Christian Deism

April 4, 2012 at 11:20 am | Posted in Religion | 1 Comment

Food for religious thought. This is really only for readers interested religious thought and doesn’t address libertarian thought, unlike most of my posts.

I’ve long understood Zechariah 13 as an argument for “Christian deism” for lack of a better word in its tie to 1 Corinthians 13:8. These passages say prophecy, unclean spirits, speaking in tongues, (supernatural) knowledge will cease. Everyone hates me using the phrase Christian deism.  By that I mean that God stopped supernatural interference in the world after a point in time, both his own and that of angels or demons.

Zech. 13 implies this will happen in the time/generation of Messiah. 1 Cor. 13:8 doesn’t say when, only to expect it when the “perfect” has come and so these supernatural interferences in the world (“the partial” of 1 Cor. 13:8-10).  Jesus granted supernatural gifts to his apostles (his own generation) and they were able to pass it on through laying on hands. There is no Biblical statement nor history that those receivers could also pass it on.  So we might presume that, at most, the cutting off of the supernatural happened maybe one generation after Messiah.

And that coincidentally ties in to the best explanation of “the perfect” of 1 Cor. 13:10.  The completion and closing of all scriptural canon, which happened about a generation after Messiah, completed by writers of His own generation.

While traditional Jewish thought makes God actually choose to make the sun rise every day, etc., that isn’t nearly as different as it seems.  We may broaden that statement to say God chooses to limit Himself so as to maintain the laws of nature he created.   Separate that statement from God interfering with those laws of nature, i.e. supernatural interference.  Compare Moses’ request to see the full power of God in Exodus 33. God couldn’t allow that because God has to limit himself so that humans can have our own existence/free will.

(Tangent: This gets into the medieval scholastic theological split of Thomas Aquinas vs. William Occam.  Respectively, viewing God as the logical structure of the universe vs. God as pathmaker through the universe. Stated that way, I think they are both right instead of opposites, and other formulations of their philosophies are corrected by Karl Popper’s critical rationalism that solves problems of strong rationalism and irrationalism.)

So in my view God needed to limit the supernatural in the world so that we can be even more judged by how he designed the natural world (Romans 1:19). But since Satan and his angels also influenced/supernaturally altered the world, God had to first bring the world to a perfect balance (recall 1 Cor. 13:10) so he could end both His own interferences and that of the demons as also with Zech. 13. (See also book of Enoch)

I don’t think it best to think of God as limiting his foreknowledge so as to not require predestination, as if one necessarily causes the other.  That problem is avoided by an actuarial perspective of God’s knowledge.  No actuarial formula is the “cause” for an outcome. But if the formulation has effectively infinite knowledge, it provides effectively infinite accuracy.  There was a good action movie called Paycheck that I thought did a good job of explaining foreknowledge without foreordination of details. Plus it provides a view of how God could provide a means to answer prayers within the world by having foreknown them, and adjusting all “butterfly effects” before setting the world in perfect balance.

Likewise, I don’t see a meaningful difference between beyond degree of those who think miracles happen today and snake dancing holy rollers.  I’d much prefer to stick to a strict and meaningful interpretation of the word miracle than to apply it to things like recoveries from illness, etc. I know many Christians don’t want to believe in a world now devoid of miracles, but if not, why not go challenging nonbelievers to the challenge like Elijah did to the Baal worshippers in 1 Kings 18?  I think they won’t because they agree with me even more than they think they do.

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1 Comment »

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  1. Gods are imaginary. All you’ve done here is argue what color are the wings on the toothfairy.


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