Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

SHORT EXPLANATION OF CALVINISM’S TULIP USING LOGICAL NECESSITY & ORDER

September 7, 21

Total Depravity – Everyone is so sinful they’ll never accept the Gospel.


Irresistible Grace – So the only way to make them accept is to unstoppably change their hearts.


Unconditional Election – Since everyone is so sinful and would never accept the Gospel on their own, they are equally worthless. Hence who God chooses to grace must not be based on any conditions.


Limited Atonement – But if the above are true, why isn’t everyone unstoppably changed into Christians? It must be because God doesn’t want them, and Jesus died only for a limited selection of people, otherwise Jesus failed which is impossible.


Perseverance of the Saints – And anyone God chooses will make it all the way to the end without quitting, otherwise God failed which is impossible.


Note that human free will to accept or reject the Gospel is nowhere in there. The consistent application of these is that the Sunday School Gospel or street evangelism are lies – God doesn’t really love everyone or want everyone to be saved, people can’t choose to accept Jesus, Jesus likely didn’t die for the people you’re trying to preach to. It’s all God all the way, whether you’re destined for salvation or damnation.


Arminianism: Avoids this by adding Prevenient Grace to replace Irresistible Grace, God makes everyone able to freely accept or reject the Gospel.


Provisionism: Says Total Depravity is false, people CAN freely accept or reject the Gospel by default, it’s the closest to bare basic Christianity – no extra philosophical ideas required.

EZEKIEL 1’S VISION OF STRANGE BEINGS AND A.N.E. THRONE ICONOGRAPHY (PLUS AND A MODERN VERSION OF IT)

February 22, 21

13:14 We do have pictures – we have iconography and sculpture of the day of the period in which Ezekiel wrote. All of the elements in Ezekiel’s description are visible except one…

Taking a look at these pictures of Royal Thrones in the ancient Near Eastern world – again, from Syria, Palestine and of course Babylon – you can see that specifically they account for all of the elements in Ezekiel’s vision.

We have cherubim. We have cherubim with wings. We have deities, divine beings with four faces. We have situations where we get a throne that incorporates hooves and calves legs.

All of these elements drawn from Ezekiel 1 show up in what essentially are the pictures, the photographs of the day – iconography, sculptures, carvings, paintings.

We know what Ezekiel saw because we have this material, and it’s very important that we recognize the importance of reading Ezekiel again – in both a Babylonian and an Israelite context, with material known from the prophet’s own day and of course known by the original audience to which he was writing.

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So to an ancient Jew, it would be clear that what Ezekiel describes are ‘throne guardians’, and that he was in the presence of a divine royal sovereign. Cherubim are the Babylonian version (where Ezekiel was), Seraphim are the Egyptian version (where Isaiah was, with strong influence from Egypt).

Perhaps a modern retelling using ‘throne guardians’ from what we know from our own iconography – news media and movies – will help illustrate:

I gazed up and behold, a White Abode was descending from heaven. All around were attendants in black garments, their eyes concealed by obsidian, black vines coiling around their ears.

Day and night they chant “Roger, all clear, over” as they minister before the White Abode. None could approach its occupant, for the fiery red gaze of Watchers on every rooftop swept to and fro, and they pierced through any trespasser with their thunder and stinging darts.

And behold, a finger was thrust into my vision, and a voice like the sound of a thousand thunders rang out to me: “I want YOU, o son of man!

My Sayings

May 29, 20

Pessimists are the only people who are happy to be disappointed.

——-

‘Hitler’s London Fallacy’ (a variant of Genetic Fallacy)

“Do you think London is the capital of the UK?”

“Yes.”

“Thats what Hitler thought too. So you agree with the Nazis?!!”

This demonstrates how ridiculous it is to toss out every point made by a less than savoury, trustworthy source. Even a broken clock can be right twice a day.

Every claim has to be judged independently.

——-

“False teaching is whatever I do not believe.”

This is my motto.

At first glance it sounds very arrogant and closed minded. But think it over and you will realize that it is perfectly reasonable, commendable, and EVERYONE holds this view.

Free Will & Never Sinning in Heaven

May 29, 20

How can believers retain free will in heaven (or the new earth), and yet not choose to sin? Perhaps my real life experience will help to illustrate.

I once ate frozen cendol pulut from a certain shop. That same day, I was wracked with horrible food poisoning – the worst I’ve ever had. I was in great suffering for hours even after being admitted into triage.

Will I ever eat ANYTHING from that shop again? NO!!!

But do I still have free will? Of course. It’s just that I’ve learned a painful, horrible, unforgettable lesson about the sensibility of eating food from that restaurant.

