Oneism and Twoism...

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Oneism and Twoism...

Postby Stacie Cook » Sun Jun 12, 2016 4:06 pm

We just started a new video series during our Sunday evening services. It is by Peter Jones. It is about Oneism and Twoism. That may even be the title, but I can't remember.
He divides pretty much every kind/type of religion into one of these two categories.
Oneism includes religions such as Buddhism, spiritualism, etc. Oneism is when the religion defines God as being in everything. God is in a rock, tree, etc. At first I did not see the issue with this, but Peter mentions that by saying God is in everything including things like rocks, that it brings God down to the level of a rock. God and a rock are the same.

Twoism is when there is a clear separation/definition between a creator (God) and the created.

This is my feeble summary of what I can remember, so please don't quote me on all this. I had never heard of these definitions before and so I am sharing to see if this is old news or not and if you all have any thoughts....
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Re: Oneism and Twoism...

Postby mitchellmckain » Thu Jun 23, 2016 8:59 am

The traditional terms for these are pantheism and theism, with another variation called panentheism thrown in as well.
Pantheism: Everything is God.
Theism: God created things which are totally other than God.

Wikipedia wrote:Panentheism (meaning "all-in-God", from the Ancient Greek πᾶν pân, "all", ἐν en, "in" and Θεός Theós, "God") is the belief that the divine interpenetrates every part of the universe and extends, timelessly (and, presumably, spacelessly) beyond it. Unlike pantheism, which holds that the divine and the universe are identical,[1] panentheism maintains a distinction between the divine and non-divine and the significance of both.[2]

In pantheism, the universe and everything included in it is equal to the Divine, but in panentheism, the universe and the divine are not ontologically equivalent. God is viewed as the soul of the universe, the universal spirit present everywhere, in everything and everyone, at all times. Some versions suggest that the universe is nothing more than the manifestation of God. In some forms of panentheism, the cosmos exists within God, who in turn "transcends", "pervades" or is "in" the cosmos. While pantheism asserts that 'All is God', panentheism goes further to claim that God is greater than the universe. In addition, some forms indicate that the universe is contained within God,[1] like in the concept of Tzimtzum. Much Hindu thought is highly characterized by panentheism and pantheism.[3][4] Hasidic Judaism merges the elite ideal of nullification to paradoxical transcendent Divine Panentheism, through intellectual articulation of inner dimensions of Kabbalah, with the populist emphasis on the panentheistic Divine immanence in everything.


A lot of theists (especially those of a mystical bent) cross the line over into panentheism. This typically arises with ideas about God being the foundation and support creation depending on God for its continued existence. I am usually a vocal opponent of this, considering it to be like the universe is nothing more than a dream in the mind of God. But I believe God can (and did) create something truly other and apart from Himself to exist independently. Thus I would say that I am a strong theist.
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Re: Oneism and Twoism...

Postby Moonwood the Hare » Sun Jun 26, 2016 5:29 am

The correct technical terms are monism and dualism. The term pantheism was applied retrospectively by John Toland to the philosophy of Baruch Spinoza. Spinoza replaced the idea of God and nature being two distinct things with the idea of there being one thing 'God and Nature'. He was these as different aspects of the same being. The term was later applied, rather inaccurately by western thinkers, to Hindu and Buddhist philosophies. The Hindu philosophy of Advaita Vedanta is perhaps closest to panthism and is sometimes referred to not as monism but as non-dualism. That is to say it sees Brahman and Atman as not being ultimately two. Brahman is analogous to what is called God in western theology but it is not exactly the same thing, it is never understood in personal terms and even then if you accept the identification of God with Brahman, Atman does not mean nature or cosmos but soul or self. Furthermore there are other Hindu philosophies which are dualistic between Brahman and Atman.

Within Christianity there are several different understandings of the relationship between God and the cosmos. In Eastern Orthodoxy God's essence is distinguished from his energies or attributes and it these uncreated energies which are seen as being active and permeating the cosmos. In The Roman Catholic tradition God's attributes are seen as being identical with his essence, hence God and cosmos overlap a little since attributes like reason or justice which are found first in God's essence are then found in the cosmos. This is never called panentheism in the Roman Catholic tradition but you could argue that's what it is. The dualism of Roman Catholicism is found primarily in the cosmos where the two are called Grace and Nature, Grace can be seen as the attributes of God that have crossed over into the cosmos, and this dualism is also found in Luther where he equates nature with law and grace with gospel.

On the business Mitch has raised about God sustaining the cosmos, he and I have discussed this a lot. I think I have established that the idea of God upholding the cosmos is found in Catholicism, Orthodoxy and Protestantism. Mitch has not indicated a single theologian prior to the modern era teaching the idea of God creating a self-sustaining cosmos. So if that is pantheism all pre-modern theologians, as far as we know, were pantheists not theists.
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Re: Oneism and Twoism...

Postby mitchellmckain » Mon Jun 27, 2016 3:11 am

Yes Moonwood and I have discussed this before, but in above discussion, he seems to be ignoring the difference between pantheism and panentheism in his post. Why?

As for theologians prior to the modern era stuff... I haven't even use the words "self-sustaining cosmos" myself -- strange terminology to my mind (when I throw a ball do I have to call it a self-sustaining ball? no, it is just a ball which has its own existence). My words are that God created something truly other and apart from Himself and he gave them their own existence. And just because a few theologians have talked about God sustaining the universe doesn't make all of them panentheists when they haven't even discussed the issue.

