Monday, January 12, 2009

I Don't Have the Time.

If we are not pantheists (in which all is god) than God is discrete from that which is not God. He knows that which is Himself and that which is not. And given those two realms of that which is (God and not-God), the referent of a point of knowledge which God possesses can be spoken of as being either Actual or Conceptual. That which is Actual has a referent outside of God. It exists and isn't God. That which is Conceptual has a referent inside of God (a mental construct as memory or anticipation would be) and it has no non-God actuality.
When the question of God's foreknowledge (or past-knowledge for that matter) arises, these two categories do as well. Is God outside of Time looking down on Actualities? Or is Time not in question at all because God's knowledge of the future (or the past) is Conceptual? I mention the past, for so many wish to create a special sphere of atemporality in which God might dwell without examining whether or not they are talking nonsense. If God is looking down on Time from an atemporal vantage then those things observed are Actual and existent. Christ is still on the cross (for God) and always was (for God) and will be forevermore. The Trinity can never be fully united for those words of Christ, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" will ring in actual existence for God, forever. Amen? That or the knowledge of God regarding the past is Conceptual (just like your memories) and He "remembers" what was, not sees what was but saw. Maybe, dare I suggest it, that God's knowledge of the Future is equivalently Conceptual? In fact, the Death of Christ on the cross is burdensome for Future thought as well as Past. Why, you ask? The Trinity of God,(atemporal and dealing with Actualities), has been eternally lacking in Triuneness since He has been eternally in a knowledge relationship with everything that is Actual and that Actual, (because Actual) binds and defines the content of truth of the thing known. So the Actual crucified state of Jesus is and was and will be (from our temporal vantage and language) the state of God. And to add insult to the injury of this silly talk of Time, God's relationship with Himself in the Trinity is also known and enjoyed as united for there have been "Times" when the atemporal God looked down on Actual non-separation AND rejoiced in the Tiune presence of the Conceptual knowledge of Himself, fully and truly united. So... Actual separation and Actual non-separation both being true for God in the same "God-moment" regarding the same characters. Looks like you either have to throw out the "Universal Law of Non-Contradiction (A cannot be non-A) or throw out Time.
It is actually a choice between you being able to "know" anything because you have made statements which call laws of Logic into question or you reject a dimension called Time. It was cute when you didn't think about it too much.

And if you are a Calvinist, God help you, but you didn't need Time in the first place. Your benighted definition of God has His foreknowledge resting in the Decree, not foresight and atemporality.


Matthew N. Petersen said...

I couple of comments:

First, you really ought to read up a little on what your opponents think--namely on what it means for creation to be contingient. Creation does not exist in the same way as God does. "To be" does not apply unequivocally to God and creation.

Second, "That which is Conceptual has a referent inside of God (a mental construct as memory or anticipation would be) and it has no non-God actuality." What in Christ's name does this mean. So this concept exists in God. Is it created? If so, does the uncreated God know anything? If, on the other hand, it is uncreated, is it God Himself? Or do you believe that not all things are created by God?

Third, you seem to really misunderstand trans-temporality. You seem to think of it as static non-life. But according to classic thought, the motion of this world, and even time itself, are but a poor reflection to the Eternal Life which is God. In other words, you're attacking a straw man.

But even so, most people would understand that it's nonsense to say God changes (on par with saying 2+2=5, though even weider than that), and your criticism could be rephrased in a way that in no way depends on time. Namely, there can be no new relation between the Father and the Son contingent on creation, (and especially contingent on sin) and so whatever separation there is on the Cross, there is eternally, though eternally swallowed up in an eternal Easter.

And if that attack (which is perhaps an attack on Christianity itself) is an attack you want to embrace, I might reply that it is quite possible that tension and pain are a part of goodness itself. We wouldn't want to say that heaven is a Kincade painting.

Evan B. Wilson said...

First, no I oughtn't.
...and sure they don't "in the same way" but between the choices of "don't exist" and "do exist" both God and Creation do.

Second, it means that God has thoughts. Pardon my obtusosity.

Third, call it what you like but whatever Zen description you wish to give atemporality, the category exists as an "all bets are off" convenience to the problems created by classical theism and temporality.

"most people" voted for Obama.

Matthew N. Petersen said...

"Third, call it what you like but whatever Zen description you wish to give atemporality, the category exists as an "all bets are off" convenience to the problems created by classical theism and temporality."

This paragraph really shows a risible lack of understanding of the issues.

"First, no I oughtn't."

