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Of Covenants

Posted by on Jan 19, 2014 in Misc | 0 comments

Disclaimer: This is a copy/paste from my article at ODN, it is not formatted for WordPress yet. The content is complete, but the style doesn’t match the site yet.

 

Christian Covenants

Christian Covenants

First of all, let us explain what the Old and New Covenants are so there can be no confusion.

Of Covenants

A covenant is an agreement between 2 parties. There are 7 covenants. God made 5 of them with the nation of Israel. There are 2 types of covenants (conditional and unconditional). A conditional or bilateral covenant is an agreement that is binding on both parties for its fulfillment. Both parties agree to fulfill certain conditions. If either party fails to meet their responsibilities, the covenant is broken and neither party has to fulfill the expectations of the covenant. An unconditional or unilateral covenant is an agreement between two parties, but only one of the two parties has to do something. Nothing is required of the other party.

  1. Adamic
  2. Noahic
  3. Abrahamic
  4. Palestinian
  5. Mosiac
  6. Davidic

When Jesus says that He has fulfilled the old covenant and brought a new one, He is referring to the conditional covenant of the Mosaic.

The Mosaic Covenant* was centered around God’s giving His divine law to Moses on Mount Sinai. In understanding the different covenants in the Bible and their relationship with one another, it is important to understand that the Mosaic Covenant differs significantly from the Abrahamic Covenant and later biblical covenants because it is conditional in that the blessings that God promises are directly related to Israel’s obedience to the Mosaic Law. If Israel is obedient, then God will bless them, but if they disobey, then God will punish them. The blessings and curses that are associated with this conditional covenant are found in detail in Deuteronomy 28. The other covenants found in the Bible are unilateral covenants of promise, in which God binds Himself to do what He promised, regardless of what the recipients of the promises might do. On the other hand the Mosaic Covenant is a bilateral agreement, which specifies the obligations of both parties to the covenant.

This is significant because it illustrates that the Mosaic covenant is between God and Israel, not between God and all men of all time. There are specific terms to this agreement that Israel must meet. And if they are met, there are specific blessings God will give to Israel (not to all men). If they are not met, there are specific punishments God will give to Israel (not to all men). This alone should be sufficient to show that the Mosaic Covenant is specific to a certain group of people at a specific time in history and that it is not a universal covenant for all people.

Jesus on the other hand, serves the purpose of that universal covenant for all people (so that all may be saved). See below.

Of Covenant and Law

The OT Law was given to the nation of Israel, not to Christians. There are a vareity of types of laws. Some of the laws were to reveal to the Israelites how to obey and please God (the Ten Commandments, for example). Some of the laws were to show the Israelites how to worship God and atone for sin (the sacrificial system). Some of the laws were intended to make the Israelites distinct from other nations (the food and clothing rules). None of the Old Testament law is binding on us today. When Jesus died on the cross, He put an end to the Old Testament law (Romans 10:4Galatians 3:23-25Ephesians 2:15).

In place of the Old Testament law, we are under the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2), which is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…and to love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39). If we obey those two commands, we will be fulfilling all that Christ requires of us: “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:40).

Now, this does not mean the Old Testament law is irrelevant today. Many of the commands in the Old Testament law fall into the categories of “loving God” and “loving your neighbor.” The Old Testament law can be a good guidepost for knowing how to love God and knowing what goes into loving your neighbor. At the same time, to say that the Old Testament law applies to Christians today is incorrect. The Old Testament law is a unit (James 2:10). Either all of it applies, or none of it applies. If Christ fulfilled some it, such as the sacrificial system, He fulfilled all of it.

This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). The Ten Commandments were essentially a summary of the entire Old Testament law. Nine of the Ten Commandments are clearly repeated in the New Testament (all except the command to observe the Sabbath day). Obviously, if we are loving God, we will not be worshipping false gods or bowing down before idols. If we are loving our neighbors, we will not be murdering them, lying to them, committing adultery against them, or coveting what belongs to them. The purpose of the Old Testament law is to convict people of our inability to keep the law and point us to our need for Jesus Christ as Savior (Romans 7:7-9Galatians 3:24). The Old Testament law was never intended by God to be the universal law for all people for all of time. We are to love God and love our neighbors. If we obey those two commands faithfully, we will be upholding all that God requires of us.

