What is a tree???

Discussion in 'Apologetical Methods' started by Puritan Sailor, Jun 4, 2004.

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  1. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    This is for you Paul Manata. I'd like to see how you answer. You challenged John to ask you and he refused because he's been there before. But I am still ignorant and curious so I would like to hear the answer.

    What is a tree???

    [Edited on 6-4-2004 by puritansailor]
     
  2. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Patrick and Paul:

    I hope that you won't take it ill of me, but I promised myself that, for me, it was not a matter of different approaches to truth, but of truth itself. I'm not going to defend whether I'm on the right road, as much as to maintain the course to the destination.

    I have deliberately put my own Classicism on the line, (for in essence, Anselm is a Classicist ), and forced the criticism of it for my own benefit. I have no interest in the criticism of Presuppositionalism past the point of my own Presuppositionalism. I am not going to interfere in the course of another.

    What I did say about some of the main thrust of my approach was for all our benefit, so as to understand one another; and to elicit some critique, again for my benefit. I don't mean to hide in the bushes; that is not my idea of good discussion.

    Having said all that, for Patrick's sake, Paul, "What is a tree?" is what you asked of me. So I give you my answer: a tree is a creation of God's hand on the third day. It's functions are many, some of which we are just yet learning, as we cut away our forests for consumption. Basically it is a large, very large sometimes, woody plant.
     
  3. Saiph

    Saiph Puritan Board Junior

    Fuzzy boundaries of language.

    When does a tree become a bush, or a log ??

    If we define rain as water droplets in the air, at one measurement of volume does rain become mist ? ?

    [Edited on 6-4-2004 by Wintermute]
     
  4. king of fools

    king of fools Puritan Board Freshman

    Go to south Texas, not a tree in existance over 5' tall.
     
  5. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Take it away Patrick. Ask your questions.

    Paul, I have one, just for clarity. If I had just said, "It's functions are many, some of which we are just yet learning, as we cut away our forests for consumption. Basically it is a large, very large sometimes, woody plant," could it have been an answer equal to an answer given by someone who does not take God into account? In other words, is there a possibility of contemplating a tree without taking God into account? Or does taking a tree into account force taking God into account as well?

    What is "a tree without taking God into account"?
     
  6. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    So John gave you the easy answer acknowledging God. Let's say I give you this answer from the dictionary:

    - a plant having a permanently woody mainstem or trunk, ordinarily growing to a considerable height, and usually developing branches at some distance from the ground.
     
  7. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    [quote:1dfee3c9e5][i:1dfee3c9e5]Originally posted by Paul manata[/i:1dfee3c9e5]
    [quote:1dfee3c9e5]
    If I had just said, "It's functions are many, some of which we are just yet learning, as we cut away our forests for consumption. Basically it is a large, very large sometimes, woody plant," could it have been an answer equal to an answer given by someone who does not take God into account? In other words, is there a possibility of contemplating a tree without taking God into account? Or does taking a tree into account force taking God into account as well?
    [/quote:1dfee3c9e5]

    No that answer would fail. Yes, taking a tree into account forces God into account as well.


    [quote:1dfee3c9e5]
    What is "a tree without taking God into account"?
    [/quote:1dfee3c9e5]

    explain, to me that is like asking, "what is logic without taking logic into account." You can't do it.

    Unbeleivers cannout account for

    its origen It's meaning[/quote:1dfee3c9e5]
    Up to here, Paul, I was with you all the way. What you call "presupposing God" I would call "ontological necessity".

    [quote:1dfee3c9e5]the concept of "tree" as a universal. (Believe it or not John, you have never observed a "tree.")[/quote:1dfee3c9e5]
    Here is where you lose me. As I see it, because a tree is what it is, created by God, I can observe a real tree. There is no other reality: "tree" without creation is no tree at all, for there isnothing to observe and no one to observe it.

    [quote:1dfee3c9e5]Morality (i.e., what should I do with trees? should I burn them, should they be used to hit people over the head with."

    there are so many things that I don't even want to post them right now. All this shows is that "facts" are understood within a broader context of fact."[/quote:1dfee3c9e5]
    Neither would all these words have any meaning without the broader context of creation. All these things are "fact", they are what they are (identity) because God made them. That is ontological necessity: being insists on the existence of God.

    If you are saying that there could be no tree, no conception of tree, and no observation of tree, unless one accounts for it in the existence of and the governance of God, and mean by that that there is no "brute fact", then I am in agreement. No one can possibly live in the world of "brute fact". For the true "brute facts" are those which shout to us the necessity of God's existence, His creation and governance of all facts. It is a brute fact to all that God exists, for it is insisted on in every thing around and within, without exception and without escape.



