Damascene Cosmology – Open Thread

Thank you for your patience in my writing on this series. I began on July 19 and have finally concluded this long series. I had comments turned off because for a majority of the series I was out of town and unable to engage. Even now, as I am busy, I can make no promises concerning how long I can stay in conversations or how deep I can go.

Regardless, here is an open thread for the Damascene Cosmological argument. I merely ask that you be thoughtful and civil. I may not respond, but that does not mean I did not read your arguments.

Post away.


Damascene Cosmology – Conclusion

We now come to the end St. John’s cosmological argument. We see that all things must either be created or uncreated. There simply is no in-between for them. Something cannot be not created and not uncreated; it must be created or uncreated.

We also know that if something is mutable it is created and if something is immutable then it is uncreated. If it is mutable, it requires a creator because we know that an infinite regress is impossible. The immutable creator, however, is not subject to an infinite regress because he would not be compose of parts or changes and therefore could not be measured by time.

Everything that falls within our experience and all possible objects that could exist that we have yet to experience all require a creator. Such a creator would be, by necessity, God.

But this argument does not leave Christianity void and empty. We know that the Christian God does not change and in being Trinitarian he is the only possible God in existence if God is loving. We know that God did not change in the Incarnation, but rather he changed us.

To the Christians who have read this, I hope that it has strengthened your faith beyond measure. I hope mostly that rather than giving you ammunition to use in some apologetic debate, it has forced you to sit and contemplate on God and grow in him. To those who have sat on the fence, unsure of whether or not God exists, I hope that this removed your intellectual doubts. I hope that it has opened up the path for you to discover Jesus as he is, free from the skepticism of whether or not he existed. I hope you can now embrace that he exists and from there you can discover the beauty that is Christ. To those who remain unconvinced, I hope you at least see that Christianity is reasonable and logically solid. Even if you disagree with my premises, I would hope you see that the argument is sound and would abandon your cries that Christianity is illogical. I hope you have gained a new-found respect for the intellectual capability of Christianity, that we do not accept everything by blind faith, but test all things. To those who are skeptical, hold hostile feelings towards Christianity, and still find Christianity to be stupid, I pray that you will embrace civility and reason. To all, I pray that these arguments either make your current relationship with God deeper or would open you up to have a relationship with him, for intellectual acknowledgement is not enough; we must love him as he has loved us. Continue reading

Damascene Cosmology – On the Incarnation

We now come back to the original point of the last objection the critic may have in recognizing both Damascene Cosmology and Christianity to be true, in the Incarnation God changed. Certainly, to say “God became man” is an accepted phrase or that “God dwelt within Jesus” is part of our orthodox beliefs. But does this indicate that God changed in the Incarnation?

It is true that the person of Christ took on a human nature, but this does not mean that the Word changed. In taking on a human nature, the Divine nature did not mold with the human nature. Jesus was not a third type of nature, a Christian version of some Greek myth where he is part human and part God. In the person fo Christ the whole divine nature and the whole human nature existed, not as a composed single substance, but as two natures within one person.

When Christians speak of the mystery of the Incarnation the mystery they refer to is that two natures existed within two people. How such an event can be accomplished is beyond us, but it is necessary to understand that Christ, though one person, had two natures and acted through both natures. Both natures worked together and in perfect harmony, meaning that the person of Christ experienced life as a human without giving up who he was as God.

When the Divine nature, a nature the Word participated in, took on a human nature this did not change the divine nature. Nothing change in the Father, the Word, or the Spirit and they remained as they were prior to the Incarnation. What was true of the Word prior to the Incarnation remained true after the Incarnation. Any new things we could say about the Word we were saying about his human nature and not about his divine nature. When we say that “Jesus suffered,” implicit within such a statement is, “The human nature within the person of Christ suffered while the divine nature did not suffer.” Again, this is a mystery how the person of Christ could both suffer and not suffer, but it is not a contradiction because of the two natures; it would only be a contradiction if one nature existed. Continue reading

Damascene Ontology – How we know God is Trinitarian

We know that God necessarily exists and that the act of creation was a sacrifice. We know that God did not create simply to be a mean child because this would mean he lacked something, but how do we know that he didn’t lack someone to love prior to creation?

It is only in the Trinity that we can explain how God is loving yet unchanging. It goes back to the distinction within the Trinity between the persons of God. If God is love, then God must have someone to love. Since creation took place at a point in time, while creation is indicative of God’s love, it cannot be the point where God began to love. Rather, if God is love, then he must have loved eternally, but this would be impossible if God were singular. In a Trinity, however, such a feat is possible.

The Father, being love, must love someone. In this love he must be sacrificial, hoping to gain nothing, but how can this be done absent of creation? The Father could love the Son and in loving the Son he could share everything he is with the Son, that is, he could make the Son equal to himself. What does the Father gain in making the Son equal? Nothing, but he sacrifices any potential selfishness or vainglory in doing so. The Son, being equal with the Father in all aspects, would willingly love the Father as much as the Father loves the Son. His sacrifice would come in following the will of the Father, though he could form his own will (this would later be demonstrated in the death of Christ).

