Paul Manata and others, The Closet and Possibility

Discussion in 'Apologetical Methods' started by austinbrown2, Nov 3, 2006.

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  1. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    My premise here is that the Bible leaves no room for the possibility of a fourth or more members of the God head. That kills the possibility of the situation.

    That would mean that you would be asking to show that the Bible is true, which I do not believe to be a proper question.

    I have seen the same comments and believe that at best he has moderated his stance concerning VanTillian Presup. But if you have followed the thread, you would have seen that I was not using him as support for VT or anything close to that. I was using him because he is close to Prof. Salmon, who has written against S4 and S5 versions of modal logic. If those are not valid for possible world semantics, then a great deal of possible worlds stuff becomes problematic because they assume these levels of modal logic.

    Again, we have left Van Til and pretty much left TAG on the sideline for a little bit. The question is the validity of the Quadrune claim to be possible. One can despise Van Til and still could answer that such is impossible.

    I do not have anything to discuss with him concerning Van Til

    Since I am not currently defending TAG but instead attacking Quadrinity, it might be a while.


  2. Don

    Don Puritan Board Freshman

    and this is the contextual fallacy that was discussed.

    I know how you were using him. I also asked him a few questions on Vic Repperts blog about the claim that there are no atheists. He thought *this* claim was dependent on Bahnsens impossibility of the contrary, which he thought was not successful.

    You stated in the other thread that Paul Manata was six months behind you and once he denied Possible World Semantics, he'd be 'right back in the camp'. My point is that that is not the only option as one can apparently deny PWs and still not be in the camp. So if you want to name drop Sean Choi or Nathan Salmon in regards to PW, then your interlocutor can name drop them in regards to VT - which is the primary subject at hand.

    and my point was that the Quadrinity is not really necessary to defeat TAG - or to defeat a certain claim made by TAGsters.
  3. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    There is no fallacy anywhere. If God has said that "I am a trinity", then you have him being a liar for then being four in one but saying that he is three in one or you have him being able to just change himself into four, when he was once three.

    Both are problematic. If you think I have missed something then you can talk to Paul because he has missed the same issue.

    The end game is to show that one has to go to some other source of possibility contrary to what God has specifically revealed to His creatures.

    Fair enough, and irrelevant concerning the issue with Dr. Salmon.

    I said that in a playful way, there are plenty of ways to be outside of the camp.

    According to this reasoning, one could never reference an unbeliever with regard to some philosophical argument because someone could just say, "well they are an atheist, deist etc. so why not accept them over there as well".

    The primary subject is what we are discussion right now, which is a Quadrune God. Will we get back to Van Til and TAG, Definitely. But that is not the question at hand.

    At this point we are analogous to a discussion of arguments that Presupps should not use against other schools of apologetics. Even if we believe the other schools are wrong, we have to fight them properly and not strawman them to death.

    I am not saying that it is necessary or that something else cannot defeat it. The point in discussion is should we move on to something else to potentially defeat TAG.

  4. Don

    Don Puritan Board Freshman

    I said, "So if you want to name drop Sean Choi or Nathan Salmon in regards to PW, then your interlocutor can name drop them in regards to VT - which is the primary subject at hand."

    I'll respond to the rest later. But this doesn't follow. If you want to name drop according to one subject, then your interlocutor can name drop the *same* ppl in regards to the primary subject. How that entails that one could "never reference an unbeliever with regard to some philosophical argument" is beyond me.
  5. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    Um, this is akin to saying the primary subject of a apologetic encounter is Christianity and not sub argument in favor of some aspect (resurrection etc.) So if I reference an unbeliever in reference to the resurrection one can just reference them in their rejection of Christianity as a whole, because that is the primary subject.

    Last edited: Nov 5, 2006
  6. Don

    Don Puritan Board Freshman

    You miss the point yet again. If you want to name drop to obtain justification for your rejection of modality, then I'll name drop the *same* ppl (or different) in order to obtain justification for my position - and make the same type of smarty pant comments. And I'm still not exactly sure how all this entails that I can't quote unbelievers? Or am I breaking "Van Tillian" debate rules if I do while it's ok if you do it?
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2006
  7. Don

    Don Puritan Board Freshman

    oh and by 'primary subject' I did not mean 'Christianity as a whole' but *TAG* and *Van Tillianism* - or at least the right wing version of it.
  8. Civbert

    Civbert Puritan Board Junior

    Why would one need to show the quadrune God from the Scripture which presents the triune God. We are talking worldviews.

