Do You Believe in Absolutes?

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Heavenly Pilgrim, Dec 10, 2011.

  1. Heavenly Pilgrim

    Heavenly Pilgrim
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    Do you believe in absolutes? Are there things you know absolutely beyond any reasonable doubt that form the basis of your beliefs? If so, what might they be?
     
  2. Jerry Shugart

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    "And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life" (1 Jn.5:20).
     
  3. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: First God has given to us clear indisputable evidence that He came. Secondly, he has given to us understanding to the end that we my 'know Him that is true.'

    May I suggest that to know Him is understand His Character in some clear and truthful degree. To know Him is to understand at least in measure, how He acts, and to have a solid clear indisputable knowledge of love and what love entails, for God is Love.

    God is also Just. To know Him is to be in possession of indisputable knowledge of what justice entails, ideas so plain and understandable that nothing can shake or change such knowledge. Such knowledge of the Nature of God manifest in the flesh could go to make up the very bedrock of ones understanding, something to measure or check other notions by, to see if what we perceive of God, His law, and of ourselves, is in keeping with intuitively revealed truths. Something to check even many of our interpretations of Scripture by to see if how we are interpreting Scripture is indeed in accordance to the Reality of the God that Is and that has revealed Himself to us intuitively..

    Does not Scripture state that all have some knowledge of God and truth? The verse in Romans concerning the heathen is one such passage.
    Rom2:14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
    Rom 2:15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

    Again in the first chapter of Romans we read:
    Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
    Rom 1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
    Rom 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

    May I be so bold as to say that God has indeed instilled intuitive wisdom and knowledge of Himself via our conscience, just as Romans states He has, for the express purpose of understanding His nature and to judge our actions by. Such knowledge is indeed to be trusted as in accordance to truth and God's character, for we are told that IF we utilize this God given knowledge in accordance to truth, God Himself will not have to judge us.
    1Co 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
    So sure is the basis of our judgment according to truth, that God says we, as mere humans, will judge the angels.
    1Co 6:3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?

    Of a truth, we need to examine closely this intuitive knowledge, these intuitive principles that God has given us that enable us to know Him, and judge matters within the purview of the immutable truths of justice and love.

    Let me take this thought one simple step further. Any approach to theology, philosophy, or Scripture itself, without careful consideration of these basic truths given intuitively by God Himself to man, will inevitably lead to error and misunderstanding in any and all of these arenas.
     
  4. Ruiz

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    Absolutely!

    Yes! The glory and majesty of God and His Holy Word.

    BTW, "reasonable doubt" is an American term that I do not like much when talking about theology. Primarily because everyone holds to presuppositions that are not proven and thus base their beliefs upon their presuppositions. However, God, by His glorious grace and power, saved me and witnessed to my He wonderful word. I was made by His Word, live because of His Word, and am sustained by His Word.
     
  5. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: How about, 'beyond a shadow of a doubt?' Would that have been better IYO? 'Beyond a shadow of a doubt' is indeed closer, so it would seem, to absolutes than as I first stated, 'beyond any reasonable doubt.'

    I have to consider that there are those, I simply do not desire to view, even on this list, as 'opposed to reason,' that try to refute the most basic intuitive universal knowledge God has granted to man. Without such knowledge and understanding we could not discern anything in reality from Scripture of any fixed moral context.

    Even in light of their actions, all reasonable men know intuitively to conduct their daily lives in accordance to these truths, and universally so. Only in their theology will they violate with impunity these basic God inspired truths, as if though, their private interpretations, driven by presuppositions, trump intuitive God inspired wisdom universally intuitively implanted by God.

    You mention that all men approach Scripture from presuppositions. I would ask you, do you see a distinction between a mere presupposition based on a theory of man, and God given intuitive truths, instilled universally in all men? It is the latter that I believe a man would be acting in an unreasonable fashion to approach Scripture apart from, and the former method positively structured to gender error.

    What do you think?
     
    #5 Heavenly Pilgrim, Dec 11, 2011
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  6. Ruiz

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    It is the Word of God that creates into us presuppositions. We don't have private interpretations nor do we create the Scripture/intepretations of Scripture, but Scripture creates in us a new way of thinking, new presuppositions, etc.