But what is love between two when it can be shared? If a husband and wife refuse to share their love, then are they not selfish? I do not mean by having an open marriage, but by not having children. Or if they refuse to love anyone else because they are too focused on each other, would this not indicate selfishness? Likewise, with the Father and Son it follows that they would have a third person to love so that they may share in equality with this third person. This person is the Spirit.

The Spirit equally loves the Father and Son as they love him. All three are equals, love each other equally, and share in all attributes, save for being begotten and proceeding. We cannot explain how sacrifice exists within the Trinity, only to say that the Father holds the Son and Spirit as equal and that the Son and Spirit obey the will of the Father. Continue reading

Damascene Ontology – How we know God is love

Some might desire to reject the Trinity for various reasons, but such a rejection would actually be extremely unwise. Since we know via the Damascene Cosmological argument that God is unnecessary and must be an unmoved mover (immutable), many theistic beliefs take for granted the idea that God is love. However, I wish to prove that if God is love then he must be Trinitarian. If we can prove that God is love (or accept the presupposition with reasons to embrace such a presupposition) then we can prove that God is Trinity. Thus, if God is necessary and God is love, then God is necessarily Trinity.

How would we go about proving that God is love? For instance, we could simply have a Deistic God who created all things and simply left them to be, growing disinterested in them or lacking a way to relate to them. How can we call such a God loving? I would argue that it is in the very act of creation that we find proof that God is love, but first we must define what love is.

In our modern Western minds, love is a muddled idea. When we describe sex, we call it “making love.” We use the same term “love” to describe an intense like for something (like ice cream or boating). We also use the word “love” to describe what occurs between a husband and wife. I believe that because we use this word so often, so flippantly, and ascribe so many meanings to it that we have lost a sense of what true love is. I want to look at some of the definitions the world offers as an idea of “true love” and show how all of these definitions are inadequate and how there is only one definition of love that defines true love, a love that all other forms of love flow from. Continue reading

Damascene Cosmology – On the Trinity

Before we can understand the Incarnation and how God did not change in the Incarnation, we must first understand the Trinity. This is certainly no easy task for quite a few reasons. First, I am writing in a limited space, so even if we could comprehend God, I would not accomplish this in so few pages.

Secondly, we cannot comprehend God, so I cannot really explain the Trinity. What I can explain is what has been revealed, but I cannot explain the Trinity and how the three persons function. Rationalists need not apply in attempting to understand the Trinity or looking at the Trinity; the Trinity is a mystery and therefore cannot be comprehended.

The third reason this is not an easy task is that while what we can know of the Trinity is substantial, space and time are limited. St. Hilary of Poitiers spent the modern equivalent of 300 pages writing about the Trinity. St. Augustine spent the equivalent of nearly 500 pages writing about the Trinity. Yet both men felt that their works were inadequate. I am using only a fraction of space to write about the Trinity as these two great thinkers did, so I am positive that my explanation will be inadequate.

Regardless of the inadequacies, I will attempt to explain the Trinity to the best of my knowledge. It is my hope that in understanding the Trinity we can gain a better understanding of the Incarnation and in so doing we can understand how Christian theology does not contradict the Damascene Cosmological argument. Continue reading

Damascene Cosmology – The problem of the Incarnation

While the aforementioned problems certainly pose a problem for proving that the Christian God is immutable, it is the act of the Incarnation that is seemingly the nail in the coffin for Christianity. In the act of the Incarnation we have God becoming man, which indicates a drastic change. Likewise, if we say that Jesus was God, then how can it be said that God does not change? After all, Jesus grew older and grew in knowledge, both of which are indicative of change. Thus, if Jesus changed and Jesus is God, then certainly the God of Christianity must be mutable.

While a human being, God grew in knowledge. There is little evidence to suggest that Jesus came out of the womb acting like an adult. In fact, we know from his stay at the Jewish temple that he continued to grow in knowledge. We know that he didn’t come out of Mary’s womb fully grown; he was a baby. This means that he grew into a man, indicating that he changed physical status while growing up. If Jesus was God, then certainly this would indicate that God is capable of change.

Another objection critics could bring up concerning the Incarnation is that we have God changing into another nature. By taking on a human nature, so the critic says, God became something different. God didn’t have a human nature and now he did have a human nature, which indicates a change. This would show God to be mutable.

The critic could point out that no matter how nuanced we are in explaining the Trinity, the change encountered in the Incarnation proves that the Christian God cannot be immutable. For instance, if we say that is true of the part is also true of the whole, then what is true of Jesus is true of the Trinity. If my hand is infected, then it is proper to say that I have an infection. If the person of Christ changes, then it is proper to say that the Father and Spirit change as well. Continue reading