    The quadrune god is hypothetical, and would be an element of a hypothetical worldview religion. It would be equivalent to Christianity in all ways except it would have four persons in the Godhead. The quadrune God would have revealed himself so a chosen people, there would be a some holy text, would involve election, redemption, etc.

    Meet Joe. He's a evangelist for the God, the quadrune God. How does Joe know God is Quadrune - Joe's has it right here in the Word of the Quadrune God. Read for yourself.

    Now you can't say - "prove it to me from the Scriptures of Christianity".

    "That's silly" says Joe. "God has revealed himself in my Bible, not yours."

    And then Joe points out all the relevant verses like Duke 4:12 and 2 Bob 3:1-8. And the God of the quadrinity sent his only begotten son, Jimmy, to die on a tree for the sins of the elect.

    So, there it is. The religion of the Quadrune God is contrary Christianity, but provides all the same categories and conditions of Christianity. It is contrary worldview because both can not be true at the same time.
  9. Cheshire Cat

    Cheshire Cat Puritan Board Sophomore

    CT, unless you can defeat possible worlds, I don't see how you are getting anywhere in this thread.
  10. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    Oh I know but my analogy still holds, the issue is that I do not have to talk about everything at once. The point currently in front of me (or was in front of me) was to attack the potential for a 4 member Godhead. If I need to do more than that to defend TAG from all comers is absolutely fine. But once this is settled then we can move on to something else.

    Your counter is akin to saying, Christianity still dies regardless of how I defend the resurrection (because it fails elsewhere). Let me at least address this point and then we can see if it all comes down somewhere else.

  11. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    I know exactly what we are talking about. No worldview makes everything possible or nothing possible. So every worldview has a source to tell them that X or Y is possible.

    With Christianity we have possibility being an idea in God mind, a creature that God has made or something in that vicinity.

    Now if someone wants to counter with a possibility that is not in God's mind because they have another source of possibility then that is perfectly fine. However if they want to do that, they do not have the right to attempt to appeal to some neutral possibility. You either have God as the source or something else.

    It is a hypothetical using what non neutral source of possibility?

    Okay how is this any different then asking about a world where the laws of logic do not exist?

    I would be happy to read it, but he wont let me read it because there is a different doctrine of providence in this other worldview.

    I would be happy to say prove it to me from their own worldview with the different providence. I would be happy to have him explain his source of possibility etc.

    I would be happy to fight him over all the differences between his Bible and mine. God does not lie, right? So while the imposter was raining down fire in support of Elijah, where was he at?

    I love to hear him talk about his God because now he is giving me rope to hang him. The only trouble is when he refuses to talk.

    So when the imposter Triune God was having his revelation put forward, where was Quad?

    I would love to see just how Providence is not completely altered, let alone other things that will come up as Joe tells me about his bible.

  12. VanVos

    VanVos Puritan Board Sophomore

    I too have difficulties with the Hypothetical quadrinity worldview. How could it give the necessary preconditions for intelligibility? Here’s Bulter's comments:

    Would not a Quadrinity cast a shadow on God’s unity and self-sufficiency? Could we not say that God by necessity is Triune? This gives us the one and many (that is more than two). So a fourth person in the Godhead is unnecessary and therefore not possible for God, who is by definition, a self-sufficient being.

    Hope that makes sense VanVos
  13. Don

    Don Puritan Board Freshman

    Nothing in my name dropping counter implies that you have to talk about everything at once. That is irrelevant. My particular counter to *this tactic* has to do with your *name dropping* and attempting to obtain justification from that. If you want to play this name game, then we can do that, and this is what I was doing. Saying that it may be off-subject or whatever misses the point. I was simply trying to get you to go further. Even if your analogy holds (which I don't think it does as it misses my point), I still fail to see how it matters. Your analogy is akin to saying "I can name drop on 'side issues' but you can't name drop on the 'wider issue'. That's a foul and therefore illegal." That's ridiculous - what logical law is that derived from. Anyway, this is a side issue that perturbed me especially when I saw it in the other thread.

