You cannot fulfill something that you claim is based on a lie, only reject it, or be a heretical sect breaking off from it.

You cannot fulfill something that you claim is based on a lie, only reject it, or be a heretical sect breaking off from it.

Fulfillment vs. Heresy

Islam canot be the fulfillment of Christianity, even by its own account of itself; for Islam insists that the Christian scriptures contain lies, and no supposed truth can be the fulfillment of a lie.

Contingency as both the source of purposelessness and our knowledge for the existence of God. UPDATED

It can be a grave crisis in the soul to realize that we simply cannot give a purpose for particular person’s death. Was it the best thing, or the worst thing for that person that they die now as opposed to later? Did their death provide some particular good that could not have been brought about some other way? Considered in relation to natural causes, we can see absolutely no purpose in the death- that it strikes a particular man now as opposed to later, by this reason and not that one, is merely by chance.

Say a tree falls and kills a man. We can certainly explain why the tree fell, and why the man happened to be there, but we will never be able to say that the tree fell because the man was there, nor that the man was there because the tree fell. Still less would we be able to know what purpose was served by the tree hitting the man. The same would apply to being hit by a deadly virus, or cancer, or a natural disaster. When we look to nature we can simply find no purpose for the conjuction of the things that leads to this death rather than that one.

This puposelessness, although it does not belong to nature per se, is nevertheless there and we must deal with it. Frequently this lack of causality in nature, which can only happen because a thing is not sufficiently determined to one thing, is taken as a refutation of the existence of God. In reality, it is precisely this lack of determination that we use to prove the existence of God. It is because the things in nature are changeable, contingent, imperfect, undetermined, and not even having existence in themselves that we are able to prove God exists at all. The atheist’s argument from evil only follows from something that is already assumed as the major premise in the proofs for the existence of God.

Contingency and imperfect existence, then, ground both the proof for the existence of God, and the possibility of evil. We cannot choose between, or oppose God and privation/chance/ death/ lack of purpose in nature, for both are made necessary by the same thing.

The atheist might still protest that he deserves more than what nature can afford to him. Doesn’t man deserve more than to be subject to the whim of chance and contingency? After all, we would have no real problem with a storm that knocked down a few trees, but doesn’t man deserve to be treated a little better than a tree?

I agree. All I ask the arguer to notice is that he is asking for a kind of “higher than natural” status. Man sees the lack of purpose in nature and he believes that it is not right that he be deprived of more than nature can give. I agree. We do, by nature, desire supernatural protection, and it is wrong for us not to seek it. But to claim that we deserve such protection is absurd. How could a natural thing, as such, deserve more than what nature can provide?

This places us, to my mind, at exactly the crucial point. We discover by the same fact both that God exists and that to suffer natural evil must always be possible. Nevertheless, we cannot avoid the desire to be free from the evils that afflict us, which amount to a desire for more than nature can provide: it is by definition a desire for the supernatural. Our own innermost existence, verifies that we seek the things that are above with God, and not the things below. And yet we can make no claim to deserve these things. I a word, we seek grace.

Do Christians Believe that Natural Evil Would not have existed without the fall?

Natural evil can mean two things:

1.) A natural evil that afflicts man: cancer, or dog bites man.

2.) A natural evil that does not afflict man- a fox eats a pigeon or an apple from a tree.

I know of no authority who says that the second is a consequence of the fall. The second happens simply as a consequence of matter, which always carries privation with it. Matter, however, is an essential principle in order that material things would exist at all, and if there were no material things, there would not be all possible grades of existing in the universe.

The first, I think, is generally believed to be the consequence of the fall, for man lost his supernatural protection against these things by his fall. Man, in other words, fell to the mere status of nature, as regards being subject to natural evils.

A minor premise in the five ways

Our own lives are contained in the five ways. We are moved, caused, contingent, imperfect, natural. The difference is that we can see these things within our own inner life. We are beings who can know themselves as argument for the divine nature; we can even come to know that our very “I” is nothing but a participation in the divine life.

The fateful philosophical mistake is to divinize oneself. Descartes does this when he asserts that something is possible because it is conceivable. Here the human mind is seen as a source of being; the lowest kind of being, to be sure, but this is exactly why the assertion is so sneaky and plausible.

Why must we treat the evil deceiver as though it were a real possibility? because we can conceive of it being the case. An actual proof to establish the possibility of an evil deceiver might have been rather interesting, but Descartes never even attempts to give one. Rather, we must treat a possibility as real simply because we can imagine it being the case. From this point on, we are no longer doing anything philosophical- we’re just bullshitting.

The fateful philosophical mistake is to divinize oneself. Descartes does this when he asserts that something is possible because it is conceivable. Here the human mind is seen as a source of being; the lowest kind of being, to be sure, but this is exactly why the assertion is so sneaky and plausible.

Why must we treat the evil deceiver as though it were a real possibility? because we can conceive of it being the case. An actual proof to establish the possibility of an evil deceiver might have been rather interesting, but Descartes never even attempts to give one. Rather, we must treat a possibility as real simply because we can imagine it being the case. From this point on, we are no longer doing anything philosophical- we’re just bullshitting.

The fateful philosophical mistake is to divinize oneself. Descartes does this when he asserts that something is possible because it is conceivable. Here the human mind is seen as a source of being; the lowest kind of being, to be sure, but this is exactly why the assertion is so sneaky and plausible.

Why must we treat the evil deceiver as though it were a real possibility? because we can conceive of it being the case. An actual proof to establish the possibility of an evil deceiver might have been rather interesting, but Descartes never even attempts to give one. Rather, we must treat a possibility as real simply because we can imagine it being the case. From this point on, we are no longer doing anything philosophical- we’re just bullshitting.

Dualisms

Many of the complaits I see leveled against dualism would vanish if people could see the distinction between a being simply speaking and a principle of a being: the pronunciation is not the word, nor the word the pronunciation (but we still say one word); the soul is not the body nor the body the soul (but there is still only one man). The same would apply if one wanted to refer to the soul as “the mind”.

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