Peter uses Old Testament prophecy in Acts 3:18, where he declares: “But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that this Christ should suffer, he thus fulfilled.” Where in the prophets are we told that God’s “Christ (or Messiah) should suffer”? Isaiah 53 is probably what Peter is alluding to. Probably the most explicit case for Isaiah 53 being used is in Acts 8: 32-34 in the exchange between Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch. Many scholars have asked what might of led to the acceptance of a Suffering Messiah. Let’s see if we can trace the history here: The Binding of Isaac Story and the Maccabean Martyrs: The Binding of Isaac or the “Akedah” tells the account of when God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac. Because of Abraham’s faith God would be able to resurrect the slain Isaac. The sacrifice of Isaac corresponds to “that of Christ in the following respects: (1) They both involve the sacrifice by a father of his only son. (2) They both symbolize a complete dedication on the part of the offerer. Mark Kinzer notes in the post- Biblical tradition, the Akedah story took on a new significance: it becomes the model for martyrdom: This is first seen in texts dealing with the martyrs of the Maccabean period: [Read more…]
For those of us familiar with the ontological argument, we may also be familiar with Immanuel Kant’s “textbook critique” of the Anselmsian proof. To be clear, Kant’s criticism is two-fold: (1) A concept cannot be formed to guarantee its own instantiation (i.e., have an instance) in extra-mental reality. For instance, whether or not the idea of a supreme being corresponds to any reality outside the human mind cannot be settled a priori (as Anselm allegedly tried to do). (2) Although existence is a grammatical predicate, it differs from other predicates in that its logical function is not to add a further component to a concept.
The “textbook criticism” that I am referring to is (2) – the famous “existence is not a predicate” objection. This is a philosopher’s fancy way of saying that you can’t define something into existence. A common analogy used is the idea of having 100$ dollars in my pocket compared to actually having 100$ in my pocket. Surely the latter is greater, but that doesn’t mean that there actually exists 100$ in my pocket.
(I) The Ontological Flaw of Kant
I wanted share some thoughts given to me by my personal mentor (you can view his pagehere). Kant’s criticism is similar to Aquinas’ but with an important and different emphasis. Aquinas would have one concern with regard to God’s essence is his existence and vice versa. However, only God has this pure “esse.” The reason Kant’s criticism holds some weight is because we don’t know God directly, so we can’t know God through the linkage of essence and existence. However, God in Scripture still reveals Himself as such a being (e.g., “I AM who AM”). So, on some level Kant and criticism (2) is flawed. Specifically, not in an epistemological sense but ontologically in regard to God.
However, in regard to us and all created beings it is a legitimate objection as accidents exist only in the context of matter and differentiation of such matter (or, in the case of angels as differentiated essence with limited accident attributes; or even possibly as unique created essences much like Leibniz’s monads). Created matter is an instantiated essence and that essence will always have accidents. The absence of either on some level implies the absence of the other.
A Review of The Principle
Shortly before his death in 1543, Nicolaus Copernicus published De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres) in which he proposed that the motion of the planets could be better explained by assuming that the sun, rather than the earth, sits at the center of the universe (the Solar System being the extent of the known universe of his day). Up until this point, Western scientists had visualized the universe in accordance with Ptolemy’s geocentric model, which in turn traced its roots back to Aristotle.
Later, Enlightenment thinkers extrapolated the Copernican model into what is now known as the Copernican principle. The Copernican principle states that the earth is not in any specially favored or spatially central location in the universe. And although it has never been proven, and in fact is unprovable with current technology, the Copernican principle has become entrenched into an axiomatic presupposition of modern thought, as astrophysicist Michael Rowan-Robinson wrote in 1996, “It is evident that in the post-Copernican era of human history, no well-informed and rational person can imagine that Earth occupies a unique position in the universe.” Baby boomers may remember Carl Sagan pontificating, “Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people.” [Read more…]
God has created a world in which there are things that are beautiful. There are things that are good, and there are things that are right. We live in a world where some things are indeed better than others. We live in a world that is defined by objective values even if many people do not want to affirm that reality. [Read more…]
Does a being that is God1 exist? Before we can disagree on whether or not a being that is God exists, we need to agree on what a being that is God is. There cannot be any disagreement unless there is an agreement on what is that is disputed.
What is a being that is God? A being that is God is a being that there could not be other than that which nothing greater nor equal could be conceived2. Such a being, if exists, must exhibit maximal perfection. Therefore, a being that is God, borrowing Alvin Plantinga’s insightful words, is a being “having an unsurpassable degree of greatness—that is, having a degree of greatness such that it’s not possible that there exist a being having more.” (Plantinga 2002: 102 emp. removed).
My first premise in my attempt to answer the dispute of whether or not a being that is God exists, is thus:
(1) If a being-that-is-God exists then that being-that-is-God could not be other than that which nothing greater (or equal) could be conceived.
Anselm of Canterbury (1033—1109) argued that, if there was such a being then it is absurd to hold that such a being exists in our thoughts alone but not also in reality. According to Anselm, both atheists and theists can agree with (1) (Anselm 2009). Atheists would argue that such a being exists in our minds alone. Theists, however, would argue that such a being exists both in our minds and in reality. [Read more…]