The point is that any dreamer can create a universe that is sustained by himself. There is nothing impressive about that. Thus I challenge with the following questions: CAN God create something truly apart from Himself? If He can then why would he create something that requires "sustaining" and how is that different from a dream anyway?

This is a doctrine that I can distinguish based on the criterion of motivation. For those who are motivated by power and control thus imagining a God obsessed with power and control, they are going to like the idea of God sustaining the universe, and the universe having no independent existence. Their god gives existence stingily to things other than itself because it grasps for power over things and is unwilling to let any control over things go. This strongly suggests a human source to such a belief because this is a motivation of human being NOT God. The God I believe in chooses love and freedom over power and control. Thus He can and does give existence to things without such a miserly attitude.

As for the Bible references I think they refer to God's involvement in directing the course of events which involves not only creating but also sustaining what he creates. Because as we well know physical things are precarious and easily destroyed by physical forces. But I don't think this refers to the whole universe depending on God for its existence in the way that a dream depends on a dreamer.

So, frankly, no matter how many theologians thought this, or simply repeated what other said, I insist they got it wrong. Not much surprise there, for this would only be one of many many things they got wrong. Those who study all these theologians will tend to exaggerate the importance of what these people said. But the truth is that we do learn new things which make it quite clear that they were often wrong.


As for monism and dualism, I tend to associate these words with the philosophical usage and discussion. Perhaps it was to avoid confusing this with the philosophical terms that they change the words to these anglicized versions.
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Re: Oneism and Twoism...

Postby Aaron » Mon Jun 27, 2016 8:21 am

Mitch, I do think God could create something apart from himself and I think he has with this universe, I think we are separate and distinct of God. I do not think the dream and dreamer works well as an analogy because I think it leaves out the personal relationship that God has with his creation. The best thing God can give his creation is himself, there is no other God besides him. I think he loves his creation and he will not leave it or abandon it so effectively it is as though in a sense his creation is not apart from him, he does sustain it by his being, there is no life outside of him because there is no life that compares to the life he offers.
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Re: Oneism and Twoism...

Postby mitchellmckain » Mon Jun 27, 2016 10:44 am

Aaron wrote:Mitch, I do think God could create something apart from himself and I think he has with this universe, I think we are separate and distinct of God. I do not think the dream and dreamer works well as an analogy because I think it leaves out the personal relationship that God has with his creation. The best thing God can give his creation is himself, there is no other God besides him. I think he loves his creation and he will not leave it or abandon it so effectively it is as though in a sense his creation is not apart from him, he does sustain it by his being, there is no life outside of him because there is no life that compares to the life he offers.


I agree. There is a big difference between sustaining life and sustaining existence. Life and existence are two very different things. Jesus came that we would have life and have it more abundantly because our prospects are existence without life, which is why He said, "let the dead bury their own dead." God creating something apart from Himself means creating things with their own existence not things which cannot exist without some kind of sustaining just like you have between a dreamer and a dream. But I quite agree that life is a different matter from existence. Although I think God made the universe to support self-organizing processes because life is the ultimate example of such self organizing processes, this does not mean that life develops (or continues) on its own without God's involvement.

It is interesting how this parallels the situation with the spirit. The spirit exists independently and by itself eternally but life requires interaction with things outside of itself and indeed God is the ultimate source of life and the ONLY source of eternal life. As an infinite being there is no end to what He has to offer and in a relationship with Him there is no end to what we can receive from Him. But if we are willful enough to reject what God has to offer, we will have existence without that source of life and thus with a diminishing amount of what makes such an existence worthwhile. This is one of the reason hell exists.
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Re: Oneism and Twoism...

Postby Moonwood the Hare » Mon Jun 27, 2016 12:31 pm

mitchellmckain wrote:Yes Moonwood and I have discussed this before, but in above discussion, he seems to be ignoring the difference between pantheism and panentheism in his post. Why?

Partly because the idea that was originally called pantheism was more like what we now call panentheism.
As for theologians prior to the modern era stuff... I haven't even use the words "self-sustaining cosmos" myself -- strange terminology to my mind (when I throw a ball do I have to call it a self-sustaining ball? no, it is just a ball which has its own existence). My words are that God created something truly other and apart from Himself and he gave them their own existence. And just because a few theologians have talked about God sustaining the universe doesn't make all of them panentheists when they haven't even discussed the issue.

Yes, one would not say that about a ball because there would be no context to say it. Yes I agree that traditional Christian theology holds that God created the cosmos as something distinct from himself but also, not just a few but all of them, hold that God sustains the cosmos. If you think I am mistaken in this give me one example of a theologian denying it.
The point is that any dreamer can create a universe that is sustained by himself. There is nothing impressive about that. Thus I challenge with the following questions: CAN God create something truly apart from Himself? If He can then why would he create something that requires "sustaining" and how is that different from a dream anyway?

