit intrinsic change in God.{2}

3. Moreover, the diversity of enunciable propositions does not entail variation in God’s knowledge. God knows something to be and not to be without variation in His knowledge and so He knows that an enunciable proposition is true on some occasions on false on others. God does not know all things by composing and dividing as we do but rather by simple intelligence,{3} and thus his does not vary with respect to truth and falsity. Because God is eternal He is not ignorant and then afterwards aware of something. For God in His eternity knows whatever is or can be at any time. Craig and Moreland commit the fallacy of confusing knowledge of the variability of things with the variability of knowledge of things.

Notes and References
{1} J.P. Moreland and William Lane Craig, Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview p. 527. Buy this book because it is excellent food for thought!
{2} St. Moses says [Nu 23:19], "God is not as man, that He should change."
St. Malachi says [Mal 3:6], "I am the Lord, and I change not."
St. James in his Catholic Epistle says [Jam 1:17] that in God "there is no change nor shadow of alteration."
{3} St. Paul says [Heb 4:13], "All things are naked and open to His eyes." Wherefore Bishop St. Augustine the Great says [De Trin. xv], "God does not see all things in their particularity or separately, as if He saw alternately here and there; but He sees all things together at once." For God sees all things together instead of successively and He sees His effects in Himself as their cause, according to St. Thomas Aquinas [ST 1.14.7].

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Contra Eastern Orthodoxy

1. I have several family members and friends who are Greek Orthodox. But there are a number of reasons that the Greek Orthodox Church is not truly “orthodox” and thus the Catholic Church Christ founded does not subsist in the Greek Orthodox Church. So if you are, say, a Protestant coming home towards Christ’s true Church and you are having difficulty choosing between the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church, you must choose the Catholic Church because it is the true Church.

2. In the first place the Greek denial of the Filioque clause constitutes aheresy. Why join a church which has erred in its official position on the Trinity? For the Holy Ghost protects Christ’s Church from error. Now the Greek Church is in error because it says that the Holy Ghost proceeds only from the Father and not from the Father and/through the Son. One verse from God’s infallible word suffices to show whether a doctrine is true. And I have proved from the Lord Jesus’ own words in the Gospel of St. John the Evangelist that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Son by way of origin.{1}

3. The Greek Orthodox church also fell into error with regard to sexual morality. Now contraception is mortally sinful{2} and was universally condemned by all Christian denominations until 1930, when the Anglicans held the Lambeth conference. But Eastern Orthodoxy does not forbid contraception, and thus endangers the souls of many. Additionally, contravening Christ’s teaching, Orthodoxy allows second and third marriages. Christ teaches that valid sacramental marriage between two baptized Christians is absolutely indissoluble and that “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery” [Mk 10:11-12].

4. The papacy is found in scripture.{3} The pentarchy, however, is not. And had Jesus instituted a pentarchy, He would be a false prophet, which is impossible, for He is the omniscient Son of God. For He promised that His Church is indefectible{4} and that cannot be said of the non-Roman sees of the pentarchy: Constantinople, Alexandria, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. The see of Constantinople{5} was plagued by Arianism (Eusebius, Eudoxius), Semi-Arianism (Macedonius), Monophysitism (Acacius, Phravitas, Euphemius, Timothy I, Anthimus), Nestorianism (Nestorius), and Monothelitism (Sergius I, Pyrrhus,{6} Paul II, Peter, John VI). The poisonous smoke of Satan billowed into the see of Antioch in the form of Docetism, Modalism=Sabellianism (Paul of Samosata), Arianism (Eulalius, Euphronius), Nestorianism,{7} Monophysitism (Peter the Fuller, John Codonatus, Palladius, Severus, Sergius, Paul the Black, Peter Callinicum), and Monothelitism (Anthanasius, Macedonius, Macarius). The see of Alexandria succumbed to Monophysitism (Dioscorus, Timothy Aelurus, Peter Mongo, Athanasius II, John II, John III, Timothy III, Theodosius, Damianus) after its wicked rejection of the canons of the Council of Chalcedon in A.D. 451, and was also preyed upon by Monothelitism (Cyrus). Jerusalem succumbed to Monophysitism (Juvenal) and Origenism (Eustachius). The Muslim Arabs, who held to an incorrect theology, venerated a notorious sinner, and pretended that the fallible Quran with its internal contradictions{8} is the infallible Word of God, reigned over Jerusalem for the bulk of the period between A.D. 637 and World War I.