    As well, to combat solo-scriptura, I believe that is why historic theology and gaining wisdom from the ages, not just the age we live in, is essential. Chrsitianity is a religion of the Book that has had faithful men of all ages study and write on these issues. I believe in Sola Scriptura. Thus, I reject the modernistic/post-modernistic viewpoint that we can make the Scripture mean what we want it to mean to change with the times. But I also reject the understanding that we approach anything without presuppositions. I am more Kantian in my philosophy (or more Van-Tillian).

    When you ask if there is a belief I have beyond a reasonable doubt, you seem to point that these are evidences someone else will accept. As Kant and Van Til would agree, they are very compelling to me as I have, through God's Word, been rebirthed and regenerated. Yet, I seriously doubt it would be convincing to everyone. Thus, I think when we view these issues, we should view them based upon presuppositions and whether these presuppositions fit together. In my estimation, only reformed Christian worldview is consistent theologically and philosophically as a worldview system. Thus, when I argue for the rationality of Christianity, I believe all other worldviews fail and even other theological traditions fail in meeting that philosophical standard.

    When we talk about reasonable doubt, we assume there is a criteria by which people automatically all draw upon to make such judgment. Yet, to me General Revelation is enough to convince me beyond a reasonable doubt of the goodness and greatness of God. God's Special revelation is enough to convince me of His Majesty and Holiness. Yet, those facts may be seen as unreasonable for someone with differing presuppositions. None of us are neutral in our evaluations, the myth of neutrality is why "reasonable doubt" can exist.

    Thus, I think we should examine presuppositions. None of us are neutral and none of us approach things neutrally. Only through the preaching and teaching of God's Word and the witness of the Spirit can we be convinced of God's truth and Scripture, and this witness I am convinced beyond a reasonable doubt.
     
  7. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: Permit me to take issue with you on part of what you said. No man approaches Scripture devoid of all knowledge, and then creates their understanding of Scripture sans all other understanding/philosophy. Let me illustrate. Scripture assumes a philosophy, ( mental , intellectual etc.) but does not set upon a course to address how assumed positions are developed, nor how to insure how one interprets the validity of such an assumed position. As philosophers and theologians, we are embarked upon the study of both philosophy and theology to ascertain the assumed philosophy and theology of Scripture.

    Scripture is simply not the best source of revealed revelation of the mind and how it works. God has given to man consciousness, an awareness of his inner self and how it works that is the 'best' source of direct evidence and information on mental philosophy, second to none.

    It is not that Scripture cannot or doesn't shed light on mental philosophy, but rather that there is far greater latitude for error in trying to develop mental philosophy from Scripture because the system of mental philosophy in Scripture is not spelled out in clear terms, nor is it the intention of Scripture to reveal that which is clearly revealed by consciousness of ones inner self, but rather is assumed. For one to approach a study of mental philosophy, from Scripture alone, would be akin to approaching a study of optics by starring into the sky through a pair of coke bottles strapped together by duct tape.

    When God grants to man clear evidence of the inner workings of the mind by self examination of his own mind, and such self-evident God-inspired evidence is not taken into consideration when approaching the Scriptures,... or one develops a theology, that will assumes a philosophy, (either understood or assumed) apart from he utilization of the best evidence God has granted to man concerning the inner workings of the mind, error in ones understanding of both philosophy and theology are certain consequences from such an approach. (Is that a run on sentence? )

    It is our duty as both philosophers and theologians, to examine our beliefs and the source of our beliefs, to see if in fact we error and theologians or philosophers. We need to assure ourselves that we are availing and utilizing to the fullest possible potential, the best means for every endeavor into understanding truth both philosophical and theological.

    If you desire for a real life illustration here is one. Take Augustine for example, known as the father of the doctrine of original sin. Before he became a believer, he was first a philosopher. He was, as I understand, a teacher no less of heathen philosophy. He brought into the Church a philosophical notion, that was completely foreign to the Jews of the OT, foreign to the teachings of Scripture in the NT, and was foreign to any of the early Christian fathers. i.e., the notion that sin lied in the constitution of the flesh, and not in the will. Via that notion, introduced as a direct product of his philosophical, not theological or Scriptural, studies, the notion of original sin was introduced into the Church. He is thereby rightfully denoted as the father of the doctrine of original sin.

    In vain one would suggest that men get their notions sola Biblica. I know better, and so does history. It simply does not happen. ALL men, including yourself approach Scripture from philosophical positions not spelled out in Scripture. I have demonstrated this fact over and over on the list with those that will take the time to get to the bottom of their theological positions and interpretations. There are no exceptions. Neither you or I are exceptions. Time will, without fail, prove that fact in your own theology if you continue to converse on theological matters on the list.