Fair question. A dream is not sustained by any deliberate act of the dreamer unless you are talking about some kind of lucid dreaming. On the other hand if you think of a solo played by a musician that is sustained by an act of the musician but is is very unlike a dream being subject to conscious control. Another example would be peddling a bicycle: the forward motion of the bike is not the same thing as the rider but is sustained by his action. So there are many other examples of ongoing dependency that are far better analogies than dream and dreamer.
This is a doctrine that I can distinguish based on the criterion of motivation. For those who are motivated by power and control thus imagining a God obsessed with power and control, they are going to like the idea of God sustaining the universe, and the universe having no independent existence. Their god gives existence stingily to things other than itself because it grasps for power over things and is unwilling to let any control over things go. This strongly suggests a human source to such a belief because this is a motivation of human being NOT God. The God I believe in chooses love and freedom over power and control. Thus He can and does give existence to things without such a miserly attitude.

Well you seem to have all kinds of knowledge about God's motivation and everyone else's motivation that I lack. It may be that all traditional Christians are power obsessives and you are mercifully free of that vice. I couldn't say.
As for the Bible references I think they refer to God's involvement in directing the course of events which involves not only creating but also sustaining what he creates. Because as we well know physical things are precarious and easily destroyed by physical forces. But I don't think this refers to the whole universe depending on God for its existence in the way that a dream depends on a dreamer.

The difficulty of this for me is it suggests that God is occasionally present in creation, as and when needed, which then implies he is normally absent. Traditional theology says God is ontologically distinct from the cosmos but present by his actions or energies.
So, frankly, no matter how many theologians thought this, or simply repeated what other said, I insist they got it wrong. Not much surprise there, for this would only be one of many many things they got wrong. Those who study all these theologians will tend to exaggerate the importance of what these people said. But the truth is that we do learn new things which make it quite clear that they were often wrong.

I can't deny the possibility Mitch. But the whole of the tradition weighs against you and so we have to ask why you have been gifted with a new and correct interpretation.
As for monism and dualism, I tend to associate these words with the philosophical usage and discussion. Perhaps it was to avoid confusing this with the philosophical terms that they change the words to these anglicized versions.

I have no idea why they did it. The distinction in itself is not especially helpful because there are different kinds and levels of unity and duality whatever you want to call them
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Re: Oneism and Twoism...

Postby mitchellmckain » Mon Jun 27, 2016 7:26 pm

Moonwood the Hare wrote:Yes, one would not say that about a ball because there would be no context to say it. Yes I agree that traditional Christian theology holds that God created the cosmos as something distinct from himself but also, not just a few but all of them, hold that God sustains the cosmos. If you think I am mistaken in this give me one example of a theologian denying it.

You being mistaken does not require giving an example of a theologian denying it. You being correct requires you to exhaustively show that all these affirmed that God sustains the existence of the cosmos.

Moonwood the Hare wrote:
The point is that any dreamer can create a universe that is sustained by himself. There is nothing impressive about that. Thus I challenge with the following questions: CAN God create something truly apart from Himself? If He can then why would he create something that requires "sustaining" and how is that different from a dream anyway?

Fair question. A dream is not sustained by any deliberate act of the dreamer unless you are talking about some kind of lucid dreaming. On the other hand if you think of a solo played by a musician that is sustained by an act of the musician but is is very unlike a dream being subject to conscious control. Another example would be peddling a bicycle: the forward motion of the bike is not the same thing as the rider but is sustained by his action. So there are many other examples of ongoing dependency that are far better analogies than dream and dreamer.

The question I have asked you still haven't answered. But some of these you have tried before and I have shown the flaw in them. For music is given an independent existence by the musicians and this is demonstrable. And the music is a poor example for the reason that there isn't even any semblance of life and free will in it. It is a recordable object. A similar example would be the writing of a novel the completion of which depends on the author. There is no independent existence in quite different ways in such an example -- which makes them even worse examples. The point of the dream example is whether it is lucid or not, the continued existence of the things in the dream require the dreamer to keep on dreaming.

Moonwood the Hare wrote:Well you seem to have all kinds of knowledge about God's motivation and everyone else's motivation that I lack. It may be that all traditional Christians are power obsessives and you are mercifully free of that vice. I couldn't say.

On the contrary, what is clear is that human beings, who are often obsessed with power, were involved in the historical development of Christianity. Analyzing what motives are served gives us a way of determining the likely source. That the vast majority do not even question but simply believe what they have been told is rather obvious.

Moonwood the Hare wrote:
As for the Bible references I think they refer to God's involvement in directing the course of events which involves not only creating but also sustaining what he creates. Because as we well know physical things are precarious and easily destroyed by physical forces. But I don't think this refers to the whole universe depending on God for its existence in the way that a dream depends on a dreamer.

The difficulty of this for me is it suggests that God is occasionally present in creation, as and when needed, which then implies he is normally absent. Traditional theology says God is ontologically distinct from the cosmos but present by his actions or energies.

No. The question of presence misses the point. It is the question of causality and control which is the point. Theodicy makes it mandatory that God is only occasionally the cause of events in the universe, as and when needed, but is quite often (perhaps even most of the time) NOT the cause of events. This is the difference between a God of power who cannot relinquish control and a God of love who gives freedom to what He creates.

Moonwood the Hare wrote:I can't deny the possibility Mitch. But the whole of the tradition weighs against you and so we have to ask why you have been gifted with a new and correct interpretation.