5. Eastern Orthodoxy has also suffered in the past from a perverted relationship between Church and State. The Church truly transcends the State but contrary to the Catholic Faith, the State has been for extended periods of time above the Church in the Greek church. Moreover, the Pope is not the “First Among Equals.” He never had that title. On the contrary, he was called “Vicar of Christ” in the late 300s, Servant of the Servants of God in the middle of the fifth century, and the “Head of the Church” in the late 400s—man Greek Fathers,{9} and the synodal letters of the Ecumenical Councils of Chalcedon, Constantinople III, and Nicaea II called the pope the “Head of the Church” well before the schism of 1054. The councils of Constantinople in 638 and 639 were not Ecumenical since Rome did not approve and cooperate with them, and these councils formally held to Monothelitism by ratifying the Ecthesis. There have been 21 Ecumenical Councils, the first of which was Nicaea I in A.D. 325 and the most recent of which was Vatican II in 1965. And yet the Greek church only accepts one third of the ecumenical councils, repudiating the fourteen most recent ones: Nicaea I (325), Constantinople I (381), Ephesus (431), Chalcedon (451), Constantinople II (553), Constantinople III (680), and Nicaea II (787.) There is no point in agreeing upon a system which makes Ecumenical Councils central to the governance of the Church universal and then out of the blue abandoning the Councils for 1220 years. That is not right.

6. In a similar vein Orthodoxy truncates doctrinal development, contrary to Scripture.{10} That is why it systematically denies Papal supremacy/primacy and infallibility, the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the dogma of Purgatory, Filioque, etc. And thus it cannot properly be called Orthodox, a title it usurped from Rome. Really it is the Eastern Heterodox Church.

{1} “Invincible Argument for Filioque.” http://thebananarepublican.blogspot.com/2007/04/invincible-argument-for-filioque.html.
{2} “Contraception is a Mortal Sin.”
{3} “Papacy, Part I.”
{4} “Papacy, Part II.”
{5} This means that its leaders, its patriarchs, were heretics. But no Pope (Bishop of Rome) has been a heretic, which is explained in another post, “Heretical Popes – No Way.”
{6} Pyrrhus is such a cool name and he had to blacken it by embracing a Christological heresy which fails to distinguish between what is one, absolutely speaking, and what is one in subordination to another.
{7} I submit that Nestorianism is the easiest Christological heresy to fall into, and that many people who don’t know any better are Crypto-Nestorians who need to be more educated about the sublime mystery of the Incarnation. See “Contra Nestorius.”
{8} “Quranic Errancy, Pt. 1.” http://thebananarepublican.blogspot.com/2007/03/in-evaluating-quran-as-with-any-other.html.
{9} The monk St. John Cassian says [Contra Nestorium iii, 12], “That great man, the disciple of disciples, that master among masters, who wielding the government of the Roman Church possessed the principle authority in faith and in priesthood. Tell us, therefore, we beg of you, Peter, prince of Apostles, tell us how the Churches must believe in God.”
St. Maximus the Confessor says [Ep. to Peter], “If the Roman See recognizes Pyrrhus to be not only a reprobate but a heretic, it is certainly plain that everyone who anathematizes those who have rejected Pyrrhus also anathematizes the See of Rome, that is, he anathematizes the Catholic Church. I need hardly add that he excommunicates himself also, if indeed he is in communion with the Roman See and the Catholic Church of God ...Let him hasten before all things to satisfy the Roman See, for if it is satisfied, all will agree in calling him pious and orthodox. For he only speaks in vain who thinks he ought to persuade or entrap persons like myself, and does not satisfy and implore the blessed Pope of the most holy Catholic Church of the Romans, that is, the Apostolic See, which is from the incarnate of the Son of God Himself, and also all the holy synods, according to the holy canons and definitions has received universal and supreme dominion, authority, and power of binding and loosing over all the holy churches of God throughout the whole world.” Moreover J.P. Migne in PG 90 (see http://thebananarepublican.blogspot.com/2007/00000) quotes the confession of St. Maximus in his Opuscula theological et polemica of the infallibility of the Apostolic Roman Church: “The extremities of the earth, and everyone in every part of it who purely and rightly confess the Lord, look directly towards the Most Holy Roman Church and her confession and faith, as to a sun of unfailing light awaiting from her the brilliant radiance of the sacred dogmas of our Fathers, according to that which the inspired and holy Councils have stainlessly and piously decreed. For, from the descent of the Incarnate Word amongst us, all the churches in every part of the world have held the greatest Church alone to be their base and foundation, seeing that, according to the promise of Christ Our Savior, the gates of hell will never prevail against her, that she has the keys of the orthodox confession and right faith in Him, that she opens the true and exclusive religion to such men as approach with piety, and she shuts up and locks every heretical mouth which speaks against the Most High.”
The final quote in our brief list is from St. Theodore the Studite of Constantinople, Book I, Ep. 23 to Pope Leo III,
{10} St. John the Evangelist [Jn 14:26; 16:13-15].

