Lessons in Moral Epistemology for Philosophers

(Interlude III)

God punishes improper responses to His Word by binding His enemies to false beliefs and false explanations of things.

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I am not sure what you mean by that… (view full text of question in comments section – Interlude II – Credo)

Speaking of knowing: Do I know your name? If not, level the field for me a bit, won’t you?

You had asked me about the relation of ethics and epistemology. I think it is fine if we limit our discussion to this—it is wide enough to have fun in, without ranging off into Natural Law’s existence.

I’m sorry I failed to cite the verses supporting my statements. I had assumed you would connect those circuits yourself, but I see that I should not have assumed. I’m sorry. This should help:

In 2 Thessalonians, you will find the passage I paraphrased. Speaking of certain people who “received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved,” the Holy Spirit says,

Because they refused to love the truth, “God shall send them strong delusion so that they will believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth.” (2:10-11) This really is the Gold Passage on the subject, don’t you think? I suspect you formulated your response to my post as if I was just theologically rambling rather than relying on Scripture. So what we should do from here, after I get your name, is to get your take on the Thessalonians passage. How does this impact your view on the question under discussion? And please do note, emphasizing again the original concern of setting ethics and epistemology in right relation in our thinking, note verse 12. There we learn why it is that these folks were given over to believe a lie, that is, why they refused to love the truth. It was because they “had pleasure in unrighteousness.” The truth didn’t thrill them. Wickedness did. So God said to them, as He did to Israel in the quail episode, “O, is that what you want? Okay. I’ll give it to you. Here! Now choke on it.”

Here we come face to face with a God unimpressed with protestations about “free will.” On another occasion I would like to try to show you why the very notion of “free will” is riotously funny, but I don’t see that it needs to touch our discussion at this stage. My assertions treat of ethics and epistemology, not volition. And on any reading of “free will,” the passage in Thessalonians can be reconciled. For Free Willers, these folk abused their free will, using it to pursue wickedness. This gave God the right to cause them to be arrested by their own sin and to be cast into the House of Lies, their house of detention. You’d need to argue for a sort of freedom that is able to break God’s imposed judgments. By that standard, everyone should be able to will themselves not to suffer or die. No one goes THERE. I am assuming again, but I fear I’d insult you to think any other way. You do recognize that if something comes as a sentence of God, He might indeed lift it, especially if there should be repentance. But we cannot say He is under obligation to give the condemned power to escape their condemnation! We don’t see judges handing AK-47s to those found guilty in their courts, telling them they now have even odds of either going to or escaping from the slammer. There is such a thing as JUST punishment. It is to that that I direct your attention. What can you learn about the relation of ethics and epistemology from the fact that God has told us of His sovereign sending of delusions which render people incapacitated (through their own fault) in so far as their being able to recognize or embrace the truth. This is a really serious question, and one that would help us all to get to know the God Who Is more accurately. He’s that frightening. He is.

Yours and His,

pastor steve

4 Comments

  • Steve, this is why we need to hear from you more often. Your wit combined with truth is very impacting,long-lasting and eternal, with eternal benefits!!!

    Kerry

  • Steve, don’t want your head to get too big but you are great. God has blessed you with such a good
    mind! I was sooo… disappointed when your messages were no longer available on sermonaudio :(
    I really do appreciate you, and thank you for sharing.

    -David

  • Mary R. wrote:

    I would very much like to read what you have to say about “the very notion of ‘free will’ is riotously funny”, as mentioned in your response above.

  • William Campbell wrote:

    Dear Steve:

    We get what we want either by nature or grace. Predestinating Omnipotence is a sufficient explanation for the control of human thought. Paul expresses in more fundamental detail how God’s mind and ours is so closely related for “in Him we live and move and have our being”. This is the basis for a Christian epistemology.The Gospel both kills and heals (Isaiah 6),(2 Cor. 2:15,16) Note that God caused Absalom to think foolish thoughts so as to bring evil upon Absalom (2 Samual 17:14) Read again (2 Thess 2:11,12)together with Os Guiness who wrote a very courteous, sobering and balanced reply in the Banner of Truth, a reply to Frankie Schaeffer’s latest vitriolic, invective denunciation of his parents and what they stood for. For more balance on the mission that God called them to, Please do read the above as well as “Truth and Love”:The Apologetics of Francis Schaeffer, by Bryan A Follis, Wheaton Ill, Crossway Books, 2006 for an honest assessment of the Schaeffers.

    kindest regards

    William Campbell

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