LOL Whereas I have to ask why you have this prejudice that something new has to be so astounding and miraculous when we have examples of new knowledge about things everyday. And the reason is because everyone is different and do not ask precisely the same questions or think about things in precisely the same way.
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Re: Oneism and Twoism...

Postby Moonwood the Hare » Sat Jul 02, 2016 1:38 pm

mitchellmckain wrote:
Moonwood the Hare wrote:Yes, one would not say that about a ball because there would be no context to say it. Yes I agree that traditional Christian theology holds that God created the cosmos as something distinct from himself but also, not just a few but all of them, hold that God sustains the cosmos. If you think I am mistaken in this give me one example of a theologian denying it.

You being mistaken does not require giving an example of a theologian denying it. You being correct requires you to exhaustively show that all these affirmed that God sustains the existence of the cosmos.

If I make an 'all' claim that is a strong claim; it is highly falsifiable and I am challenging you to falsify it. If one could only assert an all claim by exhaustively showing it to be true, science would be over.
Moonwood the Hare wrote:Fair question. A dream is not sustained by any deliberate act of the dreamer unless you are talking about some kind of lucid dreaming. On the other hand if you think of a solo played by a musician that is sustained by an act of the musician but is is very unlike a dream being subject to conscious control. Another example would be peddling a bicycle: the forward motion of the bike is not the same thing as the rider but is sustained by his action. So there are many other examples of ongoing dependency that are far better analogies than dream and dreamer.

The question I have asked you still haven't answered.

Sorry Mitvh, I was responding to the first part of what you said which was not phrased as a question. As to the question in the second part "CAN God create something truly apart from Himself? If He can then why would he create something that requires "sustaining" and how is that different from a dream anyway?" I don't believe that kind of question, the kind which asks, could God have done this, is answerable. When we talk of possibilities we are always talking about possibilities of some kind, such as logical possibilities or physical possibilities, or biological possibilities. We can answer those kinds of things on the basis of laws established in various ways. However God is, to use James Ross's phrase, 'the creator of kinds and possibilities'. He brings the universe, with its field of possibilities, into existence. Therefore we cannot answer speculative questions about what God could have done. So I don't know, and I don't think anyone knows, whether God can create in the way you claim he must.
But some of these you have tried before and I have shown the flaw in them. For music is given an independent existence by the musicians and this is demonstrable.

If the painist stops playing the music stops. The fact that you can record the music and have the recording sustained in a different way does not alter that, if that is what you are referring to.
And the music is a poor example for the reason that there isn't even any semblance of life and free will in it.

I think you are conflating two concepts that are distinct. To say God sustains the universe does not imply he determines all events in the universe. Opinions on the latter have been diverse but all traditions allow for some measure of freedom in the creature. You have not shown that sustains implies determines.
It is a recordable object.

I've lost you a bit here. If I speak or act, and I have free will to say or do as I please, the fact that my actions or words can be recorded does not affect my free will in the slightest.
A similar example would be the writing of a novel the completion of which depends on the author. There is no independent existence in quite different ways in such an example -- which makes them even worse examples.

I think it would be better to think of a novel before it has been committed to paper or expressed in any form, but I am not suggesting that any work of art has freedom in the same way a human being does.
The point of the dream example is whether it is lucid or not, the continued existence of the things in the dream require the dreamer to keep on dreaming.

In that sense, and in that sense only I would see this analogy as valid. The analogy of lucid dreaming or visualisation provides a really good illustration of the distinction between sustaining and determining. The point of lucid dreaming or visualisation is to allow the parts of the self that are outside the control of the conscious ego the chance to express themselves. The visualisation is sustained by an ongoing act of the ego but the content is not determined by the ego.
Moonwood the Hare wrote:Well you seem to have all kinds of knowledge about God's motivation and everyone else's motivation that I lack. It may be that all traditional Christians are power obsessives and you are mercifully free of that vice. I couldn't say.

On the contrary, what is clear is that human beings, who are often obsessed with power, were involved in the historical development of Christianity. Analyzing what motives are served gives us a way of determining the likely source. That the vast majority do not even question but simply believe what they have been told is rather obvious.

Mitch, you are simply falling into the trap everyone falls into when they play this game of attributing motives. You are saying people reached the conclusion they did because they were obsessed with power as people 'often' are but you are then implying that what you say say is trustworthy because you are free of that obsession. There is really no connection between believing God sustains the cosmos and being obsessed with power. People who are powerful could, and often have, dislike the idea of God as a greater power because that places limits on their power. There are so many different possible motives and no clear connection between any of them and this belief.
The question of presence misses the point. It is the question of causality and control which is the point.

I don't think either are strictly the point. God is not the cause of some events and not others but rather the creator of all kinds of causes. Hence even those who believe most strongly in God's sovereignty also believe in 'the liberty and contingency of second causes' to quote the Westminster Confession. To say God sustains the cosmos does not imply that every event in the cosmos is directly in God's control. If that is your fear dismiss it.
Theodicy makes it mandatory that God is only occasionally the cause of events in the universe, as and when needed, but is quite often (perhaps even most of the time) NOT the cause of events. This is the difference between a God of power who cannot relinquish control and a God of love who gives freedom to what He creates.