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Contra Nestorius

Mirror link

This is a decisive refutation of Nestorius' objectively heretical Christological teaching. I'm not sure but my titular Latin may be incorrect; the correct Latin might be "Contra Nestorium." I will distinguish the various Trinitarian terms and prove that in Christ there are not two hypostases and that the two hypostases teaching of Nestorius inexorably leads to two Christs, which is repugnant to the Catholic faith.

1. Holtz attributes the rise of the Nestorian heresy to an imperfection in Christ's teaching. Lest anyone defend the perfidious heretic Nestorius as orthodox, I will explain why Nestorius's doctrine of the Incarnation is impossible. What follows is a short and succinct summary: We do not admit two Sons. If that were true we would be worshipping a Divine Quaternity instead of the Trinity. For the Son of God is one Person in one hypostasis with two natures. Nestorius taught that there are two hypostases in Christ, while insisting that Christ is one Person. But in Christ there are not two hypostases. For if Christ as Man is a hypostasis there would be two persons: one eternal and one temporal.{1} Therefore Nestorius's teaching inexorably leads to two Christs, or two Sons, which is contrary to the Catholic faith.

2. The human nature of Christ exists in alio in the Divine Personality of the Word; it is not a person because it is not communicated by assumption and does not exist per se seorsum. The person of "that man Who is called Jesus" [Jn 9:11] affirms that "Before Abraham was, I AM" [Jn 8:58] and that "I and the Father are one" [Jn 10:30], meaning that the person of that Man is the person of the Son of God; i.e. that Jesus Christ is one person only. Moreover, the Man Christ who ascended to Heaven [Acts 1:9] and the Word of God who descended from Heaven are the same person [Eph 4:10].

3. The Son of God was made man because to be man is truly predicated of the Son of God, not from eternity, but from the time of His assuming human nature, the moment of His conception ca. 2000 years ago. "Made man" does not imply a change in God, which would contradict Mal 3:6 ("I am the Lord, and I change not"). Whatever is predicated relatively can be newly predicated of Jack without Jack's change. The change was only on the part of the human nature assumed and not on the part of God. To illustrate, take the men Jack and John. To be on the right side is predicated of Jack without Jack's change, for Jack was immobile while John changed by moving to Jack's left side.

4. The Son of God was made man. Therefore, man is God. For "man" may represent any hypostasis of human nature and thus may represent the Person of the Son of God (a hypostasis of human nature), of whom the word God is truly and properly predicated [ST III, q. 16, art. 2, corp.]. We do not attribute the name of the Deity to the man in His human nature, but in the eternal suppositum, which by union is a suppositum of the human nature [ibid., ad 1] (n.b., there is only one suppositum of both natures and only one hypostasis of one person, contra the heretic Nestorius and his followers; if Christ as man is a hypostasis or person there would be two persons in Christ, one temporal and the other eternal, which is repugnant to the truth of the Incarnation).

5. The man Christ did not begin to be; He always was. Christ began to be Man, since "Man" signifies the eternal, uncreated suppositum when placed in the subject and refers to the finite human nature when placed in the predicate [ST III, q. 16, art. 9, ad 3].

6. The characteristics of the Son of Man may be predicated of the Son of God and the characteristics of the Son of God may be predicated of the Son of Man. That means that we can say of Christ that "God is passible," "the God of glory was crucified," and "God died."

7. Because there is one hypostasis of the Divine and the human nature, the name of either nature (Son of Man, Son of God) signifies the same hypostasis. What belongs to the Divine nature be said of the Man, as of a hypostasis of the Divine nature [ST III, q. 16, art. 4, corp.]. Moreover, what belongs to the human nature may be said of God, as of a hypostasis of human nature [ibid.]. The Catholic faithful do not distinguish things predicated of Christ but distinguish the reasons for which they are predicated [ibid.].