But this quip says that you don't really care. Oh well, if you don't care to make sense, or to criticize what your opponents actually believe, I suppose I won't care to interact with you.

cheesewright said...

Your God is not big enough to inhabit both eternity and time. He is a tiny god.

You speak of "Time" and "Actualities" as things completely separate from God. Do you think they could exist without him?

Speaking about God seems like nonsense to us because we are creatures. But what is impossible with man is possible with God. Instead of saying, "God outside of time doesn't make sense" you should fall down and worship him who fills heaven and earth, yet was born in a manger.

Evan B. Wilson said...

Mr.or Ms. Cheesewright,
Your "eternity" and "time" are precisely what? If God is big enough to inhabit the realms so labeled but fails to inhabit the realm of Faerie, is he then a small God. "But", you say, "The Realm of Faerie does not exist." My point exactly.

As to your second point, are you a Pantheist? I certainly agree with you that nothing was made that was not made by the uncreated Creator. Everything has a debt in their existence to God but all that is necessary to my argument is that those things created are not God themselves. They exist and are not God even though God made them.

First, your words and realms are affirmed without definition or proofs.

Second, you extend my claim about things other than God AND suggest that I am guilty of the flaw of your extension.

Thirdly, you deny that that self evident nonsense that you might speak of God is covered by that great conveyor of truth framed thus, "I said something irrational but I said it about God so this otherwise culpable irrationality adds actual piety to my claim." Sounds like you can never be shown wrong about God and it sounds suspiciously unlike the "wisdom that comes down from above" for such is "open to reason".

cheesewright said...

My apologies for not introducing myself. My name is Daniel Bakken. I live in Moscow just a few blocks away from the Big Haus.

If you can find a verse teaching the existence of the Faerie Realm, I will concede the argument. But in Isaiah 57:15, "Thus says the High and Lofty one Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place..." According to this verse, God in some sense dwells apart from time. We know from other verses that he also lived in Palestine for a while. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that God inhabits both time and eternity.

Time and Actualities: I do not mean they are identical with God or part of him. Of course they are created things. If they are created, it follows that God can interact with them as we do, yet simultaneously remain above/outside them. If he cannot get outside Time, then God is constrained; he is trapped by his own creation.

As to your accusations of intellectual laziness masquerading as piety, it does not follow. Not understanding doctrine taught by Scripture is no grounds for labeling it "incomprehensible" or "nonsense". Your amazing grab-bag of logical powers allows you to label any doctrine with which you disagree "nonsensical" and with a wave of your hand everything makes sense, and your opponent is reduced to jello.

Matthew N. Petersen said...


Like I said, whether or not you agree with it, it behooves you to criticize what people actually believe. Perhaps Augustine's understanding of omnipresence and of time are false. Perhaps the traditional understanding of being is false, but you aen't interacting with it at all.

Aquinas can, without flinching say that the being of all existing things is God, and likewise that the goodness of all good things is God, and the life of all living things is God. (He is after all quoting St. Paul from Ephesians and Acts.)

To deny that God is the being of all being things--a position which is distinctly different from pantheism--is strictly speaking, atheist.

All things not only in their beginning, but continually are a pouring out from God, and are nothing but an infinitely removed reflection of Him, or a scattering of Him as white light is scattered by a stained glass window.

If we deny this we assert that God is able to create things that though they were first formed by Him, now have their being outside of Him, and thus it is coherent to speak of "outside of God" or "aside from God" even as He is in Himself.

But in order for things to exist aside from God, there must be some substratum in which both God and the created thing exist. But then either this substratum is created, in which that substratum must have its own substratum and so on ad infinitum, or is itself only in God, or that substratum is uncreated, and God has not created all things. And thus we are left atheists.

This is important because on the classic understanding of God, God knows all things by knowing Himself. "So we say that God sees Himself in Himself, because He sees Himself through His essence; and He sees other things not in themselves, but in Himself; inasmuch as His essence contains the similitude of things other than Himself." (ST I.14.5) And by your own admission, your argument assumes this point is false.

Likewise, on the classical understanding of God, God's knowledge of Himself is not a part of Himself, as it is for us (and as you seem to assume) but is He Himself.

In short, to return to your first point, you seek to criticize the classical understanding of God, but instead fassion God in your own image, thus effectively embracing atheism, and then show that given your atheism, theism is nonsense.

Granted, given atheism, theism is nonsense. The question you pretend to answer though, is whether given theism theism is nonsense.