I don't think it is a sound idea to derive doctrine from theodicy in this way. If you have a theory to explain why in spite of appearances God is good and just and if that theory depends on the universe being a certain way, I don't think it is wise to conclude therefore the universe must be that way; it could after all be the theory that is wrong. And as I say God is the creator of causes not one among many causes.
Moonwood the Hare wrote:I can't deny the possibility Mitch. But the whole of the tradition weighs against you and so we have to ask why you have been gifted with a new and correct interpretation.

LOL Whereas I have to ask why you have this prejudice that something new has to be so astounding and miraculous when we have examples of new knowledge about things everyday. And the reason is because everyone is different and do not ask precisely the same questions or think about things in precisely the same way.[/quote]
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Re: Oneism and Twoism...

Postby mitchellmckain » Sun Jul 03, 2016 6:04 pm

Moonwood the Hare wrote:If I make an 'all' claim that is a strong claim; it is highly falsifiable and I am challenging you to falsify it. If one could only assert an all claim by exhaustively showing it to be true, science would be over.

Incorrect. It is highly falsifiable when the claim is that someone never said something because then to falsify this you just have to come up with an example of them saying it. But it is far from "highly falsifiable" to say that someone said something because then to falsify this you have to exhaustively examine everything they said which was recorded and that will always be a subset of all they said.

Moonwood the Hare wrote:Sorry Mitch, I was responding to the first part of what you said which was not phrased as a question. As to the question in the second part "CAN God create something truly apart from Himself? If He can then why would he create something that requires "sustaining" and how is that different from a dream anyway?" I don't believe that kind of question, the kind which asks, could God have done this, is answerable.

Since God is all powerful it is natural to assume the answer to the first is yes He can, unless you can suggest some logical contradiction. The second goes to what is most reasonable to believe. If reason is on the side of one alternative over the other, then it is only reasonable to believe a wise and smart person did it the way which makes sense.

Moonwood the Hare wrote:Therefore we cannot answer speculative questions about what God could have done. So I don't know, and I don't think anyone knows, whether God can create in the way you claim he must.

Uh uh! In the way I claim He DID. In the way I claim He CAN. But not the "must." No no no. Or perhaps you mean "must have." Yeah I would even say the last.

Moonwood the Hare wrote:
But some of these you have tried before and I have shown the flaw in them. For music is given an independent existence by the musicians and this is demonstrable.

If the painist stops playing the music stops. The fact that you can record the music and have the recording sustained in a different way does not alter that, if that is what you are referring to.

But the fact that the playing stops doesn't mean the muscians didn't create something apart from themselves because they did. It was out their in the air capable of being captured by a recording device.

Moonwood the Hare wrote:
And the music is a poor example for the reason that there isn't even any semblance of life and free will in it.

I think you are conflating two concepts that are distinct. To say God sustains the universe does not imply he determines all events in the universe. Opinions on the latter have been diverse but all traditions allow for some measure of freedom in the creature. You have not shown that sustains implies determines.

True but it is unlikely. If you want something to operate without control then you make it stand on its own. It is not sensible and therefore the most likely explanation for this is it comes from false piety -- a mistaken impression this elevates God and make Him greater. But it doesn't. It makes Him pathetic -- unable to make anything truly apart from Himself -- not a creator but a dreamer.

Moonwood the Hare wrote:
It is a recordable object.

I've lost you a bit here. If I speak or act, and I have free will to say or do as I please, the fact that my actions or words can be recorded does not affect my free will in the slightest.

Yes but the recording of what you have done is not you. I would say the recording of the music IS the music. The music is not gone because it continues to exist in the recording. That is why I said "recorded object" not "recordable object."

Moonwood the Hare wrote:
A similar example would be the writing of a novel the completion of which depends on the author. There is no independent existence in quite different ways in such an example -- which makes them even worse examples.

I think it would be better to think of a novel before it has been committed to paper or expressed in any form, but I am not suggesting that any work of art has freedom in the same way a human being does.

Exactly! It is an excellent example and one that demonstrates my point even better than a dream. The novel that is in the head of the author before it is written is not a real creation and not certainly not a thing apart from himself. Putting God in the role of a failed writer who cannot get his book on paper is a good illustration of why this looks pathetic to me.

Moonwood the Hare wrote:
The point of the dream example is not whether it is lucid or not, but whether the continued existence of the things in the dream require the dreamer to keep on dreaming.

In that sense, and in that sense only I would see this analogy as valid. The analogy of lucid dreaming or visualisation provides a really good illustration of the distinction between sustaining and determining. The point of lucid dreaming or visualisation is to allow the parts of the self that are outside the control of the conscious ego the chance to express themselves. The visualisation is sustained by an ongoing act of the ego but the content is not determined by the ego.

But this is not a difference between sustaining and determining because whether it is controlled consciously (by the ego) or not the dream is still a total creation of the dreamer's mind. The people in the dream are still nothing but figments of the dreamer's imagination (or some other faculty).

Moonwood the Hare wrote:
what is clear is that human beings, who are often obsessed with power, were involved in the historical development of Christianity. Analyzing what motives are served gives us a way of determining the likely source. That the vast majority do not even question but simply believe what they have been told is rather obvious.

Mitch, you are simply falling into the trap everyone falls into when they play this game of attributing motives. You are saying people reached the conclusion they did because they were obsessed with power as people 'often' are but you are then implying that what you say say is trustworthy because you are free of that obsession.