    I may address the rest of your statements next week as I'm exhausted from shoveling all day, am particularly busy and tired of this subject. In the meantime, meditate on those questions I asked earlier that you dismissed and try to sufficiently state TAG instead of having an assertion party. ;)
  14. VanVos

    VanVos Puritan Board Sophomore

    Okay I will read the thread when I have time, because I really want understand your argument here. However I do have some questions based upon your response here. Would not Binitarianism be insufficient, since it would lack an objective testator to the reciprocal communion that exists within the persons of the Godhead? Also is not God exempt from the unnecessary/impossibility argument since God by definition is perfect and is therefore incapable of doing or being something unnecessary?, therefore making both Quaditarianism and Binitarianism impossible.

  15. Magma2

    Magma2 Puritan Board Sophomore

    Rev. Winzer, it seems to me the assertion out there in “la-la land” is the idea that one can prove Christianity is true by the impossibility of the contrary. The key word here is “prove.” TAG has been oversold by Van Til and his followers and the fact that some Van Tilians, like Paul, are beginning to realize this, I think is a good thing.

    I can’t help thinking you have completely missed his point. We know that God is a Triunity because that’s what the Scriptures teach. Paul is not saying Four persons IS possible in a Reformed worldview. all he’s doing is pointing out a (glaring) weakness in TAG.
  16. Civbert

    Civbert Puritan Board Junior

    I'm curious also about the concept "impossibility of the contrary". I've not seen this in formal logic or in reference to anything other than Christian apologetics. I've always assumed it was a common phrase in logical analysis. Can someone point me to a reference explaining the concept of "impossibility of the contrary"?
  17. Civbert

    Civbert Puritan Board Junior

    Necessarily different. And if so, would it be so different as to insure it necessarily does not supply the preconditions for intelligibility?

    Could not the forth person be conceived as one similar in character and nature to one of the other three person. The fourth person could be obtained dividing the functions of the Holy Spirit into two persons. One could serve only to instill faith into the elect, or maybe would be function to cause sanctification in believers. There are many possibilities. As many possibilities as there are different angels.

    I think Paul addressed this. A fourth person may not be necessary - but that does not mean it is impossible. Is there some proof that the Godhead could not possibly have had any more persons than necessary? And I'm assuming that 3 persons are the minimum necessary.

    And please note again, I'm not saying this is possible within the reformed or Christian worldview. This is a whole other worldview. Just as adding an additional side two a three sided figure turns a triangle into a quadrangle. Both are valid shapes. A four sided triangle is impossible only by definition of triangle. It's not an impossible shape. A four person Godhead is impossible within the Christian worldview - does not imply it is an impossible worldview.

    There are many worldviews. While only one worldview can be true (sound), there are possible worldviews that are formally valid. We can check the validity of a worldview even while assuming our own. However, we can not prove which worldview is sound. If we assume one worldview, all others will appear unsound necessarily. But any formally valid worldview will appear sound if one assumes it first.

    Are we all using the same definition of worldview? A worldview is not merely a way of looking at the world. Your worldview defines everything you think you know and believe true. It dictates what appears to be true, untrue, or uncertain. Your worldview is determined by your presuppositions regarding epistemology, ontology, and/or metaphysics. The axioms of a worldview take logical priority over all other propositional truths.
  18. VanVos

    VanVos Puritan Board Sophomore

    I understand yon need take a break from debate, I know how exhausting it can be. But I will attempt answer the questions here

    1. I would argue yes. An objective testator gives objective knowledge to the communion that exists between the persons of Godhead. In creation every case is establish by two or more witnesses (Matt 18:16) It's a precondition for proof of any given relationship.

    2. A paradox with trinitarianism is allowable because it gives the necessary preconditions for intelligibility; I still don't how any alternative does.

    3. See 1

    4. Again trinitarianism sufficiently gives us the preconditions for intelligibility therefore 4th member of the God head is unnecessary, and since God is perfect He can not be or do something unnecessary.

  19. VanVos

    VanVos Puritan Board Sophomore

    Thanks for the comments Civbert. But in my thinking, I still say it is valid to argue from the impossibility of the contrary. Also I think you will agree with me here; that in the nature of the case there can be no other worldview, there can be only be one transcendental for the meaningfulness of man's experience, and the one we have says there are no others. Plus you lose uniformity if you have two possible worldviews, and then you would need a third worldview to judge the two proposed worldviews. So guess, what I'm saying is that I'm not convinced that we should give up on the impossibility of the contrary argument formulation.