But far more damning than this, your argument presupposes that God is comprehensible outside Christ, and thus you reduce yourself to a vain philosopher not holding fast the head. Outside Christ, God is unknowable--and even this is too sure for it assumes that we know that He is unknown. To say "God is inside time" is to claim to know something about God, and thus is nonsense.

Begin with Christ, call all else darkness, and perhaps you will speak sense. But such empty philosophy as you preach here is naught but vain deceit.

Evan B. Wilson said...

Welcome Daniel,
And it would be nice if you found a verse that argued for timelessness.
James Sire wrote Scripture Twisting many years ago and one of the methods used is "Misreading No. 6: Overspecification [i.e., getting more out of a text than what is in it]". Your verse only appears to say what you claim if you already believe it says it. "Inhabits eternity" is no claim regarding Time which you can define. In fact, the NASB and the NIV both render it "lives forever".

And you have to "assume" that Time exists to even feel that God is constrained by being only in the Now. There is no Time outside of which one can be. It is no limit on God, it is a limit on Reality.

You will need to go back and prove that Time (as you conceive of it) exists. It is a pretty key element which you have not demonstrated as yet.

Matthew N. Petersen said...

"It is no limit on God, it is a limit on Reality."

Then is Reality a limit on God?

Matthew N. Petersen said...

Also, you do realize that you have the burden of proof, not Daniel. You're the one introducing a novelty. Perhaps you're right, but you need to prove it. He doesn't need to prove his position.

cheesewright said...

Belief in a spooky metaphysical realm called "Time" is not a sine qua non of orthodox theology. Let's forget about that since it distracts from the main argument.

If the Bible says God knows the future, then it follows the future must exist (if only as a concept in God's mind) in order to be known. God knows what happened yesterday, what is happening today, and what will happen tomorrow. Saying that he knows past, present, and future is another way of expressing it.

If God doesn't know the future, how does he make prophecies about things which will happen hundreds of years later?

If you can prove he doesn't know the future, congratulations. You have proved that he is not God. And you will then be forced to set some higher principle such as Logic upon his throne. Or you could step back from the precipice and revise your syllogism.

Evan B. Wilson said...

You are correct that the degree and kind to which God knows the Future to that degree and kind it exists. If He knows all that will be by foresight (Arminian) it follows that Time and its contents exist to (from God's vantage) be seen. If He knows all that will be by His Exhaustive Decree, it follows that it will definitely happen and God's knowledge of it is true but doesn't follow that Time exists and that God needs to be atemporal. It is superfluous for the Calvinist.
I am with the Calvinist on this point. God knows the Future by decree not by foresight. The Future's only fixity is in the decree of fixity of the decree of God. "Yet forty days and this city will fall" and "Put your house in order, you will not recover you shall surely die." both are decrees mutable. Consequently the Future is not fixed. If God has not fixed it (and He declares He has not, see Jer. 18) then who are you to talk back to God...... O man?

cheesewright said...

It sounds as though your God is a schizophrenic who on Mondays and Wednesdays imposes his decrees and on Tuesdays and Thursdays lets creation run wild.

Your God suspends free will any time it affects his plan for the future. Your free will is only free under certain conditions, in which case it isn't truly free.

Would you call a man free who was enslaved for only one hour each day?

Evan B. Wilson said...

How is having plans Monday and not Tuesday Schizoid? If so, we all are.
Are you saying that since God can plan, He must?

And no one here is arguing for absolute Free Will. We are all overruled by many things. We all here agree that God's decrees (should He decide to implement them) are omnipotent and cannot be countered.
But if a master tells a slave, "You are free to do what you want this afternoon." the slave is free to do what he wants that afternoon. If the slave says that he is absolutely free, he errs. God has granted you freedoms in certain areas of life. Those areas, freely adjusted by us and non-decreed by God affect the possibles. Tomorrow is a combination of all choices, God's, ours and the bunny rabbits.

Nuallain said...

You know Evan, I seem to recall having this debate with you before... And I don't recall having lost. (

But in specific response to this time around I reiterate a point which you never responded to last time and which seems to factor in critically to your thinking here. You place great weight on the idea that God cannot be "outside of time" for then Christ would be both forever separated from God on the cross and also forever unified to God in Trinity.