Incorrect, I am saying that God is free of that obsession.

Moonwood the Hare wrote: There is really no connection between believing God sustains the cosmos and being obsessed with power. People who are powerful could, and often have, dislike the idea of God as a greater power because that places limits on their power. There are so many different possible motives and no clear connection between any of them and this belief.

It is more like a corollary of murphy's law. If it could have been motivated by people seeking to use religion as a tool of power then it probably was.

Moonwood the Hare wrote:
The question of presence misses the point. It is the question of causality and control which is the point.

I don't think either are strictly the point. God is not the cause of some events and not others but rather the creator of all kinds of causes. Hence even those who believe most strongly in God's sovereignty also believe in 'the liberty and contingency of second causes' to quote the Westminster Confession. To say God sustains the cosmos does not imply that every event in the cosmos is directly in God's control. If that is your fear dismiss it.

It is not a fear but a reasonable conclusion. It is like noticing the strings holding up the great and powerful wizard of Oz. Why would there even be such strings unless it was being controlled by the one holding the strings.

But like I said there is ANOTHER kind of sustaining which I do believe in (which is what I think those scriptures refer to). This is the way that a shepherd sustains his flocks and the parent sustains his children. That is an kind of sustaining which I very much can believe in.

Moonwood the Hare wrote:
Theodicy makes it mandatory that God is only occasionally the cause of events in the universe, as and when needed, but is quite often (perhaps even most of the time) NOT the cause of events. This is the difference between a God of power who cannot relinquish control and a God of love who gives freedom to what He creates.

I don't think it is a sound idea to derive doctrine from theodicy in this way. If you have a theory to explain why in spite of appearances God is good and just and if that theory depends on the universe being a certain way, I don't think it is wise to conclude therefore the universe must be that way; it could after all be the theory that is wrong. And as I say God is the creator of causes not one among many causes.

On the contrary, it is the only sound way to derive doctrine about a God worth believing in. If you suppose that this is not the case, then your conclusion is that this god can go fuck himself.
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Re: Oneism and Twoism...

Postby Moonwood the Hare » Mon Jul 04, 2016 10:32 am

Hi Mitch. I am wondering what Stacie makes of this discussion between you and I. We are going over old ground and it may have nothing to do with the issues she wanted to discuss. So far she has not responded since starting the thread.
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Re: Oneism and Twoism...

Postby Moonwood the Hare » Mon Jul 04, 2016 11:54 am

mitchellmckain wrote:
Moonwood the Hare wrote:If I make an 'all' claim that is a strong claim; it is highly falsifiable and I am challenging you to falsify it. If one could only assert an all claim by exhaustively showing it to be true, science would be over.

Incorrect. It is highly falsifiable when the claim is that someone never said something because then to falsify this you just have to come up with an example of them saying it. But it is far from "highly falsifiable" to say that someone said something because then to falsify this you have to exhaustively examine everything they said which was recorded and that will always be a subset of all they said.

Mitch the bottom line is here are many instances of Christian theologians saying that God sustains or upholds the cosmos. I am not aware of any instance of this being denied, nor have you been able to come up with any instances. Here are a few examples from early Christian writers.
St. Augustine comments on John 5:17: Let us therefore believe that God works constantly, so that all created things would perish, if his working were withdrawn.
St Athanasious says ''He gives all things their being and sustains them in it' and also “And the Word moves and adorns all things that compose the one Cosmos, and sustains and gives Life through His simple Movement and Providence. He is the Governor and King of all.”
The Shepherd of Hermas proclaims that “…all Creation is sustained by the Son of God.
Theophilos of Antioch, addressing Autolycos, noted that God is called “…Pantocrator, because He upholds and sustains everything.”
St Basil the Great noted that God, through His Creative Action, gave existence to the non-existing and sustains all that already exists.
St John Chrysostom stated that God “…not only Created the Universe, but sustains it…” as well. “It would be madness…” he continues, “…to think that anyone who sees in the Universe the mass of the Heavenly bodies with such beauty, such synthesis, such continuous battle between matter and their distribution, would not think and would not say that if there was no Providence that would uphold all the mass of the Heavenly bodies, then everything would have fallen and nothing would have survived from what is now order and harmonious synthesis.” Therefore, because of the Providence and Preservation of God, the Universe is sustained “…with such good order, such agreement between day and night, such variety of animals and plants and seeds and herbs, which continue their path in the present day and yet have not fallen, neither once dissolved.”
Gregory of Nyssa says 'Accordingly, when we hear the name Almighty, our conception is this, that God sustains in being all intelligible things as well as all things of a material nature. For this cause He sits upon the circle of the earth, for this cause He holds the ends of the earth in His hand, for this cause He metes out leaven with the span, and measures the waters in the hollow of His hand ; for this cause He comprehends in Himself all the intelligible creation, that all things may remain in existence controlled by His encompassing power.'
This is not one view among many. If you think it is present your counter examples.
Since God is all powerful it is natural to assume the answer to the first is yes He can, unless you can suggest some logical contradiction. The second goes to what is most reasonable to believe. If reason is on the side of one alternative over the other, then it is only reasonable to believe a wise and smart person did it the way which makes sense.

