“Nonsense Remains Nonsense Even When We Talk it About God”

The Problem of Pain book coverI started C.S. Lewis’ The Problem of Pain today on a flight to Honolulu. Now, before you get envious, it is for work. However, I sill stipulate that there are far worse places and things to do for work. 🙂

In either case, it is yet another thought-provoking work by him, and I am sure it will generate a good number of posts here on Traditores…this being the first. Getting on with that…

How many of you have ever heard someone ask, “Can God create a rock so large He cannot lift it?”

To them, hopefully with kindness in your heart and voice, you can respond:

[God’s] Omnipotence means the power to do all that is intrinsically possible, not to do the intrinsically impossible. You may attribute miracles to him, but not nonsense. There is no limit to His power. If you chose to say “God can give a creature free will and at the same time withhold free will from it,” you have not succeeded in saying anything about God: meaningless combinations of words do not suddenly acquire meaning simply because we prefix to them the two other words “God can.” It remains true that all things are possible with God: the intrinsic impossibilities are not things but non-entities. It is no more possible for God than the weakest of His creatures to carry out both of two mutually exclusive alternatives; not because His power meets an obstacle, but because nonsense remains nonsense even when we talk it about God.

It is easy to see how this quote from chapter two applies to the rock question, but we humans fall afoul of this far more often than we realize; whether as believers building a self-contradictory systematic theology, or non-believers rationalizing our rejection of the Divine through an intrinsically impossible standard for an acceptable God.

Nonsense remains nonsense.

Free Will == Brain Background Noise?

A brain filling via a funnelThe concept of free will could be little more than the result of background noise in the brain, according to a recent study.

Okay…

According to the research, published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, decisions could be predicted based on the pattern of brain activity immediately before a choice was made.

Well, looks like we can get into a bit of a “Does foreknowledge require predestination?” argument. But avoiding that tangent…

“The state of the brain right before presentation of the cue determines whether you will attend to the left or to the right,” Bengson said.

Well, a few thoughts: [Read more…]

Is free will an illusion?

Interesting video about free will (hat tip to Hot Air):

During college I watched a debate between a Calvinist and a…well…I guess you would say a “non-Calvinist.” In it the Calvinist spent a little time waxing philosophical about free will, and whether it actually exists. Ultimately, he was arguing, you cannot do anything outside your nature…so thus, you do not have free will.

Oddly enough, with that perspective God does not have free will either…since He will never do anything outside His nature.

And that’s what makes Him so great. 🙂

Lord, Why Have You Forsaken Us?

Hurt's The Crux (image from Amazon.com)

Questions

After last week's sermon I got two bits of implicit advice, one right after service, one late in the work week. First, get into the meat of the talk more quickly. Second, keep it shorter.

So, let's jump right in with some questions:

  • Did God create the heavens and the earth and everything that is in them?
  • Is God sovereign over all His creation?
  • Is God omnipresent—that is, everywhere?
  • Is God love?
  • Is God in control?
  • Is God omnipotent—that is, all powerful?
  • Does God hear prayer?
  • Does God answer prayer?

If you are a true Christian you are likely to answer yes to all those questions. As such, please try to answer one additional question in these words spoken during Hurt's song, "Adonai":

If God is here
And God is love
Was he there when I got touched?
While I was calling out his name?

The answer to his query, "Was God there?" is another simple yes. However, that's not really the question being asked, is it?

[Read more…]