Modalism and Orthodoxy

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Skyler

Puritan Board Graduate
I'd like to explore the distinction between the fact and the manner a bit more.

What is the difference between saying that God created the universe and saying that God predestined the elect?
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
One may be stated more frequently than another, but ultimately both flow directly from the express statements of Scripture, and in that sense there is no difference. No one who believes the Bible can deny that God predestines, though they might be confused as to what that means or on what basis predestination proceeds. But there are confusions about the manner that do ultimately equate to a denial of the fact, which is why in post 13 I was careful to qualify that not all disagreements about the manner are irrelevant to the affirmation of the fact.
 

Skyler

Puritan Board Graduate
Okay. I think it's starting to make sense now.

Thanks Ruben! You've been very helpful. =)
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Dennis
His attributes are not exactly what God does, but his characteristics and traits. There is some necessity to distinguish God's actions from his being, especially when one considers God's sovereign decreeing of evil in the world, which does not accord indistinguishably with his benevolent essence.

All that God does accords with who He is. He does not act "out of character" when we understand what He is doing.

His sovereign decree that there should be evil accords with His wisdom, holiness, righteousness, goodness (including love) and truth.
But we don't say that he is evil because he sovereignly decrees it. There is a major degree of separation between this particular action and his attributes. This puts the statement:
How do you distinguish who God is from what God does?
into question, does it not?

But God can decree evil without being evil Himself because He has a holy, good, righteous and wise purpose in doing so, and because He has the power to legitimately do so i.e. omnipotence, omnipresence and omniscience.

I.e. He can decree evil, and control evil for proper ends. If He couldn't do the latter, it would be unrighteous of Him to do the former.
 

Afterthought

Puritan Board Senior
py3ak said:
But there are confusions about the manner that do ultimately equate to a denial of the fact, which is why in post 13 I was careful to qualify that not all disagreements about the manner are irrelevant to the affirmation of the fact.
I guess then for Arminians or other similar groups it depends on whether their denials ultimately equate to a denial of the fact. But that's another thread. Thank you too!
 

Joseph Scibbe

Puritan Board Junior
How do you distinguish who God is from what God does? God is his attributes.

I don't think you can separate the two, but I think you can distinguish between the two. You can't separate the heads from the tails of a coin, but you can still distinguish between the two.
With respect, no, as this is a category error. There is nothing analogous between a physical object and God.

AMR

That isn't true. Throughout Scripture God gives anthropomorphic analogies between Himself and creation. He doesn't use a coin for those but you can't say there is "nothing analogous".
 

Ask Mr. Religion

Flatly Unflappable
How do you distinguish who God is from what God does? God is his attributes.

I don't think you can separate the two, but I think you can distinguish between the two. You can't separate the heads from the tails of a coin, but you can still distinguish between the two.
With respect, no, as this is a category error. There is nothing analogous between a physical object and God.

AMR

That isn't true. Throughout Scripture God gives anthropomorphic analogies between Himself and creation. He doesn't use a coin for those but you can't say there is "nothing analogous".
My response was clearly stating "physical object", no? God's hands, eyes, breath, feet, sword, etc., are not analogous to that which we know as these objects. These physical objects are accommodations to our finitude.

AMR
 

Skyler

Puritan Board Graduate
My response was clearly stating "physical object", no? God's hands, eyes, breath, feet, sword, etc., are not analogous to that which we know as these objects. These physical objects are accommodations to our finitude.

AMR

Psalms 84:11
"For the LORD God is a sun and shield;the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly."

Isaiah 26:4
"Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock."

Psalm 18:2
"The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."

These are analogies, are they not?
 

Ask Mr. Religion

Flatly Unflappable
My response was clearly stating "physical object", no? God's hands, eyes, breath, feet, sword, etc., are not analogous to that which we know as these objects. These physical objects are accommodations to our finitude.

AMR

Psalms 84:11
"For the LORD God is a sun and shield;the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly."

Isaiah 26:4
"Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock."

Psalm 18:2
"The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."

These are analogies, are they not?
Brother, I am trying to be precise, as in "are not analogous to that which we know as these objects." Yes, they are anologies, but we know them for what they are, as I alluded to previously. This alone should help you come to understanding the distinction between "the fact and the manner" that you seek. The facts lie behind these accommodations in Scripture, that should lead us to understanding the manner. All God's attributes inhere one another. We cannot separate them, nor give one preeminence over the other, when we speak of the essence of God. We must be careful to avoid separating the divine essence and the divine attributes. We must also guard against false conceptions of the relation in which these attributes stand with each other.

For example,
unsettled theism (open theism) would have us believe that unless God acts then God is not this or that, e.g., loving or just. Yet, when we consider the simplicity of God (that He is without constituent parts), we find that God and His attributes are a unified wholeness. God’s attributes are not so many parts that comprise the composition of God, as God is not composed of different parts (as are His creatures). Nor can God’s attributes be thought as something that is added to God’s being, for God is eternally perfect. God’s attributes are very real determinations of His Divine Being, that is, qualities that inhere in the being of God. God’s perfections are God Himself as He has revealed Himself to mankind. God’s attributes are not parts composing the Divine Essence. The whole essence is in each attribute, and the attribute in the essence. We should not conceive of the divine essence as existing by itself, and prior to the attributes. God is not essence and attributes, but in attributes. Indeed, knowledge of the attributes carries with it knowledge of the essence.