    [Edited on 6-5-2004 by JohnV]
     
  8. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Very good, Paul. You are right that Schaeffer would have agree with you. I did not mean to imply that epistemology was excluded form ontologically. That's like thinking of "tree" without taking God into account.

    I would differ with you only on abstractions here. But essence I think we are aiming at the same principles. I would deny, as would you, that those so-called philosophies that exclude an accounting of God are no real philosophies at all. They lack the larger context. So whereas you are dealing in the differences of presuppositions, I deal with the unity of presuppositions. Unbelievers put up all these "philosophies" with their percieved foundations, and you rightly attack that. I cut around those phoney foundatons to show that even in their own philosophies they cannot be true to the facts as they are. In the end, its the same thing: you let them hold their philosophies so that they can be torn down at their foundations; and I rip up their facts from the inside out. You take away their "brute facts" and I show them that the real brute facts are those they won't admit to. You call it Presuppositionalism, and I call it ontological necessity.

    Now I know that there is much more to it than that. I know that when you begin with God it is not circular reasoning as well. What I want to avoid at all costs is butting heads with our different approaches, because for me that is not what this is all about. Nor should it be. I never have opposed Presuppositionalism, not do I ever intend to. I oppose those who would impose their understanding on others, and give no time of day to the idea that someone may actually be on to something, because they are so caught up in their system. For then it borders on idolatry.

    And that goes doubly for myself. That is why my I have to use a method that tests myself first for objectivity. If I am faithful to Scripture I cannot let even my own suasions pull me away from the objective truth of God's Word and of His objective revelation of Himself in creation. If I can persuade others of that, as I have been persuaded, then it is a gift from God, not an accomplishment of method.
     
  9. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Very good, Paul. You are right that Schaeffer would have agree with you. I did not mean to imply that epistemology was excluded from ontology. That's like thinking of "tree" without taking God into account.

    I would differ with you only on abstractions here. But in essence I think we are aiming at the same principles. I would deny, as would you, that those so-called philosophies that exclude an accounting of God are no real philosophies at all. They lack the larger context. So whereas you are dealing in the differences of presuppositions, I deal with the unity of presuppositions underneath. Unbelievers put up all these "philosophies" with their percieved foundations, and you rightly attack that. I cut around those phoney foundatons to show that even in their own philosophies they cannot be true to the facts as they are. In the end, its the same thing: you let them hold their philosophies so that they can be torn down at their foundations; and I rip up their facts from the inside out. You take away their "brute facts" and I show them that the real brute facts are those they won't admit to. You call it Presuppositionalism, and I call it ontological necessity.

    Now I know that there is much more to it than that. I know that when you begin with God it is not circular reasoning as well. What I want to avoid at all costs is butting heads with our different approaches, because for me that is not what this is all about. Nor should it be. I never have opposed Presuppositionalism, not do I ever intend to. I oppose those who would impose their understanding on others, and give no time of day to the idea that someone may actually be on to something, because they are so caught up in their own fallible system. For then it borders on idolatry.

    And that goes doubly for myself. That is why I have to use a method that tests myself first for objectivity. If I am faithful to Scripture then I cannot let even my own suasions pull me away from the objective truth of God's Word and of His objective revelation of Himself in creation. If I can persuade others of that, as I have also been persuaded, then it is a gift from God, not an accomplishment of method. That to me is more important than debating methodologies. That is why I would not answer your question in the context it was in.

    Thank you to Patrick for providing a context in which I could answer your question. Ihope you understand that I had no ill intentions.

    BUT!!! I am still interested if you and Patrick's question, Paul.

    [Edited on 6-5-2004 by JohnV]
     
  10. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    I think I get that part now. In fact, I started talking with an atheist at work recently, and have brought these points up to him. He's still not convinced obviously but he has been challenged and he seems to be thinking about it.
     
  11. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    Yes, it is extremely interesting to actually have something to discuss with them rather than arguing over evidences. The main objections he has brought up so far is the uniformity of nature. He cannot agree with me that he has know way of knowing that the universe has universal laws. He can't really say why yet. On the morality issue, he tends to be a more consistent atheist in that he doesn't seem to hold to an absolute morality, but that morality changes with culture, and he doesn't seem to have a problem with that, so I stick with science and logic for now. Basically I just keeping asking him why he believes what he does so that he will keep asking that himself. He's a smart guy and he does try to think things through. I pray the Lord will draw him through these interactions and others who have been listening and often partaking too.
     