I must point out that, if time does not exist then Christ being seperated from the Father would imply that the metaphysical makeup of reality must have changed during that interval in a way at least as significant as the laws of logic ceasing to work. How, if we are to believe that the very nature of the Godhead can change? (Heb 13:8, John 8:58, Ja 1:17) Are we not rooted in the assurance that God does not change, is this not our rock that we know what Good and Evil and Truth and Falsehood are? If indeed God exists transcendentally outside of time then the nature of that separation must indeed be an eternal aspect of the Godhead but losing 1 dimension from an infinite dimensional space is more reasonable an idea than that the very core and nature of God may change.


Evan B. Wilson said...

How the heck are you?
Yes, you were wrong back then and are persistent.
You may not change the rules midway (regarding atemporality) when it starts to smack of silly. The thing itself was not announced to us by the Living God but announced by us (we humans) and applied to God. It was so announced in order to provide a means of having God see and know the future in its actuality without being causal in a decretive sense. This very "transcendant" and magical place was made to provide an Actual passage of information of Future acts to God. That is because in order to be known by God that Future must be exhaustively decretal (Conceptual Knowledge) or atemporally existent (Actual Knowledge) Those are the rules. I did not make them up. If I then apply that "God ability" to "see" Future Actualities (a sophistry to save classical omniscience AND the freedom of the Will) to other things, defenders of Time and Timelessness cannot throw it out by saying it don't work like that. Then heckfire, if it don't work like that, why is it even invented? What purpose does this Time of yours serve to God?

Oh, yes, God does change. Other problem solved.

Matthew N. Petersen said...

This very "transcendant" and magical place was made to provide an Actual passage of information of Future acts to God.

Perhaps this is how it is for evangelicals--I don't know--but it isn't true of classic theism.

For a classic theist, "atemporal" is, strictly, a negative--"God is not in time".

For the classical theist, the only reality which bounds God is God. All God "perceives" is God. The place where God is is God. The only one with God is God.

In Trinitarian terms, the only reality which bounds the Father is the Son and the Spirit. All the Father "perceives" is the Son and the Spirit. The only Place where the Father is is the Spirit, and He is There with the Son alone.

This may be true, this may be false, but this is the starting point for classic theism. It comes from revelation (perhaps disputed) that no man has seen God, that God dwells in inaccessible light, etc. It also is also derived from the fact that God created all things. If there is any sort of reality by which God is bound, that reality is not created by God. So either that reality is greater than God, and God did not create all things, or that Reality is God Himself.

In otherwords, classical theists believe that God is Truth, and that God is Good. But not that God is good in the same way you or I might be. When we say "Evan is good" there is some good outside Evan to which he refers. When we (and perhaps you are not included in that we) say "God is Good" we are refering to who God is Himself. He is Goodness. He is Truth. He is the Way. He is Life. He is Light.

Atemporality is believed first because a classic theist says we cannot know God as He is Himself. (You may dispute this. I'm explaining, not arguing for anything.) And second, because if God does not refer upwards to anything outside Himself, that is if He does not change because He always has the Fullness namely the Son and the Spirit, it isn't sensible to say God was at time t1, God is not at time t2. Nothing in any way (including His relations to others) has changed in any way between time 1 and time 2.

And so we claim that God is not bound by time. Or, for short, God is atemporal. But the moment we say "God is atemporal" we start thinking of dead or lifeless things, the only things we do not know which do not change.

And it is at this point where the other aspect of classic theology is important. Not only do we know God apophatically, we know Him cataphatically. We know Him through analogy. That is to say, everything that is is, in some way, an image or reflection of the Infinite Life which is inside God. And, for a classic theist, this includes time. Time is a reflection of the Infinite Life which is God.

The question of God's relation to our time--straddling it all--comes not from an attempt to perserve free-will (which is accomplished in a different way altogether), but from the acknowledgement that nothing in God changes, including His relation to other things. Now God has the same relation to forty years ago He did forty or eighty years ago. If He didn't, He would have changed. And God's knowledge of all times is His Knowledge of Himself, and indeed is He Himself.

Matthew N. Petersen said...

Looking at the previous discussion, you might reply "the idea that we cannot know God because He is not material is gnostic."

I agree it is. That's why I don't believe it. God is as far removed from the physical as from the rational. And God is, in Christ, as fully united to the physical--His Body--as to the Rational "Man".

Indeed, I might add, that it is I who believe that God's body is effective, and you who deny this. It is I who assert that God has a Spiritual Body and you who deny this. It is I who say "Colossians and Galatians are not making a distinction between physical and non-physical, but between Christ and non-Christ. Christ is physical." On this point, it is you who are the gnostic.