The same applies to believers in heaven. We will have experienced our lessons about sin while in this mortal life – painfully, regretfully – and learned to freely avoid sin forevermore after.

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Some more input from others:

Rather, we are given a new nature in Heaven, such that you would freely choose to only do good.
(Libertarian) Free Will is defined as the ability to choose between a range of options, each of which is consistent and compatible with your nature.

Remember how LFW is defined.
Supposed, with a new nature, you could only choose to do good, but within that range of good options, you have a wide variety, and you are able to choose any of those. That is sufficient to fulfill LFW.
Remember, the definition of LFW does not necessitate ability to choose both good and evil. It is the ability to choose range of options, each consistent with one’s nature. If you have a new good nature, you would only choose to do good.
If you accept that God has LFW but cannot choose evil, then there is no reason why LFW necessitates ability to choose evil.

Having tasted the vileness of sin and having experienced being in sin, the new person who is regenerated and made perfect no longer will want to sin as there is no drive to compel us towards sinfulness as both the spirit and the body has been purified.
Imagine someone who was lactose intolerant that thought they only had the option to order milkshake in a restaurant and thus every day they will eat and get stomach ache. After years of being forced to endure it, they realise that there is another page in the menu and there are more drinks there that are not milk based. The person therefore never orders milkshakes even through they have the freedom to. So freedom from milkshake does not mean no free will but rather it is the exercise of the free will to avoid something that was distasteful.
Of course milkshake doesn’t even begin to compare to the vileness of sin (but at this point we still haven’t fully grasped how vile it is since out bodies still longs to sin) and so this rejection of sin will be so absolute that there is no worry that we will choose sin again.

A freewill affirming Molinist take on it:

The second part — human evil — will also be eradicated, and this is the area where the “will we just be good robots now?” question comes in. The answer is no. In the original Edenic situation, humanity had freedom, and options of good and evil. The final eschaton (is that redundant?) does not entail an eradication of our imaging of God — our freedom capacity — it entails the eradication of evil. The result is that we will still be free, but evil won’t be on the table. Before Adam sinned he wasn’t a robot. It wasn’t evil and the ability to choose evil that made him free. He was free because he was made like God. We will retain that imaging status and be even more like God in the new heaven and earth. We will be as much like God as is possible, and so still free to choose the good things available to us in the new Eden.

3. What passed to all of humanity as a result of Adam’s sin was mortality / death. That is what the text says. This means that humanity lost immortality. It also means, going back to the Genesis story, that humans were driven from the presence of God in an ideal “heaven meets earth” environment. They were on their own. Left to their own, as non-divine mortals, the result is that all humans, born from that point on, were born into those conditions. If they are allowed to live a normal life span, this means that all humans will sin and incur guilt before God. No human “cannot not sin.” Sin would be universal and inevitable for all humans who get to live some measure of a lifespan where they can choose to rebel against God (i.e., sin).

MacGregor points out in Luis De Molina:
“The skeptic of God’s existence could retort that although gratuitous natural evil is logically necessary to the universe considered in and of itself, an all-good God would always supernaturally prevent that gratuitous natural evil from actually occurring. In other words, an omnibenevolent God would always overwhelm the resident imperfections in the created order in general and the human constitution in particular so that all things operated perfectly. Such constant overwhelming of resident imperfections would entail that God be definitively present in the universe (that is, exhibiting the qualitatively highest mode of his presence where he fully displays his glory) rather than repletively present in the universe (that is, exhibiting a qualitatively lower mode of presence where he is causally active and knows what is happening at, but does not fully display his glory at, each time-space location). If God were now definitively present in the universe, this immediate presence would make up for the universe’s existent defects and cause the universe to reflect his perfection, just as the sun makes up for the nonluminous nature of the various objects on which it shines and causes them to reflect its light. We observe that the skeptic’s retort is based on the presupposition that God’s overriding desire (that is, what an all-good God would want most) is to prevent gratuitous natural evil in the world. But if God had some other overriding desire, then the skeptic’s retort would be evacuated of any substance. Indeed, it seems that God has such an overriding desire, namely, people’s coming freely to commit their lives to him. At this juncture I argue, in concert with Molina, that libertarian human freedom is only possible if God creates the universe at a metaphysical and epistemic distance, or at arm’s length, such that God is not definitively present but repletively present in it.43 For if, currently, God were definitively present in the universe, overwhelming all its resident imperfections, the loveliness and majesty of God’s immediate presence would also infallibly prevent people from sinning and infallibly draw them to live out the desires of the Holy Spirit. This state of affairs believers will experience in the new heaven and new earth.44 But in order to guarantee that the communion of saints will be comprised of those who, without compulsion, embrace him, God is not present in the universe to such a degree that libertarian freedom is obviated. Rather, only after people make uncoerced premortem decisions to accept or reject his love does God permanently seal persons in those decisions at the general resurrection. Hence God is now repletively present in the universe, which presence allows the existence of libertarian freedom but does not preclude gratuitous natural evil. Consequently, gratuitous natural evil can only be eliminated at the expense of libertarian human freedom.45” (MacGregor, 262-263).