I think we differ on what it means to say God is all powerful. For you this is a claim about God's essence or nature for me it is a claim about his relationship to the cosmos. Therefore for me to say God is all powerful is not a claim about what he may have done or could have done but a claim about his relation to this cosmos not about some hypothetical cosmos. Hence when scripture and Christian tradition both plainly teach something I don't feel free to start an argument based on what God may have done. Hence I said
Moonwood the Hare wrote:Therefore we cannot answer speculative questions about what God could have done. So I don't know, and I don't think anyone knows, whether God can create in the way you claim he must.

Uh uh! In the way I claim He DID. In the way I claim He CAN. But not the "must." No no no. Or perhaps you mean "must have." Yeah I would even say the last.

Well I don't see the distinction here. If God must have created in the way you say you are saying he must create in that way.
Moonwood the Hare wrote:If the painist stops playing the music stops. The fact that you can record the music and have the recording sustained in a different way does not alter that, if that is what you are referring to.

But the fact that the playing stops doesn't mean the muscians didn't create something apart from themselves because they did. It was out their in the air capable of being captured by a recording device.

The music stops when the playing stops. The playback of the recording starts when the playback starts. I am not saying the music is not distinct from the musician I am saying the music is sustained by the musician and the playback is sustained by the recording device.
Moonwood the Hare wrote:I think you are conflating two concepts that are distinct. To say God sustains the universe does not imply he determines all events in the universe. Opinions on the latter have been diverse but all traditions allow for some measure of freedom in the creature. You have not shown that sustains implies determines.

True but it is unlikely. If you want something to operate without control then you make it stand on its own. It is not sensible and therefore the most likely explanation for this is it comes from false piety -- a mistaken impression this elevates God and make Him greater. But it doesn't. It makes Him pathetic -- unable to make anything truly apart from Himself -- not a creator but a dreamer.

Well then. It seems all the early Christians - and as I could demonstrate the later ones as well - believed in this pathetic God and now at last Mitch has got it right. Except they didn't because none of them say anything about God being unable to make anything 'truly apart from himself.' They just say he sustains the cosmos, very clearly and very plainly.
Yes but the recording of what you have done is not you. I would say the recording of the music IS the music. The music is not gone because it continues to exist in the recording. That is why I said "recorded object" not "recordable object."

I wouldn't. I would say the recording is a recording. The music is gone but the recording remains.
Moonwood the Hare wrote:I think it would be better to think of a novel before it has been committed to paper or expressed in any form, but I am not suggesting that any work of art has freedom in the same way a human being does.

Exactly! It is an excellent example and one that demonstrates my point even better than a dream. The novel that is in the head of the author before it is written is not a real creation and not certainly not a thing apart from himself. Putting God in the role of a failed writer who cannot get his book on paper is a good illustration of why this looks pathetic to me.

I would say the novel before it is written is a creation and is distinct from the author. It is not the case that whatever is true of the author must be true of his idea for his next novel and it is not the case that whatever is true of the idea for the novel must be true of the author therefore the two are distinct.

Moonwood the Hare wrote:In that sense, and in that sense only I would see this analogy as valid. The analogy of lucid dreaming or visualisation provides a really good illustration of the distinction between sustaining and determining. The point of lucid dreaming or visualisation is to allow the parts of the self that are outside the control of the conscious ego the chance to express themselves. The visualisation is sustained by an ongoing act of the ego but the content is not determined by the ego.

But this is not a difference between sustaining and determining because whether it is controlled consciously (by the ego) or not the dream is still a total creation of the dreamer's mind. The people in the dream are still nothing but figments of the dreamer's imagination (or some other faculty).

Yes the cosmos is a total creation of God. Different writers differ on the extent to which their creations have true freedom. Some say they direct things entirely others say the characters take on a life of their own. However I think you have to be very careful when you start introducing a daemonic element into God's creation as Jung and the gnostics do. I don't think there is really anything in God that corresponds to the unconscious mind in human beings and I was not trying to extend the analogy in that direction. There is a rough correspondence between the freedom of the creature and the freedom or autonomy of the contents of the unconscious but only a very rough one.
Moonwood the Hare wrote: There is really no connection between believing God sustains the cosmos and being obsessed with power. People who are powerful could, and often have, dislike the idea of God as a greater power because that places limits on their power. There are so many different possible motives and no clear connection between any of them and this belief.

It is more like a corollary of murphy's law. If it could have been motivated by people seeking to use religion as a tool of power then it probably was.

It seems less like Murphy's law and more like the hermeneutics of suspicion on acid.
Moonwood the Hare wrote:I don't think either are strictly the point. God is not the cause of some events and not others but rather the creator of all kinds of causes. Hence even those who believe most strongly in God's sovereignty also believe in 'the liberty and contingency of second causes' to quote the Westminster Confession. To say God sustains the cosmos does not imply that every event in the cosmos is directly in God's control. If that is your fear dismiss it.

It is not a fear but a reasonable conclusion. It is like noticing the strings holding up the great and powerful wizard of Oz. Why would there even be such strings unless it was being controlled by the one holding the strings.

Well some have drawn that conclusion but with the possible exception of Augustine the people I have quoted don't so I would say that many have not drawn that conclusion.
But like I said there is ANOTHER kind of sustaining which I do believe in (which is what I think those scriptures refer to). This is the way that a shepherd sustains his flocks and the parent sustains his children. That is an kind of sustaining which I very much can believe in.