But God's union with the Physical is a result of the Incarnation, and outside the Incarnation all there is between God and matter, and between God and anything created including forms etc. is analogies.

Nuallain said...

I and my family are relatively well; we are settling into life in South Charleston, WV which is a different sort of place. Also we are expecting a third little girl to join us in daily life any time now. I trust that the reports I get of continued Evantine Calmness are well founded.

To respond to your comments; I note that you did not actually make any real response to mine.

You cannot declare by fiat "Oh, yes, God does change. Other problem solved." And have me take it as true on your authority as The Bish. Despite the enormous respect which I have for you and your thoughtfulness, it does not grant fiat authority on the metaphysical nature of reality. Unless, presented with reason to otherwise interpret the words of St. James who declared that God has "no variation or shadow of changing" (Ja 1:17) I shall take this text and the others I noted at face value and believe that the God who declared Himself "I AM" is immutable.

As to the rest of your comments, I shall start only with a basic question. Does God have free will? (and what is free will?)


Evan B. Wilson said...

Good to hear things are going well and we look forward to eventually meeting the eventual daughter.

Pleasantries aside, this is your error:
You have over specified the passages regarding God's unchangingness. How do we know you have done so? You did not mention nor account for the plethora of verses in which God affirms He will, or states He has, changed His mind. It is not an either/or circumstance. The Biblical thinker must have a statement which is faithful to all the text.
This is mine.
God is unchangeable in character, especially in mercy, which is the unchangeable willingness, ability and desire to change His intentions.

Matthew N. Petersen said...


Pleasantries aside, this is your error:

You deny creatio ex nihilo. Though the ancient heresy was that God informed pre-existing matter, your idea that God en-mattered pre-existing forms is no better.

Whenever we say that someone has a particular property, we name not only the person, but the property. "A ball is round" presupposes the existance of two things: a ball, and roundness. Yes, granted, roundness can only exist in a subject. But it exists no less because of this. The ball is understood in part because of something (ligically) distinct from it.

If we apply this to God, and say that God has changable properties, we imply that God refers to something outside Himself, which He did not create. "God is X" Is X created by God? Then it does not describe the uncreated God. Is X God Himself? Fine. X is a way of naming God. But then saying "Now, God is not X" is just a fancy way of saying "Now, God is not God."

You, rightly reject the first option, and you reject the orthodox position, that God is identical to His attributes--that they are just different ways of naming Him--because you want to say God changes. But that leaves you with option 3, God did not create everything. Namely God did not create property X.

I agree there are passages that say God changes. There are also passages that say God has an arm. "With his own right hand, and with his holy arm,
hath he gotten himself the victory" which we don't mean in nearly the same way as say "Brilliant Achilleus smote down Hector with his right arm."

All I need say is that some aspects of creation are prior to others. God created all things for the Incarnation. It is most prior. It is first. But some things aside it are prior to others. And Hezekiah's prayer is prior to God's decision to save Hezekiah. The Ninevite's repentance is prior to God's decision to spare them.

Given their unrepentance, given that he has not prayed, they will be destroyed, and he will die. But given their repentance, and given his prayer, they will be spared.

This really is no different from your position, because you would say that God knew that if Hezekiah prayed, He would spare him, and if Nineveh repented, He would spare it. Surely Johan doesn't know God better than He knows Himself!

Matthew N. Petersen said...

That's Jonah not Johan in the last paragraph.

Evan B. Wilson said...

And Matt,
I suppose.. unm ... yeah, suppose that you are suggesting that I deny that God created everything out of nothing by a reductio from what you describe later.
So if I say that God made man in His own image but persist in saying that man is not God, I am saying that God did not create man?
For that is all I have affirmed in the post. God made that which is not Himself and consequently those things made have an Actuality which is not God.

Nuallain said...

At the end of your response it becomes clear that the crux of our disagreement of philosophy is predicated not on "time" but freedom of the will. It is the nature of "character," "willingness," "nature" and "intention" which clearly predicates our disparate views. We each have constructs regarding time which stem from these precursor considerations. Given that, and given the topic of the post I respectfully bow out of the conversation at this point. I have presented an internally consistent framework to answer your objection to the relationship of the crucifixion and the Trinity; though one which you reject based on other grounds. Given this I await a more appropriate time to talk to you more directly on these predicative topics.


Evan B. Wilson said...

I agree Nolan and look forward (time reference) to when you and the lovely Tiff will be about town.