AMR
 

Skyler

Puritan Board Graduate
I'm not grasping your distinction between analogies, sorry. I understand your comments about separating God's essence or His attributes. Are you saying that He is not analogous to anything we experience in that respect?
 

Joseph Scibbe

Puritan Board Junior
My response was clearly stating "physical object", no? God's hands, eyes, breath, feet, sword, etc., are not analogous to that which we know as these objects. These physical objects are accommodations to our finitude.

AMR

Psalms 84:11
"For the LORD God is a sun and shield;the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly."

Isaiah 26:4
"Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock."

Psalm 18:2
"The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."

These are analogies, are they not?
Brother, I am trying to be precise, as in "are not analogous to that which we know as these objects." Yes, they are anologies, but we know them for what they are, as I alluded to previously. This alone should help you come to understanding the distinction between "the fact and the manner" that you seek. The facts lie behind these accommodations in Scripture, that should lead us to understanding the manner. All God's attributes inhere one another. We cannot separate them, nor give one preeminence over the other, when we speak of the essence of God. We must be careful to avoid separating the divine essence and the divine attributes. We must also guard against false conceptions of the relation in which these attributes stand with each other.

For example,
unsettled theism (open theism) would have us believe that unless God acts then God is not this or that, e.g., loving or just. Yet, when we consider the simplicity of God (that He is without constituent parts), we find that God and His attributes are a unified wholeness. God’s attributes are not so many parts that comprise the composition of God, as God is not composed of different parts (as are His creatures). Nor can God’s attributes be thought as something that is added to God’s being, for God is eternally perfect. God’s attributes are very real determinations of His Divine Being, that is, qualities that inhere in the being of God. God’s perfections are God Himself as He has revealed Himself to mankind. God’s attributes are not parts composing the Divine Essence. The whole essence is in each attribute, and the attribute in the essence. We should not conceive of the divine essence as existing by itself, and prior to the attributes. God is not essence and attributes, but in attributes. Indeed, knowledge of the attributes carries with it knowledge of the essence.

AMR

So, are you arguing that WE can't make analogies of God but that he can? I could see that but not that there are no analogies in human language to equate with God.
 

nwink

Puritan Board Sophomore
Feel free to help out a poor struggling college student.

Try using the Interlibrary Loan system at your local library. I'm able to get virtually any book I want through interlibrary loan at my public library if I'm willing to wait a week or so for it to come in.
 

Ask Mr. Religion

Flatly Unflappable
I'm not grasping your distinction between analogies, sorry. I understand your comments about separating God's essence or His attributes. Are you saying that He is not analogous to anything we experience in that respect?

My response was clearly stating "physical object", no? God's hands, eyes, breath, feet, sword, etc., are not analogous to that which we know as these objects. These physical objects are accommodations to our finitude.

AMR

Psalms 84:11
"For the LORD God is a sun and shield;the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly."

Isaiah 26:4
"Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock."

Psalm 18:2
"The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."

These are analogies, are they not?
Brother, I am trying to be precise, as in "are not analogous to that which we know as these objects." Yes, they are anologies, but we know them for what they are, as I alluded to previously. This alone should help you come to understanding the distinction between "the fact and the manner" that you seek. The facts lie behind these accommodations in Scripture, that should lead us to understanding the manner. All God's attributes inhere one another. We cannot separate them, nor give one preeminence over the other, when we speak of the essence of God. We must be careful to avoid separating the divine essence and the divine attributes. We must also guard against false conceptions of the relation in which these attributes stand with each other.

For example,
unsettled theism (open theism) would have us believe that unless God acts then God is not this or that, e.g., loving or just. Yet, when we consider the simplicity of God (that He is without constituent parts), we find that God and His attributes are a unified wholeness. God’s attributes are not so many parts that comprise the composition of God, as God is not composed of different parts (as are His creatures). Nor can God’s attributes be thought as something that is added to God’s being, for God is eternally perfect. God’s attributes are very real determinations of His Divine Being, that is, qualities that inhere in the being of God. God’s perfections are God Himself as He has revealed Himself to mankind. God’s attributes are not parts composing the Divine Essence. The whole essence is in each attribute, and the attribute in the essence. We should not conceive of the divine essence as existing by itself, and prior to the attributes. God is not essence and attributes, but in attributes. Indeed, knowledge of the attributes carries with it knowledge of the essence.

AMR

So, are you arguing that WE can't make analogies of God but that he can? I could see that but not that there are no analogies in human language to equate with God.
I am only drawing the distinction between the notion of the use of physical analogies and God. We know that these physical analogies are clear accommodations. God is not a physical being.

When we move into the realm beyond the physical, as in God's love, wrath, holiness, etc., all we have from God in his special revelation is analogical knowledge. We can certainly understand the concept of God's love, for example, but we will never understand his love as he knows it, given the archetypal-ectypal distinction between the Creator and the created. So yes, we can have an appreciation of what that love or wrath of God may be like, for we all experience such things, but our experience is but an unprofitable glimmer of the infinite God's own perfect love or wrath.

My concern remains with the query that we can distinguish between what God does and who God is, as if the actions of God are somehow separable from his being. They are not, and when we start to entertain these sort of notions, we are beginning down a slippery slope of creating an intellectual idol of God at our potential peril.

AMR
 
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