Friday, 16 April 2010

The Bad Man nails it on impassibility and language

Mark Baddeley absolutely nails it with this deconstruction opposing the non-impossibility of using passible language of an impassible God.

Here is the brilliant insight that unlocks what is going on:

But I'd suggest that this concern plays neatly into the hands of one of the bigger conceptual presuppositions behind a lot of modern atheism: good old Kant. The presupposition is that human language just cannot speak about something that is not part of our space-time system, and human reason can't reason about it either.

I freely admit I am too darn lazy to explain, just at the moment, why this is so astonishingly good. Maybe read a bit of Kant, or at least a potted summary, to start on the road here, and then head to the first post in this subseries.

Please note though that Mark is answering a second-level objection to a first-order point, and exactly what that point is (the impassibility of God) you can start reading here and keep reading here and here.

Spend time on it, folks, I urge you! This is theology as it should be done, and it is worth sweating a few bullets as you get past a little bit of the high falutin' language, enjoy the Star Trek references, to the point where you can enjoy just being thankful that God has granted Mark the ability to cut through dangerous sidetracks and errors with such conciseness (yes! conciseness! they are long posts but with good reason) and leading us back to a scripturally

(of course, for how could it be otherwise)

based understanding of God as he reveals himself to be.

1 comment:

Alexb said...

Baddeley seems to be a fan of analogical language. His argument against the impossibility of using passible language to describe the impassible amounts to the use of crude analogies.

Furthermore, these analogies are not immune to the mentioned Kantian objection. When one uses finite language to speak of the infinite, one can only do so in a negative way. The same thing can be said for using passible language to speak of the impassible. We can only say what God is not, not what he is.

The impossibility of using positive language makes it very hard for us to reason about the infinite, and in the case of classical theology, the impassible.

Kant's objection stands.