It is tricky though when scripture talks of God sustaining or upholding the cosmos by the word of his power, to say that only means he looks after it or cares for it. I am sure he does but something stronger seems to be implied.
Moonwood the Hare wrote:I don't think it is a sound idea to derive doctrine from theodicy in this way. If you have a theory to explain why in spite of appearances God is good and just and if that theory depends on the universe being a certain way, I don't think it is wise to conclude therefore the universe must be that way; it could after all be the theory that is wrong. And as I say God is the creator of causes not one among many causes.

On the contrary, it is the only sound way to derive doctrine about a God worth believing in. If you suppose that this is not the case, then your conclusion is that this god can go fuck himself.

Not sure what you mean here. The scripture does not present a theodicy so any theodicy is a theory and subject to all the limits of a theory. I am wary of turning that theory into a kind of idol where one says unless my theory is correct I won't believe in God. It make sit far too likely that what is called God is just some theoretical concoction.
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Re: Oneism and Twoism...

Postby Stacie Cook » Sat Jul 23, 2016 7:23 pm

Moonwood the Hare wrote:Hi Mitch. I am wondering what Stacie makes of this discussion between you and I. We are going over old ground and it may have nothing to do with the issues she wanted to discuss. So far she has not responded since starting the thread.



Hi there. I have been tied up lately. Sorry for starting a thread and then running off, lol.
I think I follow most of what you are saying Moon.

It is a bit harder for me to follow Mitch, but I think I see the line of reasoning in general.

When I started the thread, I was mostly just curious about whether this (oneism, twoism) was new or more likely something that has been hashed out before and I just became aware of it.

We watched another video in the series and it talked about Jung and gnostics, but I wasn't following that quite so well. Parttly b/c I was trying to keep some little ones quiet so I could hear.

Thanks for the input. As always, I may not follow it well, but I enjoy seeing others converse.
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Re: Oneism and Twoism...

Postby Moonwood the Hare » Sun Jul 24, 2016 5:29 am

Well I am glad you followed me because it got very complicated. I don't think oneism and twoism is new though the names are. You might find this interesting:
In examining the various philosophical systems we must ask, do they recognize the boundary between God and the Cosmos and take fully into account the consequences of this recognition? All non-biblical philosophy can be classified according to the answer that it gives to this primary question. Vollenhoven developed the following system of classification.

There are philosophers who deny and philosophers who affirm the existence of a boundary between God and the cosmos. We call the former monists and the latter dualists. This main division does not tell us all we wish to know. It makes a difference whether or not a monist denies the existence of god or the existence of the world. If he does not wish to deny either the world or God, then as a monist he must either place God in the cosmos or resolve the cosmos in God. Consequently there are four kinds of monism.

Atheism denies the existence of God and retains only the world.
A-cosmism denies the existence of the cosmos.
Pan-cosmism subordinates God to the world and places Him in creation.
Pantheism resolves the world in God.


Dualists also differ among themselves. Anyone who does not honour the boundary as God has prescribed it in His Word either places the line of demarcation too high or too low. In the first instance a part of the Divine Being is ascribed to the world of created things, and in the second something created is deified. There are as clearly appears, two types of dualism: partial cosmism which places a part of the Divine Being in the Cosmos, (e.g., Modernism which denies the Deity of the Son and the Holy Spirit), and partial theism which places a portion of the cosmos in God by drawing the boundary line between God and the cosmos through the cosmos. The cosmos is divided into a higher and a lower sphere. The higher part is elevated above the lower one and is deified. God must share His Sovereignty with a portion of the creation. Partial theism has found adherents among Christians in all ages. The Roman Catholic doctrine of the worship of Mary (Mariolatry) , and of transubstantiation (the change of essence of the bread and wine in communion), and the Lutheran doctrine of the deification of Christs human nature during His ascension are partial theistic, as is the idea that the soul of man is a divine element which is higher than the body. The idea that reason belongs to a higher order, since God is absolute reason, is also an expression of partial theism. And the error of antinomianism which places the Christian above the law is a further example of its influence.

All of these trends and theories do not do justice to the sovereignty of God, who is the Only and Real One. Christian philosophy may not unite with any such view. It must for the sake of truth avoid synthesis and bear in mind the antithesis between Christian and non-Christian thought.

The Christian philosophy does not wish to define its viewpoint as theism. The conception, that theism is the correct middle way between pantheism and deism, is very well known, but there are serious objections to this traditional formula.

The terms deism and pantheism are not Sufficient to describe the many views which do not recognize or which incorrectly comprehend the boundary between God and the cosmos. Moreover truth is not achieved by steering a middle course between two errors. And from a philosophical point of view the term theism is inadequate to indicate the philosophical conception which is based on the Bible.


The above is extracted from Introduction to Christian Philosophy by Spiers.

I am very interested in Jung and there has been some very god work on Jung by Christians, mostly by Roman Catholics and Anglicans. Do you like to read novels. If you do you might enjoy Susan Howatch's Starbridge and St Benet's novels which explore a kind of Christian/Jungian synthesis. The review below says Freudian but that is a mistake by someone not that familiar with Jung.
http://www.anamericangirlinlondon.co.uk/?p=79
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