    Last edited: Nov 6, 2006
  20. B.J.

    B.J. Puritan Board Freshman

    I guess I constitute the "others" of the thread topic. I to had to come to grips some time ago with the now obvoius fact that the "contrary" can never be shown to be impossible. CVT's TAG is bankrupt. It can't prove what it so boldly claims. Paul and I discussed this at some length in a previous thread where he slammed me for questioning what he now affirms. So my only question for Presuppers like myself, who have been stripped of their Bahnsneian rhetoric and Van Tillian cliches', is...What now? The bomb has been dropped on the playground of Presuppositionalism and we must salvage anything that can be of use.
  21. Civbert

    Civbert Puritan Board Junior

    That doesn't mean we don't have an effective defense of Christianity. It only removes one questionable tool (TAG) from the arsenal.

    And we can defeat every known worldview. The only thing that matches (but can not defeat) Christianity, is a hypothetical worldview that seems to have no real-world example. The hypothetical is only hypothetical as has as it is humanly possible for us to know. It means we can not, an an absolute sense, rule out all possible worldviews.

    But we can (through an internal critique) rule out: empiricism, rationalism, mysticism, Catholicism, Mormonism, Islam, Buddhism, Humanism, Atheism, etc, etc, etc. I know Gordon Clark has done this in his apologetics. I think Bahnsen may have knocked down a few himself.

    Basically, we can knock out all non-theistic worldviews, and all known religions in short order. There's not much left apart from Christianity. If that's not an effective defense/offense, then what is?

    And although not an absolute proof of Christianity, we can still use the evidential and historical arguments.
  22. Don

    Don Puritan Board Freshman

    I would not call TAG itself questionable but rather the *claim* of proving the impossibility of the contrary using TAG.
  23. B.J.

    B.J. Puritan Board Freshman

  24. Magma2

    Magma2 Puritan Board Sophomore

    Great point, and, I might add, a decisive one! This, in my mind, is the real death knell for Van Tilian apologetics. “They” can and should say all those things you say they should. :up: I’m just continually surprised that so few do. What was that P.T. Barnum said? :candle:
  25. B.J.

    B.J. Puritan Board Freshman

    I didnt mean anything negative by the phrase "slammed me." I hope this is clear to everyone. It was just an expression. I guess I watch to much WWE.
  26. Civbert

    Civbert Puritan Board Junior

    Fair enough. I only object to the presentation of TAG that goes "only Christianity provided the necessary preconditions for intelligibility". That is, I object to the term "only". The only support for the "only" is by the impossibility of the contrary.
  27. Civbert

    Civbert Puritan Board Junior

    I thought it was intended as a compliment to Paul. Kind of like saying the Chess Master killed me in last game.
  28. Civbert

    Civbert Puritan Board Junior

    I agree. It is possible. :)

    Anyone can do an internal critique of Christianity. But a critique of Christianity shows it is fully valid and sound worldview, providing all the necessary preconditions of intelligibility.

    Who's "we". I don't. And who says they can't? They can, but it would be to their detriment.

    An internal critique starts by assuming the worldview in question is true. Based on that assumption (assumed for the sake of argument), one can show that most worldviews falls apart. Empiricism, atheism, and rationalism, (really all non-theistic worldviews) can be shown to be incapable of producing epistemicly justifiable knowledge. It's a devastating technique.

    Only in irrational formulations of Christianity. The reformed worldview does not have to appeal to mystery (unless one takes the neo-orthodox perspective). If it does, Christianity too will fall apart.
  29. Civbert

    Civbert Puritan Board Junior

    It would only be necessary for it to contradict one doctrine (e.g. the Trinity).

    A God proven by the force of a man-centric argument is not the God of Scripture. The argument is circular to boot. It proves God by first assuming God exists.

    The God of the ontological argument is poorly defined, and certainly does not need to be the God of Scripture. The God of Islam also works.

    A foundational argument should be epistemological, not ontological. Knowledge requires a foundation. Existence is undefinable everything and nothing.

    Me too! I can always learn more. I might even find out I'm wrong about somethings. :think: :wow: :candle: I day I'm not learning something or being corrected about something is not much of a day. Plantinga is on my must- read list.
  30. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    Can anyone point to works on how to determine what is an impossible world or just how to determine if something is impossible?
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