    I hope as we continue that we can discover truths, so self-evident that to cavil against them would be to cavil against truth itself. That is not approaching Scripture from a private philosophical position as I believe Augustine in fact did, but rather developing a true philosophy based upon the best source of information made possible by God, which in the case of mental philosphy, it is not apart from a close examination of man's God inspired conscience.

    Can we walk together for a mile?
     
    #7 Heavenly Pilgrim, Dec 11, 2011
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  8. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    To illustrate what I would consider as one absolute truth that guides me in my approach to my philosophy as well as my theology, I would offer the following.

    To do anything praiseworthy of blameworthy one must have contrary choice.

    Apart from contrary choice, no choice is possible and apart from choice, nothing blameworthy or praiseworthy can be predicated of ones intents or subsequent actions.

    I know this truth intuitively by God given intuitive wisdom, and I know this fact as absolutely as I could possibly know the very existence of God. This absolute intuitive truth applies to the nature of all sentient beings, including God Himself. If God is Good and Love, as Scripture clearly states He is, He must have the theoretic possibility of contrary choice, without which neither Good or Love have any fixed meaning, but rather would be delegated to some nebulous notion that could mean anything and everything.

    If man is to be blamed or praised for his formed intents and subsequent actions, man must have the power of contrary choice as well.

    Thoughts?
     
  9. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    One point. The notion of 'contrary choice ' is in actuality redundant. Choice in reality is not choice apart from something contrary being possible. To deny the existence of something contrary to what one does, is to deny choice, period. To deny choice is to deny the existence of morality altogether.

    When one states that man is born into this world incabable of contrary choice, they are denying that man is a moral being. It makes as much sense to blame or punish a man that is not moral in nature as it is to blame a rock for getting kicked off a cliff, or blaming stink for rising off of a dead corpse.
     
  10. Jerry Shugart

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    Hi Ruiz,

    When you speak of the "reformed Christian worldview" are you referring to the Calvinists who teach that in the past God decided that only some are to be saved so a person's future depends on what is nothing more or less than an iron decree of fate?
    There are certainly no presuppositions that anyone must have when it comes to being saved unless it is to be self-judged and guilty:

    "Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a pharisee, and the other a publican. The pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that Ipossess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted" (Lk.18:10-14).

    The gospel that comes in the power of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit convinces men of their sinful condition:

    "...the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will convince the world of sin, and of justice, and of judgment" (Jn.16:7-8).

    All who hear the gospel which comes in such power will believe it unless they "resist the Holy Spirit."

    Those who do not resist the Holy Spirit will believe because it is the truth and the evidence of the truth is set forth before their eyes:

    "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?" (Gal.3:1).
     
    #10 Jerry Shugart, Dec 11, 2011
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  11. Ruiz

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    I am talking about reformed theology as outlined by the reformers and even John Calvin. I believe these presuppositions are the only ones that can be sustained within their own system.

    Of course there are presuppositions you must believe before coming to the Lord. I am not saying you must have all presuppositions of a Christian worldview, but you still must have presuppositions. You must presuppose that God is and is willing to save you by the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. You must believe you are a sinner in need of salvation. Without those presuppositions you can never be saved.

    You must have some presuppositions to believe. There must be some sort of knowledge that you accept/believe before you accept and believe in God.
     
  12. Ruiz

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    We do come to the Scriptures with knowledge, I never said anything to the contrary but rather explained in my presuppositionalism that this is probably the case. However, Scripture does renew the mind, only through Scripture can you change your worldview and renew your mind. It is Scripture that teaches us good, bad, right, wrong, a proper worldview and doctrine. The renewing of your mind does not occur through general revelation, in fact that is the point of Romans 1. Scripture is the basis of all true wisdom and knowledge. A decent book exploring this that is actually readable is Greg Bahnsen's "Always Ready". I highly recommend this book (Van Til is better and more philosophical but not an easy read).

    I not only disagree, but I will go further to say that without the Scripture it is impossible to truly and definitely know anything. Without the Scriptures and Special Revelation, logic must necessarily be a convention of man and not a universal. Other philosophers have unpacked this, most notably is Greg Bahnsen. His thesis, which I believe is sound philosophically, says that without the Bible and God, nothing can be proven. We are all then subject the waves of different views and presuppositions. Laws of logic, for instance, are never assured to be universal. Only if you accept what the Bible says in that God created all things with universal abstracts (rejected by modern philosophy) then can you accept logic as a governance. You can only do that through Special Revelation. Only with Special Revelation can morals exist. Without Special Revelation, morals are conventions of man and Hitler is no worse than Billy Graham.