That Time the Quran Made Jesus MORE Divine

May 29, 20

It’s a well attested fact that much of the Quran’s stories about Biblical characters are taken from apocryphal sources. For instance, stories about Jesus’s infancy and childhood are from the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, a Gnostic fabrication.

But do you notice something unusual about the Quranic account below?

And a messenger to the Children of Israel, ‘Indeed I have come to you with a sign from your Lord in that I design for you from clay like the form of a bird, then I breathe into it and it becomes a bird by permission of Allah. – Sura 3:49 https://quran.com/3/49

Note the part about breathing into the clay to give it life. Where else do we see that happening except with God Himself in Genesis 2:7, breathing life into Adam?

And note that this detail is not in the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, where Jesus merely claps:

3 And a certain Jew when he saw what Jesus did, playing upon the Sabbath day, departed straightway and told his father Joseph: Lo, thy child is at the brook, and he hath taken clay and fashioned twelve little birds, and hath polluted the Sabbath day. 4 And Joseph came to the place and saw: and cried out to him, saying: Wherefore doest thou these things on the Sabbath, which it is not lawful to do? But Jesus clapped his hands together and cried out to the sparrows and said to them: Go! and the sparrows took their flight and went away chirping. – http://www.gnosis.org/library/inftoma.htm II, 3-4 (near the start of the page)

So the Quran added a detail that makes Jesus MORE divine, when the Quran supposedly denies Jesus’s godhood!

Gravity & the Trinity

May 29, 20

Allow me to ask you: What is ‘gravity’?

Most of us will probably answer that it is a force. After all, Isaac Newton described it as the force which makes an apple fall to the earth. You might even remember your high school Physics calculations for this, F=ma (Force = mass x acceleration).

But guess what, gravity is NOT a force. Rather, Albert Einstein stated that gravity is the bending & warping of spacetime itself so that objects that would travel in a straight line through space STILL DO travel in a straight line – it’s just that space itself is bent, so the object seems to travel around a large gravitational mass!

Does this make sense? Can you wrap your mind around it? Can you envision it? Even if you can’t, experiments proved Einstein correct and Newton incorrect. It is plain fact even if you can’t comprehend it.

Now if this is true for a fundamental part of the universe, then what’s so difficult about accepting the truth as revealed in God’s word – e.g. about the Trinity? There is one God but He is three persons. You might not fully comprehend it, but that in itself does not make it untrue or impossible.

(More info on gravity: https://www.science.org.au/curious/space-time/gravity )

See also my comparison of 3D space with the Trinity: https://scottthong.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/3-dimensional-space-as-a-metaphor-for-the-christian-trinity/

Using Islamic Philosophy to Defend Biblical Theology

May 29, 20

Just like Paul in Athens used the prevailing worldview to present the gospel, many common Islamic criticisms of Christianity can be defended using concepts from Islamic philosophy.

1) Bila kaifa – Meaning ‘without how’, this was the term coined by Muslim philosophers to settle the issue of how the Quran can be Allah’s word, eternal, uncreated, yet not itself Allah – by not settling the issue, as it basically means there’s no understanding it. (To be fair, they needed it to stop the bloodshed of the Mihna over the issue.) Similarly, the Trinity may seem to escape comprehension – but bila kaifa!

2) Kun faya kun – Allah says “Be!” and it is. Allah can do anything he pleases. Similarly, although it may seem impossible that YHWH is one being in three persons or the infinite God could take on human form, nothing is impossible to God!

3) Tanzih – meaning transcendence. Unique, incomparable, beyond imagination or conception. “Nothing is like him” as Sura 42:11 states plainly. Similarly, although in human experience no single human being can be more than one person, God is not like anything conceivable.

4) Tawhid – meaning to unify. The Islamic doctrine of a singular, unitarian Allah. However this key word does not appear anywhere in the Quran, and in fact it took centuries after the death of Muhammad for Muslim philosophers to fully flesh out this doctrine by deriving the concept from the text of the Quran. Similarly, although the word Trinity does not appear in the Bible and it took centuries for the doctrine to be fully fleshed out by theologians and church councils, it is derived from the text of the Bible.

