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.


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.”