The New Covenant

The new covenant is spoken about first in the book of Jeremiah. The old covenant that God had established with His people required obedience to the Old Testament Mosaic law. Because the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), the law required that people perform rituals and sacrifices in order to please God and remain in His grace.


Luke 22:20
 says, “After supper, [Jesus] took another cup of wine and said, ‘This wine is the token of God’s new covenant to save you – an agreement sealed with the blood I will pour out for you.’”

Now that we are under the new covenant, we are not under the penalty of the law. We are now given the opportunity to receive salvation as a free gift (Ephesians 2:8-9). Through the life-giving Holy Spirit who lives in all believers (Romans 8:9-11), we can now share in the inheritance of Christ and enjoy a permanent, unbroken relationship with God. Hebrews 9:15 declares, “For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that He has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.”

Notes and Sources

* The Mosaic Covenant is also referred to as the Old Covenant (2 Corinthians 3:14; Hebrews 8:6, 13) and was replaced by the New Covenant in Christ (Luke 22:20; 1 Corinthians 11:25; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Hebrews 8:8; 8:13; 9:15; 12:24)


Moody Handbook of Theology, Paul Enns, 1989

The End of the Law: Mosaic Covenant in Pauline Theology, Jason C Meyer, 2009

http://www.gotquestions.org/new-covenant.html

On Punishments for Breaking the Laws

Punishments are determined by the authority of the state in which the punishments are to be applicable. In the case of a theocracy, God is the authority. In the case of a monarchy, the king or queen is the authority. In the case of a Republic or Democracy, the elected legislature (or people themselves) are the authority.

The punishment a king establishes for their domain (kingdom) no more applies to a neighboring democratic nation, than do the punishments declared by a theocracy apply to a republic. Punishments are not only dependent upon the authority of the state (for creation), but are limited in application to the very nation the authority directly governs.

Therefore, the punishments of ancient, theocratic Israel, as determined by its authority (God), for the breaking of a specific covenant made with the state of Israel, do not apply to parties who are not a part of the covenant.

When Jesus brought the new covenant, it not only changed the agreement itself in what was promised and to who the parties were, but also the punishment involved.

Since the New Covenant is universal (applicable to all men of all time), so too is the blessing (eternal salvation) and the punishment (damnation).

Matthew 9:20 explains that the woman has some sort of blood issue and has had it for some time. She approaches Jesus, touches his hem, and then Jesus tells her that her faith cured her of her illness. She is suddenly better.

I do not claim that lack of faith is the cause of disease- rather, I note that, if everyone were faithful, there wouldn’t be disease, according to this passage, as apparently faith heals people. Thus, those who are ill clearly do not have enough faith to be healthy again.


Does the passage say that everyone who has faith will be disease free? Or is it an example of Jesus’ power and Him using the experience (as He did all miracles) to bring others to Him through exposing Himself as something other than mere man as well as teaching a valuable lesson?

Let’s see the context of the event…

Jesus is on his way to bring back to life a daughter of a woman who has recently died. The woman asks that Jesus bring her back, and He is going to oblige. He gets up from where He was sitting and starts on His way to where the daughter is. Another woman is wanting to be healed of a disease she has…she thought that all she has to do is touch Jesus or His clothing…as if just the act of touching either is what will cure her. She was mistaken, and Jesus explains…

20And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, 21for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.” 22*Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. 23*

That is, it wasn’t her act of touching Him or the robe…it was the fact that she had faith in Christ. That was the lesson here…that faith is what matters. The lesson isn’t “Touch something holy and you will be healed” nor was it “Have faith and you will never be sick” (for she already had faith that Jesus was who He said He was) nor was it “Have faith and you will instantly be healed, guaranteed” (there were lots of people who had faith, but it wasn’t until Jesus healed them that they became healed…He was a miracle worker, using miracles to bring people to Him, to God, to salvation, just as all miracles are used for).