Our God of the Bible works in mysterious and quite cheeky ways!

Usage of YHWH vs Adonai in the Old Testament

May 29, 20

A pet theory of mine that needs more research: Often in the Old Testament, the reference to our Creator as Adonai (Lord) rather than YHWH (LORD) is used in passages that allude to the second member of the Trinity, namely The Son who takes on human flesh to become Jesus Christ.

Some examples of what I’m talking about:

YHWH says to Adoni: “Sit at my right hand,until I make your enemies your footstool.” – Psalm 110:1

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw Adonai sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. – Isaiah 6:1 (cross reference with John 12:41)

I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares Adonai YHWH. – Ezekiel 34:15 (a very rare combination of the two terms!)

NB: Maybe now you also get a hint of why one of my pet peeves is OT passage citations where YHWH and Adonai are carelessly/ignorantly both rendered as Lord.

Ruth as the Reversal of Tamar

May 29, 20

A study into Ruth & Boaz, and how it is the anti-story to Judah & Tamar and Lot & his daughters. With lots of gematria values for those interested.

https://www.academia.edu/39775654/Tweets-turned-Notes_on_Ruth

“The past is therefore undone, and the manner in which it is undone is important to note. Whereas things go wrong in the case of Tamar, who sits at the gate to Enaim, and of Lot, who sits at the gate of Sodom, Boaz goes to the gate in order to do set things right (ch. 4).”

Second Amendment in Southern Thailand

April 19, 12

Tipped by hutchrun, excerpt:

Thailand’s Buddhists Take Up Arms Against Insurgency

A deadly Thai insurgency has Buddhists scrambling for guns.

…a deadly insurgency is terrorizing Thailand’s south. The separatist movement, made up of mostly ethnic-Malay Muslims, roils the region with daily threats of sectarian violence and has prompted many Buddhist villagers, and even some monks, to take up arms in self-defense.

“First Muslim people came to our village and asked to buy our land,” says Suphorn Nison, a soft-spoken Buddhist in his mid-40s. “But they became less diplomatic when Buddhist people declined to leave.” The following month, Nison says, two men entered a convenience store operated by Nison’s father and executed him with two shots to his head. Nison claims the gunmen were Muslim and intended to send a stern message. Most Buddhists in his village left, but those who stayed, including Nison, formed a neighborhood-security force.

That was in 2006. Today such community-defense units are ubiquitous in Thailand’s south. Nison carries a revolver with him at all times. Many other Buddhists have also armed themselves, including a demure 38-year-old teacher, an acquaintance of Nison’s, who prefers a light Glock .22.

HuaHui, a long-bearded villager, exemplifies the kind of self-appointed power that the militia system offers Buddhists. At the entrance to his restaurant, he sits behind a makeshift bunker, holding an M-15 assault rifle. He keeps a cache of weapons on hand, along with special bullets designed to overcome “the voodoo of insurgents.” He’s been the target of drive-by shootings and bomb attacks more than a dozen times, he says. In the latest incident, “a month ago gunfire struck guests.” HuaHui sometimes patrols his district in a pickup truck, paying visits to friends—both Muslim and Buddhist—and making his presence felt to those he suspects of being on the “wrong side.” He visited a group of Chor Ror Bor in a nearby village who said the hordes of Army and police are not enough to secure the area. Later that evening, cars passing along the entry road to the village were struck by IEDs and gunfire.

And here’s what happens when people don’t have ways to protect themselves, from older posts The Wolves of Pattani, Southern Thailand and Photos of Brutally Murdered Victims of the Southern Thailand Pattani Insurgency:

Pattani1a

A beheaded motorcyclist. A threatening warning note was found on the body, you can see it and the translation at Zombietime.

Pattani1b

The removed head left near the body. Gruesome…

Pattani3

A soldier after the terrorists had their way with him. I forget, which is the merciless, inhuman organization of oppression again? The Thai government?

Pattani4

Brutalized dead body, probably of a monk, found in a house in a very unnatural position.

Pattani5

A tiny censor box to blot out the gore from a victim left on the train tracks to be run over… But that doesn’t stop you from realizing “Oh **** where’s the rest of the body?!”

Pattani2

Worst of the lot – the viciously defiled body of a monk, so gory and heartless that basically the entire photo had to be censored to post it on my blog.

The above photos are sourced from Zombietime.com. The uncensored versions and more photos can be found there.

See also other related posts:


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