Thursday, February 03, 2005

God, Logic, and Dooeyweerd

I've been meaning to blog on an interesting perspective on the nature of God I came across recently. Some of you may have heard of this before, so I will ask you to bear with me. In an e-mail exchange I discussed the Dooeyweerdian position on the nature of God with a fellow Christian. I will give a short explanation of what the Dooeyweerdian position is, but here are two links that will likely do it better:

Can God Do the Illogical? Part 1
Can God Do the Illogical? Part 2

The idea is that, contrary to what most Christians think, things like the laws of logic (or love, faithfulness, etc.) are not grounded in God's nature. Rather they are created by God and He abides by them in order to accomodate Himself to us. I think this concept of God is wrong.

Why do I reject Dooeyweerd's concept of God? Because, it seems to me, it either self-destructs or resorts to "epicycles" in order to survive. In my first wrangle with a Dooeyweerdian I suggested that if God created logic then He could take us all right up to judgment day and then say, "OK, Christians, you guys are going to Hell." When confronted with Biblical statements about His promises to Christians He might say, "I'm not bound by logic. When I made those statements I meant the opposite."

The response from the Dooeyweerdian is that God will not violate the word He has given us. In accomodating Himself to us He decided that He would follow a certain set of rules. But what if God has actually chosen deception as His rule for our universe? Perhaps God is being as deceptive as possible with us. Maybe the Bible is an elaborate lie and when we are all judged God sends all relatively honest people to Hell.

Someone might object, "that would violate God's love!" In this hypothetical reality God's love would also be part of the deception (I must admit I am a bit confused by Dooeyweerdians because sometimes it seems as though they think God could choose things like deception as virtues and sometimes it doesn't. If I'm being unfair I trust someone will come along and correct me). If the Dooeyweerdian says God won't choose deception because He desires to accomodate Himself to us, he will have to say that this desire is a part of God's nature outside of creation, which should be unacceptable to him if God indeed has none of these properties inherently. The reason for this is that this desire would have to precede creation to have any impact on God's choice. If it procedes creation where could it come from but the nature of God? In this way the Dooeyweerdian position seems to self-destruct.

I have also read that Dooeyweerdians do allow for God's created attributes to be based in some way on His nature, but that His nature is unknowable so we can't tell. Here I get the feeling we're going through epicycles. This seems like a move to save the phenomenon when it is simpler and at least as harmonious with Scripture to hold the more common position. So I reject the Dooeyweerdian position on the grounds that it either self-destructs or that it must resort to epicycles to save itself.

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