In effect, people do believe in only select portions of the Bible. They just like to call it something else, i.e., claim that the portions they don’t believe in don’t apply to their situation. There’s no real difference between “believing” in the entire Bible while only practicing select parts and believing in select parts while practicing those same parts. Both practice some parts while disregarding others.

While true of some people, as it is true of ALL people in ALL groups for every group has some who will deviate from what they ought to, it is exactly a “damning” objection. Some atheists believe that all forms of religion ought to be eradicated and no person ought to be allowed to worship or practice their religion, even in private. So what? Is this the view of atheism? Of course not. Is this the view held and taught by the majority of atheists? Nope.

Just because some people do something John, doesn’t mean that the entire group is guilty or objectionable. That’s the commission of the hasty generalization fallacy.

The Cosmological Argument

Posted by on Jul 27, 2013 in Christian Apologetics, Incomplete, Philosophy | 0 comments

The following is a work in progress, and as such, it is being placed in the “Incomplete” category. Once it is cleaned up a bit more and additional references and details provided, I’ll move it into a more formal category. I consider this as it is, in a state of incompleteness and serves primarily as a verbose “outline” that needs to have it’s “blanks” filled in.

 

Preface

Many people believe that it is unreasonable to believe in God. They say that there are no reasons to believe in God and as such, belief in a higher power is tradition or superstition.  However, throughout history, many arguments have been given for the existence of God. These arguments are laid upon a foundation of philosophical reasoning. One such argument is the Cosmological Argument. It has many forms and I will briefly provide two of those forms in my thesis. In addition, I will provide a couple of the more popular counter-arguments and address them as well. Lastly, the issue of God’s existence is one that has been debated since the ancients. Arguments for and against can be quite complex. Entire books and dissertations have been written about the matter and I do not pretend to think that I can cover every angle of every sub-argument and counter-argument. My attempt here is to summarize the more popular points and simply make the case that it is not true that there is no ground to stand one when it comes to having reasonable faith in God.

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The Genetic Fallacy

Posted by on Nov 12, 2012 in Fallacies, Philosophy | 0 comments

A common question (or even criticism) by non-theists about one’s particular faith, is that if one is born in the Middle-East, their faith would most likely be Islam. If born in India, their faith would most likely be Hindu. If born in a western nation, such as the US, their faith will most likely be Christian. Thus, one’s faith is ultimately arbitrary since it is largely determined by geographical location. But this is false! It’s fallacious reasoning, it is a commission of a fallacy known as the Genetic Fallacy.

Borrowing from one of my favorite fallacy list sites, Nizkor:

Nizkor - Genetic Fallacy

A Genetic Fallacy is a line of “reasoning” where a perceived defect in the origin of a claim or thing is taken to be evidence that discredits the claim or thing itself. It is also a line of reasoning in which the origin of a claim or thing is taken to be evidence for the claim or thing. This sort of “reasoning” has the following form:

  1. The origin of a claim or thing is presented.
  2. The claim is true(or false) or the thing is supported (or discredited).

It is clear that sort of “reasoning” is fallacious. For example: “Bill claims that 1+1=2. However, my parents brought me up to believe that 1+1=254, so Bill must be wrong.”

It should be noted that there are some cases in which the origin of a claim is relevant to the truth or falsity of the claim. For example, a claim that comes from a reliable expert is likely to be true (provided it is in her area of expertise).

Examples of Genetic Fallacy

  1. “The current Chancellor of Germany was in the Hitler Youth at age 3. With that sort of background, his so-called ‘reform’ plan must be a fascist program.”
  2. “I was brought up to believe in God, and my parents told me God exists, so He must.”
  3. “Sure, the media claims that Senator Bedfellow was taking kickbacks. But we all know about the media’s credibility, don’t we.”
http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/genetic-fallacy.html
Here is an excellent video of Dr. Craig explaining why this line of reasoning in particular is fallacious (as it pertains to the non-theist’s criticism).

Arguments, Fallacies, and Authority

Posted by on Oct 27, 2012 in Fallacies, Philosophy | 0 comments

In order to understand what makes an argument fallacious, or to understand even what a fallacy is, one must first understand what an argument is.  This post serves the purpose of providing a very brief overview and is in no way a comprehensive study.

