Big Book of Christian Apologetics (Geisler)

Status
Not open for further replies.

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
Geisler, Norman. The Big Book of Christian Apologetics.

I read the original “Baker Encyclopedia” in college. I’m partial to that one for nostalgic reasons. This one is good, too (and is the same thing, more or less).

When Geisler sticks to Evangelical Thomism, few can compete with him. His take on causality, analogy, and being is one of the few essential takeaways from this book.

Geisler’s “Twelve Points” is the outline of his apologetic thrust. They are helpfully outlined here.:

  1. Truth about reality is knowable.
  2. Opposites cannot both be true.
  3. The theistic God exists.
  4. If God exists, then miracles are possible.
  5. Miracles can be used to confirm a message from God.
  6. The New Testament is historically reliable.
  7. The New Testament says that Jesus claimed to be God.
  8. Jesus’ claim to be God is confirmed by miracles.
  9. Therefore, Jesus is God.
  10. Whatever Jesus (who is God) teaches is true.
  11. Jesus taught that the Bible is the Word of God.
  12. Therefore, it is true that the Bible is the Word of God (and anything opposed to it is false).
Analogy, Principle of. Analogy is based in causality. A cause communicates itself to the effect. Being communicates being. “The cause of being must be a Being. It cannot give what it don’t got.” Analogy between God and creation is based in efficient causality. We are like God because Actuality communicates actuality, but unlike God we have limiting potentiality.
Principality of Casuality

  1. Every effect has a cause.
  2. Every contingent being is caused by another.
  3. Every limited being is caused by another.
  4. Everything that comes to be is caused by another.
  5. Nonbeing cannot cause being.
No potency for being can actualize itself, for it would have to have been in a previous state of actuality.
Edwards, Jonathan. Used a good cosmological argument. Some problems concerning panentheism and an overly rigid view of free choice. No one is moved to act unless God acts on him. We act according to our free desire. This self-destructs when applied to Satan and the angels, for it seems God would have to have given them their desire for sin.
First Principles
These are so good I am probably going to write them in the cover of my bible.
B means being;
Bn means Necessary Being;
Bc means contingent being;
-> means causes;
-/> cannot cause;
Act means actuality;
P means potentiality (or potency).

  1. B is or exists (principle of existence)
  1. B is B (principle of identity)
  2. B is not non-B (principle of non-contradiction)
  3. Either B or non-B (principle of excluded middle)
  4. Non-B -/> B (principle of negative causality)
  5. B-/Bc (principle of contingent causality)
  6. Bn-/>Bn (principle of impossible causality)
  7. Bn->Bc (principle of positive causality)
  8. Bc is (exists) (principle of contingent existence)
  9. Bn is (exists) principle of necessary existence)
  10. Act is Act (with no potency) (principle of pure actuality)
  11. Bc is act/potency (principle of potency)
  12. Act ->act/potency (principle of analogy
  13. Act is similar to act
  14. Act is different from potency
  15. Bn is not (principle of negative attributes)
  16. finite (= is infinite)
  17. changing (=is immutable)
  18. temporal (=is eternal)
  19. multiple (= is one)
  20. divisible (=is simple)
  21. Bn is (principle of positive attributes)
  22. actual
  23. intelligent
  24. personal
  25. good
  26. truth
  27. Beautiful
Geisler’s take on creation/flood is interesting. He holds to Old Earth (or rather, the strongest argument for YEC don’t obtain because there are gaps in the genealogies). On the other hand, he holds to a global flood.

Hardening of Pharaoh

This isn’t as against Calvinism as it might seem. Our scholastic fathers held to free choice and that God doesn’t work mechanically against our wills. If that is true, then we shouldn’t have to big a problem with Geisler’s conclusion that God doesn’t harden initially, but subsequently; not directly, but indirectly; not against free choice, but through free choice; not as to the cause, but as to the effect.

Hinduism. Some comments. The only way I could know that all is an illusion is by using my senses. These same monists tell us to use our senses to listen to their lectures or read their books.

If illusionism is true, how could I know it?

Gospel witnesses: The gospels couldn’t have been myths because not only do myths not develop in under a generation, but myths also do not develop while the eyewitnesses are still alive.

Bart Ehrman on the manuscripts’ having errors: if we apply the same reasoning to his own books, we note that his first edition had sixteen errors. One hundred thousand copies were pritten. This means he made 1.6 million errors, but that is silly.

First Law of Thermodynamics. The point isn’t that energy can’t be created or destroyed. It isn’t making a statement about the origin of the universe. Energy remains constant, albeit the usable energy decreases.

Van Til. We’ll end the review with his critique of Van Til. CVT says that for Aquinas God’s existence is only probable, whereas Aquinas said it was rationally necessary (ST 1a., 2, 3). Aquinas would believe with CVT that truth depends ontologically on God. Yet CVT never fully realized that finite man must ask how he could know. CVT confused the order of knowing with the order of being.

Even worse, if the unbeliever experiences everything with a “jaundiced eye,” how would he ever understand Van Til, since the rules of logic and grammar are being experienced differently? CVT seemed to see this tension (IST, 15). It gets worse, though. If the unbeliever with his jaundiced eye cannot account for creation, then he’s off the hook since there is no way for him to suppress a truth that he doesn’t even understand.

Criticisms

Unfortunately, Geisler holds to some form of the subordination of the Son. To be honest, I think he is just confused, for he first anchors the subordination in the economy. However, he does use the unstable category of “function.” There is no evidence, though, that he is using this model to drive a particular view of male-female relations. He might in other books, but not here. What makes it more frustrating is that his overall Trinitarianism and Doctrine of God is so good.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top