8. Now the critical thinker will not fall into the trap of predicating the characteristics of the Son of Man of the Divine nature and the characteristics of the Son of God of the human nature. In the Mystery of the Incarnation the Divine and human natures are not the same, though the hypostasis of the two natures in the same. Therefore what belongs to one nature cannot be predicated of the other if they are taken in the abstract. Now concrete words stand for the hypostasis of the nature. Ergo of concrete words we may predicate simply what belongs to either nature, whether the concrete word of which they are predicated refers to the Divine nature alone or the human nature alone.

9. Therefore we affirm that "God is passible" but we deny that "the Godhead is passible." Q.E.D.

10. No longer do you need to be confused about the Latin and Green Trinitarian vocabulary! Note that for the definitions of "person" and "subsistence" I use “substance” not to mean the "essence” or "quiddity" of a thing, but a "subject" or "suppositum." For by claiming the existence of three "essences" in God I would be guilty of Tritheism. Lest anyone object that "suppositum" and "hypostasis" are unbecoming to God, I say: We name Divine things after the manner of created things, and according to St. Thomas "created natures are individualized by matter which is the subject of the specific nature;"{2} thus we call individuals "subjects," "supposita," and "hypostases," but without positing any real "subjection" in God so as to imply that God is composed of subject and accident,{3} for God is absolutely simple.{4}
Essence: Esse is the same as ousía.
According to the old Catholic Encyclopedia, essence is "that whereby any given thing is that which it is, the ground of its characteristics and the principle of its being."
Person: Persona is the same as prósopon.
A subsistent (existing in himself and for himself) individual substance of a complete rational nature.
Subsistence: Subsistentia (NOT substantia) is the same as hypostasis.
An individual of the genus substance; first substance; a particular substance. In other words, an individual substance of a complete nature who exists in himself and for himself. Or, what exists in and for himself and is specially and peculiarly indicated by a name.
Hypostasis is not altogether the same as person because the definition of hypostasis does not include the rationality of the nature.
Nature: Natura is the same as physis.
According to the old Catholic Encyclopedia, nature is "that whereby it acts as it does, the essence considered as the foundation and principle of its operation." St. Thomas [De ente et essentia, cap. i] defines it thusly: "the essence of a thing according as it has relation to its proper operation."

11. In order to remove occasions of error I say:
A. If anyone denies that in the Holy Trinity there is one Nature having three Hypostases of Persons, let him be anathema.
B. If anyone denies that aside from the Trinity and the Incarnation, every physis is a hypostasis and every hypostasis is a physis, let him be anathema.
C. If anyone denies that physis is an abstraction which cannot exist except as a concrete, i.e. as a hypostasis, let him be anathema.
D. If anyone denies that Christ's human nature is per se anhypostatos, let him be anathema.
E. If anyone denies that the Person of the Son is the hypostasis of the human nature, let him be anathema.
F. If anyone denies that the union in Christ is a union not of two natures directly with each other but a union of two natures in one hypostasis and that the two natures are distinct yet inseparable and act in communion with each other, let him be anathema.{5}
G. If anyone denies that the Three Persons are of one ousía, let him be anathema.

A thousand anathemas to Nestorius and those who follow his blasphemies!

Notes and References
{1} St. Thomas Aquinas, ST III, q. 16, art. 12. In reference to the suppositum, we affirm that "Christ as man is a person" because the suppositum of human nature is the Person of the Son. We deny that in "Christ as man is a person" as if "in Christ a proper personality caused by the principles of the human nature is due to the human nature" since the human nature does not subsist (exist of itself) apart from the Divine Nature, and subsistence is essential to personhood. Cf. Anathema 4.
{2} St. Thomas Aquinas, ST I, q. 39, art. 1, ad 3.
{3} Boethius, On the Trinity. Every accident is in a subject, and God cannot be a subject since "no simple form can be a subject."
{4} Bishop St. Augustine the Great of Hippo, On the Trinity 4:6-7.
{5} Echoing the Tome of Pope St. Leo I the Great (A.D. 449), the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon (451) declared infallibly that the two natures of Christ are "asynchytos, atreptos, adiairetos, achoristos;" to wit: "without confusion, without change, without division, without separation." Amen.