 

What is an argument?

An argument consists of propositions, also called statements, which can be true or false. Propositions are further classified as premises and conclusions of arguments.

An argument will have one or more premises and one conclusion. A premise is a statement (a sentence that is either true or false) that is offered in support of the claim being made, which is the conclusion (which is also a sentence that is either true or false). Think of a premise as the reason (or evidence) why the conclusion should be accepted.

There are two traditional types of arguments: deductive and inductive.

A deductive argument is an argument such that the premises provide (or appear to provide) complete support for the conclusion. It guarantees the conclusion to be true if the premises are true.

An inductive argument is an argument such that the premises provide (or appear to provide) some degree of support (but less than complete support) for the conclusion. It provides a conclusion that is most probable to be true if the premises are true.

A sound deductive argument is usually stronger than an inductive argument. However, depending upon the topic or claim, it may not be possible to argue deductively.

Here is an example of a deductive argument:

All cats are mammals (premise 1)
All mammals are animals (premise 2)
Therefore, all cats are animals (conclusion).

Here is an example of an inductive argument:

In San Diego, CA, it has rained less than 2.5″ every December in recorded history.
Therefore, it will rain less than 2.5″ this coming December in San Diego.

As you can see, as an inductive argument, it is reasonable, but it is not absolute. It isn’t a “sure thing”, whereas the deductive argument about cats above, will always be 100% true.

It should be noted that there are many parts of a statement, and there are many attributes of an argument. These will be covered in a more detailed section on logic in the future.

What is a fallacy?

fallacy is, very generally, an error in reasoning. This differs from a factual error, which is simply being wrong about the facts. It is a mistake in the way that the final conclusion of the argument, or any intermediate conclusions, are logically related to their supporting premises.

Fallacies often concern themselves with the form of an argument (but not always). An argument may appear to be valid and true, but may be technically “out of form”, or illogical. Hence, fallacious. There are many fallacies (or ways that an argument may be fallacious), we’ll provide an exhaustive list of fallacies and examples (as well as source material) on the new site for reference.

Example Fallacy 

 A brief discussion about the “Appeal to authority” (Ad Verecundiam)…

First off, the appeal to authority, is not the same as the fallacy of appealing to authority. There are indeed legitimate instances where appealing to the authority of experts are necessary and valid. However, it becomes a fallacy when certain criteria are not met that would ordinarily legitimize it.

First, let’s explain why this is a fallacy (when it is not legitimized).

Quite simply, it doesn’t address the argument itself and instead it insists the argument must be true because so-and-so said it was. Truth isn’t correspondent to who claims X to be true, truth is correspondent to reality, what actually is.

Usually, this fallacy occurs because so-and-so is not an expert (or authority on the subject) in the area they make the claim. An example would be an actor in a commercial claiming that X brand of medicine is the best for you.

However, this can also be fallacious even if the expert is cited and is speaking from his field of expertise. What about the experts who may not agree that it is true? Einstein and Steven Hawking were/are both physicists, experts in their field. Yet they disagree on a few important issues in physics. If we must accept X is true in physics because Einstein the expert said it was, then we must accept X is false by Hawking. This obviously, can lead to problems. Suggesting X is true in this case, is fallacious. One can support their argument for X by citing Einstein, but to hinge it all upon “X is true because Einstein says so.” is in fact, a commission of this fallacy. Hawking, also an expert, would disagree with X.

Also, up until the 15th or 16th centuries, it was widely held by “authorities” that the Earth was flat. If one were to cite an authority then and argue that the Earth was flat because said authority said it was, this would not make the Earth flat. Claiming so-and-so said so, does not make the claim true. Many experts can be wrong. There must be some methodology to determine the legitimacy of the appeal when this happens…and there just so happens to be one. See the list below.

Also, it should be noted that there are sub-fallacies of Ad Verecundiam. They include (but are not limited to) false authority, anonymous authority, invincible authority, authority in numbers, authority of tradition, and more.