  12. Guest

    Guest Puritan Board Freshman

    [quote:2d3f952747]
    what is a plant? what is "permanence"? what is ordinary?what is growth? what is height? what is usual? how do thing "develope?" what is "distance?"
    [/quote:2d3f952747]

    What is God?

    Karl Popper (an atheist philosopher of science) would be the first to admit that scientific enquiry fails to provide epistemic certainty. He would follow that up with a "So what, it works? Scientists (all people in general the atheist would contend) observe and assign meaning and purpose arbitrarily, based on observation and other experiences. Again so what?

    The Christian presuppositionalist says "but you are assuming order in the universe" to which the pragmatist replies "that's right-so what? If I drop my pen it will fall to the floor. I will assume order based on my observations until such time as they are proven untrustworthy. When my observations don't work I will adapt."

    But you can't assume order without presupposing God. He quickly answers of course I can-and I do.

    But in a chance universe you must know everything about everything in order to know anything truly.

    He responds by dropping his pen.

    Mark
     
  13. AnonymousRex

    AnonymousRex Puritan Board Freshman

    This has turned out to be an interesting discussion.

    If I may offer my :wr50: , I think we must also consider the etymology of the word "tree". Why do we attach that word to the object we believe it describes? Where does it come from? Interestingly, we know nothing beyond the fact that it is derived from the Old English words "treow", "triow", and "treo".

    I also like the point John made. We must understand what we are describing initially as a creation of God that is contingent upon Him and subject to change.

    AnonRex
     
  14. cupotea

    cupotea Puritan Board Junior

    Patrick,

    Just thought I'd jump on in this conversation...don't leave morality out in your dialogue with your atheist coworker. It's not that the atheist worldview cannot account for objective morality, but that it cannot account for any morality AT ALL. Here's an example that I borrowed from Paul Manata:

    "When we shake a soda pop can, what happens? Well, the laws of physics cause it to fizz when opened. If we set two cans next to each other, would one be fizzing true? No, they just fizz because the laws operating on them cause them to fizz in a particular way and pattern. So, when the atheist debates me he is just "fizzing" evolutionistically and I am "fizzing" creationistically. We are like two weeds growing in a garden." (Paul Manata, 2004)

    So how can something be "wrong", "right", "correct", or "incorrect", even subjectively, in the atheist worldview? If everything is the result of material processes (humans included), then morality (even subjective, personal morality) is meaningless. How can a rock be "wrong"? How can a tree be "right"?

    If your coworker thinks that rape is wrong, as him why. If he says, "because it causes terrible emotional and physical scars and is horrible for the victim," ask him why inflicting emotional and physical scars is morally "bad". If he says, "It's bad because humans don't like having emotional and physical scars," ask him why the dislike of such things constitutes something being "bad", or morally "wrong". Why isn't it "good" to do something that someone else dislikes?
    Keep asking these questions, and soon he'll realize that his worldview cannot make sense of morality, even subjective, personal morality. Then he'll either be doing this: :banghead: or this: :amen:, depending on the Holy Spirit! :)

    Also, realize that even those that claim to hold to a completely subjective moral system deny their system in their actions. No doubt, your coworker believes that others SHOULD respect his personal morality. He expects you to listen to his opinion in this debate, and believes that you should respect his beliefs. If he was a consistent atheist (haven't found one yet!) he would not believe that anyone SHOULD act in accordance with his personal morality, because in his worldview, morality is subjective and personal.

    Try this: punch him in the face. If he gets mad, tell him that punching people in the face is "OK" in your moral system, and that he should respect your morality. Would you expect him to say, "Oh, ok. Sorry. Carry on."? Of course not. Expose his inconsistencies in a loving, Godly way. (That does not include punching him in the face, I just included that to make a point :) )

    [Edited on 6-11-2004 by KenKienow]
     
  15. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    Well, in pursuing these conversations with him, I have found that he is in fact interested in this "stuff." So I'm taking that as an open door. I even got to explain the gospel breifly. So hopefully the Lord will draw him in. I'm not the greatest communicator on the fly, but hopefully the Lord will use my feeble efforts to direct him to the Word of God. He seems to be thinking alot about these things.
     
  16. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    Thanks Paul. Your insights are always helpful. I haven't chatted recently with this guys about this stuff but you can tell he's thinking about it. And I have another guy who is an agnostic but seems to like talking about these things. So perhaps I will have an opportunity to talk to him too Lord willing.
     
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