TAG and Occasionalism

Discussion in 'Apologetical Methods' started by Dan Dufek, Nov 12, 2005.

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  1. Dan Dufek

    Dan Dufek Inactive User

    Unless my understanding of TAG is seriously flawed, TAG rejects arguments which are based on A-B causation, (See David Hume) As Kant argued their must be something Transcendental that makes sense of our use of Induction (God being that cause for lack of a better word) So we argue with the Atheist that unless God exists they can no nothing through observation because without God they couldn't even know "if their toothpaste will come out tomorrow morning" (Dr. Bahnsen's toothepaste proof)

    Doesn't it follow that if God is Necessary (which I believe he is) for someone to rationally use Induction because of our inability to see causal connections in Nature, wouldn't the same thing apply to mind-body causal connections? I am not sure if this is where J. Edwards and G. Clark were going or not but it seems at least plausible.
  2. Vytautas

    Vytautas Puritan Board Freshman

    David Hume believed that it would be probable that the toothpaste would come out of the toothpaste tube tomorrow. If something is true it is more probable than what is false. For example, if you were a pilot that was about ready for take off you would say, "œLadies and Gentlemen, I believe in David Hume, so when I push down on the controls we will probably ascend into flight, then when we are about to land, if I push up on the controls we will probably descend." So the Atheist via Hume would say that our experiences of the natural world are probable.

    I don´t think God is necessary because we can use causation and induction. He is necessary because of His nature requires him to be necessary. It is impossible for God not to exist in every possible world. Induction is a concept relating to the mind. Without a mind you could not use induction.
  3. Dan Dufek

    Dan Dufek Inactive User


    TAG does not say this, rather TAG says that *the unbeliever* cannot *justify* his appeal to induction *if* he assumes *the truth of his worldview.*

    I don't really see how this implies any form of occasionalism if that is construed as: on the occasion that I see a dog God immediately transmits this knowledge into my mind that there is a dog there.

    Based on your above example, I wouldn't disagree. However, as I understand Occasionalism it goes back to causal connections between mind-body. If I am understanding the Transcendental Argument, unbelievers are using induction to infer from a given premise without a rational justification for doing so...based on their first principle. Now we understand the God is the precondition of intelligibility and he is the first principle by which the Christian rationally justifies the use of induction. The same type of skepticism exists regarding the causal connection between the incorporeal spirit and corporeal body. This is where Occasionalism seems to have some similiarity with TAG.
  4. Vytautas

    Vytautas Puritan Board Freshman

    How could God be the first principle in which you could deduce the method of induction? Is it from His existence, attributes, or works that we rationally justify the use of induction? What could be deduced from knowing God?
  5. Dan Dufek

    Dan Dufek Inactive User

    I personally believe that Logic is a part of God's very nature. I realize this runs counter to Van Til's understanding and is closer to Clark's position. We can justify induction based on the fact that we can know that the future inference (e.g. the toothpaste will come out of the tube in the morning) because God holds all things together and has ordered the universe in such a way that tomorrow will be the same as today.
  6. piningforChrist

    piningforChrist Puritan Board Freshman

    2 Cor 4:1 Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. 2 But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. 6 For God, who said, "œLet light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

    We must preach Christ and Him crucified by the power of the Spirit and in the explaining of the Word. At the end of the gospel of Luke, Christ reasoned from the Scriptures, testifying to how He is the Messiah. This is how we can best evangelize, in my opinion.
  7. Dan Dufek

    Dan Dufek Inactive User


    I don't disagree with your assessment of the Law of Contradiction Aren't atheists using Induction in their worldview? The problem of Induction stems from their (atheist) use of this principle of logic without a rational justification. If materialism is true, and we are simply molecules in motion. Based on this epistemology we can never use induction (because induction is based on probability unless "perfect") and there is no way from someone to know that A will continue to cause B. In other words how can an atheist know that brushing one's teeth will prevent cavities in future as it has in the past? The same dilemma exists in the mind-body relationship. I realize Humean causal skepticism doesn't directly affect TAG however it is related. In the Atheistic worldview what is the connection mechanism between cause and event, or better yet between mind and body? I believe this sums up the relation between TAG and Occasionalism. Isn't there a philosophical problem with discarding Occasionalism while embracing God as the linking mechanism for Causal connections in nature?
  8. Dan Dufek

    Dan Dufek Inactive User

    Allow me to correct one error in grammar from my earlier post:

    I said: If materialism is true, and we are simply molecules in motion

    I meant: If materialism is true, then we are simply molecules in motion

  9. Dan Dufek

    Dan Dufek Inactive User

    I completely agree. In preaching of course we are preaching Christ and him crucified. Are you implying however that we shouldn't study philosophy or apologetics? The Apostle Paul was a philosopher as well as being a theologian and preacher. His address to the Stoics and Epicureans showed that he knew of their philosophy. He also knew of Epimenides the Cretan poet as he quotes from him in the Pastoral Epistles.
  10. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    And some others would say that the laws of logic etc. are part of God's accomodation to creation and we can say nothing about his actually "nature".
  11. Vytautas