As you can see, fallacies can be quite complicated. Let’s bring our attention to a specific sub-fallacy, that of invincible authority.

This occurs when an appeal is made to an authority as to settle the argument as final, without providing support of the argument itself. Accepting the opinions of one expert or another (while not considering the supportive arguments) will not lead us to truth. It does not tell us which expert to believe, only that an expert claimed it, thus it must be true. It ignores that other experts may disagree, or that said expert’s opinions are misrepresented or misunderstood, or that they are now obsolete (change of position), etc…

In order for the appeal to be legitimate, there is usually a set of criteria that needs to be met for it to be so. While the specific points to be met may vary slightly depending upon the logician or professor asked, generally, all agree at least to the main points of each list.

Six conditions for a legitimate argument from authority

  1. The authority must have competence in an area, not just glamour, prestige, rank or popularity.
  2. The judgement must be within the authority’s field of competence
  3. The authority must be interpreted correctly
  4. Direct evidence must be available, at least in principle
  5. A technique is needed to adjudicate disagreements among equally qualified authorities. The case above re: Einstein vs Hawking is an example of why this is needed.
  6. The authority must not be biased (this 6th point is always a subject for debate and will in fact vary as a point depending upon whom you ask).

It should be noted that even the nature of philosophy itself, as well as its applications and limitations, are highly debateable. Some philosophers and logicians may argue that a fallacy only occurs under very strict guidelines. In the above example for instance….that only false authority is the true fallacy of appealing to authority. Others will say that instead of sub-fallacies, the fallacy Ad Verecundiam is the only fallacy of its nature and includes all those that others may claim are its sub-fallacies. The point is, the facets of philosophy are always in contention. As such, to receive the best understanding of the study of philosophy, logic, fallacies, etc…continued formal education is typically the best route for proper understanding. ODN cannot claim to replace such education, only to provide a foundation for those who have absolutely no starting point. It is highly recommended that to further your understanding of advanced theories and forms of logic, that you pursue a formal education in these areas. We can only provide the basic tools for you, nothing more.

Sources:

Fallacies
Appeal to authority – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Fallacies of Relevance
Invincible Authority

what is “logic”?

Posted by on Oct 27, 2012 in Philosophy | 0 comments

There are a great number of ways to define logic, for there are a great number of philosophers who have a great variety of theories and opinions. I won’t pretend to create an authoritative dissertation on the matter, no, instead, I’ll present what I believe to be the “minimal conception,” that is, what it must at least be. It is then, sufficient to be applied in most circumstances, particularly in a discussion (informal or otherwise).

This article is greatly inspired by the book Come, Let Us Reason1, by Dr. Norman Geisler.

It is the function of the wise man to know order. – Aristotle

Logic isn’t really so tough. In fact, it’s one of the simplest things to use because you use it all the time, though you may not realize it.

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about this site

Posted by on Oct 27, 2012 in Misc | 0 comments

What is a “philosotheist”? Well, officially…technically, nothing. I made it up. I have a passion for both philosophy (it is my minor after all) as well as theology, specifically of the Christian brand. I wanted to try to find a domain name that would adequately represent these two interests, but all the cool names were taken. So I came up with philosotheist.

So, what is Philosotheist? Primarily this blog is about Christian philosophy.

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Bruno Mars on SNL

Posted by on Oct 21, 2012 in Entertainment | 0 comments

Bruno Mars was the host and musical performer last night on SNL. I’ve never been a big fan of Mars, but that’s only because I’m not hip enough to listen to much of what’s current – I still listen to 80′s and 90′s music!

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my new office

Posted by on Oct 20, 2012 in Life | 0 comments

If only it was as nice as this photo!

In reality, my desk space is about as crowded and messy (but in an organized, only-I-know-where-the-stuff-is kind of way).

I typically get around to getting it uber-organized about once a quarter. When I can’t see over the stack of books and papers to read the monitor, that’s my queue, time to do something about it!

Yes, this post is completely irrelevant to the intent of this site. But, it’s a brand new site and I needed to quickly fill it up with a bit of content. Besides, I really liked the image…

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