    I disagree, the Bible is clear on the terms of philosophy. I began with one presupposition, that God is creator of all. He is a Universal Abstract who created Universal Abstracts. Universal Abstracts exist, therefore we can rely and trust in Universal Abstracts. Morality is a Universal Abstract created by God. Thus, there is a true moral system. Any philosophy void of the Bible cannot account for Universal Abstracts, cannot account for logic being a universal abstract. Thus, to prove anything, you must have Universals. Without Special Revelation, you cannot have any confidence of any knowledge. If that were the case, your arguments would be worthless. Why? Trying to argue logic would merely be arguing a convention. I could merely declare we are not in that convention or create a new convention and you would be wrong.

    With the basis of the Bible, then we can derive several presuppositions of logic.

    General Revelation, according to Romans 1, is insufficient. It only condemns, it does not provide a clear revelation of God. It is law and not grace. No philosophy that is absent of God is an accurate Revelation. General Revelation is no exception. Rather, General Revelation is a Revelation that condemns; it is a revelation absent of true wisdom; it is a revelation of law not of grace; it is foolish according to Scripture.

    I would once again have you check out Dr. Bahnsen's book "Always Ready." there he explores and shows Biblically that to presume a non-Christian worldview is called foolish and condemned as sin within the Bible. He paints a pure philosophy of Christianity that is both consistent with Scripture and does not abandon Special Revelation. In fact, abandoning Special Revelation is condemned in Scripture. If you abandon Special Revelation, it is impossible to prove anything. The Bible even shows that true knowledge and wisdom is what we get from Scripture.

    I am not sure if you read Augustine on original sin, but his view is based upon Scripture as the foundation and the logical ends of that belief. Earlier this year I spent much time studying Augustine's attack on Pelagius, thus read much of his work on that issue and am convinced his view came from Scripture. Yet, he was not the originator of original sin. This predated him and was one of the reasons infant Baptism began. Original sin is found in Scripture and was exposited by early church fathers.

    I do not think you read well my statement. I believe in Sola Scriptura, but I also noted the difference between Solo Scriptura and that my viewpoint is based upon a presuppositional standpoint. However, it is Scripture that does rework our presuppositions and changes our mind into the mind of God. Scripture is what gives us accurate understanding of the world. Yes, some philosophers will call us "foolish" for our beliefs, but it is not foolish in God's eyes. As well, theirs is even more foolish for without special revelation nothing can be proven. Your view seeks to transform the Scripture what our presuppositions want it to say. I believe God's Word transforms our mind into the mind of God.

    So my question, how can you prove anything with your viewpoint?
     
    #12 Ruiz, Dec 11, 2011
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  13. Ruiz

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    This is irrational. First, prove that anything is praiseworthy. You assume praise worthy. Without special revelation you cannot even prove anything is praiseworthy. Prove anything is blameworthy. Again, without Special Revelation nothing is truly blameworthy. Hitler was not blameworthy or immoral and Jesus was not praiseworthy.

    Finally, show using General Revelation that there is a god. Why is it that you make God into a Christian view of God using General Revelation? Why couldn't God be opposite of the Christian God? Why do you base so much presuppositions on a Christian type of God?
     
  14. carpro

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    Yes.

    Jesus is the only way to heaven.
     
  15. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: Indeed we do have much ground to cover. Well, we have until the Lord comes back to debate and more than a few eternities to make our apologies if needed.:thumbs:

    To your direct question..........comes my question to you.

    How did the heathen who have not the law, do the things contained in the law? What revelation guided their intents and subsequent actions?

    To be fair, you asked me first, so I will do my best to answer. I mentioned to the list in post #8 a clear first truth of reason. If it needed proof it would not be a first truth of reason, would it? The truth concerning first truths is that they need no proof. The mind automatically affirms them as in accordance to truth.

    Have you read that post? Does your mind confirm or deny, apart from any other revelation, the validity of that truth? If not, share with the list why it is not in accordance to truth.
     
