The only reason I bother having my say is because my sense of God’s calling requires it of me.
Indeed, I would not have bothered starting this blog if I didn’t believe God required it of me. My own amusement is not sufficient grounds for a brain spew in public. In the sense I put my thoughts in a digital format alone makes them public, never mind posting those digits in an unlocked blog. Among bloggers I regard myself a nobody. Don’t read this stuff because I wrote it; read it because it calls to you in some way. I will surely fail you, as I daily fail myself. But when God speaks in my soul, I cannot be silent, regardless of any actual ability to let that voice out in any coherent fashion.
People much more intelligent and talented than I, with a much larger and more ardent following, even to the point of making money with their writing, would naturally provoke nobodies like me. They sell books and are invited to participate in the on-going public forum of opinion where they get even more attention to their ideas, and perhaps their person. If they didn’t provoke others, it would be hard to sell those books. The manipulation of advertising works only so well. I am provoked, and something in me will not let it rest. Since those who have offered the provocation would never take me seriously (as best I can gauge from having tried to get their attention in the past), I won’t clutter their blog with my dissent. No, I’m not trying to insult him, but the man himself admits to arrogance. Whether it’s justified is at least one thread of what constitutes his Internet persona, but I freely admit there is no reason he and his Dread Ilk ought to pay attention to me.
Still, I am provoked, and what I take as the voice of my God is rattling my cage. That voice says God is not impressed with Vox’s logic on the matter. Not that I support Piper, either, but that’s because both he and Vox presume too much about understanding God. I can sum it up: God cannot be understood, nor explained, from the grounds of Aristotelian logic. As I assert virtually every day of my life, Aristotle rejected the most critical element in discussing God, that being a rejection of divine revelation — at least, revelation in the sense of what God’s Word offers. If you drag Aristotle to the Bible, you should not expect to get a reliable, or even useful, answer from him. Vox cannot deny giving Aristotelian epistemology supremacy in his analysis.
The question of God’s nature, and how evil is or isn’t under control in this world is wholly beyond the capabilities of Aristotle. We can make statements which appear propositional, but they cannot be handled as mere propositions. What we say of God and the current reality of our fallen world can only ever approximate what God Himself might say, and then only when we realize His statements are necessarily contextual. In one place, we can say God is always Master of all things, but in another place we must say evil rules the world. That the two are mutually exclusive is simply a reminder of our limits, and frankly has no bearing on the matter. God can know and control all things far in advance of our historical experience under the Arch of Time without necessarily suffering schizophrenia, since He remains beyond any analysis from our limited perspective. It’s not supposed to make sense to us if we limit ourselves to Aristotelian logic.
Yes, I disagree with Piper, too. That’s more a matter of his pretense of clinging to Aristotle, too. The whole debate between Calvinists broadly, and Westminster Accords specifically, versus the Arminians and other historically significant theological perspectives all boils down to the inherent failure of Aristotelian epistemology in the first place. Both camps are trying to satisfy the presumption of Classical Western respectability, which is inherently Aristotelian. Aristotle is, in that sense, the ultimate symbol of human arrogance and pride in believing the fallen human mind is capable of accurately assessing everything worth knowing, and assessing whether anything is worthy of knowing, or even constitutes knowing at all (which is the subject of that fancy word “epistemology”).
The Bible asserts both God’s mastery and the presence of evil in the world. The Bible asserts God’s perfect and complete foreknowledge, His perfect control in every detail in advance of its historical occurrence, and yet our culpability in making choices contrary to His stated desires, and a lot of other self-contradictory things. It doesn’t bother me that they are mutually exclusive because I don’t feel bound by Aristotelian logic. Thus, any discussion of “omniderigence” strikes me as missing the point before getting started.
The human intellect is fallen, too. The boundaries of our best sense of knowing will forever come up short of God’s truth. Our statements about God and other things supernatural (or whatever other term you choose in place of that) are always weak hands seeking to grapple with the universe. God’s truth cannot be reduced to words, much less human understanding. All we can ever really know is what God requires of each of us individually within a specific context, and at that we maintain a healthy self-doubt. Yes, you can easily become too wishy-washy, but even that is beyond our proper discernment. All I really need to know about myself in the context of other professing Christians is whether I am obliged to work with them on any particular project, and would by no means suggest anything I can say is a matter applicable to any other person.
Do you find my ramblings useful? Bless the Lord and pray for me. Do you have questions? Ask; I may be able offer a useful clarification. Did I leave you confused? Stop trying to understand God with your intellect; it can’t do it. All its good for is organizing your response to His Spirit, not deciding whether something is good, right or true. Such evaluation takes place in the spirit, which itself depends entirely on the hand of God Himself to awaken. The intellect is a separate faculty from the spirit. What I have to share cannot be taught to the mind, only caught by the spirit. I can’t even explain how it works. This whole business of communication between humans is dicey at best with universally fallen human intellect, but when we try to discuss God, we cannot make the mistake of taking ourselves too seriously.