Matthew N. Petersen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matthew N. Petersen said...

I understand that you believe I'm created. I didn't say anything about created objects. I asked about attributes of God. You don't deny that matter is created, you deny forms are.

If I say "Evan G. Wilson is Gunn" I'm not comparing your son to anything outside himself. "Evan G. Wilson" and "Gunn" are both names of your son. But "Gunn is a senior" is a statement not only about your son, but also about "senior". Without the concept senior, a concept which is distinct from "Gunn" that statement doesn't make sense.

Do we agree to here?

Apply this same logic to God.

Take the statement "God is X.", and consider that concept X. Is it created?

Obviously, it cannot be, because then "God is X" would not be a statement about the uncreated God. So X is uncreated.

Straight to here? (Second question)

So which sort of statement is "God is X"? Is it (option A) like "Evan G. Wilson is Gunn", where we have only given another name for the subject, or (option B) like "Gunn is a senior" where the statement is only sensible because of two things, in the example, "Gunn" and the concept "senior"; in the statement in question "God" and concept X.

Straight to here? (Third question).

The orthodox choose option A (that anything attributed to God is just another name of God). But I think you're committed to option B (that the attributes of God are (in a way) distinct from God). And I believe option B entails that God did not create everything, namely concept X.

(That's a quick summary of my position).

The reason I think you cannot choose option A is because you think God changes. Which means that at some time, "God is not X" will be true. But since X is just another name for God, "God is not X" will mean "God is not God." Which is nonsense.

Straight to here? (Forth question.)

But option B, as we agreed above, requires two things to be sensible, God, and concept X. But we have already agreed that concept X is neither created, nor God. Therefore, God did not create all things, namely concept X.

Straight to here? (Final question.)

I put those little steps in so you can say "I agree to the third question, but I'm having trouble there. I don't understand that argument." Or "I agree till question 3, but I think between question 3 and question 4 you make a mistake." I also marked off where I think my position is summarized, so you can find it easily, and not be drowned in logic. Come up for air there.

Evan B. Wilson said...

Thank you for laying this out.

Here is where I disagree enough to type. You say,"Therefore, God did not create all things, namely concept X."
Concepts are thought, not created or uncreated. When I spoke of the Conceptual world I meant the world of thought. Things of thought have no existence to which the word "created" can apply.

Hebrews 11:3 By faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made out of things which do not appear."

The created world is the world "seen", and while concepts are describable and exist (say as categories)their existence is entirely non-actual. They only exist in our head's. They might best be described as measurements of the actual which have no actuality of their own, only conceptuality. For instance, this desk is 30 inches high. Inches have no actuality but are a concept assigned to an actuality (the desk). No extra created "stuff" came to, or resides in, the wood that makes the desk and consequently it is false to speak of its "creation". Only after you jump that hurdle can you start making claims regarding my supposed denial of the Creator of all things.
Another misapprehension under which you might labor is that of the distinction between definitional and conditional attributes. God can easily have attributes which are not synonyms (as you suggested) in a definitional sense. For instance, you claim that God knows all things, and you would agree with the Scripture that Jesus did not, and yet Jesus was the "fullness of God dwelling bodily". Without falling into devout language (which, while devout, communicates too little)can you describe that reality? Mine is that the concept of omniscience cannot be definitional but only conditional. If Christ were fully God in His earthly existence then the things he "emptied himself of" were all "conditions" of God in His transcendence but not to be definitional to God, without which He would not be God. This goes back to how you structure the various points and it must be answered first (before your argument can go forward).

But all that is too much for a comment thread so let's wait for another opportunity.

Matthew N. Petersen said...

I'm fine with leaving it here. Let me make a couple of quick statements to clear up my position, in light of your most recent comment.

You said: "might best be described as measurements of the actual which have no actuality of their own, only conceptuality."

I think given this terminology my point is actually easier to make, and stronger. The question I'd have is: Relative to what is God measured? Isn't that standard above Him?

Creation is measured by God, but I don't think anything measures God.

Regarding your second point: The orthodox position is that the distinction between definitional and conditional attributes cannot aply to God (because then God would be measured). And that ultimately God's definition is "IS". All other words which describe God are analogies from created being. (Or something kinda like that, it really needs teased out more).

I agree that that at least causes confusion regarding omniscience. But then the Incarnation should create confusion for everything.

Matthew N. Petersen said...

Arg. One quick clarification "It really needs teased out more" should refer to "in my understanding and in this statement" not to "in the masters".