    #15 Heavenly Pilgrim, Dec 11, 2011
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  16. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: You have the Scriptures. Read Psalm 19. Here is your opportunity to simply believe God's Word, in that He has revealed Himself to the world through nature. Just because Scripture tells us of His revelation, does not mean that the revelation comes only from Scripture. Scripture simply reveals that God indeed has revealed Himself apart from Scripture. God says that due to such revelation, all men are without excuse.

    HP: Whatever you are asking is beyond me.

    HP: Sorry but his comments here are irrational IMHO.
     
    #16 Heavenly Pilgrim, Dec 11, 2011
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  17. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: I was going to just let this slide but it is so far over the top that it needs to be highlighted.

    Ruiz implies here, IMHO, that the only reason why Hitler was blameworthy or Christ was praiseworthy is because of "special revelation", 'special revelation' being Scripture I presume. Who is he kidding. The murder of several million human beings would not be blameworthy prior to Scripture being written according to him, and neither could have God been viewed as praiseworthy before Scriptures either???. (I am assuming he believes that Jesus was indeed God manifest in the flesh.) You cannot get further from the truth than to make such a remark. Before Scripture God gave man a conscience. Conscience indeed testifies as to the blameworthiness or praiseworthiness of formed intents and subsequent actions without the aide of Scripture. That point has been illustrated by even the heathen, head hunters that had NEVER read Scripture or heard a gospel message knowing full well that they had did wrong by taking innocent life.

    Ruiz, you could not be further from the truth with the remarks you posted.
     
    #17 Heavenly Pilgrim, Dec 11, 2011
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  18. Jerry Shugart

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    Thanks for you answer, Ruiz. However, you failed to even address the fact that Calvinism teaches that in the past God decided that only some are to be saved so a person's future depends on what is nothing more or less than an iron decree of fate.

    However, the following Scriptures refute that idea:

    "But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth" (2 Thess.2:13).

    It is through God's foreknowledge that He choses for salvation those who will believe the gospel:

    "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ" (1 Pet.1:2).

    One of the meanings of the Greek word translated "according" at 1 Peter 1:2 is "in consequence of" (Thayer's Greek English Lexicon).

    So the saved are described as "elect" and their election is "in consequence of" God's foreknowledge. And it is those who believe whom God choses for salvation:

    "But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth" (2 Thess.2:13).
    According to Calvinism one needs to know nothing prior to hearing the gospel. According to their idea if a person is one of the elect chosen before the foundation of the world then they will be quickened by just hearing the gospel and then they will believe it because it is irresistible.
    Here is what the Calvinists themselves say about the light of nature:

    "The light of nature sheweth that there is a God, who hath lordship and sovereignty over all, is good, and doth good unto all, and is therefore to be feared..." (The Westminster Confession of Faith; 21/1).

    In the following verses we can see that "all men" can know God's eternal power and divine nature based soley on the light of nature:

    "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse"
    (Ro.1:18-20).

    Those who "suppress the truth" of that which God has made plain are "without excuse" when they deny the existence of God. Another display of God's eternal power revealed in nature, the weather, results in many having a fear or reverance of God:

    "He directeth it under the whole heaven, and his lightning unto the ends of the earth.After it a voice roareth: he thundereth with the voice of his excellency; and he will not stay them when his voice is heard...Fair weather cometh out of the north: with God is terrible majesty...Men do therefore fear him"
    (Job 37:3-4,22,24).

    The Hebrew word translated "fear" in this verse means "to inspire reverence or godly fear or awe" (Gesenius's Lexicon).

    This demonstrates that "all men" have the ability to know that God exists and all men therefore have the ability to have a reverence of God.
     
    #18 Jerry Shugart, Dec 12, 2011
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  19. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    deleted by author
     
  20. Ruiz

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    The problem with the question about general revelation is that you must assume Special Revelation to get to your General Revelation question. In other words, you are drawing upon Special Revelation to prove that General Revelation is the philosophy that trumps Special Revelation. That is part of my point, without Special Revelation you cannot prove anything.

    Your clear first proof reasoning assumed too much. You assumed there can be good and bad without having proven good or bad. In fact, you proved nothing. You did not even prove that there had to be a choice. Your statement was merely an assumption and not a proof.

    Without Special Revelation, you cannot prove there is anything good, there is any real choice or there is any true bad. I also refer you to atheistic determinism which would also disagree with you from a philosophical perspective. Yet, you have not proven anything, you merely assumed and your assumption is your premise and conclussion. that is called circular reasoning.
     

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