    Vytautas Puritan Board Freshman

    Can you not say that the nature of God is that He is holy, just, ect.?
  12. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    Saying something is a creaturely accomodation, does not make it a mirage or illusion. The things you state: holy, just etc. are true and biblically revealed of God. However, we are limited to being God's creatures and limited to creaturely tools. Until we can access more than that, we can't get to the "essense" of God.
  13. Civbert

    Civbert Puritan Board Junior

    What does this mean "on a created level"? Did God create logic, or is logic part of God's nature? Could God have created a world where the law of contradiction was not required? I suppose this would be the case if there is an inseparable wall between God's knowledge and man's. Would Van Till say the law of contradiction only applies to the material world? (Of course this further presupposes there is a clear distinction between the material and the spiritual - and man's mind operates on the material level.)
  14. Vytautas

    Vytautas Puritan Board Freshman

    If there is an inseparable wall between God's knowledge and man's, then there could not be any meaningful communication between the two parties because knowledge is the medium of communication. If the knowledge that is needed for communication is completely different there will be confusion about what is actually being communicated. For example, a person who speaks only English cannot meaningfully communicate with a person who only speaks German. The difference is the form of knowledge because one has all of their knowledge coated in English whereas the other has it in German. Thus, unless there is a translator there cannot be any meaningful communication.

    We are capable of understanding God because He has given us a revelation about Himself. However, God is incompressible because His judgments and His ways are past finding out. Romans 11:33. We will never find out everything that there is to know about God. But just because we cannot know everything about God does not mean we cannot know anything about God. We can know everything that the Bible says about God. God´s incompressibility does not nullify his knowability. Although we cannot know God exhaustively, we can know Him through the words of Scripture.
  15. Dan Dufek

    Dan Dufek Inactive User

    It seems to me that the laws of logic must be an uncreated attribute of God's very nature. I would think that the immaterial aspect of the laws of logic preclude them from only applying in a material world. If God "created" the laws of logic was God irrational or illogical before creating the laws?
  16. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    He would not have to be irrational or illogical. He would just be "beyond" logic. Irrational or Illogical means against logic.

    For example, lets say that there are certain biological laws that living things must obey or they are no longer living. A rock does not violate any of those laws, because the laws do not apply to it.

  17. Civbert

    Civbert Puritan Board Junior

    "Beyond logic" has no rational meaning. God must be logical, or not logical. He can not be in between or both or "beyond". Beyond logic would mean that God is meanless - which is self-refuting.

    However, if the laws of logic are true and they were created with the creation, then God is logical now. There could be no meaningful communication between God and man otherwise. And since the the creation was enabled by God speaking - this presuppose logic - i.e. logic is logically and temporally prior to "the creation".

    Futhermore - knowledge itself would be meaningless without logic. So whatever part of God that is beyond logic is itself meaningless - and there is not reason to assert God is beyond logic if it has no reasonable meaning.

    As far as the relationship between man and God goes, God's knowledge is truth, and therefore God's thoughts must be perfectly logical. For man to know anything of God, then the laws of logic must apply to God's revelation to man.
  18. Dan Dufek

    Dan Dufek Inactive User


    I would agree. "Supra"logical would seem to indicate degrees of logic. Personally I believe that logic is a necessary attribute of God's nature otherwise it is contingent upon its creation. I believe this is a difference between Clark and VT where Clark asserted that logic is a characteristic of God and VT asserted that God created logic.(unless I am misrepresenting VT)
  19. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    Actually all it means is that we can say nothing about God before he created the laws of logic. Saying nothing and claiming irrationality or illogicality are two way different things.

    There is a problem with evaluating things in a post logic world and then saying it must be X, Y and Z before logic. Our conceptual scheme is built on the laws of logic. Without it, we cannot say much.

    The whole point is the issue of maintaining laws of logic dependence on God without God having created the laws of logic. It is a very very messy deal, that has yet to this point to be solved.

    And again we should not try to push our creaturely limitations and then say God has to be X, Y and Z (as in Essentially). We are limited to what God has revealed to us, and if that means that certain things remain behind the veil, then so be it.

    They do apply to God's revelation to man. The question is does the laws of logic need to be uncreated in order for God to be able to communicate with man?

  20. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    I dont think it indicates "degrees" of logic. It just means that because we need the laws of logic, that they are an uncreated part of God's nature.

    I am not speaking as a Van Tillian but more as a dooyeweerdian (sic?)

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