Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Post 74. Deism and Theism.

Deism and Pantheism.
This is a copy of an excerpt from a theological work titled " Christian View of God and the World ". by James Orr, D.D., from the United Free Church, Glasgow, 1883, Edinburgh: Andrew Elliot, specifically page 275, Lecture VII, which I am uploading in support of my previously uploaded Posts on the Trinity at wwwgensferreria.blogspot.com. written for my Hebrew and Mohammedan readers.
The reason for my uploading this fragment is its concise explanation of the necessity for a trinitarian understanding of the judaeo/mohammedan/christian God in order to avoid the unreality, abstractedness, inhumanity, inflexibility of a distant, alien, exasperating, humanly-unreacheable, monotheistic deity that has already failed Judaism and is doing the same to Mohammedanism, as well as the reaction to it in Pantheism, ending in a materialistic deity, and eventually in some unavoidably idolatrous view of the world..
I quote-:
" 4. Finally, this doctrine of the Trinity has a profound bearing on the relation of God to the world. Not without reason does the Scripture connect the Son with the creation, and give His person and His work a cosmical significance. We may conceive of God in two relations to the world-----either in his absolute transcendence over it, which is the deistic conception, or as immanently identified with it, which is the pantheistic conception.
Finally, this doctrine of the Trinity has a profound bearing on the relation of God to the world. Not without reason does the Scripture connect the Son with the creation, and give His person and His work a cosmical significance. We may conceive of God in two relations to the world-----either in his absolute transcendence over it, which is the deistic conception, or as immanently identified with it, which is the pantheistic conception.
Or we may conceive of Him as at the same time exalted above the world-------transcending it, and yet present in it as its immanent sustaining ground, which is the Christian conception.
It was to maintain this double relation to the world that, as we have seen, Philo of Alexandria conceived the Logos ( the Word) as the middle term between God and the creation, and the Neo-Platonists distinguished between God, the "Nous", and the soul of the world. When a middle term is wanting, we have either, as in the later Judaism and Mohammedanism, an abstract and immobile Monotheism; or, in recoil from this, a losing of God in Pantheism.
In the Christian doctrine of the triune God we have the necessary safeguards against both of these errors, and at the same time the link between God and the world supplied which speculation vainly strove to find1. The Christian view is, therefore, the true protection of a living Theism ( a personal God ), which otherwise oscillates uncertainly between these two extremes of Desim and Pantheism, either of which is fatal to it2.
Note 1-: This important aspect of the Trinity, as safeguarding the true idea of God in relation to the world ( His immanence and transcendence) against the opposite errors of Deism and pantheism, is brought out with special fulness by Dorner in his discussion of Dabellianism and Arianism, "Person of Christ", i. and ii., and his "System of Doctrine" , i. pp.365-378.
-: This important aspect of the Trinity, as safeguarding the true idea of God in relation to the world ( His immanence and transcendence) against the opposite errors of Deism and pantheism, is brought out with special fulness by Dorner in his discussion of Dabellianism and Arianism, "Person of Christ", i. and ii., and his "System of Doctrine" , i. pp.365-378.
Cf. also Martensen’s "Dogmatics" , pp.103-106; Christlieb’s "Moderne Zweifel", pp.263-265; Lux Mundi, pp.92-102.
2. A remarkable illustration of of how the deeper thought on God runs almost necessarily into a Trinitarian mould, is furnished by an essay of Dr. Martineau’s on A Way Out of the Trinitarian Controversy, in his recently published volume of "Essays, Ecclesiatical and Historical ". See Note B.------Dr. Martineau as a Trinitarian.
A remarkable illustration of of how the deeper thought on God runs almost necessarily into a Trinitarian mould, is furnished by an essay of Dr. Martineau’s on A Way Out of the Trinitarian Controversy, in his recently published volume of "Essays, Ecclesiatical and Historical ". See Note B.------Dr. Martineau as a Trinitarian.

3 Comments:

At October 17, 2008 at 8:54 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is an option between pantheism and deism, which is pandeism -- God WAS the creator of the World, and God created the World by BECOMING it. God IS now immanently identified with it. The pandeistic view explains why the World appears to begin with a Big Bang, why it ought to exist, and where its substance and design originated.

 
At October 27, 2008 at 5:57 AM , Blogger Templar said...

This is an answer to Anonymous. No one has yet explained how it is possible to think of the material Universe as immortal. A God who being immortal, becomes something which is mortal does not make sense and is regressive thinking I am not prepared to accept. After all, in view of the impossibility to really prove anything pro or contra it is clever to choose some belief-system that gives one hope and aims like love etc.. God cannot be the Law of the Jungle and of catastrophic matter which are the esxpressions in Creation of what God is not and needs reform and divinisation. Apart from the above i cannot see much difference between Pantheism and PanDeism. Sohistry my dear fellow, pure sophistry.

 
At November 10, 2008 at 11:55 AM , Blogger Gralsome said...

I am responding only to the comment of Anonymous, not the original blog nor Templar's defence.
Anonymous asserts that pandeism is an option, but Anonymous seems to think that it is shown to be an option merely by stating what its defining beliefs are. James Orr clearly rejects pantheism and deism as not being meaningful options, though the indication of his reason in each case is brief (pantheism loses God and deism is abstract and immobile). But just because James Orr did not mention anything resembling pandeism it does not follow that he would not have dismissed it also. Anonymous has to do more work than merely state what pandeism is and make unsubstantiated claims about what it can do.
Just because the word 'pantheism' has been coined and we can easily define it by some easily stated characteristic belief ('God is everything'), and some people may even convince themselves that they are pantheists, it does not follow that there really is such a thing. The people who think they are pantheists, or deists, are simply misunderstanding what they really believe. The misunderstanding arises from a failure to reflect on themselves, taking account of themselves only in an abstract way as appropriate in the sciences and in any scholarly endeavour, not the concrete way required for geniune engagement in Philosophy or religion.
Thus, in arguing that pandeism is a meaningful option, the self-proclaimed pandeist should make it clear what sort of religious context he or she is supposing. In this case, the use of the word 'God' as if it was a proper name (beginning with a capital letter and without any article in front of it), together with tying it to the notion of being the creator of the World, clearly relates pandeism to Judaism. The pandeist has to offer some sort of explanation as to what this relationship is, just as Christianity and Islam offer explanations as to how they are related to Judaism.

 

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